“You need to start displaying a more diverse taste in music. Our demographic surveys have suggested that your audience aren’t solely interested in loud, up-beat noise. So, we’re having you attend this year’s music convention in Canterlot. You’ll mix and mingle with other ponies who have interests not only in club music, but also hip, hop, rock and roll, and even classical. This’ll be good for you, Vinyl; perhaps you’ll even be able to make new fans…”
That was how it happened. The conversation still repeated itself in Vinyl’s head, her mind doing a perfect impression of a rewind on her turntables. She groaned silently to herself as she trudged on, trying to look like she was enjoying herself in the very likely event that a paparazzi was able to capture her discomfort in cold, hard evidence.
Sure, she went along with pretty much anything, and if her sponsors and agent wanted diversity then as long as she still got paid she’d comply. It still didn’t mean she was overjoyed to have her precious ear drums assaulted by the various off-key, mismatched and downright badly played tunes, songs and recordings that were going on all around her. But at least she didn’t have to spend any bits.
Her travel, accommodation and living expenses had all been paid for, and as she had a gig during the convention she had free access to every area of the building. She could also see why such an occasion was taking place. It was indeed a good event to experience the different avenues of the musical world. There were all manner of ponies who had gathered to either make a name for themselves, search for young and budding talent, or even just to satisfy one’s personal tastes.
Since she’d arrived she’d been given business cards, various albums and tapes, and had been asked to sign autographs to the ponies that recognised her. She’d only been in the building for what she thought was half an hour and already the modest saddlebag she’d decided to take with her couldn’t contain any more of the items she was being given. It was almost amusing to see the faces of the eager ponies look so disheartened when she refused to take any more of their recordings, upset that a DJ of her calibre had deemed their work unworthy of her time. She was careful to make sure that wasn’t the case, however; everypony has to start somewhere.
The convention was taking place in one of Canterlot’s largest hotels in the artistic district; a tall tower which was pretty much the only notable building on the street it was located on, the rest being restaurants and stores. And due to not being a long walk from the Royal Palace of the Celestial Sisters the area was the main hub for the arts in Canterlot, music being only one of the many forms art could take on.
It was because of the proximity to the Palace that the district received such attention. Paintings, sculptures, musical renditions, anything considered worthy of taste were often sent through the palace at the behest of the Princesses. Many of the artists craving success vied to gain the Princesses’ attention, especially Princess Luna, who seemed to desperately want to catch up on how far artistic influence had grown since her disappearance a millennium ago.
The Alicorn had been a huge fan of music when she and Celestia had ruled together; often it had been a requirement for her hoof-maidens to know how to play an instrument or to sing so that she could be entertained whilst performing her nightly duties. At least that’s what the tabloids printed when she returned. Vinyl always took everything they wrote with a pinch of salt, but considering how much the royal treasury had spent on the music industry in recent months she had been led to the notion that there may be some truth to it.
As a matter of fact, Princess Luna’s thirst for knowledge was rather insatiable. She had already caught up on law to the point where she was now making the judgements on unlawful behaviour more often than Celestia, and even closing a few loopholes that existed within the system. History came shortly after that, everything that had happen in the last thousand years from all manner of sources, be it from books or Celestia herself. She soon had the knowledge to teach a night class in Celestia’s School for Gifted Unicorns and talks were underway between the two sisters behind closed doors of having her take a more active role, perhaps even founding her own Academy.
The music convention seemed to just be another way for Luna to gain the most knowledge on a subject in the least amount of time possible; a little bit of everything to sample until she found her tastes again to indulge in at greater depths. But, as Luna’s reputation as a know-it-all began to grow, Vinyl doubted that her tastes would stop her from learning about just about everything else there was to know about music, even if she cared for it or not. She hadn’t seen the princess yet, but she figured she’d catch a glimpse of her somewhere in the building, listening intently or asking questions to the various nervous musicians and performers that had gathered.
Although, it was actually rather perplexing at how many ponies had gathered. One would think that to promote your particular brand of music you’d do it someplace…quieter; a place where everypony could appreciate it without other distractions. But here, here everypony just struggled and fought to be heard over the next table, the next stage, or whatever their neighbour was performing upon. It amused the young DJ to think that should she set up an area for her to mix out some tunes with a decent set of speakers she could drown out most, if not all, of the ponies in the complex. But despite the grin she had on her face at the thought, she knew better of it; her agent would likely not be pleased if she hijacked the convention and turned it into a rave…no matter how appealing it seemed.
So she kept to herself, smiling and nodding at the various ponies that recognised her as she trotted past the stalls and trying not to gather too much of a crowd. Her fame had only grown since she had offered to take care of the music needed for a modest fashion show in her home town of Ponyville. She’d always been able to get gigs, nothing too big, just small little venues, parties and the like. Ponyville wasn’t known for its active nightlife, but there were one or two clubs which gained enough profit to stay open and pay her enough to play sets. But it wasn’t until after the local fashionista’s show that she started to make a name for herself.
That was where she met her first big time employer, Opel Jubilee, and gained her stage name; DJ Pon3. Opel had been following Hoity Toity, hired in the off chance she’d be needed for an impromptu fashion show of Hoity’s own making, when she had noticed Vinyl and, being always on the lookout for rising talent, offered her a small venue in one of the bigger cities. Shows and gigs were then coming so quickly that she didn’t have enough time to accept them all. She’d had to hire an agent to manage all the attention and she’d even been able to start up her own night club in Manehatten, though she rarely managed to run the turntables there anymore; the nights that she could, however, proved very successful.
The electric blue streaks in her mane waved as she shook her head slightly to escape from memory lane. A few passersby, rather froufrou looking, took note but she simply gave them one of her trademark grins, the one on all her publicity posters, and they carried on their way muzzles held high. “These things bring all sorts of ponies out of hiding,” she caught one of them say, an image of a conductor’s baton upon his flank.
“Quite right, and why in Celestia’s name is she wearing glasses like those? Indoors?” the second retorted, before they both grew out of ear shot. Vinyl thought nothing of it, of course. Image was everything in the business she was in and a thick skin was the next item on the ‘list for success’ below it. She’d built herself a reputation on her style and behaviour, and she wouldn’t change it for a few ponies who disapproved of her, especially when she was doing as well as she was. All in all, if they didn’t like it, they could go and buck themselves, something she’d been caught saying a few too many times for her sponsors’ likings.
Quickly casting the rude ponies from her mind she took stock of her surroundings, realising that she’d been daydreaming for longer than she realised. She’d wandered away from the organised chaos where she’d picked up all her ‘souvenirs’, which were now starting to become an annoyance on her back, especially as she didn’t want them in the first place.
All the mismatched tables and music stands had been replaced with rows of spacious cubicles, some with stages, others with tables adorned with musical bric-a-brac for even the most eccentric of collectors. And still others sold instruments. Drums, horns, guitars, piccolos, pretty much anything a pony could think of that made a noise of a musical nature was available for sale from some of the best instrument dealers in Canterlot.
Many a pony were browsing said wears in their droves, flitting from instrument stand to instrument stand and sizing up value for quality. Vinyl noted that nearly all the ponies were wearing high-class articles of clothing, long sequined dresses and garish hats of all sizes. She suppressed a snort of laughter at the few that wore monocles and other such items. She’d mistakenly wandered into the area of the building dedicated to all things classical, traditional and by her own opinion, boring in the musical genre.
She could never really get on with the upper crust of society. They always looked down on her for her tastes and so she in return didn’t give them much more than the time of day. She was forced to be civil when she had to, most of her record labels were held by some of the more open-minded of the elite, such as Sapphire Shores, but she would never be caught willingly going along to one of their social gatherings.
She contemplated turning to leave, to retreat back to the chaos she’d come from, but the weight of her saddlebag made itself known once more as she turned and she grew worried of the amount of useless materials she’d collect from spending more time in there. At lease if she stayed where she was she wouldn’t be harassed by every pony she walked past, and she’d also make it look like she was trying to do exactly what her agent wanted her to do; mingle. And so, with a sigh of resignation to her decision, she began to wander through the throngs of high society.
Wrapped within an aura of pale blue magic, the map Vinyl had been given floated out from her bag and hovered in front of her. The entire convention was taking place predominantly on the second floor of the hotel, the floor with the most conference rooms, halls and auditoriums for occasions exactly like the one taking place. Everything else in the hotel was running normally. Guests were still staying, though pretty much every room was booked up.
If Vinyl had wanted to attend and wasn’t invited, she’d have been hard pressed to get herself a room to stay in. Luckily for her she had a full suite to herself somewhere on the twenty-first floor, room twenty-one eighteen. She groaned inwardly at having to go so far to get to her room but couldn’t complain; she could have anything out of the mini-bar, a privilege she was definitely looking forwards to abusing later on.
Finding her mind wandering once again, this time at the prospect of chocolates, cookies and various types of alcohol, she focused on her map more intently, trying to find something of interest to her in the vast expanse of boredom that she had found herself in. Eventually she glanced over something familiar, a name. A smirk appeared upon her lips, map putting itself away, and eyes behind her tinted glasses scanning the room to get her bearings.
Once she was comfortable with where she was in relation to her target she set off, avoiding brushing shoulders with as many ponies as she could, and failing spectacularly with the ones that wore over the top attire. A string of ‘oof’s and ‘of all the nerve’s followed in her wake as she turned corners and weaved through the array of cubicles and tables until she eventually reached her destination.
She kept herself hidden behind one of the walls of a cubicle, its occupant scowling at her as she intruded on his space and his bizarre collection of oboes on display. She ignored him and his persistent prodding and whining as she gazed upon the table she’d been looking for. A large placard beside it bore the name ‘Lyra Heartstrings’ in gold emboss and all along the table were recordings with album covers depicting the named mare upon them.
The mare herself was situated behind the table, and Vinyl had to stop herself from rolling on the floor with laughter. She’d gone to school with Lyra, grew up with her. Their tastes in music differed, made obvious by their cutiemarks, Lyra depicting a lyre, whilst Vinyl only held a music note symbol, which could be applied to anything. But it was their similar personalities that helped them become fast friends. They’d never been known to dress up or have tea parties or anything else that little fillies did when they were young, and that was why Vinyl was almost in stitches.
Lyra was dressed up. Lyra was dressed up a lot.
She wore a long, white dress that flowed down over her flank, covering her cutiemark. Golden slippers adorned all four of her hooves with a matching golden laced saddle upon her back that wrapped around her chest. And to finish the whole ensemble off she wore a simple, golden necklace, a sapphire jewel in the shape of a wrapped sweet encrusted right in the middle of it. Vinyl’s eyes watered as she took it all in; the mint green unicorn even had her hair done up, held into a quaint little bun, held together with a miniature golden lyre at the back.
Lyra held that wide, toothy grin she often used when excited and was happily looking back and forth at the ponies that stopped to look upon her albums. Behind her was a small lockbox which already had a modest sum of bits held within it; obvious turnover for the sales she had made.
It only took Vinyl a few more moments to recompose herself before she decided to go and greet her. She watched as Lyra looked around a few more times before her eyes fell on the approaching DJ. The smile fell off her face, replaced by a shocked expression, quickly followed by an uncertain smile, and finally a light blush. “Hey, Scratch... what are... er... I mean... well... um... how’s it going?” she finally managed to get out, stumbling over her words and knowing full well that she’d never hear the end of this.
Vinyl simply smirked at her, finally coming to a stop before her table and looking down at the albums for sale. She remained quiet whilst Lyra fidgeted her front hooves, letting her stew in her discomfort before looking back up over her glasses, their eyes meeting. “Lyra, come on, a dress? I thought you were cooler than that,” she said, a teasing glint sparkling within the ruby irises.
Lyra’s face only flushed further, a healthy rose colour crossing over her muzzle. “What? I can wear a dress if I want to...” the defence was made, serving only to make Vinyl snicker. “Besides, it’s a nice dress... Bon-Bon bought it for me, a one of a kind Rarity Label. She says it helps to dress like this in Canterlot,” she finished, closing her eyes and stomping her hoof, raising her head into the air in a pompous gesture.
Vinyl couldn’t resist after that, she broke into full on laughter. Ponies began to look over at her and the now distressed musician and whispered between themselves. Her heart racing and feeling hot with embarrassment, Lyra leaned over the edge of the table and used her magic to pull at Vinyl’s glasses. As soon as they left the white mare’s face the laughing stopped.
“Hey, give ‘em back!” she yelled, jumping back up and on to her back legs and banging her front hooves onto the table loudly.
Lyra winced at the noise but refused to give in so quickly. She held them above her head, an irritated look now adorning her face. “Shhhh! You’re making a scene, quit laughing and being... well... you and they’re all yours.”
Vinyl glared daggers back at her, contemplating on trying to take them back by force. But she knew that that would only lead to a tug of war which would most likely result in them breaking in half. So she grunted in agreement, getting off of the table and standing calmly once again. “Fine, just hurry up and give them back, I think I’m actually starting to feel a drop in the income that comes from wearing them.”
With a sigh, the green-tinted aura that floated the glasses in the air weakened. “You’re such a sell out,” Lyra commented, watching as Vinyl’s horn lit up and caught the pair before they landed back on the table.
They quickly righted themselves and were soon back where they belonged upon Vinyl’s head. “Hey, it’s not my fault ponies want to sponsor me, and if it means I get to look this good whilst making money from it, why should I stop them?” She grinned, causing Lyra to laugh lightly in return. “You’re still in a dress though. That’s funny,” she continued, quickly making the laugh stop.
“Look, Bon-Bon’s making me wear this; you know what she’s like with all this high-society stuff. Besides, it isn’t that bad, and it really is helping me sell my music. You know as well as I that the ponies that enjoy my genre are mostly those stuck-up, judge-you-on-appearance types.” She defended herself once more, and then quickly noticed the now disgruntled customer on the other end of the table. “Oh... hi...” she offered with a nervous smile, eyes wide.
“Well I never!” The brown stallion cried, sticking his head into the air and trotting off away from the table, much to Vinyl’s amusement and Lyra’s disappointment.
“Now look what you’ve done!” the mint unicorn hissed, “You’ve just cost me a sale...”
“How IS Bon-Bon these days anyway?” Vinyl then asked, the ever present grin on her face only fuelling Lyra’s irritation further. Vinyl had always liked Bon-Bon, not just because she was always giving her cakes and treats whenever she came to visit the pair, but because she was genuinely fun to be around. She typically obsessed over the latest fashions, which drove Lyra up the wall, which of course was another reason Vinyl liked her.
“She’s fine,” Lyra sighed, her face falling in defeat. “She’s out shopping at the moment. I brought her as my plus one; I know how much she likes Canterlot. Didn’t you bring anypony?” Vinyl’s grin faltered somewhat at the question and Lyra suddenly found a way to get back some of her pride. “Oh? The famous DJ-Pon3 here without a date? How absurd.”
“I could have brought a date!” Vinyl quickly responded, just as quickly straightening her face into one of nonchalant passiveness. “I just chose not to. Getting tired of the mares and stallions following me around, you know? You gotta have your own space sometimes.”
“Yeah, yeah, whatever, Scratch. Well if you’d like, you could join Bon-Bon and I for dinner tonight. I’m sure she’d love to see you, it’s been a while since you’ve been home in Ponyville.”
“I’d like that, haven’t had a chance for a good catch up with anypony in a while, what with all the tours I’ve been doing lately.” Any sign of discomfort was now gone from the DJ, her nearly unbreakable confidence quickly coming back up as she got to the chance to subtly comment on how successful she was.
Lyra only shook her head as she laughed to herself, her horn lighting up as she took the quill she was using for anypony who wanted her to sign their copy of her album and scribbled her room number on a piece of scrap paper. “You’ll never change will you? Here’s our room number. Meet us there at eight tonight and we’ll head out to the restaurant across the street. And please wear something nice, not for me, but for Bon-Bon, she loves it when she gets the chance to dress up and pretend to be a somepony.”
“Riiight, you just want to see me in a dress. I’m on to you, Lyra, can’t pull the wool over my eyes.” Vinyl replied as she took the room number from Lyra’s grip.
“Ok, ok, sheesh, I’ll wear something nice, no need to yell. It’s a wonder how Bon-Bon puts up with you.” Lyra’s left eye twitched at that, and Vinyl knew she’d got as much fun as she was going to get out of her this time. “Well I best leave you to it then, hope you sell a few more, just try not to upset your fan base like you did with that last guy, not good for business. See you tonight!” And with that, she turned and left, leaving Lyra behind with a half-cocked retort still forming in her mouth.
All in all that was rather fun...but I’ve still got aaaaages before dinner, and my gig isn’t scheduled until tomorrow! Vinyl thought to herself as she took out her map again to look for something else fun to do. A thought then struck her as she reflected back on what she’d agreed to with Lyra. Wait...I don’t have anything nice to wear... She sighed heavily, startling a few passersby as she banged her head against a nearby pillar. I guess I’m going shopping...
“You have got to be kidding me?”
The exclamation was loud, shattering the peace and tranquillity that the obligatory shop music tried to convey. A few ponies looked up from their browsing, eager to see what was going on and spread some gossip if it was worth their time.
The salespony noticed the peering eyes turn towards him and the customer he was dealing with and he quickly tried to take control of the situation. “Madam, there is no need to shout. If this dress is not to your... liking then perhaps we should look for something more... subtle,” he quietly responded, trying to keep his voice down enough so that the other customers couldn’t hear. Of course they only surreptitiously leaned closer, or moved to a nearer aisle as a result.
Vinyl glared at the clerk, which lost its effect somewhat behind her glasses but the scowl was still evident. “You mean ‘cheap’. Look, pal, I’m not worried that I can’t afford the thing, I’m offended by the fact you think I’d pay one-hundred and twenty-five bits for a dress that I’ll wear once! It’s not even my kind of style, just look at it, it’s all... frilly and stuff.”
In all fairness, as far as dresses could go, it was a beautiful piece. It was primarily black, cotton stitched along a saddle that fitted the dress to varying sizes around a pony’s midriff, stretching up as far as the chest and around the armscye. Embroidered along its rear towards the flank was silk lace, dyed a royal blue that didn’t ride up too high and flowed elegantly alongside the tail, allowing enough movement to view a cutie mark. All in all, the salespony was showing remarkable aptitude for his chosen career path; the colour scheme matched Vinyl’s coat and mane perfectly, and it suited her figure in a tasteful way.
“Well I am afraid we don’t stock garments that are notably less priced than this one, and it certainly is the most appropriate dress to suit you that we have in store,” the ever persistent stallion continued, trying to get around the immediate problem and at the same time make a sale. “If you would like, I could point you in the direction of a store with a... wider variety of wares to suit any budget and style, but I’m afraid most of the stores in this area will be fairly similar to this one. You may need to go a little out of your way to get there.”
The other ponies in the store had since grown bored and returned to their own business, Vinyl being unaware that she was being observed in the first place. She hated shopping, she hated wasting bits. Sure she would spend ridiculous amounts of money on silly things like extravagant lighting or interesting, though some would consider weird, furniture for her house in Ponyville but she’d never been one for clothes.
She hated how time consuming it could be. It wasn’t simply a case of buying something; she had to try it on, make sure it fit, make sure it didn’t clash with her mane and make sure it was comfortable. She grumbled to herself as she glanced at the large clock that hung on the wall behind the check out. It read five in the afternoon, and she still had to make an appearance at an exhibition at the convention for Radio, let a few ponies take a few photos of her for the local papers and magazines covering the event, and then get ready for dinner.
A heavy sigh was the next sound to escape the increasingly frustrated DJ, her horn lighting up as she extracted her cheque book and a quill from the side bag she had brought with her. “I hate shopping...”
Suppressing a satisfied smile, the stallion began to lead Vinyl towards the cashier desk, dress in tow. “Would you also like to browse the accompanying accessories for the dress, Madam? We have a wide selection of shoes, hair pins, bags and jewellery.”
Vinyl didn’t even look up, writing out a cheque for the dress and signing her name with a flourish. “... don’t push it.”
The salespony didn’t respond, simply nodding his head and folding the dress in a way that only those who did it for a living knew how. He then placed it in a box and left it on the counter before taking Vinyl’s cheque and placing it into the till. “Thank you for your visit, madam. Please do come again.” He smiled with a nod once more.
“Yeah, thanks,” she muttered, floating the box on to her back and making her way out of the store. “Stupid Lyra...” she whispered to herself, almost cursing the fact that they were such good friends that she would go to such lengths just to keep her happy. “I swear if she laughs at me I’ll follow her around all day tomorrow.”
The streets of Canterlot were still rather busy, ponies bustling from shop to shop in the shadows of the large buildings that surrounded them. Vinyl had considered buying a place in the city, an apartment to make things easier, but it was the hustle and bustle that put her off. She could never persuade herself to do it when she could just simply pay for a hotel room. She much preferred to be a big time pony in the big city and have a home away from it all to relax in.
The hotel wasn’t far from the store; perhaps a ten or fifteen minute walk to return to it. Once she had she was grateful that the number of ponies going in and out of the reception had dwindled, most of them having checked in or left the convention for the day. Making her way through the foyer and pressing the call button on an elevator by the stairs she waited, planning her next couple of hours in her head. The exhibition wasn’t until six, and she still had forty minutes to kill before then. Her thoughts turned back towards the mini-bar in her room and the delicious treats held within.
She was still imagining the food stuffs when the elevator arrived, a few ponies leaving as she stepped in. She didn’t want to ruin her dinner, but she figured a few choice chocolates wouldn’t go amiss. Her ears soon became under assault by the irritating elevator music as her hoof rose to press the button for her floor and with a ding the doors began to close.
“Hold the door, please?!”
Vinyl quickly placed her foreleg between the sliding doors and they stopped, retracting back as they sensed somepony between them. She left her leg in place as she watched a pony quickly make her way into the elevator before drawing it back and allowing the doors to close once more.
“Floor?” Vinyl then enquired, hoof ready to press whichever number the mare desired.
“Second, please.” The reply came, the pony taking a moment to collect herself after her brief canter to the elevator. “Thank you for waiting.”
“No problem.” And with that the silence was restored, the ever persistent music coming from the elevator’s speaker echoing slightly against the four walls.
With nothing better to do but wait for her floor, Vinyl moved to the back of the elevator and casually leaned against the rear wall, noting that the walls of the elevator that didn’t house the doors were mirrored. From her vantage point she could glance at the mare with her without rousing suspicion, and with her glasses on it was doubtful she’d be noticed anyway.
The DJ wasn’t one for staring at random ponies, but being in an enclosed space tended to make a pony want to know who they were in the space with. The first thing she noticed was the other pony’s cutie mark, a pink treble clef on a light grey coat. Obviously she was involved with music and so naturally there for the convention and the fact she chose the second floor was further evidence of that.
Vinyl got the impression that this mare carried herself very well. Not a single hair on her body was out of place, including her mane which showed no sign of distress from the brief dash to the elevator. Curiously, the only thing she wore was a bowtie, something Vinyl had never seen that much of.
She may have commented on it to her, boredom making her feel the need to start a conversation but another ding stopped her before she could and the elevator doors opened on the second floor. Without hesitation, the mare quickly left, trotting away at a brisk pace and taking a left down a corridor that led to one of the hotel’s conference rooms. Vinyl had watched her the whole way, more out of intrigue than anything else, but soon enough the elevator doors closed once more, leaving the mare to her thoughts.
The elevator continued by itself for quite some time, no pony seeming to want to catch it from an above ground floor to go to an even higher one. It stopped once though, picked up a maid, and carried on upwards until it eventually arrived on the twenty-first floor and allowed Vinyl off.
She quickly took note of which direction the numbers on the room doors were travelling and took a right to find her own. She magically drew her room key from her satchel counting off the room numbers in her head as she eventually found her way to room eighteen, and after allowing herself entry, placed her boxed dress carefully on a cabinet by the door.
The room was as one would expect it to be in a high-class hotel in the middle of a capital; expensive and ornate looking. Decorations littered the room on glass tables, bookcases and shelves. Soft, yet thick rugs also rolled themselves out in various places upon the ceramic floor, which prevented the clicking every hoofstep Vinyl would have made. There were only three rooms; a living space, a bedroom, and a bathroom, all lined up in a row and connected by a hallway that led to the door but that was all that Vinyl needed.
She made her way over to the spacious couch that occupied the wall facing a large window, the curtains drawn back to reveal the picturesque cityscape of Canterlot. She hadn’t switch on the lights when she entered, the setting sun instead casting the room in a beautiful amber glow, long shadows stretching along the floor from whatever obstructed the light’s path.
Vinyl sprawled out on the couch, a content sigh escaping her as she took the chance to relax, if only for a moment. She removed her glasses, placing them down on the armrest and taking her time to enjoy the view from the window. Her horn lit up and the handle on the mini-bar opposite responded with a click, opening the door and revealing the various treats inside. A quick glance and she’d made her choice, a chocolate bar and a bottle of Apple Acre Cider floating over.
“Five minutes... then I’ll go mingle...”
A sigh of frustration filled the room, shortly followed by a pounding of hooves on the floor. Lyra was quick to investigate, coming out from the bedroom to discover the problem. She still wore the dress she had met Vinyl in, not really one to have multiple outfits for different occasions. She doubted that anyone would care. She was only wearing it for Bon-Bon in the first place; she’d be much happier going out with nothing at all.
There was a large mirror situated in the main room, and before it sat Bon-Bon. She rested on her flank, forelegs up towards her head as she fiddled with her ears. Lyra raised an eyebrow at her as she approached, seeing the irritation etched on the cream mare’s face in her reflection. “What’s wrong?”
“I can’t get these things on...” She replied, trying once again to accomplish something with her ears before she slipped, dropping a pair of earrings onto the floor with a clatter. “I spent thirty bits on these earrings and I can’t even put them on!” She cried loudly, almost sounding on the verge of tears before Lyra sat next to her and gave her an affectionate nuzzle with the end of her nose.
“You know, you could have just called me in, Bon.” She comforted quietly, the earrings becoming enveloped in the aura of her magic before lifting themselves off the ground and fixing themselves gently upon the upset mare’s ears. “You don’t normally fret so much, it’s only dinner.”
Bon-Bon smiled at Lyra’s reflection, tilting her head to the left and right to admire the earrings, two golden lyres now clipped to the bottom of her ears. “I know, but it’s been so long since we’ve had a chance to visit Canterlot and I just want to make sure everything goes perfectly. If Vinyl’s coming I don’t want to show her up, I bet she goes to all sorts of fancy restaurants with fancy ponies now that she’s so famous.”
A snort of laughter came from Lyra as she imagined that, causing Bon-Bon’s gentle smile to turn into a confused frown. Lyra noticed and simmered her laughter down to a mischievous smile. “Vinyl is the last pony you’ll need to worry about that with, Bon, if anything you’re probably the most sophisticated and high-class mare of the three of us. You certainly shop like one at least...” Her eyes glanced towards the multitude of bags and boxes that threatened to block off the hallway.
“So I got a little carried away...” the two-toned pony defended, a light blush adorning her muzzle. “There’s not as wide a selection of stores to browse in Ponyville, I had to make the most of it. And I didn’t just buy things for myself, I got you the most adorable looking sweater, you’ll need to try it on later to see if it fits.” Lyra made a face at that; she hated trying on clothes about as much as Bon-Bon loved it.
“A sweater? Really? That’s just one of those passing fashions, when am I ever going to wear it?” She argued, retrieving a brush from the other side of the room and beginning to comb out Bon-Bon’s mane for her, always marvelled by the way the pink and blue never seemed to mix too much in the middle.
“Oh I think you’ll love it, just you wait. I bet you’ll wear it all the time once you see it.” She smiled, eyes closed as she enjoyed the brushing, content to sit with the mint green mare beside her for the rest of the evening if they didn’t have any other plans for the night.
A loud knock on the door caused Bon-Bon to jump however, startled by the harsh breaking of the silence. Lyra grumbled to herself as she relinquished the brush over to Bon-Bon, and then moved to answer the door. “Too early to be expected, loud, and has perfect timing to ruin the moment. One guess as to who it could be.”
On the other side of the door, Vinyl fidgeted. She shifted her weight from left to right and occasionally tapped her front hoofs on the floor. She knocked once again, realising that she was early, but she couldn’t wait around in her room much longer.
The presentation had gone as expected. Several ponies involved with the radio project were in attendance, not to mention many artists and producers. Sapphire Shores was to name but one, and of course Vinyl was a very popular yet obvious attendee.
She’d been asked so many questions about what she thought about radio and how it would affect the music industry in years to come. She was quite impressed with the sheer number of vague yet seemingly knowledgeable answers she’d come up with for each one. In truth she knew next to little about how it worked, but she did realise the potential.
After the initial presentations everyone was free to move about and discuss. She made sure to make certain she was photographed with many of the bigwigs behind it all, even a few snapshots with Sapphire, giving off loud, casual remarks about collaboration efforts between them to be overheard. It wasn’t until she realised that she wasn’t doing exactly what her agent wanted her to do in the first place and diversify did things get truly tiresome.
She tried to interact with a few of the more traditional ponies, but was met with little more than forced politeness. No true conversation was held, no genuine interest from either party. It wasn’t as if Vinyl wasn’t trying, it was just the upper class just didn’t seem to want anything to do with her. Several carefully choreographed meetings between herself and any moderately famous Canterlot elitist was her last resort, and after she felt enough evidence of her ‘mingling’ had been recorded she made herself scarce.
She’d left too early, however, and after making it back to her room she realised she still had an hour before she was to meet Lyra and Bon-Bon at their room. She couldn’t wait around for long, her stomach rumbled at her and she’d have given in to temptation and raided the mini-bar once again if she’d remained much longer. And so she got dressed, not caring too much about the rest of her appearance and set off, arriving at the room number Lyra had given her a whole thirty minutes before she was meant to.
She was about to raise her hoof to knock again when she heard a click and the door swung open. She held a blank look upon her face as she observed the irritated face of Lyra staring back at her. They stayed like that for a few moments, Vinyl’s hoof still raised until she broke the silence. “You’re going out in that? You could have made an effort; you wore the same thing earlier.”
“Well I’m surprised you’re dressed in anything at all... but you can’t be seriously considering going out in those glasses.” Lyra replied, not biting at Vinyl’s fish for a reaction. Indeed, Vinyl still wore her purple glasses, her eyes hidden behind the lenses and giving nothing away to what she was thinking, though her smirk was still a good indication.
“Of course I am, they’re great! Might get you a pair for Hearth’s Warming this year, you could do with a new image.” The DJ finished, still grinning before looking up and down the hallway. “Well...are you going to invite me in, or what? I’m not too fond of people seeing me in this dress if I’m by myself.”
Lyra pretended to consider it, watching with enjoyment as the grin on Vinyl’s face eventually fell away, but before long Bon-Bon spoke up, ruining Lyra’s fun. “Who’s at the door, is it Vinyl? Let her in I want to say hello!” she called, causing Vinyl’s grin to return in its full beaming glory.
“Yeah, it’s Scratch.” Lyra called back with a sigh, lowering her head and stepping aside in defeat, allowing Vinyl to saunter past her. As she did so her blue tail, still unbound and as casual as ever, flicked up and caught the mint unicorn on the nose, flustering her further and causing her to slam the door shut.
Her outburst went unnoticed though as Vinyl was suddenly tackled by the cream earth pony within the room, forced up onto her rear legs as Bon-Bon brought her hooves around her in a hug. “Vinyl, it’s so good to see you again. You look fantastic, is that a new dress? Where’d you buy it from? It matches you so perfectly.”
Vinyl could only laugh, hugging back once the initial shock had passed and waiting for her to let go before even attempting to answer. “What, this old thing? Nah, had it for ages, just thought I might give it a bit of use for once,” she replied with an air of disinterest before she felt a sharp tug on the back of her dress.
“You left the price tag on, genius.” She heard as Lyra came into view, floating the tag in front of her as she walked off towards the bedroom without breaking her stride.
“Oh... did I? ... well would you look at that. I must have forgotten to take it off when I bought it... all that time ago... yeah.”
“You’re such a silly pony, Vinyl.” Bon-Bon laughed, moving back towards the mirror to resume getting ready. “But you’re early; I haven’t even had time to put on my dress yet.”
“Well you know me, Bonnie, just couldn’t wait to see you,” the white mare replied, wandering over towards what looked to be a small store’s worth of merchandise. “Wow, really went to town with Lyra’s cheque book, eh?” she commented, beginning to casually browse through the bags and boxes.
“ My cheque book actually... I couldn’t find Lyra’s.” At that point Lyra returned. Her brow rose as she caught the last snippet of conversation. “A shame too, I’ve pretty much mastered forging her signature. Harder than it looks considering she does it with magic and I have to do it the earth pony way.”
“You’re just lucky I love you so much that I don’t mind, that and the fact I’ve been able to forge yours for the past six years.” Bon-Bon simply rolled her eyes at that response, but she held a subtle smile, knowing they were only teasing each other.
“You two are weird.” Was all Vinyl had to say on the matter, attempting to unceremoniously unwrap one of the boxes she’d found intrigue in, until Lyra noticed.
She quickly trotted over, bumping Vinyl with her flank and wresting the box from the DJ’s magical grip with her own before placing it back in the bag she’d extracted it from. “I’ve laid out your dress on the bed, Bon,” she then spoke up, glaring daggers at the otherwise unconcerned expert at invading personal space. “You wanted the blue one with the pink frills right?”
“That’s the one,” Bon-Bon replied, placing the brush onto a nearby table as she finished with her mane. “I’ll get changed and we’ll head out a little earlier than planned, no sense in hanging around here if we can be spending it together at the restaurant.” Her voice grew quieter as she entered the bedroom, leaving Vinyl and Lyra alone together where Vinyl promptly decided to sit on the couch. Lyra was quick to join her, sitting in that odd way she often did. Vinyl didn’t even bat a concealed eyelid at the unusual position the green unicorn took, however, already very familiar with her friend’s eccentricities.
They sat in silence for a few moments, the lighting from the various lamps in the room bouncing off the floor to ceiling window and reflecting both the ponies back at each other. It was Lyra who spoke first, having considered something to say. “Thanks.” Though she hadn’t considered an awful lot.
Silence reigned once more. A minute ticked by before Vinyl had concocted her response. “For?”
“For going out of your way to get a dress for dinner; I appreciate it. But you didn’t have to spend so much on it, anything would have done really,” Lyra explained, leaning back with her elbow on the arm of the couch and resting her head on a hoof.
“I didn’t really have a lot of time to get one. Don’t worry about it; you can just repay me by coming to my gig tomorrow night. You won’t be getting any sleep anyway so you might as well both come join in.” The Disc Jockey smiled, and then went pensive as she seemed to gain an idea. “... I wonder if it’s possible for me to shake the whole hotel... I think I’m going to need some more speakers.”
Lyra laughed. She’d always found the random thoughts that seemed to pop into Vinyl’s head humorous, as crazy as they seemed. “Alright, we’ll come. Just try not to get carried away with it; you don’t want to cause another blackout.”
“Oh don’t bring that up again, it wasn’t my fault. If the ponies want more pumping bass then that’s exactly what they get. I’m a crowd pleaser, if a little bit of darkness and an electrical fire comes as a result of that then so be it.”
“Yes but the fire brigade isn’t really the best way to bring a concert to an end, is it?” Lyra finished, leaving the question hanging in the air.
A few minutes later and Bon-Bon returned. The navy blue dress Lyra had laid out now covered her form, starting from her chest and flowing back over her flank, trailing down towards the floor and ending in a frilly, pink border. The matching pink saddle on her back was separated by a golden band and to finish the whole thing off she wore a complete set of pink slippers, which clicked upon the floor as she walked.
“All ready to go, girls?” she enquired as she checked her reflection in the mirror one final time whilst both Vinyl and Lyra extracted themselves from the couch.
“Ready when you are, I’m starving.” Vinyl replied, eagerly heading towards the door in the hopes that it’d rush the pair into leaving.
Lyra rolled her eyes and followed and soon the pair were simply waiting for Bon-Bon, who, when satisfied with her appearance, picked up a petite satchel bag and threw the strap over her neck. She looked down towards Vinyl’s hooves as she approached, frowning a little with concern as she noticed the lack of shoes. “I’ve got a lovely pair of black slippers that you can borrow, Vinyl,” she said before changing direction to rummage in the bags in the hallway.
“It’s fine, Bonnie, I’ll survive. Let’s just go.” Vinyl insisted, not really wanting to detract anymore from her usual style.
She was of course ignored and Bon-Bon returned with the set of aforementioned hoofware. “Nonsense, they’ll look beautiful on you and match your dress perfectly.” She set them down in front of Vinyl and with a sigh from the DJ she put them on, slipping all four of her hooves into them. “There, much better. Now we can go,” Bon-Bon declared, opening the door and stepping into the hallway.
Vinyl followed but as soon as she was in the open her vision suddenly became a lot clearer and brighter, her hair rustling as her favourite possession was stolen. She quickly spun around just in time to see her glasses zoom into the room, wrapped in a teal aura of magic, and land gently upon the couch. And then the door was shut, a smug look on Lyra’s face. “We’re going to dinner, not a rave. Let the world see those beautiful eyes,” she teased before heading down the corridor, a giggling Bon-Bon in tow.
Vinyl simmered for a moment, contemplating forcing the door open to get them back out of spite. But instead she chose the high road, not willing to stoop to that level. “Fine,” she called out as she began to follow. “But you can bet your last bit that I’m going to see you in that sweater I found.”
Lyra’s step faltered.
The night life in Canterlot wasn’t any different from the usual atmosphere that gave the city its reputation. Being the capital of Equestria and the seat of power for the princesses there were less places to go and let loose than most other big cities, brought on by the idea that the royal sisters would look down on such a thing.
That wasn’t to say that there was nothing to do, however. There were plenty of theatres and concert halls to visit, and the number of fancy, extravagant restaurants never gave a pony too little choice if they couldn’t decide on what to eat. But to Vinyl...to Vinyl it all paled in comparison to what night life should really be like. She’d have much preferred to be walking towards the outer streets, the places she knew would be lit up and shaking with the noises coming from within the buildings no matter what hour it was. That was the sort of night life she craved.
She wasn’t a day pony, one could tell that from simply hanging around her for a few days. Most of the time she slept through the mornings and early afternoons, saving all her energy for whatever concert or club she was playing in that evening. She was used to seeing ponies moving with wild abandon, cramped together on a dance floor and trying to sing to the music.
She supposed that was why she was feeling a little out of sorts as she walked down the street beside Bon-Bon and Lyra, being careful not to bump into any of the mares or stallions that came from the opposite direction, looking past her as if she wasn’t even there. “I swear, Bonnie, I have no idea why you like this city so much,” she finally commented after having to drop into single file to avoid a collision.
The confectionary maker simply gave her a smile in return that seemed to suggest the answer was obvious. “Oh come now, Vinyl, dear, surely you see the wonder in all this. This city is where any pony can make a name for themselves. It’s the top of high society, it’s beautiful...so romantic.” She began to explain, a tone of wonderment in her voice and a glazed look in her eyes that caused Vinyl to look past the cream pony to the mint green one. Lyra just shrugged.
Seeing that she’d never win the argument in a million years, Vinyl changed the subject, her stomach making itself known to her with a gentle rumble. “So where are we eating? There’s like a hundred different restaurants around here and I feel like I could eat at each one.” She waited, the question hanging in the air, but Bon-Bon was still in her own little world, no doubt hob-knobbing with the social elite inside her own head.
Eventually Lyra spoke up, a look of worry on her face caused by her marefriend’s behaviour, “Er...we have reservations at the Garnished Primrose, right, Bon?” Bon-Bon didn’t respond immediately, earning a snicker from Vinyl and a bump of the hips from Lyra, finally snapping the day-dreaming mare out of her thoughts.
“Oh, yes, that’s right, reservations,” Bon-Bon confirmed, a flustered blush across her muzzle. “I called ahead too; it’s not just a table for two anymore so there should be nothing to worry about when we get there.” She finished, now focusing on the evening they were sharing rather than the fantasy in her mind.
“Well I hope it’s not one of those fancy stuck-up restaurants where you need to order like fifty meals to feel full, I’m starving!” Vinyl exclaimed, causing Bon-Bon to flinch at the sudden outburst. A few passing ponies turned towards them, expressing their disapproval but Vinyl and Lyra failed to notice, the two chuckling to themselves as they walked.
“I’m amazed your stomach isn’t as large as your ego with the amount you eat, Scratch, you’re like a bottomless pit,” Lyra gibed, ignoring the less than amused face of the cream mare glaring back at the pair.
“Hey, I have a very fast metabolism, gotta keep my energy up for when I’m pumping out the music. You’d be amazed how many calories you can burn off in my line of work,” the DJ defended, her eyes shifting to the left and right.
“With the amount you can pack away in a sitting you’d have to have the metabolism of a parasprite. You must have some secret...”
“Nope, no secret here. Just hafta be hard working and not lazy... ha, ha...” Vinyl then deflected, growing worried as Bon-Bon’s glare became a look of pensive thought, as if reminded of something that was just out of reach of being at the forefront of her mind.
“This coming from the pony that used to spend her younger days eating and napping... I guess some ponies are just lucky, the rest of us have to keep a lid on our inhibitions,” Lyra finished, Vinyl’s eyes still darting around until they grew wide as Bon-Bon’s face lit up with realisation, a large innocent and naive smile adorning her snout.
“Oh, that’s right, I forgot about that article in Mares Weekly you did,” the well read gossip began, much to Vinyl’s horror. “Your diet and fitness regime got me into this dress; I lost a whole five pounds thanks to it. I was so surprised when I found it though, it came completely out of the blue. I never thought you were into giving health tips and interviews.”
The world seemed to stop. Bon-Bon was still smiling, unaware that she’d just provided the ammunition needed to end Vinyl’s stalemate with her, until now, evenly matched nemesis. With a slow turn of her head, Vinyl gazed upon Lyra’s blank, expressionless face.
