• 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 27

32 day until the concert.

Octavia snorted and cast her eyes over the large pile of books resting against the wall behind the couch.

It had been a total waste of time going through all those books. Sure, it was interesting to learn more about various composers. But there was nothing written down on how they actually composed anything.

They had finished the last book a week ago and she had given up hope. Vinyl however remained optimistic that they would unlock the cellist’s hidden skills somehow. She had suggested various other ways of creating music, none of which resonated with the earthpony in any way.

Slowly the frustration gnawed away at the walls that kept Octavia’s temper in check. Vinyl’s constant suggestions didn’t help and she was about to blow a fuse.

“Just pretend you are standing on stage somewhere.” Vinyl suggested. She was trying to make Octavia see how she created music. “Imagine all the ponies below waiting for your cue to make them move.”

“Ponies don’t move during concerts with classical music.” Octavia’s head snapped around to face the unicorn standing in front of the cellist.

“Yeah, I know that.” Vinyl gestured with her hooves. “Just pretend. It’s all about emotion right? So just imagine the emotion you want them to feel.”

Octavia sighed and played a few notes. After half a minute Vinyl cut her off with a wave of a hoof.

“You are doing it again!” Vinyl frowned.

“What?” Octavia ran a hoof quickly through her mane. The result being that it was more out of shape than before.

“You play random notes in the beginning and then fall into some already written piece.” Vinyl had a very good memory for music and over the course of being around Octavia had pretty much learned all music centered around cellos. “I know that piece. Just forget you even know all that old stuff.”

“I don’t know how!” Octavia snapped back.

“Well you better learn, because all of that old junk is clogging up your brain!” Vinyl shot right back. Her own state of mind wasn’t too good in light of all things that had happened.

“Old junk?!” Octavia looked genuinely shocked. “Those are some of the finest pieces of music ever created by ponykind and most certainly not junk!”

“Yeah, it is junk!” Vinyl nodded once. “Get rid of the old stuffy stuff and bring in something new. Just free your mind so you can hear your own music inside of you.”

All Octavia heard was the blood rushing in her ears.

“That’s how I do it.” Vinyl explained in a calmer tone of voice. “Just me with a deck and my music to make ponies move. That’s all there is to it.”

“That’s too simple.” Octavia growled back.

“Well, simple works for me.” Vinyl shrugged. “You need to simplify things and stop thinking about the stuff you learned before as it is obvious that it isn’t working.”

The hint that everything she had done before in university was a waste of time in regards to her predicament cranked up her temper one notch further. If Vinyl wanted simple, then Octavia would give her simple. The cellist took a deep breath and thrust her head forward.

“Pppffffffttt!” Octavia gave her opinion on Vinyl’s opinion in the form of a loud raspberry.

For a moment neither mare moved or even blinked.

“What?” Vinyl cocked her head to the side in confusion.

“Pppffffftttt!” Octavia blew another raspberry. “That’s what I think of your suggestion!”

“Oh yeah? Well then pppfffffftttt right back at you!” Vinyl stood up and glared at her friend.

Octavia simply drew as much breath as possible, something that Vinyl copied immediately after she guessed what would happen next.



Both blew raspberrys at each other for a good half minute, neither mare willing to back down from the childish display.


“Ppppppfffffffffffffffffftttttt….yeah ok.” Vinyl stopped the noise and threw up her hooves in defeat. “The smarter pony gives up.”

Vinyl turned around and stomped off into the kitchen area. Octavia had stopped her own raspberry sound and stared after her friend with surprise clearly visible on her face. The fact that her long tongue was still hanging out between her lips escaped the cellist for the moment.

Did Vinyl just call me stupid?

Octavia watched the unicorn begin to make preparations for dinner. It was the closest that Vinyl had even actually insulted Octavia in any way and that stunned her. The cellist retracted her tongue only to stick it out once more in the direction of the other mare.

Vinyl seemed to ignore the cellist on purpose and didn’t look back. Octavia’s eyes narrowed as the thought of another way to get revenge for that veiled insult. She played the highest note possible on her cello and held it for as long as possible.

She knew that Vinyl hated that sound and the effect was immediate. Vinyl stopped doing whatever she was doing and visibly cringed at the sound. She flattened her ears as much as possible, but didn’t react in any other way.

