• 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 23

The weekend had gone by in a blur.

Vinyl had become thoughtful after Lyra and Bon Bon had left. Everytime Octavia asked her what she was thinking about, the DJ just shrugged and said it had to do with her music.

Octavia didn’t believe her. She knew the unicorn well enough to know that she would do all her music related things while at her deck. Vinyl didn’t even touch her deck once, but rather just stayed on the couch or in bed.

The cellist did her best to care for her. She was still feeling huge amounts of guilt for having physically hurt her friend. Despite Vinyl’s protests she did all the chores by herself and forbade Vinyl from lifting a hoof until she was better.

There were other things on Octavia’s mind beside guilt. She had thought about the feeling of jealousy she had felt when Lyra had kissed Vinyl. After long thought she came to the conclusion that it was a feeling that she had felt on Bon Bon’s behalf, even though the beige mare had displayed no such emotion during the events.

It surely couldn’t have any other kind reason, right?

She wasn’t good thinking about those kind of things, as she had never wasted a single thought on it ever before. The talk with her mother briefly surfaced in her mind every so often. Coupled with the fact that Vinyl had called her attractive, made her think a bit more about the DJ in a different light.

Perhaps Vinyl’s words had been simply something uttered to fool her boss. But what if they had not been? What if she had meant it? What if Vinyl was like Bon Bon and Lyra? Interested in mares, rather than stallions. Did it make a difference?

The unicorn had never tried anything that might suggest that their relationship was anything more than just friendship. Octavia most certainly didn’t see it as anything else or did she?

Octavia sat on her bed and groaned at the swirling thoughts in her mind. She felt like her head was stuffed with too much thoughts and it was beginning to give her a headache.

Focus, Octavia!

She took a few deep breaths while rubbing her head with her hooves. It was Monday and she was expected to be at work very soon. The thought of playing music barged through the mass of other tangled thoughts. It was a welcome change and she sought refuge in the knowledge that she would soon be playing again. It would clear her mind and she could resume her contemplations about Vinyl at a later time.

With a small grunt she hopped off her bed and trotted over to her already prepared cello in its case. With ease she shouldered it and trotted out her room. As per usual Vinyl was already ready and waiting for her.

“You don’t have to walk me to work, Vinyl.” Octavia gave her friend a small smile. “You’re not well and should rest.”

“But I’ll be outside in the fresh air.” Vinyl countered and turned towards the front door. “You can’t deny that it will do me good.”

“I guess that is true.” Octavia followed her friend out of the apartment and down the stairs.

The trip to her place of work went in silence. Octavia walked slowly on purpose as it was clear that Vinyl still was feeling rather sore all over and she was seemingly once again lost in her thoughts. The cellist still felt it would have been wise to consult a doctor, but Vinyl denied needing any kind of special attention.

“I’ll pick you up this evening.” Vinyl said with a grin. “See you later and have fun.”

“See you later, Vinyl.” Octavia would have liked it better if Vinyl would stay home and rest, but the unicorn could be stubborn as a mule.

With a last glance over her shoulder Octavia entered the building and shoved every thought out of her mind that had nothing to do with music.


“Well then!” Ictus appeared on stage. He was fifteen minutes late, which was very surprising to the musicians. If one of them had been only half a minute late he would have verbally assaulted them instantly.

The musicians exchanged curious glances amongst each other, as Ictus was smiling. And not a cruel smile reserved for snide comments, but rather one of joy or maybe even pride.

“I have some very good news!” He stood behind his conductors stand and took his time to look at each musician for a moment. “I have no idea how we managed to pull it off, but I have received the information this morning that we will be performing this year for Princess Celestia.”

A gasp went through the musicians as their faces lit up with excitement. Octavia couldn’t help but grin wide. Ictus shut down any possible chatter instantly.

“Now you know that we will have to work even harder than before.” He levitated a baton out of the box beside the stand and tapped it against the stand. “This is a very high honor for us and we must not embarrass ourselves with the mediocre performance we have thus far displayed.”