There was no smile, no grin, not even a raised eyebrow. “Diet?” she simply asked, and Vinyl knew that the game was over. “You never mentioned this to me, Scratch, your longest and closest friend. Tell me, have you been promoting spa visits and hooficures too?” Lyra’s composure was failing, twitches of smiles creeping around the corners of her mouth, her eyes watering. “Or have you been attending the latest fashion shows? What secrets... haha... have you been... pfft... keeping from me?”
Vinyl’s hoof found her face as Lyra finally lost it, falling back on her flank and clopping her forelegs on the ground in riotous laughter. Ponies in the street tried to ignore the scene, but many had to walk around the incapacitated pony, making it impossible for them to do so. “Alright, alright, that’s enough, Lyra!” Bon-Bon shouted, stamping her hoof down and nipping one of the mint mare’s ears.
That brought the laughter to an abrupt end, with what Vinyl thought was a most satisfying yelp. Lyra got back up, flicking her sore ear and wincing as she did so. The tears of laughter were now of pain and she looked back apologetically at Bon-Bon. “If you are quite finished with your shenanigans we are going to be late for dinner. I’ve been looking forwards to this all day and I am not missing it, now let’s get going.”
The three continued down the street after that, though Vinyl and Lyra slunk behind, whispering back and forth between each other, hoping they were out of ear shot of Bon-Bon. “You deserved that... though she can be scary sometimes...”
“Shut it, Scratch, if she hears you say that then we’re both dead.”
“Hey, she’s your marefriend, it’s not my fault she’s the one in charge.”
“At least I have a marefriend.”
“Dude... low blow...”
“Will you two foals stop bickering, we’re here.” The sound of Bon-Bon’s voice made the pair cringe and they looked ahead to find her stood before a large set of revolving glass doors, a stern look upon her face. They looked above her and an elegant yet bold sign drew their attention, the words ‘The Garnished Primrose’ adorning it in stylised calligraphy.
On either side of the doors were huge plate-glass windows, displaying the various ponies within dining and chatting and enjoying their evening. Most of the tables were positioned so that they faced out towards the window and Vinyl looked behind herself. The building was perfectly situated so that it faced directly down a street with no obstructions in its view, providing an excellent backdrop of Canterlot Castle.
“I guess this place gets a lot of business,” Vinyl muttered to herself as she and Lyra joined Bon-Bon, the latter of which made her way inside, pushing her way through the doors and heading off towards the reservation desk and maître d' behind it.
“This place looks a little expensive,” Lyra suddenly mentioned, a worried look in her eyes as she glanced back and forth at the various ponies enjoying their evening.
“Don’t worry about it,” Vinyl casually replied, leading Lyra towards the doors, much to the mint unicorn’s chagrin.
“What do you mean ‘don’t worry about it’?” the lyrist groaned, a note of panic in her voice. “Bon-Bon really wants to eat here and I don’t think I can afford it. We’ll get kicked out or have to wash the dishes and then she’ll hate me and then she’ll leave me and then-”
“Lyra, chill out,” Vinyl interrupted, grasping her by the shoulder and giving her a brisk shake. “You’ve got issues, girl...” Once Lyra seemed like she was going to be alright, Vinyl let her go and continued into the restaurant, a flustered Lyra following behind her. “We’re friends; I’ll get this for you.”
“Scratch, I couldn’t ask you to do that for me,” Lyra objected with a shake of her head, as if the physical act of declining made it absolute. “I invited you out, not the other way around.”
“Consider it a trade,” Vinyl continued, shoving Lyra to one side before they reached Bon-Bon, who was talking at length to the maître d'. “You let me pay for dinner for you two tonight... and you never mention my magazine article about my diet, deal?”
It was a ridiculous deal, but between such friends as they were it was very real. Lyra met Vinyl’s gaze, studying the subtle grin she held and the determined look she had in her eyes. She could tell that the piece of information she had uncovered was perfect blackmail material... but Bon-Bon’s happiness came first. “Alright, Scratch, you’ve got yourself a deal... but as long as you come over for dinner in Ponyville after the convention, at least let us cook you something to return the favour.”
“... Sweet Apple Acre pie?”
“Yep, with Bon-Bon’s very own secret recipe Ice-Cream... even the Cakes can’t compete with that stuff.”
“... you know that’s one of the exact reasons I was on a diet in the first place... but I can’t resist. Looks like we have an agreement,” Vinyl finished, stepping back from Lyra with a glazed look in her eyes, thoughts of pies, cakes and sweets swimming through her mind and causing her to lick her lips.
“Geez, Scratch, no need to drool all over the place,” Lyra laughed before nudging the other unicorn back further, leading the way over to Bon-Bon. “And thanks... you’re a good friend.” Vinyl shrugged it off with a wave of her hoof, knowing full well she owed Lyra enough bits from their youth to cover several fancy meals.
When they finally reached Bon-Bon's side, however, she was almost in tears. “Bon, what’s wrong?” Lyra asked, moving to nuzzle the side of her neck, glancing back between her and the expressionless pony before them.
“He says we don’t have a reservation... but I made arrangements last week when you got the tickets for the convention, and I asked the hotel to make sure there was room for three today.” Bon-Bon turned back towards the maître d'. “Please, there must be some kind of a mistake; if you could just check again then I’m sure-”
“Madam, I have checked three times already,” the stallion interrupted, his eyes only occasionally glancing down long enough to look over the three ponies. “I assure you, there is no reservation under the name of a ‘Miss Bon-Bon’, or a ‘Miss Lyra Heartstrings’, before you ask me to check that name once more too. I’m afraid we have no tables available for walk ins so I must ask you to vacate the premises.”
“Of all the nerve!” The exclamation startled the maître d', who took a step back at the sudden outcry. He looked down, more aware of his surroundings and came face to face with a very irate unicorn. “How dare you speak to her in such a way.” Lyra continued, anger boiling in her eyes. “Do you always speak to your customers in such a rude manner or is this just an exception you’ve taken to us? I want to speak to your superior, get me the manager!”
The outburst had caught the attention of several of the tables, the ponies seated at them whispering amongst themselves. One of them got up and began to move towards them but both Lyra and Bon-Bon failed to pay much attention. “Lyra, please, don’t make a scene, let’s just go... I’m sure we can get some sandwiches at a store or something...”
Lyra ignored her, staring intently at the shocked stallion in front of her, but a gentle tugging on her dress eventually drew her attention. “But this is meant to be your special night...”
“I know, but we can have that another time, come on, let’s go.” With that, and a final glower at the maître d', both Bon-Bon and Lyra turned to leave, making their way back towards the doors. “Maybe we can come back in a few months time? We don’t have time to book another reservation whilst we’re still here.”
“It’s not right, Bon,” Lyra mumbled, slowly walking by Bon-Bon’s side as they made their way back onto the street outside. “You were looking forwards to this, I promised to take you out for dinner whilst we were here and I couldn’t even accomplish that.” The unicorn lowered her head, a slight sob escaping her.
Bon-Bon sniffled and gave her a chaste kiss on her cheek, trying to cheer her up. “Oh, come now, it’s not your fault, Lyra, right, Vinyl?” she asked, turning to her side and then around her, trying to get the DJ to help her. But she wasn’t anywhere to be found. “Vinyl?”
“Will you two get your flanks back in here already?!” Both Lyra and Bon-Bon jumped at the sound of Vinyl’s voice, turning back to look at the restaurant and the waving hoof of the white unicorn. “Come on!” she shouted once more before retreating back inside. Bon-Bon and Lyra both looked at each other, confusion evident in both their eyes before doing as instructed, smoothing down their dresses as they did so.
Once back inside the maître d' immediately approached them, a flustered look about him, a stark contrast to his previous snooty demeanour. “A thousand apologies, madam, I had no idea. Please, right this way, I’ll show you to your table,” he quickly said to them, before about-facing and heading off deeper into the building. Lyra and Bon-Bon looked at each other once more, now thoroughly perplexed but again they did as they were told. The ponies at the tables they passed tried not to make it obvious they were looking at them, but several eyes peering over upside down menus and forks missing the food on the plates were sure signs to the contrary.
Eventually they were brought to a booth, within sat Vinyl, a glass of champagne caught in her magical grip as she slowly sipped on it. Across from her sat the pony that had stood before they left, and now that Lyra and Bon-Bon had time to look properly their jaws dropped.
“Took you two long enough, I thought I’d have to impose on Sapphire’s table and dine with her this evening.” Vinyl smirked, giving Sapphire Shores a quick glance and a wink before looking back at the couple.
“You’d be more than welcome, darling, it’s been some time since we actually sat down together and enjoyed one another’s company.” The pop diva grinned back, and then moved to stand. “You two must be Vinyl’s friends, please, sit I won’t be burdening you for much longer.”
“You...you’re...S-S-Sapphire S-Shores...,” the obviously star struck Bon-Bon replied, earning a melodic laugh from the fashionable earth pony. Lyra, on the other hand, who was much more accustomed to seeing and occasionally meeting celebrities through her line of work quietly took a seat beside Vinyl. “Can I have your autograph?” Bon-Bon suddenly asked, causing both Vinyl and Lyra to groan and bang their heads on the table in unison.
Sapphire, however, was more than happy to oblige, a true lover of her fans, and with a flourish a signature was scrawled on a nearby napkin, kissed, and handed over to Bon-Bon, who accepted it with a giddy smile before taking her seat opposite of Lyra. “Any friends of Vinyl are friends of mine, dearies, just have Vinyl send word if you’d like tickets to one of my shows, a couple of back stage passes shouldn’t be an issue. Ta ta for now.” And with that, the pop princess sauntered away.
The three now sat alone in their booth, Bon-Bon still hugging the napkin to her chest, Vinyl still sitting smugly with her champagne... and Lyra, sat with a suspicious look towards Vinyl. “What did you do? You’ve just saved the evening... and I don’t think my brain can handle that.”
“I might not act like it, Lyra, but I AM a celebrity. Sapphire saw us at the entrance being turned down and after you left, far too quickly might I add, we kicked up a fuss. You should have seen it, the look on the waiter’s face. The manager came out and shouted at him and everything. We got a private booth, free champagne for the whole evening and complimentary flower baskets... here they are now.”
Lyra looked to her right and saw what Vinyl was referring to. Three waiters were approaching, each with a small wicker basket full of assorted flowers. They placed one before each of the ponies at the table before heading back off, disappearing to serve which ever tables needed tending to next. Vinyl happily mumbled, already chewing on the bluebell that was in her basket. “I love free food.”
“And then I had to make sure she didn’t get a hold of my turntables... I tell, you, that Twilight Sparkle is a clumsy drunk,” Vinyl laughed, loudly. It was beginning to get late, however, so it barely disturbed any of the other patrons. The dinner was technically over, main courses had and desserts devoured. Now the three sat at their table, slowly finishing their last bottle of champagne before they were asked to leave.
“Yeah, I wish I could have stayed and seen it through to the end, but Bon-Bon was so tired, and after all those changelings attacked I didn’t want her to have to go back to our room by herself,” Lyra replied with a faint smile. She had swapped sides after they’d finished eating, and now sat opposite Vinyl, Bon-Bon leaning against Lyra’s shoulder, eyes closed and lightly dozing with a rose tint adorning her snout.
Vinyl looked at the two, a fond look creeping onto her face. “You two make such a cute couple you know?” she commented, earning a raised eyebrow from Lyra.
“Did you just use the word ‘cute’ in a sentence?”
“I’ve had three... four... no, maybe... many glasses of champagne, what I say from this point onwards can’t be taken as a testimony for the Night Court.” Vinyl replied, decided that she no longer found the liquid left in her glass to be very palatable.
“I see... well, continue your point.” Lyra smiled with a roll of her eyes.
“Nothing, you’re just... lucky I guess.” Vinyl finished, looking down at the table in front of her and pushing a salt shaker back and forth between her hooves.
Lyra rested her head on top of Bon-Bon’s, sighing as she made herself comfortable. “Ah, I see what’s happening; you’re getting all melancholy on me. You’ve got the case of the late night blues. Alright, I’ll bite, what’s wrong? You didn’t take those comments I made about not having a special somepony in your life to heart, did you? Because you know I was only joking.”
Vinyl was quiet for a moment, then shook her head, her eyes trying to portray her wealth of confidence but unable to do so. She wished she still had her glasses. “No, it’s not that... or maybe it is... I don’t know. I just feel like I don’t know where I should be at the moment. Maybe it’s just the champagne talking.”
“No, I think this has been bugging you for a while, you’ve just not had the chance to talk over it with someone,” Lyra egged on, wanting to find the route of the problem.
“Well I guess it might have something to do with the fact I have such little time now for everything I want to do. Like seeing you and Bonnie. It’s been ages since I’ve been back home and there’s so many friends I miss.”
“But you don’t want to give up your life as it stands now; you’re just stuck with trying to balance things is all. But don’t worry, if you get to the point where you don’t want it anymore, Bon here would swap with you in a heartbeat,” Lyra laughed quietly, trying not to wake the sleeping mare before they were ready to leave.
“Does that mean I get you too?” Vinyl jested, giving Lyra her patented bedroom eyes. “We could make such good music together, you and I.”
“Wow, it didn’t take you long to switch back into Vinyl-Mode, did it?”
“What can I say, I can’t let an opportunity like that pass me by. And during college... well... ”
“Alright! I think it’s time we get going,” Lyra quickly interrupted, her face feeling hotter than a few moments ago, and Vinyl struggling not to fall out of her seat laughing. Bon-Bon was gently shaken awake, the exhausted mare taking a moment to find her bearings.
“Did Sapphire come back?” she asked, yawing quietly and rubbing at an eye with her hoof.
“No, she said she had to go, remember? But she did promise to post us those tickets; we’ll get them when we get home to Ponyville,” Lyra replied, slowly standing herself up and helping Bon-Bon out of the booth. Once her marefriend was comfortably supported against her side, the two began to walk away, heading out towards the door. Vinyl shortly followed, but not before leaving a large enough pile of bits on the table with the bill to cover the meal and at least one of the complimentary bottles of champagne.
Once outside the three huddled together to avoid the cold, Bon-Bon between the two more aware mares so they could guide her. Luna’s moon was high above them, clearly visible and unobstructed by any of the towers and buildings that made up the city.
There were few ponies left on the street at this hour, only the occasional group such as themselves, making their way back to wherever it was they were staying the night. A few guard ponies, adorned in silver armour to signify their membership to the night watch patrolled the streets, ensuring the safety of any mares more vulnerable than usual after their night out walking home.
“It’s so pretty, Lyra...,” Bon-Bon mumbled, causing Lyra and Vinyl to look at each other. “The moon I mean... remember when you said you’d pluck it from the sky for me... that was so sweet.”
“Yes, Bon... shh, we’re almost there,” Lyra quickly hushed her, refusing to look at Vinyl who was in near hysterics.
“You’d pluck the moon from the sky? You steal that out of a romance novel, or are you just made of cheese?”
“Vinyl, if you don’t forget everything you’ve just heard I’m going to go to the press with the pictures I have of you after you got that gum stuck in your coat... you know, the gum you got everywhere... that we had to shave off?”
“Oh would you look at that, there’s the hotel.”
The three slowly made their way up the few steps that brought them to the foyer doors; a helpful pony, with a cutie mark of a set of double doors, opened them as they approached. Once inside Vinyl let Lyra take over most of the duties of steering Bon-Bon, the warmth of the building making it much more comfortable to walk alone.
As they approached the elevators the tail of a pony could be seen slipping inside and they began to close. “Hold the door please!” Lyra shouted. She hurried Bon-Bon along as best she could, in case they missed it but the pony inside had stepped forwards, obstructing the doors and preventing them from closing before they got there.
Vinyl immediately recognised her as the mare she’d held the door for only that afternoon and she smiled as they passed her. “Thanks for returning the favour,” she commented, moving to stand by Bon-Bon as Lyra pushed the number for their floor and Vinyl’s.
“One good deed deserves another, right?” the grey mare replied giving a neutral smile in return. She looked towards Lyra, who was indicating which floor she wanted but she shook her head, the loose bowtie around her neck shaking as she did so. “No need, you’ve already selected my floor.” She answered before she turned back to face the now closed doors, waiting for the elevator to take them up.
Silence reigned, disturbed by the detestable elevator music. A thought of rigging the sound system with something more... up-beat struck Vinyl’s thoughts but before she could indulge in her fantasy of vandalism Bon-Bon interrupted her. “She’s pretty, Vinyl... go talk to her.”
Lyra’s hoof immediately shot up to cover Bon-Bon’s mouth; Vinyl’s doing the same as they both looked towards the fourth mare in the elevator. She had turned her head a little at the comment, but now faced the front of the elevator once more, politely pretending she hadn’t heard a thing.
A few moments passed and Lyra and Vinyl let out a breath they didn’t know they were holding. Once their hooves had been lowered however, Bon-Bon spoke again. “Vinyl, ask her for her name.” And the hooves were brought straight back up. The grey mare looked for a little longer this time, studying the three with her purple hued eyes. Vinyl and Lyra just grinned back at her, meeting her gaze and keeping the half asleep Bon-Bon between them and hushed.
The awkward silence was broken by the chime of the doors opening and Lyra quickly took advantage of the opening, dragging Bon-Bon gently out into the hallway. “Well, it was a lovely evening, Vinyl, we should do it again sometime, definitely. Maybe we can meet up for breakfast tomorrow downstairs? We’ll come get you,” Lyra babbled, trying to break the tension.
“Y-yeah, sure. Good night, Lyra, good night, Bon-Bon,” Vinyl replied, giving a wave of her hoof as the doors began to close.
Lyra waved back in return, but used the hoof she was using to cover Bon-Bon’s mouth. “Kiss her, Vinyl!” the cream mare yelled just as the doors closed, making both Vinyl and the unfortunate mare sharing the elevator jump and blush bright red.
“For the love of Celestia, Bon-Bon, shut up!” Came Lyra’s muffled response from behind the closed doors and the elevator once again began its ascent.
“S-Sorry about that, she gets a little... weird after she drinks... apparently...” Vinyl tried to explain, trying to remember the last time she had seen Bon-Bon drink anything stronger than cider and realising that she couldn’t think of a single instance.
“Quite alright, everyone’s entitled to enjoy themselves from time to time,” the mare replied, still looking towards the door. Silence prevailed once more but after a moment or two the mare sighed and turned to face Vinyl, hoof extended. “My name is Octavia.”
Vinyl stared dumbly at the hoof, not sure exactly what was going on. By the time her brain caught up with her she realised she had left Octavia standing for at least a few seconds whilst she was staring at her outstretched hoof. “Oh!” she exclaimed, raising her own hoof and clacking it against Octavia’s. “Vinyl, Vinyl Scratch,” she replied, shaking her leg up and down.
“Charmed,” Octavia replied, the worried expression on her face turning to a smile. The elevator once more came to a stop and both ponies exited. They both turned right and walked side by side as Vinyl approached her room. “If... if it’s not too much trouble, perhaps I could join you for breakfast tomorrow? It would be nice to have some company and you and your friends seem like nice enough sorts... providing you’re not all as strange as you seem in the middle of the night.”
Vinyl paused for thought for a moment, literally, once again startling Octavia with her odd behaviour. The grey mare stopped a few feet ahead, waiting for Vinyl and contemplating on going on ahead without here. “Oh, how silly of me, I thought it might have been strange to ask such a thing, especially after just making your acquaintance. Forget I said anything.”
Vinyl watched as she turned to continue walking and she found herself answering. “Breakfast? Okay, no problem. Sorry if I’m a little spacey...it’s been an interesting night.” She trotted quickly to reach Octavia’s side again but soon found herself coming towards her door. “You didn’t have to walk me to my room, you know?” Vinyl grinned, a twinkle in her eye as she came to a stop and glanced at the mare beside her.
“I didn’t.” Came the reply and Vinyl watched as Octavia turned around and let herself into room nineteen, right opposite the DJ's. “I’ll see you in the morning, Vinyl, I’ll let you call on me, since I think you’ll be needing your sleep.” And with that she bid Vinyl good night and closed the door.
Vinyl remained in the hallway, blinking her tired eyes and staring at Octavia’s door. “...what the hay just happened?”
A series of loud bangs echoed from the hallway and into Vinyl’s bedroom, barely disturbing the sleeping DJ who remained dead to the world and snoring loudly on her back. The knocks came again, a set of three slow and deliberate raps of a hoof on wood, but it only served to cause her right rear leg to twitch in rhythm, the snore breaking off with a snort and being replaced with incoherent mumblings as her dream shifted into a fantasy rave.
“Do you have to knock so loud?” A muffled voice crept in from under the door. It sounded groggy and pained, as if its owner was loathed to be there at all. “Maybe she’s already gone to breakfast. Let’s just go back to bed, you can rub my back and I can sleep some more.”
“She had almost as much to drink as you last night, she hasn’t gone anywhere.”Another voice responded, this one not so much worse for wear. “So, as tempting as your offer sounds I’m going to have to turn it down. Besides, you’ll feel better once you have some breakfast. We’ll get you some coffee, a couple of muffins and you’ll be right as rain by the afternoon.”
Another knock, harder this time and with more urgency, disturbed Vinyl further, causing her to roll over to the edge of the bed and finally manage to jerk her out of her slumber. Her eyes cracked open, and with a wide yawn she tried to prop herself up with a hoof, only to find that it came into contact with nothing but the open space beyond the bed. With a crash and a surprised yelp, she soon found herself face down on the floor.
She groaned as she laid there under the sheets, having wrapped them around her midriff in her sleep. The crash must have been heard outside the door because as she contemplated going back to sleep where she lay the DJ heard voices coming from beyond her room. “Scratch, are you alright in there?”
A long, drawn out sigh escaped her and Vinyl finally stood up, rubbing the end of her snout with a hoof. She clumsily made her way to her bedroom door, dragging her sheets along with her, and made it into her hallway. “I’m coming,” she grumbled, ignoring the mirror she passed on the way and, too tired to use her body to do it, unlocked her hotel room door with her magic and swung it open.
“About time, you sleep like... wow, you look like death. You’re really not a morning pony are you?” Lyra asked, a smile on her face with a raised eyebrow. Bon-Bon stood beside her, shifting her weight from side to side as if she was too weary to stand up straight. Vinyl only sat on her haunches and yawned as a response. “Did you sleep in that?”
Vinyl looked down and finally took note of her appearance. Her horn lit up with a light blue aura and the bed sheets came undone, discarded somewhere behind her with a flick of her head, revealing the crinkled and now shabby looking dress from the night before. “Huh... I guess so,” she answered before turning around and moving back into the depths of her room. “Guess you better come in.”
Bon-Bon didn’t argue, quickly moving past Lyra with her head low to the floor and following Vinyl into the living space. Lyra simply rolled her eyes, her horn lighting up green as she entered, the door doing the same and closing behind her.
Once the mint unicorn joined the other two she found them curled up on opposite ends of the couch, eyes closed and heads resting on the armrests. “You two are hopeless,” she laughed before drawing open the curtains, letting the light from the morning sun fill the gloomy room and earning hisses of discomfort from both Vinyl and Bon-Bon.
“Geez, Lyra, give a girl a warning next time,” Vinyl growled, her hooves pressed against her eyes, rubbing them back and forth before slowly bringing herself to stand on her feet again, hunched over and attempting to back herself out of her dress.
As amusing as it was to watch, Lyra moved to help, grasping the front of the saddle in her teeth and pulling it over Vinyl’s head. “At least Bon-Bon has an excuse,” she mumbled through clenched teeth. “She doesn’t really drink.” With a final tug, the dress came off, the arms pulling inside out as they clung to Vinyl’s forelegs. “Now go shower, that’ll wake you up. We’ll wait for you here and then we’ll go get some breakfast.”
“Yes, mother,” Vinyl replied, sticking her tongue out as she did so and receiving a dress to the face as a response. “Ok... I deserved that.” She mumbled, slinking off down the corridor and into the bathroom.
“And that was such a nice dress too.” Bon-Bon lamented, bringing herself off of the couch to stand before the mirror on the wall above the dresser whilst Lyra stared out of the window. A few minutes passed as she ran a hoof through the curls of her mane, a grimace on her face. “My hair is a mess; I’ll need to go to the salon later.”
“You look fine, Bon, you don’t need to go to the salon,” Lyra replied, bringing her attention from the street below and trotting over to stand by her side, ears flicking at the sound of the water in the shower hitting the tub. “I’ll tell you what. We’ll have breakfast and then we’ll head back to our room. You can have a nap, I’ll go work my stand and I’ll close up early this afternoon.” She nuzzled along Bon-Bon’s neck as she spoke, the cream mare’s eyes closed as she enjoyed the sensation. “I’ll help you get all prettied up; even more so than you usually are to me, and we’ll go to Scratch’s gig this evening. Sound good?”
“Vinyl’s gig?” Bon-Bon asked, eyes shooting open as she already imagined the booming vibrations rattling around in her skull. “But it’ll be so loud. I really don’t think that’s a good idea, at least not today...”
The unicorn laughed, patting her on the back with a reassuring smile. “I’m telling you, Bon, you’ll feel much better later on. Trust me; I know what to do when the morning after comes around.”
“Yes, well from all your... experience, you could have stopped me after the first few glasses.”
“But you were having such a good time; I didn’t want to spoil your fun. I got you home safe and sound, didn’t I? No bruises on your legs from falling over, no misplaced bags or shoes. Besides, I get all the hugs and kisses I could want when you’re inebriated, might have to get you to do it more often.”
“A little too much information there,” Vinyl suddenly called out from behind them, making both mares jump. They turned around to see a sodden mess, two towels magically scrubbing away at her mane and tail as the DJ dried herself.
“Well you shouldn’t be sneaking about then, should you?” Lyra replied, a light blush upon her face whilst Bon-Bon chose to concentrate on her reflection again.
“Hey, it’s my room; I can sneak around if I want to. You’re just jealous that you have the footsteps of an elephant, you never could sneak back in after curfew,” the DJ replied before casually dropping one of the towels and using the dryer of the two to finish off drying the rest of her coat, leaving her clean, if not mildly damp.
She checked her hair in the mirror beside Bon-Bon, and happy that it was in its usual unkempt fashion declared herself ready. “Oh, I almost forgot, you two don’t mind if someone tags along with us today, right?” she asked, looking around the room for something.
Both Lyra and Bon-Bon focused their attention, curious about the question before answering. “Who did you have in mind?” Bon-Bon asked, a slight giddy smile on her face as thoughts of all the number of different celebrities Vinyl could bring to breakfast.
“The mare from the elevator last night, she asked if she could join us for breakfast.”
“... You mean the mare that Bon-Bon told you to kiss?” Lyra asked, the smile on Bon-Bon’s face turning to a mortified expression.
“Oh no, I didn’t, did I? Gosh, I’m so embarrassed,” Bon-Bon muttered, her face taking on a deep crimson look behind her fair coat.
“Yeah, that’s the one. She seems nice enough, and I thought it was the least I could to say yes, after... well, you know...” Vinyl continued, sauntering off back to her bedroom.
A few seconds passed, and something in Lyra’s head clicked. “Vinyl, please tell me you didn’t-” she began, but cut herself off as she saw Vinyl returning with the shoes she’d borrowed off Bon-Bon in her magical aura. “Never mind.”
“You thought she was in there, didn’t you?” Vinyl smirked, placing the shoes inside her saddlebag and levitating it onto her back. “I meant after we all embarrassed her in an enclosed space. Get your mind out of the gutter, Lyra.” She snickered, going to the door and opening it up to the corridors beyond.
“Vinyl wouldn’t do that, Lyra, you should know better,” Bon-Bon chastised, shaking her head in disapproval as she went to join the DJ outside, leaving a perplexed Lyra behind.
Deciding it was best to let it go rather than reveal all the little sordid secrets she knew about Vinyl Scratch, she joined the two outside Vinyl’s room and closed the door. Grumbling quietly to herself she waited patiently at the back of the group whilst Vinyl knocked on the door opposite. A few moments passed and before Vinyl could knock again the door slowly clicked open, revealing the grey mare on the other side, her mane combed impeccably straight and the same bow-tie and collar she wore the day before now neatly tied around her neck.
“Good morning, Octavia, ready to-”
“I am so sorry about anything I said last night!” Bon-Bon interrupted, bumping Vinyl to the side with her flank and almost pressing her head against Octavia’s. “I had far too much champagne and I’m not used to doing that. It’s all these two’s fault, they let me get carried away and didn’t stop me like the responsible mares I thought they were and I’m really, really, really sorry.”
An uncomfortable silence descended on the group, Lyra staring wide eyed whilst Octavia looked like she’d been scared half to death. “So, yeah... Octavia, this is Bon-Bon, she’s a little melodramatic, which I’m sure you’ve already noticed. And this is Lyra, her mare-friend and self-appointed lackey. Lyra, Bon-Bon, this is Octavia.”
“I thought I asked you to stop introducing me like that,” Lyra grumbled, to which Vinyl only beamed. The mint unicorn then carefully extracted Bon-Bon from Octavia’s doorway, allowing the poor mare to breath after the sudden invasion of her personal space.
“Yes, well, good morning, a pleasure to meet you all properly. And as far as last night goes, you’re forgiven, Bon-Bon, it was easy to see you were out of sorts.” She attempted to smile, putting Bon-Bon at ease a little. “I must say, I didn’t expect you to be up so early, it’s only just gone nine and I figured you’d all be sleeping until at least ten,” she continued, closing the door behind her and standing in the hallway with the rest of them.
The four then began to make their way towards the elevator, Octavia and Vinyl leading whilst Lyra and Bon-Bon followed, all four walking at a slow pace for the still worse for wear confectionary maker. “Well Lyra doesn’t like to miss breakfast, so she made sure we were all up in time. She gets cranky if she doesn’t get her morning bagel.”
“Vinyl, quit making stuff up, she doesn’t know that you’re joking!”
“Yeah, you’re right, sorry, Lyra,” Vinyl apologised, before leaning towards Octavia and whispering, “... she’s cranky all the time.” This elicited a light laugh from Octavia, much to Vinyl’s pleasure and Lyra’s annoyance.
“I’m sure that isn’t the case, but they do say breakfast is the most important meal of the day so it’s good that you aren’t missing out,” Octavia replied as they came up to the elevator then pressed the call button. “I assume you’re all here for the convention? You don’t seem like the usual ponies that live in Canterlot.”
“We’re all from Ponyville,” Lyra answered before Vinyl could speak, leaving the DJ with her mouth hanging open. “Vinyl and I are actually attending, but Bon-Bon’s my guest.”
“But Vinyl stays here in Canterlot all the time, don’t you Vinyl?” Bon-Bon added, deferring towards the DJ with a smile.
“Yeah, I hang around in the city for a few weeks at a time every now and then, usually for work. Though it’s a little too stuffy for my tastes, which is why I still have my house in Ponyville.”
“I see.” Octavia smiled, keen to enquire further, but before she could the elevator doors pinged open. The four trotted inside and as Lyra pressed the ground floor button she continued. “Well I wouldn’t mind hearing all about Ponyville, it’s become rather popular in the newspapers as of late, it seems like there’s a news story coming out of there almost every week.”
“Well we’ll be happy to fill you in on all the juicy gossip at breakfast, just have to make a quick stop at Lyra and Bon-Bon’s room first.” Vinyl announced, motioning for Lyra to select their floor too. When Lyra didn’t budge Vinyl raised an eyebrow. “Uh... Lyra? If you’d be so kind.”
“Why do you need to go to our room?” the other unicorn replied, hesitant to let Vinyl anywhere near the controls for the elevator.
“To get my glasses of course, and to drop off Bon-Bon’s shoes, I ain’t lugging them around all morning.”
“We’re going to breakfast, Scratch; you don’t need your glasses.”
“Of course I do, they’re a necessity.”
“I didn’t know you wore glasses, Vinyl,” Octavia commented, distracting the unicorns for a moment. “I take it you were wearing contacts last night? That’s what I prefer myself, I’ve lost and broken dozens of pairs of glasses in the past so decided they weren’t worth it, I just have an emergency pair at home.”
“She doesn’t wear glasses,” Lyra explained, glaring at Vinyl, “she wants her sunglasses.”
“But... it isn’t sunny, and we’ll be indoors.” The grey mare replied, a confused expression adorning her face.
“Exactly, which is why she doesn’t need them.”
“But, Lyra, it’s all part of her image,” Bon-Bon added, rubbing her forehead with a hoof. “And this bickering is starting to give me a head ache, just let her get her glasses and we’ll be able to get to breakfast in peace.”
“Yeah, listen to Bonnie, Lyra, or you’ll be in the dog house,” Vinyl chuckled, and then leapt forwards towards Lyra. With a shriek, the mint unicorn moved out of the way, just in time for Vinyl to click the button for the correct floor before they passed it, the elevator coming to a stop and opening its doors. “Cheers, Bonnie,” she called out, her horn lighting up and stealing the room key from Lyra’s side bag.
“I’ll be back before you know it,” she called out, just as the elevator doors were closing. Before they came to, however, a white foreleg reached into the gap and pressed a good few floor numbers directly below the floor they were on now, and then it was gone, the doors sealing shut.
“... I hate that mare.” Lyra deadpanned, staring at the lit up numbers on the elevator panel, knowing they’ll have to stop on each floor that was lit up on their way to the ground floor.
Octavia, not wanting to touch a nerve with Lyra, leaned towards Bon-Bon. “Is Vinyl always so eccentric?” she whispered, the elevator descended at a slower pace now that it was scheduled to stop sooner.
“Oh yes, but that’s all part of her charm, really,” Bon-Bon answered, forgetting to whisper, causing Lyra to look towards them. “But she and Lyra go way back, they went to school together, even shared a room at the music college when they were older. In fact, it was thanks to Vinyl that Lyra and I met in the first place.”
“I wouldn’t put it down to Vinyl being directly involved, it was more the fact she’s just lazy,” Lyra answered, a slight smile on her face despite the argument she’d just had. The door opened on a floor, but they ignored it, and it carried on. “She was supposed to meet me for lunch one afternoon and she overslept. And because I was relying on her bringing us some sandwiches I had to go to buy food and it just so happened I stumbled into Bon’s stall at the market.”
“Literally stumbled, you had taffy and chocolate all over your coat,” Bon-Bon added, generating an amused smile from Octavia.
“Thank you, Bon-Bon, I wasn’t going to provide that bit of information and do NOT let Vinyl find out, she’ll have a field day with that.”
The elevator stopped at a few more floors, nopony getting on at any of them, the inconvenience irritating Lyra more and more. As the elevator came to the last lit up button before it was clear sailing to the ground floor it opened to reveal Vinyl. She stood casually, leaning against the wall with her right foreleg crossed over her left and her glasses upon her head once again, concealing her eyes from the world.
“Ladies,” She greeted with a smirk, moving to walk into the elevator. “I’m ready for breakfast.”
The elevator closed its doors for the final time, taking them towards their destination. Silence persisted for a moment, before Lyra spoke up. “I hate you.”
It was a few moments more before Vinyl replied. “I love you too.”
The hotel provided a full buffet service with enough food to satisfy any pallet. Being in the centre of Canterlot the majority of the food on offer was of a high standard, ranging from complex foods such as breakfast soufflés to more simple fare like alfalfa. It was also very active, with most of the ponies at the hotel up early to see more of the convention and get prime seats for any early conferences or question panels taking place.
At a table towards the back of the room, and purposely close to the coffee machine, sat the four mares, each engrossed in conversation with one another. Bon-Bon sat with a modest pile of muffins, and after taking a large gulp of the black, hot coffee Lyra had procured for her, let out a content sigh. “I feel much better. Next time you get us an unlimited number of bottles of champagne, Vinyl, please make sure I only have a few glasses.”
Vinyl only laughed, a sizeable portion of apple syrup pancakes in front of her, which was slowly being devoured; her first helping having been consumed as if she hadn’t eaten in days. “But that’s part of the fun! Especially the morning after when you don’t know what happened the night before and you wake up in some stranger’s bed, priceless. Right, Octavia?”
Octavia just blinked, half way through taking a sip of the tea she was drinking, her two croissants left half finished on her plate. “Well... I can’t say I’ve ever been in that position, but I think I understand the sentiment. But I also agree with Bon-Bon, everything in moderation.”
“Ok... well, Lyra knows what I’m talking about, right?” Vinyl tried again, looking towards her usual comrade in mischief.
The mint unicorn was using her magic to wield a fork, impaling the bowl of strawberries she had and eating them one at a time, savouring the taste. “Leave me out of it, you’re a bad influence and I’m much too impressionable to listen to you,” she answered, keeping her head down towards her bowl, eyes focussing on the strawberries.
“Yeah, you know what I’m talking about.” Vinyl grinned, taking that as an answer she wanted to hear, much to the confusion of the two earth ponies.
Octavia placed her tea back down upon the table, and grasped a fork in her arm, much to the continued amazement of the three at the table. “So do you three have plans for the rest of the day?” she enquired, taking another attempt at her pastries, daintily cutting away manageable portions and carefully taking them into her mouth with the fork.
Knowing it was rude to stare, the three mares returned to their own meals when Octavia looked back up, Vinyl stuffing her mouth with a fork full of pancake and leaving the other two to respond. “Well Lyra has a stall to run today; she sells records of her music. She plays the lyre so beautifully,” Bon-Bon swooned, making Lyra puff out her chest with pride. “And Vinyl is performing this evening in one of the concert halls.”
“Oh, well I may have to stop by later, Lyra, I do enjoy the lyre, though I’ve never been very proficient at it.”
“What about you, Octavia? Are you just visiting the convention or are you a part of it?” Vinyl asked, gasping somewhat after almost choking on her breakfast, she took a large mouthful of orange juice to make sure.
“I’m here with the Canterlot Symphony Orchestra, we played last night but my attendance covers the entire time the convention is running,” the mare explained, trying to ignore the sudden interest Bon-Bon was showing her.
“Oh I love orchestral music; it’s so wonderful and full of emotion. What instrument do you play?”
“I’m the principal cellist; it’s my role to determine bowings for the whole cellist section in conjunction with other string principals, and playing solos.” Octavia smiled, more than happy to discuss it with another pony who shared her love of the orchestra.
“So that’s why you’re so good with your hooves.” Vinyl pointed out, nodding her head towards the fork still in Octavia’s grip. “Ponies aren’t particularly good at playing strings with their hooves.”
“Hey, I can play the lyre with my hooves.” Lyra piped up, receiving a nudge to the ribs from the DJ.
“Oh please, if you don’t use your magic then it sounds like you’re strangling a baby manticore,” Vinyl laughed, before a strawberry whizzed through the air and bounced off the side of her head. “Alright... maybe you’re not that bad.”
Octavia chose to ignore the faux pas of throwing food at the table and instead focused on what she heard from Bon-Bon before. “And you have a concert later, Vinyl? What instrument do you play?” She asked, stopping Vinyl from forming the idea of flicking a sugar cube from the bowel on the table at Lyra.
“It's more of a gig than a concert. And I don’t play an instrument, I’m a DJ,” she answered, earning a confused look from Octavia.
“A disc jockey? I didn’t think that was considered a true musical profession, not like singing or being a composer.”
“It’s as much a profession as yours is, Tavi; mine just revolves around mixing tracks and getting them to play just right. You’d be surprised what you could do with music once it’s been attached to a machine and you can manipulate it in any way you see fit.”
“Tavi?” Octavia asked, unsure of what to make of what Vinyl had called her.
“Yeah, or do you prefer something else, maybe Octy? I like Octy.” There didn’t seem to be a look of jest about Vinyl as she asked, leading Octavia to believe she was being serious.
“Consider yourself lucky,” Lyra stepped in, finishing the last of her strawberries. “Vinyl only gives nicknames to the ponies she likes, despite how you feel about it.”
“I... see,” Octavia said, still uncertain. “Well I suppose you can use whichever one you prefer Vinyl, if it makes you feel better.”
“But wait,” Bon-Bon suddenly spoke, causing the three to turn towards her. “If Vinyl does that with the ponies she likes, and Octavia has one and I have one... what’s yours, Lyra?” she asked, looking back and forth between the two unicorns, who didn’t reply immediately.
The two looked at each other, and as if rehearsed, looked back at Bon-Bon and answered in unison, “Classified.”
“Aww, come on, I want to know, please? I thought we told each other everything,” Bon-Bon whined, but the looks on the unicorns faces told her she wasn’t going to get her answer. “Fine, whatever, I don’t want to know. I’m going for more coffee,” She finished, picking up her cup in her mouth and storming off.
“I’ll come with you, Bon-Bon; I’d like some more tea,” Octavia called after her before excusing herself from the table and following, leaving the two unicorns by themselves.
“I have no idea what I was thinking when I made up that nickname for you, it was far too cute,” Vinyl finally spoke up when the two earth ponies were out of ear shot. “But Octy’s nice, isn’t she? I thought she’d be all stuck up and snooty like the rest of the ponies around here but she’s more... mellow.”
“Like me?” Lyra asked, using her magic to stack her empty dishes and plates to one side of the table.
“Nah, she actually belongs here, you’re just a commoner trying to fit in... you’re like me!” she replied, a large grin on her face.
“Thanks for that, Scratch,” Lyra sighed, turning her head to watch Bon-Bon and Octavia from afar as they helped each other with their drinks. “So you like her, huh? I take it you let her join us because you’re going to ask her out?”
“Nah, like I said yesterday, I’m not interested in any of that at the moment, she’s just a new friend,” the DJ replied, watching the same direction. “Hmm... I wonder if she could help me make some contacts in the upper classes like Opal asked me to. I bet she knows a few ponies high up in her industry.”
“Probably, especially if she has a decent place in the Orchestra, sounds like she has a few connections,” Lyra replied, turning back from the two as they began to walk back, looking towards scratch with a scowl. “Just make sure you don’t lead her on, you’re good at doing that when you don’t realise it.”
