• Published 15th Nov 2013
  • 5,145 Views, 321 Comments

Stages - Bunnybooze79



It was supposed to be Octavia’s first big moment in her beginning career. To her dismay a unicorn named Vinyl Scratch stole her spotlight and left an impression on the cellist she would so soon not forget.

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Chapter 11

Two days until moving day.

Vinyl watched Octavia pace about in the living room. The cellist had become more and more agitated the closer the day came for them to leave Canterlot behind. It had become even worse once she had a moving company pick up the items too big to transport on the train, Vinyl’s deck and Octavia’s cello.

That was one day ago and already the grey mare was starting to miss her instrument more than Vinyl had expected. Seeing the effects of the separation made her feel bad for having put her friend through the same emotions when she had soiled the cello.

Vinyl decided to take her friends mind off her instrument and sat up on the couch to draw more attention to herself. Octavia just kept pacing and mumbling about something the unicorn couldn’t pick up.

“Is there anything else we need to take?” Vinyl asked and very briefly managed to stop her friend’s movements.

“No. I believe we have everything we need.” Octavia resumed her small laps around the room.

“What about your movies?” Vinyl pointed a hoof behind her to where the reels were hidden behind the wall.

“Best to leave them here. I don’t know if we’ll have the space for them in the new place.” Octavia shook her head. “We’ll just have to go to a movie theatre if we want to watch something.”

That might be interesting.

Vinyl wondered how the other patrons would react to Octavia’s unique style of watching films. She glanced about the living room for other things they might want to take.

“The statues? Are we taking any of them?” The relatively small statues would probably fit inside a saddlebag.

“They are my mother’s. I’d rather leave them here to be honest.” Octavia sat down and a look of uneasiness washed over her face.

“Tavi?” Vinyl moved away from her seated position and walked up to her friend with worry.

“Are….are we doing the right thing?” Octavia asked and her voice wavered a bit. Vinyl sensed that she was having doubts.

“Hey, you said this could be your big chance.” Vinyl placed a hoof on her friend’s chest to stop her from moving about again. “And I’ll help you take it.”

Vinyl had spent a few restless nights many weeks ago, lying awake trying desperately to come up with some way of repaying Octavia for everything she had done. Once she had regained her strength she had begun to clean up after the untidy cellist and tried to cook for her. Sort of like a maid and a cook combined.

Octavia’s reaction had been mixed. She loved Vinyl’s cooking very much, but didn’t feel well with having Vinyl thinking she would have to be her personal servant. So they had agreed on sharing their chores around the house and Vinyl was left looking for some way of repaying her.

Then Octavia’s problem of lacking the ability to create her own music had appeared. Vinyl had leaped to her aid, but it was pretty clear that the cellist really didn’t have the ability. It would take a lot more work to unlock that skill set. Vinyl was convinced that everypony had basic creativity and just needed the right inspiration to unlock it.

Right now Vinyl saw another chance at repaying her friend for her kindness and generosity. She made sure she had Octavia’s full attention before speaking again.

“I am going to help you to get into the Royal Galloping Symphony!”

“Royal Canterlot Orchestra.” Octavia corrected automatically.

“Yes, exactly.” Vinyl stared into Octavia’s worried purple eyes. “I will make sure you get the chance you deserve.”

“M…Manehatten isn’t really the nicest place some ponies said to me. Perhaps it might be dangerous and…and…” Octavia’s nerves were fluttering and the intense stare of Vinyl’s red eyes didn’t help much.

“Don’t listen to everything ponies tell you.” Vinyl’s softened her look and smiled at her friend. “And I am going to be there with you. I won’t let anything bad happen to you….ever.”

Octavia briefly tried a smile and locked eyes with Vinyl again. “Promise?”

“I promise. I’ll even Pinkie promise!” Vinyl went through the routine that Pinkie Pie had taught her a few years ago. Octavia giggled and managed a genuine smile again.

“What is a Pinkie promise?” she asked.

“Just the most important promise you can give to another pony.” Vinyl was dead serious. Octavia continued to smile and she felt some of the nervousness slowly leave her system.

“Thank you, Vinyl.” Octavia chuckled. “I’m just nervous about leaving Canterlot. Silly isn’t it?”

“I can understand. You’ve never left the city before have you?” Octavia shook her head at Vinyl’s question. “Don’t worry. It will be fun, you’ll see.”

“You’re right. It will be fun with you there.” Octavia beamed at the unicorn. “Besides, Manehatten can’t be so bad. I even have a friend already living there.”

Vinyl managed not to frown.

