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81w, 21hNew Story~! 1 comments · 96 views
A few months passed and the musicians in Canterlot continued with their usual jobs. Fred worked his odd jobs as an accompanist, Harpo had a surprisingly lucrative position teaching foals about classical music (he was removed from his classroom after nearly leaping at a foal with a crudely-fashioned garrote made from harpstrings), Beauty Brass joined a marching band for a time, and Octavia was always doing “experiments” with Vinyl that she herself was not always all that enthusiastic about.
All in all, things changed very little. The quartet still regularly met and kept in touch. Frederic was often the one at the center of the group, always there to lend a hoof when one of them needed a practice partner for a sonata or concerto. Octavia, however, slowly took notice of Frederic’s slowly deprecating mood. He seemed more forlorn and weary as time passed, his selected pieces becoming more morose and melancholy. She also noticed that, despite Harpo’s mention of him being in love, she never once saw him with or heard mention of a marefriend.
Poor guy, she thought, she must have rejected him. Perhaps Harpo knows more... After one particular concert, and sure enough, Frederic smiled even less, and looked like he had little to no energy within him. His usually vivid green eyes seemed...dull. Once Frederic and Brass had departed, Octavia caught Harpo before he left.
“Harpo, is everything alright with Frederic? His mood only seems to be getting worse, and I’m very concerned. Has this love interest of his responded well to him?” asked Octavia.
Harpo shot her a look of such incredulity that Octavia took a step back in surprise. “Was it something I said?”
“You know what the hardest part about being a funny guy is?” asked Harpo. “It’s this feeling that you’re the only pony in the room who isn’t oblivious,” he said as he took a step forward.
Octavia tilted her head in confusion, shaking her head slightly. “I don’t understand...” she said, taking another step back.
“Think about it. Haven’t you noticed that he’s never once mentioned any kind of a marefriend, much less a lover, yet he looks like he got hung out to dry? Think hard, Octavia. Who could it possibly be that Frederic has his eyes on?” Harpo said, his eyes locked on hers.
“Well, I couldn’t imagine who... I mean, Frederic is a very upstanding stallion. Charming, attractive, professional... I daresay he could have any mare he wanted,” Octavia reasoned.
“You’re looking at it wrong, Octavia...Sure, he could have any mare he wants, but what if it’s a mare he can’t have?”
Octavia thought for a minute and then her mouth opened in shock. “Oh no...”
“The moment of realization,” said Harpo. “It’s what ponies like me cherish more than anything else in the world.”
“No, no no no Harpo, that can’t be right! He can’t be in love with...with me...” Octavia stammered, her heart sinking as she realized that it would be her that broke his heart.
“Oh, he can and he is,” he said. “After all, what’s not to like? Apart from your marefriend?”
“Oh no no...” said Octavia. “This is bad...”
“Yeah. I wanted to be in a comedy, not a soap opera,” said Harpo. “Well, you know what they say, Octavia- ‘Them’s the breaks.’” He then let out a small sigh. “Look... just leave him alone for a little while, okay? He’s dealing with a lot, and the last thing he needs is the mare he loves trying to help him get over her.”
“Harpo, I’m... I’m so sorry...” Octavia said, looking very much upset at the news.
“Hey, it happens... but I’m not the one you should be apologizing to,” Harpo said as he began to pull the cart his harp-case was sitting on. “Not really something to be sorry for, really. Not like any of us did anything wrong. Well, except me for being a blabbermouth. Whoops! Ain’t I a stinker?” He gave a small laugh, and exhaled. “Oh, this won’t end well...” He muttered under his breath as he left the mare to her thoughts.
Octavia’s heart ached. Her colleague– no, her friend, was deeply in love with her... and she would be forced to turn him down. “What am I going to do?”
Octavia made her way back to her apartment, throwing her keys in the bowl as she usually did, setting her cello case against the wall near the door as she usually did, and sat in her spot on the couch as she usually did. She then let out a deep sigh, trying to come up with something- anything to make this easier on both Frederic and herself. Nothing came to mind. Her thoughts were interrupted by the sound of keys finding their way into the lock, and the door swinging open.