Ictus ignored the long faces now glaring at him and continued with a smug grin.

“But thanks to my instructions and Octavia’s ability, I’m sure we can leave a lasting impression. A positive lasting impression.” He tapped the baton once more against the stand. “You will find the piece that we are supposed to play on page one six two.”

After a moment the musicians had turned to the correct page and began playing the piece. It was a piece of music that Princess Celestia requested every year. A tale about two princes that are separated by war raging in their land. From a musical perspective the piece had everything one could hope for as a musician. Slow sad parts, happy joyful parts and bombastic thundering parts for the scenes of battle. Octavia had heard it once a long time ago. To play it in front of Celestia would be a very high honor and a huge chance at making herself known.

Twenty minutes later she was still grinning to herself.


“Would you please….PLEASE….just play the notes in front of you?” Ictus turned to one of the violinists.

“I’m sorry, but….” the musician shrank back as Ictus glared at him. Nopony talked back to him, unless they didn’t mind having their head chewed off verbally. “But I am to follow right after the lyre stops playing. We don’t have a lyre.”

Ictus continued to just stare at him for a few seconds longer. All ponies were holding their breath for any possible outburst by the conductor.

“Use….your….imagination!” Ictus snarled his response and turned his attention to the other very silent ensemble. “Yes, I know we need a lyre, so don’t even mention that again. I have a few candidates, but have not yet decided which one to take.”

He cleared his throat and instructed them to start over. Octavia felt she should put in a good word for Lyra, but she didn’t want to do so in front of everypony. Once they were finished she would talk to Ictus.

Thirteen outbursts by Maestro Ictus later the day came to a close. Only six batons had been broken and he only applauded Octavia’s abilities three more times, a new kind of record. As the ensemble packed up Octavia saw her chance to talk to Ictus alone. She quickly packed up her cello and trotted after him towards his office.

“Maestro?” she called out to him and saw that he stopped on his way. He turned to her with a scowl, but his features turned a bit more friendly when he saw who it was.

“Octavia, I was actually hoping to talk to you. Must have forgotten about that during this day’s awful display of so called talent.”

“I wanted to talk to you about the lyrist.” Octavia smiled politely.

“Yes, yes. Don’t worry about that.” Ictus waved a hoof. “I have decided who to take, but I will have to make preparations first. Now….about your part.”

Octavia wanted to ask more about the chosen lyrist, but his shift towards her part in the orchestra made her pause.

“You know the piece we are playing?” he asked, but already knew the answer. “Of course you do. It’s about the bridge scene.”

Octavia knew the scene he was referring to. A slow sad piece and turned into a joyous melody that was played by only the lead cellist. Her heart thumped with excitement at the prospect of playing it.

“As you know every bridge scene is unique, as it is custom for the lead cellist to write and perform it herself.” Ictus smiled. Octavia’s heart skipped a beat and her blood turned to icewater. “I must say that I am really looking forward to hearing it and have only one request.”

“I…I…” Octavia didn’t know what to say as a problem had just popped up that she had struggled with in the past.

“I wish to be surprised by your music, so we will not be hearing that scene until that very evening.” He either didn’t notice her horrified expression or chose to ignore it. “I have complete confidence in your abilities and am sure you will leave a lasting impression. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have some things that need taken care of.”

Octavia stood where she was with wide eyes and flattened ears. The excitement that had coursed through her veins during the day had evaporated into thin air. Now she felt her chance of being at the top once again slip away, all because of her inability to create her own music. She suddenly felt like crying and her legs became wobbly.


The thought of her friend shook her out of the beginning breakdown. Vinyl knew about her problem and had tried to help her before to overcome it. Perhaps she would have some kind of good idea on what to do.

Octavia spun around and trotted quickly outside. She sighed in relief as she saw the white unicorn standing at the bottom of the stairs waiting for her. A twinge of guilt hit her as she saw her bruised friend and that she would have to ask her to do her a favor.

Vinyl sensed something was going on as Octavia looked less than happy. She met her halfway up the stairs.

“What’s wrong, Tavi?”

