• Published 15th Nov 2013
  • 5,143 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 16

„…daaaaaaancing poooooonnnnnyyyyyyyyy!“

With the last verse sung the musical came to a close and the last notes echoed into nothingness. Octavia rested her bow and with perked up ears listened to the applause of the ponies in attendance. Of course it could have been a better feeling had there been more than just a dozen ponies, but this was the very first showing for critics. As such the numbers were few, but even more important than a full house of regular audience.

The actors returned to the stage and took a bow. A moment later Sinfonietta signaled the musicians to do the same. Judging by the look on the conductors face the play had gone very well. Octavia could not see the actors from her position and had no idea how they had fared up until this point.

Her opinion on the theatre had changed. At first the cellist had felt underwhelmed by it all. But now after a few weeks of work and seeing the play they all had worked on come to life, she had to change her mind. It had been a marvelous experience and she felt a certain pride and joy when the last note had played. She now also understood why Sinfonietta had stayed part of the theatre and not moved on to grander stages.

The applause died down soon and the audience began furiously scribbling in notepads writing reviews on what they had just seen. For a moment the actors on stage seemed a bit lost on what to do next when the director called them backstage. Sinfonietta put down her baton and breathed a relieved sigh.

“Well done everypony.” She smiled at each one of her musicians. “Now we take a well-deserved rest and await the reactions. Feel free to stay here or if you want to, you can also go home. You most certainly deserved an early end of work today.”

Octavia carefully packed up her cello in its case. She could go home early, but at the same time she really wanted to find out how the play had fared amongst the critics. Besides that she also always looked forward to walk back home with Vinyl, who at this time would most likely still be at home as this was a day off for her. She left her cello in front of the stage and trotted off towards the backstage area to have something to drink. Just beyond the door leading to the pit she nearly bumped into a thin unicorn stallion.

He eyed her very carefully. Octavia smiled politely and gave him also a quick look once over. She estimated his age around that of Sinfonietta’s, although he most certainly had less hair. In fact he was slightly balding at the front. The rest of his very pale yellow hair stuck out at all ends as if he had received a shock of some kind. His coat was an also pale purple no doubt it had lost some of its color due to stress. Octavia could not shake the feeling that he was under constant stress all the time. His dark green eyes studied her very intently and the cellist was slowly becoming uncomfortable. A quick glance revealed that his cutie mark was in the shape of a metronome.

“What do you think you are doing?” he asked in a rushed tone and sounded rather annoyed.

“Oh, I am sorry. I didn’t mean to startle you.” Octavia assumed she had surprised him when she had opened the door.

“That….with the cello. What do you think you are doing?” he asked again.

Octavia was slightly taken aback by this stallions tone. She would understand if she had actually startled him, seeing that it wasn’t the case and he was apparently criticizing her cello, her attitude changed from apologetic to confrontational. Octavia knew full well that her part in the musical had been flawless and she would not take any critique lying down. Years of living in Canterlot had most certainly prepared her for this very moment at least.

“Excuse me?” Her reply was cool and laced with warning undertones. He turned her nose up on him and gave him an icy glare.

“Spare me that look.” He didn’t flinch or even care. “That what you did with the cello. Something like that has no place in a musical.”

Octavia felt the typical Canterlotian outrage boiling to the surface. Critic, important pony or otherwise she did not care and would give him an earful of the poshest verbal beatdown he would ever receive.

“Are you aware of who I am?” Octavia was going to play the Canterlot / earthpony prodigy card to its fullest. He didn’t even give her a chance.

“You do not belong here!” he stated and lightly tapped her chest with the tip of his hoof. Octavia briefly wondered about the possible fallout if she simply slapped him.

“I can very well assure you that I….” Octavia opted for the verbal assault instead of the physical one. He interrupted her again.

“You do not belong here!” he stated again and pointed a hoof towards the door leading to the pit. “You do not play the cello. You make it sing.”

Octavia was going to protest, when her brain signaled her that she actually had just received some kind of compliment.

“You have true talent with your instrument. It is a terrible waste to simply see it cast aside in front of the stage. You!” he tapped her chest again. “You belong on the stage! You belong in the Manehatten Symphony Orchestra. Be there on Monday at seven o’clock sharp and prepare for some hard work and the chance to show your true potential.”

With those words he left her standing dumfounded in the hallway. Octavia tried to wrap her head around what just happened. He chuckle from behind her stopped her thoughts even before they had begun to process the event.