“Hoooo boy!” shouted Vinyl, slamming the door of the apartment. “You would not believe what my engineer says to me...”
Octavia, however, didn’t usually care about Vinyl’s engineer. Try as she might, she just couldn’t really get that terminology processed. Sound engineering was just something she didn’t deal with. She was sitting on their couch, leaning her head on her hoof.
“Vinyl,” she said. “I’ve got a bit of a problem.”
“What?” asked Vinyl, sitting down next to her. “String broke?”
“No,” Octavia sighed. “One of my bandmates is in love with me.”
“Oh...” said Vinyl. “Well... is she cute?”
“Actually,” said Octavia, “it’s a guy.”
“Oh. Then is he cute?”
“Vinyl, this is serious!”
“C’mon, Octy. You know this doesn’t happen often.”
“Do you have even the slightest idea how awkward it is for something like that to come up with a colleague? Or a friend?”
“Well, I gotta admit. It’s nice to know it’s not just me that has the hots for my marefriend,” Vinyl snickered with a wink.
“Yuh-huh. Absolutely.” Vinyl then began to ponder which one it could be. “Is it the one with the... uh... he plays a harp, right? Or is that one gay?”
“It’s the pianist.”
“Oh, he’s gay?” Vinyl asked. Then she got it. “Oh. Oh. Really? Keys?”
“He has a name, Vinyl.”
“I know, but Keys suits him better. It’s short and snazzy.”
Vinyl blinked. “What kind of a name is that?”
“I actually find it to be a lovely name for a stallion.”
“Yeah, if he was alive when the way Princess Luna talks was still normal.”
“Look, the problem is he’s phenomenally depressed right now. And I just don’t know what to do.”
“What else are you gonna do? You gotta let him down easy. Y’know, ‘I think you’re great and all, but my marefriend is gonna kick your ass.’ Except... more fancy. You’re good at making things all foofy, so you’ll be fine.”
“Seems all I can do is hope he gets over this. But I don’t know. From what Harpo told me it’s been eating at him for a while.”
“Sounds more like you got a stalker. I always thought he was a bit creepy... That... lack of a facial expression.”
“He happens to be a stoic. And very, very professional.”
“He told me about it, once. It means you don’t let destructive emotions govern your life. Something I think a few ponies in your profession would do well to learn.”
Vinyl stared blankly at Octavia. “So he’s a robot. A robot with a stalker crush. You sure know how to pick ‘em, Octy.”
“Vinyl, why in Equestria would I go looking for a situation like this?”
“To make me jealous?”
“That’s entirely in your arena, Vinyl.”
“Only a little!”
After a small period of silence, Vinyl spoke once more. “Hey, what if we introduce him to a single friend of ours?” Vinyl then brought a hoof to her chin. “...Not sure who’d be willing to date a robot stalker, though...”
“That seems like an idea,” said Octavia. “How rare. I should cherish this moment.”
“Well, don’t rush too quickly to compliment me, sweetheart.”
“Oh, believe me, Vinyl. I won’t. Celestia knows when this will come again.”
“Well,” said Vinyl, in mock hurt, “maybe I should just walk out the door and then you can go solve Frederic’s problem yourself! Octavia, I am hurt- wounded, even, that you would think that I couldn’t come up with an idea to help out your friend!”
Octavia met that with a dull stare.
“That bad, eh?”
“Quite.” Octavia got up and walked over to the fridge.
“So, we have an idea. Next time we’re at the club where I usually spin my sets, we invite Fred over and have him mingle a bit.”
“Hmm. That shouldn’t be too much of a challenge...” she sighed. “Hope it works. It’s really just... kind of distressful to see him pining like this. And if he could see himself he’d be pretty embarrassed. Maybe he already is...”
“So it’s a self-aware stalker robot,” listed Vinyl. “Man this stuff is crazy. Where in Equestria are we gonna find a balance for that?” She then gave a small sigh. “‘Such are the trials of love... perhaps it is better to have loved and lost, than to have never loved at all...’”
Octavia’s mouth hung open, unable to believe what she had just heard.
