“My dear Octavia! What a pleasure to see you here!”
Octavia gritted her teeth and played her part. “Oh, Miss de Crescendo. How are you?”
“Just wonderful! I’m here with my coltfriend, you know.”
“Why yes. I do believe you mentioned him last time we…crossed paths.”
“Oh yes, I must have. He’s so talented, you know. He and I-”
Vinyl, who couldn’t take any more, cut in. “So, you’re the Lyrica I’ve heard about, huh?”
The blue musician pony, who had ignored the DJ up until now, turned her eyes distastefully towards her. “Why, yes. And you must be the pony who was about to throw her wine all over this room.”
The DJ pony, fuming, was about to spit out a retort that would most likely not be appropriate for all audiences when Octavia hastily jumped in. “Lyrica, this is my… erm, friend, Vinyl Scratch.”
Lyrica was unimpressed. “Charmed. Now, Octavia, remember what I told you about that other day in the market?”
The cellist grimaced. “Well, vaguely.”
“Well, I saw you here and just had to come over to tell you about how well we’re doing!”
Octavia saw an opportunity. “Oh, yes! Speaking of that project, this is just the pony I was telling you about! Vinyl here has plenty of experience in today’s music. She’s also a very successful DJ.”
The dark blue unicorn turned her full attention for the first time on the angry white unicorn beside her. “Oh, you’re that pony? I see.”
Vinyl bristled. ”What’s that supposed to mean?”
“Only that my expectations have not been exceeded by any stretch of the imagination.”
“Why, you- you and your pimp colt over there can-“
It was Lyrica’s turn to look aghast. “You impudent little filly! At least I have a colt in my life. You’re out to dinner with-”
The pianist broke off, her eyes narrowing. When she spoke again, a note of suspicion had crept into her voice.
“…with another mare.”
Octavia blushed. “Now, Lyrica, I can assure you that Vinyl and I are just friends.”
The blue mare looked disdainfully down at them. “I’m not here to judge, Octavia. Your fans might, though. And I surely hope you don’t have any misconceptions about entering your…work-”
Vinyl and Octavia both heard the condescension in that word. The earth pony simply closed her eyes and gritted her teeth, but the white unicorn tensed herself to attack the mare looking haughtily down at her.
“-in Fancy Pants’ music festival next week, against my own and Vibrant’s.”
Vinyl started. “Tavi! The festival! I forgot that was coming up!”
Fancy Pants held a music competition every year for promising new artists and groups. Fancy himself and his paramour, Fleur de Lis, did the judging, and the winner was chosen based on nothing but the enjoyability of the music. First prize was, of course, a record contract. The contest accepted all genres and styles, and the contest was open to all types of ponies, important or not.
“That’s right,” Lyrica said. “And we’re in it to win it. So you deadbeats can forget about it. Go back to your little clubs and leave the music to the actual musicians.”
-That did it. Vinyl couldn’t restrain herself any longer, and lunged for the blue pianist, a snarl on her face. Octavia, who had been expecting this, leaned forward and threw a hoof in her way. Even so, the DJ got one swing at her antagonizer that came within an inch of her nose.
Lyrica jumped back, gasping and scowling at the unicorn. Recovering her composure, she tossed her mane, and with a “hmph” she began to walk away, adding “Heathen!” for good measure.
Vinyl growled, glaring after her. Just then, the wine glass Lyrica had grabbed caught her eye. The DJ grinned, and her horn began to glow.
Later, the grey pony would berate herself for not responding a second earlier. As her brain put together what was about to happen, she opened her mouth to stop her, but she was too late. The wine glass whizzed through the air, stopping right above Lyrica’s head. The glass tapped her twice on the ear, and when she looked up-
The cellist sighed, exasperated. Vinyl giggled. In a high-pitched voice, the DJ said sweetly, “Oops! So sorry! Must be my heathen magic.”
Lyrica turned around, a look of disbelief on her face. Behind her, Vibrant was getting up. He didn’t appear to be a bodybuilder, but Octavia could see he wasn’t a small stallion.
