• Published 3rd Nov 2013
  • 8,776 Views, 91 Comments

Midnight Melody - Caffeine Junkie

Octavia’s life is bound to change when suddenly strange events occur around her. Chosen by Pandora’s box she soon finds herself dealing with something she had never expected…

  • ...

-(20)- Worries

I always had those kind of dreams; dreams where I was falling. Usually those dreams were just about plummeting for eternity. However, this time they were far more unsettling…or rather…far more realistic. As I spiralled towards my demise I did no longer fear the fall itself, instead I felt the urge to run from whatever lurked beneath me. Soon I realised that it wasn’t “something” I feared…it was literally “nothing”. As I drew closer and closer to the seemingly endless void I felt the cold wind in my coat and shivers running down my spine. When I tried to look directly into it, it felt like the abyss gazed right back into my soul, unveiling the darkness within. All my secrets, all my pain…everything I ever was… it was laid bare in front of the unforgiving void. There was no way to conceal myself, no escape, no happy ending…and then my dream suddenly collapsed.

Colours danced in front of my eyes and a new landscape began to form. I found myself in a strange room. Well, room was the wrong word because instead of walls there was just darkness. It looked as if the dream ended just there. The floor was made of glass and beneath it there was nothing but darkness. The only thing in the room was a big crystal throne and somepony sitting on top of it.

It was hard to tell who that pony was because she was wrapped in a black hooded cloak. While I took a good look at her she was playing lazily with a small crystal stone on the throne’s armrest. The figure then proceeded to throw the crystal stone out of the room, forcing it to perish from existence. It was an intimidating display of superiority and more than capable of keeping me from fleeing. The cloaked mare then jumped on her hooves and came closer while I was still rooted to the floor. When she was finally standing right in front of me she embraced me.

“Oh, it didn’t take you as long as expected.” the mare said happily.

“Who…or rather…what are you? A dream?” I asked completley taken by surprise .

“Oh I think you already know.”

“I most certainly don’t.”

“How cold…you could at least have pretended.” she replied amused.

“So what do you want?”

“I’m here to tell you something...”

“And why should I trust you?”

“Oh, you definitely shouldn’t. You see…I’m quite the liar.” she said with a chuckle.

“So what do you want to tell me…”

“There is a lot I want to tell you but for now the only thing you need to know is that you should be wary. Trust no pony other than yourself.”

“I don’t need anypony to tell me that.” I said and rolled my eyes.

“Well, so you didn’t tell some barmaid about yourself, right?”

“I just…”

“That was merely the tip of the iceberg. Oh and don’t even bother to lie…I know.”

“So I should try to keep to myself?”

“Yes…you should.”

“What about Victor and Vinyl…do you think I can trust them?”

“Well…if it were me I…”

I never heard the answer to my question, instead I suddenly found myself in my bed, panting as if I had taken part in the running of the leaves. It only took me some moments to realise that there was smoke hovering in my room. I jumped up immediately running out of the room looking for the source of the smoke. When I entered the kitchen I found the culprit immediately and had to smirk. It seemed as if Vinyl finally managed to kill the toaster for good. Only two hardly recognisable pieces of toast remained from her last victim. I wondered if she had a better excuse for the toaster than for the blender. Speaking about the killer of household aids…where the hay was she?

As soon as my pondering heart calmed down I realised that Vinyl was in fact taking a shower. So, in the end I got very lucky. Instead of a fire in the leaving room I just had to deal with Vinyl. Thank Celestia that there was one thing that always helped me to deal with such things in the morning, my beloved caffeine. While the coffee machine did its thing I grabbed myself a sandwich just and my favourite mug. As soon as the coffee was done I filled my precious black gold into the mug and took a sip.

I couldn’t help myself but to splutter out that disgusting rinse water. At first I thought maybe I didn’t use enough coffee or the filter didn’t fit…but that wasn’t the case. So, Vinyl finally did it. Well, I hope she was prepared for my wrath. Fortunately she was saved by what happened next. I took a bite out of my sandwich…and it tasted like nothing. So Vinyl probably was not at fault here.

Something strange was going on with my sense of taste. Was it the alcohol? Was I sick? I wasn’t sure.