Ah yes….the “special” friend.




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The train from Canterlot to Manehatten was crowded.

Every available seat had been taken and some ponies even resorted to spend the trip standing in the corridor. Vinyl and Octavia had luckily reserved the seats in advance. That had been a suggestion by Octavia’s friend.

Vinyl wasn’t sure about her. Octavia hadn’t really said anything about her friend, except that she was a unicorn as well and musically inclined towards the classical side. And that was it, no mention of her possibly being an ex-marefriend or something along those lines.

All Vinyl knew was that Octavia called her special and that she would pick them up from Manehatten’s main station. Octavia placed a lot of trust in the mare and had given her the task of finding a suitable apartment for the two Canterlot mares. Vinyl had not been in a position to object and was even happy that somepony took over her unloved task of finding a place to live.

It would take another couple of hours until they would reach Manehatten. Octavia had fallen asleep beside Vinyl and was resting her head on the white unicorn’s shoulder. The contact made Vinyl’s heart beat faster and she tried to make it as comfortable as possible for her friend.

Vinyl watched the landscape zoom past the window, while Octavia snored a little. Her thought’s revolved around her feelings for the grey mare and how she would voice them and especially when. Vinyl cleared the thoughts away with a small shake of her head. What was important above her own feelings was to make sure Octavia would be able to get closer to her dream.

After that…..maybe there would be a chance to tell her how she felt.




__________________________________________________________________





Manehatten’s station was a lot bigger than Canterlot’s station. Multiple tracks led into the large building and a constant stream of trains would enter and leave around the clock.

Canterlot was Equestria’s main city, but Manehatten was Equestria’s hub for all things related to trains. Passenger transport, cargo transport and even massive construction equipment would pass through Manehatten at some point.

With such a huge business came a lot of ponies. The station wasn’t just full, it was overpacked. Now it made sense to the mares why they could not bring their musical equipment with them. Trying to get through the sea of ponies without large heavy equipment on their backs was difficult enough.

Octavia felt slightly claustrophobic as she was herded towards the end of the platform by two other passengers beside her. She couldn’t really move and was just being dragged along between the ponies. Vinyl was less affected by being wedged in between unknown ponies and was actually smiling. That was mainly due to being stuck behind Octavia and having to rest her head on the cellist’s lower back as they climbed some stairs. Not an entirely unpleasant feeling she had to admit.

They left the platform after a few minutes of awkward shuffling. The crowd dispersed a bit and gave them enough room to move around by their own will. Both of them trotted away from the stream of ponies and held a lookout for somepony that would pick them up. They spotted the pony they were looking for at the same time.

A few meters further along a unicorn mare was constantly jumping up to get a better view over the ponies milling about in the station. She was seemingly undisturbed by some of the comments that the ponies near her said. Her face formed into a huge smile when she spotted the pair of Canterlotians stand to the side and looking at her. Excitedly she pushed her way through the oncoming stream of ponies before coming into full view of them.

She was a mint green unicorn, her mane and tail were a very light slightly greyish cyan color and had a streak of white in them. The mare’s golden eyes were beaming with joy as she came closer. On her flank was a cutie mark representing a lyre.

“Oc-ta-vi-aaaaa.” The mint green unicorn said in a sing song voice and hugged Octavia close, the instant she was close enough. Vinyl already didn’t like her.

“Haven’t seen you in ages, but you are still as gorgeous as ever.” The unicorn gave the cellist a quick glance all over. “How have you been, babe?”

Vinyl was now silently grinding her teeth at the overly friendly greeting the unicorn had given her friend. Her mind was going into overdrive at the implications surrounding the word “babe”.

“I am great! It’s so good to see you again!” Octavia beamed at the unicorn and hugged her once more. Then she stepped back a bit and stood beside Vinyl once more. “Vinyl Scratch, meet Lyra Heartstrings.”

“Hey, how are you? Excited to be here? Cool shades by the way.” There was no hug for Vinyl, instead a hoofshake was exchanged. That was a pity, as Vinyl felt the need to hug the other unicorn. Hug her really really tight, preferably around her neck.

“Yeah, I’m having a blast.” Vinyl said dryly. Octavia gave her a curious glance, but Lyra just ignored the tone.

“Come on, ponies. You have a new apartment to look forward to.” Lyra led the way out of the station.

It took them nearly fifteen minutes of pushing and shoving before they finally stood outside under the open sky. Most of the pushing and shoving had been done by Lyra, who also exchanged a few very colorful words with some of the local ponies. Other ponies not from Manehatten just silently made way. Octavia and Vinyl followed in the mint green mare’s wake.