“I wouldn’t dream of it,” Vinyl replied, a mock look of hurt on her face which quickly vanished as both Bon-Bon and Octavia rejoined them. “So, Octavia, plans for the rest of the day?” Vinyl quickly asked as they took their seats, taking the grey mare by surprise.
“Oh, well actually, no, I was just going to walk around the different stalls and take part in any activities that were going to take place,” she replied, sipping on her tea once more. “As I said, I performed last night so I can do pretty much anything I feel like... though I suppose I should make appearances at different venues, it would make for good publicity.”
“Publicity?” Lyra asked, moving to the side a little as a waiter removed her used plates and dishes and then doing the same for Vinyl. “I would have thought being in the Orchestra would be publicity enough.”
“Well I also perform with smaller groups. I lead an ensemble with a few other members of the Orchestra. We cater for different events such as the Gala. We even performed for Nightmare Night in Ponyville, but unfortunately I wasn’t able to attend, I wasn’t feeling well that day.”
“Or you’re a little filly afraid of the big bad monsters and didn’t want to see Lyra dressed up as a Mummy-Pony,” Vinyl snickered, earning a disapproving look from Lyra and an amused smile from Octavia.
“I worked hard on that costume,” Bon-Bon muttered, finishing off her last muffin, her coffee left cooling in its cup nearby.
“Looks like you’re hanging with me then, Octy,” Vinyl then suddenly announced, scooting around the table to drape an arm around the cellist’s shoulders. “I’ve got lots of time to kill before I need to start getting ready for my set tonight. Oh, maybe you can help me with that too, this’ll be so awesome!”
Octavia’s ears twitched as the prospect of spending a day alone with Vinyl dawned on her, especially now that she knew Vinyl seemed to be a lot to handle in big doses. She looked towards Lyra and Bon-Bon who just smiled back at her, so she sighed and accepted her fate. “A-alright then, but I-”
“Great!” Vinyl interrupted, startling Octavia into silence. “And don’t worry, we’ll stop by Lyra’s stall at some point and bug her until she gives us some of the candy that Bon-Bon will no doubt stash away for her.”
“Vinyl, I can give you some candy too, if you’d like,” Bon-Bon then offered, but Vinyl shook her head.
“Nah, Lyra’s always tastes so much better, and it’s more fun that way too.”
“Fantastic,” was all Lyra could say as she began to stand, voice laced with sarcasm. “Well I guess I’ll look forwards to your wonderful visit. Come on Bon-Bon, let’s go back to the room, I need to get ready.” The mint unicorn then turned towards Octavia, nodding towards her with a smile. “It was a pleasure to meet you Octavia; I’ll see you later, providing Vinyl hasn’t scared you off. I’ll look forward to showing you some of my music.”
“The pleasure was all mine,” the cellist replied, smiling back at Lyra and Bon-Bon, who now stood beside the mint unicorn after downing her coffee. “I’d love to hear your music, perhaps we could play together some time.” And with that, the group separated, a farewell wave between Vinyl and Lyra and an exchange of smiles between Octavia and Bon-Bon.
It was after she lost sight of her two new friends did Octavia turn back towards Vinyl, who seemed to be staring at her. “Is there a problem?” she asked, shifting a little under the disconcerting gaze; she couldn’t tell what the eyes were looking at behind the glasses.
“So... if we’re going to hang out today are you going to lose that bow tie or not?” she asked, revealing what it was she was so engrossed with.
“Are you going to lose those glasses?” Octavia replied, the quick retort catching Vinyl completely off guard. Octavia’s expressionless face was almost perfect in its attempt to hide it, but Vinyl caught the slight twitch of a hidden smile, causing the DJ to break into a grin.
After the concert the night before, the convention was teeming with socialites eager to hobnob with members of the orchestra. Groups of local nobles and press were roaming the corridors and halls for any member of the musical ponies to either rope into a discussion or an interview, or in cases involving the more forward and arrogant few, invitations to dinner.
This served as a problem for Octavia and Vinyl as they meandered through the hotel, the seemingly popular cellist being accosted at every turn. She was conscious of the fact that the majority of her group had packed up after the concert and headed home, hardly any of the members wishing to partake in any festivities that went beyond their contract. That meant Octavia attracted much more attention than normal, and it was growing tiresome.
“I’ve already given an interview, please, stop asking so many questions,” the well spoken mare asked, hoping that the orange coated pegasus would stop insisting on hounding her for a talk. When the journalist persisted, however, Vinyl got creative.
“Hey,” she called out from Octavia’s side, attracting the colt’s attention. “Can’t you see we’re trying to enjoy the convention here? We’ll be having dinner at the restaurant across the street at around 1pm. Leave us alone and we’ll give you an interview there, the both of us.”
“You mean it?” the colt asked, hovering on the spot with his camera around his neck and a big grin on his face. He was young, and Vinyl figured inexperienced. She had dealings with those types of ponies before so knew just how to handle them. Dangle a carrot in front of them and they’ll do anything to get at it.
“Of course, you don’t think I’d lie to you, would you?” the DJ answered, peering over her glasses at him with a look that seemed to dare him to say yes. That was usually all it took. No pony in their right mind in the news business would even consider answering that question in any other way than a no. And today was no different.
“No, of course not, Miss DJ Pon3,” the journalist was quick to answer, looking back and forth between Octavia and Vinyl with that grin still on his face. He then turned around and flew away, all the while expressing his excitement. “Oh boy, an interview with both Octavia AND DJ Pon3, this’ll get me in the paper for sure!”
Vinyl watched him leave, a triumphant smirk on her face but soon turned to face Octavia when she heard her speak. “DJ Pon3?” she asked, with an eyebrow raised.
“Yeah, that’s my stage name. Vinyl Scratch can be a bit long when you’re putting it on tickets and key chains.”
“I see, well thank you for that. It seems you bought us some time. I guess we should make the most of it before we go to dinner then,” Octavia finished before trotting forwards. Vinyl watched her for a moment, the cogs in her mind having stalled for a second before she snapped out of it and cantered after her.
“What do you mean ‘before we go to dinner’?” she asked once she caught up, looking briefly at the sets of strings on display at a stall that Octavia had stopped by. “You know we’re not going to meet that colt, right?” the DJ then asked, causing Octavia to focus all her attention on Vinyl.
“Of course we are, you said we were,” the musician replied, a somewhat confused expression adorning her face, mixed with suspicion. It was a look that Vinyl decided she didn’t like. “You can’t just tell somepony you’ll meet them somewhere and then not turn up, especially a member of the press. Surely you’ve learnt that with the time you’ve spent in the public eye, right?”
“I’ve always done it,” Vinyl replied, earning a shocked look. “You can’t seriously tell me that you’ve never lied to somepony to get them to leave you alone. Besides, I thought you wanted him to leave us alone, he was bugging us.”
“Yes, but not like that. That’s how you develop bad press.”
“Oh, I get bad press all the time, it’s no biggie.” The blatant disregard for her image shocked Octavia. Never before had she seen a celebrity not care about receiving bad press. It was the bane of all successful careers and any pony would do anything to avoid it.
“It is in fact a ‘biggie’, as you so eloquently put it, Vinyl,” the cellist eventually retorted, fixing Vinyl with a firm glare. “Normally I wouldn’t bother with what other ponies do with the media but since you’ve roped me into your little lie along with you then we will both be having that interview.”
“But why do I have to go?” Vinyl argued, shrinking somewhat at the look she was being given. It reminded her of the look Bon-Bon sometimes gave her and Lyra after an argument or after making a mess in her kitchen.
“Because I didn’t want to do the interview in the first place and because afterwards we can go see Lyra, it’ll break the day up nicely for us.” It was then that Octavia’s face transformed, a happy and warm smile replacing the stern eyes she was wearing beforehand. “What time is your concert this evening?”
“Er... gig starts at eight.” Vinyl replied, her mouth hanging open with an astonished expression, the sudden change in Octavia’s mood catching her off-guard.
“Excellent, that gives us enough time walk around the convention and then get ready for the evening... what does one wear to a ‘gig’?” Octavia didn’t wait for a response; instead she walked off towards the next stand, lost in her own thoughts.
“Good Celestia, what have I done?” Vinyl groaned, lowering her head and proceeding to follow her.
The weather scheduled for the day was drizzle. Canterlot had been without rain for a couple of weeks and, despite the organisers petitioning the weather patrol to keep the skies clear for the Music Convention, the schedule remained unchanged.
As such, both Vinyl and Octavia stood in the foyer of the hotel, looking out past the large double doors at the light rain falling upon the streets, each equipped with a travel satchel to hold their bits for the restaurant. “You know, we still don’t have to go, you’re the one making us,” Vinyl suggested, hoping that she didn’t have to go through with it. She didn’t mind the rain, but like most ponies, she’d avoid it if she could.
“Nonsense, it’s only a bit of water,” Octavia replied. She could see the restaurant; it literally was right across the street, a brief twenty second gallop if she was inclined to make the dash. She was a mare of dignified composure, however, and instead sought a more civilised option. “Wait here.”
Vinyl watched as the grey hued mare walked away towards the check in desk, striking up a conversation with the concierge. It became apparent what she was trying to accomplish when the mare behind the counter disappeared beneath it and remerged with a large black umbrella. Taking it in her mouth and nodding thanks, Octavia then made her way back towards Vinyl. “Would you mind,” the mare mumbled, indicating for Vinyl to take control over it.
Without much more prompting, the DJ’s horn lit up and the umbrella floated out of Octavia’s mouth, pointing upwards and ready to be opened as soon as they left the shelter of the hotel. “How do you earth ponies even use these things without magic?” Vinyl asked, looking up and down the device and then focusing on the handle when Octavia pointed at it; teeth marks covering the entire surface of the handle, just below the button that opened it. “Ew...”
“The world doesn’t revolve around magic, Vinyl,” Octavia laughed, motioning towards the doors and leading her in their direction.
“Yes, I know, but I would sooo get my own umbrella if I weren’t a unicorn.”
“I have my own, I just didn’t bring it with me, and besides this is your fault remember.” As they approached the door a stallion opened it for them and they stepped out into the cool air. The drumming of the rain on the buildings and pavements almost echoed through the city, a melody that reminded Vinyl of the static that escaped her speakers when she was slow to switch tracks.
With another flare of magic the umbrella opened up, creating a barrier for the two mares to walk in safety as they began to cross the street. Though the canopy was large they still had to huddle together to make sure they escaped the rain. But despite their attempts to remain dry their hooves grew soaked and by the time they reached the other side of the street the tips of their tails had become drenched with the splashes from the ground.
“Could have been much worse,” Octavia commented, stepping from under the umbrella and under the large overhang of the restaurant doorway, flicking her tail in the process to shed the excess water. Vinyl didn’t respond and simply grumbled to herself, looking down her legs to the soaked hooves and lifting her forelegs one after the other to inspect them.
The cellist noticed and laughed, bringing Vinyl out of her thoughts with a blush. “It’s only a bit of water, you’ll survive. Now come on, I’ll get you a hot chocolate. How does that sound?” She asked as she stood before the doors of the eatery, big smile on her face.
“Normally I’d tell you to not patronise me... but I like hot chocolate so I’ll let it slide this time,” the white unicorn mumbled, ignoring her hooves at the mention of delicious chocolaty goodness. She trotted towards the doors to the restaurant but paused before going in, looking towards Octavia. “With marshmallows?”
“Can’t have chocolate without marshmallows,” the earth pony chuckled, nodding her head. And with that Vinyl was happy once more, eagerly holding the door open for Octavia to enter and following shortly after.
Once inside it was easy to tell that it wasn’t as high class as the restaurant the DJ had dined in the night before. The dining area was full of cubicles with benches rather than the individual tables and chairs that were normal in most of the restaurants in Canterlot. It reminded Vinyl of the diners back in Ponyville, exchanging modern minimalistic ideas for a more rustic charm.
Ponies of all types were sat enjoying meals, though it seemed to have less of the nobility and more of the common working pony. But Vinyl was more concerned with the meals, her mouth salivating at the home cooked food on offer. “... I want everything,” she moaned, startling Octavia who was busy looking for their interviewer.
“You had two helpings of pancakes at breakfast, you can’t be THAT hungry,” Octavia replied, but with the way Vinyl was slowly walking away to browse a nearby menu she realised that didn’t seem to matter.
“I’m treating this convention like a holiday, I’ll pay for my indulgences when I get back to work... of course Opel will kill me, but she’ll just get me to do some extra circuits at the gym. But for now I’m having cake. Want some Octy?” The DJ asked, attracting a waiter with a wave of her hoof.
“No thank you, I’ll have a salad,” she answered, digging around in her satchel and extracting the bits needed to pay with enough to cover two hot drinks. “I’ll have a hot chocolate too, but whipped cream on top. That’s all the indulgence I’ll give in to.” And with that, the cellist left Vinyl to her own devices and moved towards the back cubical, where the pegasus colt from earlier was waiting.
When he saw that Octavia had arrived he quickly stood up, his wings fluttering with excitement behind him and the little doodle he’d been drawing in his notebook forgotten. “You came,” he greeted happily, motioning for the mare to sit opposite which she was quick to accept. “I wasn’t certain you’d be coming, I don’t get too many successful interviews...”
Once Octavia was comfortably seated he sat back down, remembering the doodle he’d been working on and discretely tucking it away under the rest of his notes. “I always make my appointments, Mr...?”
“Mr Snapshot,” Octavia repeated with a polite nod of her head. “Vinyl will be joining us shortly; she’s just getting our dinner.” And as if the mere mention of her name summoned her, a number of different plates and mugs floated on to the table, shortly followed by the unicorn herself who sat down with a grin.
“What in Equestria is that?” Octavia asked, staring at the mug of chocolate sat before the DJ. Her own drink was what she asked for, a tall mug with cream and marshmallows. Vinyl’s on the other hand had two wafer rolls, a dollop of vanilla ice-cream, slices of banana and a cherry on top of the whipped cream and marshmallows.
“It’s called The Deluxe, doesn’t it look great?” Vinyl beamed, extremely happy with her drink of choice. Octavia simply rolled her eyes, a slight smirk on her face, becoming increasingly aware of just what sort of pony Vinyl was.
“I still can’t believe you’re both here,” Snapshot almost shouted, his excitement managing to drag Vinyl’s attention from her chocolate marble cake, a fork floating in the air with a piece stuck on the end. “This is my first real interview, and I didn’t think I’d get more than a couple of statements from anypony, and now here you are. Can I get a picture first?”
“I think we should wait until afterwards,” Octavia quickly replied, seemingly knowing more about how to get the media to work for you than Vinyl. The last thing she suspected Vinyl would want would be her indulgencies getting out to the public at large. “Perhaps we could answer a few questions.”
Snapshot was quick to agree, the camera he had picked up with his wings being placed back down on to the table and instead placing a pen into his mouth. “Ok,” he mumbled with the pen held between his teeth. “I guess the first question I have is how long have you two been friends? You don’t seem like the most similar of ponies.”
“Friends?” Octavia repeated, having not considered the notion properly since she had met the DJ. She didn’t think it was that easy to make a friend, or that quick. Before she could go on, however, Vinyl swallowed the mouthful of cake she had and unceremoniously grabbed Octavia into a hug.
“We met last night actually, she has the room opposite mine and we bumped into each other in the elevator,” the DJ answered, ignoring the way Octavia was trying to pull herself out of the hug whilst Snapshot scribbled down her words. “But yeah, I guess I can see why you wouldn’t think we’d hit it off as friends, she does look a little uppity, doesn’t she? But Octy’s cool.”
“We’re just getting to know each other,” Octavia added, finally managing to wrest herself from Vinyl’s grip and making the table wear clatter as she banged into the table, her face growing hot from the blush it created. “Everypony deserves a chance, right? Otherwise you might miss out on opportunities.”
“I see.” Snapshot smiled, drawing a line under the sentences he’d copied down and writing a new question beneath it. “And what would you say your favourite colour is?”
“...our favourite colours?” the cellist again repeated the question, confused by its placement.
Vinyl, however, simply answered, but not before taking a few scoops of the ice cream and banana from her drink with a spoon. “Purple, which is one of the reasons I wear these shades. They give everything a lovely purple hue and look stylish to boot... you should write that down, it’ll boost sales.”
“Good idea,” the pegasus agreed, making Octavia raise her hoof to her head with a sigh.
“Excuse me, Snapshot,” she began in a monotone voice. “Perhaps you should try asking more relevant questions to our careers.”
“Just answer the question, Octy, the ponies want to know about us not our careers,” Vinyl snickered, thoroughly enjoying the direction the interview had taken, especially as it seemed to catch Octavia off-guard.
With a defeated grumble, the grey mare took a bite out of her salad and after swallowing spoke, “Blue... what newspaper did you say you were with again, Snapshot?”
“Oh, I’m not with a newspaper, I’m with Mare’s Weekly,” the colt said, too busy writing to notice the appalled look that had frozen on Octavia’s face. “That’s why I was so surprised you turned up, Octy, if I can call you that; you’ve never given us an interview before.”
“Yes... well, busy schedule and all... Octy...?” the cellist stuttered, her brain having frozen at the realisation of what she’d walked into. She turned to her right to see Vinyl with her muzzle dipped into her mug, her glasses raised up towards her horn so that she didn’t get any of the cream on the lenses. She wanted nothing more than to get up and leave, but after making such a big deal over it with Vinyl she couldn’t do so without being humiliated.
“Octavia, since the Gala last year your ensemble has had quite a bit of attention by the media. Would you consider it negative or positive publicity?” Snapshot then asked, drawing Octavia’s attention once more.
At least that’s a serious question, the cellist thought to herself before answering. “It didn’t give us any trouble, but Princess Celestia’s rebooking of us for next year’s Gala with a request for more... festive compositions certainly helped to stave off most of the criticisms of the nobles. I doubt I’ll ever play the ‘pony pokey’ again though.”
Octavia had practiced that response many times, having been asked the question just as many. But the next question caught her completely by surprise. “And how do you feel about DJ Pon3 being asked to take care of the entertainment at the Royal Wedding of Princess Mi Amore Cadenza and Captain Shining Armor?”
“You preformed at the Royal Wedding?” the cellist incredulously asked, completely ignoring the question given to her and almost occupying the same seat Vinyl was using in her effort to get an answer.
“Yup, and it was the most awesomest wedding party ever!” Vinyl exclaimed, grinning proudly at the mare beside her with a chocolate ring around her lips, oblivious to the twitch in Octavia’s eye. “There was cake, and balloons, and dancing, and lots and lots of music courtesy of yours truly. I’m so glad Pinkie Pie managed to get me the contract, she was in charge of all the party arrangements.”
“I didn’t even get an invite...” Octavia muttered disbelievingly, unaware that all the while Snapshot was taking notes.
“So I guess you don’t feel too good about that then,” he finished before moving on, chewing on the end of his pen as he thought of his next question. “Will you two be doing any collaboration attempts with your new found friendship?”
“That’s a brilliant idea,” Vinyl quickly answered, Octavia lowering her head to the table in defeat, narrowly missing her salad. “I haven’t heard Octy play but I bet it would be ten times better with some bass, or some techno! Oh there’s all sorts I could experiment with... I’ll just need some of her records.”
“I’ve changed my mind, I don’t like that nick name,” Octavia suddenly spoke up. From her place on the desk she could see how many times Snapshot had wrote down her name as ‘Octy’ in his notes, and wanting to save some of her dignity she had to speak up. “How about Tavia, that still has some level of class, no?”
Vinyl seemed to be deep in thought, which surprised the grey mare; she’d lost all hope that the DJ could even think that deep. “Nah, I prefer Octy, what do you think, Snapshot?”
“It has a nice ring to it, that’s for sure,” the pegasus replied, nodding his head in agreement with Vinyl. Octavia groaned, covering her head with her hooves.
“But I think that’s all we have time for, Snappy,” Vinyl then said, causing the mare beside her to peek out from her descent into mental solitude. “We’re just gonna finish up here and head on back to the convention. But this has been fun, we should do it again sometime, right Octy?” she asked with a wink and a brief nudge to the mare’s ribs, making her jump slightly.
“Yes, most fun. It’s such a shame we can’t continue, but schedules and all that.”
“Oh don’t worry, I got plenty of stuff to write an article with here and I don’t want to overstay my welcome,” the journalist happily stated, picking up his camera once more. “But do you think I can get that picture before I leave? It’ll be great to go along as a caption with the article.”
“Sure thing, squirt,” the DJ nodded, dropping her shades back across her eyes and using a napkin to clean away at her muzzle. Once satisfied she hoisted Octavia back into a seating position. With the two sat side by side again Octavia only had a moment to adjust herself for the photo, quickly straightening her bowtie and smiling awkwardly before the flash went off, Vinyl’s arm wrapped around her once more.
“Brilliant, that’ll do nicely,” Snapshot said, tucking the camera into his bag before gathering up his notes and doing the same. “Well it was lovely to talk to you ladies, maybe I can get another interview when we have more time.”
“We’d love to,” Vinyl agreed, standing up as the pegasus did. Octavia remained seated, picking at her salad in a feeble attempt to regain her appetite. As Snapshot began to walk away, Vinyl followed him, and when out of earshot of Octavia stopped him. “Maybe you could do me a personal favour and try not to use Octy as Octavia’s name when you write it up... wait, scratch that, you can use it once, just for kicks and giggles.”
“Sure thing, Miss Scratch,” Snapshot nodded before heading off once more. Once he was gone, Vinyl returned to the table, taking his seat opposite Octavia in favour of the one she was sat in beforehand. With a flicker of her horn, her plate of half eaten cake and now lukewarm, chocolaty mess of a drink zoomed to her side of the table and she resumed eating.
“That was fun,” she commented through a mouthful of cake, her glasses once again resting on her forehead.
“Remind me the next time I insist on doing an interview that you set up that it’s a bad idea,” Octavia grumbled, staring at her untouched hot chocolate, the marshmallows having melted into a sugary skin and the cream having sank beneath the surface.
“Oh it wasn’t that bad, but perhaps I over did it a little bit,” the DJ snickered, eliciting a glare from the mare opposite.
“What do you mean you over did it, are you saying you were being intentionally childish?”
“Just a little, I didn’t need to go so crazy with my answers, and maybe I could have toned down the eccentricity, but at least it was fun.”
“And the hot chocolate deluxe?”
“Oh no, that was all me, I wanted that and nothing could have stopped me ordering it,” Vinyl grinned, taking another gulp from her mug and letting out a satisfied sigh. She took note of the occasional ear twitch and the sound of grinding teeth coming from Octavia, but it did little to dampen her mood. “Hey, YOU wanted to do the interview.”
“But I didn’t know it was for ‘Mare’s Weekly’,” Octavia hissed, stabbing at a tomato with her fork and beginning to eat, now out of the need to keep her teeth occupied lest she grind them to dust. “It’s one of those gossip magazines that do little to boost one’s reputation if they’re featured in it.”
“Hey, I love Mare’s Weekly,” Vinyl defended, taking in another piece of her cake, effectively reducing it from a large whole piece to a few small mouthfuls. “It has some good articles every now and then, especially if we’re going to be in it. You never know, you might get some new fans, and at the very least you brought the magazine some more class, not to mention me. Put it this way, you came off much better than me in that interview, so you’ve got nothing to worry about.”
Octavia’s irritation began to wane as she listened, still choosing to focus on her salad than actually look at Vinyl. But after a minute or so she had to say something, and with a sigh she placed her fork on her plate, finished with her meal. “I guess you’re right, I have been told I’m too wound up before. I suppose it is a pretty funny situation I ended up in, forcing you into an interview that it turns out I’d have much rather avoided myself.”
“Exactly,” Vinyl said, giving Octavia a wink. “Irony, isn’t it grand?”
“Oh, do be quiet and just finish your cake, we need to get going,” the cellist retorted, a half smile on her muzzle. “I want to go visit Lyra and listen to some of her music.”
“If we must, but know I’m only letting you decide where we’re going because Lyra is even more fun to annoy than you are,” the unicorn said, quickly devouring the rest of her cake and then gulping down her hot chocolate, a few stray banana slices left soaking in the residue at the bottom of the mug.
“Though perhaps you’d like to use the facilities first, you have chocolate all over your snout,” the earth pony grinned, shaking her head at the sight.
“Good idea, Lyra will just tease me if she sees I’ve been eating chocolate and still try to get at her sweets.” With that, Vinyl stood up and began to make her way towards the bathroom, mumbling with just enough volume for Octavia to hear. “Stupid Bon-Bon and her big mouth; Lyra would never have found out about that diet...”
(Ok, just letting you all know that I'm performing a little experiment with this chapter. I had a comment saying that I over compensate on the number of commas I use in my chapters and seeing as though I end up adding most of them in when I'm proof reading I only gave this one a very brief scan over certain key areas. Let me know if it's an improvement or if the quality has dropped. Until the end though, enjoy the chapter; I had a lot of fun writing it.)
Several ponies had gathered around the table in the classical area of the convention hall and all of them were listening to the pleasant melody that was being produced. It wasn’t too difficult for them to listen to the music over the rest of the tunes and sounds that were trying to compete with it for their attention; it was noticeably of a higher quality and most of the nearby musicians had actually stopped playing to listen as well once they’d noticed their own audiences had dwindled.
Octavia was at the front of the throng, a quiet look of contemplation on her face as she listened to the music. She’d listened to almost every kind of instrument being played by an uncountable number of ponies, but never had she listened to the lyre being played as well as Lyra was playing it. She admired the look of pensive concentration etched into Lyra’s visage as the unicorn’s magic plucked the strings with careful precision and practiced rhythm, the whole instrument aglow with a subtle green which rippled with each vibration of the strings.
The cellist had heard the phrase that music was a window into a pony’s soul many times before but she’d never really put much stock into until now. Lyra seemed to be pouring her entire heart into her playing and it wasn’t even for the sake of a performance; she was doing it simply because Octavia asked to hear her play.
It was several enchanting minutes before Octavia could tell the melody was due to end; and sure enough with a few more final notes Lyra’s horn stopped glowing and she opened her eyes. She then proceeded to jump as she noticed the number of ponies that had gathered around her, an embarrassed blush heating her face as they politely clopped their hooves on the floor.
She politely bowed her head at the applause as one by one the ponies came forward, eager to purchase recordings of the lyrist’s music to show off to their friends at whatever dinner party or function they’d host; or because they genuinely liked it. It wasn’t long before Lyra had sold just over a dozen records and her lockbox was almost full to busting. “Wow, I didn’t expect that much of a reaction.”
“You mean to tell me you haven’t been playing your music whilst you’ve been standing here?” Octavia asked, a huge smile on her face at how happy Lyra seemed to be.
“No,” she replied, levitating some bits as a young mare bought another record. “I didn’t think it would have done much good considering how loud it is in here in the first place, I guess I figured it would have just blended into the noise.”
It was at this point that Vinyl decided to make herself noticed, appearing from underneath the table and standing on the other side of it with Lyra, chewing on something that looked decidedly pink and sticky between her teeth. “You need shpeakersh,” she spoke up, licking her lips as she did so and then added, “I love Bonnie’sh taffy...”
“I am not setting up speakers, Scratch, the music wouldn’t sound right when it came out,” Lyra responded, an irritated expression quickly taking over her features. “And quit stealing my treats, Bon offered to give you some of your own and you declined.”
“In favour of yours, yeah I know, I was there,” the DJ responded after swallowing, then turned towards Octavia and floated a pink and blue striped paper bag towards her. “Want some, Octy?” she asked, giving it a shake in front of the grey mare who politely declined.
“I’m still full from the lunch we had, Vinyl, but thank you for the offer,” she said in reply, a sweet smile on her lips which hid the underlying tone of mischievousness behind it. Of course Vinyl knew why she’d said it.
“You mean you had lunch and now you’re eating my sweets?” Lyra blurted out, a sudden flash of green wrapping around the bag and yanking it out of Vinyl’s grip before she could strengthen her own magic around it.
“Traitor,” the DJ hissed at Octavia, who ignored it and concentrated on Lyra.
“You really should play more often, Lyra, you’d get so much more attention,” the cellist continued, browsing over the records on display. They were all the same, with covers depicting the green unicorn with her lyre on a black background. Each one contained a compilation of classic songs, many of which Octavia had performed herself in her ensemble and with the orchestra. There were a few original compositions included however, and it was those that Octavia was more interested in. “I’d like to buy one, how much?” she asked, turning her head to get her purse.
“You can have one; you don’t have to pay,” Lyra bushed, lifting a record and trying to hand it over to her.
“No, I insist,” Octavia mumbled, dropping a bag of bits on to the table and attempting to take the record only for Lyra to hold it back. “If you don’t take my bits I’m not taking a record, despite how much I want to listen to it,” the earth pony smiled with an eyebrow raised, leaving it to Lyra to make her decision.
The unicorn pondered for a moment, looking between the record and the pony before her. It was a great opportunity; Octavia would definitely be a good pony to know if she wanted to become more successful. But she also didn’t want to take bits from a new friend. Deciding to compromise, she handed the record over and her horn lit up, taking a few bits from Octavia’s bag. “Alright, but you get a discount, fifty percent off,” she said, and then continued as Octavia opened her mouth to protest. “Management reserves the right to alter prices without prior notice.”
“Can I have one then?” Vinyl piped up.
“Sure, fifty bits.”
“But you said-”
“Management reserves the right to alter prices without prior notice. There’s been an increase in demand, I’m sure you understand.” Lyra finished, causing Octavia to break into a light laugh whilst Vinyl glowered.
“Fine, I don’t want to listen to your stupid music anyway, it always was a little slow for my tastes,” the DJ retorted, scrambling back under the table to rejoin Octavia.
“Do you really want one?” Lyra asked, picking up another record and placing it before Vinyl on the table.
“Well Opel did say I need to diversify, I was thinking of doing some experiments,” she replied and received an uncertain look from the unicorn in front of her. “What? I can do experiments, there is a skill to my work, you know.”
“Oh, I know... I just don’t think my music would be able to help you with that. I can’t see you pumping out Beethooven and getting everypony raving to it, but whatever, take it but you aren’t paying for it,” the mint unicorn finished, watching as Vinyl’s magical aura enveloped the recording and lifted it beside her.
“I wasn’t intending to,” she grinned, before taking Octavia’s too and holding them both together. “Unicorns are good for something, might as well make it easy on you,” she explained when Octavia looked to her; causing the grey mare to miss the roll of eyes Lyra gave towards the DJ.
“I take it you had a good morning together then?” She asked, trying to move the conversation along and at the same time fish any details about Vinyl’s intentions.
“You could say that... though Vinyl decided to get us an interview with ‘Mare’s Weekly’... it could have gone better but I suppose it wasn’t a complete disaster, I just hope that it doesn’t have any negative repercussions for me.” Octavia replied with a slightly down trodden look, to which Vinyl responded by grinning all the wider and giving a rough pat to the back.
“I wouldn’t worry about it, Octavia, I don’t think your fans would read that sort of a magazine, and you may even get new ones off the back of it,” Lyra replied, giving Vinyl a glare and shake of her head.
“What? It wasn’t completely my fault,” she defended, stomping a hoof on the floor. “He wouldn’t leave us alone, and it was Octy that insisted we go see him when I told him we’d meet him for lunch. I was just trying to get rid of him. And besides, Lyra’s right, you could end up with a whole new group of fans, especially since you had your picture taken with me. Bonnie’s certainly going to love you all the more, it’s her favourite magazine.”
“I hate to admit it, but Scratch has a point,” Lyra nodded. “I’ve had more sales from ponies that I wouldn’t have pegged liking my sort of music than I thought I would, it wouldn’t hurt to branch out a little.”
“I guess you’re both right, I’m just fussing over nothing.” The cellist smiled, looking back and forth between the two unicorns. “I suppose it wouldn’t hurt to try new things, like this gig for example. It should be entertaining,” she finished, to which Lyra gave an uncertain smile in return.
“Well maybe you don’t need to branch out that much,” she began, but Vinyl quickly spoke up.
“Nonsense, it’ll be a blast!” the DJ exclaimed, causing a few passersby to look towards the group, but it did little to quieten Vinyl down. Lyra could only watch as a couple of ponies who were moving towards her table not to subtly turned around and went to a different one. “There’ll be lots of music, and dancing and fun to be had by all. You’ll love it, Octy.”
“I certainly hope so, I’m interested in seeing how well you perform, Vinyl.”
“If you’re coming just stick with me and Bon-Bon,” Lyra added, beginning to pack up here things when she noticed the time on the large clock set into the wall on the other end of the hall. “We’ll make sure we look after you and that you don’t get... overwhelmed.”
“Is it really that bad?” Octavia asked, now beginning to feel a little trepidation at the whole idea.
“Not if you’ve been to one before but I don’t think you’ve seen much of the night life other than the late concerts and dinner parties you attend, right?” Octavia nodded in reply, and seeing that she beginning to have doubts Vinyl stepped up.
“You’ll be fine, Octy, you’ll have DJ Pon3 at your back and when you’ve got me you’ve got nothing to worry about.”
“Except you’ll be up on stage with your turntables and focusing on performing,” Lyra added, quickly diminishing the value of Vinyl’s statement. “Tell you what; I’m heading back up to my room to wake up Bon-Bon, after that we’ll be getting ready for the night, doing our manes and stuff. Why don’t you come up with ME, Octavia and we’ll make sure you know what you’re expecting.”
“Oh I couldn’t do that, Vinyl said she wanted to show me how she sets everything up,” Octavia replied, looking towards Vinyl for affirmation but the DJ seemed to be thinking about it. “Right?”
“It’s actually not a bad idea,” Vinyl suggested. “You’ll probably get bored with me if we go, there’s a lot of testing and wiring to be done and it’s probably going to be more enjoyable for you if you turn up and the music’s already started. I’ll make sure the bar colt has some drinks ready for you when you come in, just tell him who you are and he’ll set them up on my tab.”
“But we don’t normally serve drinks at concerts in Canterlot...” Octavia replied, causing Vinyl to grin and peer at her over her glasses.
“Octy, this is going to be a real eye opener for you.”
The hotel’s staff were hard at work in the main dining hall when Vinyl entered. All the tables and chairs were being packed away and taken to storage rooms, leaving an enormous space for Vinyl to throw an amazing party. She was impressed at the seriousness the convention’s organisers were treating the whole affair with, she half expected a school disco type deal but it seemed like she’d be getting the full on rave she was hoping for.
At the other end of the hall a large stage had already been set up, and piled high on either side of it were sets of surround sound amplifiers and speakers. Individual speakers were also lined up at various places around the room, all wired up to the turntable deck at the centre of the stage. Up high in the rafters of the ceiling were pegasi wiring up different coloured lights and along the floor and back of the stage technicians were setting up smoke machines. As Vinyl approached the stage she also noted that there were more ponies wiring up lasers and she grinned at the scale of the whole thing.
“It’s about time you got here, we need you for your sound checks,” a voice suddenly called out, attracting Vinyl’s attention away from her tools of the trade. It was then she realised just why everything seemed to be going so well.
“I wasn’t expecting to see you here, Opel, figured you’d just leave me to it,” the DJ replied, changing her direction and joining her agent in the middle of the room, who was busy delegating different tasks to the ponies around her.
“You didn’t think I’d leave you to set all this up yourself did you?” the tan mare asked, a clipboard floating by her side as it ticked off various jobs as they were completed. She was wearing her typical red business suit, the one she wore when she’d first signed Vinyl up.
“Well I have been doing this for a while now, I think I know how to organise these things,” Vinyl retorted, her gaze wandering back towards the equipment at her disposal. “... that said, I appreciate the expense, this must have cost the convention quite a bit. And I saw all the posters lining the walls on the way here; you’ve really gone all out on the advertisement.”
Opel Jubilee simply laughed at that, a melodic chuckle which lost its charm in the fact it didn’t carry through to her eyes. “Oh, Vinyl, it’s my job to publicise. Which reminds me, how have you been getting on with hobnobbing with the rest of Canterlot, you haven’t forgotten why I had you attend, have you?”
“It’s gone as well as you’d imagine,” the DJ nonchalantly replied, wandering towards a speaker by the wall to inspect it, forcing Opel to follow her. “Nopony wants to associate themselves with the ‘lower class’, despite how successful I am. Apart from Sapphire and other pop ponies they just don’t want to mix.”
“That’s because whenever you remix their songs and albums they get an increase in sales,” Opel explained, ticking off another item on her checklist as the pegasi up above finished with the lights. “Your success hinges on their success and vice-versa. If one of their songs is a flop you can remix it and then there’s interest in it again. I’m telling you, Vinyl, if you can tap into the rest of the musical genres you’ll be the biggest star in the entire music industry.”
Vinyl’s horn was glowing; the speaker in front of her shaking back and forth as her magic enveloped it and extended down the wires. After a moment or two the wires ripped themselves out the back of it and with a flash of blue they rewired themselves into the back of the speaker. “You should have let me do the wiring, Opel; none of this is going to give me what I want.”
“You’re welcome to rewire the entire room if it makes you happy, Vinyl, but are you listening to me?” her agent asked with an annoyed tone and a frown.
“Tap into music genres, biggest star in the industry, makes lots of money for everypony around me, blah blah blah, yeah I heard you,” she replied, her attention split between listening and tending to her electronics. “I’m doing my best with it, Opel. I’m going to try and see what I can do with some of Lyra’s music and see where that gets me; I can build on it from there.”
“I thought I told you to try and distance yourself from her, Vinyl, she isn’t good for your image,” Opel chastised, causing Vinyl to lose focus for a moment. As a result a surge of electricity ran through the wires she was manipulating and blew out the back of one of subwoofers on the stage with a screech, smoke billowing out from the top of it. “Can we replace that one please? Thank you,” Opel called out to the startled stallion that was walking by it when it blew, his ears still ringing.
“Yes, I know you did,” Vinyl spoke with a sigh, turning to face her agent. “But I’m not cutting her out of my life, Opel, regardless what you say. She’s my oldest friend and means far too much to me to toss her aside, despite the lengths you go through to keep me away from Ponyville.”
“I don’t keep you from Ponyville, there’s just nothing big there for you. Who’s going to flock to a small town to see someone perform? There’s far more opportunities in the big cities,” Opel defended, watching as Vinyl moved on from the speakers towards the stage, ascended the stairs at the side to take her place behind the turntables. “Have you at least been seen talking to ponies?”
Vinyl ignored her for a moment, studying her equipment and checking that it was all in working order. She levitated a set of headphones to her ear and placed one of them against her left ear, then started fiddling with the switches with her hooves. “Vinyl?”
With a sigh the DJ put the headphones back down and glared back down at the mare on the dance floor. “Yes, I’ve had lots of pictures taken, spoke with dozens of uptight snobs and even had an interview with a member of the Canterlot Symphony Orchestra.”
“The CSO? Who was it?” Opel asked, suddenly very intrigued.
“Octavia,” Vinyl replied, disappearing from sight as she went underneath her deck, checking the wires some more and then crawling forwards to have a look at the lasers. “She’s the principal cellist, whatever that means. She told me but I can’t remember exactly.”
Within the space of a few seconds Vinyl suddenly found herself being dragged out from under her table by her tail and then spun over so she was on her back, looking up towards the very happy face of Opal. “Vinyl, I think I could kiss you.”
“Please don’t, you’re not my type.”
“Do you have any idea how much of an impact you could make if you could get in good with Octavia?” Opal continued, ignoring Vinyl’s comment. “She could be the key you need to open up more doors into more business. Think about how much easier it would be to make an impression when your circle of friends included one of the elites of Canterlot?”
“Yeeeah... Octy isn’t so much like those other stuck up ponies you keep trying to get me to play nice with, she’s pretty cool,” Vinyl mumbled, trying her best to crawl back under her decks, but Opel wouldn’t let her leave.
“Octy? Please do not tell me that’s what you call her.”
“She’s alright with it. Like I told you, she’s cool; she’s even coming to the gig tonight.”
“She’s coming here? Excellent, it’s the perfect chance for some publicity,” Opal said as she finally walked away from Vinyl, who was quick to retreat under her electronics for safety. “She’ll have to be a VIP, of course, that way she can stay after the gig is over and continue to mingle. Who else is she coming with; we need to get them VIP passes too?”
“Lyra and Bon-Bon,” Vinyl shouted from her hiding place, smiling as she imagined the look of irritation on Opal’s face.
“But... fine, if needs must I suppose. But can they at least try not to make you look bad?” Opal Jubilee called back as she began to walk off the stage to make the preparations.
“They never make me look bad, it’s all in your head,” Vinyl muttered to herself once she was alone, yanking out the wires from her turntables and beginning to rearrange them one by one.
The halls of the hotel were awash with activity. Ponies on every floor were up and about and moving in their groups to whatever destination they were headed, be it to dinner, a bar or to the party taking place on the ground floor. It had been heavily advertised, almost as much as the Orchestra’s performance the night before, so nopony was too surprised or inconvenienced by the loud music that was being played.
One such group consisted of Lyra, Bon-Bon and Octavia, the first two of which were dressed for the occasion. Bon-Bon had done her hair in more curls than she normally had, curling at various points as it ran down her neck rather than just at the ends. Her mane was of a similar style to match, though to a lesser degree so as to not curl back on itself.
Lyra had a more rough style, her mane shaggier than usual and sticking up at random locations. She’d tried to adopt the look she wore when she was at college but her hair was a shorter during that time and she couldn’t get it to stick right. Both of them wore very little, nothing but a set of matching ear rings and a bit of eyeliner and lipstick, not wanting to attract too much attention.
Octavia, on the other hand, had insisted that she was fine the way she was. She’d kept her mane impeccably combed and her bowtie was still perfectly placed. Lyra had tried to explain that it wasn’t necessarily a style you would see at the event they were attending, but the cellist was adamant over it.
“It was nice of Vinyl to send us VIP passes,” Bon-Bon spoke up as they entered an elevator with a few other ponies. It seemed they were all going to the same place as they too were dressed to dance and party. “We’ll be able to get into the side rooms where the celebrities go to relax and rest,” she continued, looking down at her neck at the pass tied around her neck.
