Melodia Apparatus

by Lynked

Log 1: Part 1

Log 1: Part 1



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It was a cool day, though the day wasn’t there for long, as twilight began to eat away at it, turning it a vibrant purple and orange. The breeze was soft too, just fine enough to pick up the chatter of Canterlot Market Street. A blue bird had flown by my window, on the breeze, with a nut. Somewhere below, a cart had overturned. The breeze smelled of bread. And my left ear itched.

        Trust me, it’s hard to forget what you see at the beginning of the end of your life. I was sitting in my apartment. It was one of the nicer ones of Canterlot; I suppose I never did fancy myself a “mansion mare”. It had two bedrooms, two baths, a fine kitchen, living room, dining room, built of fine wood and everything else any of us typical snobs could want. But it worked for me mainly because I had a view of the nicer part of the city, the part just in the shadow of the castle.

        I’d like to live nowhere else, honestly.

        So I lived there, and fine days were they! Ponies still often came to my concerts (if the Gala incident did anything, it got me sympathy and a wider audience simultaneously) and it was my leisure to choose when and where to hold them. I was wealthy, swimming in bits in the bank of my fortune! I had fancy outfits, I could get my cello constantly inspected and refurbished, I went to fancy dinings quite often, and my bathroom floor was marble because I enjoyed the sound it made when my hooves clacked on it.

        I ought to tell you the downside of it all, but I feel as if though should wait. And I did wait from pondering it, as I turned from my balcony and retreated into my apartment for--yes, this is true, and if there is but one chuckle I’ll say no more--my guilty pleasure: some poptarts. I may be eloquent, but who doesn’t like a store bought, nastily preserved pastry every once and awhile? Hmm, well, put in that perspective it does sound quite awful, but I’m sure my sentiment is not alone.

        Anyway, I went and fetched them from my cabinet, and was about to tear open the bright box to inhale the guilty goodness when suddenly, through my mailslot, slipped a little piece of paper folded tightly into an envelope. Yes, I said folded; when I went to retrieve it, I found that the envelope was the note. A cute little origami sentiment, one which most likely came from an adoring, adorable fan. I mean, look! It even had a little heart on it, and on it’s front read: To the lovely Miss Octavia.

        Aww, how cute, yes? No. I plucked the sticker off of the tab and unfurled the note as I headed back into the kitchen. Inside was chickenscratch, barely legible, but I made due. I set it down on my counter, flicked the light overhead on, and squinted to read it.

        Octavia, now that I have your attention, come down to Club Levitation tonight, and hurry. It is important.

        -A friend

        Well, perhaps it was from a fan. Some of my audience were like that; in fact, once I had found a trap just outside the apartment doors. It was a simple thing--a box propped up on a stick, with a string leading to some bushes--and beneath it was a little jar of Canterlot Purity rosin. Admittedly whoever had sprung this ingenious trap had gone through some lengths, at least. Canterlot Purity rosin was the rarest rosin around, made from Everfree sap only found in the deepest crevices of the infernal place. It was expensive stuff, but it could make an instrument play and resonate like no other!

        Well, to sum up this tale and move on, I had been eating a poptart that day too (laugh once, I dare you). Simply put, I threw it in the bushes, and amongst the rustling, snatched up the rosin, went back inside, and ate another pastry.

        But this note had a certain quality to it, a hastily scrawled aspect. It was strange, indeed it was, and not... “clever” like the last “trap” had been. It felt like an invitation more than a demand, though it certainly would’ve helped if it hadn’t been from “a friend”. And, of course, if they hadn’t told me to hurry. I was in no hurry that day, and I certainly wouldn’t be in a hurry to get to a nightclub! Just the thought was annoying, if not repulsive. Nasty places, that’s what they were.

        I still smiled at the note, but left it on my counter, took up my pastry, and stepped back out onto my balcony to sit and eat and enjoy the sunset. I’ll take a moment to stress the oddity of sudden realizations, which are, of course, sudden. And sudden things, of course, have a tendency to make ponies do strange things. I, for instance, was there eating that pastry and staring at the purple and pink skyline, enjoying the breeze, and waiting for that itch in my left ear to return, when I had a sudden realization: I knew that hoofwriting.

        So, what do I do? The most logical option, of course. I slam the pastry to my forehead in a failed attempt to conk my brain into action. It protested fiercely, forcing me to splatter myself in cream and bread.