“I’ll tell you at home.” Octavia didn’t want any other ponies to know about her lack of creativity. “I have a bit of a problem.”

Octavia led the way in a brisk trot, but slowed down almost immediately as she remembered the state of her friend. She used the time home to tell her about the day leading up to the talk with Ictus.


Once at home she quickly put her cello into the music room and then returned to the living room. One look around the place told her that Vinyl had not been lying down, but had rather chosen to clean up. Octavia frowned and turned to her friend.

“Didn’t I ask you to not do anything while you are recovering?” She tried to sound angry, but it turned out to be more in the tone of pleading.

“I just did a little bit.” Vinyl shrugged. “Can’t just do nothing.”

Vinyl had kept herself busy during the day. It distracted her from her aches and pains and enabled her to think about Octavia and her little escapade in the club. Now it seemed as if something else was bothering her friend or did it have something to do with Big Time? Vinyl was getting nervous and would have loved to pace about, but now everything hurt again and she decided it was best to just sit and wait.

“What’s going on, Tavi?”

Octavia quickly explained the new information that had been given to her at work. Vinyl paid attention waiting for some kind of startling revelation.

“The piece of music I told you about? It has a scene called the bridge.” Octavia explained finally and sat down opposite the DJ. “I have just found out that it is written by the cellist performing and it is supposed to be something unique everytime.”

“Oh…..uhm…hmmm.” Vinyl knew what her problem was. It was a bit of a relief for her as she feared a lot worse had happened. “Yeah, ok. So it’s that old problem.”

“What should I do? This could be my big chance and I will blow it, because I am too stupid to make my own music.” Octavia felt her eyes fill with tears.

“Oh, no, no, no.” Vinyl quickly scooted a bit closer to her friend and laid a hoof on her shoulder. “Don’t cry, Tavi. It’s nothing to get worked up over.”

“Nothing?” Octavia scrunched up her nose, trying to stop the dam from breaking. “It’s possibly everything, Vinyl!”

“Just…just take a deep breath ok?” Vinyl used the moment in which Octavia complied with her wishes to come up with a brilliant plan. Unfortunately nothing really came to mind. “If I can make music, then you can too! We just have to find a way that suits you doing just that.”

“You think that is possible?” Octavia gave the unicorn a hopeful small smile.

“I bet next week you will be writing entire symphonies by yourself.” Vinyl patted her friend on the shoulder. “And I’ll be there to help you all the way.”

Octavia’s smile grew larger and she sighed. Having Vinyl give her those words of confidence did indeed do wonders for her current mood. “Thank you, Vinyl.”

“Don’t mention it.” Vinyl lightly gave her a shove with a hoof. “Why don’t you have a relaxing bath now to ease away the stressful day?”

“Sounds good.” Octavia stood up and slowly walked towards the bathroom. Halfway there she paused and turned to her friend. “Don’t do anything until I’m back out.”

Vinyl gave her a quick salute and stayed where she was. The DJ had not planned to do anything anyway, at least not physically. Her thoughts ran rampant once Octavia closed the door to the bathroom.

Vinyl had possibly promised more than she could deliver. They had tried to unlock Octavia’s ability to write music before with no success. And now it wasn’t just something nice to have, but was needed for her to make it on stage. Vinyl had a few ideas stowed away in the back of her mind from their efforts earlier. Perhaps now was the time to use them and see if they would help her friend.

The only problem with that was time. There was a lot to prepare and Vinyl would be essentially working two jobs at once. She sighed as an idea from that morning surfaced back up. Before she had just dismissed it, but now things looked different.

As Octavia finished her bath, Vinyl had come to a decision and knew what she would have to do. She had promised to get Octavia into the Royal Canterlot Orchestra after all, no matter her own cost. It seemed as if her number was now up and she hoped that she was doing the right thing.

Octavia stepped into the living room with a pink towel wrapped around her mane and tail and smiled at Vinyl still sitting where she had left her. It was most certainly the most adorable thing Vinyl had seen all day.

Yeah, it’s worth it…