“I see congratulations are in order.” Sinfonietta trotted up from behind her to finally stand opposite her.

“What just happened?” Octavia asked dumbly.

“You have climbed a rung on the ladder of fame it seems.” Sinfonietta smiled at the still confused cellist.

“Who was that?” The earthpony looked past the unicorn to see if the stallion was still around, but could not see him anywhere.

“Meet Maestro Ictus, director and conductor for the Manehatten Symphony Orchestra.” Sinfonietta chuckled. “The Maestro part is his own doing. His first name is actually Tick, but don’t let him know that you know that.”

“I…wha…huh?” Octavia’s brain had decided to be sluggish today.

“You are now part of the Symphony Orchestra.” Sinfonietta nudged her with a hoof. “Congratulations.”

“But I… He surely can’t just come here and take me away.” Octavia protested.

“He does. Has done so in the past and will no doubt do so in the future.” Sinfonietta could plainly see the confusion in the grey mare’s face and explained further. “When he is in need of a musician he will go out and look for a suitable replacement himself. A few years ago he recruited one of my violinists and she has done rather well for herself thanks to that.”

“But I have a part to play here.” Octavia protested.

“Listen, Octavia.” Sinfonietta leaned forward and drew the cellist’s attention. “You and I both know that you should belong on stage and not in front of it. He chose you because he sees that as well and he has the possibility to make that come true.”

“But my part here…”

“Oh, don’t you worry about that.” The director smiled at Octavia. “I will just ask our former cellist to come out of retirement one time. You are destined for greater stages, go and seize this opportunity.”

For a moment Octavia was still speechless. Not only had she been given the possibility to perform in a proper orchestra, but also had been given the okay by her current employer.

“Just remember to mention us in the first interview you give when you are famous.” Sinfonietta gave her a wink.

“I…I will. Thank you!” Octavia felt a large smile form on her lips.

“Just one thing.” Sinfonietta held up a hoof. “Ictus….he can be, how do I put this….difficult at times. He was one of Canterlot’s finest conductors, but his rather harsh ways rubbed the elite the wrong way. After verbally tearing Prince Blueblood apart for his lack of musical talent, he was shunned and came here. Do not be discouraged! Just play your cello the way you love to and he will leave you in peace.”

“I will. Thank you again.” Octavia hugged the other mare, much to her surprise. After a moment she returned it.

This day had turned out to be most favorable for Octavia thus far. The cellist beamed as she trotted towards the room where her remaining fellow musicians were taking a break. She decided to say goodbye to them, even though she had not really made any friends here. Still she felt obligated to do so. They wished her all the best and seemed sad to see her leave before any of them could get to know her any better.

With her cello on her back Octavia left the little theatre and set out towards home. There was a spring to each step and a big smile plastered on her face as she navigated the now crowded streets of Manehatten. She couldn’t wait to tell Vinyl about her bit of good news.


Easy does it….

Vinyl was sitting at the dining table and in deep concentration. The task before her required all her attention and was delicate in nature. While holding her breath she levitated an object in front of her and used her magic to detect an opening in the object.

“There you are.” Vinyl mumbled her discovery and let the breath out she had been holding. She smirked at the donut levitating in front of her.

Ever since Octavia has relaxed more in the city of Manehatten and had found some joy in her job something else had resurfaced that thus far had been lying dormant. The better the mare felt, the higher the chances were that she would prank Vinyl.

The first occurrence had been by accident. Vinyl had been taking a hot shower and Octavia just wanted to have some water in the kitchen. A very high pitched shriek later, one that Vinyl would deny ever having made, the mares found out that if the hot water in the kitchen were turned on, then the hot water in the shower would turn icy cold. Ever since that day Vinyl showered very cautiously or only when Octavia was out, as the cellist had tried to sabotage Vinyl’s shower a few more times with varying success.

Vinyl’s first plan of revenge had been a dud. As Octavia almost never showered and preferred baths, the sudden absence of hot water for a moment went unnoticed. So Vinyl came up with a new plan involving donuts.

The unicorn was rather adept at delicate use of her magic and it was being tested to the fullest as she very carefully held the donut in front of her and ever so slightly widened the opening she had found. With her face scrunched up in concentration Vinyl got a hold on the raspberry filling and very carefully extracted it from the donut.