        Sputtering a string of... words... I cantered back into the rooms and cleaned my face with a wet towel. I then rushed to my bedroom and, from the drawer full of them, pulled out a pink bowtie and white collar. Once they were on I trotted back to the note, carefully folded it, put it in my saddlebags (which were near the door), then threw them on and trotted on out.

        Like I said: it was a good night.

        Well eventually I made it to this club. It was, yes, I admit it, an impressive piece of work, in the lower parts (geographically speaking here, for Canterlot had no slums) of the city. A huge silo-like building with levitating columns stood here before me. It was, truly, a sight to behold, and was quickly becoming the center of nightlife in the city. And it was new, too, and most likely well kept.

        Built on the fortune of the proprietor, and the sender of my odd note, it was no doubt nice, and by the line of ponies upon ponies outside its doors, packed too. Well, I was set to get in, no doubt. She’d probably already informed the--rather massive and imposing--bouncer of my arrival. I stepped forward, ahead of the line while ignoring their pleas and insults for my “cutting” them.

        The bouncer eyed me over, and I all but had to flash that little note before he nodded and stepped aside, even pushing the door open for me! That was quite nice of him, I remember thinking. No doubt her suggestion, a sort of way to lock me in without explicitly doing so.

        And of course it would be up to me to find the mare, too. So far as I could tell, she was nowhere in this surprisingly fancy hall. Trotting up the crimson carpet that rolled down its center like a tongue swallowing me in her maw, I passed a few ponies who “ooh’d and ahh’d” at my presence, but ignored them. There was a door ahead, a cutoff between normality and insanity; beneath it leaked bass. Yes, bass, the throbbing headache-in-music-form. Sighing, and shaking my head, I pushed these doors open and was nearly knocked down by the force.

        Luckily somepony caught and righted me, and I instantly noticed her for her stark white and strikingly golden vest that lit up like a torch in the black lights. A security pony, keeping an eye on things. “Excuse me,” I asked, well, yelled, to her. “Where is the owner of this place!”

        “The owner? She’s down a level! Are you new here?”

        “I am!” I answered.

        The security pony laughed. “Well she’s a bit busy! Have a look!”

        I eyed her over, but slowly turned and trotted through the rung of Levitation that I found myself on. It seemed to be the lounge, with black carpets to match the glowing lights that shone on the packed tables of ponies and ponies. Moving through them, I began to catch a glimpse of the floor below, and soon I realized that the bass was not the only source of the booming.

        There below was a scene that reminded me of the chaos that ensued in Canterlot every two months or so (the most recent being the invasion of these strange, bug like creatures). Ponies were jumping and dancing and thrashing about in their “dancing”, all lost in their action, glowing with glowsticks and other lighted assortments. It seemed that the bars, all plugged into the circular outer wall, had done well tonight.

        But that wasn’t my goal that night. No, because there in the center of this sea of madness, was a small mesa that glowed with an array of electronics and discs and buttons and switches, all controlled by one mare, that mare, of white and blue, who was bobbing her head and stomping her hooves to the music. The controller of madness, none other than Vinyl Scratch.

        The security mare joined my side, and I turned to her saying, “I must speak with her!”

        Again, this mare laughed. “Well you’ll have to wait! I’m sure she’ll get somepony to take her place soon so she can socialize a bit. She does it every night!”

        “No, you don’t understand!” I said, pulling the note out again and unfurling it on the railing that separated me and a pit of chaos. “I think it’s urgent!”

        The guard glanced at the note, then up at me. “I can’t see in the dark! What’s your name?”

        “Octavia! Octavia Philiharmonica!” I replied. The strange mare blinked and, without another word, whipped her wings out by her side and dove down into the pit. If I hadn’t known any better, I’d have called it suicide. But instead, she went right to Vinyl and whispered something in her ear, who in turn whispered her reply.

        The mare brought it to me. “She said she’ll be right up, and to wait for her out in the hall!”

        Sure enough, when I looked back down, she was already gone, and another mare, one of a mint hue, was taking her place. I laughed, mainly because she’d told me to leave the bass. Which I did quickly, before my brain began to leak from my ears, because I was sure it was about to. I stepped out, shut the doors, and waited for the ringing to go away.

        Only a few minutes had passed before a door on the side was thrown open, and a speedy Vinyl darted out. She glanced around, then, spotting me, glared behind those dark, deep shades and charged, tackling me to the ground and vice-gripping the life from me. I could see it all before my eyes as those forelegs wrapped tighter and tighter around my chest. I saw my fillyhood, my mother, my first cello...