When I checked the fridge for something edible, Vinyl’s food gave me an idea. There were two ways to make food sweeter; either you change the quantity of sugar or you use a surrogate that is even sweeter. So in the end I changed the concentration of my coffee and used the same amount of coffee I usually use for a whole can to create one cup. It turned out quite nice even though it still lacked taste in some way. Then I grabbed the two burned toasts I fortunately hadn’t already disposed of and started eating them. They did taste way better than the sandwich.

“Tavi? Why the hell are you eating that?” Vinyl asked and pointed at the toast.

She was standing in the door, still a little dampening from her shower and her mane was still a little wet. Vinyl really looked cute with her hair like that. Wait…no…I wasn’t thinking that right now.

“Why did you ruin the toaster?” I said and raised an eyebrow.

“Oh…you know that is quite the funny story…you see…there is an expl…” she started hastily.

“Sure there is.” I said and stopped her explanation with a wave of my hoof.

Vinyl’s eyes wandered from me to the plate next to the fridge. The sandwich I had bitten into was still lying there and she now was probably wondering why I didn’t eat that instead.

“Was there something wrong with your sandwich Tavi?”

“I’m not sure. The moment it entered my mouth it tasted like…”

“Like what?”


“What about your coffee? You are still drinking that so maybe the sandwich just…”

“It also tasted diluted before but I found a way to enjoy it nonetheless…”

“Tavi…just let me make sure of something…please.”

Vinyl moved to the fridge took out a bottle of juice and poured it into a glass. She then put the glass right in front of me and looked at me with a concerned expression.

“Tavi…I want you to drink this and tell me how it tastes…”

I looked at the orange liquid, took a deep breath and flushed it down my throat. Much to my surprise it didn’t taste diluted in any way. The flavour was rich and just a little bit too sweet for my taste. Vinyl looked at me in anticipation and even though I didn’t know what she expects I gave her my answer.

“That juice tastes just fine…a tad too sweet but you know I’m not exactly what ponies call a sweet tooth.”

“Tavi…you probably won’t believe me but that is the stuff I usually drink. It is the sweetest juice you can buy in Canterlot and I’ve even added twenty-three additional sugar cubes. Usually you should have spluttered it all over the place…”

“If that is a joke then…”

“Listen Tavi, this is no joke…as far as I can see you are suffering from a rare kind of hypogeusia.”


“It means your sense of taste has dulled…extremely.”

“So…what should I do?”

“Whatever you do...don’t consult a doctor…”


“Don’t. Just trust me on that…”



“What are you keeping from me?”

“Tavi, look I…”

However, before she could say anymore she was interrupted by the doorbell. We both looked at each other in surprise. It was rather uncommon for us to have visitors, even more so if they dropped by so early. There was only one pony I could think of who’d be brave enough to take on two grumpy mares in the morning. I raised an eyebrow and asked what we both were most likely thinking…


“Probably…” Vinyl muttered.

When I opened the door I was rather surprised to see that it wasn’t Neon who rang the bell. There was a cute unicorn filly standing right in front of the door showing me a toothy grin. With her pitch black coat and her silver mane she looked just like a fairy from my old storybooks. As soon as she began to talk I realised that even her voice sounded angelic…

“Hello, are you miss Melody?” the filly asked innocently. At the same time I felt a cold breeze giving me the shivers.
I subliminally put on a smile and nodded at her. While the filly was certainly adorable something just didn’t feel right put I couldn’t put my hoof on it.

“You really look pretty, miss. Now I understand why he wants me to deliver this to you…” she said with a giggle and levitated me an envelope.

At that moment I was rather happy that I had to deal with so many snobs in my life, otherwise I wouldn’t have been able to keep up my smile. The whole situation seemed rather staged. It somehow reminded me of when my mother tried to set me up with somepony else back in my teens. Even though I wasn’t sure who sent that filly, that pony most certainly knew how to manipulate others. That filly was probably the most adorable trap ever. She certainly had lulled dozens of unsuspecting ponies by playing the adorable-card but there was something that immediately gave her away; she was too perfect.

“Well, thank you…” I told her still keeping up my smile.

“Hope to see you again, miss…”

“Me too…but I hope next time you won’t stick that much to your script…”

She didn’t even flinch when I said that. However, before I closed the day and she walked away she gave me a kind of smile I just knew all too well, the smile of somepony whose expectations had just been surpassed. I wasn’t sure if I should be impressed by her behaviour or simply pitting her. If she was already that adapted to deception her childhood was probably as bad as mine had been.

