Lights, set inside various evil shapes and strung evenly along a wire, brightened the darkness only for a moment before allowing the shadows to creep forward momentarily. Ponies walked, trotted, ran and brushed by, unrecognizably hidden in costumes that ranged from monstrous to extremely goofy. Not that the taller mare would know them anyways; it was only her second time visiting the small town and being a royal princess meant that she met many a pony in her lifetime.
Luna was pleased to see that the sight of her towering over the others didn’t bring fear but acceptance and almost joy. High-hooves and bro-hooves were given to the alicorn freely, cheers and greetings ringing through the air. She acknowledged each with either a corresponding hoof bump or dipping her head with a small grin etched into her muzzle. Finally, a night when ponies of all shapes, sizes, ages and kinds could enjoy themselves and the display in the sky.
But, is this true for the rest of the year? While I can understand this kind of celebration now, surely this does not happen every night… But who to question? Who would know of world enough to give me the answer I seek…?
The lunar princess paused in the middle of the marketplace, transformed for the night as a central location for the celebration, and allowed her eyes to flicker over the crowd before her. Every pony was still in their costume, making it hard to identify anyone to inquire about specific ponies. While dark blue eyes floated over the tops of the mostly adult crowd, they paused for a moment on a bland ash grey coat and dark gray mane, curious as to why the mare wore nothing but a pink bowtie. This curiosity didn’t last long however, as they soon found a large chicken excitedly talking with an old wizard of great fame.
I never met Starswirl the Bearded but from what I’ve heard and read, Twilight Sparkle did indeed capture his appearance properly… Ah ha! And she may be the pony I need to answer such a question! Huzzah!
Walking faster in excitement, head held high until she got closer, smile going from pleased to shy and unsure. Slowing down enough to not surprise the two mares, she tried to keep up her happy appearance though her anxieties build once more.
“Twilight Sparkle, may I have a moment of your time?” Princess Luna tried to appear unintimidating, lowering her head and smiling shyly towards the studious mare, as she stepped closer to the two ponies. Twilight blinked in surprise before answering with a smile of her own.
“Of course Princess Luna, is everything ok?” At Twilight’s straightforward question, the night royalty shifted in place, hooves barely scuffing the ground while their owner tried to phrase her question.
“I see now that the ponies of Equestria do enjoy one night of the year, but I am not so sure that this is the same the rest of the time. You often stay up late studying and know more of the world, what do you say about this?” The dark coated alicorn glanced hopefully at the unicorn. Curious eyes met with pensive ones briefly before Twilight looked to the party mare beside her with a frown.
“I think they do... A lot of ponies work during the night now and other ponies like to party well into the night -” Twilight was only barely able to speak about parties when Pinkie Pie cut in with a wide smile. Smushing her face against the purple mare’s, she beamed at the princess, wanting to convey just how much it was true.
“You bet they do! Why, you could ask the latest and greatest of DJs!” Without moving from her place beside the purple unicorn, Pinkie reached out a hoof into the crowd and pulled a mare forward, using almost stretching-like abilities that none of the others were willing to question at this time.
The lunar princess stood up straighter at the sudden appearance of the white coated unicorn. Her dark and light blue mane was spiked and splayed out in disorganization while her coat showed no signs of dirt or dust from the almost rural town. Sunglasses, worn even at night, flashed in the lantern’s light, making it hard for anyone to see the playful eyes that lay behind them. The unicorn, tilting her head to the mare who had a hoof slung around her shoulders, smirked while offering a hoof for Pinkie to bump in return.
“Hey Pinks, what's going on?” Vinyl Scratch didn’t show concern or abhorred to having been plucked from the crowd by the excitable mare; a feat that impressed the princess who watched with wide eyes at the sudden appearance.
“Hey Scratchie! You gotta tell Princess Luna about your latest rave!” Pinkie released her two captives and bounced in place, her mind reflecting on said rave while her eyes remained closed in delight. Vinyl smiled at the happy tones from her old friend and bowed briefly toward the alicon who had raised a confused brow at the term.
