Break Free

by Nightroad

The Trial

The room was nearly silent as Vinyl took her seat. The Princess had yet to arrive and ponies were whispering while they waited. Vinyl looked down at her hooves and sighed. There weren't many ponies on the jury that she recognized and even less in the room she knew.

'I should've just took the insults and moved on like I usually do. Why was this time so different? It must've been because he insulted Fluttershy.' When her name came up in thought, the DJ looked around, searching for the beautiful pegasus. Sadly, Fluttershy was nowhere to be found. 'She said she'd be here...why isn't she here?'

Panic rose in Vinyl's mind and she could feel herself begin to lightly shake in fear. "Fillies and gentlecolts, please rise for Princess Celestia." The guard who had brought Vinyl into the room. The room was filled with sound as ponies got to their hooves as the royal Sun Princess walked into the room, talking in a hushed whisper to a lavender unicorn.

'Is that who I think it is?' The unicorn in question looked out and saw Vinyl and offered a light wave. 'Well...that's a little reassuring.' The pale unicorn thought.

"Please, be seated." Celestia said in her usual soft tone. "Today we are gathered for this trial of Upper Crust versus Vinyl Scratch."

"Please Your Highness, while I mean no offense, but there really is no need for this. She attacked me without-" Celestia rose her hoof, silencing the stallion.

"All ponies must be given a chance to defend themselves Upper Crust."

"Of course my Princess." Celestia looked down to the lavender pony and after a second, nodded.

"Now then, Upper Crust will state his case first."

"Thank you Your Highness." The unicorn stallion said, stepping out from behind his table. "Now, please take a look at this pony; unruly, ragged, and just all around awful."

"Sorry if I didn't have time to freshen up in the dungeon. The guards didn't really give me much of a chance."

"Quiet you whore." Vinyl took a step towards the stallion, a scowl rising on her face.

"Please my little ponies, calm down." Celestia said calmly.

"Yes, calm yourself you-"

"And watch your tone Upper Crust, this is a respectable place." Celestia's tone was a bit more firm, making Upper Crust nod.

"Of course. My apologies Princess." The stallion used his magic to adjust his bow before continuing. "Now then, I believe now would be the appropriate time to explain my side of the story." Upper Crust cleared his throat and said, "Now, I was going out for my usual morning stroll that day. I saw May Ball wearing the most amazing dress that day and-"

"Please state only what is relevant to the case." The lavender pony said politely.

"Right. Anyways, I was walking down the street to have a few cups of coffee with a few friends of mine when this little harlot bumped into me and ruined my good day. Then, when I simply expressed my valuable opinion, she attacked me! I've never done anything to this...pony in my life and when I used my Celestia given right to free speech and offer my opinion and give her a little advice and she strikes me and sent me to the hospital!"

To end his sentence, he grabbed a paper off his table with his magic and opened it. The ponies that made up the jury gasped. The paper was Upper Crust's medical bill.

However, there were two ponies that just rolled their eyes and one of them, a grey mare said, "It's only 50 bits worth of damage...for a few bandages on his face." Vinyl chuckled.

'I definitely owe ya one Octy.'

"I'm sure there are many ponies in Canterlot get hurt worse than you do and don't even go to the hospital and heal up just as quickly with medical supplies they have at home." The cellist said. Upper Crust stammered and glared at Octavia, who simply regarded him with an air of disinterest. The more observant ponies (or the ones who were actually paying attention) could tell he wanted to go off on the typical rich pony verbal assault, but restrained himself.

"Alright, now we shall hear Vinyl Scratch's side." As the two unicorns passed by each other, Vinyl narrowed her eyes while Upper Crust sneered. "You may begin when you are ready." Vinyl nodded and took a few breaths before she started.

"Well...I had just got off of work-"

"If you could call making obnoxious noise "work" then I'd agree." Upper Crust said casually. Vinyl rolled her eyes and continued.

"I was leading my friend Fluttershy back to my place since she was tired and I didn't want to just let her wander back to the train station alone and half asleep."

"Sure, that's all you were doing." Vinyl turned, glaring at Upper Crust who simply smiled "innocently".

"Anyways, as we were walking, I was talking to her and trying to keep her awake until we got to my house and while I was talking, I looked over at Fluttershy to see if her eyes were still open so she wouldn't bump into anypony and I end up accidentally bumping into him." She motioned behind her at the uppity stallion behind her.

He just stuck his nose up into the air and mumbled, "Accident my hoof."

Vinyl turned around again and said, "Seriously? You thought I bumped into on purpose? I don't even KNOW you! So why would I go out of my way to bump into you? All I was concerned about was getting my friend to bed since she obviously isn't used to staying up all night like I am."