It took a few minutes until every last bit of jam was removed. Vinyl did not want it to go to waste, so she balled up the jam and plopped it into her mouth. The sweet jam gave her a quick boost of energy, one that she would need for the next step.

“You can do this.” Vinyl said and grinned with anticipation as she took off the lid of the glass of mustard in front of her.

Getting the jam out was easier than filling the now empty space up with mustard, but the result would be worth it. Vinyl chuckled as she imagined Octavia biting into the prepared donut and scrunching up her nose in disgust.

The lock of the front door suddenly unlocked and made Vinyl jump in surprise. The shock made her magic flare up, the result being that the donut suddenly was propelled upwards. There was no time to see what happened to it as the front door swung open and a very animated Octavia burst through.

“Mminl! Mmbllf Mbmb Mmh!” Thanks to the mail that Octavia was carrying in her mouth her words were unintelligible to the unicorn.

“Uhh? What?”

Octavia spat out the mail and tried hitting the table in front of the couch. She succeeded in hitting the edge of it instead and the few letters fell to the floor.

“I have some great news, Vinyl!” Octavia exclaimed happily and bent her head down to pick the mail back up.

Vinyl used the moment to risk taking a look at the donut’s whereabouts while the cellist had her head out of view. One very quick look upwards revealed that the donut was firmly stuck against the ceiling. Before she had the chance to do anything else, Octavia rose up from behind the table with the mail once again in her mouth. Vinyl pretended to have watched her all the time and tried the most friendly disarming smile she could muster.

With a bit more care the cellist deposited the mail on the table and turned to her friend. The smile on the unicorns face set off alarm bells in Octavia’s mind as she put down her cello case.

“You are home early. Is that the great news or did you get good reviews?” Vinyl asked and was unsure what to do with the open glass of mustard on the table.

“I got a new job!” Octavia beamed at the unicorn and made a small hop of joy.

“You…huh?” Vinyl stared at the cellist not sure what to make of that information.

“Amongst the critics today was the musical director of Manehatten’s Symphony Orchestra! And he chose meeeeee!” Octavia made another little jump. “You are looking at the new cellist for them, starting on Monday.”

“Wow! Tavi that’s awesome!” Vinyl cheered at offered her hoof to bump. “Told you that you would make it big time sooner or later.”

Octavia jumped over to Vinyl to bump her hoof in celebration. Standing beside the unicorn she noticed what was lying on the dining table. She raised an eyebrow in question as she saw the open glass of mustard. Vinyl tried to maintain her innocent smile, which failed to fool the cellist.

“I heard smelling mustard is good for one’s health.” Vinyl lamely tried to find an excuse.

The cellist just calmly studied her friends face for a moment. Too bad those magnificent crimson eyes could not manage to hide any mischief brewing in the DJ’s mind at all. Octavia looked up, an action mainly done to order her thoughts on what the unicorn might be doing, and spotted the donut sticking to the ceiling. Octavia chuckled a bit and pointed a hoof towards the object.

“What is that doing there?” she asked.

“Oh, you know. Just trying to add a little flavor to our home.”

“Trying to recreate our cake kitchen back in Canterlot?” Octavia gave Vinyl a sly smile.

“Just trying something new.” Vinyl plucked the donut from the ceiling with her magic. “Can’t have cake all the time.”

“Mmmh. That is true.” Octavia snatched the donut floating in front of her and dunked it in the mustard. Without hesitation she then bit half of it off and gleefully chewed.

It was pretty obvious that she had read the DJ’s mind on what she had been planning. Vinyl just stared slack-jawed at her friend.

“I like mustard. Nice try, Vinyl.” Octavia gave her a wink and put the other half in her mouth and chewed slowly.

“Glad you like it.” Vinyl frowned. All the work had been for nothing thanks to Octavia’s sometimes bizarre tastes. She would have to think of some other way of pranking the cellist, but for now she had other questions on her mind. “So that director pony chose you after hearing you play?”

Octavia swallowed the rest of the donut and nodded. She then gave Vinyl a quick recap of her rather one sided talk with Maestro Ictus and then the discussion with Sinfonietta.

“Sounds like an interesting character.” Vinyl finally commented.

“Yes, I do wonder how that will turn out on Monday. But things are looking up and I can finally play on stage! Isn’t that fantastic?” Octavia happily clapped her front hooves together a few times.

“Sure is!” Vinyl was indeed happy for Octavia getting one step closer to fulfilling her ambitions. “Wanna grab Lyra and Bon Bon to celebrate?”