“Oh, hello your majesty; you wanted to know about raves huh? If you could come this way I'll tell you all about it; I have to set up for the last song of the night but I can explain a thing or two for you .” Vinyl waved the princess forward, eyes and head turning to look for her next set up, while still keeping an ear tilted towards the taller mare.
Luna frowned thoughtfully, eyes locked to the ground, unable to understand Pinkie Pie’s words. Finding them still non-understandable, especially considering her own recent change in speech, the dark blue mare tilted her gaze to the unicorn beside her even as she kept an eye out for the crowd around them.
“Miss ‘Scratchie’? What are these, ‘raves’, Pinkie Pie was speaking about?” The princess watched with interest as the DJ tried not to laugh at the name.
“You don’t have to call me that, though I suppose Pinkie didn’t introduce us very well anyways. I am Vinyl Scratch, also known as DJ Pon-3, the latest and greatest in dubtrot, the mare on the rise and the luckiest marefriend to the greatest cellist in the land!” Vinyl held a hoof to her chest and gave a little bow to the royal mare, a small grin etched on her muzzle at boosting even she knew was a little overboard. A single brow rose from the other mare, unsure if this was a modern kind of greeting, while they both continued on their way.
“I see… And I am Princess Luna, in charge of-”
“Hey! There’s Tavi! Tav’! Over here..! Huh? Oh, sorry Princess, didn’t mean to cut you off. I didn’t want to miss getting her attention. She would have left for home if I didn’t. I do know who you are though, everypony does. Princess of the Night, ruler of the skies, and bringing of the moon.” Vinyl turned from her spot of waving down an ash gray earth pony to sheepishly rub the back of her head. Luna had reared back slightly at being cut off, her mouth shutting with a snap, while she tried to look between the two ponies that now stood before her. “Hey Octavia, guess who this is?! Meet Princess Luna, who is going to be learning the mystic ways of wubs. Princess, meet the greatest classical mare in the land, Octavia Melody.”
“Pleased to make your acquaintance your majesty. I apologize for Vinyl’s behavior, somepony has been hitting the candy a little hard.” The earth pony smirked at the white mare who had a hoof around her waist. The target of the teasing jab blushes slightly and grinned playfully in return, shrugging briefly before taking the lead once more.
The lunar alicorn wasn’t sure about such breach in edicate. Meeting new ponies usually took more time than this but the free-spirited DJ acted as though there was nothing to worry about. Glancing to the earth pony on her left, Luna found a sympathetic smile waiting for her.
“Don’t take it the wrong way your majesty; Vinyl’s just trying to get us acquainted quickly before her show. She does keep proper responsibilities, but she likes to act as though she does not. From what she said, I take it you are going to be learning more about the nightlife?” Octavia smiled warmly towards the figure leading the way after having assured the alicorn of Vinyl’s manners.
The taller mare blushed lightly in embarrassment, recognizing that she was out of date with modern times, and nodded slightly to the question.
“Yes, I have consulted with Twilight Sparkle and Pinkie Pie, who suggested that I traverse with Vinyl Scratch to learn of how ponies appreciate my night.” Princess Luna glanced around the area, finding it to slowly become more crowded as they got closer to the wooden stage in the center.
“Vinyl is one of the ponies that know about nightlife, especially considering how we are in Ponyville. I’m sure that-”
“Come on you guys! I’ve got to make sure all the equipment is in place, and the best place to hear it from would be riiiiight here!” Vinyl pulled at the two mares’ hooves, placing them beside the stage and in front of some of the speakers set up along the sides. The stand with keyboard, turntables and switchboard was near where the two mares were stationed. Giving a swift peck to the gray earth pony, the unicorn leaped up to her place, touching her glasses briefly to be sure they were in place.
Seeing the swift action and pleased grin on both mares, Luna raised a single brow with a tilt of her head, curious to see the affection between the two mares.
Perhaps it was a sign of friendship… Though if it is not, I am pleased to see that ponies can be more open about whom they care for. But that is for another night’s study, I am here to learn of what ponies prefer to do during the night.