"Bumped into ME on purpose? No, but bump into anypony who has more money than you because you're jealous? Yes." Vinyl was speechless. "That's right. I've seen you walking home from "work" many times and you bump into rich ponies all the time. I guess I was the only one smart enough to actually do something about it." Several ponies nodded while many others frowned at the insult.

"I'm sorry, am I not allowed to be tired after working all night? Surely you ponies can relate; you work for about nine or ten hours and the walk home is going to be a little slow because you're going to be tired and just want to sleep." Ponies in the room murmured and agreed with the young DJ. Upper Crust was not taking it well.

"Oh come on. Anypony can claim that their tired after work, but it takes a respectable pony to hide it until they get home." More ponies simply mumbled in agreement.

"Alright, please take your seat Ms. Scratch." Vinyl bowed her head in respect for the royal pony and did as she was told. When she had returned to her area, she saw

Upper Crust grinning maliciously at her as he mouthed, "You don't stand a chance."

Vinyl rolled her eyes and mouthed back, "Bite me."

"We will now take a small intermission. Please feel free to get up and stretch. We will resume this trial in ten minutes." All the ponies got up and many of them got up and left the room, their interest drained as they lost interest in the trial.

Vinyl sighed and thought, 'Well...that could be a good thing or a bad thing.' Upper Crust had left the room to no doubt figure out how to get Vinyl convicted of some assault crime or something like that.

"How're you feeling?" Vinyl turned and saw three ponies; Octavia, a stallion who looked familiar, and her cousin Twilight Sparkle.

"Not too bad." She said, hugging her cousin, then Octavia. "I'm sorry...but I don't remember your name." She said, looking at the grey unicorn stallion.

He shrugged and said with a smile, "It happens."

Vinyl laughed and said, "In any case, thanks for stickin' up for me Octy."

The cellist rolled her eyes at the nickname and said, "You're welcome, and I told you to stop calling me that."

"Never gonna happen." The pale DJ said with a chuckle. She then turned her attention to her cousin and said, "So...give it to me straight; how am I doing?"

Twilight looked a little reluctant to talk about information that was usually reserved for the jury and Princess herself, but after a moment said, "As far as the Princess goes, she seems sympathetic with you, but as far as the jury goes..." She looked at Octavia, then the stallion and said, "Other than these two, there's only two other ponies who stand with you. The other six stand against you and so far...the odds are stacked against you." Vinyl could barely keep her jaw from falling off.

"W-what!? But you said the Princess was on my side."

"That's true...but she has to go with the majority vote or else it'll seem bias, and with me being your cousin AND the Princess's adviser..." Vinyl nodded and was silent.

"Hey, it isn't over yet." The stallion said, patting the DJ on the back.

"Okay, seriously, what's your name? I feel kinda bad that you're here being a good friend and I can't even remember your name."

The stallion laughed and said, "If it's really that important to you, my name is Nightroad." As soon as his name was said, recognition sparked in Vinyl's eyes.

"You're the pony who floats around everywhere!"

"Guilty as charged." Before anything else could be said, Celestia came back into the room, signaling that the intermission was almost over.

"We better get back to our spots. Don't worry, Nightroad and myself will see what we can do about the jury." Octavia said, giving the DJ one last hug before heading for the jury stand. Nightroad smiled and hugged the pale unicorn, placing something in her hooves before headed to the stand.

Twilight smiled and gave her a hug as well and whispered, "Don't worry, when the time comes, you'll win this trial." Vinyl smiled and hugged her cousin back. As Vinyl waited, she looked down at what had been placed in her hooves. The gift that Nightroad had left her nearly made the DJ cry: in her hooves was a new pair of shades, perfectly crafted to look like her old pair. She levitated them onto her face and found they were a perfect fit.

'Definitely gotta get him something in return.' Vinyl thought. Moments later, all the ponies that wanted to stay for the trial had returned (which was about half of the starting amount).

"Alright my little ponies, the trial will now continue. Upper Crust, you may start when you are ready."

"A thousand thanks my Princess. Please, allow me to call on my witness..." A blue unicorn with pale yellow eyes came into the room and took a seat in front of the court, just under Princess Celestia.

"Good day Bastion." The solar princess said with a nod to the instructor.

"And a good day to you as well Princess." The unicorn said with a monotone voice.

"Now then, my dear friend Bastion, please tell the room what you witnessed that faithful day."

"It was yesterday." Vinyl said with a roll of her eyes. However, with her shades on, her emotion was unreadable. 'This'll definitely give me an edge now.'

"Your Highness, is this ruffian even allowed to be wearing...whatever those are? I mean-"

"Hey, they're part of my usual attire, so I don't see why I can't."

