• Published 15th Nov 2013
  • 5,122 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 9

Time passed.

Vinyl and Octavia had spent most of the winter just watching movies, eating well and talking about various things. Both them skirted around some more touchy subjects not willing to jeopardize their new found friendship.

Vinyl recovered from her previous ordeals at a fast rate. She felt great. Now she had a home, a friend and more importantly a new outlook on what lied ahead. Things could only get better from here on, of that she was certain.

Octavia had begun to play her cello again after Hearth’s Warming Eve. She spent a fair amount of time playing a wide range of classical pieces so as to not put on any rust. Vinyl doubted that she needed any practice. Every single note she played was perfect. The unicorn had listened intently to the cello’s song and struggled to comprehend why Octavia wasn’t playing in front of sold out crowds in a large orchestra.

It was almost painful to see her not receiving the recognition she so clearly deserved. She didn’t even need to read notes. Octavia had shrugged off that fact, saying she just memorized the pieces. Vinyl hoped she would soon get her break and soar to the top of her genre.

Both mares had fallen into something of a routine. Octavia would play her cello, while Vinyl would either sit on the couch listening or be in the kitchen preparing food. They alternated with the task of cooking. Octavia secretly hoped that Vinyl would take her share of the cooking as it was clear that the unicorn had a better hoof in that area.

Vinyl also found herself clearing up after the grey mare. What had started as a conscious effort, soon became something she did out of reflex and didn’t even realize it. Octavia had a penchant to leave things lying around. Be it magazines piling on the floor, finished juice boxes or bowties.

Bowties…..

Vinyl was currently staring at the mound of used collars and bowties in the laundry room. As much as she tried, she couldn’t understand why Octavia needed this many of them. The cellist only wore it when she left her home and couldn’t possibly need all of them.

Deciding to wash them she grabbed one in her magical grasp and inspected it. Being able to use her magic again was wonderful in its own right. After careful inspection she found no clue if they needed some special treatment.

“Hey, Octavia!” Vinyl stuck her head out the door and called to the cellist who was lounging on the couch at the moment. “Do I need to do something special with your bowties and stuff? Or do I just wash them like anything else?”

Octavia got up from her couch and trotted towards the room Vinyl was in.

“No need for that Vinyl.” She said and stood in the doorway to the laundry room. “I just haven’t gotten around to do anything about them yet.”

Vinyl had a ball of them in her magical grasp and levitated them towards the washing machine.

“So…just the regular program?”

“No, no. I never wash them.” Octavia watched her bowties slowly turn in mid-air. It was slightly hypnotizing.

“You just wear them dirty and crumpled?” Vinyl stopped her way to the washing machine and glanced over to Octavia.

“No, I just wear a new one.” Octavia answered nonchalantly.

“Well what do you do with the old ones? Throw them away?” It seemed a terrible waste to Vinyl. Sure, Octavia had plenty of bits to spend, but even for her that seemed a bit excessive.

“I give them away to charity.” Octavia said and eyed the large pile in the room. It had been a while since she last gave them away.

“Charity?” Vinyl laughed at a mental image that popped into her head. “So like, there’s an orphanage somewhere where all the foals run around with little bowties and collars all the time looking cute and adorable?”

“Possibly. Do you think I look cute and adorable with one on?”

“Oh, absolutely. And of course refined and elegant at the same time.” Vinyl flashed a grin at the grey mare.

“Of course.” Octavia smirked at the flattery.

“So….that’s it? Charity? Wouldn’t it be easier just to give them some money?” Vinyl levitated the objects in her magical grasp back on to the pile.

“Well….it’s kind of hard for me to….you know…” Octavia shuffled her hooves around sheepishly.

“Uhh… kind of hard to see orphans running around without bowties?” Vinyl wasn’t following what Octavia was trying to tell her.

“Hooves, Vinyl.” Octavia demonstratively held one up in front of the unicorns face. “It isn’t really easy to put on a collar and bowtie with hooves.”

“So how do you put them on? I know that you wear them.”

“They have a magical enchantment when you take them out of the box. It wraps and ties itself, all you have to do is hold it to your neck.” Octavia explained and casually flicked a stray bowtie back on to the pile with her hoof.

The cellist folded her ears down. It wasn’t easy being an earthpony in a town that so heavily catered towards unicorns. Even small things like clothing accessories could prove to be a challenge or even near impossible for her. Out of defiance she had mastered the cello, an instrument not really suited for earthponies. She had overcome that challenge with sheer determination, but a small thing like a bowtie still proved impossible. Sometimes she wished she had been born a unicorn, it would have most certainly made her life a lot easier at times.

Her thoughts were interrupted as she felt the fabric of a bowtie wrap itself around her neck. She looked down at the item and saw that it was faintly glowing in a light blue aura. Octavia looked back to Vinyl and saw the same aura around her horn.