Before the princess could reflect on more changes from older days, a large blast of deep base erupted from the speakers, drawing the crowds’ attention and silence. She could only stare in shock at the noise and found a prideful smirk on the DJ’s face.
“Alright fillies and gentlecolts, this may be the last song of the night before us adults have to turn in for the night, but let’s do this right! Let’s get Mic the Microphone and Wooden Toaster back up here! Come on, let’s hear some cheers for these two awesome singers!” Vinyl waved upwards, daring the crowd to shout louder, even as the two desired ponies returned to the wooden stage.
The two mares closest to the structure flattened their ears at the roar, one wearing a deeper frown of shock, the other wearing a pleased smirk at how the crowd reacted to the command. Once all three musical ponies were back on the set, a gray-tan earth pony with brown mane and tail that had red highlights standing next to both Vinyl and a tan pegasus with green and yellow mane and tail. The crowd continued to yell, pleased that their favorites were all on stage, and didn’t seem to be willing to stop anytime soon. Vinyl watched bemused for a moment longer before trying to reign in the audience.
“Hey everypony! This song is in honor of our beloved Princess visiting our town for the night, let's give her a hoof!” Having gotten everypony’s attention, the DJ waved towards the alicorn who in turn waved bashfully, ears flat with a blush at the sudden attention and hoof stomps.
Before Luna could adjust to the sudden focus, a deep beat and constant blast came from the speakers after a moment of lighter musical notes, settling into a steady rhythm. The crowd, or at least, those still awake, started to bob in place, heads nodding in appreciation of the wubs. Once the base was established, the gray-tan earth pony stepped forward, welcoming the crowd in a singing manner.
“Welcome fillies and gentlecolts, no reason to scream, your favorite Princess is back, she's walking up on the scene ...”
Princess Luna wasn’t sure how to react. Ponies loved the lyrics, hopping in place and waving excited hooves, even though it seemed like the earth pony was making up the song. The lyrics and music were loud, the speakers being right next to her, and the crowd was hopping around without a care in the world, often bumping into the two mares right by the stage. Unsure of what exactly was happening, Luna turned to her companion on the ground, opening her mouth to try and converse only to shut it in confusion when she saw how the gray earth pony was standing.
Octavia hadn’t really moved from her spot near the large speakers, tilting her head with eyes closed tight, a smile hovering over her face. She swayed in place in time with the music, ears perked towards the sound. Sensing a change in the alicorn next to her, she opened her light purple eyes to gaze curiously to the larger mare.
“How is it you like this sort of… music? I had thought, based on your cutie mark, that this would not be something you enjoy.” Luna soon found that her softer voice, finally learned and master, did not work and had to speak louder to be heard. Octavia laughed, the sound becoming lost in the overall din, throwing her head back with closed eyes. Finishing her brief amusement, the earth pony beckoned the princess closer, sitting to face both the stage and crowd beyond it.
“Yes, I’ve always liked classical music, but I eventually found all sorts of music can be interesting in their own way. For example, Vinyl’s dubtrot. It has its own rhythm and movement; you can feel it if you close your eyes and listen very closely to both the music and the sounds of the crowd. Give it a try, you’ll see what I mean.”
Giving one last disbelieving glance to the musical mare, Luna sat facing like she was and closed her eyes, allowing her senses to take over even as she detached from her own body. Finding a peaceful part of her mind, she turned her focus to the music, listening to the thumps and steady bass as it throbbed through the air. The lighter notes flowed on the breeze, swaying in time with the crowd and the hooves that waved back and forth. The lower notes sawed back and forth, cutting through the lighter ones with ease, giving the overall sound an edge that matched the holiday’s night. The two singers seemed to have an unnatural accent to their voices, setting them apart from the normal crowd, while providing lyrics that were both mysterious and yet clear.
Finding her head bouncing with the beat, the dark navy alicorn paused in surprise before turning her attention to the audience, watching them react similarly if not more so. With each deep bone rattling bass note, the crowd flicked backwards before righting once more; they would then lean forward with each higher ranged note that came afterwards. This caused the crowd to always be in motion, to the point that some couldn’t help but hop in place, the need to follow the flow overtaking their usual social boundaries.
