“Tavi! That was awesome!”
“Heh... heh... Why... Thank you, Vinyl...”
The two were up on one of the unoccupied balconies, getting some fresh air. The night was still quite chilly, but to the two ponies catching their breath after an hour of spirited dancing, it felt wonderful. After Fancy had left them on the dance floor, the pair had been in high enough spirits to cut loose, and Octavia had dazzled everypony (including her date!) with an impressive display of hoof-work. She was seated in the snow, and Vinyl was standing next to her, nearly hopping.
“Where did you even learn to dance like that? I mean, that was great! Classy, too!”
The cellist shook her head, grinning. “Whew! I don’t recall, actually. It just... felt right.” She winked. “Perhaps it was your bad influence.”
The unicorn was ecstatic, and began to wave her hooves in success. “Alright! I knew you would come to the dark side sooner or-”
“Come, now, is there really a need for a victory dance?”
Vinyl lowered her hooves and grinned. “Do you need to ask?”
Tavi smiled and got up, linking her forehoof with the unicorn’s. “Now, now, save it for when we win!”
The DJ cocked an eyebrow sardonically. “I thought you said not to ‘get ahead of ourselves’!”
“Oh, well, now. That’s not getting ahead of ourselves, that’s just... confidence! That we’ll win. Because we will.”
“Oh, now it’s official?” The white mare smiled.
“Yes, as a matter of fact, it is.”
The two left the balcony, closing the door behind them. The upper area of the ballroom was deserted; all of its previous occupants had since joined the throbbing mass of dancers below. Outside, a few more couples lingered on the balconies, but none could see the two musical mares as they gazed at the ponies whirling about below.
“Hey, look over there!”
“Hmm? Where- Oh, there they are again...”
Lyrica and Vibrant had, after their brief encounter, retreated to their corner, and were once again gazing at the crowd with distaste. Lyrica glowered balefully at every remotely happy pony that came near her, and Vibrant’s facial expression could have been chiseled in granite. Neither looked very happy with the other, either.
“Heh.. heh.... heh heh heh....”
Hearing the malicious laugh, Octavia looked at her companion warily. “Vinyl... Exactly what are you plotting?”
Vinyl winked. “Well, you know, you didn’t let me do it before...”
The cellist looked puzzled. “I didn’t let you... what? Do what?”
Instead of an answer, the DJ set off along the balcony towards a spot above their rivals, with the grey earth pony following cautiously. When they had reached the spot directly above the two unpleasant ponies, the white unicorn motioned for her partner to be silent. Looking around, her gaze caught upon a nearby table. It had nothing on it save a tablecloth and a small candle. Removing the latter item carefully with her magic and placing it on the ground, she next lifted the tablecloth and brought it closer to her. Vinyl inspected it carefully, then nodded.
Enlightenment struck. Octavia stuck out a hoof and opened her mouth to stop her, but the unicorn had already tossed the tablecloth over the railing and was galloping furiously for the stairs. “Come on, Tavi!”
“Vinyl, you just- Oh, we’re getting thrown out!”
The DJ laughed defiantly. “No, we’re not! Come on, faster!”
The cellist began to laugh as she ran. Perhaps it was the alcohol, or getting caught up in Vinyl’s mischief, but dear Celestia, she felt good, even if they were about to get thrown out of the festival.
The two reached the stairs and burst out of the balcony, taking the steps down two at a time. At the bottom, they slowed down and strolled inconspicuously into the anteroom, passing the ice statue. Up and down the hall, formal-looking ponies who either didn’t wish to dance or were taking a break sat enjoying themselves in each other’s company. Since the pair had arrived earlier, a large buffet table had been set out, stocked high with food. Vinyl’s eyes went round.
“Look, Tavi! Look!”
“I see it! Didn’t we eat dinner?”
“Like, two hours ago!”
“And I’m hungry again!”
Octavia glanced behind them at the doors into the ballroom. No ponies appeared to be forthcoming to accost them, and she sighed in relief. At any rate, she thought, I hope it really did land on them.
She smiled. “Alright, fine, fine. Let’s go inspect the cuisine.”
The pair trotted over to the table, the cellist checking behind her again. Nothing still. When they reached the buffet, they were greeted by a smiling waiter pony with a platter cutie mark.
“Hello, ladies! What would you like?”