        “Octy! Aww yeah, I haven’t seen you in, like, eternity! Or forever. Whichever is longer! You came!” she cried, burying her face deep in my chest.

        “Yes, Vinyl,” I coughed. “I just couldn’t resist your mysterious note. Oh, the wonder...” I gasped for air. “It was killing me... like you are now.”

        Her grip laxed, and my life story stopped abruptly. I would have more. Sucking in deeply, I said, “Thank you for not putting me in an early grave.”

        A sheepish grin flashed on her face. “Yeah, no problem. It’s what friends do.” She let go, and helped me to my hooves, for which I appropriately thanked her for with a curt smack. It was just my way of saying hello to attempted murderers.

        While she was still rubbing her cheek, I said, “So Vinyl, what was so urgent that I just had to come tonight. You know, I had planned on--”

        “Watching soap operas and eating ice cream, I know. But seriously, it is important. Um, but first, you want a drink? You look like you need one? I mean, you look a bit pale.”

        Of course I was a bit pale; I was still waiting for the blood to return to my face. “No, thank you Vinyl. I recall the last time I shared a drink with you you concocted a way to get me to aid you in funding the construction of a nightclub...”

        “No, that’s just it!” she exclaimed, drawing the eyes of a few ponies that were just entering. She eyed them over sardonically, but flashed a fake smile, the normal Vinyl way of telling someone their presence was giving her a headache. “C’mon,” she said to me, “I’ll show you the VIP lounge.”

        Without time to protest, she wrapped her hoof around mine and dragged me into the side hall from which she had just came. Down this curving hall we went, or more precisely, she dragged her captive. Into an elevator we went, and she crammed her hoof on the third floor button.

        The ride was fast, and silent, but the look on Vinyl’s face I still remember as a giddy look with a sly smile, almost like a mischievous foal, which wasn’t far off from what she actually was. When the golden elevator doors were finally flung open, she dragged me out onto the upper run of this club. When she had--drunkenly, but still--proposed her plans for the club, she’d not mentioned the interesting poles dotted around this lounge.

        Ignoring them, she snatched my attention forward as she dragged me to the edge of the rung, where a metal trapdoor concealed a  staircase that bore a hole in the floor. Down she took me, into a box that hung from the ceiling to the second rung. A window was the wall on every side, as well as the floor, displaying the raving party and bass below. A couch lined the back wall, facing the opening of the rungs, and a table sat just before it.  On the far wall (far is relative, I suppose, but still this little thing irked me so) was a switch. A little switch on the glass. Vinyl as me down on the couch, well, shoved I suppose, before flopping down beside me.

        “So!” she said, grinning to me. “Drinks, on me!”

        “Um, Vinyl, while that’s nice of you, I--”

        A fridge sat beside the couch, and without hearing me at all, cracked it open and yanked out a margarita shaker. To the wall, beside the fridge, was a small shelf of glasses, off of which she levitated two margarita glasses to the table. “Octy, I’m glad you came, did I tell you that?”

        “Yes, Vinyl,” I said with a sigh, resigned to the drinks and the couch. “It was almost my epitaph.”

        She chuckled, and began to shake and toss the shaker with her magic. “Yeah well, so you remember how I got you to fund this place with me? And then you asked why I wanted to build it here, and I told you...”

        It seemed that she was waiting for me to fill in her blank. “You told me that it was because it was sunny and you liked the view that the mountain offered, and then I called you out on it. Yes, I remember.”

        “Well,” she said, “I didn’t want to tell you because I wasn’t so sure yet.” She began to pour the pink slosh into the glasses, then hovered one up to me. I took it and, tentatively, took a sip. To my delight, it tasted of cherries, and not of some strong alcohol. I nodded to her, signaling her to continue. “But now I am!” she cheered.

        “Sure of what?” I asked, taking another sip of the drink. Vinyl grinned and, to my surprise, stood, the drink firmly in her magic. Hoof tapping the glass she looked down at the mass of ponies which, though she was not still at the controls, still bent to her will of chaos.

        She then looked to me and, lifting her shades to stare into my soul with those amber fires she had for eyes, said to me, and clearly remember this: “Sure that I can save your life.”