The lunar princess smiled at her success, finally understanding the music and why the mass of ponies danced in that particular fashion, and turned to the mare beside her who watched with a pleased smile.
“See? This is the kind of thing Vinyl can do naturally, another trait that I’ve always admired… Seems like it’s wrapping up, we should make sure to stay nearby.” Octavia turned back to the show, eyes scanning the crowd while Luna turned to look at the performers still working.
The music continued to loop for a while longer, going through it’s basic rhythm, while the various ponies bopped in place. With a large cymbal crash, Vinyl cut off the music amid a rousing cheers from below. The three DJs took a bow before waving for Luna to join them on stage. Blushing mildly, the princess flew up there in a few wingspans time, and smiled bashfully once more as everyone gave her applause as well.
“Alright everypony! We thank you guys for coming out this night and for Princess Luna to have graced our little town on this special holiday. Try not to eat all your candy in one night, ya hear?” The white unicorn winked at the crowd who laughed at the jest before giving the other performers a brief hoof bump each.
“Thanks guys for helping out. I’ll catch you later, I’ve got some showing off to do.” The others merely smirked at the boastful tone and exited the stage from the left, leaving the two mares up there with the third joining them from the opposite side.
“Yet another great show Vinyl, well done.”
“Indeed, that was a wondrous display.” Luna dipped her head in appreciation to the unicorn with a smile. “Though I fail to see how everypony can do this every night, or shows how anypony else enjoys my nights.” Her smile slowly turned into a frown as she confessed her confusion.
The other two mares shared a smile before Octavia nodded with a playfully resigned sigh, causing the DJ to give her right hoof a victorious pump. The alicorn watched with almost trepidation at the large and confident smile on the DJ. Vinyl turned and shined a hoof on her chest, glancing towards the royalty while keeping her head facing downward.
“Weeell, I do know a few places in Canterlot that can help show you just how ponies enjoy your nights. If you want to visit them that is.” The DJ tried to appear shrewd but this attempt was lost to the royal visitor. Luna could barely hold back her hope as she nodded rapidly to the suggestion.
“‘Tis indeed our wish to visit such locations! Pinkie Pie spoke the truth when she said you would be able to aid me in my plight. Where are these ‘places’? We shall take my carriage at once.” Luna turned from the two mares and searched the skies for any sign of her entourage. Spotting them a far distance away, meant to give her privacy to enjoy her night, the dark coated mare waved them over with an excited hoof. Once she was assured they were trotting over with all due haste, she turned back to her tour guides, finding smiles resting on their muzzles. Luna smiled back, pleased to find ponies willing to help, and waved towards the chariot as it pulled up beside the trio.
“Please, let us make haste. Taking the chariot shall be faster than any other method we may use.” Luna led the way inside, opening her muzzle to speak with the stallions pulling it, when Vinyl hopped in with an excited shout.
“Sweeet! Tavi, check it out! We’re gonna be flying like pegasi! I wonder if we’ll be able to see our house from the air?!” The unicorn sat towards the left of the vehicle. Her form only barely sat still, excitement and sugar buzzing through her veins, though this only brought bemused smiles from all those nearby.
“Yes Vinyl, we’re going to be in the air. Honestly, how much candy did you eat before your show?” Octavia stepped into the transport as well, sitting close to the white mare and rolling her eyes playfully. Luna watched with interest at the relaxed forms of the new acquaintances. Having ponies not constantly be on guard in her presence was a new experience for her even after all this time of having been reformed.
The lead guard glanced back, eyes showing his silent question, to which the princess smiled reassuringly. Nodding for them to take flight, the alicorn pointed with a hoof to the mountain side castle, her voice firm yet soft. The residents of Ponyville were only just starting to head for bed after all. It would be rude to wake them with overly loud directions.
“Let us make way for Canterlot. We are in search of these ‘raves’ we were told of.” The two guards paused in their take-off, bodies low to the ground, turning their confused and concerned faces to their charge.
“To ‘raves’ your majesty?” The senior and slightly older stallion began to question the command only to have a white muzzle with large purple glasses shoved into view.