Up close, the smorgasbord was even more tantalizing. Muffins in every flavor stood in neat rows next to a large collection of succulent-looking fruit. Small daffodil-and-daisy and cucumber sandwiches sat on small napkins. Next to those, small souffles were placed on their own plates. On the far end waited the dessert items: delicious-looking pies in every flavor, cupcakes with multi colored frosting, smaller, individual cakes with a strawberry on top, donuts heaped with powdered sugar, and eclairs drizzled in chocolate. At the very end of the table stood another smiling pony, serving ice cream in small dishes.
Octavia immediately began to feel a rumbling in her stomach, and conveniently forgot that she, too, had eaten just a few hours previous. She turned to Vinyl.
“What shall we get? ….Vinyl?”
The DJ was gone, already by the far end of the table, talking to the pony attending to the ice cream. The cellist glanced back at the first waiter pony as he raised his eyebrows.
“That may have been the fastest I’ve ever seen a pony move.”
Tavi laughed. “That’s Vinyl... Always a slave to her stomach.”
The waiter chuckled, and gestured with a hoof at the enticing array before him. “Well, is there anything I can get you?”
The grey earth pony licked her lips and pondered. “Perhaps I’ll have... Oh, my. This all looks delicious. I’ll go with a chocolate muffin, if you don’t mind, and then move on to dessert. Thank you!”
The pony behind the table fetched it for her, placing it on a small plate. “Not a problem! Enjoy.”
Octavia took her plate in her mouth and trotted down to the end of the table, arriving just in time to hear Vinyl say to the second waiter:
“-over there. Okay?”
The pony nodded, smiling, and trotted back through a kitchen door behind him.
The cellist put her plate down and cocked her head to the side. “What was that?”
The white unicorn smiled slyly. “Oh, nothing! What’d you get?”
Octavia raised an eyebrow in question, but didn’t pursue the matter. “...A muffin. Yourself?”
“Oh, I think I’ll have... uhhhh... a donut. Yeah. I’ll have something else later.”
The earth pony gave her a look of disbelief. “Really?”
“That’s all? By the way you looked at this table, I’d have thought you’d have it halfway cleared by now.”
“Wellll.... I’m not all that hungry. We had dinner and all, right?”
“But you just said-”
“Hey, why don’t we go sit over there?” Vinyl pointed at a small table across the room, with two cushions. Around it sat a few other groups of ponies, talking and enjoying themselves.
Octavia was becoming quite baffled by her companion’s behavior. “It’s quite crowded over there. Why not down that way?” She indicated another table down the hall.
The white mare shook her head. “Nah, that’s too far to walk. C’mon!” She trotted off towards the first table she had pointed out, levitating her donut in front of her.
The cellist shook her head in confusion, then picked up her muffin again and carried over to the table. She put it down, smiled at the ponies around her, then sat across from Vinyl, who was, quite oddly, seemingly ignoring her donut. She smiled sweetly at Octavia.
“So, Tavi! Having a good time?”
The earth pony, more confused than ever, nodded. “Why yes, of course. And you?”
Vinyl beamed at her. “It’s great! I’m really glad we’re here together!”
Octavia blushed as a pony behind the DJ turned around and frowned at the unicorn’s loud voice. “Vinyl! A little quieter; other ponies are trying to enjoy their food!”
The mare continued smiling. “Oh, of course, Tavi! Sorry!” She leaned forward and gazed at the cellist.
The grey mare was slightly unnerved. “Um... Vinyl? What are you doing?”
Vinyl winked. “Gazing dreamily into your eyes. Duh.”
Understanding flowed into the cellist, and she berated herself for her blindness. She winked back, then leaned forward, mentally grinning, to match the DJ. “Oh, of course, dear.”
Out of the corner of her eye, she saw the pony at the next table turn and start at the sight of them. She kept her straight face, not turning to look.
Meanwhile, Vinyl was struggling not to laugh. “So! Um.... love of my life... Nice weather we’re having?”
Octavia let out an involuntary giggle at ‘love of my life’, then fought her mirth back under control. “Oh, yes, quite. It is a tad cold, but I’m sure the fire of your passion will keep me-” She couldn’t finish, and buried her face in her hooves, shaking with suppressed laughter.