"That doesn't matter. It-"

The Princess interrupted and said, "It's alright. Please continue." Upper Crust mumbled, but nodded to Bastion, letting him know to start talking.

"I was sitting outside my home, watching the sun rise as I like to do every morning." He turned and smiled at the Sun Princess, who in turned smiled back at the flattery and allowed him to continue.

"It was a usual morning for me and as I took a sip of my coffee, I saw Upper Crust walk by. I waved to him and figured that was that. However, this young lady brushed past him rather rudely and didn't even try to apologize. Probably too worried about getting her...lady of the evening home to-"

"That's not true! And Fluttershy is not like that you dirty-"

"Please calm yourself Ms. Scratch." Celestia said softly. The DJ looked at the Princess, then over to the jury where she saw the ponies mumbling to themselves and regarding her as a violent pony.


"Yes, calm yourself little miss noise maker. I don't want you frightening my witness." Both Vinyl AND Bastion looked at the stallion with a look of irritation.

"As I was saying...Upper Crust politely offered her some advice and she just attacked him, unprovoked." Vinyl wanted to shout out in her defense, but she knew that if she did, she may lose the whole jury if she already didn't (Octavia and Nightroad excluded). Instead, the pale DJ just sighed and remained silent.

"Thank you Bastion. You may take a seat now."

"Thank you Your Highness." The blue unicorn took a seat next to Upper Crust and Celestia was talking with Twilight.

"Alright Vinyl Scratch, you may call your witness."

'I have a witness?' Vinyl coughed into her hoof and said, "Er...I now call my witness..." Vinyl looked back at the door and saw it slowly open to reveal a pony she couldn't be happier to see. "Fluttershy?" The pegasus smiled, despite the fear of having a good number of ponies staring at her. She made her way to the front and sat where Bastion was moments ago.

"H-hello Princess, hello Twilight." Both address ponies nodded and waited for the shy pony to talk. However, it was clear that the timid pony wasn't used to being the centre of attention. Vinyl looked around, trying to think of some way to help the shy pony. However, as her eyes passed over the jury, she saw Nightroad talking quietly, his horn barely giving off an aura.

'What's he up to?'

As soon as he quit talking, Fluttershy nodded to herself and said, "W-well...Vinyl was walking me to her home since I really didn't want to walk to the train station all by myself. I was really tired and was afraid that something might happen and was glad that Vinyl was going to be a good friend and let me stay with her."

"Oh please! Save the sob story why don't you?" Upper Crust yawned. Twilight, Nightroad, and Vinyl all glared at the snooty stallion, making him shut his mouth in fear.

"It's alright, please continue." Celestia said warmly.

"Well, I was k-kind of dozing off while we were walking and Vinyl was trying to wake me up and she bumped into him. She tried to apologize, but he cut her off." Upper Crust was about to protest, but was cut off by a stern look from the Princess, effectively shutting him up.

"He cut her off by insulting what she did for a living, which is to make music and entertain, as well insult her personally. He assumed that Vinyl was like many of the other DJ's in Canterlot, who are apparently rude and...not very nice. I can't really say much since Vinyl is the only DJ I've met but to many, it seems like being a DJ means to be a delinquent." Fluttershy took a moment to take a few breaths before she continued.

"Because of this assumption, Vinyl has been haunted by the stereotype that all DJ's are just bad ponies who can't do anything. But I assure you that she is nothing like how you think she is! Her home is neat and tidy, she doesn't touch any kind of drug or drink alcohol...she takes care of herself and her friends...She only attacked him because he provoked her by insulting me...I didn't care that he did, but Vinyl took it upon herself to defend me because she's a good pony.

Sure she could have done it another way, but her heart was in the right place...Please don't lock her away..." By now, tears were streaming down Fluttershy's face and dripping onto the floor. Many of the jury ponies were moved to tears as well, dabbing at their eyes with handkerchiefs and other cloths.

"You can't be serious!" Upper Crust shouted, leaping out of his seat. "You honestly can't tell me you're all moved by the words of some...whore! She's just a pony who makes money by entertaining others at night with her body!" Light engulfed the room and when it dissipated, Celestia herself was in front of the pony, anger in her eyes.

"She is no lady of the evening. She is in fact, a bearer of one of the Elements of Harmony. You should show respect to a pony who has saved Equestria three times over now, and you should also remember where you are. There will be no shouting or slandering of heroes to Equestria and her ponies." Upper Crust's jaw dropped.

"W-what?! No! She's no Element of Harmony!"

"She is. She represents Kindness. Something you clearly lack Upper Crust." Celestia said, her voice stern and her eyes cold. The stallion tried to say something, but just swallowed a lump in his throat. The ponies in the jury were mumbling in disgust at his disregard for a hero to Equestria.