“Oooh yeah! We’re going to show Princess Luna here the best of the nightlife, including some good old fashion parties! I know just the right spot too, a place I did a lot of gigs at. Over by Downtrot road, you know the place?” Vinyl continued to smile in a carefree manner as the guards shared unsure glances. They knew the area, but weren’t sure it was the right place to take royalty.
Luna, not truly knowing the layout of the city, didn’t understand the stallions’ reluctance and watched with curious eyes. When the two dark coated pegasi looked at their ruler, they found only expectant eyes with a firm questioning gaze, curiousness shining through as to whether the location was actually worse than the DJ was making it seem. Their own gaze solidified and nodded subtly. Turning to face forward once more, they finished their launch into the air, the straps pulling taut as the carriage followed after them.
In moments the three mares were in the air, flying over the land rapidly, while the two stallions continued to pull them forward. The white unicorn, tongue out and flapping in the wind, stood on the side and watched the land pass beneath them. Octavia watched with a bemused eye, making sure that the DJ didn’t fall over, while still keeping her main focus on the lunar princess who also watched the DJ with almost disbelief. Before either mare could decide on how to respond to the eager unicorn, Vinyl leaned farther over the side, pointing to the ground with an excited shout.
“Tavi! Tavi, check this out! I can see all the way to the University from here!”
“Vinyl Scratch you sit properly right this moment!” The earth pony’s voice cut through the whistling wind, its sharp tones conveying easily the concern that lay underneath. Luna glanced to Octavia in surprise, not having expected such loud tones from the mare, only to look back in even more surprise when Vinyl sat rapidly with a timid smile.
“Eh heh, sorry Octavia. I’ll, uh, I’ll sit right here.” The unicorn made a small thump that was quickly lost to the noises of the flight as she sat facing the gray mare. A small shy smile tugged at her lips while her right hoof found its favorite place, rubbing the back of her head and scruffing up the two-tone mane even more than the wind was doing.
“This is true, taking a proper seat is important when traveling this way. Especially when one is not a pegasus or have wings to begin with.” Luna bent a little closer, watching the two mares closely, trying to understand the silent speech that was going on between them. After a half minute of silence, Vinyl chuckled once more and ducked her head, hoof still scratching away.
Finding that she wasn’t sure what to say in this kind of social situation, Princess Luna turned her gaze to the quickly approaching castle, and started to look for the potential ‘rave’. Not really noticing anything different from the usual night, aside from more lights and costumes roaming around, and Luna glanced to find Vinyl just as excited as she was not even a minute ago.
“There! Batpony dudes! Fly down towards there!” The white unicorn waved her forehoof towards the left side of the city. The guards didn’t pause for a second and edged their way towards the directed portion. “Yeeaah, that’s the perfect place to find some raves!”
The dark coated alicorn frowned in confusion, not noticing anything in particular about that part of town, and continued to stare curiously as they came ever closer to landing. With hardly a sound and only a few surprised ponies at the sound of a chariot dropping in from the sky, the group came to a stop in the middle of a busy intersection. The higher elite, used to royalty running around, didn’t pause for a moment and continued around the sudden appearance of the princess of the night.
Vinyl leaped from the vehicle, landing with a grace that wasn’t expected of a partying DJ, and spun in place, searching for proper bearings. Octavia was slower to exit, though she too glanced around the area. Luna was unsure why they looked around, but before she could comment or question the mares, the white unicorn smiled wide and trotted happily down the street. Waving a hoof over her shoulder, she didn’t wait for the others to follow along, continuing with a carefree air.
“Come on fillies, the night is still young!” The taller alicorn frowned at this statement, for who better than her to know the relative youth of the night? And it has been a long time indeed since the immortal alicorn was a ‘filly’. Without glancing backwards, she felt her personal guards follow discretely behind them, willing to give privacy but unwilling to allow them to travel unprotected.