Vinyl kept control a little better, but her expression was beginning to shake. “Um, yeah, keep you warm. Oh look! Here comes our food!”
The cellist glanced up to see the waiter pony from before carrying a platter towards them. He set it down with a smile and a wink, then turned and trotted back to the buffet. Octavia stretched forward to see it, and sensed several ponies who had heard their conversation behind her doing the same.
On the platter was a small cake, in a heart shape. Inscribed on the top in fancy red lettering was “V + T”. It was cut into two pieces down the middle.
As soon as they had made sure of what it said, Octavia could feel the ponies behind her turning quickly back to themselves, with a ‘minding our own business’ air. Still, she could sense the whisperings going back and forth.
Checking surreptitiously behind her to make sure that all the other ponies were too busy gossiping about them, and no longer paying attention to them, she leaned forward again, this time to whisper.
“Vinyl! You clever little trickster!”
The DJ grinned. “You liked that? I almost lost it with the ‘love of my life’.”
Octavia laughed again. “That was a tad over the top. But, you just... Well, I mean, I did say that we should be more public, but this?”
The unicorn gave her a cocky look. “Go big or go home!”
The earth pony shook her head, still in slight disbelief. Vinyl continued whispering, more serious now.
“Hey. Judging by the looks of these ponies, they’re all over the place. We’ve just given them the biggest piece of gossip of the night. The fact that we’re together publicly will be all over the party by the end of the night, and all over Manehattan by morning.”
The cellist began to worry again. “But... Vinyl, what if we made a mistake? What if only a few ponies are accepting, and the rest aren’t? What if those ponies spread it and everypony avoids us? What if-”
“Calm down.” Vinyl’s scarlet eyes gazed into Octavia’s, serious this time. “We don’t care. I don’t care what they think. You shouldn’t care what they think. We’ll be fine” She grinned. “Plus, we’ll probably find out early on tonight. When we win, I bet Lyrica’s gonna throw something big at us to knock us down....”
Octavia’s heart soared. “...And by already coming out, we’ve already taken away the biggest ball of mud she had to throw. Vinyl, have I ever told you how intelligent you are?”
The DJ grinned. “Nothing I don’t already know, but thanks.”
The grey mare raised an eyebrow, then rolled her eyes, laughing. “Fine. I’ll give you this one.” She smiled tenderly. This was remarkably clever, though. And the cake was sweet.”
Vinyl raised her piece of the cake in her magic, suddenly businesslike. “I know. Let’s eat!”
Octavia bent her head and began on her own piece, not noticing the pleased blush that had spread across the DJ’s features.
“-And yeah, so I told them that they could take their bananas; I didn’t need to go to the moon! And then-”
Half an hour later, the two mares were still sitting at their table. All the adjacent tables had cleared out, and they were alone, a fact which both relieved and worried Octavia. Vinyl was in the middle of a story from work when a dark green unicorn approached. She was wearing her customary black jacket, and her yellow mane fell in a natural style about her face.
Vinyl didn’t notice her at first. “-and then I grabbed a record, and just blasted it, and-”
“Um... Miss Scratch?”
“Huh?” The DJ turned from the table, seeing the other unicorn behind her. “Oh! Hey... Evie, right?”
The other unicorn’s gray eyes lit up at the recognition. “Yeah! Hey, I saw you over here and I wanted to thank you again for lending me that record! ….Thanks!”
Vinyl smiled at her. “No problem, kid. From what I saw the other night, you’re doin’ alright in the club!”
Evie blushed. “I guess, maybe. Thanks! Uh... Again!”
She looked curiously at Octavia. Catching the look, the blue-maned mare gestured at the cellist with a hoof.
“This is Octavia, my darling, and my better half. Or at least, that’s what she’ll tell you. Right, Tavi?”
The grey mare laughed, then smiled at Evie. “Indeed. Vinyl is quite wicked, a fact she seems to be proud of.” She looked at the white unicorn. “And Vinyl, did you just use the word ‘darling’? Are you feeling alright, or are we still performing?”
The DJ laughed. “Just wanted to see if you were paying attention!”
Evie’s light blush had deepened slightly at the word ‘darling’. She smiled back, then looked nervously around. The three ponies were quite alone, save for the two waiters across the hall. Noticing the other DJ’s anxiety, Vinyl sighed.
“What? Are you gonna tell me you have a problem with that?”