As soon as I turned around I saw Vinyl watching me with a big grin on her face. She most certainly had eavesdropped on our little conversation.

“Looks like you also have your share of fans and admirers, Tavi.” she said chuckling.

“Seems like it…”

“Let me tell you…you’ve handled her like a pro…” she said and gave me a wink.

“Oh…and with pro you are referring to…”

“Yeah…the one and only...”

“Why…am I not surprised?”

“…because you’ve already adapted to…my greatness?”

“Your…greatness? Seriously? ” I said with a raised eyebrow and started chuckling like a little filly.

The look on her face was priceless. Of course I was just acting stupid and immature but…sweet Celestia…I simply couldn’t pass a chance to get a laugh out of Vinyl for once. Well, I couldn't help it; guess that mare's humor was rubbing off on me. As soon as she realised what I meant, she turned red like a tomato and that made me laugh even harder. After a few moments I probably would have reigned myself in but Vinyl hasted the process a little.

“So, what do you think? Don’t you want to open the envelope?”

“Why so curious?” I said playfully before I went to the drawer.

I pulled out my paperknife and cut open the envelope. Within I found a simple letter and some kind of invitation. My eyes immediately wandered over the letter and the more I read the paler I looked. Vinyl realised that the content of the letter had to be really disturbing…

“What does it say, Tavi?” Vinyl asked me concerned.

It took me nearly a minute until I finally found my voice again but when I began to talk it probably sounded as if it came directly from the grave.

“I…this…I got an invitation for a little private talk…”

“The way you act it looks more like an invitation to a funeral. Who sent it?”

“It was a personal message…from Elusive Bliss…” I answered incredulous.

“No way…” Vinyl said and turned as pale as me.

“The other thing seems to be a formal invitation for some event…”

“So…will you go?”

“Well, according to him it is up to me if I want to go…” I said rather flat.

“So…eh…just don’t go.” Vinyl said a little insecure.

“Vinyl…you’ve never received any invitations from nobles have you?”

“Well, not really but…”

“Usually your choice comes down to this; comply or deal with their vindictiveness.”

“So you think that you’ll be royally screwed later, if you don’t go and meet him?”


“But you don’t know for sure…I mean…maybe this is a genuine option…”

“I don’t think so. Do you recall what Victor has told us about him? He wouldn’t let things to chance would he?”

“Well, maybe he thinks that you feel obliged to go…” Vinyl pointed out.

“Maybe…” I mused.

For a few minutes there was nothing but silence. Vinyl expected me to come up with a decision but I simply couldn’t. How could a simple pony like me beat a schemer like Bliss who most likely had all possibilities already planned out? Was I thinking too much into it? Maybe he was just in control…because I thought him to be?

While I was entranced by some deep rooted psychological questions Vinyl paced up and down the room, trying to come up with her own answer to the problem. At some point she suddenly came to a halt and faced me with a mischievous smile.



“Buck it…” she said with a smile and ripped the letter in two.

My eyes grew wide in disbelief. She just didn’t destroy that letter …did she?

“Vinyl…do you have any idea what you…” I said before she rudely interrupted me.

“Yeah…I just found a way to help you…“

“And how exactly was…that…supposed to help me?” I asked incredulous.

“If that colt is as cunning as you think he is he’ll make you meet him one way or the other, right?”

“I suppose…”

“And if he isn’t?”


“Then you’ve proofed that you are able outsmart him.”

“Vinyl you are…a genius.”

“Has taken you long enough to figure that out…”

I didn’t know any better way to express my gratitude than to give Vinyl a big hug. In the end it was really as simple as she said. Even if Bliss had me dancing to his tune, I’d at least show him that I wasn’t his obedient little puppet.

“Well, I don’t know about you but I could definitely go for a drink just now.”

“You know that it’s still early in the morning?”

“Care to join me for some coffee instead? It’s on me.” I said.

“Trying to get away from you worries, huh?” Vinyl said with a knowing look.

“I guess so…” I replied.

Walking through the wet alleys of Canterlot it took us a few minutes before we reached our destination, a rather small café. Looking at it from the street it was pretty obvious that this wasn’t one of the places where the upper class used to mingle. However, to me this place had a lot of sentimental value. I often used to come here with my grandmother when I was younger. Strange how things changed when I got older. Even though I always loved to come here I never did so for the last few years. I shook off my nostalgic thoughts and opened the door.