Vinyl Scratch didn’t wait nor did she bother to check that she had everyone following, showing her way through the crowd with a smile and brief nod to those who protested. Octavia was the one who apologized to those annoyed, smiling shyly, though she didn’t wait long. When they saw the princess following them, most quickly moved along, trying to seem pleased to see the mare. The taller mare frowned in worry, seeing most look away, shifting her own gaze from the colorful costumed ponies in turn. She still found the holiday disturbing, even if it was in good fun. Looking forward once more, Luna picked up her pace when she found she was trailing behind, settling into the new pace easily. Not wanting to be distracted once again, she kept her gaze on the two mares leading the way, and only stopped when they did.
“Here we go! The Hoppin’ Hoof! A nice little club for the starting pony. Come on! We wouldn’t want to waste the night!” Vinyl waved once more, smiling at her entourage while she continued on, passing the long line that stemmed from the large double doors.
Luna glanced to the crowd in confusion, flinching at the annoyed glances only to be bewildered when they lit with recognition and hooves shot out, waiting to be bumped. She assumed that this was for the popular DJ that led their group, only to find the hooves wave in an attempt to gain the lunar alicorn’s attention. Glancing between the reassuring smile and steady hoof several times, Luna timidly reached out and knocked her right hoof against the waiting one. Flashing a grateful grin to the princess, the stallion placed his hoof back to the ground and turned forward once more, drawing Luna’s eye to the line of waiting bro-hooves. Trotting down the line, the Princess of the Night wore a large smile at the excitement that came with her presence, and was mildly surprised to find herself at the start of the line with Vinyl and Octavia waiting for her. They both wore pleased grins and dipped their head towards the doors.
“No worries on this point Princess, we get to go right in. Come on, you gotta hear the beats of the night!” Vinyl once again turned without seeming to care about the others following and entered the three storied building. Luna glanced to the bouncer who only bowed in response to the unasked question. Waving a hoof, he stood straight once the three dark coated ponies entered and watched the line, checking that the waiting ponies were behaving properly.
The princess’ head quickly shifted in place, trying to understand the mass of motion and lights that reigned inside the room. The center of the building was hollowed out, allowing a column of speakers to broadcast the sound to each level evenly. On the middle of this inner column was the DJ stand, a wide space where all the equipment rested safely. Lights flashed, twirled, flickered and swiveled on each floor, adding to the overall mysterious air of the club as it merged with the light amount of fog that floated along the floors. The princess was astounded by the sight. The feel in the air and fog reminded her of the Everfree Forest, and yet the ponies, still in costume and dancing wildly, seemed to love the feel all the same.
The sound of the music washed over all of them, pulsing and quivering through the air. It was different from when the white unicorn played earlier that evening, but pleasing nonetheless. It was deeper in the bass, with two other low layers that gave it depth, going even faster than thought for the bottom layer. Sharp higher notes rang over top, cascading up and down scales with the extra half-step making it all the more jarring from the bottom layer. Whistles blew every so often, clashing with the strictly electronic tones before settling for a steadily growing base, building tension in the air before exploding with the various tones once more. Watching the many hundreds of ponies sway and dance in place, often holding drinks of some kind, Luna’s mouth dropped at the thought that this was merely a single location. They passed several on the way but Vinyl knew exactly where she wanted to go.
The guards helped to make sure the princess wasn’t crowded, and cast a watchful eye over the rowdy ponies, but allowed two they recognized closer to the stunned royalty.
“So Princess, what do you think? Pretty cool right? And this place is always hopping, no matter when it is.” The DJ scuffed a hoof along her chest before pulling the earth pony beside her closer and away from the crowd.
“Yes indeed! This is a marvel we have not yet witnessed during our time back from the moon, and is something we must look further into. Perhaps you could show me more of this places, Vinyl Scratch?” Luna drew closer to the white mare, a wide and excited smile finally stretching across her muzzle.
“Vinyl Scratch? Wait, as in THE Vinyl Scratch? The one who had all that press and publicity not too long ago?” A dark green stallion with a cup floating over head paused in his travels. He was directly in front of the odd group but his gaze was focused only on the two-tone maned pony who stiffened at his words. Vinyl didn’t bother to turn her gaze from the princess and started forward, nodding towards the exit.