        Now this, this little statement, sticks with me still. I suppose now would be time to describe what I had alluded to earlier, for I, Octavia Philiharmonica, considerably young and talented, wealthy and alone in family, with friends such as Vinyl Scratch here and typically happy as can be, had only a few years left. It was something not even the doctors knew of, a weird disease that could, apparently, spring up in the foals of unicorns and earth-ponies. Some magical thing, and a cure was being hunted for, but was not found. It left me in quite the inopportune situation.

        And here she said this. I suppose what would seem to be the correct answer--glee and cheering--had no place here; I actually frowned, then scowled, and I recall heat burning in my blood. “Vinyl,” I warned,  “your crude sense of humor has no place here.”

        The way she continued to smile only kindled the fire that boiled inside me. My glare shot icicles. “Listen, Vinyl, I’m serious here. This isn’t something I take lightly to, you know that.”

        Still she smiled, though! And by now I was gritting my teeth. Vinyl always had a knack for saying the wrong thing, and while years, two I think was the last estimate, still gave me plenty of time to have fun smacking this mare, it was still, obviously, a sensitive subject.

        But she. Still. Smiled! “I’m not joking this time, honest! You have to trust me! Look, did you know that before becoming famous, and before meeting your sexy plot...” A wink brought a hot blush to my cheeks. Even still, I braced myself for whatever life story she was about to pitch, because obviously Vinyl was a deep and profound mare. “...I fell into the sewers!”

        “That’s incredibly nasty,” I said, staring rather bluntly.

        She shrugged and took a sip of her drink, glancing down to her party to ensure that it was still in full swing. It was; the ponies dancing below were a bass of their own sort, pounding and throbbing on the floor. “It’s true. I fell into the sewers somewhere over, like, that way. I dunno, I was explorative when I was a filly, and on my adventures, I fell straight into the sewers! It was pretty cool.”

        I shuddered.

        “Thing is, I couldn’t get out. I fell in, and there wasn’t a ladder out. So I kept going, in the darkness that smelled worse than--”

        “Don’t!” I cried, cutting her analogy off. “Just tell me the point.”

        Laughing, she continued, “Eventually I found a wall, just this dead end in the middle of all the crap. Thing is, this wall, while it was just bricks, had a little opening in it. When I bent down to take a look, turns out it was a vent that lost its grate, and way deep inside, like, really really deep, there was this little blue light. I crept through the vents, and... Octy, Levitation was built here for a reason.” Without further ado or insisting, she got to her point in pulling the little switch on the wall.

        “Vinyl, what’re you--” I was cut off by a sudden jerking. In accordance with the club’s name, the VIP box was levitating! Well, perhaps I embellish, as I do have a problem of that. I should say, the VIP box had split from it’s tethers on the ceiling. The square port that connected it with above shut firmly, and the box made anothers hard shift, nearly throwing my drink onto me. To keep it off of my coat and bowtie, and this is true, I wasn’t scared (ever, at all, period), I pressed the glass to my lips and swigged it away.

        She must have thought this was hilarious, by the way she threw those eyes at me. Looking me over with a grin befitting of her amusement, she said, “This isn’t a VIP box.”

        It wasn’t. “It’s an... elevator,” I muttered. And it was, for we were then descending in a spiral. Around the rungs of Levitation we went, down the third story, then the second, and when I cast a glance beneath my hooves, I could see the dance floor... opening. Yes, opening, as strange as it sounds. The DJ platform had completely shifted aside, and the floor itself severed in two, making a hole just big enough for the box we were in.

        When I cast my eyes above, I distinctly remember seeing three shimmering orbs, one on three of the four corners. The peculiar thing was that the fourth one was off. A little dark nub, just like Vinyl’s brain. And when the said unicorn followed my eyes, she saw it too. Her face, just then, made me crave another margarita.

        “Well,” she said, looking a bit pale, “That’s not good.”

        “What? Have you never done this before?” I said. My eyes must have been as wide as the hole below us was.

        Vinyl smiled, but it looked more like someone had taken a chisel to her face and banged away at it. “Well, I normally just use the stairs, but--”


        Well, I think it sounded like that. A hiss, pretty loud too, or maybe it was a fizzle. Either way, that hssss was the light on the opposite corner shutting off. It was about now that the box gave another awful shake. It was a magical elevator, I thought, and if you don’t know much about the things, here’s all you need: they tend to kill ponies. I think that was why they were outlawed a while ago.

        Vinyl was scrambling through the box. “Okay, okay, maybe I should have tested this thing first...” I glared at her. “B-but! I’ll fix it! Umm, okay, we should just, um...”