“That doesn’t mean you can fill up your autograph book, Bon, you’re Vinyl’s guest and if you make a show of yourself then it reflects on her,” Lyra responded and then yelped when she received a swift kick to her foreleg as a result.
“I will NOT show her up, and I’ll thank you for keeping my autograph book to yourself,” she chastised, the other ponies in the elevator looking anywhere they could except at the three ponies.
“Geeze, Bon, I’m sorry, no need to kick me,” Lyra apologised, keeping her leg off the floor and close to her chest. “I’m just saying you get pretty excited when it comes to famous ponies... I’m actually surprised you haven’t got Scratch’s autograph.” There was a pause, and Lyra’s eyes narrowed. “You do have it, don’t you?”
“Well she offered, it’s not like I asked,” Bon-Bon retorted, a blush rising to her cheeks. Lyra just rolled her eyes, gingerly putting her leg back down when she felt the pain stop throbbing. “And I promise not to go over the top tonight as long as you make sure I don’t have too many drinks.”
“Sounds like a deal.” Lyra nodded with a smile, then jerking her head towards Octavia. “Have to keep our wits about us if we’re looking after this one, right?” She finished, eliciting a laugh from the cream mare.
“I’m more than capable of looking after myself,” the cellist replied, a frown beginning to creep into her features. All afternoon they’d been poking fun at her, good natured fun, but it was growing quite tedious. “Just because I haven’t been to one of these before doesn’t mean I’m going to get lost and end up going home with some strange ponies.”
“We’re only teasing you; besides, Vinyl’s probably asked all the security ponies to keep an eye on you too. The chances of you going anywhere with anyone that you didn’t come in with are very unlikely,” the unicorn grinned, knowing full well that that would annoy Octavia to no end.
“Now you’re just being silly.”
“Yes, she is,” Bon-Bon agreed, giving Lyra a warning look that quickly wiped the grin from the lyrist’s face. “You’ll be fine, Octavia, it’s just going to be a bit of a culture shock to you. It’ll be loud. The music won’t be what you’re used to. And knowing Vinyl it’ll probably be flashy too; she likes to make a big scene.”
Octavia was about to respond but the ding of the elevator doors interrupted her, and the sound of a deep bass began to thump against their eardrums when they opened. The ponies in the elevator with them quickly departed, off to find the source of the noise and chatting excitedly to each other. The three mares soon did the same, following the signs and music towards the dining hall, each step increasing the volume of the music and the intensity of the beats; it felt like the floor was shaking. “...she got more speakers,” Lyra said with a slight smile, more to herself than anyone else.
Before long they came upon a line of ponies, all queuing up to gain entry into the dining hall, which had two large stallions checking the convention pass for each pony entering. Octavia could see the flashing lights and the briefly illuminated ponies dancing through the windows on the door, and her heart began to beat faster with nerves. Before she realised it she was being herded forwards by both Lyra and Bon-Bon towards the security guards, who after checking their VIP passes permitted them inside, much to the annoyance of the ponies at the back of the queue.
The noise was deafening. Loud and rash music was being pounded into the room by the speakers covering the walls. All of the lights were off except for the few bar lights that illuminated the drink racks at the cocktail bar and the multicoloured lights on the ceiling, which circled around and around over the dance floor. There were dozens of ponies in the room, and even more in the adjacent ones, all dancing and drinking and shouting over the music to be heard.
It took the cellist a moment or two to realise that Bon-Bon was shouting at her to follow her towards the bar with Lyra, only noticing once the other mare had gotten within an inch of her folded down ears. Nodding in compliance she followed along, making sure she didn’t lose sight of them in the chaos that surrounded her. She almost felt claustrophobic. There wasn’t much room to move freely unless they decided to go to the very edges of the room, and even then she’d occasionally have to share the space with the ponies that moved there to rest.
“Are you alright?” Came the voice of Bon-Bon once again shouting into her ear as they arrived at the bar. The grey mare turned towards her and noticed Lyra speaking with the bar colt, who quickly began mixing up three drinks. Bon-Bon wore a reassuring smile and Octavia took solace in the fact she was at least there with friends and not by herself.
“I’ll be fine,” Octavia shouted back, and then repeated it when she couldn’t even hear her own voice. “I just need to get used to it. Where’s Vinyl?” she asked, looking towards the stage she’d seen when she came in and noticing that there was nopony on it, the turntables and mixing deck left empty of its owner.
“She’s not on yet,” came Lyra’s reply once she joined the two, three cocktails held in her magical grip. “She likes to make sure everyone’s dancing before she comes on. Trust me; you’ll know when she begins her set.”
“What’s that?” Octavia then shouted as her drink was hovered in front of her, Lyra keeping it aloft for her along with Bon-Bon’s who was already sipping at hers.
“It’s a Manehatten, you’ll like it,” Lyra shouted before taking a few sips from her own glass. Octavia took a moment to look at the drink, the amber liquid within the glass looking brown in the poor light. But she eventually brought her lips to the glass and took a sip. She’d had manehattens before, but she usually refrained from indulging. But once she remembered the taste of whisky on her tongue and the blend of flavours that made up the cocktail that followed, she soon found she was enjoying it.
The three mares then made their way towards an opening at the end of the bar, Lyra carrying their drinks before she set them down on the edge of the wooden top. “So who feels like dancing?” Lyra suddenly asked with a huge grin on her face as she looked back and forth at the two mares she was with.
Octavia shook her head, an almost embarrassed flush taking its place on her face. “Oh no, I don’t dance very well, I’ll just watch,” she quickly replied, making both Lyra and Bon-Bon laugh.
“Well we’re not leaving you so we’ll just have to dance here.” Bon-Bon smiled before beginning to tap her front hooves up and down on the wooden floor beneath her. Every now and then she’d sway her head from side to side and swing her hips, her mane and tail flowing around her as she did so.
Lyra was soon to follow, her head going up and down and making her mane bounce around with that same grin on her face from earlier. She moved in time with the beats and rhythm of the music along with Bon-Bon, the two dancing well together as if they’d done so countless times before, and Octavia reasoned they probably have done.
The cellist could only smile as she watched, and she deigned to tap her right hoof upon the floor so she was at least taking part. She had to admit to herself, it wasn’t so overwhelming once she grew accustomed to the atmosphere. Everypony surrounding her seemed to be enjoying themselves, mares and stallions all dancing and jumping around with one another. And although she didn’t recognise any of the music blaring out of the speakers she was beginning to make out the tunes, her sensitive ears picking up on the notes the drum and bass could be producing.
It was after a few more tracks had come and gone and Lyra replaced their first round of drinks did Octavia notice any sort of change in the room. A trickle of smoke began to filter through the air, billowing around the ponies as they all danced. It was soon settling around the floor and concealing their hooves from view and Octavia began to think that there was some kind of problem. Before her mind could jump to the conclusion of a fire, however, Bon-Bon pointed her attention to the stage where the smoke was at its thickest.
There the grey earth pony could make out the machines that were producing the smoke and soon the lights over head began to spread out further away from the stage. A few moments passed and Octavia jumped as a series of loud bangs from the speakers brought the lights back down, each and every one of them focusing on the stage and the turntables, which now had the silhouetted form of a pony hidden behind the smoke.
“She’s such a show off,” Lyra said, leaning against Octavia’s ear just as a multitude of blue and purple lasers shot forth from the stage and danced from left to right, getting quicker and quicker until the name ‘DJ Pon3’ hung in the air, causing the ponies in the room to roar out with a cheer as a fresh track began to play. The lights ahead went crazy once more, this time accompanied by the lasers firing off in different directions and the dancing seemed to take off with a whole new vigour.
The smoke machines began to produce less of their emissions and soon Octavia could see Vinyl, stood behind the decks on her hind legs, one foreleg pressing a set of head phones against her right ear and the other foreleg moving back and forth over her table. Her horn was lit up, carrying six records split with three on either side of her, each one spinning rapidly as if they were playing on the tables too. Her glasses reflected the lights that shone towards her, the purple lenses glowing as if they were lights themselves and she wore a large grin, obviously enjoying herself so far.
Lyra and Bon-Bon were still dancing, now standing side by side as they began to move back and forth, their hoof steps matching perfectly. Octavia looked around and saw that a number of ponies were doing the same thing and she came to the conclusion that this was a dance that quite a few ponies knew, possibly the one related to the track that was currently playing.
It was then that Vinyl picked up her microphone, her voice cutting over the track and drawing the attention of everyone in attendance. “Octy, get your flank on that dance floor, it’s time you loosened up a little!” she yelled, the records surrounding her beginning to spin in an arching circle overhead, one of them descending down and replacing one that was on the table seamlessly and a new track began to play, this one with a more methodical rhythm.
The ponies in on the dance floor were looking around for whoever it was Vinyl was addressing, and Octavia began to feel hot at the thought of being the centre of attention. She considered it for a moment or two, and after taking another gulp of her cocktail, effectively draining it in the process, attempted to dance along to the new music, trying to conceal herself. She was very conscious of her movements, and worried that somepony would be watching her but once she started Lyra and Bon-Bon quickly set upon her. They each took a place by either side of her and slowly showed her the steps, one hoof at a time.
After a few stumbled steps the cellist had learnt a very simple routine, and after making sure she wasn’t going to trip up she looked back up from her hooves. Both Lyra and Bon-Bon smiled at her, keeping their dancing to an easy level so as to not make Octavia nervous and the three joined the rest of the ponies in the centre of the room.
“Now that’s what I’m talking about!” Vinyl’s voice shouted out once more, Octavia looking up and meeting her gaze. “Time to show you what you’ve been missing out on.” And with that the track changed once more, suddenly becoming much louder and quicker, the speakers pumping at an incredible rate and sending vibrations through Octavia’s hooves.
She looked towards Bon-Bon for guidance, seeing that Lyra had just devolved into frantic movements, and to her horror saw that Bon-Bon had done the same. The two ponies weren’t moving in any particular way, they were just dancing, wild and carefree movements. Lyra’s was definitely the more impulsive, her legs stomping back and forth in a flurry of movements whilst Bon-Bon seemed to be more reserved, sticking to swaying from side to side, her tail swishing in the opposite direction to her flank.
And after looking around Octavia could see that everypony else was doing much of the same thing. It was that that prompted her to keep dancing, resisting the urge to get off the dance floor and retreat back to the bar. She didn’t want to try anything complicated and set up her own rhythm. One step forward. One step back. Swing of her head. One step forward. Swing of her flank. One step back. And then repeat.
She didn’t think it was a particularly good dance, but she tried her best, being sure to keep it fast paced to keep up with the music. Soon her body began to move of its own accord, not realising that her dance was just evolving as the time went on.
It was a good half hour before she grew tired enough that she had to rest, her legs burning with the effort of dancing for so long and a light sheen of sweat coating her fur. The room was incredibly warm, the heat from so many ponies in one place quickly adding up.
Tapping Bon-Bon lightly on the shoulder and then Lyra she motioned her head towards the bar and they both nodded, following the cellist out of the mass of ponies. She ordered three more manehattens, that Bon-Bon eyed cautiously when it was held out to her but she accepted it anyway, taking several sips from the drink.
“So, having fun?” Lyra shouted, her drink already half drained as she still tapped her hoof on the floor.
“It’s better than I expected,” Octavia replied, unable to keep a large smile from her face. “But I don’t think I could do it often, it’s far too tiring.”
Bon-Bon nodded her head, licking at the empty glass she now had in front of her, much to Octavia’s alarm. “Lyra’s always been the party pony out of the two of us, she and Vinyl used to go out clubbing all the time when we first met, I could never keep up with them. But that’s a good thing, it means you and I can just chill out at home whilst these two go have fun!” she exclaimed happily, attempting to order another drink whilst Lyra tried to stop her.
“Chill out at home?” Octavia asked, confused by the statement. “But you live in Ponyville, our homes aren’t anywhere near each other.”
“I know that,” Bon-Bon replied, nursing a new cocktail, a pink one that looked much like a cosmopolitan to Octavia, whilst Lyra nursed a freshly kicked leg behind her. “But you’ll come and visit us won’t you? It’d be a shame to lose touch after this.”
“Oh, right,” the cellist replied, but too quiet for the other mare to hear. She hadn’t considered what would happen once the convention was over. She’d go back to her apartment in the middle of the city and probably wouldn’t have gotten a chance to meet new ponies until the next social function she attended, which would more than likely be full of the upper class again. “I’d love to come visit you both,” she quickly spoke up, deciding that she much preferred the company she’d made in the past two days than she had in the past year of her life.
She had friends, some she cared for deeply, but they were in short supply and mostly consisting of the ones in her ensemble. She figured it would be nice to have friends from a different background, despite their difference in tastes, it was almost like a change of scenery for her and she’d love to experience life outside of the city.
“Oh good,” Bon-Bon beamed after giving Lyra an apologetic kiss on the nose when it looked like she actually had hurt her with the kick she’d given her. “Vinyl would be pleased, she likes you, you know?”
“What? I know she does, and I like all of you too.” Octavia retorted with a perplexed look.
“She hasn’t took her eyes off you... or at least I think she hasn’t, can’t really tell with those glasses of hers.” Bon-Bon then pointed up towards the DJ, and sure enough there she was, seemingly facing the three as she worked. When Octavia looked up in the direction Bon-Bon was pointing Vinyl gave them a wave, showing that she was in fact looking at her, or at least at them.
It was then that Octavia remembered what Bon-Bon had shouted when they had all first met in the elevator the night before, and her face flushed red. Lyra noticed this and the uncomfortable rigidness that the cellist had adopted and gently moved Bon-Bon aside. “Don’t worry about it, her mind’s getting ahead of itself again, she doesn’t drink that much.”
“We’re just friends,” Octavia then spoke up, a worried look on her face as she emptied her drink, ordering another as soon as it was empty.
“I know. Bon-Bon’s just a romantic is all. She likes to think herself as a bit of a matchmaker sometimes,” the unicorn smiled, looking back towards her marefriend who was absentmindedly dancing by herself. “You should see her at home, she’s always gossiping about the ponies in the town and who would make good couples. There are these two farmers, Applejack and Carrot Top; she says they’d make a good couple, if only because they have good work ethics... I haven’t even seen them talking to each other so I don’t know where she gets these ideas from.”
“Oh I love this song!” Bon-Bon suddenly interrupted when a new record began to play, quickly wrapping her forelegs around Lyra’s neck and pulling her towards the dance floor. “C’mon, let’s dance.” The unicorn tried to resist but seeing it as useless she gave up and followed along, shortly followed by Octavia.
The cellist didn’t want to be left alone and despite still feeling tired began to dance once more, her muscles aching in protest. “I’m going to be sore in the morning,” she muttered to herself as she looked up at Vinyl once more, seeing that she was still looking at her.
The disco continued for several hours, with ponies leaving to spend the rest of the night in the streets of Canterlot and other ponies entering the dining hall as the party continued. But once it was over the main lights were switched on and the ponies were politely ushered out of the doors. All except those with VIP tickets.
There weren’t many of them, but there were enough to fill one of the small side rooms, tables and chairs set up with a private bar with an attendant in the corner. There was maybe a dozen ponies in there when Octavia, Lyra and Bon-Bon entered, some of which they recognised and some that they didn’t. Sapphire Shores was one, who gave them a polite wave. Lyra also recognised Photo Finish without being told who she was, but she’d have had to ask Bon-Bon who the others were.
A few of them seemed to know Octavia as they briefly paused their conversations to nod towards her, before resuming; though Octavia didn’t make any attempts at joining them. It was only a few minutes after they entered did Vinyl join them, the DJ looking just as exhausted and worn out as the rest of them, even though she wasn’t doing any dancing. “Well, what did you all think?” she grinned, wiping the sweat from her brow with a foreleg.
“As good as ever, Scratch... though were the lasers really necessary? It was only supposed to be a small set up,” Lyra smirked, knowing that if Vinyl had had her way there would have been pyrotechnics involved too.
“Well you know me, Lyra, why do anything small when someone else is paying for it?” she laughed before turning towards Octavia. “And what about you, Octy, did I prove to you just how much of a musical profession being a DJ is?”
The cellist considered her response for a moment, before giving her a smirk of her own. “It was pretty impressive, I’ll give you that. But I don’t think it would compete much with a full Orchestra. I’d certainly give you a run for your bits.” This caused Vinyl’s grin to grow even wider.
“Well I love a challenge so I’ll have to take you up on that someday, but for now we need to get out of here. Opel’s on her way in here and I don’t want to give her the satisfaction of meeting you. Let’s go someplace else.” Vinyl stated before leading them all back out of the room, saying good bye to the remaining ponies in the room and thanking them for coming in the process.
“Where are we going?” Bon-Bon asked, swaying somewhat on her hooves but still a lot more alert than the night before. “Oh, I know, let’s all go back to our room; it can be like a slumber party.”
The remaining three just looked at her, and seeing that she was being quite serious they looked at each other. “Sure, why not?” they asked at the same time and they then made their way back to the elevator. It was a short journey for them to make it back, the elevator only stopping a few times to let other ponies off but not having to go to such a high floor for Vinyl and Octavia certainly came as a relief.
Before long they were all situated in Lyra’s and Bon-Bon’s room, each sat upon the two couches, a pair on each, though Lyra and Bon-Bon shared the same cushion. “So how come you didn’t want to sit with Opel this evening?” Lyra asked once they had grown comfortable, her head resting upon Bon-Bon’s who was happy to just sit and listen, content that Lyra had decided to sit like a normal pony for once.
“She’s just being her usual self is all, I just didn’t feel like trying to ignore it,” Vinyl replied, levitating her glasses off her head with a flash of her horn and placing them on the table in the centre of the room. “She’s in work mode at the moment and I’m just not in the mood to put up with it.”
“It can’t be all bad,” Octavia asked, her head resting on the arm of the couch. She was more tired now that she’d found somewhere comfortable to sit and she could feel the effects of the drinks she’d consumed making her feel drowsy.
“She doesn’t like Lyra; she wants me to avoid her. I just wouldn’t be able to sit there and watch her pretend to be nice to her when she’s really wishing she’d just go away,” the DJ explained, causing Lyra to let out a dry laugh.
“That’s ok, I don’t really like her that much either,” she replied through a yawn, which grew infectious as the mares on the opposite couch mirrored her. Bon-Bon had seemingly fallen asleep already, her back rising softly with each breath she took.
“Maybe you need a new agent then,” Octavia offered, making herself more comfortable on the couch as she moved more towards the centre of it so she could rest her head on the soft cushion instead, her legs tucked beneath her.
“Not as simple as that, got the rest of my contract to work through before I can move on. She had me sign it when she first met me... I didn’t exactly hire her,” Vinyl explained further, her gaze turning towards the window. They hadn’t closed the curtains when they came in and she could see the city’s lights flickering in the street below, with the occasional glow coming from the buildings opposite.
“Maybe I could strike out on my own when I’m finished with it, set up my own agency... I dunno... there’s so much more work to be done with that sort of thing. What do you guys think?” she asked, turning back towards the ponies in the room.
She didn’t receive a response. All three of them were asleep, the evening having worn them out, especially Octavia who had never experienced anything quite like the evening she had had before. “I suppose that isn’t a bad idea,” Vinyl chuckled to herself. She then rolled onto her back, her horn lighting up to move a cushion behind her head and against the armrest so she could get comfortable.
Before long her snoring joined that of those in the room, the three mares occasionally flicking their ears at the disturbance.
(Thank you all for the comments regarding the editing of the last chapter, hopefully this one's an improvement but please do keep berating me for any mistakes; it's the only way I can get better.)
It wasn’t unusual the morning after a gig for Vinyl to sleep right on through it. She would often wake up in the early afternoon, have a shower and then typically go foraging for food wherever she may find it. But occasionally she’d find that she wasn’t able to get comfortable; her sleep would be restless and she’d drift in and out of dreams. With a grunt of annoyance, the DJ brought her hooves to her eyes and rubbed at them, deciding she was having one of those mornings.
Although she was still tired, she just couldn’t get back into a restful state and so gave up; letting out a wide yawn and slowly rolling off the couch she was sprawled out on. The light streaming in from the large windows stung her eyes, and she cursed her lack of foresight at not closing them before she had fallen asleep the night before. With one eye closed, she glanced at the remaining ponies in the room and figuring they’d appreciate it themselves when they woke up she pulled the curtains to, a small parting being left to provide enough illumination.
She glanced towards the clock on one of the cabinets. It read nine thirty, enough time to have breakfast, but she didn’t want to have to wake the others if they needed more sleep. Lyra and Bon-Bon were still nestled on their couch together, not having moved much during the night except to huddle closer together. The cream mare snoozed softly and was nestled in-between the mint unicorn’s hooves, whose mane had stuck at odd angles thanks to the product she’d placed in it for the gig.
Vinyl smiled to herself at the scene, thinking they’d have probably been more comfortable in a bed but as long as they were with each other they’d probably find comfort on a cold, stone floor. She admitted to herself of being slightly envious of Lyra; Bon-Bon really was amazing at times, despite how frightening she could be at others.
The sound of a shifting pony quickly drew Vinyl’s attention away from her two oldest friends and towards her newest friend. The sleeping form of Octavia still remained on the other end of the couch she herself had been sleeping on, though the cellist now had one of the couch’s cushions gripped against her stomach as she lay on her side. Her mane, though still remarkably well kept, showed signs of a night’s sleep, the occasional lock of black hair having broken free from the rest of it.
Not a single noise escaped her as she snoozed on, the steady rising and falling of her ribs showing she was still in a deep sleep. It seemed to Vinyl that one would suspect Octavia of being a member of high society no matter what situation you caught her in. However, there was one thing that proved to be a stark contrast to that image, which Vinyl found incredibly amusing. She was drooling; quite profusely.
She had seen many ponies sleeping before, be it after a rave party in her youth or when she had to share rooms in hotels when impromptu bookings were made for her services at venues. But she’d never seen any of Canterlot’s elite sleeping. It only made it all the clearer to her that underneath the class and sophistication some ponies were born into that they were really just that; ponies.
After a moment or two of unintentional staring, Vinyl finally tore her attention away from the sleeping mare, choosing instead to make her way to the bathroom and tend to her morning routine. Whilst she was occupied, Octavia stirred once more, the sound of running water and the loss of weight on one side of the couch telling her that something was amiss. It took a few moments, but eventually she cracked an eye open, immediately worrying when she realised she wasn’t in her room.
Her head shot up, despite the protests from her muscles and it wasn’t until her eyes settled on Lyra and Bon-Bon after frantically scanning the room did she relax. It was then that she took stock of her own well being. The couch hadn’t been uncomfortable with the way she had settled on it, but it did little to alleviate the aches and pains she now felt from her activities the night before. All four of her legs throbbed as she stood; her right foreleg even more so when she lifted it to her mouth to rub away the dampness she felt on her muzzle.
When her mind caught up to her and told her what the dampness she felt could be, she immediately whirled around, eyes shrinking somewhat at the modest puddle of saliva that adorned the couch. “Oh, dear...” she said to herself, looking around the room for any tissues she could use to clean it up before somepony noticed.
Before long, Vinyl returned, the tips of her mane dripping. She stood silently once she returned to the living room, leaning against the wall with an eyebrow raised as Octavia repeatedly rubbed at the couch with her foreleg. The grey mare was obviously fretting and Vinyl knew why, but the scene was too amusing for her to speak up over it.
Eventually Octavia seemed satisfied with her cleaning and studied her hooves, realising she now had to wash them to get rid of the evidence. Her ears flicked, listening for the sound of the water that woke her and noticing that it was no longer running looked up and met eyes with Vinyl.
The two stood in silence, Octavia frozen to the spot, and Vinyl with a smirk on her face. After a reasonable amount of time for the cellist to feel uncomfortable, the white unicorn spoke. “Bathroom’s down the hall, same place it is in all our rooms. Don’t worry, I won’t tell... it’ll be our little secret.”
Though thankful that she wasn’t going to be ridiculed for it, she still didn’t like the fact that it was Vinyl of the three mares she’d befriended that discovered her little embarrassment. She simply nodded her head as she moved to pass Vinyl in the hallway, but commented before she entered the bathroom, “At least I don’t snore.”
Vinyl only laughed as a response, having been told repeatedly that she snores by Lyra throughout their entire time together at college. That said, she still would have preferred that she didn’t. Choosing to ignore Octavia for now, she decided on something much more fun to do. With half of the group awake she didn’t feel as guilty about waking the others up for breakfast, and so she sat her flank down in front of Lyra and Bon-Bon, a devilish smile on her face.
The two were still sleeping peacefully, unaware of whatever torment Vinyl was likely to inflict upon them. Inching her head closer towards Lyra’s lowered ear, the DJ licked her lips and in her softest voice spoke. “Lyyyyraaaa.” Lyra nuzzled her snout against Bon-Bon’s neck, who did nothing in response. “Lyraaaa,” the DJ tried again.
The mint unicorn stirred a little, holding Bon-Bon a little tighter towards her, her lips mumbling something. Untold amusement built up inside Vinyl, her tail twitching on the floor and hooves trembling as she tried to contain her laughter. “Lyraaa,” she called again, her voice not much more than a whisper.
“Bon-Bon...” Lyra eventually responded, eyes still closed and obviously not fully awoken. Vinyl grinned at the opportunity, words formulating in her mind and wondering what exactly she could get away with.
“I looove you, Lyraaa,” she whispered, waited, and then whispered it again when Lyra didn’t respond.
“Hmm... I love... you too...” the lyrist mumbled, placing a kiss upon Bon-Bon’s neck and then sinking back into her sleep.
“Do that thing I love, Lyra,” Vinyl spoke, wondering what secrets she might learn from her mischief. She’d learnt a vast number of things about Lyra and her quirks over the years, but not so much of Bon-Bon, and she’d figured now was a good a time as any to take advantage of the situation.
Nothing happened for a moment or two and the DJ mused that there was nothing to be learnt from such a request. But just as Vinyl was about to ask something else Lyra lifted her head, just enough so that she could take Bon-Bon’s ear inside her mouth and gently nibble on the end of it. The white unicorn had to stuff her hooves against her snout to stop herself from ruining the moment, her eyes watering at the effort that was going into not roaring out with laughter. She sputtered a few times, but was eventually able to pull herself together to try one more thing.
“I’m leaving you for Vinyl,” the DJ then said, realising she was pushing her luck but she’d had her fun for the morning and she wanted to go down for breakfast.
As the words left her, and Lyra heard them there was a moment’s delay, before Lyra’s eyes snapped open, mouth opening and ear vacating it. “Huh? Wait... what?!” she exclaimed, startling Bon-Bon out of her own slumber and leaving Vinyl in hysterics on the floor. When Lyra put two and two together she glared down at the DJ before smacking her in the face with a cushion, untangling herself from the confused Bon-Bon and finally getting to her hooves. “Very funny, Scratch.”
“You should have seen your face,” Vinyl chuckled, rolling over onto her front and slowly standing upright. “But don’t worry, Lyra,” she then said, surreptitiously levitating the cushion to cover the damp spot left by Octavia and then taking Lyra’s place on the couch, placing a leg over Bon-Bon’s shoulders as she did so. “Bonnie’s not going to leave you for me; she’s agreed to just see me on weekends.”
“What? But I-” Bon-Bon began, still groggy from the awakening she’d had.
“Yeah, you wish, Scratch,” was all Lyra came back with before she took stock of the room. Vinyl eventually let go of Bon-Bon who quickly descended from the couch to escape any more attempts of humour from the DJ. Her mane still had its curls from the night before, but they’d lost their spring, hanging limply in different directions.
“Where’s Octavia?” she asked after moving towards the mirror and noticing that she was missing.
“She’s in the bathroom cleaning up... and probably brushing her hair,” Vinyl offered, enjoying the warmth on the couch and choosing to stay where she sat. “She must brush it every day to keep it that straight.”
“Most ponies brush their mane’s, Scratch,” Lyra deadpanned, moving to stand besides Bon-Bon, her horn lighting up and picking up a brush with which she attempted to provide some sort of neatness to her own mane. “Just because you’re allergic to a brush doesn’t mean everypony else is.”
“My mane suits me just fine,” the DJ retorted, running her hoof through it for added emphasis as Lyra’s reflection watched her. “No one’s ever complained about it before and it’s so easy to manage, I just wake up and give it a bit of a shake. And I’m ready to seize the day!”
“Well I bet you’d look just lovely with a straight mane, Vinyl,” Bon-Bon replied, taking the brush from Lyra once she was done and beginning work on her own. She’d have to visit the salon when she got back to Ponyville but for the moment she would be satisfied with getting most of the curls combed in with the rest of her mane. “Maybe you could come with me to get my hair done; we’ll make a day out of it.”
“I’ll pass, Bonnie, but thanks for the offer; nopony’s touching this mane but me,” the DJ finished with a friendly tone of finality. Lyra just rolled her eyes but left it at that whilst Bon-Bon finished brushing her mane. It was at that point Octavia rejoined them, and as Vinyl had suspected, her mane was once again in pristine order.
“Good morning, everypony,” she called as she entered the room, her eyes looking towards the cushion that now covered the mess she had made and then towards Vinyl, who only looked back at her with a knowing smile.
“Morning, Octavia,” Bon-Bon happily replied, placing the brush back down on the table and turning to greet her. “So, did you have fun last night?” she then asked, receiving a thoughtful expression from the cellist in return.
“Well, I spend hours stood upright on my rear legs but I’ve never felt as sore as I do today... but yes, it was rather enjoyable. It was definitely an experience,” the cellist replied with a smile.
“Oh don’t worry about that, Octy, you’ll soon get used to it. The next time it won’t feel so bad.”
“There won’t be a next time for quite a while, Vinyl,” Octavia replied, not noticing the slightly disappointed look that flashed across Vinyl’s features. “Perhaps in the future, but I need time to recover from such an event... maybe a long soak in a bath will relieve me of some of these pains.”
“I know some good bath salts for aches,” Bon-Bon chipped in, further dampening the chances of bringing the conversation back towards the night before and Vinyl’s favourite topic. “I used to use them all the time when I first started dating Lyra; it was a nightmare trying to keep up with her. I’m just glad she started to slow down as time went on.”
“Well you can’t practice the lyre much when you’re out all night listening to club music... your attempts at getting me to stay over at your place with promises of your cooking helped too.” Lyra grinned, giving Bon-Bon a playful nudge before Vinyl finally hopped off from the couch.
“That was when she stole you from me; we were such a good team!” Vinyl mock lamented, and then looked down towards her stomach as it growled. “But talking of cooking, I’m starved, let’s go get some breakfast.” Her horn glowed and her glasses, once more to the continued annoyance of Lyra, floated back into place over her eyes, her satchel floating to her side along with them.
“That doesn’t sound like a bad idea,” Octavia agreed, fastening her bag around her side and moving towards the door along with Vinyl, whilst Lyra and Bon-Bon picked up their own gear and followed along behind them.
Most of the ponies in the hotel were beginning to pack away their things. The convention wasn’t a very long affair, only lasting three days before ending and those that had ran out of wares to sell or bits to spend were deciding on leaving early. As such, there was much more room to meander the halls as a group. The four mares still had several hours after breakfast before they had to make their own preparations for leaving so they decided on spending it together, shopping amongst what was left.
“So, has anypony seen Princess Luna yet?” Vinyl enquired as she looked over a table full of dusty, old records. Most of the albums on display were nothing special, typical of most ponies’ collections, but she had discovered that it was always worth a look; one would never know when a gem was hidden away amongst the drab.
“She never passed my booth whilst I was selling,” Lyra replied, not paying a great deal of attention as she perused an assortment of instrument cases with Bon-Bon, wondering if any of them would suit her lyre. She’d been looking for accessories for her instrument of choice, but found that there weren’t a great deal of merchandise for her to spend her bits on.
Octavia was nearby, handing over a few bits to an elderly mare that proceeded to hand over a notebook of sorts, the front of which had an image of a treble cleft. It was clear that it was just a simple notebook, one for penning in musical compositions, but since it had her cutie mark on its surface the cellist deemed it worthy of purchase. It wasn’t until Vinyl yelled her name and brought her attention back to the group did Octavia speak. “Oh, my apologies, could you repeat the question?”
“I said has anypony seen the Princess?” Vinyl asked once more, a blank look on her face. It was difficult for Octavia to read the DJ. The glasses on her head made it next to impossible to tell what the mare was thinking unless she had some form of a smile on her face. Without that Vinyl Scratch was a mystery to anypony.
“She was at the concert the other day,” the grey mare replied, trotting over to stand with the three, “in the royal box along with Princess Celestia. Celestia has always enjoyed listening to us perform and from the... loud exclamations of approval, so did Princess Luna.”
“Such a shame, I was hoping Luna was going to be a cool princess,” Vinyl mused, moving on from the record stand and trying to find another table to interest her.
“Well I wouldn’t say she’s a lost cause to you yet, Vinyl. From her conversations with Celestia pretty much everypony in the room heard she liked the sound of jazz... Jazz is ‘cool’, isn’t it?” Octavia enquired, earning a glance from Vinyl.
“Well... I suppose it is, depends on who’s playing it. I guess the princesses aren’t as stuffy as they could be. They certainly enjoyed themselves at the wedding party; they were both dancing at least.”
“I still can’t believe you were there and I wasn’t...,” Octavia sulked, unaware of the grin that now adorned Vinyl’s face.
“Lyra and Bon-Bon were there too...”
“And Lyra was one of Princess Cadance’s bridesmaids.”
“What?!” Octavia exclaimed louder, a few ponies looking towards her to see what was happening.
“Yeah... I still don’t know how you managed that, Lyra.” Vinyl then turned towards the green unicorn, who was trying to silently slip away with Bon-Bon before being brought into it.
“Oh... I... er... she took pity on me after she got me out of that pit under Canterlot... and let me stay a bridesmaid,” she answered, shrugging her shoulders and hoping her answer would placate Octavia. It didn’t. “I didn’t even get to catch the bouquet?” she offered, wondering if that would do it instead. It didn’t.
“You wanted to catch the bouquet, huh?” Bon-Bon asked with a smile, prodding Lyra in the ribs with a foreleg, succeeding in distracting Octavia’s attention for a moment; if only to watch the colour of Lyra’s face go from green to a bright pink.
“You wanting to share something with us there, Lyra?” Vinyl asked, a grin breaking out on her face, never missing the opportunity to make Lyra feel uncomfortable.
Lyra’s eyes shifted back and forth, looking at all three of them. She babbled for a moment or two before shouting, “Oh, look, music book stands, I need one of those!” and quickly taking off towards the other end of the hall.
“Lyra, come back!” Bon-Bon called, that same smile still on her face as she gave chase, leaving a perplexed Octavia with Vinyl.
“They do this sometimes,” Vinyl explained, moving closer towards the cellist and rearing up on her hind legs to place an arm around her. “And don’t worry about the wedding, you should be glad you weren’t there, you’d have ended up stuck to the floor in green goo. It was disgusting.”
“I was still in Canterlot at the time,” Octavia replied, extraditing herself from Vinyl’s grip. “The changelings attacked my apartment building too... I smashed my favourite cello over the one that tried to take me and tied it up with the strings.” And with that she walked away, meandering between the stalls in the general direction of Lyra and Bon-Bon, leaving Vinyl to stare at her in awe.
“Wow... remind me never to get on Octy’s bad side...”
The day progressed quite quickly for the four mares. They had spent the remainder of the morning joining in with the rest of the convention’s activities before heading into the streets of Canterlot for lunch. Deciding that they’d had enough of the hotel afterwards, they stayed outside, browsing the many stores that were on offer. Vinyl spent an exorbitant amount of time in an electronics store and had to be dragged out by her tail, whilst the same could be said for Bon-Bon in Hoity Toity’s fashion emporium.
It was only after the shadows of the buildings grew long and the temperature began to cool did they think about returning. Bon-Bon and Lyra’s train for Ponyville departed at six pm and they had plenty of things to pack before they could leave. Despite Lyra’s refusal, Vinyl insisted that she hire them a carriage to the train station, the number of bags Bon-Bon now had far too many for any two ponies to carry alone.
The four stood at the bottom of the hotel entrance’s staircase as two stallions packed the bags into the rear of the carriage, whilst a teary eyed Bon-Bon clung to Vinyl’s neck as if she’d never see the DJ ever again. “Promise me you’ll come and visit us more often,” she cried whilst Lyra looked on into the distance, seemingly not wanting to be involved.
“Bonnie, it’s not like you’re moving to a different country, we live in the same town,” Vinyl tried to tell her, her arms attempting to pry the cream mare away from her. “You’re not going to let go until I promise, are you?”
Vinyl sighed. “Fine, I promise. I’ll come visit you as soon as I’m done with my next gig. I’m due a vacation anyway. Is that alright?”
“That’s wonderful, just be sure to let me know ahead of time so I can go shopping, I’ll get you everything for your favourite meals.” Bon-Bon beamed, finally letting Vinyl go and stepping back. “And you’ll be coming too, Octavia?”
The question startled the cellist, who wasn’t expecting to be addressed in the same farewell to Vinyl. She quickly nodded her head, not wanting to be subject to the iron grip Bon-Bon seemed to possess. “Most definitely, I’m not sure when but I do intend to visit you and your town, it sounds very peaceful. And if you or Lyra would like to come back to Canterlot for any reason then please let me know, I’ll make sure you get the best of accommodations and reservations for anywhere you want to visit. If you’d like tickets to one of the Orchestra’s concerts too just send me a letter.”
“We’re all packed up, ma’am,” the voice of one of the stallions announced, drawing the mares’ attention for a moment before they resumed their farewells.
“It was good seeing you again, Scratch,” Lyra muttered, standing just to the side of the DJ with an uncomfortable stance.
Vinyl stood in much the same way, once again thankful of her glasses. “Yeah... we need to meet up again soon. It felt just like old times...” An awkward silence followed, before they quickly gave each other a hug and separated. Octavia swore that if she’d blinked she would have missed it.
“They don’t do goodbyes to each other too well,” Bon-Bon explained as she gave Octavia a hug too before stepping back and moving towards the carriage, one of the stallions holding the door open for her to enter.
“It was a pleasure meeting you, Octavia,” Lyra then spoke up, moving from Vinyl to give Octavia a hug in much the same way Bon-Bon did. “I’d love to get together with you and play some music; it’d be fun to see who’s the better musician.” She smirked after letting go and giving the cellist a wink.
“I’m sure it can be arranged,” Octavia smiled back in return. “I may bring my cello with me when I visit and we can have a competition. And who knows, if you beat me I may even put in a good word to the Orchestra’s casting agents.”
“Don’t tease me,” Lyra laughed before joining Bon-Bon in the carriage. The stallions then hooked themselves up to the front, and with Bon-Bon and Lyra waving from the windows, drew them away from the hotel, leaving Vinyl and Octavia waving back to them until they turned a corner.
The two stood there for a moment in silence, still looking at where the couple had disappeared, until a quiet sniffle drew Octavia’s attention to Vinyl. The DJ showed no signs of the noise, however, she simply stood there with a stoic expression and then turned her head to meet Octavia’s gaze. “Are you alright?” the cellist asked.
“Who, me? Of course I am.” Vinyl replied, forcing a grin onto her face and then turning around to face the hotel. “But we’ve got our own stuff to pack and we’ve only got an hour to check out. C’mon, let’s get going.” And with that she walked away, leaving Octavia to catch up.
The earth pony didn’t reach Vinyl until the latter had reached the elevator, the button already pressed and the doors open for occupants. “I take it you wanted them to stay?” Octavia hazarded a guess, stepping into the elevator with Vinyl and waiting in silence for a response.
One didn’t come immediately, but after a few awkward moments had passed Vinyl responded. “I just don’t get to see them very often, that’s all. But don’t worry, like I said, I’m fine. So, where are you off to after here?” Vinyl asked.
Octavia knew she was changing the subject, but having not known the DJ for very long she didn’t feel right in prying into whatever feelings Vinyl was experiencing at the moment. “No where really, just home. I live in the centre of Canterlot, it’s not too far. It’s an apartment building with some lovely views over the mountain side. You can see Ponyville from my music room actually.”
“Your music room?”
“Yes, it’s where I keep all of my instruments. Mostly strings, Violins, the Double Bass, I think I have a lyre somewhere too. The window provides such a lovely scene to give musical inspiration.”
“Sounds like your apartment is pretty big.”
“Not more so than most.” Octavia pondered, counting with her hoof as she began to list the rooms she had. “It’s got a kitchen, a master bedroom and a guest room, a bathroom, a living space and of course my music room... oh, and a cloak room. Nothing fancy really.”
“...Octy, that’s the fanciest apartment in Canterlot I’ve heard of in a long time. It’s Equestria’s capital for Celestia’s sake, that place must cost you a fortune.”
“I never really thought about it... I don’t like talking about my success but I suppose I’ve been quite triumphant in the music business.”
“It certainly sounds like it,” the DJ replied, stepping out of the elevator when it reached their floor and waiting for Octavia to join her. “I don’t really have much to pack, just a small bag with a few necessities, do you need any help?” She offered, looking towards the cellist as they made their way to their rooms.
“Oh no, I travelled light. I only have the case for my contact lenses and a travel bag; I made arrangements for my cello to be taken back to my apartment.” Octavia replied, fishing her room key out of her satchel and stopping in front of her door.
Vinyl did the same but she didn’t open hers immediately. Instead she turned around, her key floating in the air beside her with her magic, and gave the grey mare a smile. “Say... you don’t have to be somewhere tomorrow, do you?”
“No place that I can recall, why?” Octavia replied, quirking an eyebrow in the process.
“Well, I’m supposed to be meeting up with Opel tomorrow night for dinner to discuss where I’m going next. She’s booked an event for me in Las Pegasus, but... that means my morning tomorrow is completely free and I think I’d like to go out for a drink tonight. Would you care to join me?”