“Vinyl? If you’re done attempting to get us kicked out, a hasty retreat seems to be in order.”
The DJ’s shades flashed as she grinned maniacally. “Nah! Let’s take ‘em on! I’ll go all Rampony on their flanks!”
“Aw, please, Tavi?”
“Look at him!”
“I am looking! He doesn’t look so tough!”
“According to you, neither did the last ruffian you decided to ‘buck up’!”
“That was different! I just happened to miss the fact that he was seven feet tall! I coulda taken him with one hoof behind my back if he’d been a little smaller!”
Vibrant was starting to move in their and Lyrica’s direction. “No, Vinyl! We’re leaving, now!”
Octavia threw enough money on the table to cover their respective dinners, (which, sadly, they had only eaten the first course of) and began looking around for their exit. Lyrica still stood aghast at the liquid dripping down her coat, and the rest of the restaurant had begun to notice what was happening. Octavia and her troublemaking friend needed to get out, fast.
-Front door? No, that way led past the very angry pianist and her about-to-be-if-not-already enraged coltfriend.
-Window? Vinyl would surely enjoy the action movie feel of it, but Octavia preferred not to have to pay for a new one.
-Roof? What kind of choice was that? Neither of them were pegasi, and crashing through the ceiling was likely to be just as costly as the window, if not more.
-That left the back of the restaurant. Octavia knew there had to be some sort of kitchen entrance, and with that in mind, she grabbed Vinyl and began to push her towards to double doors at the back of the room.
The two had broken into a full gallop by the time they reached the doors, pushing them open just as Vibrant, who had reached his marefriend and discovered what had happened, let out a rather loud, enraged growl.
“I think we made it angry.”
“I didn’t! You did!”
“Well, it’s angry!”
They burst through the doors to find a private back room full of elder ponies, evidently celebrating the birthday of one of their party. The cake had just been cut and placed on individual plates. The entire party gaped at the sudden intrusion of the two mares, who looked back with equal confusion.
Vinyl’s wits reacted first, and she said brightly, “Pardon us. Would any of you happen to have any Grey Poupon?”
Octavia facehoofed, and then quickly smiled reassuringly at the even more confused crowd.
“Excuse my friend. We were just looking for the exit.”
The cellist dragged the DJ pony around the table, Vinyl shamelessly attempting to steal a slice of cake as they went. They reached the kitchen doors beyond just as the double doors at the front of the room flew open again. Vibrant and Lyrica stood there, heads swiveling in all directions.
Lyrica pointed at one of the still astonished senior ponies. “You there! Where did they go?”
The pony raised a befuddled hoof at the kitchen doors still swinging in Vinyl and Tavi’s wake. The white and blue ponies began to cross the room in pursuit.
One of the partygoers turned to the pony next to him.
“I think I need to check my medication. Grey Poupon? What in Celestia’s name is that?”
The cellist/DJ duo burst into the kitchen, well aware of their pursuers. They could hear Lyrica and Vibrant behind them. Octavia looked warily around the kitchen while Vinyl peered out of the small window back the way they’d came.
“..Uh, Tavi? They’re coming. Fast.”
The earth pony ignored the unicorn. She was busy smiling at the rather unsmiling kitchen staff, some of whom had momentarily paused to stare at the intruders. One in particular caught her eye.
The cellist nudged the pony next to her in the side and whispered from the side of her mouth. “Vinyl, I want you to turn around slowly. And smile. And for Celestia’s sake, don’t say anything.”
The unicorn turned around, saw what her fillyfriend was looking at, and began to gasp, then quickly fell completely silent when the grey pony kicked her.
“Hush! Follow my lead!”
Standing in the middle of the kitchen was unmistakably the largest pony either of them had either seen. He seemed like he would easily rival the Princess of the Sun for height. His cutie mark was a large -very large- knife, (on a grey background) much like the one he was currently holding with his magic. The knife was only rivaled in size by his enormous moustache, dark black and trimmed to perfection. A tray of carrots lay before him, half of them chopped. Octavia gulped again.