“Come on then, I’ll show you some more places.”
“Hang on! I just want to ask some questions… And hey, is that Octavia Melody? I thought you two weren’t a thing no more. Though I can understand, you may have some sick beats but they’re not that good.” The stallion kept up his questioning, trailing them even as the guards placed themselves between him and his target. The alicorn didn’t understand any of his questions but could tell that they were upsetting her new friends. Their forms became stiffer with each passing word and their ears, perked from the music, flattened against their skulls as their eyes became unfocused.
“I mean, sure, ya had some talent, but after awhile, ya lost your touch. Probably ’cause there was actual competition and talent in the field, challengin’ you for it. Heck, he probably would have been a better coltfriend for Octavia too. B-” The stallion hadn’t let up and soon found the back of his head getting acquainted with how hard the floor was. One gray hoof held him there by his neck, cutting off his air, while the other reared back to case after the first strike.
It had all happened in seconds and left the alicorn stunned. She had seen when the final moment came, but what was truly a surprise was how quickly the earth pony turned in place and leaped over the alicorn and two guards behind her. Not wasting a moment, Octavia decided to silence the complains the old fashion way, face scrunched in anger.Vinyl’s face was one of utter shock, before she launched herself to stop the mare from continuing her assault. Once the earth pony was pulled back, a open space was beginning to form around them, other partiers not wanting to become involved in the fight. The two guards stepped forward, wings spread outwards, as they glared down at the coughing unicorn.
“What was… that for…?” He held a hoof to his throat, glaring from one eye to the mare who attacked. Instead of getting his answer from the earth pony, he received one from the alicorn who drew to her proper height with her own wings flared.
“No! We should be asking that of you! Why did you interrupt this night of merriment and scares with matters that you do not know about?! Is it not obvious your presence was unwelcome? Perhaps thy drink has robbed thee of thine senses! You should be ashamed and leave this pleasant area at once, lest you find yourself vacating to a not so comfortable setting.” Luna ended up standing on her back hooves as she made this declaration. Eyes flashing with annoyance, she returned the drink to the bar along the far wall, watching the stallion who flinched at the half-shout.
Finding himself without defenders, glancing nervously to the guards and annoyed patrons of the club, he edged towards the exit only to find his progress sped up by the guards who left their princess’ side to remove the blight from her sight. The crowd around them gave a small cheer at the rapid exit before the DJ celebrated the Princess’ presence with a new song, it’s tone low and forceful with flashes of thunder and electronic pitches to accent it. Glancing around quickly, Luna ascertained that none cared about what the stallion was saying and turned to her two guides to find them in a tight embrace, the white mare whispering comfortingly to the other. Stepping gingerly, not that it was truly noticed in the loud ambiance, the princess dropped her head closer to their level and spoke only loud enough for them to hear.
“My friends, let us go and find someplace to refresh ourselves. Perhaps somewhere quieter and with less watchful eyes?” When the pair looked up appreciatively to the lunar royalty, Luna beckoned them with a single hoof and proudly strode through the crowd before them.
With a tall alicorn striding forward, none dared to stay in her path for long, and the group had a much easier time exiting. One of the batpony guards had taken point, not wanting to find the disgraceful stallion waiting for them, while the other watched the back, unwilling to let anyone else sneak up on them.
They were soon among the cooler air outside, the night’s chill approaching even more as the time continued by. Wind, almost nonexistent earlier, picked up and caused any out in light or opened costumes to shiver. Vinyl took a quick glance to find the closest restaurant and smiled in relief when she found the perfect solution. Taking lead once more, the unicorn trotted confidently to the small cafe that was open at all hours, providing warmth and a place to rest for those who needed it. Luna wasn’t sure the kind of theme went with the name of ‘Star Bright, Night Life’ but it seemed well enough for their needs.