The lack of reaction made Octavia pause and think. It was unfair of her to lash out at Vinyl. The unicorn had been extraordinarily patient and helpful towards her over the last few weeks. She had taken on all of the housework and always was ready to help if Octavia needed something. To snap at her and display such childishness was totally uncalled for. Octavia felt the heat in her cheeks rise and felt embarrassed.

Vinyl was the reason she was here in the first place. Every step of the way the unicorn had been at her side. Octavia was fully aware of the fact that she owed her friend a lot and thus far and not even thanked her once for it. She debated for a brief moment if she should go over and apologize, but decided against it. Vinyl was obviously not in a very good mood thanks to her and it was the best to let her cool off for a moment.

Instead Octavia drew a few low key notes from her cello. She knew that Vinyl liked these a lot more than the previous note. The effect didn’t take long and Vinyl’s ears perked back up. She relaxed visibly and chopped up a few carrots with less force than before.

Octavia watched her friend closely while playing a few soothing notes and tried to think of the right words with which to apologize later.

I should offer to help her.

Subconsciously Octavia switched the low key tone she was holding to a few lighter rapid strokes on the strings matching Vinyl’s speed of chopping up the carrots.

She wouldn’t allow it most likely.

As Vinyl swept the carrots off the chopping board with the knife, Octavia mimicked the movement with a lower key sweep with her bow on the strings.

Perhaps I should offer to make dessert?

Vinyl stirred the carrots in the pot with a wooden spoon. Again Octavia accompanied the movement with a few quickly alternating notes.

No, it is best to let her do it. I’ll just muck it up. I can clear up afterwards.

“That was nice.” Vinyl suddenly said and shook Octavia out of her trail of thought.

“Hm? What was?” Octavia stopped her music and tried to think what Vinyl was talking about.

“That what you just played.” Vinyl turned to look at the cellist. “Never heard it before and it sounded nice, modern even.”

“I uh…” Octavia didn’t remember any of the notes she had just played. “I wasn’t really playing anything.”

“That wasn’t a piece that you had learned sometime?” Vinyl ignored her cooking and trotted up to the cellist.

“No.” Octavia shrugged. “Those were just random sounds right?”

“No, no. It was a melody of sorts.” A grin began to form on the unicorn’s muzzle. “Like something you had just created yourself!”

“But how?” Octavia refused to believe that she had actually created music unwittingly.

“Well, what were you doing?” Vinyl asked and hoped she was right with her assumption.

“I was watching you cooking and thinking if I should make dessert and clear away the dishes.” Octavia flattened her ears as the blush returned. “I was also thinking about how to apologize for my actions earlier. I didn’t behave like a grown mare back then and I truly am sorry about that.”

“Yeah, yeah.” Vinyl waved the apology away with a hoof and then tapped it against her chin in thought while she tried to figure out what had just happened.

While it irked Octavia a bit that her apology was so casually dismissed, there was a small spark of hope growing inside her that Vinyl was actually on to something. She could almost see the gears turning in the unicorn’s head at high speed.

Vinyl looked back at the kitchen, then back to Octavia again. She tried to piece together the new pieces of the puzzle she had been given. After a minute the pieces fell into place and she groaned.

“How could I be so dumb!” Vinyl shook her head and chuckled.

Octavia let her ears fall in defeat. Of course she didn’t actually make music, it was just random notes being played and Vinyl most likely saw it the same way. Then she noticed that Vinyl had a huge smile on her lips.

“Movies.” Vinyl said and smirked.

“What about them?” Octavia was confused at the sudden change of topic.

“They all have a musical score, right? A soundtrack!” Vinyl beamed as she elaborated further. “That’s what you just did. You made a soundtrack for my cooking!”

“No…” Octavia scoffed. “I can’t be that simple.”

“Yes, it is!” Vinyl hopped in place.

“And how does this help me?”

“All you have to do is play the soundtrack for whatever is going on.” Vinyl grin widened as far as possible. “You play the soundtrack of life, Tavi!”

“That’s it?” Octavia had her doubts. After so many setbacks and dead ends it seemed to good to be true.

“I bet you everything I have that it is all you need.” Vinyl trotted back into the kitchen. “Just do what you did before while I finish cooking. Oh and try and not to think too much.”