Vinyl attempted to hide behind her. Whispering to the cellist, she said,
“I think he mustache us a question...”
Octavia began to laugh, then quickly shut up as the stallion’s gaze intensified.
“Patronz ahr not allowed een ze kitchen.”
The cellist spoke, trembling. “Oh, well, yes, of course, very sorry. We were just... looking for the exit. Weren’t we, Vinyl?”
The voice came from behind the earth pony. “Uh... yeah! Right! Sure! Yep!”
The frown remained. “Patronz ahr not allowed een ze kitchen.”
“Oh, yes, you said that. We’ll... We’ll just be leaving, then.” Octavia had spotted the door marked ‘Exit’. Right behind the massive moustache pony. With the knife. The big one.
The grey earth pony pulled the DJ out from behind her, and together, they made their way cautiously around the cook. The rest of the kitchen staff had long ago gone back to their business, apparently deciding that the large pony could take care of two mares.
The aforementioned cook of abnormal size followed their progress across the kitchen with a steady glare, but Octavia sensed that he would allow them to leave unharmed. As long as they made no sudden moves. As long as they made sure not to intrude on anything else. As long as-
“Octavia! Get your lousy excuse for a fillyfriend over here! She’s gonna lick my hooves clean!”
...Right. As long as two very angry unicorns don’t smash into the doors, throwing them open with a loud bang and causing everypony in the kitchen to freak out and drop what they’re doing. Drop what they’re doing again, that is.
The eyes of the very large cook in the middle bulged out, almost to the point where every pony in the room was secretly sure that they would burst from his skull. He was shocked. Fifteen years of working in this restaurant, and he had never been interrupted as rudely as these four ponies had just interrupted him and his work.
“MORE? VERE AHR DIS PONIES COMINK FROM?”
The cook had transferred his angry stare to Lyrica and Vibrant, who seemed to shrink under it. He began to advance upon them, obviously looking for an answer to his question.
Octavia saw her chance. Pushing Vinyl once more, she began to move them both towards the door again, sneaking slowly. The cellist glanced back once to see the blue pianist hiding behind her coltfriend. Even the latter unicorn was having trouble thinking of exactly what to do. A few more feet, and they would be free...
A loud clattering came from behind the large cook, halting his advance on the two unicorns. He turned to see Vinyl and Tavi grinning hugely and nervously at him just as the entire array of pots and pans that the DJ had knocked over came crashing down around the two.
The large unicorn stallion turned began to advance upon them, obviously intent on seizing and using them as the main ingredient in the soup he was making. Or possibly even making them clean up the mess.
“LOOK VAT YOU DEED!”
Vinyl turned around to inspect her hoofwork. Octavia winced as another pot hit the ground with a loud clanging. The DJ turned back to the knife unicorn with a wider smile.
“...Yeah, sorry about that... Tavi, don’t you think we should be leaving now?”
“You’re not going anywhere until you apologize!!!”
“NO! NO LEAVINK!”
“Right... Tavi, Lyrica and super ‘stache over there say we shouldn’t leave.”
“It seems that way, yes.”
“Well, how about if-”
But just then the door of the kitchen opened once more, and one of the elderly ponies from the party stuck his head in.
“Pardon me, but what’s going on in here?”
Looking around, his eyes widened. “Oh! Is it something to do with Grey Poupon?”
Vinyl giggled. Octavia sighed. Everypony else looked confused.
Vibrant, having had enough, spoke for the first time. His voice was deep and loud, the voice of somepony used to being on top. He seemed to have calmed slightly from his outburst earlier, and his tone was placating. He wanted to avoid dealing with the cook they were all currently avoiding. He pointed at the cellist with a hoof.
“You. You and that- disgusting hooligan over there-”
Vinyl had heard enough. “That’s it. We’re out of here.”
She gave the halfway toppled pile of pots another buck, and the avalanche began again. Losing no time, the DJ pulled Octavia out of the way, and the two of them galloped for the exit, amid the raging turmoil in the kitchen. Cooks cried out, busponys ran to and fro, and waiters piled high with plates of food stood dumbfounded. Vinyl saw one with her pie and reached for it, but was nudged away by the earth pony as they neared the exit.