“Go out for a drink... together?” Octavia replied as an unsure expression and fidgeting hooves took over her body.
“Sure, why not? We can get to know each other a little more and I promise not to take you to any clubs. We can be just two friends going to a bar after work to wind down. This whole convention was technically part of my work and your concert was work for you.” Vinyl pushed, trying to goad the cellist into agreeing.
“I don’t know... I probably shouldn’t.” Octavia resisted, Bon-Bon’s words coming flying back into her mind.
“C’mon, it’s not like I’m asking you out on a date , Octy, I just want a drink and drinking’s always better when you’re with somepony else,” the DJ attempted once more, giving Octavia a soft nudge with her knee.
“Oh, alright, fine, just a drink,” Octavia finally relented, taking Vinyl’s words of ‘not asking her out on a date’ at face value. “But just a couple, I don’t drink much and I find that it discourages me from drinking even more if I end up regretting it the next day.”
“Everypony says that, Octy,” Vinyl smirked, opening up her door to collect her things. She didn’t even enter the room, her horn simply lighting up and levitating everything she wanted to take with her out into the hallway and into her bag. “We’ll just take it slow... and if we’re up all night, who’s going to complain?”
“My head the following morning,” Octavia dryly replied as she opened with a click, revealing a neatly packed bag by the doorway.
“Wow... you’re organised,” Vinyl commented as Octavia picked it up and closed the door.
“It’s always packed in case I need to leave in an emergency.”
“But what if you need... stuff?”
“Then I take the ‘stuff’ out when I need it and put it back when I’m done.”
“Right... whatever,” Vinyl shrugged, turning to walk down the hallway and back towards the elevator. “Now c’mon, Octy, we’re hitting the town and painting it red, Vinyl Scratch style!”
Octavia watched her walk away and lowered her head towards the floor. “I’m going to regret this, aren’t I?” she muttered to herself before slinging her bag around her neck and begrudgingly following along.
(Took longer than I intended but here we are... the sun's coming up... again... )
Life in Canterlot was a mixture of business and pleasure, though few ponies realised it. No matter what your chosen profession in life you had to try and sell your talents. Many ponies did this at dinner parties and extravagant balls, casually dropping hints of what they did and how successful they were at doing it at seemingly random intervals to the ponies they were discussing with. Many conversations were actually started in such a way, a method of breaking the ice which at the same time determined whether or not the pony that was being spoken to was worth investing time in them.
A part of being a successful businesspony was making friends in high places, and after a long days work many a pony would take their business associates for a drink to wind down and discuss the day. As a result of that, there were many high class establishments to cater to that purpose. Bars with expensive drinks on offer and a dignified atmosphere were commonplace, and many of them were very popular with the local inhabitants.
The bar that Vinyl Scratch was taking Octavia too, however, seemed to be avoiding such a reputation. They had been walking for a solid twenty minutes, Vinyl insisting on not telling Octavia where it was they were actually going. The cellist was conscious of the fact she was travelling to the less wealthy side of Canterlot, the side with smaller buildings and less extravagantly attired ponies. By the time they reached their destination the sun was well on its way to setting, a tranquil twilight illuminating the building they now stood before.
“You drink here?” Octavia asked, her eyes scanning over the building’s exterior. It was a small structure with a single floor, and with what appeared to be aging red bricks on the outside walls. It didn’t match any of Canterlot’s typical building style, and by the looks of the ponies going in and out of the building, its patrons didn’t match the usual crowd she drank with either. “It’s a working ponies bar...”
“I always drink here,” Vinyl explained, happily trotting onwards towards the entrance, her eagerness urging Octavia forwards to keep up with her. “I can drink and be left alone without having to worry about who’s watching me or make sure I don’t offend someone. And if I do offend someone and they start something I can just buck them in the face and no pictures end up in the newspaper.”
“Charming,” was all Octavia said in response and she rolled her eyes and followed along, not too subtly tightening the strap of her bag around her chest.
Three ponies stood outside of the bar, a unicorn stallion and two pegasus of each gender, and they watched as the two mares approached. Vinyl only nodded towards them as she passed and they carried on with their conversations, much to Octavia’s relief. She’d heard stories of confrontations with strange ponies who became hostile after a beverage or two. Although she tried not to look down on the common folk she knew that there was a rift between the classes, and alcohol tended to be a fuel for such altercations between them.
She didn’t make eye contact with them as she passed by, only catching snippets of conversation which seemed to be revolving around a recent Wonderbolts show. Ignoring them for the moment she entered the building, not wanting to lose sight of Vinyl and finding herself alone.
As she expected, the smell of spilt drinks and alcohol instantly assaulted her nostrils. The doors opened up to a large room, chairs and tables haphazardly positioned around the open space with rows of booths with benches along both sides of the building. There were a good few ponies already inside, sat in groups or by themselves, sipping on all manner of drinks from spirits to beers in the darkly lit room
They all kept to their own business, only occasionally glancing up at Octavia as she walked by. She in turn did the same, smiling politely at the few she thought were pleasant enough until she came up the bar, where Vinyl was currently ordering drinks. “I don’t like this place,” she quietly said to the DJ, the bartender unable to hear her over the banging of wood and pouring of drinks.
“Don’t worry about it, Octy, it’s a nice place really, you’ll get used to it.” Vinyl smiled, motioning for Octavia to take a seat next to her at the bar.
“Can we at least sit in one of the booths?” the cellist asked, noticing that they were all vacant and offered at least a small amount of privacy from the occupants of the building. The bartended caught her attention as he placed two flagons on the counter, each one full to the brim with a frothy liquid which smelled strongly of fermented apples.
“Four bits,” he said, his voice grating and his eyes darting back and forth between the two mares.
Vinyl was quick to comply, levitating five golden coins from her bag and dropping them on the counter. She then grinned at the bartender and picked up the two drinks in her magical aura. “Keep the change.”
He grunted a thanks before sweeping up the coins and trotting off to deposit them in the till whilst Vinyl walked away towards the side of the room, leaving Octavia to follow along behind. The booth was as poorly illuminated as the rest of the room, the high window in the wall letting in less and less of the sun as it slowly descended below the horizon whilst the lights inside the building burned a dull orange, as if they were not far off from going out themselves.
The bench was a ruby red colour, and much to Octavia’s displeasure had several holes in it, revealing the worn sponge beneath. But seeing Vinyl hop up onto the seat and sitting on her haunches with very little regard to what condition the seats were in Octavia had little choice but to join her.
Once Octavia was seated rather awkwardly across from her Vinyl nudged the cider towards the grey mare and took a large gulp from her own, leaving behind froth around her muzzle which was quickly licked away. “Drink up; it’s best when it’s still settling.”
Octavia eyed the beverage before her, the liquid beneath the off-white foam on its surface concealed behind the wooden container. “I don’t normally drink cider...,” she began, but trailed off when she saw that Vinyl was watching her expectantly. “But I suppose if I’m to fit in I can’t really complain.” With that she slid her hoof into the handle and brought the drink to her lips.
The taste was sharp and sweet, but left a bitter aftertaste in her mouth as it flowed over her tongue. She grimaced somewhat at the flavours before placing the flagon back down on the table, an amused expression on Vinyl’s face being the first thing that she then noticed. “What?”
“You’re showing your age,” the DJ chuckled, receiving a confused blink from Octavia. “You’ve got a white beard around your muzzle, gramps.”
“I’ll have you know I’m nowhere near that old,” Octavia quickly replied, a blush rising to her cheeks as she dabbed away with the back of her hoof and removing the frothy offender.
“Whatever you say, Octy,” Vinyl replied before taking another gulp from her own drink and then looking around the room once again. “It’s pretty empty tonight; there are usually a lot more ponies in here drinking. I guess it’s just one of those evenings.”
“I take it you’re a regular to notice such things,” Octavia asked, drawing Vinyl’s attention once more. “I know you said you drink here all the time but I didn’t think you actually meant all the time. Are you even in Canterlot that often?”
“Nah, not too often. But whenever I am I do choose to come here. I don’t really enjoy all the fancy drinks and haughty company that comes with this city so I tend to slum it a bit when I’m here.”
“You know I’m one of those fancy drink drinkers and haughty types you’re talking about, right?” Octavia challenged with an eye brow quirked, which soon vanished as she cringed once more after taking another sip from her drink.
“No you’re not, you’re different,” Vinyl laughed, clinking her flagon against Octavia’s. “You’re not afraid to fraternize with the enemy. There wasn’t a single pony at my gig last night that didn’t have a high class job or a second property in the countryside except for you.”
“Well I’ve been told I’m quite impressionable...” Octavia mumbled, but Vinyl continued.
“And since there’s an exception to every rule, you’re the exception that proves the rule that stuck up ponies don’t know how to have fun.”
Octavia smiled inwardly and ignored the fact the DJ has misused the expression - like so many other ponies - and carried on in spite of it. “Vinyl, there aren’t exceptions to every rule.”
“There are to my rules, how else would I get around them? It’d be pretty hypocritical of me of I broke my own rules. I mean come on, Octy, are you calling me a hypocrite?” Vinyl asked, and despite the serious look that adorned her face, Octavia knew she was joking.
“Of course not, Vinyl, you’re absolutely right.” Octavia chuckled, then realised just what it was that the DJ has said. “Wait... you think I’m stuck up?”
Vinyl sputtered and coughed on her cider as Octavia asked her question, her lips forming a hurt frown whilst her ears rested against her head. “No, of course not!” she quickly gasped out, her lungs heaving after trying to make sure she hadn’t inhaled her drink. “You’re not stuck up... you’re just uptight... well most of the time at least.”
“I am not uptight,” Octavia protested, her head turning to the side and nose pointing towards the ceiling with a snort.
“Suuure, you’re not uptight at all.” Octavia caught the sarcasm and was about to retort, until she realised her head was still upturned. “I mean look at you. We’re out for a drink and you’re sat like you’re having your portrait done. You’re back is straight, you’re legs are perfectly angled and your tail is perfectly curled around your front. You keep eyeing the ponies in this place as if they’re going to mug you and you’re sipping your drink as if it’s a fine wine. Loosen up a little, Octy.”
The cellist looked down at herself, and realised that Vinyl was right; though she didn’t want to admit it to her just yet. “It’s not my fault that I was educated well. This is how we were all taught to sit like when with company in an unknown setting, it’s the least likely to offend.”
“Well it can’t be comfortable. Why don’t you try slouching?”
“It’s bad for posture and can...” Octavia began but Vinyl’s look she gave her from over her glasses made her stop. With a sigh the cellist relented, leaning forwards a little more and allowing her forelegs to slacken a little. She had to admit that the loss of tension in her back did feel better. “Satisfied?”
“Not until you catch me up,” Vinyl then said before gulping down the rest of her flagon’s contents, a very slight trickle of the cider dribbling down the DJ’s chin until it was wiped away with a hoof and the container slammed down onto the table with a thud. A challenge if Octavia had ever seen one.
She looked down at her own drink, three quarters still full, and then back up towards Vinyl who wore the most contemptible grin she’d ever seen. “I will not be goaded into a drinking contest with you, Vinyl,” was all Octavia had to say on the matter, which only widened Vinyl’s smile.
“Well if you say so, Octy, I guess you just don’t have it in you to take me on. Lyra would have done it in a heartbeat; Lyrists must be made of sterner stuff.”
“That has nothing to do with it,” Octavia huffed, clearly irritated by the notion of such a comparison between musical professions, “drinking contests are just... just so uncouth.”
“I’ll tell you what, if you down that drink we can head out of here and you can choose a bar to drink in.”
“Oh really?” The bar was becoming busier, Octavia was finding it difficult to track the ponies that were entering and whether she should be worried about any of them. She knew full well she was probably being paranoid but she couldn’t help it; she rarely visited bars like the one she was seated in. “Any bar that I choose?”
“Any bar you choose, no matter how classy or fancy it may be... or wherever you’re willing to take me that won’t tarnish your reputation. Something tells me you don’t think I can pull the sophisticated mare type off.” The DJ grinned at her once more, pushing Octavia to take her up on her challenge.
The cellist stared back at the unicorn, neither one moving until her hoof reached for her drink and brought it to her mouth. She then proceeded to tilt it back along with her neck and in several long draughts she slammed it back down on the table. “Ok, I’m done. Let’s go.”
The earth pony made to remove herself from the table but Vinyl remained sat there and stared at her. “Hey, wait, that’s not fair!”
“And why isn’t it fair? I played your silly little game by your rules and now I get to change our venue,” Octavia stated with an expressionless face. “If you’re not happy with the outcome it’s not my fault, just-” the cellist paused as her stomach bubbled, the sound inaudible to those around her but she could feel it brewing. Before she could stop herself and with her hoof halfway towards her mouth, a large belch escaped her, a horrified expression quickly following.
Before Octavia realised it, Vinyl had fallen on to her side, laughing loudly across her seat whilst the few ponies that were nearby stared at them. As the laughter continued the rest of the occupants began to look too and Octavia felt like her face would combust with the heat she felt growing in it. “Vinyl, stop laughing!” she commanded, but it did little to dissuade the unicorn who continued to giggle and gasp for breath.
With a stomp of her hoof and an indignant snort the cellist quickly turned and stormed towards the exit, ignoring the eyes on her as she left. Once she’d exited the building Vinyl eventually managed to control herself, stumbling over her hooves as she made her way out of the booth to follow. “Hey, Octy, wait!” she called out, still chuckling as she cantered after her.
The VIP lounge of the Canterlot Music Association was as busy as it ever was during the evening. Dozens of ponies sat at tables on plush cushions and stood in groups around the room, discussing the current trends of music and which instruments were currently in and what was out. Almost all of them were accomplished musicians in their own rights, and the rest were either benefactors or wealthy enough to gain membership.
Sat at a table in the centre of the room, Octavia and Vinyl were sipping on their drinks; each had a glass of Berry Punch’s Finest on the cellist’s tab. The rich, sweet and smoky flavour was doing an excellent job of cleansing Octavia’s taste buds of the cider she’d been drinking not twenty or so minutes ago. Sat in an environment she was familiar with the grey mare could tolerate Vinyl’s constant quips, yet on the street as they were walking she’d almost lost her composure.
“You should try playing the tuba, you’ve definitely got the lungs for it,” Vinyl tried once more, attempting to get a rise from the cellist in front of her. Octavia had long gotten over her ill timed bodily function however, and just sipped at her glass, eyes closed in contemplation. “You’re boring when you’re with your own kind...”
“I’m not boring, I just know when to behave myself,” the cellist replied, earning a grumble from Vinyl. Satisfied that she’d lived down her embarrassment for the time being, Octavia began to enjoy her surroundings more. Soft music was being played from the few ponies positioned on a stage in the far corner, adding an ambience of calmness and serenity to the room. She soon found herself relaxing, until she heard the crack of glass.
Her eyes snapped open to behold the sight of Vinyl precariously holding her wine glass in her magical grip, the stem of which was bent slightly to the left and clearly no longer attached properly. “Oops...” was all Vinyl had to say, her head turning from her glass and back to Octavia. “I guess they’re not as strong as I thought.”
“Honestly, Vinyl, it’s just a wine glass, how much strength did you possibly think you needed to lift it?” The DJ just shrugged in response, bringing the glass to her lips and drinking deeply from it. “Do you do that with every drink? You’re meant to savour it.”
“I don’t drink wine, it doesn’t do much for me to sit and go over the taste on my palette and guess the age,” Vinyl replied, her head held upwards with a hoof over her chest. Her tone of voice was also deliberately obnoxious and Octavia guessed she was being made fun of.
“Fine, what do you want to drink; champagne, or how about a sherry?”
“Sherry?” Vinyl’s brow rose, her glasses glaring back at the mare in front of her. “What am I, an old maid?”
“Champagne then,” Octavia huffed.
“What are we celebrating?”
“Then we can’t have champagne.”
“Alright, whisky?” Octavia asked, and then frowned as she noticed the look of glee upon Vinyl’s face. “You’re doing this on purpose, aren’t you?”
“Of course, how else am I going to entertain myself?” the unicorn asked, her tone giving the impression that her answer was obvious. “I’ll just have some more wine, until we go to a different place.”
“A different place?” Octavia glanced around the room, seemingly looking for the reason why Vinyl would want to leave. She then had a different notion strike her and she eyed the DJ carefully. “I thought we were just having a drink together, surely you don’t plan for this to go on all night?”
“Well you said yourself that you don’t have any plans for tomorrow, and I’m a night pony anyway.” The DJ shrugged, watching and then nodding as a passing pegasus mare working for the lounge offered to take Vinyl’s now empty and broken glass and replace it with a new and full one. “I mean don’t get me wrong, this place is nice and all but it’s not really what I was expecting when I wanted to go out on the town.”
“Well you said no clubs,” Octavia replied, taking her time with her own glass and enjoying another sip, “and I plan on holding you to that word. Besides, you can’t leave here until you complete a challenge set by me.”
“I’m still playing by your rules, Vinyl,” Octavia then continued, the slightest of smiles on her face that the DJ was beginning to get better and better at detecting. “You let me choose this establishment off the back of your crude drinking game so you can’t choose the next place for us to drink on your proposed bar hopping until you complete a challenge.”
“Alright, I’m game, what’s your challenge?”
“I need time to consider one; something tells me that a similar task to what you had me do won’t be much of a challenge to a mare such as yourself.” The pegasus returned with Vinyl’s drink just as Octavia drained the last of hers. With her glass now empty she ordered another glass to go along with Vinyl’s and the mare trotted off once more in the direction of the bar. “Though I don’t think it should involve drink,” she continued, “we’re having enough of that as it is.”
“This is nothing,” Vinyl smiled, taking her glass more gently in her magical grip than before and bringing it to her lips. “I used to drink lots when I first started out in my career... I guess I was taking advantage of all the bits I suddenly had, especially after struggling with it in college.”
“No, with bits, I’m not an alcoholic, Octy,” the unicorn laughed, causing Octavia to cough and mutter an apology. “Nah, Lyra and I had to pool our bits together to make sure we could afford to live and study. We still enjoyed ourselves though, we weren’t poor but we just needed to budget for things. Not having to worry about bits when I started DJing professionally just allowed me to splash out, I suppose.”
“I imagine it would have been an odd sensation...” Octavia couldn’t pretend to know how Vinyl had felt when she became successful. For her, bits had never been an issue. Her family was reasonably fortunate in their respective professions and her education had been paid for in full with accommodation and other expenses taken care of. When she’d joined the Canterlot Philharmonic Orchestra her successes just meant that she could stop relying on her parents’ wealth and pay her own way; her lifestyle had never changed much.
They remained in silence for a few moments as Octavia remained in thought. The pegasus once more came to their table and deposited a fresh glass of wine, and Octavia resumed sipping. She noticed that Vinyl was now doing the same, taking her time with her drink and keeping the same pace. The cellist could already feel the first signs of fuzziness clouding around the edges of her vision. She wasn’t drunk, but she was beginning to experience the alcohol’s effects and she wondered if despite all Vinyl’s bravado whether or not she was feeling the same.
“So, you live in Ponyville.” It was eventually said, breaking the quiet bubble that had descended upon them. “Were you born there or do you just live there? I don’t exactly know that much about you aside from the facts that you’re a DJ, you went to college with Lyra, and you’re not afraid to have breakfast with strangers.”
“Depends on how good a company the stranger is, so far you haven’t bored me to death.” Vinyl chuckled in response, raising her glasses so that they rested against her horn, allowing Octavia to make actual eye contact with her. “I’m a Ponyvillian born and raised. It’s a nice place, but you’ll see when you visit that it’s not really a place a pony can really make it big. It’s more of a tight knit community than an opportunistic city. I even had to go to a different city to get to college.”
“And Lyra went with you?”
“Well... we were kind of a... thing, would probably best describe it...” Vinyl mumbled, her eyes averting from Octavia’s to stare into her wineglass.
“A couple? I thought you were just really good friends, I hadn’t thought of you as a... well, you know.” It was then Octavia’s turn to inspect the scenery as Vinyl looked back up, eyes narrowed.
“A what, a fillyfooler?”
Octavia visibly winced. “That wasn’t the word I was going to use, and please, this is a sophisticated lounge, don’t use that word.” Vinyl’s ruby eyes remained fixed on her, a slight frown on her muzzle and Octavia felt the need to continue. “I mean no offense, Vinyl, it’s just Canterlot doesn’t see that much of it so it’s unusual for me to come across three mare’s all of the same persuasion.”
Vinyl continued to stare, making Octavia feel more uncomfortable by the second under the scrutiny. Eventually however, a grin broke on the DJ’s face and she giggled. “I know, I just wanted to see your face if you thought you’d really offended me.” She continued to giggle, until Octavia surreptitiously kicked her. The nearby ponies in the room turned to look as the unicorn yelped, but all they saw was Vinyl rubbing her front hooves over a spot on her knee and Octavia casually sipping her wine.
When everypony had returned to their conversations Octavia leaned in towards Vinyl. “You deserved that, it’s not nice to make other ponies feel bad. I’d thought I’d really offended you.”
“Yeah, whatever,” Vinyl grumbled, picking up her wineglass and downing the drink as she had done in the previous bar, much to Octavia’s distaste. “If you want to continue our conversation then we’re switching bars.”
“But I haven’t thought of a suitable challenge yet.”
“Alright, we can wait for that if you want to...” Vinyl trailed off, looking around the room before grinning as her eyes set upon a group of mares at a table on the other side of the room. “But whilst you do that I’m going to go and introduce myself to those ponies over there, see if I can get us a couple of dates.”
“Excuse me?” Octavia blinked, her head turning to where Vinyl was looking and then snapping back towards the unicorn. “No, you are not. I know those ponies; you’re going nowhere near them.”
“C’mon, what’s the worst that could happen? Of course if you don’t want me to we could always go someplace else... somewhere a bit livelier, maybe with music... and dancing?” the unicorn continued and gave a mischievous wink.
Octavia frowned deeply, but her attention kept darting back and forth from the ponies on the other table and the pony she was sharing a drink with. “I’m not looking for a date, especially with a mare and you promised me you weren’t going to take me to any clubs.” It was a hopeless argument, but she gambled that Vinyl would carry through with her promise if reminded.
“But I’m bored!” the unicorn exclaimed, hooves up in the air and drawing a few eyes before she sank back down and leant on the table. “As lovely as your company is, Octy, I need entertainment. I need beats, loud music, dancing. I love being a DJ but I don’t get to enjoy what the ponies I perform for enjoy. I’d have given anything to have been on the dance floor with you, Lyra and Bon-Bon last night.”
“But I-” the cellist began, wanting to argue. Without her glasses on, Vinyl could use her full facial expressions to her advantage. Her eyes were half open, looking down at her empty glass once more, which she toyed with between her hooves. A sad frown had replaced the usual smiles and grins that Octavia had come to expect from the unicorn, and her ears were flat against her head.
She took one last look at the mares in the group on the other table, in particular the pale blue coated and brown maned earth pony and the yellow coated and purple maned mare sat next to her; members of her ensemble, Beauty Brass and Symphony. She then sighed before looking back at Vinyl with a defeated expression. “Fine, let’s go.”
“Great!” came the exuberant and loud reply, catching Octavia off guard who frowned once more as Vinyl jumped to her hooves with her shades back down and a beaming smile. “You’re too easy, Octy.”
“I think I hate you,” was Octavia’s quick response with her head down, carefully trying to avoid making eye contact with the whole room which was once again staring at her. “Just hurry up and let’s go before-” she continued, but when she looked back up she could see that Vinyl was no longer with her. She looked towards the exit just in time to see a swish of an electric blue tail vanish out the doorway.
Faced with the prospect of being the centre of attention and not wanting to draw any more towards her, she quickly followed, nodding a goodbye towards the pegasus mare who had served them. “I’m never bringing her back here again,” she muttered under her breath as she quietly left the room.
Beauty Brass had watched her leave, as much confusion etched on to her face as there was on Symphony’s. The two mares eventually focused back on each other, as well as the two other mare’s that sat with them. “Who was that she was with?” the violinist began.
Beauty Brass simply shrugged. “No idea, but Octavia never comes here with anypony but us... you don’t think...”
“What?” Symphony pushed once Beauty had trailed off. “That she’s on a date?”
“Well she doesn’t really talk to anypony outside the orchestra, and we’ve known her for years. She’s never mentioned a special somepony before and now she’s drinking wine and acting all odd with a strange mare neither of us have seen before... never mind, it’s a silly thought without knowing all the facts, we’ll just ask her when we next see her.”
“Silly... but fun to imagine,” Symphony chuckled, shortly followed by Beauty who couldn’t help but agree before they all continued with their evening.
The streets had grown darker still. Celestia’s sun had long since vanished beneath the horizon and Luna’s stars were free to sparkle within the night sky without being hidden behind the sun’s light. It had also grown a little chilly, or so Octavia thought as she watched her breath wisp away in front of her as she cantered out of the building.
She remembered the weather report calling for clear skies that evening and the lack of clouds was doing little to keep the heat in. Autumn was quickly descending on Equestria with the last days of summer coming to an end and she found herself wondering when she should begin looking for her scarf again.
She soon dismissed such rambling thoughts as she caught sight of Vinyl waiting nearby, the DJ leaning against a lamp post and tapping a hoof on the ground. “C’mon, Octy, get your flank moving, we’re wasting valuable club time here.” The sound of Vinyl’s voice carried far, and Octavia found herself wincing at the thought of someone she knew hearing it.
“There’s no need to shout,” she calmly replied, tail flicking with indignation as she trotted over to join her. Vinyl simply smiled and turned to walk away and left Octavia in silence as the cellist fell into step beside her. The silence remained as Vinyl continued to lead them both further away from Octavia’s most frequented drinking establishment, but thankfully she didn’t seem to be leading them towards any unsavoury areas.
“I’ve never really been to a club before,” Octavia began, hoping that Vinyl wasn’t going to be taking her someplace she’d regret, “are they... safe?”
A snorted laugh came as a reply to which Octavia narrowed her eyes at. Once Vinyl noticed, however, she corrected herself and answered properly. “They’re safe, bouncers at the doors and inside the bar stop anypony from causing too much trouble. And besides, you’re with me; nopony would dare start something if I’m around. Don’t you worry about a thing, Octy, I have everything in hoof.”
“That’s exactly what worries me,” Octavia muttered under her breath and they continued on, momentarily content to let the conversation die. Though the silence wasn’t awkward, Octavia still felt the need to talk, however, and she soon found her thoughts drifting back to their conversation in the lounge. After a moment or two she couldn’t help but ask the question burning in her mind.
“So... you and Lyra?”
Vinyl had expected the question. She’d never tried to hide her past from anypony. She’d been quite open about her life and her upbringing, almost every interview she had done had asked those sorts of question and she’d been encouraged by Opel to answer them. But most of her life that had been shared with Bon-Bon and Lyra was only known between them and their friends; she’d been reluctant to spill anything to the public at large lest unwanted attention was thrust upon the couple. However, with each moment spent with Octavia, Vinyl was growing more and more comfortable with her and so didn’t mind divulging her personal life.
“We didn’t take it seriously but we gave it a shot at dating when we first arrived at college. We shared a room, so it seemed like a good idea at the time,” Vinyl eventually explained after taking a moment or two to consider her response.
The sounds of the city around them were quietening down as many ponies returned to their homes to sleep. Only those that were planning on enjoying the evening or starting their nightshifts were walking the streets. Vinyl watched as a pair of guards were relieved and replaced with the night guard before she was brought back to attention by Octavia.
“Well I don’t mean to pry... but it does seem like you both ended it pretty well with each other,” Octavia spoke, She was still feeling reluctant about following Vinyl to whatever club the mare wanted to take them to, but she had to admit to herself that there was a thrill to doing something new and different that she hadn’t felt for quite some time.
“Oh yeah, we realised quite early on that there was something missing. Sure, we went on a few dates, romantic dinners and the like, even fooled around a little... but I think we both just realised that although we loved each other, it wasn’t really the type of love you feel for that special somepony, it was really more like sisterly love. I’d do anything for her, and she’d do anything for me, but as you can see from Lyra now, there are other ponies out there that we’re meant for.”
“Well I’m glad you both were mature enough to see it that way. If you hadn’t then I wouldn’t have made such... interesting friends.”
“You think we’re friends?” The question hung in the air after Vinyl asked it, the DJ looking at Octavia with a raised eyebrow. “We’ve only just met.”
“Well yes... but I... ” Octavia wasn’t sure on how to reply to the question. She wondered if she had been too presumptuous in thinking that she could call Vinyl a friend. After Lyra and Bon-Bon had left she thought that she’d made that relationship with them, backed up by the invitation to visit them at their home. But had she over stepped the mark with assuming Vinyl was the same?
“It’s just, I thought-” she began once more, hoping she could save whatever was left of the friendship she’d thought she made with Vinyl. However, she was interrupted by a foreleg that was suddenly wrapped around her shoulder’s, pulling her close against the white unicorn.
“I was teasing you, dummy,” Vinyl laughed, hobbling along with three legs and using Octavia as support. “If I’d known you were going to have a mini freak out session on me then I wouldn’t have done it. Of course we’re friends, I’ll need a place to stay tonight after all and you mentioned you had a guest room. Can’t very well ditch you before I get a good night’s sleep, can I?”
“Well for that tasteless joke you can have the couch,” Octavia huffed, giving Vinyl a shove with her hips that caused the unicorn to relinquish her grip lest she topple over.
“Aww, c’mon, Octy.” Vinyl watched as the grey mare trotted ahead, a slight feeling of guilt creeping into her. “I do that kind of stuff all the time... don’t make me sleep on the couch, it won’t be comfy.” The unicorn quickly caught up, turning around to face Octavia and walking backwards as she smiled. “I’ll teach you how to dance?”
“I can dance just fine, thank you,” Octavia snapped, which only fuelled Vinyl’s amusement.
“That’s not what I saw last night; you didn’t know which way to move your body.”
“What you and I call dancing are two completely different things, Vinyl. And do watch where you’re going,” she sighed, her irritation fizzling out as she brought a hoof up to nudge Vinyl out of the way of a lamppost that she would have otherwise backed into. “And I’ll have you know that my couch is perfectly comfortable.”
“Why, have you slept on it before?”
“I have once or twice when I’ve dozed off, yes.”
There was silence for a moment, the two continuing on in the direction that Vinyl had set them; sounds of music could barely be heard from in the distance. “Then I don’t want to sleep on it, you might have drooled all over it.” It took a moment for Vinyl’s statement to sink in but when it did, and Octavia’s face began to feel that all too increasingly familiar burn of embarrassment, the DJ was already galloping ahead, laughing all the way.
“Vinyl!” Octavia chased after her, the sounds of her hooves clopping loudly against the stone walkways and echoing between the buildings. The number of other ponies on the street had diminished further still, most ponies out and about now sticking to the night’s hot spots. It wasn’t until she unknowingly began to approach one of these hotspots did the cellist begin to catch up to Vinyl, the unicorn slowing down.
She wasn’t quite sure what she was going to do when she caught the DJ, more to likely give her a verbal lashing than physically hurt her. But she was stopped from doing either as she noted the groups of ponies meandering the streets, some of them looking at her as she ran. By the time she reached Vinyl - who was once again waiting and smiling at her with the smug grin that was beginning to be as much as an annoyance to her as it was Lyra - there were ponies everywhere.
“Now, now, Octy, control your temper, we’re in the public eye now.” Octavia looked around her, the streets suddenly brighter and livelier than the ones she’d been running down only moments before. Bright neon lights adorned almost every building; some flashing whilst other’s simply burned their images into the mare’s retinas by their shear ostentatiousness.
Music was being pumped in almost every one of the buildings, which clashed and mixed badly with each other once it got out on to the streets. Octavia couldn’t understand a word of what was being sung, or catch on to any form of musical rhythm other than the deep repeated thump of what she’d learned was bass. The buildings that weren’t a source of dancing and raving were open and inviting bars, bright lights illuminating the rooms behind the glass windows and showing off the happily drinking patrons within.
“Welcome to my world,” Vinyl suddenly called out, nudging the awestruck Octavia in the shoulder with her snout and urging her forwards. “Now this is what I call a night out. The sounds, the sights... the smells, yeah, can’t have a night out without somepony throwing up nearby.” Octavia’s nose wrinkled as the scent Vinyl was commenting on suddenly hit her and she hurriedly moved on, followed by a smirking DJ.
Octavia had done her fair share of concerts and functions but she’d never been to someplace as audacious as she was now. She knew it existed, of course, she wasn’t stupid, but she never had much reason to indulge in such activities and atmospheres. It was a whole new experience for her and she’d have been eager to leave, if it weren’t for Vinyl.
“So, I was thinking,” the unicorn began as she trotted beside her companion, “we should hit up a club, listen to some music and maybe dance a little. Then we could find a nice bar to wind down and chat some more, have some more sophisticated sit-down drinks, because I know you like those best. And then we can head on home after getting something greasy and completely unhealthy to eat on the way.” She punctuated her last words with a lick of her lips and then turned to Octavia with a smile. “Sound good?”
“I don’t know, Vinyl, this all seems a little... well, intimidating to me. I don’t have a clue what I’m doing... or where I am for that matter.” Octavia looked back and forth between the buildings once more, a sense of anxiety having taken route deep within her stomach. She found that she was a little less anxious than she thought she’d be, which she attributed to the alcohol already flowing through her system, but she still had her reservations.
“Octavia, I promise I’ll look after you,” Vinyl then said, pausing in the street to make sure Octavia’s attention was solely focused on her. “You’ll have fun; I’ll make sure of it. You just need to loosen up a little.”
Octavia considered it for a few moments, once more taking in her surroundings. She had to admit, the ponies around her definitely did look like they were enjoying themselves. None of them were wearing over the top fashions or worrying about what those around them were thinking. A lot of them seemed inebriated but that only made them appear as if they were having all the more fun for it.
“Alright,” she finally said with a sigh, looking back towards Vinyl with her lips curved into half a smile, “but only because you seem to really want to do this and because you’re not here in Canterlot very often.”
“That’s the spirit, Octy,” the DJ grinned, nudging her towards her left towards a nearby building. Octavia resisted at first, but Vinyl insisted and she soon found herself being herded towards a building with two doors spaced a few feet apart from each other. Each one had a line of ponies awaiting entry and two large stallions stood at the entrances between both doors, allowing patrons in and out.
As the two mares approached they seemed to be headed towards the one on the right and Octavia had enough time to look up at the bright neon sign that read ‘The Bassment’ before being herded into the doorway, noticing that they had jumped the queue. A few of the ponies in the line behind them grumbled and complained and Octavia was about to question it before Vinyl gave her another nudge to continue with just three words, “my world, remember?”
Octavia continued through the hallway she’d entered, Vinyl following behind and when she came across a staircase she paused. She peered down below her, the darkness lit only by the flashing lights against a wall at the bottom that stood opposite another doorway. A few ponies exited and climbed the stairs in the opposite direction, following the running lights.
She’d passed closed doors on the way, making her aware of the fact that there were other rooms above ground that she may have entered. But the music seemed to be coming from down the stairs, in the basement, and it was then that she made the connection.
“Down you go, Octy,” she heard Vinyl say behind her and without further pause she continued, hesitant steps descending into the gloom, the music getting louder as she did so. She passed the ponies coming up in the opposite direction and after turning the corner at the bottom held her eyes on the room before her.
It was large, larger than she thought for a basement, though despite its size it still didn’t seem large enough to provide adequate space for everypony inside. The dance floor in the middle of the room and several smaller ones at the sides were packed with ponies, all sandwiched into the space and seemingly jumping up and down to the beats blaring out of the speakers. Many of the ponies had taken to dancing in small groups away from the dance floors, preferring to be able to move with a bit more space rather than rubbing shoulders and flanks against any number of strangers.
A brush against her side made the cellist turn to face Vinyl, who jerked her head to follow her and began trotting away, weaving her way between any ponies that got in her way as if she knew exactly where they were going to move next. Octavia had no such luck as she followed, muttering apologies and then shouting them when the ponies she bumped into didn’t hear her.
Before long she’d joined Vinyl at her destination; the night club’s bar. “A little drink to get us started,” Vinyl shouted at her before a unicorn bartender levitated over two extremely short glasses filled with a clear liquid and then whisked away the bits Vinyl had already placed on the counter. “Drink it like this,” Vinyl then explained as Octavia gave them a questioning glass.
The unicorn brought one of the glasses up to her lips and in one swift motion upturned it and her head, swallowing the contents in a single mouthful, the glass slamming back down on the counter. The second glass then lifted into the air, surrounded by the same blue glow except this time lining up with Octavia’s lips. The grey mare looked down at the glass, her eyes crossing as she did so which made Vinyl chuckle. She then lifted her head and as she did so, Vinyl upturned the glass.
The clear liquid flowed into Octavia’s mouth and she swallowed. She then coughed, her throat burning as a distinct taste of aniseed lingered at the back of her mouth. Vinyl gave her a moment to recover, a friendly pat on her shoulder slowly easing Octavia out of her coughing fit before another glass suddenly appeared in front of the earth pony once more, the bartended walking away with a few more bits. “Together this time,” Vinyl said, placing both glasses to their mouths.
Octavia wanted to refuse but she found herself unable to, wanting for a reason unknown to her to prove that she could handle a night with Vinyl’s lifestyle. A few minutes and a shot later, the two mares were heading off towards the dance floor, the burning at the back of Octavia’s throat having reduced to a much more pleasant warm sensation.
Much to Octavia’s initial displeasure, Vinyl was leading them towards one of the speakers against the wall, the music getting louder and louder until it felt like it was coming from inside her head. But after a moment or two she slowly grew accustomed to it and noted that there were fewer ponies around the speakers for them to bump into.
As Vinyl then approached her, getting close enough so that their cheeks were almost touching, she explained what they were doing. “Alright,” she began, her voice shouting down the grey coated, flicking ear, “I’m not going to show you up or leave you behind, so just follow my lead and I’ll show you how to dance to this sort of music.” The unicorn then stepped a foot away, standing opposite Octavia, and began to dance.
Her hooves never went far, side stepping to the left and right in beat to the music. Her head bobbed along with them, sending her short mane bouncing up and down. It seemed surprisingly simple, and so different to the crazy rhythms that other ponies seemed to be following. Octavia did her best to emulate it, only losing her pacing a few times before she got the hang of it. She found herself grinning up at Vinyl once she grew comfortable enough to not stare at her hooves.
Vinyl smiled back and very gradually began to add new steps to the dance, slowly building up Octavia’s routine until they were both dancing with enough competency to make it seem as if they’d been doing it for years. Once Octavia was happy with dancing by herself, Vinyl changed hers to something she preferred; similar, yet faster. Octavia considered copying it but felt right dancing to her own rhythm, choosing instead to let Vinyl dance however way she wanted to alone.
Every now and again the song would change and Vinyl would teach Octavia a new dance, each one different enough to be worth showing the steps until eventually Octavia had enough of an idea to dance by herself. She swayed and stepped and bobbed at the right places and for the right amount of time to fit in reasonably well with the other ponies, so much so that she found she was dancing with the ponies that stumbled into their little corner of the club.
She was nervous at first, but with Vinyl mingling with everypony that came over she soon adapted. Smiling and nodding at the unheard statements that were shouted at her above the music. Once or twice one of the ponies they were dancing with returned, carrying drinks for the two mares and Octavia found herself growing steadily more under the influence.
When Vinyl seemed to grow tired and moved to sit on her flanks with her back to the wall, the cellist joined her, panting as she sat beside her. “So, what do you think, enjoying yourself?” Vinyl leaned in and asked, leaving her head tilted towards her for the response.
Although the prim and proper earth pony hated to admit it to herself, she was having fun. It occurred to her that she could have been enjoying this night life for years if she’d just plucked up the courage and gone out to experience it. But she also realised that with her current friends she wouldn’t have had the opportunity to, she couldn’t imagine herself doing this alone.
She leaned her head towards Vinyl’s bumping them together gently before shouting back, “this is one of the best nights I’ve ever had.” Vinyl grinned at that, giving her head another bump with hers before Octavia continued. “But there’s one thing that could make it better.”
“Yeah... I think I need another drink.”
A few hours later, two giggling and swaying mares exited the doorway to ‘The Bassment.’ They trotted down the pavement for a minute, before they both decided they needed to sit down. “My hooves are killing me,” Octavia muttered, her ears still ringing.
“You’ll get used to it,” Vinyl responded, her head tilting back to stare at the stars, “standing still playing your little instrument isn’t as tiring as doing this every night.”
“My instrument isn’t little,” the cellist defended, giving Vinyl a gentle push with her forelegs. “Have you seen a cello? They’re bucking huge!” Vinyl blinked back at her in response, not saying a word. “What?”
“Nothing, I just never thought I’d hear you say something like that,” the DJ replied, a little giggle escaping her, “alcohol makes you lose your censor meter.”
“Oh,” Octavia then gasped, putting her hooves to her mouth and mumbling from behind them, “I’m so sorry. I didn’t mean to, it just slipped out.”
“Hey, don’t worry about me. I think it’s funny when you say something like that; it’s so unexpected,” she laughed, turning her head back up towards the sky and going quiet for a moment. The two sat there together for a while, watching the ponies meander back and forth from club to bar, and then back to a club once more. “C’mon,” Vinyl suddenly said, bringing herself to stand, “let’s find a bar to sit in, at least then we won’t freeze our flanks off.”
“And we can get another drink,” Octavia added, making Vinyl laugh once more, “preferably one that doesn’t burn going down...”
“Whatever you want, Octy,” Vinyl responded, waiting for Octavia to get to her hooves and then leading her further down the street, looking for a bar that caught her eye. They passed a number of potential candidates, each one looking inviting and busy enough to warrant attention but they were finding it difficult to choose the right one for them.
Eventually, however, Vinyl came to a stop, a huge grin on her face and her glasses lifting up so she could see better. “How about here?” she asked, turning towards Octavia and tilting her head towards the building she was looking at.