The old mare sitting behind the counter immediately jumped up when she saw that two customers had just entered. She gave us a big smile and immediately offered us some freshly baked cake. Vinyl took her up on her offer and ordered a slice of strawberry cake for herself and a slice of coffee mousse cake for me. She also ordered a triple espresso and a white mocha before we took a seat at a corner booth. A few minutes later the old mare delivered our order and returned to the counter. I didn’t say anything to Vinyl in front of her but why would she buy me something if she knew that my sense of taste was gone.

“Vinyl, I’m a little confused about that order…” I said before she cut me off.

“Why don’t you try it before you jump to conclusion?” she said with a smirk.

I sighed and took a bite from the cake while she was pouring sugar into her mocha. Much to my surprise it tasted rather good. It wasn’t sweet at all but the flavour tasted very rich. Vinyl probably enjoyed the confused look on my face. At least I thought so based on her not so subtle chuckling.

“Wasn’t my sense of taste supposed to be…well gone?”

“Do you remember what I’ve told you before? I’ve told you that your hypogeusia is kind of special…”

“So, what is so special about it?”

“Do you know what flavour enhancers are, Tavi?”


“Do you also know that the equine tongue by itself is only capable of tasting four flavours; salty, sweet, bitter and sour? Everything else is dictated by our sense of smell.”


“The whole thing is rather complex so I’ll try to explain it in laypony terms. A common hypogeusia should simply dull your sense of taste but what makes yours special is that it also turns the four flavours into flavour enhancers. So by increasing the concentration of one of those core flavours you are still able to enjoy your food.”

“If what you say is true, how come that my cake tastes normal even though I haven’t covered it in sugar?”

“You’ve been drinking a tripled espresso…”


“That stuff is veeery bitter and its aftertaste lingers in your mouth for some time. To keep it simple; your drink acts as a flavour enhancer for the cake.”

“Why do you know so much about these things Vinyl?”

“You still haven’t connected the dots? And here I was thinking that you were a clever mare…” Vinyl said with a chuckle.

“Don’t tell me…” I said in shock.

My mind was working overtime. The thoughts I began to conjure were everything but pretty. Was she working together with the vampires? Why was she telling me? There was far too much to process…

“Yeah…I also suffer from that hypogeusia stuff.”

Oh well, so much for my theory. Well, I guess that invitation really got to me. I tried to rein those thoughts in; paranoia and mistrust would get me nowhere. Maybe I was really too focused on possible future events that I was failing to see what happens in the present. Would it have been easier if I waited for things to happen and evaluate them afterwards? I suppose. Was it possible for me? No way. I was never the type of pony who went with the flow when she had to face a difficult situation, I always needed some kind of preparation. However, even if it were possible to overcome my own nature, living wouldn’t feel right anymore. So, how should I go on? Maybe the same way like before but less judgemental and pessimistic? Oh sweet Celestia, my head hurt like hell. Why was I thinking so much? No…not why…how. How was it possible that I thought up so much in just a few seconds? What the hay was wrong with me?

“Tavi…are you alright?” Vinyl asked cautiously.

Was I spacing out? I was pretty sure everything happened extremely fast. Maybe all that stuff just made me sick. Yeah probably some posttraumatic stress thingy…

“I just don’t feel…so good. My head hurts a lot… "

“Yeah…I can see that…”

“Really?” I asked in confusion.

“Tavi, you look as pale as a corpse, even worse than Neon when he had broken one of his legs in an attempt to stage dive.” she said trying to lift the mood while comforting me.

“I’ve been under the impression that the crowd would do anything for him…”

“Well, that doesn’t really help if you are wasted enough to jump right into the fenced off area...”

We both burst out into laughter. The old mare on the counter looked in our direction for a moment before she shook her head and murmured something along the lines of:”…to be young again…”.

“So…why did you decide to tell me about your “hypogeusia”?” I asked after the laughter ended.

“I guess the fridge’s content would have given me away after some time…” she said with a smirk.

“So…that condition…is permanent?”

“Yeah…sadly. As I’ve said, our kind of hypogeusia is rather unique. Back then, when I had still lived with my parents they paid the doctor who examined me a fortune to keep quiet about. They told me that they didn’t want me to end up as a test subject for some crazy new medicine. However, there true intention was probably to make sure that my record remained clean. For me it was rather clear; It just wouldn’t look good if someone dug up some dirt about their prodigy daughter later on.” she said and rolled her eyes.