Octavia’s smile complimented her wild mane perfectly. The image was one of exuberant joy.

While it only been half an hour it had become obvious that Vinyl was right. With the right mindset Octavia drew inspiration from the white unicorn whirling around in the kitchen and preparing dinner. It was laughably easy suddenly and Octavia felt like kicking herself for not realizing it herself much sooner.

She drew the bow rapidly across the strings, alternating notes to accompany the motions of the salt and pepper shakers in Vinyl’s magical grasp. With a flourish Vinyl spun around and bowed to the cellist. With a lopsided grin she then trotted over to the widely grinning cellist.

“Wow!” Vinyl clapped her front hooves together. “That was awesome!”

“I…I really can do it?” Octavia hardly believed it. This was it! The key to unlocking her creative side and suddenly the dead end she had been facing opened up to a large field full of opportunities.

“Yeah! You can make music!” Vinyl bobbed her head a few times. “Told you that you can do it!”

Octavia squeed in response and made a little hop while leaning against her cello.

“So…what are you going to call your first piece of music?” Vinyl asked and resisted the urge to hop along with the cellist.

“The pot is boiling over!”

“That’s…uh…an interesting title.”

“No, no! The pot really is boiling over!” Octavia pointed towards the pot on the stove.

“Aw, nuts!” Vinyl nearly fell flat on her face as she scrambled towards the kitchen. She quickly grabbed the pot in her magic and levitated it over the sink. Octavia immediately used her newfound ability to create the score for the scene playing out in front of her.

The feeling to actually create something was indescribable. She would most certainly have to replace the strings before going to work the next day. But until then she would play until her hooves ached.


The dinner had been consumed in an amazing speed by the cellist. Vinyl wasn’t sure if she even bothered to chew anything or if she simply inhaled it all. It didn’t bother her as she could understand the grey earthpony’s desire to get back to playing again.

Octavia quickly wiped her mouth with a napkin and dove straight back to her cello. With eager anticipation she watched Vinyl closely. She played the score for Vinyl while she finished eating and then starting to do the washing up.

Vinyl made a show of it. Levitating the used utensils and dishes through the air and dunking them into the soapy water in the sink. Every little move was matched perfectly by Octavia’s music. For all that Octavia cared it could last forever, but it was over faster than she had hoped.

“Quick!” Octavia gestured with a hoof. “Do something else!”

“Like what?” Vinyl looked around and tried to find something to do.

“Anything! Just keep doing something so I can create!” Octavia’s grin would possibly never go away. At least that was her feeling at the moment.

“Uhm…” Vinyl thought for a moment. She could break out some dance moves, but that would likely lead to a fit of laughter by Octavia. She shrugged as there was only one thing left to do and she had actually planned to do tomorrow. Housework!

Octavia matched every move of the unicorn. Dusting, cleaning the table, cleaning the windows and even taking the garbage out of the bin and putting it outside the front door. There was music everywhere, she saw that now. Her hindlegs were beginning to hurt after standing up for so long against her cello. As Vinyl didn’t have any more tasks left it was a good time as any to take a break.

“Did you hear that?” Octavia asked and dropped on all fours after resting the cello in its stand.

“Yeah!” Vinyl grinned along with her friend. She was exhausted from all the work, but the smile on Octavia’s face was worth it all. “And it was brilliant!”

“Oh, thank you, thank you!” Octavia practically hopped over to Vinyl and hugged her. “If it had not been for you I would have never figured it for myself!”

“You’re welcome, but I’m sure you would have done so at some point.” Vinyl brushed off the praise, but gladly hugged her friend back.

“Nonsense! You are the reason I actually might have a chance now of getting into the Royal Canterlot Orchestra!” Octavia hugged Vinyl a little closer. “Thank you so much!” She kissed Vinyl’s cheek.

Perhaps it was the fact of seeing Octavia so overjoyed that made Vinyl a little more bold than before. Perhaps it was the fact that she was hugging her so close. It didn’t really matter what it was, all that mattered for the moment was the fact that Vinyl kissed Octavia’s cheek in return.

Neither mare really realized that it had happened. Slowly it crept into the forefront of their minds. They broke their hug, both of them now with a heavy blush on their cheeks.

“Uh…like I said, you’re welcome.” Vinyl rubbed the back of her head with a hoof.