        Again, the story of my life resumed. Another hiss sounded, and the box, which was already listing, completely tilted as it was supported on one hub. We were still descending, yes, but now everything was going on its own path, sliding down hitting the wall by the fridge. The couch was no exception; I was soon the meat in a glass-couch sandwich.

        There went my first days in school, and then the musical academy. I think I saw my first cat there, too. “Vinyl!” I shouted. “If I die and you don’t, I’m going to haunt you! I’ll do it! You’ll never sleep again!”

        She was too busy scrambling about (well, actually she was flipping the switch on and off) to hear. The ponies outside had stopped their partying, I could see from my... aerial view. Now their eyes were glued on us, and this faulty contraption that was carrying us to our tomb. Shrieks and screams sounded out as a new music of terror filled the atrium. Oh, and Vinyl was singing. Not that it helped.

        It was reasonable to point out, though, that she was singing. It sounded gravely, as if it was coming from something mechanic, her speakers for instance, instead of a voicebox. That goes without saying that Vinyl has never been much of a singer (I think her singing is how I lost that cat), but this was different. I pryed myself from the couch, just barely, but enough to stick my head over it and see how her efforts were going. She cast a glare at me, and in the brief moment I saw her, I could have sworn I saw a glow behind those purple shades, a violent crimson glow.

        Then the box jerked again, pressing me back to the window. The last light was blinking, and we were dropping seconds by seconds. That’s when I heard it, that last hssss, and the box suddenly gave way! We were free falling! Down we went, and I could see that we would slam into the crowd below, killing all of us, and more.

        It was then I heard a boom from behind me, and then saw the metal hatch fly off to the floor below. Vinyl was on the roof! “Octy!” she called to me. “I’m gonna pull the emergency switch!”

        An emergency switch? I boiled with terrified, adrenaline filled anger at the mention of that. “Why didn’t you pull it before Vinyl?”

        “Because I’ve never tested this thing, remember?” Then I heard the spark of magic as the switch was flipped, and the whole box rumbled and snapped back upright, frozen in place by the magic hubs, which were now glowing again. She leapt back in. “Well, that went better than expected. Let me help with--”

        Before her hoof even touched the couch, one of the magic hubs above burst, spewing magic sparks everywhere. I watched in horror, my heart on the verge of exploding like the hub above, as the sparks landed on the carpets of the second floor, quickly setting them alight with a blue-purple fire. In seconds, it was licking away at everything it touched.

        “Vinyl!” I shrieked, tears finally coming to my eyes.

        “Calm down!” she shouted back. “I’m going to get us out of here.” I saw her hooves above me as she flipped the couch back, freeing me from my prison. First she looked me over, and seeing that I was (mostly, because I was still in tears) undamaged, looked to the window. It was cracking up its length.

        Instantly, a plan must’ve formed in her head, because she flashed me a grin. It was soon taken from her face, however, when another hub burst, sending a crippling boom out and spewing sparks down below. I cried out again in fear, burying my face in my hooves. I think my heart was writhing; it wasn’t beating right. I watched, heart hardly in beat, as these sparks flew below like bullets, piercing the bars all along the side, and igniting their drinks. The dance floor below us quickly became a furnace. Luckily, I’ll add now, most of the ponies had scrambled, including the bartenders, so nopony was hurt.

        Except for Vinyl and I, who were now above the fiery pit of Tartarus. Vinyl grimaced at the sight of her beloved club wasting away, but nonetheless, to her credit, she kicked the glass out, sending shards below. Now here I noticed something strange again: her hooves. They too glowed a bright crimson, as if they were lights encased in glass. She noticed my tearful staring and said, “Go! Look, right there! There’s a clear path through the fire, to the door! Get out of here!”

        “What about--” I didn’t even get to ask of her fate before she shoved me out of the box. The drop was nice, now that I look back on it. Very warm, almost unrestricted of gravity, and free. Of course, the landing was less fortunate; hard and painful and the worst way to break out of a daze I’ve ever experienced.  I coughed, wiping away the tears of fear and, surprisingly, found myself reinvigorated.

        I leapt to my hooves and held my breath; the place was already smogged. But, when I looked back up to find Vinyl, I saw that neither she nor the box was still there; they had collapsed into the hole. Cursing the infernal mare for landing us in this situation, I darted for the door, dodging falling bits of railing from above.

        I knew it was a terrible night to go out.