“So…hypogeusia goes hoof in hoof with terrible parents?” I asked amused.

“Yeah…probably. Well, there had to be a significant tradeoff for our stunning looks…right?” she replied with a wink.

“I suppo…ughh…” I said before I experienced the next jolt of pain due to my stabbing headache.


“It’s…just…my head…“

“You should take an aspirin if it’s that bad…”

“Right now I’d rather go with a painkiller...”

“Do you think it has something to do with all that vampire stuff?” she whispered curiously.

“You mean something like self-induced brain freeze?” I asked sceptic.

“No, that just sounds silly. Still, what if it is a side effect of the stuff you have drunken? It knocked you out and gave you some crazy kind of super power. Who said that it couldn’t have side effects like hypogeusia or headaches?”

“Do you think I should meet up with Victor or the creepy vampire doctor?”

“I would go for Victor because no matter how knowledgeable that shady doctor is you can’t trust him. I mean he has already told you that he follows his own agenda. Besides, just thinking about the combination of a vampire and a doctor gives me the shivers. As if syringes weren’t creepy enough on their own…” Vinyl said and visibly shuddered.

“Yes…but we already talked to Victor and he didn’t mention anything about side effects back then. If he had known he would have told us, right? Or was he also just playing me and followed his own agenda? To make things even more complicated there is also the possibility that what I am experiencing now isn’t even related to the vampires.” I said hastily.

“So…you are not sure if you should trust Victor?” Vinyl asked curiously.

“Well, my gut tells me to trust him but due to the past events my mind tells me to stay wary. I’ve never felt so lost, Vinyl.” I explained hastily.

“I’d go with my gut feeling. Victor seems like a chill colt…for a vampire.”

“What if I’m wrong about him?”

“Then you’ll figure it out in time. You’re a clever mare after all…”

Well, she was probably right and even if she wasn’t…I simply should have had more confidence in myself. However, there was something else that came to my mind and it was utterly disturbing. Didn’t Cold Steel tell me about vampires that could manipulate the equine psyche? Was my mind being conflicted…just the result of a mind meddling vampire? Or was I just being insecure about the direction I wanted my life to take? No…to be incapable of trusting others couldn’t be the right decision. I had been there and as far as I could remember my life was horrible. Who knew maybe Victor really had some answers to my problem…

Ignoring my stabbing headache I told Vinyl that she was right and that it probably was for the best if I paid Victor a visit. After a few more sips of coffee I also mentioned the strange dream I had and my fears that somepony was toying with my mind. Vinyl tried to assure me that my fears were unfounded and that everything was fine. She told me that I was probably just overwhelmed by everything that happened. However, I knew that she only tried to calm me down; I could see the worries in her eyes. Well, if I wanted certainty…I had to look for it myself…

Shaking off those awful thoughts I waved the waitress over and paid for the food. While she was looking for some change in her purse I caught myself examining her. I just couldn’t believe it. If I wasn’t so keen to avoid appearing like a mad mare, I would have slapped myself across the face for that. I gave the waitress a gentle smile and a generous tip before I hurried down the rainy streets with Vinyl in tow.

At first I was heading for Victor’s place but then suddenly a thought crossed my mind. If I was already trusting Victor with my mental health I could as well show him what Bliss had sent me. So we simply changed direction and headed for our apartment. Vinyl wasn’t too fond of the idea because she thought I would go crazy about that stuff all over again. It took some time but I managed to convince her that I’d rather be safe than sorry…

When we reached the apartment we were up for a surprise. There was a mailmare knocking at our door. When I wanted to approach her Vinyl gently held me back and signalled me to stay where I was. Vinyl walked up closer to the poor pony slung a leg around her waist and shouted: “Booo”. Of course the mare turned around with a loud shriek. However, when she realised who had just startled her, she became visibly excited and hugged Vinyl. The mailmare couldn’t get out more than a simple “Vinyl? No way…” before Vinyl took the lead and introduced me to her friend.

“Tavi, Ditzy. Ditzy, Tavi.” Vinyl said.

“Nice to meet you…” I said.

“Oh…so your name is Tavi…like in Octavia?” the mare asked with a thoughtful expression while I was still taking pity on her. The poor thing seemed to suffer from a serious case of strabismus and I wasn’t really sure how to approach her. It was the same kind of uneasiness I faced every time I had to talk with my mother; I didn’t want to provoke a storm.