“What? I read that in a book once.”
“You can read?”
“Very funny, Octy. Very funny.”
Some time later, the musicians had all been invited to a fancy garden party.They still couldn’t catch a break, as the party had nearly been an unmitigated disaster. Fancy Pants, the host, had mercifully (and quite luckily) managed to salvage it. They’d moved indoors to an environment that would have less chances for the country-folk to dig up the ground.
To be fair, Rarity’s... friends seemed to have mellowed out a bit. There were still problems, however...
“I swear, I saw my life flash before my eyes,” said Octavia as she walked indoors. “I thought it’d be the Gala all over again.”
“Same group of ponies, too,” said Harpo.
“Hiya!” shouted the familiar pink maniac, her wide blue eyes boring deep into her target. “Remember meeee?”
Frederic sat on his piano stool, his eyes wide from fear, his hooves placed in front of his nether regions, leaning backwards. Octavia suspected that life was flashing before his eyes, as well.
Before Octavia could rush over to haul Pinkie Pie away, however, another pony intervened.
“Pinkie, I think there’s some more cake over there,” said Rarity.
“Cake? I LOVE cake!” said Pinkie Pie, immediately forgetting about the pianist and hopping away.
“Terribly sorry, sir,” said Rarity. “My friend just gets a little over-enthusiastic sometimes.”
“Well, no harm, no foul,” said Frederic.
Rarity took a look at the stallion before her, squinting slightly. “I daresay I’ve seen you somewhere before...but I can’t put my hoof on the time or place,” she said, furrowing her brow.
“It’s funny, I think I feel the same...”
“Well, judging by your sensible, yet really very classy sense of fashion, it leads me to believe that you attend more high-class affairs...I know I have seen you somewhere before...” Rarity dug deep into the depths of her memories, looking for anything that might connect him to something. It then occurred to her.
“Oh, my stars! You’re that poor stallion my friend Pinkie nearly trampled over at the Gala! Oh, I am dreadfully sorry for any harm she may have caused you. As energetic as she is, she has a good heart and-” She stopped short when Frederic raised a hoof.
“It’s fine. Really. That was ages ago.”
“Are you sure? She did hit you rather hard...”
“I saw a doctor, and I am quite alright, Miss...?”
“Rarity. My name is Rarity.”
“Frederic,” he said. “Frederic Horseshoepin.”
“A pleasure to meet you, Frederic. Again, I am very sorry for Pinkie’s actions. She’s easily excitable, to say the least.”
“Again, no worries. What brings you to the garden party? Are you a friend of Fancy Pants?”
“Indeed I am- well, I wouldn’t say a friend, but more a business partner, rather. I design clothing, perhaps you’ve seen my work?”
Frederic pondered this for a moment. “Now that you mention it, I have heard your name before. Didn’t you collaborate once with Hoity Toity?”
“Oh, so you have seen my work! Tell me what you think, I am always looking for critiquing on my work.”
“I admit,” said Frederic, “that I’m not really the most... visually-inclined of ponies.” He smiled. “But I thought those dresses were lovely.” He thought for a minute. “You ever make suits?”
Rarity smiled demurely. “I appreciate the compliment, Frederic. As for suits, I have dabbled...but I’m always looking for inspiration. Is there anything in particular you’re looking for? I would love to hoof-tailor one for you, if you’d like.”
Frederic smiled. “I would love that.”
“Simply wonderful, darling!” Rarity retrieved a quill and a napkin, and quickly wrote down her address, hoofing it over to Frederic. “Come to my boutique on Thursday morning. We’ll take preliminary measurements among other things,” she said with a smile. “But enough about me. Tell me a little bit about yourself.”
“Not a lot to say. I’m a pianist, always have been.” He straightened his bow-tie. “I’ve been playing in Canterlot for a while. Me and my little group of musicians. We have a nice little ensemble. Sometimes it’s tricky – not a lot of music scored for piano, cello, souzaphone and harp.”
“How interesting! I actually prefer more classical pieces along the lines of Most Art, Beethoofen and Paganeighni, as opposed to what’s played now.”