"I-I had no idea! I couldn't see her very clearly and-"

"Enough. The jury will now meet and discuss." With that, the ponies of the jury got up and left the room. Vinyl could practically see the sweat pouring off of Upper Crust as he tried to think of some way to salvage his reputation. About twenty minutes later, the jury returned and Twilight took the official vote from them and gave it to Celestia.

"The case of Upper Crust versus Vinyl Scratch has been decided by the ponies of the jury. Vinyl cleared of any charges laid against her by Upper Crust." Vinyl grinned as ponies cheered. Fluttershy rushed forward and pulled the DJ into a hug.

"Thank you Fluttershy." The pale unicorn whispered to the pony in her hooves.

"As for you Upper Crust...for insulting and slandering the name of one of the heroes of Equestria, you will spend twenty days in the Canterlot Dungeons. Guards, please escort Mr. Crust to his new accommodations."

"N-no! I will not be treated this way! I will see you imprisoned you accursed noise maker! My family will not see this stand unopposed!" The stallion struggled against the burly unicorn guards that lifted him out of his seat and out of the room, screaming obscenities against everypony in the court, including the Princess.

"Not really helping his case much, is he?" Vinyl said with a chuckle. Twilight, Octavia, Nightroad, and even Princess Celestia came over and congratulated the DJ.

"Told ya you'd be fine. See, why does nopony listen to me?" Nightroad mumbled with a grin.

"Who knows? Anyways, glad to see everything worked out for you." Twilight said, pulling her cousin into a hug.

"Me too. Sorry for causing you trouble Princess. I'm sure you had better things to do than come to a trial."

"It's quite alright. Besides, I had to see the pony who makes the music my sister loves so much."

"Beg pardon?"

"Tis true. I enjoy your music most thoroughly Vinyl Scratch, or should I call you DJ Pon-3?" The group was surprised when the Princess of the Night herself stepped into the room.

"P-Princess Luna? You listened to my music? I mean, no offense but I'm pretty sure I'd have been able to recognize you at the club." Instead of answering, Luna was enveloped in a blue aura as she transformed into a dark blue unicorn mare with a half moon cutie mark and eyes of night sky blue.

"Night Sky? Wait, so you mean to tell me that the Lunar Princess has been to every one of my gigs? Fluttershy, catch me. I think I'm about to faint." Vinyl fell back into the waiting hooves of the yellow pegasus while Luna changed back into her regal self. "I can't believe you actually like my music."

"In my opinion, you are the best DJ in Canterlot. I went to every other club and I must say...yours was the only one I liked and I can say with all honesty that it was the music that made me stay." Luna said with a smile. "Perhaps you can play for us here at the castle? I've been wanting to get my sister to hear your wonderful music for quite some time now."

"I-I'd be honoured! Though...I'm not sure the rich ponies would appreciate it."

Luna scoffed and said, "They could use the change of pace. No offense madame Octavia."

The cellist waved the apology away and said, "It's alright Princess. Vinyl definitely deserves this. If she can wow the rich, then perhaps she won't be haunted by her stereotype any longer."

Vinyl smiled and said, "We'll see. Now, I hate to be rude, but I'll be right back. I need to talk with private." Before anypony could say anything, she grabbed the hoof of the pegasus and headed out the door. Neither pony said anything as Vinyl Scratch turned through the many twists and turns of Canterlot Castle. Finally, the DJ found a door that led outside.

The pair burst through the doors and the first thing that Vinyl did was turn and press her lips against Fluttershy's. The pegasus acted in kind, kissing the unicorn back tenderly. When Vinyl pulled away, she sighed happily and collapsed onto the grass.

"Never again do I want to go through a trial. Too much stress." Fluttershy laughed and laid down next to the exhausted DJ.

"Me either. Too many ponies."

Vinyl laughed and said, "Yea...and I didn't have my turntables so it was weird to be looked at by so many ponies without playing music." This time, it was Fluttershy who laughed, but was otherwise quiet as she curled up next to the entertainer. The sun was high in the sky before Vinyl spoke again.

"So...I believe that you owe me a date as well as a confession of love." The blush on Fluttershy's face made Vinyl want to kiss the pegasus all over.

"You're right. However, the date may have to wait. Vinyl..." Fluttershy sat up, followed Vinyl Scratch. The timid flier took the shades off of the DJ's face and looked her straight in the eyes. "Would you mind becoming my marefriend?" The pale pony smiled warmly as a tear escaped her eye.

"I'd like nothing more Fluttershy." The two closed in and shared a gentle kiss and lowered themselves back onto the grass where they both fell into a peaceful sleep and napped the day away.