Upon entering, Vinyl Scratch actually received the most recognition at first, the staff cheering and offering short waves of greeting before they realized who else came with the regular customer. While Princess Luna gave some bashful greetings in response to the overwhelming greetings her guards cast a stern and appraising stare to the rooms’ entire occupants, checking for troublemakers and risk takers. The two mares led the way to the back where an open booth in the corner was available. It may have been the middle of the night, but the cafe was bustling with customers, ponies who seemed quite at ease with the hour and came for a quick ‘lunch’ break.
“Tell me, is this location always so busy? Surely this is for the holiday?” Luna posed her question quietly, not wanting to annoy the other patrons with a potentially offensive query. Vinyl frowned, unsure what she meant, finding it just before the normal rush hour and very much usual for the local hangout.
“Huh? No no, this is just before the rush hour. You should see this place in an hour. That’s when all the third shifters get their meal. You going to be ok Tavi?” The last comment was directed to the gray earth pony who sat against the wall, blocked in along both sides by Luna on her left and Vinyl on her right. The guards stood right in front of the table, facing outward with stern glares. They didn’t pay too much attention to the conversation behind them. They chose to make sure nopony else would either.
“Yes Vinyl, I’ll be fine… I’m sorry if this caused trouble for one of your ‘regular gigs’. That stallion just -” She stopped suddenly, tightening both forelocks with a glare at the table, gnashing her teeth at what he had proposed. Vinyl smirked with a roll of her eyes. Lashing out a forehoof, she pulled the earth pony close and gave her cheek a shift kiss, pausing afterwards to give her a comforting nuzzle.
Luna frowned at the pair, their actions and previous issues coming to her attention as the night wore on, with no respite in sight. Tapping her hoof gently to the table, the alicorn cleared her throat to gain their attention, blushing when two pairs of eyes glanced over in curiousity.
“I must say, this evening has been an experience. But if I may ask, why was that stallion so upset with you Vinyl Scratch? And he seemed to imply that you two were together as a couple and doubting your ability to do so properly.” The princess watched the two mares closely, not sure what to expect, and found that they both sat up straighter and wore apprehensive frowns at the question.
“Well, your majesty, that depends on what you think of same gender relationships…” Octavia firmly stated with just enough politeness to pass muster. Crossing her hooves, she stared at the taller mare, not allowing a smidgin of doubt or fear to appear in her gaze.
“I knew the practice existed in private and partially in secret in times long past, but I had not heard anything of it since.” The two smaller mares glanced at one another for only a moment, communicating once more in silence, before smiling bashfully in turn to the much older mare.
“Wellll your majesty, it’s kind of a long story…”
“I do not mind a longer tale, so long as you do not row too weary to tell me.” Luna’s words were greeted with a light chuckle and more head rubbing on the part of the white unicorn. Octavia merely sighed before smirking rudely at the ordeals that lead to this point.
The dark coated alicorn waved forward a waitress, ordering them a round of drinks to sate their soon coming thirst, and waited for it to arrive before settling properly in her seat, watching with intense interest. Vinyl couldn’t hold back a laugh at the almost foal-like focus and leaned forward, one hoof wrapping around her glass of cider.
“Well, it started pretty much after we left college…”
The meal at the cafe turned out to be more informative to the outdated Princess than the rest of the night. Providing insight to some of the more high life celebrities that were the focus of most of the country and even in how some of the more common ponyfolk have come to act towards their fellow pony. Finding that story only added to her curiosity, the lunar princess exited the oddly named cafe to start a thorough search of the town, interested in the other citizens who spent the majority of their time in the night.
She found more raves and late night parties, filled with odd ponies that she wasn’t sure was in costume or not, and also ponies who spent their time earning a living working at night. Luna even managed to track one stallion down to question what ‘third shifters’ meant. Finding more answers and questions than before, the princess of the night didn’t realize the time passing and was surprised to find the bright yellow light of the sun tinting the sky. She trotted back to the castle with both guards in tow, neither of which appeared worse for wear after spending the entire night on guard in strange crowds and loud places.
When Celestia asked her younger sister how her night went, she found a much more lively mare actively studying more of the modern terms she ran across in her travels. The two guards gave each other bemused glances before taking their posts once more, knowing that their change would come soon enough and that the others wouldn’t believe them when they explained where they had gone for the night.