The sidewalk outside of the station was just as crowded as the inside. Again they followed Lyra’s rather robust way of clearing a path through the sea of ponies, until they reached a taxi carriage station to the side of the train stations main building. Lyra quickly signaled for a carriage and inspected the seat before ushering her two guests inside.

This was the first difference between Canterlot and Manehatten that the two friends noticed. The carriage was filthy, the seat partially ripped, a few floorboards cracked and it smelled rather strange.

“Where’dyawannago?” the driver asked without pausing between words. Lyra seemed to understand him perfectly and gave him an address. He slowly trudged off and away from the station.

“Do you mind maybe getting us there today?” Lyra said to him sharply. He turned to face her to reply in the same tone of voice.

“Whadd’ya mean? You sayin’ I’m slow?”

“Slow? You’re making slugs look fast! Get your hooves moving, otherwise we’ll rather walk ourselves.” Lyra tapped a hoof on the side of the carriage. With some mumbled very choice words the driver did indeed increase his speed.

Vinyl and Octavia exchanged a glance with each other, both unsure of what to make of that little event. Both of them shrugged, while Lyra grinned at them. They turned to watch the city move by them.

One thing was clear very early. There were a lot more ponies living here than in Canterlot. The sidewalks were packed as ponies walked along side by side towards their destinations. And there were a lot more shops here than in Canterlot. Much smaller businesses seemed to exist side by side with larger stores. Some of the stores had immaculate storefronts that seemed inviting, others were what one could call run down and Octavia hoped she would never need to set hoof in one of those shops.

Much like the stores, the ponies walking by were just as diverse. Obvious tourists walked along with ponies whose character seemed dubious at best. It was so very different to Canterlot. Vinyl had less of a problem with the diversity of the shops and ponies. It reminded her of Las Pegasus that could be just as crowded at most certainly had its share of shops and ponies of questionable integrity.

Octavia on the other hoof seemed taken aback by the things she saw and instinctively leaned a bit closer to Vinyl. The unicorn saw that as a small victory, as the earthpony was sitting between both unicorns and had chosen to turn to Vinyl instead of Lyra.




____________________________________________________________________





The ride was spent in relative silence. Lyra would sometimes point out certain landmarks or argue with the driver when he tried to take a detour through the city. Finally they arrived at their destination.

The neighborhood seemed reasonably quiet and nice. At least in comparison to some of the areas they had passed on the way here, but it was still a far cry from what they had left behind in Canterlot. Lyra led the way into the five story building after having paid the driver and briefly argued with him again just for good measure.

“Are all carriages like that one?” Octavia asked as Lyra held the front door to the foyer open for them.

“Nah, that one was clean and reasonably friendly.” Lyra said with all seriousness. She waved a hoof around to encompass the small foyer. “Like it? The mailboxes are over there beside the door that says maintenance only.”

There was no porter, the red carpet on the floor had seen better days and the windows were in need of cleaning. Other than that it seemed decent, if maybe a bit lived in.

“Your place is on the fifth floor. No elevator I’m afraid.” Lyra led the way upstairs. Much like the rest they had seen, the stairs could do with some cleaning, but were still in reasonably good shape.

Octavia and Vinyl were breathing heavier once they arrived on the top floor. Lyra wasn’t breathing heavy and seemed totally unfazed by the tempo she had laid down.

“I live on the seventh floor and also don’t have an elevator.” Lyra explained as she saw the unspoken question on their faces. She trotted down the hallway until stopping in front of the room on the south side of the building.

“Only four apartments on this floor. So you won’t have too much noise from your neighbors I hope.” She grinned at the two friends as she unlocked the door. “And this….this is your new place.”

Vinyl begrudgingly had to admit that Lyra had chosen well. The apartment was nothing like the one in Canterlot, that was clear, but it had nice furnishings and was very clean and tidy. The two friends trotted inside to inspect it a bit more thoroughly.

The living room had about the same size as the one in Canterlot, only now it included an open kitchen and a medium sized dinner table suitable for four ponies. The large L-shaped couch was a distant memory and instead a small two-seater couch took its place along with two comfy looking chairs in the same design. In front of the seating furniture a light brown coffee table was placed. A few empty bookshelves lined the wall where in the previous place Octavia would have her movie collection. The wall where the projector screen would be was instead a large window showing the view over a large park.

The third of the room containing the kitchen was decent. It had been obviously used by the former residents, but was still in good shape. The same was the case with the dinner table and seats. A few scratches here and there, two or three stains, but overall very useable.