Lyrica and Vibrant began to give chase, only to be stopped by the knife unicorn.
“OHH, NO YOU IS NOT!”
Lyrica shrieked in anger. “But they’re getting away!”
“BUT YOU IS NOT GETTINK AWAY!”
Vibrant tried to reason, but his anger was mounting again. “Hey! We didn’t knock your little pans over!”
“No! Now if you would kindly move your colossal flank out of the way, we’ll be going-”
The bright white unicorn intended to finish with “-after the ones who did knock them over,” but he was cut off by a fairly loud growl from the cook, who looked quite unhappy to have his plot called colossal. The crowd of kitchen staff all froze, eyes flicking nervously from the offended pony to the two visibly shrinking from him. Nopony moved, and certainly nopony paid any attention to Vinyl and Tavi as they turned and escaped through the back door into the darkening city.
“Oh, Celestia, did you see the look on that big one’s face when he called him fat?”
“No, Vinyl. I was too busy attempting to escape the restaurant without being arrested, fined, or attacked.”
Vinyl, who had collapsed with laughter the second the two were out of sight of the kitchen staff, was still on the ground in the snow in hysterics. Octavia was nervously watching the back door, but apparently either nopony inside had seen them leave, or nopony cared. The cellist didn’t mind which it was, as long as they were leaving scot-free.
“But the best part was he was! That unicorn was huge! I mean, he was just... blimp-sized!”
“That’s rude, Vinyl!”
The grey earth pony looked down with distaste at the still-laughing unicorn, but the DJ’s laugh was infectious. Octavia found herself grinning at the all-too recent memory of the gigantic cook.
“Come on, you know he was!”
“Alright, alright. Maybe... Now can we please go?”
“Heh heh... Fine...”
Vinyl got to her hooves and the two began to exit the alley they had come out into, the blue-maned pony still giggling slightly.
“AND YOU NO COME BACK! FAT-FLANK!”
Vinyl stopped. “Uh... Tavi? Did you hear that?”
“Yes. I’m afraid to admit what it may have been, though.”
“Come on, I wanna see this!”
The couple broke into a gallop again, reaching the entrance of the alleyway in time to see the large unicorn standing on the front steps of Le Equine Foin with a large saucepan held in his magic, brandished above him like a club. On the other side of the street, Vibrant and Lyrica were making haste in the opposite direction as fast as their hooves would go, each trying to get in front of the other. Various snippets drifted back to the two as they stood looking after them in amusement.
“Not with a maniac behind us!”
“Get your flank out of the way!”
This display put the DJ and cellist, having pulled back into the alley, into laughing fits again. Even Octavia rolled on the ground this time, laughing until her sides hurt.
“Oh, Vinyl... did you see them go? Like Discord himself was after them!”
“I saw, I saw! Did you see that cook waving the saucepan! Oh, Celestia, I can’t breathe!”
Gradually the laughter subsided. Neither of them made to leave the alley right away. Octavia moved a bit closer to the unicorn. It was getting cold in the alley, but the walls broke the wind, and it really was quite peaceful as the sun began to set.
“...Why do I bring you anywhere, Vinyl?”
The DJ grinned. “Aw, Tavi. It’s because I’m so much fun to have around!”
“I don’t suppose I can argue with that. It’s worth the amusement.”
Another peaceful silence fell as Celestia’s sun sunk even lower on the horizon, and darkness began to fall around the two. Eventually Octavia spoke again.
“So... do you still wish to retire to my flat?”
Vinyl turned to face her. “Why, yes, Tavi, I do! Taking advantage of your excellent hospitality would be most delightful.”
“Vinyl! There were so many large words in that sentence! And more than one of them had 3 syllables! I’m so proud of you!”
“Now, now. You wouldn’t take me any other way.”
Vinyl moved closer. “I don’t suppose I can argue with that.”
The darkness was now complete, and nopony saw the two as they embraced.