The cellist looked towards the direction she was being pointed in and then up towards the sign that flashed repeatedly in a loud, pink colour; ‘Fillyfools’. “I don’t think so, Vinyl,” she replied, then turned to walk back the way they came.
“Aww, c’mon!” Vinyl called after her, a quick canter placing her back by Octavia’s side. “It looks cool. And who knows, we might find some company,” the DJ continued in a sing song voice.
“I already have company.”
“No, the other kind of company,” Vinyl tried again, giving her a nudge and trying to get her to turn around.
“I know perfectly well what kind of company you’re referring to,” Octavia continued, resisting the nudges and giving Vinyl a surprisingly strong nudge in return. “We’re out together for drinks, not to flirt with strangers. Let’s just get some more drinks and then get home before the sun starts to come up... I don’t even know what time it is.”
“We could do both, you know...” Vinyl sulked, but reluctantly fell in line, following Octavia away from the bar and instead towards another bar a few buildings down. It had many ponies mingling inside but didn’t look busy enough that they couldn’t get a table.
“Oh, quit whining, Vinyl,” Octavia admonished, trotting up to the door of the bar and opening the door, “if it makes you feel better you’re at least not going home alone.”
“Yeah, I get to go to yours and sleep on the couch... fun.”
Octavia wasn’t sure why she thought what she then replied with, she figured it was the alcohol talking but it came out anyway. “Well you could have shared with me, but I might drool all over you,” she said, a sarcastic tone in her voice.
Vinyl didn’t seem to take it seriously, however, instead choosing to continue to sulk, heading off in search of a table for them to sit at whilst Octavia ordered them some drinks. Before long she returned, a tray in her mouth carrying two high ball glasses filled with what Vinyl suspected to be some form of an alcoholic iced tea. “Last drink before I take you home,” the cellist eventually spoke, the tray having been extracted by Vinyl’s magic to make it easier for Octavia to sit down.
“Alright, I suppose we have had quite a bit,” the DJ replied, her head swimming somewhat and the room seemingly moving around her. “It’s been a while since I’ve done this... thanks.”
Octavia stopped sipping from her straw to reply, a good inch of her drink already missing from her glass. “Don’t be silly, I should be thanking you. Do you have any idea how much fun I’ve had tonight? None of my ensemble friends would even dream of doing this with me... it’s a shame you’re not around all the time, we could do this again.”
“Everypony wants to party with DJ Pon3,” Scratch replied, a slight smirk on her face as she took a sip from her glass. “But I don’t have as much fun with it as I used to. I always have to club with new ponies, or ponies I barely know. I’ll definitely be making sure that you and I get to do this again sometime, even if I have to get you tickets to some of my gigs. I’m sure Opel wouldn’t mind me giving you some freebies... even if she did I wouldn’t care.”
“I’d like that, and maybe I could return the favour and get you to come to my concerts?” Octavia asked, her hooves stroking up and down her glass, eyes locked on the DJ’s glasses.
“Normally I’d decline, but I think I actually want to hear you play, as long as it’s not too boring,” she answered, her horn flickering as it lifted the straw out of her drink and placed it on the table, preferring to drink from the glass. She thought better of it, however, when her magic let the glass go when it lifted an inch off the table, falling back down with a thud and a splash as some of the contents spilled out on to the table. “Oops... guess I’ll have to stick with the straw...”
“Aww, too much drink for you to handle?” Octavia laughed, watching as Vinyl carefully placed the straw back into the glass. They then sat in silence, looking around the room for a while and taking in the scenery. The bar was playing music, the jukebox in the corner currently playing a soothing and mellow record that seemed to reflect the mood of the building. No pony was dancing as it wasn’t that kind of establishment, but there were many ponies talking and drinking with one another.
Eventually Octavia grew bored of her surroundings and instead turned back towards Vinyl, sipping on her drink again and watching the Unicorn. “Take off your glasses,” she suddenly asked, drawing Vinyl’s attention.
“Take off your glasses, please. It’s odd not being able to see your eyes; I can’t tell what you’re thinking.”
“I’m not thinking anything,” Vinyl replied, making no motion to move the glasses from where they sat on her face.
“You must be thinking something, everypony thinks something. I’m thinking something... like right now I think I’m rambling... I do that sometimes, or so I’m told. Just take the bloody things off,” the cellist persisted, a smile playing at her lips.
“You take your bowtie off then,” Vinyl countered, taking a large draught from her glass though the straw. “I think you’re the only pony in that club who was wearing something like that, and I did say you had to let loose.”
Octavia considered it for a moment, a hoof reaching up to rub at the one item of clothing she wore. “Alright,” she eventually agreed, her other hoof joining the first to fumble and pull at the knot but her diminished dexterity made it a challenge for her.
After a moment or two of watching with increasing amusement Vinyl’s horn lit up, a similar coloured aura flickering around the tie. Octavia put her hooves down as she felt it, letting Vinyl work but it seemed as if Vinyl was having difficulty grasping at it too. A minute passed, a look of frustration taking its form on the unicorns face before she gave up, rising to her legs and crossing the table. “Here, stay still,” she said before leaning her head forwards.
Octavia was startled at first, not expecting the sudden invasion of personal space. But she kept her head up and her chest out so that Vinyl could get at her tie more easily. The faint scent of the hotel’s ‘fancy’ inexpensive shampoo and the night’s activities wafted up into Octavia’s nostrils, Vinyl’s mane being so close. For the first time in an extremely long time, she felt the urge to lower her head and nuzzle into it, to feel its warmth and the softness of Vinyl’s coat.
She was distracted, however, when she felt her collar become loose and Vinyl’s mumbled words of triumph and the DJ pulled away, returning to her seat to face Octavia once more. “Nothing a good set of teeth couldn’t handle,” she grinned, her hooves reaching up to lift her glasses on top of her horn and then resumed drinking.
“Yes, thanks... ” the cellist replied, absentmindedly playing with the strips of cloth that now hung around her neck with a hoof. She reflected on what she had been thinking, once more chalking it up to alcoholic influence but she also toyed with the notion that it was just a natural reaction when somepony got that close to somepony else.
She looked at Vinyl, taking in every aspect of her from her electric blue mane to her vibrant red eyes, which were currently focused on her draining glass. She thought it cute the way she drank from her straw, her mouth wrapped around it, and then she admonished herself for using the word cute. Attractive, she then thought, before shaking her head and then giving up. Better to mull over these thoughts when sober, she finally decided.
“So, guess what I’m thinking?” The question snapped Octavia out of her thoughts, making her jump somewhat and causing her to bang her legs against the table. “Other than you must be falling asleep,” the DJ laughed.
A fierce blush took over Octavia’s face as she shook her head once more, scowling a little in reply. “I am NOT falling asleep; I was just thinking is all...” she replied, taking her drink and quickly draining it, a loud slurping noise escaping the glass as she sucked up the last few drops.
“Sure, whatever, Octy,” Vinyl grinned, lifting herself up back onto her hooves and leaning herself against the table. “But yeah, I was thinking we should go. And I’m hungry. I know a good place for us to get something to eat... it’s a long walk from here to your place... I think.”
“That actually sounds... like a good idea,” Octavia agreed, deciding that it would be best for them to finish the night before she grew tempted enough to give that ‘other’ bar a look inside. The two left their glasses at the table and began to move towards the door, once more making their way out on to the street. It was still cold, their visible breaths proved that, but the alcohol in their systems kept it away and they moved quite comfortably, albeit unsteadily, in the search of food.
“It’s just round the corner, it should still be open,” Vinyl explained, her gait somewhat staggered but far less so than Octavia’s, who was slowly veering off in one direction. Vinyl caught sight of her, however, and went after her, giggling some more at the cellist’s antics. “You can’t go off on your own now, Octy, how else am I going to get into your apartment? C’mere, lean against me, we’ll keep each other up.” Octavia did as she was told and she was able to walk in a straight line once more, and she found herself thinking that it wasn’t such a bad position to be in.
Eventually they came across a small open window sandwiched between two shops. A pony was stood before it, a pegasus stallion and he accepted a paper bag in his mouth that was passed to him from the window before spreading his wings and taking flight. When Octavia and Vinyl reached the window they were greeted by a tall earth pony mare, an apron tied around her waist and a hair net keeping her mane in place. “What can I get ya?”
“A hay burger and a portion of hay fries, please,” Vinyl answered, licking her lips at the thought as Octavia groggily peered at the menu. “Can you slice the burger in half though? We’ll share.”
“Are you sure, Vinyl? I don’t mind getting my own... though I’m not sure if I’ll like it anyway, I’ve never had a hay burger before.”
“Yes, I’m sure,” Scratch laughed, sitting herself down in front of the window and urging Octavia to do the same. “If you might not like it, which I’m sure you will anyway, then you can just try some of mine. And besides, I think it’s way past your bedtime, you probably wouldn’t finish it anyway. When was the last time you were out this late drinking?”
“I’m not sleepy,” Octavia affirmed once more, giving her head another shake to open her eyes and taking more weight off Vinyl’s side.
“Hey, it’s nothing to be ashamed of,” Vinyl replied, letting out a yawn which was soon caught by Octavia, “I’m tired too, and I’m used to this sort of thing.” Octavia just grumbled a reply and Vinyl chose to leave it at that.
Before long the mare in the window returned, a plastic tray containing their order being placed on the window’s counter. “Five bits,” she said with a yawn of her own, and looking towards the clock above the inside of the window, “you girls are lucky, I close at three; you caught me just before I shut off the grill.”
“Well thanks for taking our order then,” Vinyl replied, taking out six bits and passing them over.
“You’re welcome,” the mare replied, pleasantly surprised by the tip.
“C’mon, Octy, we best get walking,” the DJ then said before very carefully taking the tray of food in her magical grip and moving away with Octavia.
The two walked side by side, once more, leaning against each other for support. Vinyl held the tray aloft in front of them and took it in turns to bring each half of the burger towards their mouths. “You don’t have to do that, Vinyl,” Octavia eventually piped up after swallowing a mouthful of her half.
“Yes I do, otherwise you’ll get it all over your face,” Vinyl replied, taking the last part of her half into her mouth and beginning to chew. “You’re shtill an earf poneh,” she mumbled through her food, making Octavia frown a little.
“You’re drunk, but that doesn’t mean you can talk with your mouthful.”
The unicorn swallowed before letting out a light giggle. “Sorry, I don’t eat around fancy ponies much.”
“It’s not just fancy ponies, it’s just good manners. I expect them when we have breakfast in the morning,” Octavia then added, her eyes sizing up the tray in front of her. “Can I have a fry?”
“Well since you’re apparently offering breakfast in the morning, sure,” the DJ smiled, levitating a crispy fry into Octavia’s awaiting mouth.
The two continued on in their journey home, passing a few guards every now and again. They were quite pleased with the fact that they could walk the streets in the state they were in without being hassled by any unsavoury characters they might have come across, though Octavia thought that might have been different if they’d stayed in the bar Vinyl had originally taken them to.
Eventually Octavia turned them down a street that lead to several high rise towers, obviously meant for residential purpose rather than business due to the number of decorative plants and furnishings that adorned the balconies of most of the windows.
Passing two of the towers, Octavia turned them towards the entrance doors of the third and before long they stood in the warm foyer awaiting the elevator. Octavia took a quick glance at her apartment’s post box and noted that she had some letters but she was too tired to bother to get her key out of her bag to retrieve them. Deciding on getting them in the morning they both entered the elevator and road it up to the sixth floor.
“At least it’s not all the way at the top,” Vinyl commented, thankful that she wasn’t staying in the hotel and having to ride it any higher.
“I prefer to be closer to the ground, I’d be lower but all the floors below are completely occupied,” Octavia replied, stepping out of the elevator and taking an immediate left towards her door. She dropped her bag off her shoulders, rummaged around inside it before remembering her key was in the front pocket and after some fiddling with the lock, let them inside.
“So...” Vinyl spoke up, following Octavia inside and giving the room quick observational glances, “I’m still on the couch?” The entrance way was as Vinyl expected; completely spotless. There wasn’t a single item that seemed out of place, no clutter, just a few potted plants and two doors that led to the rest of the apartment.
“No, you get a bed,” Octavia replied, placing her bag neatly on top of a table before pointing down the hallway. “Door down there leads to the music room,” she explained before leading Vinyl into the door half way down the hall. “This is the living room,” she then pointed towards both the doors on the right side of that room, “my room and your room for the evening,” and then finally pointed to the two doors on the left side of the room, “bathroom and kitchen.”
“Quick tour,” Vinyl replied with a smile.
“I’m tired, I’ll show you around in the morning,” the cellist answered back before stumbling her way towards her bedroom door.
“Don’t I get a glass of milk and a kiss good night?” Vinyl called after her in a teasing tone. She didn’t get a response to that, aside from a ‘good night, Vinyl’ as Octavia opened her door and closed it behind her, leaving Vinyl in the living room. “Spoil sport,” she whispered with a grin before making her way towards the other door.
Once inside she had a quick snoop around, but it was a guest room in the truest sense. No personal items adorned the tables or walls, nor any pictures or mementos. There was just a bed, a comfortable looking one at that, two wardrobes, a dresser and a night stand.
Through the wall, Vinyl could hear Octavia getting into bed; the creak of a mattress as she got onto it and the inevitable shifting about as she tried to get comfortable. The DJ did the same, though her bed made considerably less noise, lack of use keeping the springs firm and resistant against her weight. It didn’t take her long to get comfortable; resting on her side with her head against one of the softest pillows she’d ever placed it against. The sheets were wonderfully cosy and warm and before long she dozed off, a gentle snore growing into the room.
On the other side of the wall, Octavia was still awake; her mind unable to quieten down once it was left alone. She was physically exhausted, her legs and muscles aching from the dancing and the long walks she’d indulged in that evening. But her thoughts kept drifting back towards the bar, the smell of Vinyl’s mane, her eyes, her smile. She clenched her eyes shut as she let out a sigh of frustration before rolling over, taking one of the pillows from under her head and holding it against her belly.
She had no idea why she was dwelling on those thoughts. Sure, Vinyl had been nice to her since they’d met, and more friendly and honest than most of the ponies she mingled with. But she didn’t know why that would make her have such thoughts. She had sobered up somewhat during their walk home but she still reasoned that it was the alcohol in her that had caused her mind to construct such intricate fantasies, a product of one too many shots that warped her mind. She figured she’d feel differently in the morning. She couldn’t help but imagine what Vinyl looked like with bed mane, however. She gripped the pillow harder.
The sound of Vinyl's snores from next door played in her mind and although her thoughts were firing in all directions she soon came to focus on the rhythm, her consciousness becoming enraptured with the unfamiliar sound. After a few minutes her body gave up and her eyes remained closed as she fell into slumber.
Outside on the street, a pegasus checked his camera once more, making sure that the pictures he was taking were good quality shots. He grinned to himself as he carefully placed it into his bag for safe keeping along with his notes from the previous day and took flight towards his office. “Snapshot, if this doesn’t make first page then you’re in the wrong job.”
It used to be a strange sensation, waking up in a different bed. Vinyl remembered when she first began to tour that she found it difficult falling asleep in strange, unfamiliar locations. It took her a long time to be able to adapt to the different noises and atmospheres of each town or city where she lay down her head but she’d never manage to get a perfect night’s sleep anywhere but her own bed. When she cracked one of her eyelids open in the bed provided to her by Octavia however, she found that she’d rested quite well.
The curtains had already been closed before she’d fallen asleep the night before, which she was thankful for as she hadn’t given them a moment’s notice when she got in bed. The room was cast in a merciful twilight which did very little to aggravate the dull throb that Vinyl could feel in the back of her head. She rolled over onto her back, opening her other eye as she did so and stared at the ceiling, her tongue running over the roof of her mouth in an attempt to alleviate the dryness she felt.
Her thoughts drifted to the night before and she smiled. She’d had fun, more fun than she’d had in a long time. It’d had been several months since she was able to visit the night scene without having to watch her appearance or perform for a crowd, she only had to worry about the mare she was with. Her ears flicked, trying to determine whether or not Octavia had already awoken and left her room but aside from the pump of her pulse coursing through her head she couldn’t hear a thing.
She lifted her head off the ridiculously comfortable pillow and gazed around the room, trying to find a clock but there was nothing on the walls or dressers to be able to tell the time with. She knew it was morning from the simple fact she could see, but it could still be quite early; or much later than she thought. Figuring she should try and find out whether she’d need to make up an excuse for why she didn’t turn up to see Opal or get another few hours sleep, the DJ got up.
The bed didn’t make a noise as she rolled onto the edge of the bed and dropped her hooves on to the plush carpeted floor, the fluff muffling her hoof steps as she took a few steps forwards. Curiosity got the better of her for a moment, and she decided to have a quick look around the room, wondering if Octavia kept anything of interest in it for storage. She’d been told it was a guest room but if she didn’t get many guests then she could have kept anything in there.
She was soon disappointed however when a quick investigation into the contents of the chest of drawers opposite the bed, the wardrobes against the wall opposite the window, and the two bedside tables on either side of the bed revealed them to be empty. Curiosity unsatisfied she grumbled to herself and quietly opened the bedroom door, eyes squinting a little as light filled the room through the opening.
As she had suspected, Octavia was nowhere to be seen in the living room. The couches and chairs were empty and popping her head out into the room and looking at the grey mare’s bedroom door revealed it to be as closed as it was last night. Exiting her room, Vinyl placed her ear gently against the closed door, trying to hear if the mare within was still home. She didn’t think Octavia would have left Vinyl alone in her home but the unicorn couldn’t hear anything so it was a conclusion she’d have come to if she didn’t get a look inside.
Using that as her excuse, and with a bit of a grin, the DJ lit up her horn and with a soft click, the door opened. Almost immediately Vinyl could see that the room was darker than the one she’d been using, and as the door opened wide enough to stick her head in the gap she saw that that was due to their being much thicker, black curtains covering the window in the room. Through the gloom she could make out a few furnishings; a desk in the corner, a single wardrobe, what appeared to be a couple of picture frames on the bedside table, and finally the bed.
Vinyl pushed the door open a little further, casting light from the living room onto the bed and saw what could only be described as a lump in the middle of the mattress. The duvet had been pulled away from the corners of the bed and bunched together into a pile and only the splayed out mass of hair belonging to a black tail - spread out from under the duvet and hanging over the bed - revealed that the occupant of the room was taking up residence in the middle of it all, seemingly snoozing soundly.
Under normal circumstances Vinyl would have been chuckling to herself and contemplating jumping on the bed, or having a quick snoop around the room. She could see that there were plenty of personal items for her to nosy at and learn more about the passed out pony from, but she did feel somewhat hesitant to actually do so.
Although she was typically an invasive pony there was something about somepony’s bedroom that was so... intimate, and with Octavia being as hung-over as Vinyl thought she might be she probably wouldn’t have been too keen to be woken up in such a way. The rest of the apartment, however, was fair game, and so with a silent smile she shut the door once more, turning on the spot to gaze at the living room.
She’d briefly taken a look around when she arrived the night before, but in the darkness and distorted sense of awareness due to the alcohol she hadn’t really paid attention. The first thing that she noticed was that Octavia loved symmetry. Every piece of furniture was evenly spaced out and had a matching item on the opposite side of the room, two armchairs and a couch making up the centrepiece of the room surrounding a glass coffee table.
Various paintings and wall hangings decorated the walls of the room, some of them looking rather expensive. Vinyl wasn’t much for art but she recognised that some of the paintings must have cost a princely sum of bits, providing they weren’t replicas. And to go along with the paintings there were rows upon rows of books stacked into book cases alongside an entire wall of the room.
“I could see her as an evil villain,” Vinyl muttered to herself, a silly smile on her face, “one of these books must hide a switch to a secret laboratory or something, why else would she have so many?” She paused for a moment in front of the cases and studied the book spines and their titles but soon grew bored. None of them looked like she’d be interested in reading them and when she found a distinct lack of any Daring Do novels she decided to find the kitchen to quench her thirst.
As expected, the kitchen was impeccably clean. There wasn’t a single dirty dish in the sink, all the cutlery was put away – and in correct order in the drawer when Vinyl checked – and not even a smudge on the counter tops. The tiled floor was gleaming and the DJ found herself wondering if Octavia used the room at all. Shrugging it off she began her search for a glass and once found she filled it with water.
Her throat accepted the water far too easily, however - eager to sooth the dryness with the refreshing liquid - and she swallowed and breathed at the same time. She choked on it, gasping and coughing as she hacked the water out of her lungs and with her concentration broken, her horn let go of the glass.
The musical chime of fine glass cracking and smashing into dozens of little pieces upon a tiled floor echoed throughout the room and Vinyl flinched, panting somewhat from her coughing fit. She quickly scooped up the pieces with her magic, holding them aloft whilst she checked the floor for any she might have missed before placing them in the bin, the pieces jingling as they clattered against one another.
Once she mopped up the left over water on the floor with a cloth she found next to the sink she hazarded a look out of the kitchen door, and gulped at what she saw. The door to the dark abyss that was Octavia’s room was wide open and light pouring out on to the bed revealed its occupant was missing. Vinyl hoped that the cellist wasn’t too angry at being woken up, especially by the destruction of her property, but she was relieved that she was no longer alone.
She stepped out of the kitchen, wondering where the mare had dragged herself off to as she wasn’t sat on one of the chairs or seats in the living room. Deciding it was worth the risk, Vinyl approached Octavia’s bedroom and stood at the threshold to peer inside. “Octy, you in here?” she asked before stepping in, taking the opportunity to have a glance into the cellist’s inner sanctum.
The first thing that she noticed that there was a stark contrast between how Octavia treated the public space of her home and the private space of her bedroom; it was a mess. Now not concealed in the partially opened door she was peering through earlier, Vinyl could see that there was very little about the room that was considered neat.
The bed was still unmade, sheets and duvets scattered around the mattress with a pillow lying on the floor beside it. The bowtie Octavia had been wearing the night before had been casually dropped to the floor, and as the DJ scanned the room she found several more bowties littering the area. The desk in the corner was covered with music sheets from whatever composition Octavia had been working on and the few areas of the desk she could see were coffee ringed and stained with the long nights it had undoubtedly experienced.
It was quite a shock to Vinyl to see the room in such a state when all the other rooms in the apartment seemed meticulously maintained to such a high standard. It wasn’t until the sharp intake of breath and the sudden exclamation behind her did she discover that the reason was probably because no pony was allowed in Octavia’s room. “What are you doing in my bedroom?!”
The unicorn whipped around on the spot, a guilty expression on her face as she clapped eyes on the grey mare standing in the doorway to the bathroom. The cellist was staring with a heavy blush on her face, a bottle of painkillers lying on the floor in front of her where she had obviously dropped them when she saw Vinyl.
“Er... looking for you?” the DJ offered, trying her best to look as innocent as possible; though the way she shuffled on her hooves didn’t help her position very much.
Octavia couldn’t believe that she’d left her bedroom door open. She knew that she had company, and it was her company that had woke her up, yet she had still made the mistake. It was only the incessant throbbing in the back of her skull that made her forget to close the door behind her in her effort to find adequate pain relief. And now the frustrating source of her restless and fitful slumber was standing in full view of one of her most guarded secrets.
“If you tell anypony about this then I’ll make sure you regret it,” the cellist warned, knowing it was far too late to change what had happened. “You probably think I’m a slob...”
“Who am I going to tell, it’s not like I can go to the press to reveal Octavia’s dirty little secrets, can I?” Vinyl asked, casually stepping out from Octavia’s bedroom and joining her in the living room. When she noticed Octavia did not look amused at all she continued. “And besides, it’s your room, do what you like with it. All I’m wondering is why the rest of this place is so spotless compared to it.”
“No pony goes into my room... so I just don’t bother keeping it tidy,” the earth pony mare answered, leaning down to pick up the painkillers and twist the cap with a practiced hoof. “I do clean it... just not very often; I find it helps me think a little more clearly when I don’t have to worry about how neat everything is.”
“Well I think you over compensate for it in the rest of your home,” Vinyl mused, making her way towards the couch and taking up position on it, “there’s not even any dust in here.” She then grew interested in the pair of glasses that sat atop a book on a side table. She levitated them towards herself before Octavia could protest and slipped them on to her head, her vision becoming alarmingly unfocused. “Wow, Octy... your eyesight is really bad.”
“Thank you for stating the obvious,” the cellist grumbled before retreating into the kitchen, Vinyl’s unfocused gaze following her as she left.
As Octavia retrieved a glass from her cupboard - noticing one missing from her neatly arranged lines - and filled it with tap water, she began to let her mind wander. She was annoyed with herself, her thoughts having coalesced into Vinyl the moment she had woken. The shatter of glass would normally lead her to believe her home had been intruded upon, yet that hadn’t even occurred to her as she left her bed.
Clearly I’m still under the influence, she thought to herself as she popped two painkillers into her mouth and took several large gulps of water, I guess hangovers don’t make it easy for my thoughts to clear. Under normal circumstances she’d have cleaned her glass, dried it and returned it to the cupboard she’d taken it from. But with her having company she simply left it in the sink and made her way back to the living room, only to meet Vinyl’s gaze from the doorway.
“If you don’t take them off you’ll damage your eyes,” the cellist said with a stern tone, though the slight smile on her face did little to reinforce it.
“I just can’t get over how bad it is, how do you wear these things?” the DJ asked, looking away and waving her hoof in front of her face, eliciting a mild laugh from Octavia.
“I don’t. I told you, they’re my emergency pair of glasses. I wear contact lenses all the time. Unless I don’t plan to go anywhere for a day or two, I’d rather save the bits and wear the glasses around the place.” The grey mare paused for a moment, trying not to laugh at the magnified eyes of the unicorn before continuing. “Besides, they’re not exactly the most fashionable piece of eyewear to be seen in.”
“Well you’re not that fashionable to begin with,” Vinyl retorted, giving a quiet chuckle at her joke until she noticed Octavia’s blurry form walking back into the kitchen.
“I take it you don’t want breakfast then.”
“Wait, I’m sorry, you’re fashionable!” the DJ then exclaimed, getting up in a panic and trying to follow her, worried about the loss of breakfast. Octavia smiled triumphantly as she heard the scrabble and then winced as she heard a bang followed by the thump of a pony hitting the floor.
Turning around and looking back into the living room, the cellist looked down to see Vinyl sprawled out on her back, a hoof rubbing furiously at her forehead where she’d smacked it against the doorway into the kitchen. “My eyesight is not that bad,” Octavia quickly defended, already realising what had happened and pre-empting any witty remark the unicorn may have had. “You must have been able to see the door...”
“That wasn’t the problem,” Vinyl retorted, one eye closed as she slowly rolled herself back to her feet, “I couldn’t tell where the door frame ended and the doorway began.” Her horn lit up and removed the offending piece of eyewear, the lenses shakily floating towards a table to dispose of them. With her vision restored and a reasonably sized lump having formed on her head the DJ smiled and trotted into the kitchen. “So, what’s for breakfast?”
“I don’t know yet,” Octavia replied after a moment’s careful observation, wondering whether or not Vinyl was going to bump into anything else in a dazed stumble. “But first I’m getting you some ice for your head.”
“And some orange juice too,” Vinyl added, taking a seat at the table by the far wall, grinning. “It’s the least you can do for having such a dangerous apartment. I’m your guest; you’re supposed to make sure hazardous equipment is kept out of reach.”
“I wouldn’t have thought glasses were hazardous equipment, Vinyl...” Octavia replied before retrieving a frozen bag of alfalfa sprouts from the freezer.
“Eww... we are not having alfalfa for breakfast,” the DJ was quick to speak up, earning a light chuckle from the cellist who ignored her protest and brought them over to the table.
“It’s for your clumsy head. I’m afraid I don’t have any real ice packs.”
“Oh... that’s alright then...” A blue aura enveloped the sprouts and the bag was soon pressed against Vinyl’s forehead, the lump stinging for a moment before it became a dull throb. “So... Pancakes?”
Octavia’s music room was exactly how Vinyl had expected it to be; neat and tidy and everything in its own place. They had retreated to the room after a light breakfast of oats and milk, Octavia having complained about their unhealthy and borderline disgusting choice of late night meal and wanting to compensate for it. Vinyl objected at first but backed down when Octavia broached on the subject of Opal’s diet plan, though the high-class mare did promise that she’d make her pancakes one day, which cheered her up to no end.
The DJ had eventually discovered the time of day, being very late morning - early afternoon by the time they’d finished breakfast. She wasn’t expected to meet Opal until three so Octavia had kindly offered to house Vinyl until she needed to leave, especially so after the unicorn had mentioned fears of imposing.
“I told you that you could see Ponyville from here, look.” The cellist pointed her hoof against the window pane, the light from the autumn sun casting her shadow behind her despite it being close to noon. Out in the distance the picturesque town of Ponyville sat nestled between the backdrop of the Everfree forest and the immense apple orchards that stretched beyond sight.
The earth pony was about to comment on how she could imagine wanting to live there, the temptation of a peaceful and quiet existence strong, but the twang of off key strings distracted her and she quickly darted her head towards Vinyl’s direction.
“Why do you have so many?” The unicorn asked as she strummed her hoof over another set of strings belonging to a violin.
“Don’t do that!” Octavia snapped, darting over to prevent Vinyl from touching any more of her instruments in such a brutish manner. “You’re not supposed to just pull at the strings with your clumsy hooves.” She shooed the startled unicorn away and it was only after she inspected the violin and determined that it hadn’t been damaged did she realise her rudeness. “Oh... I’m sorry... It’s just-”
“You’re protective of your instruments,” Vinyl interrupted with a wave of her hoof, “it’s alright, I get it. Same reason no pony touches my turntables but me.” She failed to notice the blush adorning Octavia’s face and instead browsed the assortments of instruments about the room. “You still have a lot though. You don’t really play them all, do you?”
“Some more than others,” the other mare admitted, eyeing Vinyl warily as the DJ looked up and down the various types of instruments on offer. Many of the string instruments lay against or on stands, some valuable pieces locked away in glass cases but others obviously worn with the signs of heavy usage. Horns and woodwinds of numerous types were also available from tubas to clarinets. “As you may have already surmised, I favour the cello, but I can play most string instruments. A few brass and I can dabble in the piano. I guess my talent is instruments in general.
“My ensemble occasionally practices here when it’s just a small group of us, there are five of us in total but usually we play as a foursome. We’re kept quite busy most of the time.” The ever cautious host continued to watch Vinyl but it was clear that she wasn’t going to do any more touching without permission. “Do you play anything?” Octavia then asked, a hopeful tone hidden in her voice as brief daydreams of playing into the night alongside Vinyl in front of the window ran through her head. Together... gazing out at Ponyville, the moon lighting up Vinyl’s wonderful eyes..., Octavia shook her head, reprimanding herself once more for her traitorous imagination.
“Nope, never really had the knack for it; I much prefer electronics.”
Octavia almost thanked Celestia at that revelation. Now there’s no temptation... unless I offer to teach her...
“Hey, do you have an accordion?” Vinyl suddenly asked, startling Octavia and causing her to stutter as a response. “I’ve always loved the accordion, it’s so... weird. And fun. Me and Lyra used to go down to the park when we were foals and there was this unicorn who played it. We’d sit there for ages listening... but then Lyra sort of stopped. I never told her where I used to disappear to every now and then, thought she might laugh if she found out I still went to listen to him.”
“No, I’m afraid I don’t,” the cellist eventually replied, holding back her distaste for the instrument in lieu of the fact Vinyl seemed so fond of it. “There are many instruments I don’t own, which is probably for the best. I’d soon run out of space to put them all.”
“Don’t worry about it,” Vinyl once again, nonchalantly replied, turning a few pages in a music book, “I was just wondering is all. Haven’t seen one in a few years, thought maybe you’d have one considering your collection.” Under normal circumstances, or in her small circle of friends, Octavia would have given a snide remark at that statement, but she found that she couldn’t bring one to boil in the presence of the DJ, through fear of offending her.
“I know that I said I didn’t want to impose earlier,” Vinyl then began, causing Octavia’s ears to prick forwards with attentiveness, “but could I use your shower. Opal won’t be too impressed if I turn up with evidence of last night’s escapades out on the town on my coat.”
The two ponies were a little worse for wear. Of the two, Octavia certainly showed the signs that she had just gotten out of bed. The usually well kept mare had creases under her eyelids, and her mane and tail was frayed and frizzy. Vinyl on the other hand looked just as she usually did at first glance. Her wild hair gave nothing away but if one looked closely they would be able to make out the drink spills and the tiniest splotch of ketchup from their late night meal upon her white coat.
“Of course. You have to look presentable when speaking with your agent.” Octavia had absolutely no intention of refusing the unicorn; she was in fact trying to think up a way to broach the subject without implying that Vinyl was in need of a wash. “You remember where the bathroom is? There are towels in the cupboard behind the bath, use as many as you like.” She began to make her way out of the room, opening the door to the doorway and motioning for Vinyl to take the lead.
“I’ll try not to make too much of a mess,” the DJ grinned, trotting ahead of Octavia and giving her a playful bump with her hips as she moved past. The cellist stumbled but was sure to let her indignation known with a hearty ‘hmph’ afterwards. Yet she couldn’t help the slight smile that crept on to her face.
A short while later and the grey earth pony was alone in the living room, the sound of Vinyl wandering around in the bathroom the only thing to break the silence. She was debating on whether to take a seat on the couch and wait or return to her room and possibly make her bed when another sound graced her ears. She cringed as the familiar tone of her doorbell rung in her ears, followed by the harsh rap of a hoof on the wooden door.
With a sigh of frustration and a mumble under her breath, Octavia trotted out into the hallway just as she heard Vinyl switch on the shower. The sound of the water hitting the tub grew quieter as she approached her front door and the bell was rung again.
“I’m coming,” she called out, an air of sophistication creeping into her voice despite the dull throb of a head ache persisting through the pills she’d taken. “Hello,” she began after she opened the door, gazing out into the corridor. She then gasped, her heart skipping a beat.
“Octavia, you’re looking... dishevelled.” Beauty Brass smiled. “May I come in?”
(A.N:- Took me a while but I got through my stumbling blocks. Should be plain sailing from here on in. Let me know if there's any obvious mistakes or if you don't like a part of this chapter, I obviously struggled with it.)
(I should really stop over promising things...)
“Well... aren’t you going to invite me in?” Beauty asked, dressed as impeccably as ever in her bow tie and carefully groomed mane.
The two mares had been stood in the doorway in silence, one with a pleasant smile, the other with a blank, mouth half open stare. Octavia’s brain furiously ticked away inside her skull, desperately trying to restart itself from its addled state and articulate a response. “Huh?” was all it managed to come up with.
“Oh, for goodness’ sake, dear,” Beauty replied, her smile turning into more of a smirk as she stepped forwards to let herself in, easily brushing the cellist to one side as she passed. “One would think you lost your manners as well as your inhibitions last night.”
“Excuse me?” Octavia finally spoke after her stalled brain finally managed to get going again. She closed the door behind Beauty Brass and wheeled around to catch her snooping up and down the hallway. She remembered the night before, seeing her and Symphony at the music lounge, and she began to put two and two together for the reason why her friend had decided to call on her today of all days. “Just what is it you are trying to imply?”
“I’m not implying anything,” she replied, making it obvious that she wasn’t intending on stopping her investigations. “All I meant was that I saw you out last night, and judging by your unkempt appearance you enjoyed yourself. That’s just not like you at all, Octavia, is it?” The grin on Beauty’s face did not go unnoticed as the blue mare grew bored of the hallway and tried to enter the living room.
“Well yes, I just thought I might like a drink is all,” the cellist quickly spoke up, trotting ahead to force her way in front of Beauty Brass and between the door. Her ears flicked, conscious of the sound of the running water still creeping in from beyond the closed door.
“Ah, now I see why you’re acting so strange,” Beauty smiled, her own ears flicking, “I interrupted your shower. Please, no need to wait on me; we’ve been friends for years. I know where your teapot is, go, I’ll have a nice hot cup waiting for you when you get out and we can have a catch up.” And with that, Beauty Brass continued to smile in silence, waiting for Octavia to let her in.
“Oh... um... alright, tea, yes... well, come in?” Octavia eventually spoke up when the silence had drawn on to make it uncomfortable, thoroughly confused. She opened the door and led Beauty inside, the shower now sounding louder. Her guest continued to look around the apartment, no attempt being made at subtlety which only confused Octavia further, and worried her at the same time.
“I think I’ll sit down for a moment before making the tea,” Beauty then said, making her way towards the sofa and taking a seat. She briefly inspected a pair of sunglasses that had been left on the couch, much to Octavia’s dismay; she hadn’t even realised Vinyl had been missing them. “Hmm, I don’t think these are your style, dear, but each to their own, I suppose. Now, off you go, I’ll just rest my hooves.”
“Oh no, I couldn’t possibly do that,” Octavia quickly replied, desperately trying to think of a way to get rid of her friend. She didn’t know why she was so concerned, the fact Vinyl had stayed the night didn’t necessarily imply anything had happened. But she knew what Beauty was like, and even if it was obvious that the cellist had only offered her spare room to a friend, the tuba player would still call her out on it just for fun.
“Why don’t we go out for a little dinner?” Octavia offered, her ears flicking once more as the sound of the water hitting the tub was repeatedly interrupted by Vinyl getting in its way. “I’ll just freshen up and meet you there; maybe we could go to Alejandro’s down the street?”
“Nonsense, Octavia, I’ve been quite looking forwards to having tea with you,” Beauty dismissed, still with that same smile on her face that was starting to come across as rather creepy to Octavia.
“B-but we could perhaps meet up with some others from our ensemble,” the pressured mare tried once more, glancing uneasily at the bathroom door. “We could make an afternoon of it.”
“Well alright,” Beauty finally relented, making Octavia sigh with relief. “But I can’t leave you to walk there all by yourself,” she then continued, causing Octavia to catch her breath once more. “I’ll wait for you and escort you there. Now chop, chop, we don’t have all day, it’s already the afternoon and... oh for Celestia’s sake, I can’t keep this up. Who is she?”
“W-what? Who?” Octavia replied, pupils the size of pinpricks as she stepped back from the now advancing Beauty Brass but stumbled and landed in a sitting position on her rump.
“The mare in your shower, the one you were out with last night and made that awful ruckus in the lounge.” Beauty explained, making herself clear. She then smirked. “I thought it very... liberal of you to be out on a date with a mare; I never knew you had it in you. You’ve always been so traditional.”
“I was not on a date!” She hadn’t meant to raise her voice, but the accusation was exactly what she had feared Beauty would make. She clasped a hoof to her mouth and looked towards the bathroom, but the water was still running and there was no indication that Vinyl had heard her.
“Really?” The teasing tone of Beauty’s voice drew back Octavia’s attention and she looked at the mare who now wore a broad smirk and a raised eye brow. “From my perspective it doesn’t look that good for you, dear. Normally you’re up bright and early by now, washed, dressed and ready for the world. But from the look... and smell of you, it seems like you only just got out of bed within the past hour or two, and it’s almost one in the afternoon. I bet you two were so warm and cosy in bed with one another that you just lost track of time, hmm?”
“Stop it this instant,” Octavia rebutted, a scarlet blush on her face as she looked away, unable to maintain eye contact. “We went out after the convention, she convinced me to go dancing with her and I offered her a place to stay for the night long in advance of that. She also had a separate bed,” she then pointed out, motioning towards the spare bedroom with its door still open, the unmade bed seen within acting as evidence. “We’re just friends.”
Beauty Brass eyed the spare bedroom, as if contemplating on the situation. “Well... we both know how you are with your bedroom, even I haven’t seen the inside of it in the past several years and I’m your best friend... maybe you took her to the spare room to have your way with her where you wouldn’t be embarrassed...”
“No!” Octavia then shouted, slowly growing more irritated by the second. She felt as if her head would explode if any more blood rushed to it.
“You alright out there, Octy?” Vinyl’s voice then called, freezing the two mares where they stood, though Beauty Brass was sporting a huge grin.
“‘Octy?’ she whispered, suppressing a snicker.
“Oh, hush, you,” Octavia hissed back before answering Vinyl. “Er... yes, everything’s fine, Vinyl, I just...” she paused, thinking of an excuse, and then sighed when she knew there were only a few things Vinyl might believe. “I found a... spot... on the carpet... it’ll stain.”
There was a moment’s pause, the tick of the clock on the wall the only sound before Vinyl answered. “Ok, Octy. Well, I’ll be done in a few minutes, just hafta dry up, can I use your hair dryer? ’K, thanks!” And without waiting for a reply the sound of said hairdryer replaced the running water.
“So, she’s called Vinyl, huh?” the blue mare asked, taking up residence on the couch once more. “She didn’t look like she’d be your type by the looks of her last night; electric blue hair, a pair of sunglasses at night? What are you, rebelling against your parents or something?”
Octavia refused to dignify the question with a response, instead taking a seat on an armchair facing the bathroom door. “You’re not going to leave, are you?”
“Nope, and I get the feeling you’re not going to keep biting, are you?”
“Well then, I guess I’ll have to be serious for a while,” Beauty relented, the look of glee in her eyes dampening slightly. “So you really aren’t seeing somepony?”
“I don’t know why you jumped to that conclusion in the first place.”
“Well after the convention you said you’d stay behind for a while, which we all thought was strange. Frederick and Harpo said you were just being you so I ignored it. But then Symphony and I saw you last night and I guess we just put two and two together. Secret liaisons behind your friends’ backs are how all the romances start in the novels I read. Add that to the fact you’ve not bothered to even contemplate dating anypony since school and the fact that every stallion I’ve tried to introduce you to you’ve shunned, I just figured you were... of a different persuasion, as it were.”
“I am not a fillyfooler.” Octavia quickly stated with an impassive look on her face.
“You say that as if it were the worst thing in the world.”