“I’ve always been fond of Brahmas. Perhaps the greatest of the bovine composers.”
“Agreed. Truly a visionary of his kind as well as a pioneer of Romantic music.” Rarity smiled.
“Hey AJ...you seeing this?” Rainbow Dash asked, nodding in Rarity’s direction. Applejack turned her head, and blinked in surprise when she saw Rarity talking to the pianist from the Gala, the two laughing and chatting like old friends. “Got any idea who that guy is?”
“Not a clue, Rainbow. She seems to know him pretty well if she’s actin’ that comfortable around him,” Applejack theorized.
“They’re cute together. ‘Stuffy and Stuffier,’” Rainbow Dash snickered, which was met with a small nudge from Applejack.
“Hey now, RD. Nopony picked on you when you were droolin’ all over Soarin’ and Spitfire,” Applejack said with a smirk, to which Rainbow Dash blushed and fell silent. Fluttershy joined the conversation, letting out a small gasp of surprise.
“Oh my, it’s much too soon for Rarity to be talking to a new stallion! She told me she was still getting over Blueblood–” Fluttershy said, starting to make her way towards her friend. She gave out a small yelp when Applejack gave a firm tug on her tail.
“Now, now, Fluttershy. Rarity’s a big filly, she can handle herself. It’s mighty nice of you to wanna help her, but maybe this is what she needs- to meet a nice stallion that’ll treat her right,” Applejack said, remembering what transpired between herself and Rarity after leaving the donut shop.
“You’re right, Applejack...I’m sorry...” Fluttershy said, relenting as she usually did.
“It’s alright, Fluttershy. I’m sure she’d be very thankful that you wanted to help her,” Applejack said with a reassuring smile. “Besides, we don’t even know if that’s what it is. Maybe they are just friends that haven’t seen each other in a while. We shouldn’t jump to conclusions...” she finished, casting a sideways glance at Rainbow Dash.
“Girls, it’s not polite,” said Twilight. “I mean, really, it’s just immature to whisper behind ponies’ backs like this. How would you feel if that was you over there, and it was you getting talked about?”
“We’re not behind her back, she’s on the other end of the room!” Rainbow Dash protested.
“That don’t mean nothin’, Rainbow. Twi’s right, we shouldn’t be talking about her like this,” Applejack said. She looked back at them, and her eyes went wide. “What we should be doing is stopping Pinkie from attacking that poor guy again!”
“You know what I found out?” Pinkie Pie shouted. “That ‘cake’ rhymes with the first part of ‘cater!’”
“This won’t end well,” Twilight said.
“Nnnope,” Applejack concurred.
Fred was about to answer a question Rarity had asked when he caught a hot-pink mass closing in on him from the corner of his eye. “Oh no...seems your friend hasn’t had enough of me,” he said, immediately shifting his position where he and his future children could not be harmed.
(“Frederic is a total boss,” said Harpo. “He gets all the mares.”)
“Is that so?” asked Rarity. “Why don’t you sing a song about it, over there?” she pointed, directly at the other girls.
“Ooh! That sounds like a GREAT idea, Rarity! I’ll bet they don’t know that ‘cake’ rhymes with the first part of ‘cater!’” Pinkie said with glee, hopping off towards the girls.
“Oh geez, Rarity passed the buck!” Rainbow Dash said.
“Prepare yourselves...” Twilight said morosely.
“Hey!” said Pinkie. “Oooooohhhhh we have a catering business, filled with all this cake! And you can come and try some, and start to bake, bake, bake!”
Rainbow Dash immediately started applauding. “That’s great! Great song!”
“But I wasn’t finished!”
“No, it’s perfect as is.”
“I agree, Pinkie. You were wonderful,” Fluttershy said with a soft smile.
“Uh, y-yeah...you were g-great sugarcube,” Applejack said, making a horrible cringing expression as she tried to lie through her teeth. Pinkie narrowed her eyes, boring straight through Applejack as she tried to decipher truth from fiction.
“Hmmmmm...you sure you guys liked it?”