“I..uhm…thank you?” Octavia didn’t quite know how to respond. She gave Vinyl an awkward smile and rubbed the back of her head with a hoof. Neither mare seemingly willing to address what had just happened.

Vinyl cleared her throat before speaking, “I think I need a shower. All that moving about made me work up a sweat…hehe…”

Vinyl trotted away quickly into the bathroom to take a long cold shower and hopefully wash that blush away. Octavia watched her for a moment, her left hoof unconsciously reaching up to the cheek Vinyl had kissed.

She shook her head clear once she realized what she was doing.

It was just a friendly gesture. Just like when my parents kiss me on the cheeks as a form of greeting. Yes, that sounds about right.

Regardless of her thoughts, for some reason her heart was pounding away in her chest.

That will be because of the music.

Octavia nodded once to reaffirm her conclusion and took up position behind the cello.

Some music made by myself should help.

Octavia glanced about the room for any kind of inspiration. Without anything moving it was impossible for her to play an accompanying soundtrack. The still life of the living room and kitchen was without music. She scoffed at her predicament.

I still have my imagination.

Octavia closed her eyes and tried to conjure up any kind of moving image. The sound of the shower turning on distracted her for a moment. Then she began imagining rain thanks to the sound of the water.

It only took her a few seconds to create music for the artificial rainfall in her mind. She smiled broadly at the ease with which she was now able to perform her own pieces of music. With short strokes she gave each droplet a note. She followed a drop all the way down to the ground. A sharp abrupt ending that left her unsatisfied.

It needs a softer ending.

Octavia followed another drop of water on its decent from high up. Instead of just letting it splatter on the ground, she gave it an obstacle. She imagined the drop falling from on leaf on a tree to the next, a dance between leaves, gravity and the droplet of water. It was a pleasant tune, but would end when it hit the hard surface of the floor.

Maybe something else instead of the ground.

The droplet fell a moment without any obstructions and then hit a softer surface. Octavia imagined the droplet landing on the coat of a pony.

Yes, a white coat seems right.

She followed the droplet as it gently rolled along the pony’s coat. Sliding along that soft yet firm surface, occasionally being obstructed by fine strands of electric blue hair from a mane. The droplet made its way along Vinyl’s neck and…

Octavia feverishly shook her head.

Where did THAT come from?

The blush once again crept into her cheeks as she lowered the bow. As if on cue Vinyl entered the room and chose wisely not to comment on the cellist’s current facial color. Without many words Octavia entered the vacated bathroom.

I think I also need a cold shower….


Roughly ten minutes later Octavia had finished her shower and felt somewhat normal again. With normal colors she trotted back into the living room to find Vinyl flipping through a magazine on the couch.

Vinyl didn’t look up as Octavia trotted past her to her cello.

“Well, I think I know what we have to do next, Tavi.” Vinyl flipped a page in the magazine. “You obviously have the skill to play with something going on in front of you.”

Octavia turned her head to the unicorn awaiting any other suggestions she might have.

“Now we just have to teach you to create music without visual aid.” Vinyl grinned at the magazine. “Unless of course the orchestra wouldn’t mind me on stage that is.”

“I don’t think they would be too happy about that.” Octavia grinned at the image of Vinyl on stage cooking something or dusting. “Besides, I already can do that.”

“Since when?” Vinyl looked up from her magazine.

“While you were in the shower.” Octavia answered truthfully and looked away from the unicorn.

“What did you imagine?” Vinyl asked innocently.

“I…uhm…” Octavia swallowed hard. “Water….just water.”

“Water?” Vinyl raised an eyebrow. “What did the water do?”

“It…fell.” Octavia smiled sheepishly, which in turn only made Vinyl look at her with even more curiosity. “Oh, look at the time!” Octavia pointed a hoof at the nearest clock. “And I have to restring my cello!”

Without waiting for a reply she shouldered her cello and quickly made her way to the music room. Vinyl watched her leave and tried to think what was so strange about falling water that Octavia had to leave in such a hurry.

In the music room Octavia began to restring her instrument. This day had been one of the most important steps for her in her building career. It had also been a day with very strange somewhat alien feelings for her. She grunted with annoyance as one little incident kept barging into her mind no matter how hard she tried to ignore it.

It was just a friendly gesture!!!