Lyra led them along a short hallway opposite the dinner table. A flick of a light switch revealed four doors. Lyra opened the closest one and turned on another light.

The two friends peeked inside the room. It was the bathroom and also about the same size as the previous one. The bathtub had lost its huge size to accommodate both a washing machine and a dryer in the room. Again, everything was used but in good shape.

The next room was the first bedroom. A nice view at the city could be seen out the window, with some of the buildings considerably higher than the one they were currently in. The room wasn’t much to make it stand out. A medium sized bed, a wardrobe, a cupboard and a nightstand was all that was to it.

Across from that bedroom was the other bedroom. Apart from the view it was identical to the previous one. Lyra opened the final door and grinned as the musicians made a beeline to the objects within the medium sized empty room.

Octavia carefully checked her beloved cello for any kind of damage sustained during transport. It took a fair few minutes before she was satisfied and relaxed visibly.

Vinyl was less pedantic while checking her deck. She made sure that all of her records and tapes were safely stowed away in their compartments and checked if any of the numerous dials had been moved. Out of reflex she had removed her sunglasses to get a better look.

“Whoa!” Vinyl looked up at Lyra’s sudden outburst and saw her staring at her. “Cool eyes!”

Vinyl blinked at the still smiling unicorn and wasn’t too sure how to react. At least the mint green mare had not freaked out at the sight.

“Uhm…thanks?” she lamely replied.

“You picked a wonderful apartment for us! Thank you so much for doing that for us.” Octavia spoke up and beamed at the musician turned apartment hunter.

“I know what you like.” Lyra grinned and Vinyl glared at her for that remark. “Just wait until it gets dark. The city at night is really cool to see.”

Lyra trotted back out of the empty storage room that would function as a music room, into the living room again. Octavia followed her and Vinyl, deciding that she didn’t want to leave those two alone, followed the cellist a moment later.

The mint green mare had sat down on one of the comfy chairs, while Octavia took seat on the couch. Vinyl sat down beside her and tried to send a signal to the other unicorn, who just obliviously kept smiling at the pair.

“How’s Bon Bon?” Octavia asked and Vinyl perked her ears up.

What’s a Bon Bon?

“Working.” Lyra casually replied and relaxed in the chair. “Will arrive here in a couple of minutes I guess.”

What followed was a bit of smalltalk that Vinyl only paid a bit of attention to. She rather spent her time thinking about a possible past relationship between the other two mares and what that might mean for her. She caught herself glaring at Lyra a few times, but the mint green unicorn only grinned at her in return.

Vinyl found herself disliking her more because of that reaction.

A knock on the door ceased the smalltalk about trivia about the city. Lyra jumped up from her seat and trotted to the door. A beige earthpony mare with a curly blue mane and tail that had a pink streak in them, entered and immediately trotted up to Octavia, giving her a big hug.

“So good to see you again!” The mare had an unusually deep voice, but was very friendly and her light blue eyes shined with happiness. Octavia returned the hug and beamed at the mare.

Another “special” friend?

Vinyl’s thoughts were interrupted as the mare turned to her. Very much to her surprise the earthpony hugged her with a lot of strength. At least she was friendly, that was certain.

“You must be Vinyl! I am Bon Bon.” The beige mare released her victim before anything could break and beamed at her.

“Hi!” Vinyl rubbed her ribs, but smiled at the other mare. “How did you know who I was?”

“Octavia wrote about you a few times and I don’t think there are any other ponies around with your eye color.” Bon Bon explained and moved towards Lyra, who was still standing beside the door.

She writes about me?

Vinyl gave the cellist a glance, who avoided looking at her for the moment. Before she could think about what that might mean something else caught her eye.

Bon Bon gave Lyra a quick kiss on the lips that the mint green mare returned with a loving smile.

So at least one of my suspicions was correct.

Vinyl’s mind painted a number of scenarios in her head. It seemed very likely that Octavia might have had a relationship with that Lyra mare that wasn’t just based on friendship. Did that mean Vinyl could possibly have a chance with her? Or would Lyra try and rekindle her relationship with her instead? And what had happened that Lyra had to leave Canterlot?

The questions circled around Vinyl’s head without answer. The other three mares were chatting away again and Vinyl tuned in just as Octavia was about to ask a question.

“I might need a few items and supplies, do you know where I can buy them around here?”

Bon Bon’s face lit up with a wide grin at the question, while Lyra rolled her eyes at what was about to come.

“I sure do! Let’s go shopping!”

Vinyl winced.