“No I don’t, I’m just saying that I’m not interested in mares.”
“How do you know?”
The question caught Octavia off guard, she had never been asked so blatantly before. “I don’t think I understand the question,” she answered, staring at the perfectly straight face Beauty had adopted.
“I mean, how do you know you’re not interested in mares if you’ve never given thought to it,” the blue mare elaborated. “Come on, ‘Octy’, you never do anything new or interesting. I know you, I went to school with you, grew up with you, I love you like a sister. But for the past few years you’ve been living the same day over and over. You’ve never tried to date a stallion, let alone a mare, and you’re oblivious to any flirting that gets sent your way. How do you know that you don’t like mares if you’ve never done anything to confirm otherwise?”
The question hung in the air. Neither mare spoke, one awaiting some form of a response, the other stunned into a contemplative silence. The cellist had always tried to tell herself what she wanted, and she did admit to herself that what she wanted was to conform to typically traditional values. Any deviation from that path normally didn’t appeal to her that much, so she often dismissed many notions and ideas. Being attracted to mares was one such notion.
Before she could voice her opinion, however, there was a click from the bathroom and both mares turned to see Vinyl step out from the door. Despite seeming much cleaner than when she went in, she didn’t look very different from how Octavia had grown to expect. She was dry, however, drier than the last time Octavia saw her after a wash. Her mane was still its typically unmanaged self, though having it blown dry rather than towel dried had done it wonders to make it look smooth, silky, and oh so much more inviting, or so Octavia couldn’t help thinking.
After a moment of Octavia staring absently in Vinyl’s direction, and with no introduction on the horizon, Beauty Brass took it upon herself to speak. “I’m afraid you must think it rather rude of me, barging in today whilst Octavia’s maintaining company.” She smiled warmly at Vinyl, who scratched the back of her head with a hoof as she studied Beauty’s features.
“I was simply informing Octavia of our schedule for the next week, I’m part of her ensemble, you see, and a member of the Orchestra,” she continued, hoping that Octavia would step in and take the reins.
“Oh, I know you,” Vinyl finally spoke, a grin breaking out on her face which made Beauty Brass feel uneasy. “You were at the bar last night, the fancy one with all that classical music. Yeah, Octy said she knew you, stopped me from-”
“Ah, yes!” the cellist suddenly blurted out, quickly interrupting Vinyl and startling Beauty Brass. “Vinyl, this is Beauty Brass, one of my closest friends and, as you already know, a work colleague. Beauty, this is Vinyl Scratch, my newest friend,” she said, emphasising the word ‘friend’ in a way that only the blue mare would pick up on. “We met at the convention; she’s really quite the character.”
“Well it’s a pleasure to make her acquaintance,” Beauty recovered, giving a sideways glance towards the grey mare with a knowing smile and then looking back at Vinyl. “Any friend of Octavia is a friend of mine. But I suppose I best leave you two in peace, I don’t want to overstay my welcome.”
“Nah, that’s ok,” the DJ said as she looked towards the clock, cutting Octavia off before she could answer. “I think I need to leave now anyway, Opal will kill me if I’m late and she’ll already be upset with me after skipping out on the after party after my gig at the hotel.”
“Oh, really?” Octavia looked at the clock dejectedly, ignoring the smug look that Beauty was giving her. “Well I suppose it can’t be helped, I’ll see you out.”
“Again, it was really nice to meet you, Vinyl,” Beauty piped up, drawing Vinyl’s attention as the two made their way towards the hallway. “Perhaps Octavia could bring you along to one of our practice sessions, I’m sure her other friends would love to meet you too.” It took every ounce of social etiquette for the blue mare not to burst into laughter at the frantic flailing of hooves and shakes of her head from Octavia behind Vinyl’s back.
“Hey, that’s a good idea, Octy,” Vinyl exclaimed, her horn lighting up to pluck her glasses from the seat beside Beauty and place them upon her head. “That’s exactly what Opal wanted me to do in the first place. Who better to learn about classical music than you, right?”
“Oh I’m sure we could arrange something,” she replied with a hesitant smile, shooting daggers at Beauty with her eyes when Vinyl wasn’t looking. Once out in the hallway she remembered to close the door, much to Beauty’s chagrin and walked with Vinyl to the front door. “Well I’ve definitely had more fun these past few days than I can remember.”
“Yeah, it’s been great,” Vinyl added, ignoring the front door for a moment to look around the small desk table that was positioned near by it. “Say, you got a pad and a pen somewhere near here?”
“In the top shelf of the desk, why?”
“So I can give you my contact details and we can keep in touch, I so wanna do this again, you’re fun,” the DJ explained, her horn lighting up as she began scribbling on the pad.
“Me? Fun? I think you may have me confused with somepony else,” Octavia deflected with a half hearted chuckle, trying to fight off the deep blush that once again seemed to be persistent in its appearance the past hour or two.
“Nope, no confusion, you’re awesome,” the unicorn laughed, doing very little to ease the unnoticed blush. “This is my address in Ponyville, any post you send there will get forwarded to Lyra and Bon-Bon’s house if I’m not there. I’ve also wrote their address too so you can keep in touch with them as well. Unfortunately I’m not easy to get a hold of when I’m on the road, but I’ll send you a letter if I’m in a place for long enough for you to send one back. Might even be able to make arrangements for you to visit a show if there’s enough time.”
“I’d like that... I think... providing it’s not too much, still haven’t gotten used to ‘your world’ yet,” the cellist smiled, watching as Vinyl pinned the addresses on a board against the wall, each one having different initials written on them to tell one from the other.
“Don’t worry; I’ll look after you every time you step inside. At least until I’ve turned you into a true raver, then we can really party. And thanks for letting me stay, next time you need a place to stay in Ponyville I’ll always be free to return the favour.” And with that Vinyl approached Octavia before the earth pony could react, pulling her into a hug.
Octavia knew full well that it was simply a farewell hug, much like the ones she received from Lyra and Bon-Bon before they departed. But with Vinyl wrapping her hoofs around her neck and pulling her body to hers she found herself wishing she could do more with it. She refrained from hugging back too tightly and revelling in the warm hair of her coat, or burying her nose in the DJ’s mane, or lingering a little too long when Vinyl finally pulled away so that their muzzles could touch.
“Well I should go, see you around, Octy,” Vinyl finally said, making her way to the door and with a flicker of her horn, opening it. Octavia watched as she left, following her to stand at the door way. She remained there as Vinyl waited for the elevator, trying to prolong the goodbye for as long as possible.
When the chime of the elevator doors sounded and Vinyl stepped inside out of view, Octavia suddenly felt pangs of regret, urging her to call out. “Vinyl?” The DJ popped her head back into the hallway almost immediately, a raised eyebrow appearing over her glasses. “Good bye,” was all the cellist said, giving a wave of her hoof.
The DJ gave her a wide grin, teeth flashing and waved back in return before once again disappearing, the doors closing and allowing the elevator to descend.
“You cannot tell me you’re not absolutely smitten, don’t even try.” The voice caught Octavia by surprise, snapping her out of her pensive thoughts and she wheeled around to see Beauty standing behind her.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Octavia dismissed, closing the front door and turning her nose up.
“Don’t give me that, you’d have killed to have her stay the rest of the day and you know it. I saw how disappointed you looked when she said she had to go, and what was that when she left? Calling her back so you can say one last good bye? It’s got smitten written all over it.”
“I don’t think that means anything, she’s just a friend.”
“I’m just a friend but you never say goodbye to me that way. Stop being stubborn and just admit that you like her, that you’re curious, even just a little. I don’t know why you’re so high strung over it.”
Octavia ignored her for a moment, nose still upturned. She glanced down with her eyes at the stupidly grinning face of the blue mare, and after a moment the barest of smiles appeared on Octavia’s face. “Ok, maybe just a little...”
“Aha! I knew it! Our little Octavia’s head over hoofs in love!”
“I never said that!” Octavia shouted, scowling at Beauty Brass though she couldn’t stop herself from turning it into a smile. “Oh, you’re impossible, do you know that?”
“I do, and I also know that you’re coming with me to Alejandro’s right this second, Symphony is waiting down stairs and she’ll be getting pretty impatient by now. We want all the dirt on what happened last night, no detail missed out.”
“You brought Symphony? What do you mean waiting? Did you plan this?” Octavia questioned, an exasperated look upon her face. “Wait, I can’t go now, I need to shower, wash my mane, put on my tie! It’s the afternoon and I’m not even ready yet, what in Equestria have I been doing?!” With that the cellist rushed back into the living room, leaving a grinning Beauty Brass by herself.
“I guess she’s back to normal when she’s alone,” she chuckled before shouting into the apartment. “I suppose I’ll go get Symphony then, no sense keeping her downstairs if you’re going to take forever combing that mess you call a mane!”
“Do you have any idea how much of a publicity nightmare you caused me?” Opal Jubilee asked as she picked at the salad in front of her, her attention divided between it, Vinyl and the notepad she was furiously scribbling in.
“A boring one?” Vinyl answered, head resting on a hoof, and looking bored out of her mind. She noticed that Opal was wearing her boring brown suit today, and she picked at her own boring salad with as much enthusiasm as she would have for watching paint dry. Sufficed to say, she was bored.
“Skipping out on your own after party does not sit well with other ponies, Vinyl.” Opal continued, ignoring her response. “I had to tell the journalists waiting to interview you that you weren’t feeling well and had to retire for the evening, but of course the celebrities you were meant to mingle with can’t be expected to keep their mouths shut.”
“Well technically I did ‘retire for the evening’,” Scratch smiled, dropping her fork out of her grip when she had had enough of her salad; she wasn’t even allowed any dressing on it.
“Be that as it may you really shouldn’t have done it; I’ve had to arrange a follow up interview before we leave today on the train to Los Pegasus to make up for it, though we’ve probably missed the deadlines to be featured in ‘Mare’s Weekly’s coverage of the Convention.”
“Doesn’t matter, that interview I did with Octy before the gig was for ‘Mare’s Weekly’, I’ll be in the magazine.” She looked at her salad once more, not really feeling hungry after breakfast with Octavia but only wanting to eat out of boredom. “Could I not have just a little vinaigrette on this?”
“No, you’ve already put on a few pounds since I let you eat whatever you want at the Convention. I’ve had your expense bill, next time I’m arranging your meals. There’s a gym at the hotel in Los Pegasus too, you can start the new fitness regime I have set out for you.”
Vinyl grumbled at that, she didn’t feel like she’d put on weight, but she admitted she had gotten a little carried away with the sweets. “Whatever.”
“And how are things going with Octavia? I hope you didn’t make a fool out of yourself, I’m hoping to arrange a few talks with her Orchestra’s management to see about collaborations. An inside mare would be a big help with that.”
“I don’t want to use her,” Vinyl quickly made herself clear, earning a look from Opal before she was again distracted by her note book.
“Use is such an ugly term, Vinyl, I prefer ‘collaborate’.”
“I like her, she’s a friend. She isn’t a stepping stone for you to move me up the success ladder.”
“I know that, Vinyl,” the older mare smiled, though it always did very little to ease the DJ’s worries. “You can still be friends, it’s good for publicity. I just want to make sure you don’t screw it up. When did you last see her?”
Vinyl was silent for a moment, wondering whether or not she should tell the truth. Throwing caution to the wind, she decided that there was no real harm in it. “This morning, at her place. I just came from there actually.”
Opal let out a sigh, momentarily dropping her notepad on the table. “Vinyl, please don’t tell me you slept with her.”
“What? No!” Scratch quickly answered, shaking her head along with her hooves. “I just stayed the night is all. We went out for drinks and I didn’t have a place to stay so she offered me her spare room. I don’t even think she’s into mares anyway, she made it seem that way at least.”
“Good,” Opal finally said after a moment’s silence. She picked up her notebook again and made a few more scribbles before placing it down once more, returning to her salad with the intent on finishing it. “The last thing we need is another scandal in the press.”
The dull roar of rain hitting the cobblestone paths of the streets of Ponyville had been continuous for the better part of the afternoon. The weather team had been scheduled for a downpour for quite some time but errors in cloud production from Cloudsdale had created a cloud shortage. This had caused a back log of showers and to get themselves back on track the team had decided to do several at once. Although the ponies of the town could see the reasoning behind it they weren’t overly keen on the bad weather, least of all Bon-Bon.
The confection maker sat behind the counter top of her shop, a hoof holding up her head as she stared out at the empty streets through her window. There wasn’t a single pony out of their homes unless they needed to be out, which was incredibly bad for business. She relied on passersby, the ones who would look through her decorated windows and begin to water at the mouth at the sight of rows upon rows of chocolates and toffees.
Tempted by sweet delights, they’d find themselves drawn in and, after inhaling the scent of so many candies, would be unable to help themselves from disgorging their wallets and purses; purchasing enough sugar-coated treats to keep Colgate busy for weeks with the number of cavities they must induce. Bon-Bon occasionally thought about entering a behind closed doors deal with the local dentist; they’d joked about it often enough.
But the bored earth pony hadn’t seen a customer since the early afternoon when Pinkie Pie had come for her usual order of just about everything that was in stock. She sometimes felt that the eccentric, and quite possibly unstable, party pony could keep her business afloat with her patronage alone, but she knew that that wouldn’t be possible, even with the number of parties Pinkie planned.
“Well at least I’m not out on the market stalls and getting soaked through anymore,” she muttered to herself, looking down at the display in front of her and contemplating on whether or not to eat her profits. Her business had grown over the years she spent in Ponyville, starting out in the town square and selling the sweets she’d made at home. Scrimping and saving, she’d finally been able to afford to purchase a property on Stirrup Street and went into business on a much larger scale.
The shop was quite spacious, easily able to hold a dozen or more ponies with plenty of room to spare, which was a blessing when the school colts and fillies were released from class with pocket money to spend. The shelves and aisles that were lined up within the store were filled with almost any kind of candy a pony could dream of, but it was the display counter that Bon-Bon sat behind that held the more delicious treats.
And it was out of this display that the bored mare decided to pluck out a large piece of toffee and begin chewing on it, simply doing so to pass the time. She was beginning to enjoy the taste a little too much, savouring the sweet, sticky consistency that the toffee melted into, and reached once more to get herself another piece, too distracted to hear the shuffle of hooves coming from the back room behind her.
Bon-Bon snapped to attention, hoof coming out from her display case and whirled around, clasping eyes on the foal now stood in the door way. “Ah, Twist, I forgot you were still here.” The startled mare grinned sheepishly, trying not to look too suspicious, but she knew that Twist probably hadn’t seen anything. She then realised she was being silly and even if the filly had seen her take sweets, they were her sweets to take.
“I’m thorry, I didn’t mean to frighten you,” the red maned foal smiled, “but I’ve finithed thweeping out back and I put the new peppermint thtickth where you told me to.”
“Oh, good, you’ve finished earlier than I expected actually,” Bon-Bon eventually smiled, having calmed down from her initial shock. “I guess you can head off home early, and here’s your pay for this week.” She tapped a few buttons on her cash till and took out a packet of bits before placing them on the counter for Twist to take as she left.
“Gee, thankth, Mith Bon-Bon,” Twist happily squeaked before running back into the back room to gather her things. Bon-Bon laughed a little, always amused by the filly’s actions. She’d taken her on as a helper for the store after she began to pester her on sweet recipes. The store had always needed an extra set of hooves to help around the place and she was cheaper to pay than a full grown mare so it benefited the pair of them nicely.
“Thee you on Monday after thcool,” Twist said as she returned, scooping up the bits and moving towards the door with her coat and hat draped over her back as she did so.
“Aren’t you going to put those on?” Bon-Bon called before she could leave.
“I’m fine, it’th not far to get home.”
“Now, Twist,” Bon-Bon admonished, stepping out from behind her counter towards the young filly. “It’s raining buckets out there; you’ll get soaked through to the skin without your coat on, regardless of how far it is.”
“No buts,” the cream mare interrupted with a stern look on her face, though it’s effectiveness greatly reduced by the smile she wore along with it. After a moment or two of shuffling around, Twist was dressed in her red raincoat, and Bon-Bon finished it off by placing her rain hat on top of the filly’s head. “There, much better, now you can go.”
Without any further hesitation the door was pulled open and Twist galloped out, running across the street and splashing in all the puddles; Bon-Bon swore that she was aiming for the biggest ones. She’d been a little hesitant hiring Twist at first. Although she’d get a helper she had to look after the filly, but she’d soon warmed up to it. She’d always loved children, they enjoyed her work so much more than the adults and always came back for more, and they were always so polite too, well most of them at least.
With a wistful sigh and her mind wandering at the thoughts of children she looked at the clock and decided that she’d shut up early for the day. She was thankful it was Saturday, the weather was supposed to rain all weekend and she was closed on Sundays. The weather couldn’t affect her sales if she was closed, and she could enjoy spending a cosy day at home snuggled up on the couch.
She set the till to count up its takings for the day, what little there were, and then began the long process of placing all the lids and covers over the jars and displays for the night. It was whilst she was doing this that the chime of the bell above the door sounded and she turned around to see Lyra walking in, horn glowing and carrying an umbrella.
It didn’t take long for Bon-Bon to understand why she was there and she frowned, turning back to her work. “I keep telling you that you don’t have to walk me home when the weather’s bad, I can do it myself.”
“And I keep telling you not to forget a coat or an umbrella when it’s scheduled to rain,” Lyra replied, a smile on her face as she approached. “Besides, what sort of mare-friend would I be if I didn’t walk you home?” she asked, sidling up alongside the cream mare and giving her a kiss on the cheek, immediately banishing the mare’s frown.
She tried to keep a sour mood, however, turning her nose up and marching to her till, but Lyra saw the smile and she knew it. “Well I suppose if you’re here you can make yourself useful with that horn of yours and finish putting the lids on, then we can go home,” she ordered, peering down at the till roll and then opening her account book to write in the figures.
“Right away, Ma’am,” Lyra mock saluted before doing as told, making quick work of the remaining containers, much to Bon-Bon’s annoyance.
“It’s a good job that I love your music and that I’m so understanding of your strive for a musical career, otherwise you’d be working here full time,” she commented before taking a pencil in her mouth to make her statements.
“Does that mean that you’re happy that I turned up?” Lyra teased, finishing up with the packing before sauntering over to the counter and casually leaning on it. Bon-Bon didn’t respond, she just smiled around the pencil, choosing to ignore her. Lyra grinned in return.
A few more moments passed and Bon-Bon had finished tallying down her takings for the day. She nudged Lyra, who was busy trying to sneak a few pear drops, and the two made their way to the door. “The weather is atrocious,” Bon-Bon muttered, opening the door and feeling the cold air rush inside.
“Glad I came yet?” Lyra grinned, using her magic to open the umbrella and hanging it out the door.
“You have your uses,” Bon-Bon relented, and then gave Lyra an affectionate nuzzle to her neck before they stepped out under the umbrella. Closing the door behind them and locking it up, the two began their trek to their home on the other side of town, huddling together under the umbrella.
The rain was still heavy, soaking the ground and making it impossible for Bon-Bon to avoid puddles. Her snout scrunched up into a frown as she stepped into a particularly deep one and she sighed. “My hooves are getting completely soaked; I only just had them done at the spa yesterday.”
“Bonnie, ever since you got the shop you’ve come home and had a bath... your hooves are going to get soaked anyway.”
“That’s different, a bath is clean, these puddles aren’t,” the earth pony replied, shaking her head. “You never could care about the difference.”
“You’re right, and I don’t think I ever will, wet is wet.” Lyra snickered and bumped her flank against Bon-Bon before sinking into silence.
The town was still as empty as it had been all afternoon. They passed one or two ponies but they were hurrying in the other direction to wherever they were headed and neither had the time, nor desire to stop and talk in the rain. A few members of the weather team could be seen from time to time darting below the clouds to plug up holes to ensure the rain was seamless, a flash of a rainbow contrail occasionally sweeping the area searching for more gaps. But they were far too busy to notice any passing ponies below them.
Before long, however, they reached the outer edges of the town and the picturesque cottages that had come to be the town’s heritage. Lovely little houses with picket fences and modest gardens, and almost every window had flower pots on their sills. Thatched roofs and wood panelled walls; they were the staple of the housing community in Ponyville.
The rain had caused many of their neighbours to stare wistfully out of their windows, many of them wondering what they could do to pass the time until the rain was over. Bon-Bon was amongst them, but she knew Lyra actually liked the rain. The green unicorn would often play her lyre under a parasol in the back garden, or under their porch, matching her tune to the pitter-patter of the rain. She said it gave her a sense of serenity that she needed to write her music. Bon-Bon never could understand why.
“Finally,” Bon-Bon exclaimed, hurrying Lyra alongside her as they approached their house. Lyra obliged, ensuring the cream mare was thoroughly covered by the umbrella and the two made it through their fence and under the front porch. Safely sheltered from the rain, Lyra put away the umbrella, Bon-Bon busy fumbling with the keys to the door. “At least I don’t need to do any gardening this weekend.”
“See? There’s always a silver lining,” Lyra replied, looking out towards their modestly sized front garden, the rose bushes in the corner seeming perfectly happy to wallow in the soaked earth. “Of course I don’t know why you don’t just get Roseluck or one of her sisters to do the gardening for you; they do offer gardening services you know.”
“And where would be the fun in that?” Bon-Bon argued, finally unlocking the door and heading on inside, Lyra following and dumping the umbrella in a stand by the door. “I can garden just as well as those three and it’d cost us bits to pay them, bits that you know we can better spend elsewhere.”
“I was only saying, Bonnie,” Lyra replied, not really having that much interest in arguing with her. Bon-Bon watched as the unicorn made her way towards the couch and reclined back on it, her horn lighting up to retrieve a book with music notes etched into it from the armrest and the quill and inkpot off the table from the desk in the corner of the room.
Bon-Bon then noticed the pleasant aroma of stewing vegetables wafting from the kitchen. “You’re making dinner?” she asked, making her way towards the kitchen through the archway that separated the living room from the back of the house. “I thought it was my turn.”
“Figured I’d let you off the hook for the night,” the unicorn answered, the quill making a few corrections in her book. “It’s nothing special,” Bon-Bon then heard her continue as she inspected the pot, a loaf of bread already set on the side. “It’s just a soup really, used what we had left in the fridge before they lost their freshness. I’ll need to go grocery shopping tomorrow, even if the rain keeps- whu- mppf?”
Bon-Bon cut Lyra off before she could continue, having returned from the kitchen and approached the unicorn from behind. She’d reared up on to the back of the couch and pulled the unicorn’s head back to kiss her on the lips, stunning her into silence until she kissed back.
They stayed like that for a moment or two, before Bon-Bon finally pulled away, leaving Lyra to look up at her with a stupefied grin on her face. “What was that for?” she asked, head still held upwards and meeting Bon-Bon’s loving gaze.
“For being the most perfect mare I could have ever fallen in love with, of course.” The earth pony then broke eye contact, dropping back off the couch and retreating towards the stairs by the front door. “You come all the way to work to walk me home in the rain, you have dinner cooking for when I get here, and then you offer to go shopping tomorrow?”
“Well... I do want to... I mean I don’t but..., it’s no trouble, really,” Lyra stuttered, having lowered her book and turned around on the couch to follow her with her eyes.
“Then you can stay in bed tomorrow,” Bon-Bon smiled, stopping half way up the stairs before she was out of sight. “I need to go out tomorrow to pick up my copy of ‘Mare’s Weekly’, I’ll do the groceries whilst I’m out and pick up some special ingredients to bake you something nice tomorrow afternoon.”
“Bonnie, you don’t have to do that.”
“And you didn’t have to do those things for me today, but you did anyway. And for the same reasons you did those for me, I want to do this for you. Now, how long until dinner is ready, sweetums?”
“A little over half an hour I think, wouldn’t be too much longer than that, if not before.”
“Good, enough time for a bath then.” Bon-Bon then continued up the stairs, though she continued calling down as she disappeared. “Then after that we can have dinner and then I can snuggle with you on the couch whilst you write your music before bed.”
“No complaints here,” Lyra called back, her face beaming with joy at the prospect.
Bon-Bon didn’t answer after that, instead making her way into the bathroom and preparing her bath for the evening. Their tub was large, one of the few stipulations Bon-Bon had made when they were choosing their house together. It could easily seat two ponies quite comfortably, which was ideal for when she wanted Lyra to share with her; otherwise the unicorn always preferred showers.
Despite her best efforts, her coat and mane always smelled of sweets, an effect of constantly making the confectionary delights she was known for. Even as she turned the taps and filled the bottom of the tub with her scented soaps and salts, she knew that they wouldn’t last very long in masking her sugary scent. She liked to do baths properly, however, regardless of how she smelled afterwards, and as the tub filled itself with hot, foamy water with plenty of bubbles, she turned the taps off and brought herself to the bath’s edge.
“Ah... nice and hot, excellent,” she said to herself, a tired smile on her face as she slowly began to slip herself in. Lyra had always scolded her for making the bath too hot when they shared, but Lyra wasn’t going to be joining her. And as she felt the heat of the water sink into her fur and to her skin beneath it, she let out a long sigh.
“Much better,” she then muttered, reclining into the lounge position against the back of the tub, the water rising up to her neck. She remained like that for several minutes, eyes closed as she basked in the water, soaking her tired muscles. Eventually she decided she should probably begin using the water, and after dunking her head below the water to soak her mane, began to scrub soap into it.
Bon-Bon had always looked after her mane, making sure it was strong yet soft to touch and the number of shampoos and conditioners she used to accomplish that drove Lyra batty. The mare smiled however, when she considered the fact the unicorn never complained when she was burying her snout in it.
She rinsed and repeated twice, before moving on to her tail, performing the same duties of care before she was finally satisfied. The bubbles in the bath had mostly dissipated and the temperature was beginning to drop. She considered lounging for a little while longer but knowing that dinner would be ready shortly she brought herself to her legs and yanked out the plug before getting out of the tub.
She dripped onto the tiled floor as she reached for the assortment of blue, pink and green towels on a rack against the wall and began to towel herself down. The absorbent cloths made quick work of the water clinging to her fur though her mane and tail needed more vigorous treatment. When she was adequately dry she tossed the towels in the hamper before heading off downstairs.
Once she’d returned to the living room and, noticing Lyra’s absence from the couch, entered the kitchen, she stopped in her tracks, a small smile forming on her lips. “You’re the cheesiest mare I’ve ever known,” she lightly laughed, eyes taking in the scene of Lyra sat at the table, candles illuminating the table cloth with their meals set on opposite sides of each other.
“Well what can I say, you got me thinking about those sappy romance novels you love so much,” Lyra replied, a slight blush spreading over her snout. “I thought you’d appreciate it.”
“Oh, I do,” Bon-Bon replied, making her way towards the table and taking her seat opposite her mare-friend, still smiling. “I just wasn’t expecting it is all. It’s lovely, really. Though you’re making it even harder for me to keep all these little things you do for me secret from Vinyl.”
“You wouldn’t do that to me.” Was all Lyra responded with, a smile of her own gracing her lips as her horn poured them both a glass of apple juice to have with their meal before beginning to eat. “And if you promise to add this to your list of secrets I’ll brush your mane for you again.”
“Deal,” the earth pony grinned, before joining Lyra, enjoying the soup and sinking into casual dinner conversation. The two discussed their respective days, Bon-Bon with the shop and her recounts of Twist’s progress, and Lyra with her day at home, the music she’d worked on and the chores she’d managed to complete. They then reminisced on their days in Canterlot and wondered how Vinyl and Octavia were faring.
It had been a week since they’d returned to Ponyville, and as always after seeing Vinyl, the two missed the mare. And now they had another friend to miss, the polite and seemingly innocent cellist proving to be quite popular with the two as they noticed when they were on their train ride home.
“We really need to have them over for dinner some time,” Bon-Bon urged, sipping the last of her juice from her glass as she rolled her spoon around the rim of her empty bowl.
“Vinyl’s touring, remember?” Lyra reminded her, standing up from the table when Bon-Bon had finished and clearing away the dishes with her magic. “We can’t do anything until she gets back, and you know she comes straight here when she does because her fridge is empty... you’ll just have to wait before organising anything.”
“I wonder if we could go on a double date when they do...”
“Bonnie, I told you to leave that alone.” Lyra rolled her eyes, turning away from the sink and heading back to the table. “... you’re already imaging the restaurant we’ll go to, aren’t you?”
“The one down the street from my shop,” Bon-Bon admitted, eyes sparkling with a large smile on her face. “We could share starter platters, bottles of wine, and desserts for two with one spoon per couple... then we could maybe go to a milk parlour and share milkshakes...”
“I think this dinner was a bad idea,” Lyra deadpanned, blowing out the candles and nudging the day dreaming mare to get her out of her seat. “It always makes you get all these romantic ideas in your head.”
“That’s not a bad thing,” the sweet-maker argued, an upset look on her face as she was lead into the living room.
“When your ideas just involve me, no, but when you bring Vinyl into it, they’re the worst ideas ever.”
“Fine,” and with that the unicorn found herself pushed onto the couch and onto her back, where she was soon buried under the warm fur of Bon-Bon’s body. “Romance for two, just like you ordered.” The cream coloured mare wrapped her forearms around Lyra’s sides, snuggling in against her belly and resting her head upon the mint fur of her chest just under her chin.
Lyra, though startled at first, soon gained an excited grin and wrapped her hooves around Bon-Bon in return, holding her close and resting her chin on the back of the other mare’s head. “Much better, just the two of us, no pony else to worry about.” Her horn lit up and a brush seated on a table below the mirror by the front door floated over, beginning to run its bristles through Bon-Bon’s mane and causing the mare to cuddle back all the more.
“You’ve been a real sweetie today,” Bon-Bon half sighed, half mumbled from her comfortable position, enjoying the strokes of the brush through her hair, straightening and removing all the tangles left from her towel dry.
“Can’t help myself when you’re concerned,” Lyra responded, giving a little squeeze of her legs around Bon-Bon for added emphasis as her note book and quill floated back in front of her, corrections being made once again.
A few kisses peppered against Lyra’s chest, causing the unicorn to look down briefly at meet the sultry eyes of her mare-friend, who leant up to nibble softly at the underside of Lyra’s jaw. “I’ll make it up to you later on, my little Candy Cane,” she purred, causing a heated blush with a little grin to appear on the lyrist’s face.
“Fine with me, Sugar Flanks, just let me finish this composition and your hair and then we can talk,” Lyra replied, giving Bon-Bon a kiss to the nose which elicited a giggle from her, before returning back to her work.
The confectioner settled down once more, eyes closing in relaxation, the brush pulling at her scalp ever so gently providing an excellent head massage. Every so often the brush would extend down to her tail, giving the frizzy hairs their shape once more. Despite her desires to repay Lyra back for her kindness throughout the day, Bon-Bon found herself growing steadily more tired with each brush. She struggled to keep her eyes open when she felt herself nodding off and before long she was quietly snoozing away.
It was dark outside by the time the sleeping mare was roused by the unicorn, the sun having long since set and the streets outside cast into a pitch darkness thanks to the heavy rainclouds that blotted out Luna’s Moon. “Huh... what time is it?” Bon-Bon groggily asked, finding herself still in Lyra’s grip, though now with a perfectly styled mane and tail.
“Late,” was the only answer that was given before the lyrist urged Bon-Bon to get up. The two got to their hooves, Bon-Bon a little unsteadily, but Lyra was quick to support her. “C’mon, let’s get to bed,” she continued, leading her towards the stairs.
“But I wanted to do something nice for you,” Bon-Bon tried to argue, an attempt at batting her eyelashes coming across as nothing more than tired blinks.
“Maybe another time, Bon,” Lyra chuckled, turning off the lights as they went up and casting the house into darkness. The two knew their house inside out, and easily made it up the stairs and down the hall without hitting a single piece of furniture along the way.
Their room was fairly typical, a large bed taking up the back wall with a wardrobe each on either side of it belonging to the two ponies. Sets of drawers lined themselves up at the foot of the bed and various photos and pictures lined the walls opposite, cast in darkness with the lack of illumination.
Lyra’s horn lit up the room with a green glow as the sheets on the mattress were drawn back, Bon-Bon climbing into it before the unicorn followed. Once the two were settled, the sheets were pulled back into place, covering the two as Lyra shuffled closer to Bon-Bon, wrapping her forelegs around the cream mare and kissing her on the back of the head.
“G’night, Bonnie,” she whispered, rubbing her head into her pillow to get comfortable, pulling the mare closer to her body to share in her warmth and squeeze her gently.
“Good night, Lyra,” Bon-Bon quietly replied, content to lie in the unicorn’s grip, eyes closed tight and already half asleep.
“So... seen much of Applejack lately?”
Carrot Top quirked an eyebrow at Bon-Bon’s question, picking out the carrots that the mare had ordered before answering, “Well I’ve seen her at her stall today, why?”
“Oh nothing, just wondering really,” Bon-Bon replied, counting out her bits on Carrot’s makeshift counter top.
The rain, as expected, hadn’t stopped, but life in Ponyville still carried on as usual. The Sunday Markets were still open and running and Bon-Bon was finally crossing off the last item on her grocery list. Her saddlebags were full with vegetables and fruit and she was looking forwards to picking up her magazine and catching up on the latest gossip. She always made a little extra time for Carrot Top, however.
“You seem to always be wondering lately,” the ginger mare commented, placing five carrots on the counter and taking away the bits. “Should I be worried about something? Is she ok?”
“Oh it’s nothing, really,” the confectioner quickly dismissed, not wanting to just come out and suggest that the two farmers should talk sometime, maybe get a coffee at Sugarcube Corner and discuss business... or other personal ventures. “I should be going, thank you very much, Carrot Top, see you soon.” Bon-Bon then quickly left the perplexed mare behind, heading off towards the newsstand across the square.
Lyra had insisted she wore her coat, and Bon-Bon was grateful that she did. Although most of the stands and stalls had over hangs or parasols to shelter their patrons from the elements, there were still enough open spaces to get soaked through. With her fur dry she was actually enjoying her weekly shop, though she restricted her browsing to the bare minimum.
“Last little job and I can go home,” she said to herself, approaching the newsstand and the grey coated, blue maned mare, that manned it, a red band around her right foreleg and a matching red baseball cap to go with it. “Good morning, Chatterbox, how are you today?” she greeted once she was in earshot, grabbing the attention of the mare who beamed widely at her in return.
“Oh, Bon-Bon, I was wondering when you were going to show up today,” Chatterbox smiled, quick to dive under the counter to pull up a copy of the ‘Ponyville Express’ and a copy of ‘Mare’s Weekly.’ “Got your order right here, magazine for you, newspaper for Lyra. I did a particularly good article on the Running of the Leaves this year if you’d care to read it. Editor told me I could cover the actual race after it’s over too, that should be exciting.”
“I’ll be sure to make certain that I read it then, you always write such charming pieces, Chatter,” Bon-Bon laughed, dropping a modest sized bag of bits onto the stand. “And here’s this month’s subscription.”
“No problem, I’ll make sure it gets sent to the right ponies,” Chatter nodded, never once losing her friendly smile. “Say, you were at the Music Convention in Canterlot, right?”
“Mhmm, both Lyra and I went, why do you ask?”
“Well I was just wondering if you met Vinyl’s new mare-friend whilst you were there is all. They seem like they were hitting it off and usually you’re all over that sort of stuff, like the time you thought me and Grasswhistle were-” Chatter would have continued talking if it weren’t for Bon-Bon’s hoof having lodged itself in her mouth.
“Wait, what did you say about Vinyl?”
“Ah safvd did yoo-” Bon-Bon removed her hoof. “-meet Vinyl’s new mare-friend? It’s all over the front page of your magazine, look.” Chatter pointed to the cover of ‘Mare’s Weekly’ and Bon-Bon immediately spun it around to read it.
“Canterlot’s newest couple?!” Bon-Bon exclaimed, looking down at caption image of Vinyl and Octavia walking side by side together, with the unicorn feeding the cellist hay fries. “DJ Pon3 and Octavia, of the Canterlot Symphonic Orchestra, seen having a night on the town. Pictures and full article, pages 4 through 7.”
“Yeah, there are lots of pictures too,” Chatterbox spoke up, oblivious to the slight twitch in Bon-Bon’s eye and the smile that threatened to explode and consume her face. “Looked like they were having fun... maybe had a bit too much to drink though, they looked a little sleepy.”
“Oh, I’m sorry, Chatter, I need to get home and show this to Lyra, do you mind if I dash?” Bon-Bon eventually managed to say, resisting the urge to flip open the magazine and read it there and then.
“Not at all, just be sure to come back and tell me about your trip to Canterlot, wouldn’t mind getting an inside scoop on what it was like at the convention... even if it is a little late. But I suppose news in Ponyville always takes time to get here.”
“Of course, come by the shop tomorrow and I’ll tell you all about it,” the cream mare quickly answered before giving a wave and breaking out into a brisk jog towards home.
“OhmygoshOhmygoshOhmygosh!” she squealed, her excitement almost getting the better of her as she ran through the streets. “I knew I was right, I just knew it!” Fuelled by the need to tell Lyra the mandatory ‘I told you so’, she made quick time to their home, pausing on the porch to catch her breath before bursting through the front door.
There was a yelp, and a small clatter as the inkpot Lyra was holding in her magical grip slipped from her hold, spilling ink down Lyra’s front as she sat upright on the couch. Bon-Bon barely even noticed. “Lyra, look, I told you they’d make such a perfect couple, and you didn’t believe me.”
“What are you talking about?” Lyra grumbled, trying not to let any of the ink spill onto the couch.
“Vinyl and Octavia, they’re seeing each other, it’s all over my magazine, look,” Bon-Bon excitedly yelled, jumping onto the couch besides the unicorn and holding the magazine out towards her on the correct pages.
Lyra’s eyes scanned the page, taking in the various photos first, from the two dancing coming out of a night club, to the two entering an apartment building together in the middle of the night. “...the two ponies were then seen entering Octavia’s apartment building where it is believed Vinyl Scratch stayed the night. Unfortunately no photographic evidence could be obtained of the DJ leaving the next morning but it can be assumed due to the lateness of the time they were seen entering the building and the notorious reputation Vinyl Scratch has earned in her years as a celebrity that she did not leave early.”
“I didn’t know Octavia was that kind of pony if I’m really honest, but I suppose Vinyl just has that magnetic personality.” Bon-Bon happily twittered away.
Lyra, however, did not share her enthusiasm. She flicked through the pages a few more times before letting out a deep sigh and rubbing the top of her forehead with her hoof. “Oh, Scratch, you’ll just never learn, will you?”
(Special guest starring Chatterbox! Go show her creator RenaTurnip some love. )
The concert hall sat in silence as the last few notes coming from the orchestra on the stage reverberated through the building, the audience waiting until they died down. Unable to contain themselves right to the end, however, the various ponies of the Orchestra barely managed to pull themselves out of their final motions before an uproar of hoof beats and stomps drowned out the fading music.
Octavia pulled her bow away from her cello and glanced up at the audience, taking in the site of hundreds of ponies stomping their hooves in applause. It never ceased to amaze her that despite their joyous exuberance in showing their approval of the performance they still managed to exert some level of control over themselves. She didn’t expect whistles and whoops of encore, on the contrary, she was very satisfied with the response; it just amused her.
The rest of the Orchestra members stood from their seats, their instruments left on stands and after the conductor turned to bow at the audience they all followed suit, including Octavia. As her mane touched the wooden floor of the stage the crowd redoubled their applause, and it took several bows to placate them. From across the stage, Octavia noticed Beauty Brass rolling her eyes good naturedly at her over the reaction, and the cellist simply smiled.
As much as she found the local ponies of Canterlot tedious, she couldn’t help but love the way they allowed themselves to be moved by music. She’d done many performances where she’d made ponies cry tears, laugh with unexpected glee, and break out into spontaneous applause when a composition made an unexpected crescendo. And it was because of the way she could move ponies to such emotions that she loved music.
As the stands and boxes that made up the seats for the audience began to empty themselves, the ponies on stage began to pack away their instruments. The conductor, as was his want, began to make his rounds through the various sections of the group, congratulating them on a successful performance since their appearance at the Music Convention.
The concertmaster soon followed and Octavia also congratulated the rest of the cellists under her supervision before packing away her own instrument. “I suppose we’ve earned our usual drink this evening,” a male voice sounded behind her as she closed the lid of her cello case. The grey mare rose back up and turned around to smile at the brown stallion that had joined her.
“If my memory serves me right, Frederic, then it’s your turn to get the drinks,” Octavia replied, closing her music book and tossing it on to her cello case. “And I do believe I’m in a champagne mood.”
“Why is it that every time it’s my turn to procure the refreshments that you’re in a ‘champagne mood’?” the pianist asked, a tone of irritation hidden in his voice.
“Because you’re the only one of us besides Harpo that doesn’t have to lug around their instruments everywhere we go,” followed the voice of Symphony, the violinist joining the two with her instrument of choice slung over her back. “And you know it’s considered chivalrous for stallions to buy the mares in their company drinks.”
“But we all know Frederic isn’t the most chivalrous of ponies, don’t we?” Beauty Brass grinned after trotting towards them. Although she preferred to play the sousaphone during their quartet performances, the orchestra required her to play the tuba, and she too had it supported on her back.
A final voice joined the group as Octavia slung the strap of her cello case around her neck and across her chest before lifting it up and settling it on her back like the others. “Then I guess I’ll provide the drinks for such lovely young ladies.”
Symphony and Beauty Brass flocked towards the purple stallion, taking up station on either side of him and placing their shoulders against him. “Oh, Harpo, ever the gentle-colt,” they mock swooned in unison before sauntering off with him, leaving Octavia and Frederic to follow behind.
“Why does this always happen?” Frederic sighed, eliciting a light laugh from Octavia.
“Because you’re much too easy to tease,” she simply replied before trotting ahead to catch up. Once the perplexed pianist caught up and the group were together again, she continued. “And you always try and make things about fairness. We all go through our rounds, simple drinks for us all, and then if one of us wants something a bit more... classy on your turn, you question it.”
