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...”