“Absolutely! But both of them will still be working now.” Octavia walked over to the couch and flopped onto it with relief. Vinyl followed her and sat a few pony’s lengths away.

With nothing better to do for the moment they decided to check the mail. Amongst the numerous fliers and junk mail two letters emerged. One for Octavia and one for Vinyl. The unicorn levitated Octavia’s letter over to her and began opening her own. The name of the sender did slightly dampen the DJ’s mood.

It was a letter from her father. Vinyl had taken Octavia’s suggestion to heart of keeping in touch with ponies that were close. The DJ had not been in touch with her father for quite some time and had only started writing to him while she was cooped up at Octavia’s home during the winter. They were not on the best of terms, but had gradually picked up their bond again. Vinyl skimmed through the letter and let out a gasp of surprise at what was written. Octavia looked up from her own letter and over to her friend.

“What’s wrong?” she asked with worry.

“My dad, he will be in Manehatten soon.” Vinyl explained and read the part in the letter again. “He wants to meet in a café.”

Octavia scrambled up from her relaxed position into a more upright one. The tone in Vinyl’s voice was puzzling.

“Don’t you want to meet him?” Octavia asked carefully. Vinyl took a deep breath and tore her eyes away from the letter to look at the cellist.

“Yeah, I guess I should meet him.” Vinyl smiled a little, but her heart wasn’t in it.

“Want me to come along?” Octavia offered. Vinyl just looked at her for a few moments.

“That would be good.” Vinyl said after a while and placed the letter down. Dwelling on it wouldn’t change anything and just make her nervous. She decided to look through the junk mail instead and try and find something interesting to take her mind off family matters. Octavia returned to reading her own letter.

Barely a minute passed when the cellist let out a gasp very similar to Vinyl’s previous one.

“Oh dear…” The grey mare held the letter in her hooves and slowly turned her head to Vinyl.

“What’s up?” Vinyl asked and looked up from the junk mail advertising horn extensions.

“My parents are back in Equestria.” Octavia explained and held the letter aloft. “They will be passing through Manehatten.”

“And want to meet?” Vinyl asked, but secretly knew the answer already in her gut.

“Indeed. They want to come by for dinner.” Octavia continued. “Talk about strange timing.”

“When are they coming?” Vinyl shredded the rest of the junk mail with her magic.

“On the twenty-third.” Octavia answered calmly and continued to read her letter.

Vinyl sighed in relief. At least they wouldn’t have to rush from one family meeting to the other, as her father would be visiting on the twenty-fourth. What made her frown was Octavia’s calm. The unicorn had expected her friend to be freaking out about now, but the grey mare just continued to read the rest of the letter. Perhaps Vinyl had not heard the date correctly.

“Uhm, Tavi?”

“Yes?” Octavia answered without looking up.

“When are your folks coming by?” Vinyl asked.

“The twenty-third.”

“Of this month?”

“Yes.” Octavia finally looked up from her letter. “Why do you ask?”

“Well, it’s the twenty-second today.” Vinyl explained. “So they will be here tomorrow.”

For a minute or two Octavia didn’t move, not even blink and just stared wide-eyed at the DJ. Vinyl wasn’t too sure if she was even breathing. Suddenly life came back into the cellist as she jumped off the couch.

“Oh dear Celestia! They will be here tomorrow!” Octavia feverishly snatched the torn up pieces of junk mail off the table and ran with them to the paper basket in the corner of the room. “Quick! We have to prepare!”

Vinyl was too stunned for the moment to reply. She watched Octavia frantically jump from one place to the next trying to tidy up, but causing more of a mess than there had been before. Vinyl hopped off the couch and managed to stop the panicked cellist by laying a hoof on her chest.

“Calm down Tavi!” Vinyl emphasized her request by pushing Octavia onto her haunches. “We can easily fix up this place in time for your parents.”

Octavia gave Vinyl a doubtful look.

“Come on, Tavi. It’s just your parents. How bad can it be?”

Author's Note:

Originally there would have been a look into Lyra’s day of work in this chapter as well.

I decided not to include it as having a third pony’s point of view would have been maybe too much. Besides that the entire story is meant to be about Vinyl and Octavia with Lyra and Bon Bon as supporting characters.

Perhaps I will include elements of what Lyra does at work in a later chapter.

Until then, enjoy this little mini chapter and stay tuned for Octavia’s parents visiting.