“She’s right, Fred, darling,” Beauty laughed, having removed herself from Harpo’s side in favour of Octavia’s. “We all end up paying the same eventually anyway; you should just accept it and take it on the chin.”
“Fine, I’ll buy the damn drinks,” Fred eventually exclaimed as they began to push their way through the throng of ponies moving through the corridors back stage. The other four ponies laughed to themselves and Harpo sunk back so he could give Frederic a gentle shove with his shoulder.
“You fall for it every time, thanks for the champagne,” the purple coloured pony jibbed, much to the pianist’s chagrin. Before he could voice any more complaints however, the ensemble had reached one of the backstage doors, and after Symphony had pushed it open were assaulted by flashing lights and the rabble of many voices talking at once.
The five had dealt with press before; many of their performances had usually garnered enough attention to warrant a paparazzi appearance. Almost every member of the orchestra had been interviewed at some point, though being one of the principles of the group usually meant that Octavia earned the most interest out of her friends. The grey mare hadn’t thought that the performance they’d taken part in had been that significant to attract the amount of attention that had filled the side street, however.
Eventually the rabble managed to organise themselves into some sort of order, thanks to the magic of a unicorn stallion at the back that used his natural talents to levitate a recording device in front of Octavia’s muzzle. “Miss Octavia, is it true that you were seen with DJ Pon3 after the music convention last week?”
That question was unexpected.
Beauty Brass attempted to get Octavia’s attention, but the cellist was distracted by a follow up question from a pegasus that managed to flutter above the rest of the crowd. “How long have you known Vinyl Scratch?”
“I... what?” The grey earth pony began to get more confused as the questions drew on, unsure of what exactly was going on. Her friends seemed to know full well, however, and despite their attempts to get Octavia away from the mass of press, she answered anyway. “I met her at the Convention, and yes, we did go out for drinks afterwards, but I don’t understand what-”
“Is it true that you’ve promised to collaborate with her in creating a new style of music?” Another question interrupted before she could finish answering.
“No, I never-”
“Did she spend the night in your apartment after your night on the town?” Beauty Brass and Symphony desperately tried to pull her away, whilst Frederic and Harpo ran interference by attempting to block most of the photography flashes.
“For the love of all things musical, Octavia, shut up!” Beauty Brass frantically cried, eyes pinpricked as the cellist continued to answer the questions, oblivious to their meaning.
“What are the secrets to keeping your relationship going despite the busy hours you both keep?”
“What? I don’t even-”
“Is there any truth to the claims that you’ve secretly been dating for years and are in fact planning on making your engagement announcement when she returns from Las Pegasus?”
As many would expect from such a prodigious event, the Canterlot Music Convention this year brought together many musical masterminds in the appreciation of their art. Hundreds of ponies were in attendance, some to promote themselves, others to celebrate the achievements of music history, and others to simply enjoy the event. A full article covering the convention’s time table and review of the spectacular events that took place can be found on pages 8 through 15, but as always, ‘Mare’s Weekly’ makes its priority to bring you all the hottest gossip on celebrities first.
Many of you have been keen followers of the epitome of night life herself, Vinyl Scratch, aka DJ Pon3. Her various exploits have been covered quite extensively by us in the last year from stories relating to her rise to fame, to the numerous liaisons she’s had with other celebrities, the least of which received most attention from the brief stint she’d had with Sapphire Shores last spring.
We planned on interviewing her after her performance on the second night of the Convention and seeing just who she had her eye on next but we were told she was ‘feeling under the weather’ and had to reschedule our interview.
Fortunately, we were able to have an earlier interview with her and none other than the principle cellist of the Canterlot Symphonic Orchestra, Octavia. It was because of that interview, and the fact our sources suggest Octavia was present as a guest of Vinyl at her concert that we decided there was something more than the story we’d been fed as an excuse for Vinyl’s absence.
We proceeded to follow DJ Pon3 for the duration of the convention and found that she spent all of her time with Octavia, even after the majority of the CSO had retreated to rest for the performance they were scheduled for the following week. As well as socialising with the well documented friends, Lyra Heartstrings and Bon-Bon, Vinyl kept Octavia close to her side and after the group separated the two were seen heading into Canterlot’s lower quarters.
Following the pair revealed that they had secluded themselves to a bar far from preying eyes where they could share a drink, most likely without being pestered by unwanted company. They didn’t stay long, however, and soon returned to the inner city, visiting ‘The Music Lounge’, a high class bar frequented by Octavia and her closest friends, where they shared more drinks. The two shared wine and conversed, seemingly avoiding other members of Octavia’s ensemble seated not far from them until they once again moved.
We dutifully followed, and witnessed firsthoof the influence Vinyl Scratch can have on a pony. Octavia has been a very elusive pony for us to interview and all attempts to catch her doing anything remotely out of the ordinary for her have been fruitless. Couple her with Vinyl, however, and she seemed to have become a different mare entirely.
As evidenced in the photos featured throughout this article, the two were seen bar hopping, lingering outside the legendary ‘Fillyfools’ bar, and finally wandering home with the traditional drunken late night meal of hayfries and hayburgers, with which Vinyl took the time and effort to help the inebriated earth pony eat with her magic.
The night came to a conclusion when the two ponies were then seen entering Octavia’s apartment building where it is believed Vinyl Scratch stayed the night. Unfortunately no photographic evidence could be obtained of the DJ leaving the next morning but it can be assumed due to the lateness of the time they were seen entering the building and the notorious reputation Vinyl Scratch has earned in her years as a celebrity that she did not leave early.
It can of course, be viewed as nothing more than friends enjoying a night on the town, we can neither confirm nor deny a budding relationship between the two ponies. However, Octavia on the face of things doesn’t seem to be Vinyl’s typical target when looking for potential suitors, there’s always the possibility that the well-mannered and respectable cellist could have captured the rambunctious DJ’s heart and taking on the challenge of settling her down.
As usual with our coverage of developing romances, any information shedding more light on these interesting developments and confirming or disproving a romantic relationship will earn our one thousand bit reward. Further pictures of the two are also sought after and our usual payment will be made for those of a decent enough quality. Until then, we’ll be keeping a close eye on these two musical idols and wish them all the best in whatever direction they may be heading.
Octavia stared at the magazine once she’d finished reading it, then read through it once more. “Frederic, forget the champagne, I’ll have a whisky please,” she eventually spoke, her voice calm and level.
“Octavia, I don’t think-”
“Get me a whisky,” she repeated again, though less of a request and more of a demand. Frederic didn’t argue at that point, heading off towards the bar and leaving the mare alone with her remaining friends.
The revelations of her ‘night on the town’ didn’t come to a shock to her friends. Following Vinyl’s departure from her apartment, the cellist had divulged her entire night to Symphony and Beauty, who were all too happy to share that with Harpo and Frederic. By the time the five had met up for practice they all had enough jokes and comments prepared to ensure Octavia was thoroughly teased. None of them dared to risk teasing her after what had happened at the music hall, however.
The group had eventually managed to get away from the press once Octavia had clammed up, the nature of the questions bombarding her sending her into a stuttering and flushed state of shock. They had managed to make it back inside the doors and, after relinquishing themselves of their instruments, made a hasty retreat through another less crowded door. The flustered mare surrounded herself with her friends who pushed their way through the paparazzi. Once they were free from immediate pressures they all decided that the best place to discuss the situation was their private both in ‘The Music Lounge’, isolating themselves from potential pursuers behind a thick velvet curtain.
“Octavia, dear,” Beauty Brass began, patting the mare’s foreleg from the seat by her side. “I don’t think there’s that much to worry about...” She trailed off once Octavia slowly turned her head to stare at her. “... Though maybe there might be a little...” she finally finished by punctuating her sentence with a nervous laugh.
“A little?” Octavia replied, her tone slightly louder than usual. “Oh, I guess you’re right. Having your personal life dragged through the papers isn’t really that much of a problem. I mean, let’s face it, I’m all about keeping everypony in Equestria up to date with my love life.” The gesticulation of her hooves and over the top attitude made it obvious she thought the exact opposite of that, even if the other ponies in the booth were oblivious to the heavy sarcasm dripping from her voice.
“It’s just a silly magazine article,” Symphony offered, trying to calm her down whilst at the same time keep her gaze in every direction other than Octavia’s. “I don’t think ALL of the papers are printing it...”
“After confirming that Vinyl had spent the night with me in my apartment after a night of apparent debauchery in front of almost every journalist in Canterlot? I think it’s only a matter of time before they are.” The cellist huffed, and then dropped her head towards the table, resting her forehead against the clean, cool surface. “My life is ruined,” she then muttered, her voice muffled by the table.
“I don’t really see what the problem is,” Harpo eventually spoke once Frederic returned with Octavia’s whisky. “You said yourself that you find the mare attractive.”
“I never said that!” The distressed mare was quick to argue, raising her head with a blush evident on her face as she dismissively thanked Frederic for the drink, taking a large sip from the glass afterwards. “I only admitted that I liked her, and that was only after the insistence of Beauty Brass.”
“It was true though, I could tell from the way you couldn’t keep your eyes off her,” Beauty agreed, subtly turning the magazine round so she could look at the pictures that had been printed, Symphony edging towards her on her seat to look over her shoulder.
“My point still stands,” the harpist continued once the group had quietened down again. “You ‘like’ her, but you’re making out as if this is the worst thing that could happen. It seems to me that this is the perfect opportunity to admit your feelings to her, even if your hoof has been forced.”
The group went silent for a moment, content to listen to the gentle ambient music being produced behind the curtain. “Even if I wanted to, which I don’t,” the cellist eventually spoke up, “Vinyl is in Las Pegasus on tour. I have no idea which hotel she’s staying in, or if she’d be there. By the time a letter made its way to her she’d most likely have already left.”
Frederic, now seated beside Harpo shook his head slightly. “She’s probably facing the same problems you’re facing,” he began, drawing the troubled mare’s attention towards him. “I’d wager she’s just as stumped as you are about how to resolve the situation and will be likely to get in touch with you when it’s easier for you to reply to her. I wouldn’t be surprised if she came to visit you personally.”
“Right, because that will go down well,” Octavia sneered, rolling her eyes, “A magazine prints a news story that’s sure to have everypony keeping a watchful eye on the pair of us, and she starts sending private messages and trying to visit me undercover. Nothing says a secret romance like secret correspondences.”
“At least that sounds romantic,” Symphony absentmindedly remarked as she studied a photo of Octavia drinking from a glass held aloft by Vinyl’s magic. It took her a moment before she realised the other ponies in the booth were looking at her and she blinked. “Well it is... just think about it. If Vinyl were to reciprocate our dear Octavia’s feelings then she’d know that she wouldn’t want to draw any more attention to them. So she’d be all secretive about it. Sending little love poems or gifts, visiting under the cover of darkness and serenading her with music.”
“And then they’d arrange dinner dates between themselves,” Beauty Brass chimed in, the two suddenly become engrossed in their own romance story, oblivious to the sheer awkwardness Octavia was feeling from being the centre of their little imaginings. “They could have candle lit meals in each other’s homes.”
“Oh, and maybe they could don disguises so they could actually go out in public together?” Symphony practically squealed whilst Harpo and Frederic looked at the two mares with baffled expressions. Octavia downed her whisky. “From the looks of these pictures it’d be pretty difficult; they stand out so much together. But maybe swap the glasses around, a different style of mane for Octavia... and a brush for Vinyl. A hat or two and long dresses each...”
“Alright, that’s my cue for me to leave,” Octavia quickly exclaimed, failing to stop the other two mares as they continued to prattle on about different scenarios that they envisioned happening. She forced her way past Frederic and half exited the curtain before calling back, “I’ll catch up with you all when you’re in more sensible moods.” And with that she left the booth.
‘The Music Lounge’ was as busy as it usually was on a Sunday evening. Many ponies in her profession worked long hours and it was typically expected that Sunday evenings were for relaxing before the whole week began again. Waiters and waitresses flitted about from table to table, ensuring that the high profile guests they were serving were happy with the drinks they had and making sure that they earned a decent tip.
She looked over to the corner of the room, longingly eyeing her usual table when not seeking privacy and contemplated taking up residence. From that table she could see the entire room, enjoy the music being played by the live musicians on the stage and simply while away the hours until she was inclined enough to make her way home. But with the continuing mutterings coming from the curtain behind her, and the way some of the ponies in the room were looking at her, she found herself believing that it wouldn’t be as relaxing as she usually found it.
The area of Canterlot that she grew up in and currently resided was considered high class. She was in no way a noble, even she was looked down upon by those ponies, but she was still respected. Not many ponies of her stature would read magazines such as ‘Mare’s Weekly’, but she knew that those that did would be quick to pass on the story. Gossip spread like wildfire in a community that was all about reputation as it was about substance, and she knew that some ponies would be taking interest in her affairs.
Deciding it better for her to retire to her apartment early rather than risk potential and uncomfortable conversations about her new friend, she turned to leave. The majority of the ponies she passed paid her no mind, continuing with their conversations and enjoying their evening. One or two hushed up, averting their gaze and making it obvious they were trying not to look at her. Feeling her face redden slightly she ignored them, trotting on until she exited the bar.
The crisp autumn air quickly cooled her down, taking several deep breathes to calm her nerves before making her way down the street. There were still plenty of ponies meandering through the ever active city, and Octavia scanned every one of them briefly in search of cameras or other paraphernalia that would give away a pony’s intentions.
Although she was extremely happy with the fame and renown she’d earned, she hated the press. They never knew when to stop asking questions and were constantly trying to get more out of her than was necessary to finish whatever they’d set out to do. She was always reluctant to take interviews and give statements on how a performance had gone or how she coped with the pressures of her job. She’d only ever agreed to do any sort of media appearance if it was with a friend or set up carefully by the Orchestra’s marketing director.
As a result, having her personal life suddenly invaded in such a manner was more than disconcerting. When ponies think they know something they tend to tell others about it, and somewhere along the line the message gets muddled and the rumour mill kicks into overdrive.
Sighing heavily, Octavia lowered her head, trudging on towards her apartment, the sun hanging low in the sky and casting the city into an early twilight. Her thoughts began to drift towards the DJ she’d been accused of being paired with and she laughed bitterly to herself. “I bet she’s used to this sort of thing,” she muttered, conscious that no pony was close enough to hear her.
The article had called Vinyl ‘notorious’, and it was heavily implied that she had a reputation of having ‘liaisons’, with other ponies. Octavia found that that, despite the whole situation she had been placed in, was what annoyed her the most. She couldn’t explain her feelings to herself properly, let alone to other ponies, but she knew she had far less experience with relationships as other ponies and the fact that Vinyl seemingly had an abundance of it irritated her.
Irritation soon turned to anger as she began to replay her time with Vinyl through her head. Bon-Bon had said that Vinyl was interested in her, or at least tried to point it out. Was she just trying to help Vinyl add another notch to her bedpost? Maybe they’d planned it all along, find a mare that was by herself, string her along and try to get her in to bed?
“The nerve!” she suddenly shouted, startling a guard pony as she passed him. He looked at her quizzically but she ignored him, too lost in her own thoughts to consider apologising and continued on her way.
It wasn’t until she rounded a corner and began to make her way down the boulevard that took her to her apartment building did she sigh once more, her anger flickering out and being replaced with guilt. “They wouldn’t do that.” It was her that approached Vinyl, asked her if she could join her for breakfast, not the other way around. And Bon-Bon was far too sweet to be embroiled in that sort of deviancy; no pony could bluff the sincerity that she exuded.
She concluded that she was letting herself get worked up over something that somepony had interpreted wrongly and that she should let it go. Most gossip ran its course, she just had to wait until the next scandal came along and she and Vinyl would be old news.
A blinding flash blurred the cellist’s vision, and she finally took note of her surroundings. She’d made it to her apartment building, but stood in the door way were two unicorns, one with a floating camera above her head, a short pink mane framing her head, a stark contrast to her green coat. The other, a stallion with an unusually dark black coat with a matching dark mane, held a pen and pad of paper. Octavia groaned.
“Miss Octavia, could we have a word with you?” the stallion with the pad asked, a false smile stretched across his muzzle.
“No, you may not,” Octavia bluntly replied, nose up as she approached. The pair refused to part, however.
“We’d just like to ask you a few questions, it won’t take long,” the other unicorn said, her camera clicking once more when Octavia came to a stop.
The musician huffed and glowered at the photographer, who smiled back, unaffected by the death stare she was being given. “I know exactly what the questions will be about and I refuse to continue these idiotic rumours further. Now, kindly step aside.”
“What is your relationship with Vinyl Scratch?” the stallion asked, blatantly ignoring the mare’s demand.
“None of your concern,” came Octavia’s flat response.
The male unicorn grinned, his pen jotting down a few notes. “You know, such outright uncooperativeness like that might suggest to us that there is indeed a relationship. You must see the logic in telling us all the little sordid details to avoid vicious rumours spreading, no?”
Octavia looked between the two unicorns, a deep frown forming on her lips as she narrowed her eyes at them. “I do hope you aren’t suggesting you plan to commit libel, my dear ponies, because that would end very, very, badly for you.”
“Oh, nothing of the sort, I’m just suggesting that rumours and gossip tends to get around, and usually the truth is the only thing that can stop it. An interview might help with that,” he grinned, tapping his pen on his pad whilst the mare with him took another photo, apparently for the sole intention of irritating Octavia. “An exclusive interview?”
“No comment,” was Octavia reply before she barged into the mare. Earth ponies were known for their strength. What they lacked in magic and flight they made up for in shear power. Add that to the weight of her cello that she carried to every performance and Octavia was in very good shape. The unicorn mare was quickly shouldered aside, the act almost surprising her into dropping her camera and the cellist made her way through to the atrium.
“You Canterlot mares are all the same!” The unicorn stallion quickly called after her, venom positively dripping from his words. “You pretend to be all high and mighty and above the rest of us but really you’re just as filthy as the streetwalkers of Manehattan. There’s no point in protecting your one night stand, Octavia, we’ll find what we want eventually, and then all your dirty little secrets will be out for everypony to see!”
Biting her tongue, and almost shaking with rage, Octavia ignored him. She waited for the elevator after summoning it, her ears flicking to make sure that she hadn’t been followed inside. The two unicorns had remained outside, not wanting to try their luck further and when the elevator arrived she entered and turned to see that the atrium was as empty as it should be.
As soon as the doors dinged to a close she let herself go, a quick vocal outburst fuelled by anger, followed by a loud clang. She panted afterwards, her hind legs jarring as she turned to see the two hoof marks embedded into the glossy, brass wall of the elevator, the thin metal casing dented slightly from the buck she’d given it.
The act of lashing out at something did wonders to her mood but she was still upset. She hadn’t expected to be accosted at her home. She could handle journalists at her place of work, even at bars she may venture to, but having to put up with them at her own doorstep proved a little too much for her.
The whole situation was beginning to get out of hoof, and it was only the first day. She couldn’t decide on what frustrated her more, whether it was the fact that the article had been published in the first place, the idea that ponies were talking about her, or the fact that she had to try and get a lid on top of it all. Or the fact that there isn’t some truth to the rumours, she thought, before stopping herself with a shake of her head.
She struggled to keep her thoughts off Vinyl for a moment as the doors opened and she approached her front door. It was as she was turning her key in the lock that she let her mind wander. No... why am I stopping myself from thinking about her?
Letting herself into the hallway, she shut and bolted the door behind her, thoughts coming and going. She looked at the board where Vinyl had pinned her and Lyra and Bon-Bon’s addresses on before reaching up and pulling down the couple’s with her teeth. I may not be the most intelligent of ponies when it comes to suggesting a relationship but I think I know somepony who is.
Address in her grip, she made her way into her bedroom, avoiding the clutter and mess that blocked her way, kicking a bag out of her way before taking her seat at her desk. Light illuminated the wooden surface as she clicked on the lamp, revealing a fresh piece of parchment that hadn’t been stained by coffee.
“Ok, nice an easy,” she muttered before taking up her pen in her mouth and beginning to write.
Dear Bon-Bon and Lyra,...
Each of the three subspecies of Ponies had their capitals. The Unicorns had Canterlot, the Earth Ponies had Manehatten. The Pegasus had Cloudsdale. The cloud city was separate from the other two, however, as only Pegasus could actually live there, the plush clouds and altitudes only accessible by flight unless powerful, uncommon magic was used.
Because of the inaccessibility, other cloud cities made an effort to benefit from the contributions of the other ponies. They lowered the altitude of their cities, bringing the clouds closer to the ground and interacting with the ground bound ponies of Equestria. Fresh produce and intricate works of art and music were sought after by the Pegasus ponies over the years and the cities became multicultural which soon flourished. Perhaps the most famous of these cities was Las Pegasus.
The Pegasus that lived there mixed their cloud structures with the stone and brickwork of the other ponies and the city grew larger over time. It was a remarkable feat of engineering to have solid flooring throughout the majority of the city’s buildings and walkways. Grand staircases rose to upper layers, allowing earth ponies and unicorns alike the opportunity to access almost every part of the cloud city. In fact, the only areas that were restricted to Pegasus were areas of office such as the Mayor’s personal offices and historical heritage sights.
Tourism and entertainment quickly became one of the bigger attractions, with ponies looking for escapism and fun. With entertainment becoming a much larger industry, theatres, music halls, vast shopping malls, bars and high dining restaurants all sprung up, taking advantage of the extra economy. Grand Casinos rose from every layer of the city and boosted economy and tourism further.
Any pony who wanted to make a name for themselves in the entertainment industry had spent time in Las Pegasus at some point or another, and Vinyl was no exception.
As she swapped a record on her turntable she remembered when she first began touring the numerous clubs and outdoor concert halls that she had performed in. Las Pegasus had been one of her first. Although accustomed to the night life in Ponyville, however small it may have been, and the night life in Manehatten, she could never have been fully prepared for what awaited her in the cloud city.
For one, nowhere seemed to close. It seemed that Opal found the best way to teach Vinyl that was to book her at multiple venues, each one after the other. The DJ had never been so tired in her life once she had finished and could have a couple of days to herself in the hotel room. Opal called it a reward for her hard work, to allow her to see the sights of the city and maybe gamble a bit of her earnings, but all Vinyl did was sleep, too exhausted to do much of anything else.
Not that that was a bad thing, of course. Even as she banged her head to the beats coming out of the speakers on either side of her, a huge grin plastered onto her face as she pumped her hoof into the air towards the screaming masses, all she could think about was lying her head on the soft pegasus-down pillows in her hotel room. Her muscles ached thanks to the time in the gym Opal had assigned her and she wasn’t really in the mood to be putting on a performance. Even the place she was performing couldn’t invigorate her mind enough to make her want to enjoy herself enough to stay out and enjoy the city.
The venue was outdoors, the biggest amphitheatre the city had to offer. There was a large space in the middle where hundreds of ponies were dancing and throwing their bodies around and above that were compact tiles of cloud; smaller dance floors for the majority of the pegasus that didn’t want to tire themselves out by dancing in the air. Vinyl had always wondered what it would be like to have wings, to be able to lord over the ground-bound ponies and dance the night away with death-defying aerial manoeuvres. She quickly put those thoughts to one side, coming to terms with the fact she’d probably get carried away and crash into an amp.
She lit up her horn once more as the track she was playing began to end and she quickly transitioned into the final song of the evening. Although she was tired, she considered herself a professional and prided herself on giving top notch entertainment whenever she could. And so, with a grin, she turned a few dials and flicked a few switches on her turntables and began to play her remix of Sapphire Shore’s new single.
The ponies went wild as the recognisable intro was warped and distorted by Vinyl’s tampering and everypony began to dance regardless of their location. The lights that Vinyl had rigged up to the six towers that circled the amphitheatre flashed a multitude of different colours, lighting up the dance floors and revealing each of the ponies in clear detail.
This is what she loved, the excitement and the thrill of ponies reaching the point of near mania. She knew she was a bit of a show off, Lyra had been sure to tell her that as she was growing up. She remembered during a hearth warming pageant at her school in Ponyville when Lyra had been given the role of Clover the Clever. Vinyl had been hoping for Princess Platinum but missed out. Instead of taking the loss well she decided to try to upstage the ‘Princess’, standing in front of her and getting in the way. The audience thought it funny, the teacher, not so much.
She laughed at that thought even as her left hoof came down on the button beside her turntables. Almost instantly a series of loud booms echoed through the arena as fireworks and lasers shot out into the sky. The audience roared with shouts and whistles, all looking up to watch the display in the sky. The lasers bounced off the smoke trailed behind by the fireworks and the colourful explosions in the air made sure everything was lit wherever the roaming lights in the towers weren’t facing.
“Yeah, definitely a show off,” the DJ muttered to herself with a half genuine smile, watching as the sparklers on either side of her decks blew forth a shower of white and blue sparks. Once the track was done, and the last of the fireworks had let themselves off in sync with the last beats from the speakers, Vinyl closed down the show, thanking everypony for coming and promising them that Las Pegasus was her favourite city to perform in, just like every other city.
She stepped back from her turntables, making her way through the thin veil of fog that had been billowing on to the stage and disappeared behind the screens that had been constructed to separate the unsightly view of the technical equipment that had been set up. A chorus of praise assaulted her as she walked, the usual technicians she worked with nodding their heads and smiling at her.
Vinyl did her best to return them, giving her own praise on the lighting and sound systems but all she really wanted to do was call it a night and head off back to her hotel before Opal could sink her teeth into her and march her to a press interview that she no doubt had organised.
“DJ Pon3! Over here! Can you sign my autograph book?!” A series of shouts reached her ears as she turned a corner towards the stage exits to the back of the amphitheatre, stopping her In her tracks. She looked to her left to see a group of ponies being held back by security, all with eager faces and trying to push their way through. None of them looked threatening but Vinyl knew how crazy some of her fans could be. She distinctly remembered one such fan that gave her a hug... and stole half her mane in the process with the scissors he’d been hiding.
She shook the memory away, thankful that she had time to grow her mane back before her next appearance, then waved at the ponies before continuing.
“Hey, get back here!” A gruff voice shouted out and Vinyl looked back to see a pegasus mare zooming towards her, smiling widely.
“Not my mane!” Vinyl called out, eyes wide before curling up into a ball on the floor, hooves covering her head. She then realised how uncool that might have looked and brought her head back up to watch the mare get tackled by two other security members.
“Ouch, my wings,” she cried as she was quite forcefully restrained, the two stallions pinning her to the floor before attempting to lift her and carry her away. “Let go, you’re hurting me!” she cried again, tears beginning to form in the corners of her eyes.
“Oh, geeze,” Vinyl muttered, rubbing the end of her snout with a hoof before putting it up in front of her. “Hang on, guys, let her go.” The security guards stopped, but didn’t let the mare go, who continued to struggle against their grip; she did pause to look at Vinyl for a moment once she spoke, however.
“I can’t stand to see a mare cry, just let her go. I can handle one fan, and she did try so hard to get through. Might as well reward perseverance, right?”
“If you insist.” The two guards put the pegasus down, who proceeded to sit on her flank, staring in mild confusion and awe at Vinyl as the stallions left back to their previous positions.
Vinyl met the Pegasus’ gaze, unsure on whether she was being particularly wise in letting her go. She had a stark white coat, a picture frame cutie mark adorning her flanks. As she rose to her feet her long, curly mane bounced in place, the powder blue locks framing her face quite well and reaching down to her knees. All in all, she was pretty attractive, young, curves in all the right places, a nice even coat, well groomed. When enough silent staring had passed to consider it awkward, Vinyl spoke. “Er... hi-”
“Oh my gosh, DJ Pon3!” The pegasus cried, lunging forwards to wrap her forelegs around Vinyl’s neck and bring her into a near bone crushing hug. “You saved me, thank you!”
Momentarily surprised by the sudden hug attack, the DJ instinctively returned the hug, squeezing gently as was expected with an embrace. She noted the subtle smell of juniper wafting from the mare’s mane and had to stop herself from prolonging the contact to take in more of it, instead pushing back on the mare’s shoulders with her hooves.
“No problem,” Vinyl answered when she could finally meet the mare’s grinning face once more, eyes locking on to her matching blue eyes. “And Vinyl will do, DJ Pon3 is just a stage name.”
“Oh, ok... Vinyl,” the mare replied with a little giggle, a slight blush upon her face that the unicorn put down to being so close to the mare’s apparent idol.
“Riiight... so, you wanted an autograph or something?” Vinyl then continued, hoping to move it along and placate the fan.
“Nope,” the pegasus replied with the same star struck expression, her local. “Well, yes, obviously I’d love one. But really I just wanted to say ‘Hi’.”
“You... wanted to say Hi?”
“Oh yes,” she replied, nodding enthusiastically. “I’m like, probably your biggest fan. I’ve bought all your records and merchandise, posters, sweaters, notebooks... um...socks... But this is the first time I’ve been able to save enough money to come and see you in person. And when I do get enough to get a ticket you come to my home city! I just couldn’t believe my luck so I just had to come and finally meet you in person.”
Vinyl only blinked in response, her face perfectly straight. She figured she could get some fun out of her for a little while, especially with the way she had stumbled a little in her sentence. She enjoyed listening to her accent at least. “You bought my socks?” she eventually asked, seemingly disregarding everything else the pegasus has said.
“Well... er... yes,” the mare blushed, unaware of Vinyl’s penchant for teasing. “They actually match my coat really well...” She then went quiet again, now not wanting to look at Vinyl through embarrassment. The DJ could only leave her like that for so long before she gave a little chuckle and gave her a gentle nudge with her hoof.
“I’m only playing with you, don’t sweat it,” she grinned, giving the mare a wink which quickly brought her round again. “I tease a lot, you’ll get used to it. But first of all, what’s your name?”
“Flitter Flash,” she quickly replied, standing up off her haunches to show off her cutie mark. “I make picture frames with my dad in the city. We come from a long line of weather officers but I guess we just took a different direction to the rest of the family.”
“That’s pretty cool,” Vinyl said as she turned to carry on to the exit doors. She looked over her shoulder when she saw Flitter wasn’t following and motioned with her head. “Well, aren’t you coming with me?”
That was all the invitation Flitter Flash needed to quickly flutter to Vinyl’s side, keeping herself in the air as she kept pace. “You bet... but, where are we going?” the pegasus asked as the two approached the door, a member of the security team opening it for them.
“You’ve just won a few hours with DJ Pon3,” she replied with a smirk, standing by the door and motioning for Flitter to go through. “Wherever you want to go, a restaurant would be nice though, I’m not looking forwards to the salad that Opal’s probably got prepared for me back at the hotel.”
It was several hours later that Vinyl finally made it back to her hotel room. She had no clue what time it was, she just knew it was late. She’d had a good time, forgotten about life as a showbiz pony and managed to have pleasant conversation with Flitter Flash, who was cautiously entering the room behind the DJ.
“Are you sure it’s alright for me to come in here...” she asked, looking left and right as if somepony was going to jump out at her. “I don’t want to get in trouble.”
“Of course it’s alright. It’s MY room, isn’t it?” Vinyl retorted with a light chuckle, her magic flinging her glasses on to the couch which she then promptly collapsed on to. “You’re far too nervous about meeting famous ponies, Flits. I’ve already told you that we’re no different to you. If you got your picture frames endorsed by the royal palace for example, you’d be famous too. It’s really not all that special.”
“But it’s so glamorous!” Flitter almost shouted, her nervous expression quickly vanishing at the nickname that Vinyl had given her. She closed the door to the room behind her and hovered over to the couch, remaining in place in the air as she gesticulated with her hooves. “You get to see all the sights, meet all the famous ponies, buy lots of different clothes...”
Vinyl laughed. “You know, you remind me of a friend of mine. She’s under the impression that the high life is everything that people dream it would be too. But it’s really not all that it’s made out to be. Trust me, there’s times I wish I could trade it all in.”
The DJ nodded, watching as Flitter remained in the air, her wings beating slowly and steadily, just enough to keep her afloat above the carpeted flooring. “It gets pretty tiring, you have to put on a facade whenever you’re near anypony with a camera and Celestia forbid you offend someone. On top of all that I have to keep watching what I eat because now that I’m constantly mobile and have bits coming out of my ears, I can afford all the tastiest but unhealthiest foods I can think of. Never had that problem before I was famous...”
“But the good things must outweigh the bad, right? Otherwise why would you keep doing it?”
“I suppose you’re right. And I do get to meet some interesting ponies,” Vinyl mused, half listening, half thinking. She barely registered the change in weight on the couch as Flitter landed, and only came out of her pondering when she felt the brush of a wing against her side. “Finally tired out enough to sit down, huh?” She asked, giving the pegasus a wink.
“Well, I’m not that tired,” Flitter responded. It was then that Vinyl noticed the mare was sitting rather close to her on the couch, almost upon the same cushion. She looked more carefully at her face, noting the subtle smile upon her lips, the sultry, half lidded eyes that she mistook for tiredness most of the night, and the way her wings struggled to stay by her side without twitching for more than a few seconds.
“Oh... well... that’s good then,” Vinyl stuttered out, which only served to make Flitter giggle. Vinyl was usually used to the advances from both mares and stallions. She was a pony of the world and as long as both parties weren’t looking for anything exclusive, she could usually go along with it. She was never nervous, usually being the pony to make the first move. But, being alone with somepony who she thought was just an overzealous fan made her a little more cautious.
“I think you don’t have to worry about things as much as you do, Vinyl,” Flitter spoke, staying where she was but never breaking eye contact with the DJ. “I mean, you look great, if you don’t mind me saying so, so food shouldn’t be too much of a problem. And you get paid so much money to pretend to like other ponies that you don’t really like. All that means is that the ones you do like, should feel all the more honoured for it. I’m sure you have friends, right?”
“Well, yeah, I have a few...” the unicorn muttered in reply, thoughts flashing back to Lyra and Bon-Bon, then to Octavia. The cellist was who had made her talk to Flitter in the first place, in the hopes of making yet another ‘normal’ friend. And here she was... inching her hoof towards Vinyl’s shoulder.
“Can I... um... I mean would you be offended if... wait, what I mean to say is...” Flitter’s face did little to conceal the blush spreading over her snout, the confidence from a few moments ago quickly vanishing. “Can I kiss you?” She finally got out, almost catching the unicorn by surprise.
“Well... I have to say I’ve never actually been asked if it was ok for somepony to kiss me before.” Vinyl replied with a light chuckle, which made Flitter’s ears prick up.
“You mean I could just do it?” She asked, leaning forwards.
Vinyl put up a hoof to stop Flitter from actually making contact, which made her ears go straight back down against her head. “Most ponies do just do it, yes... but I appreciate the gesture.” She paused, nervously chewing on her bottom lip as she considered her options, something she hadn’t done since she was a filly.
“Look, Flits, you’re definitely attractive, gorgeous even.” She began, which made the blush on Flitter’s face almost permanent as she erupted into a bashful smile. “But if you’re as big a fan as you say you are you must know I have a... reputation. I don’t want anypony to think I’m taking advantage of you...”
“You aren’t,” was all the pegasus replied with before she leant forwards and pressed her lips to Vinyl’s. They stayed like that for a few moments, Flitter awkwardly positioned as she tried to get comfortable on the couch despite her now extended wings, and Vinyl trying to lean forwards into the kiss.
It was obvious Flitter was inexperienced, she wasn’t a fantastic kisser, nor did she seem like she was confident enough to take charge, though Vinyl respected the fact that she was definitely trying. The unicorn was thankful that she stayed away from drinking whilst they were out; the taste of alcohol on a pony wasn’t the best when kissing for the first time.
When Flitter finally ran out of breath and with a gentle push from Vinyl, they broke apart. They sat in silence for a moment, the pegasus leaning somewhat against Vinyl with an awkward expression on her face. “I’m... not very good, am I?” She asked, ears firmly plastered against her head as she looked down and to the side.
“You’re fine,” Vinyl was quick to respond, knowing full well that hesitation at such crucial points was a sure fire way to break a pony’s confidence. She brought her hoof to Flitter’s chin and lifted it up so she could look her in the eyes. “Personally I think it’s the couch’s fault. It’s hard to get into that sort of mood when we’re stuck for space.”
With that, she pushed Flitter Flash off of her and got to her hooves before sauntering away to the bed, looking over her shoulder to watch the other mare as she peered over the back of the couch. The DJ grinned, her eyes half lidded as she took a leaf out of Lyra’s book and sat on the edge of the bed, knowing full well what a pegasus would likely do next. “Now, are you sure you want to go through with this? Or do you really want ‘DJ Pon3’ to show you a few moves?”
As expected, Flitter shot over the couch, a good few wing beats propelling her towards the unicorn where she crashed into her, knocking her onto her back onto the bed and once more locking their lips together on top of her.
The sunlight flittering through the open curtains eventually crept its way up the sheets and into Vinyl’s eyes. The dozing unicorn scrunched up her face as she was bombarded by the relentless sunbeams and with a soft grunt of annoyance she lit up her horn and pulled the curtains to, darkening the room once more. “I really need to remember to start closing curtains,” she grumbled to herself before sinking further into her sheets, content to lie in the warmth for a while.
The soft scent of juniper filtered to her nose once more, and after inhaling deeply, she noticed that her sheets were a little warmer than usual. She could feel the rising and falling of a chest against her back, and the sensation of warm air being exhaled against the back of her head. Running a hoof down her front confirmed two wings wrapped snugly around her midriff and the squeeze of a pony’s hooves around her belly confirmed that Flitter was still in bed with her.
Not that she minded. She had always enjoyed waking up with somepony in her bed, sharing the warmth and of course the cuddles. She never admitted it to anypony but she loved getting a good cuddle. She lay motionless for quite some time, almost drifting off back to sleep in Flitter’s embrace before the door to the hotel room was unlocked and flung open.
Vinyl didn’t even bother getting up. She knew who it was.
“You really must stop disappearing, Vinyl,” the steady voice of Opal invaded her ears, making Vinyl roll her eyes and pull the covers further up her head. “The press is going to get the impression you’re ignoring them and that’s only going to make them all the more bothersome.” The curtains were flung open once more with the tan aura of Opal’s magic, much to Vinyl’s displeasure.
The commotion in the room stirred the pegasus in the bed, and with a yawn, which Vinyl found unbearably cute, she slowly woke up. Remembering where she was, and noticing Vinyl still in her grip she let out a little squee before giving her an affectionate nuzzle. “Good morning, Vinyl.”
“Yes. Good morning, Vinyl,” came Opal’s voice, much louder than before and Flitter jumped from her position, sitting bolt upright in the bed. Vinyl groaned at the loss of warmth.
“Who are you?” she squeaked, feeling somewhat self conscious of being caught in bed with somepony.
“Vinyl’s mother,” Opal replied, her face still in its ever calm visage. Flitter’s mouth dropped, staring back at Opal as she sat at the foot of the bed. She then glanced back at Vinyl who still hadn’t lifted her head from her pillow.
“She’s not my mother,” Vinyl muttered, eyes still closed and a grimace on her face, “she just likes to think she is.”
“Well somepony has to look after you, Vinyl, otherwise you end up doing things like,” she gestured her hoof towards the bed, “this.”
Vinyl felt Flitter slump somewhat from her upright position, and after opening an eye saw her with her ears laid flat again, obviously taking Opal’s words to heart. Vinyl finally shot up, glaring daggers at the other unicorn in the room. “Opal, what in Tarturus do you want? You said I could have the morning off. You’ve worked me to the bone these past few days and I’d really like to get some more sleep with Flitter here so if it’s not important can you kindly buck off?”
The three fell silent, Vinyl glaring at Opal, Opal returning her gaze without so much as a flinch, and Flitter with another awestruck look in her eyes as she looked at Vinyl. “Well,” Opal began, her horn lighting up to retrieve a magazine from her bag on her side. “I thought you may want to have a read of this and give me your thoughts on the matter. Then I’ll leave you two alone.”
The magazine waved itself in front of Vinyl’s nose, whereupon the DJ snatched it out of the air with her teeth. Giving a final sneer at Opal, she dropped it onto the bed and turned a few pages with her magic. When she found the right page, and she knew it was definitely the right page, her jaw dropped.
Flitter leaned against her shoulder as she tried to read along, but Vinyl was reading with a much quicker sense of urgency as she became more engrossed in the article, turning the pages before Flitter could reach the end of hers. Opal moved to the window, looking down at the streets at the various press ponies and the poor disguises they were using to conceal themselves.
Vinyl finally looked up to from the magazine and turned to face Flitter. The pegasus looked down at the pictures in the magazine, a wing flipping the pages every so often to look at the rest before she looked back up to wait for Vinyl’s response.
“She’s... er... she’s a friend,” Vinyl replied, casting a quick, hate filled look towards Opal before looking back at Flitter. “Met her in Canterlot at the music convention. We just went out for drinks afterwards and I crashed at her place, no big deal.”
“But the magazine says-” the pegasus began before she was interrupted.
“Wrong end of the stick, I promise you. I never did anything with Octavia, we stayed in separate rooms. AND we were far from sober, not like I was last night with you.” She punctuated the last sentence with a kiss to Flitter’s nose, who promptly smiled and wrapped her arms back around Vinyl’s chest, lowering her head against her shoulder.
I hate crying mares... Vinyl thought to herself before looking back up at Opal, who was staring at the scene with barely contained glee. “Get the buck out,” the DJ mouthed, not wanting to let Flitter know there was any more tension in the room than there already was.
“We’re sorting this out tomorrow,” the agent mouthed back before levitating the magazine back to her bag and marching out the door, leaving the two mares in bed.
Once she was gone, Vinyl nudged Flitter to lie back down. She was all too happy to comply and quickly enveloped the unicorn in a full bodied hug again, the DJ lying on her side and staring out the window.
Her mind raced, thoughts of Lyra flailing her alive, and Octavia hitting her over the head with her cello whilst Bon-Bon baked wedding cakes.
Well, I’m bucked...