The green unicorn drew back in confusion for a moment, then shook her head vehemently. “No! No, not that. I have to tell you something...”
Evie stepped closer to the table, lowering her voice. “You’re the hot topic of the party right now. I don’t know what happened, but everypony is talking about you.”
Vinyl turned to her paramour and winked. “Hey, we’re the talk of the town! And later we’ll be the stars of the show!”
Octavia gave her a tight smile, but quickly focused her attention back on Evie. “And? What else?”
“Well... that’s it. They’re all talking about you being together.”
“And? And?” The cellist was on edge, ready for the worst.
Evie shook her head. “That’s all. I just wanted to make sure you knew why everypony was going to be staring at you.”
The grey mare was confused. “But... didn’t anypony condemn us? Wasn’t anypony angry?”
The green unicorn shrugged. “Not that I heard. I saw this one couple that I’m sure would have been, but they left before the word got around. Celestia, they looked uptight...”
Vinyl and Octavia exchanged glances. Vinyl spoke first.
“...Really? What’d they look like? You remember?”
Evie laughed. “Oh, yeah, I do. The mare was pretty common, I think, except for her stuck-up expression, but the stallion was ridiculous. Picture this: giant, spiked, red-and-yellow mane, with a white coat. He looked like a red-and-yellow peacock!”
The other two mares grinned at each other. Octavia spoke first.
“How about that, Vinyl? That does sound quite ludicrous.”
“You’re right. Glad we’ve never met anypony like that!”
The green unicorn took no notice, and continued. “Oh! Oh! And I remember what made them leave, too! Somepony dropped a tablecloth on them from the balcony! It was a great shot, too. Landed right on them! They couldn’t figure out what had happened, or how to get out, for at least a minute!”
The mare with the electric-blue mane was laughing harder now. “Oh... (heh)... Celestia... What’d they do?”
Evie’s grin grew even larger. “When they finally got it off, they were mad. The snooty one looked like she was ready to curse somepony out, and the stallion looked like he was going to skip the cursing and tear some pony limb from limb! They ran right by me, and I heard the hoity-toity one going ‘I know it was them! Move your fat flank!’”
Octavia glanced around. “Where did they depart to?”
“Oh, I think they went upstairs, somewhere. I doubt they’ve talked to anypony since. ...Not that they were talking to anypony before the tablecloth fell on them. I tell you, I looked at Fancy Pants the second after it fell, and you could tell he was having trouble not laughing-”
“YES!” Vinyl pumped a hoof in the air in success. Evie looked at her in confusion.
“What? ‘Yes’ what?”
The cellist gave the white mare a look, then smiled at Evie. “Vinyl just likes mischief. So, I saw you at the club the other night. You were quite good!”
Evie beamed, clearly feeling more at ease then when she first trotted up. “Thanks! Are you a musician?”
“Nope! She’s a cellist.”
Octavia pushed her with a hoof. “Silence, you! I’m a professional cellist.”
The green unicorn laughed, delighted. “You two are great!” She suddenly became excited again. “VINYL! I forgot to mention! Oh my CELESTIA!”
The older DJ looked at her. “What? You mean Tomb?”
Vinyl grinned. “I know! I saw him! I have to get an autograph later”
Octavia cut in. “Alright, you two. Might I suggest we return to the dancing? If, that is,” -she looked at Evie and indicated herself and her date- “you think things won’t be too awkward for the two of us?”
Before she could answer, however, Vinyl spoke, rolling her eyes. “Who cares? Let’s go!”
“But- but what if-”
“C’mon, Tavi!” Vinyl dragged her to her hooves with her magic, and pushed her towards the door. The three ponies reached it just in time to hear the music fade away, and the crowd hush. From within, Fancy Pants’s voice came.
“Is everypony in here? It’s time to announce the winners of this year’s festival!”
Oh, that was mean, wasn’t it? Kind of like the cliffhanger from Chapter 2. Sorry! ^_^ I’m already working on Chapter 11, so don’t stone me. This was more of an interim chapter, anyway, we’ll get into the good stuff next update.
I’d also just like to state that I made myself hungry with the buffet description. -_- Will someone please send me delicious cakes? :D
And of course, all ridiculousness aside, I really appreciate the continued reading! Leave a comment! And continue being awesome!***