(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.