“Of course we did, isn’t that right girls?” Twilight said, nodding and giving the other girls an expression that read “go with it.” The other three nodded rapidly.
“Okay!” Pinkie said, her usual cheeriness returning almost as quickly as it had vanished. “OOH! They brought out even more cake!” Pinkie quickly hopped off to dig in, and the girls let out a collective sigh of relief.
“That was waaaay too close,” Rainbow Dash said, crossing her forelegs over her chest.
“Yeah, I agree Rainbow Dash,” Applejack said. “C’mon, let’s go make sure Pinkie doesn’t assault the baker.” The girls all began to follow after Pinkie, Applejack stopping short to look back at Rarity. I hope you know what you’re doing, Rarity... she thought as she turned away to follow the others.
“Whew...what a relief,” Frederic said as he wiped sweat from his brow.
“Pinkie is one of my dearest friends, so I've learned how to handle her,” Rarity said with a small sigh. "Though there are still things I still can't quite pin down..."
“I do owe you one for that...” Frederic said. “...in fact, I intend to cash in on that debt. Didn’t you mention your sister’s birthday was coming up soon?”
“I did, why do you ask?”
“Well, are you throwing her a party?”
“Pinkie usually works out all the party-planning, but I do have one in mind, yes.”
“Do you have anything in mind for music?”
Rarity pondered this. “No, I don’t believe I do...” It then slowly dawned on her. “Oh Frederic, I couldn’t possibly ask you to perform at a filly’s birthday party!”
“Well, I can’t say I’ve ever played at a birthday party, but I suppose this once I can make an exception. Besides,” he chuckled, “I’ve done far more demeaning and painful tasks.”
“I can’t imagine what would be worse for an up-and-coming musician performance-wise than my baby sister’s party,” Rarity said.
“Try being an accompanist for a soprano with a voice like a bee,” Fred deadpanned.
“Oh dear...” Rarity winced. “I will admit– I prefer my sopranos sounding like ponies, I assure you.”
“Oh, the things we have to do to get by,” said Fred. “You got any horror stories?”
“Oh, sometimes I get the most dreadful requests.”
“Like what, for example?”
Rarity then proceeded to explain to him the one instance where all her friends requested dresses that were better fit for scarecrows (in her opinion), rather than the originals she herself came up with. Fred found himself resisting the urge to laugh at how ridiculous the revisions sounded.
“Oh, that is rich,” he said as he wiped a tear from his eye. “Galoshes? Really?”
“Oh, there was one worse than that– try a bird’s nest for a hat!” She laughed with a flick of her mane. “Of course, all’s well that ends well, and they learned to leave art to the artist.”
“I’ll drink to that,” Frederic said.
“Well, I must be going. It’s been absolutely lovely talking to you,” said Rarity, bowing out of the conversation.
“Indeed it has been,” Frederic said, nodding politely. Hm. What a lovely mare. For the first time in some time, Fred had actually forgotten what was ailing him...and it felt good.
Rarity was pleased as prim, proper punch that her stay in Canterlot was going so well – plenty of ponies that identified with her on matters of elegance and culture. Rarity rejoined the group, Applejack being the first to take notice.
“Hey Rarity. Was that a friend of your’s?” Applejack asked.
“Perhaps. I only just met the fellow a little while ago, but he’s really quite intelligent,” Rarity said. “A rare find nowadays.”
“That ain’t supposed to mean anything, does it?” Rainbow Dash asked.
“Ahahahah, not at all, my dear Rainbow!” said Rarity. Applejack was forced to stifle a snicker.
“Nothin’ that ain’t already obvious,” Applejack added playfully.
“‘Obvious?’ Wha–” Rainbow Dash asked. It then hit her like a sack of bricks. “HEY!”
Rarity gave a genuine laugh, even if it was at Rainbow Dash’s expense. She felt like a weight had been temporarily lifted off her shoulders, even if for a little while.
“I’m gonna get you for that,” said Rainbow Dash.
“Yes, I daresay I quite deserve some form of comeuppance.”
“Oh, I’ll think of something,” she said, grinning.
The party came to an end soon thereafter, every pony present having had a great time, including two in particular.