“Yes. Well, in fact my name is Octavia but that stupid DJ over there has made it a habit to shorten it for her own comfort…” I said a little amused.

“Oh, it could be worse…trust me. Most ponies just call me Derpy because I’m terribly clumsy.”

“That’s just horrible…” I replied in shock.

“So what brings you here? I thought you are working in Ponyville now?” Vinyl interjected.

“Canterlot is momentarily understaffed so they temporarily moved me and two colts from Cloudsdale here to help out.” she said and shook her head.

“You don’t look very happy. Don’t you like Canterlot anymore?” Vinyl asked.

“Well…I do like Canterlot but I’d rather be in Ponyville right now…” she replied flat.

“Because of what…no...wait…because of whom?” Vinyl asked with a wide smile.

“None of your business…” the pegasus said with a blush.

“Ha, I knew it! So you found sompony new. Didn’t I tell you it would all work out?” Vinyl said gleefully.

“What about you? Still picking up your groupies one after another?” she said and stuck her tongue out.

“Does Tavi look like a groupie to you?” Vinyl asked obviously teasing me. Well…I’d bite.

“So why can’t I remember you picking me up?” I replied in a similar tone.

“Duh, because you were wasted. Don’t you remember when you woke up in bed with me?” Vinyl answered triumphantly.

“But you…I…you know it wasn’t like…” I started to stammer but my noble effort to explain the situation got drowned under their laughter.

“Well, I’d really love to talk some more…but I still have some mail to deliver. That reminds me...Octavia?”


“Please sign here, and here.” she told me before she handed me a parcel and two envelops.

“Maybe I’ll pop over again when I’m done with my work. I mean…you are living together…right?”

“Yeah…” Vinyl replied.

Then Ditzy took flight and left the two of us alone. However, just before she was gone she still managed to embarrass Vinyl.
“Your taste in mares has really improved. I still remember the one with the bottle-blond mane who used to talk about her moist and sticky muffin all day. I couldn’t stomach to look at muffins for days…for days Vinyl...”

Laughing I entered the apartment and went through the mail. Inside the parcel was a whodunit I ordered a few days ago. I put it on the bedside table for later before I opened the two letters. The first one contained sales promotions and as a result wandered immediately to the garbage can. I just hated it when they disguised something unimportant by putting it in an envelope; it was just a waste of paper. The other envelope looked far more formal. When I opened it a smile immediately spread across my face.

Some rich ponies wanted me to play for them at a dinner party. Should my performance be to their liking they would not only reward me appropriately, they’d even offer me some jobs in the future. When my eyes flashed about their idea of a just reward I nearly collapsed. The payment was otherworldly good…twice the amount my old quartet would have made.

If I was interested in their proposal I should just reply to them so that they could send me the notes for the pieces I had to perform. Furthermore they required that I had to wear a dress befitting the occasion. Well, all in all that looked like a very good proposal…nearly too good.

Vinyl looked rather sceptic when I showed her the contents of the letter. She probably thought the same I did; it was just too good to be true. I sighed and my initial joy immediately faded. The timing was just too perfect. Was that fishy job offer the backup plan if I refused Bliss’ invitation? I wasn’t sure…but there was a simple way to find out. This time I was in control…

I walked up to the garbage can and retrieved the pieces of the letter and the invitation that Vinyl destroyed previously. When I opened the invitation I was relieved. Both events were scheduled to take place on a different time and location. Furthermore I realised that the host of the party where I should play, was none other than prince Blueblood. Even though I wasn’t really fond of him, I was pretty sure that somepony so keen to get the attention of the media was certainly not a vampire.

Finally something worked out the way it should. To celebrate my little triumph I even started to sing. Much to my chagrin I forgot that Vinyl was still in the room. Oh, she probably would never let me forget that. When she finally stopped laughing I told her that I was going to push my luck and visit Victor for some answers.

When I was walking down the streets, happier than I should really be, I came to the conclusion that this day might not be as bad as I originally thought. Of course I was still concerned about my health and the vampires but…hay…I finally got a bucking job.

Even the ponies on the street looked far more colourful, now that I was in such a good mood. The world looked so much brighter to me until something odd happened; for a moment I thought I saw that ebon filly on the other side of the street smiling triumphantly at me.