“Well now you have me.” Vinyl gave her a wide grin. “Guess the orphans will just have to be less adorable. Perhaps we can send them some matching boots or earmuffs.”

“So I take it you will be staying a while longer than just the winter?” Octavia smiled faintly. There was something in her eyes, a pleading kind of look with a small spark of hope.

Vinyl had truthfully not given it any thought. Winter was nearing its end in only a couple of days and her original plan had been to leave once the weather got warmer. Now she wasn’t quite as willing to leave. She had found a home and more importantly a friend, who as is seemed now wasn’t too happy to see her leave.

“Yeah, I’ll stick around a bit longer.” Vinyl’s grin intensified as the grey mare opposite her smiled in relief. “Who knows? You might even need me for something else.”




___________________________________________________________________





Winter Wrap Up Day arrived in Canterlot.

It was as always a rather underwhelming experience.

Vinyl had heard that earthpony cities would clean up winter without using magic. Here in Canterlot, a predominantly unicorn city, everything was cleaned up with magic.

Squads of specialized unicorns would walk through the streets casting their spells and sampling vanishing away all of the snow and ice. It was a strange sensation at first, one day it was cold and full of snow, the next day it was mild and everything started to blossom.

The mild weather was something that Vinyl wholeheartedly could enjoy. She sat in the dining room watching the city with the window open. She greedily inhaled the fresh air and it occurred to her that she hadn’t left the apartment ever since Octavia had brought her here.

She had a feeling this day would be a good one. Thus far she was having the time of her life.




___________________________________________________________________





On the other side of town, Octavia was not having the time of her life.

With spring arriving, the demand for musicians would skyrocket. Parties in celebration of spring would be hosted, garden parties would become popular again and the orchestras would be looking for new talent.

She saw her chance to start this year with a good start. Thus far she had only heard the same sentence that seemed to follow her everywhere she went.

“Thank you for your performance. We’ll be in touch.”

Octavia had heard it twice this morning already and was dreading the words about to be spoken by the director of the theatre she had auditioned for.

“Thank you for your….” Octavia drowned the next words out. Failed again, the third time in only three hours. That had to be some kind of sad record.

Her motivation for the day had been expired and it wasn’t even lunchtime. With heavy steps she trudged down the stairs of the first floor where the audition had been held. She was dimly aware of the looks from some of the ponies waiting patiently to perform.

On the ground floor she saw somepony she recognized from university. It was her former professor. Perhaps he could shed some light on her problems finding a part. With determination she trotted up to him.

“Excuse me? Professor?”

“Octavia! What a pleasant surprise.” The old stallion beamed at his former student. “I heard you perform. It was most exquisite.”

“That’s what I wanted to talk to you about.” Octavia readjusted the cello on her back, trying to find the right words. “I have auditioned for every available part in Canterlot since I graduated. Nopony was willing to hire me. What am I doing wrong, professor? Is it the way I play?”

“No, no. You play the cello like nopony else can. It hasn’t got anything to do with your ability.” He shook his head and turned around to face his student proper.

“Then what is it? I am beginning to doubt myself.” Octavia’s confession was laced with sadness. The professor sighed at the sight of the distraught mare.

“It hasn’t got anything to do with your abilities.” The professor sighed again. “You know how things work here in Canterlot. It isn’t about how good somepony is at what they do. It’s about how well known they are. Fame trumps ability, I am afraid.”

“Then what am I supposed to do? How can I achieve a reputation if I cannot even play in front of a crowd?” Octavia felt the frustration building up inside her. “I placed second in that contest all that time ago. Doesn’t that count for anything?”

“It would have had you placed first. They don’t look at the second place.” He saw that she did not take that answer very well. Her ears had folded down and she let her head hand with closed eyes.

“Listen, Octavia.” He placed a hoof on her shoulder, causing her to look at him. “Remember what I told you in class once? That you always try and go for the direct approach and never look for another way to tackle your problem?”

“I remember, but how is that supposed to help me here?”

“It is still your goal to play in the Royal Canterlot Orchestra, correct?” Octavia nodded. “Perhaps your way into the orchestra isn’t by auditioning for parts here in Canterlot.”

“What do you mean?” Octavia looked at him confused.

“Perhaps you should try and gain a reputation elsewhere.” He suggested and continued as a thought occurred to him. “A former colleague of mine works in an orchestra in another town, I could get in touch with him and ask if he may have a position for you free.”

“I can’t leave Canterlot.” Octavia sighed once more. “Isn’t there something else I could do?”

“Well the best way to get noticed is by writing your own music.” He shrugged his shoulders. “I heard the piece you played. The problem is that they have heard that piece played so many times it just isn’t as enthralling as it once was. If you would play them something by your own hoof, I bet they would take notice of you more.”

Octavia’s problem had not been solved, but at least she had been given a few options to consider.

“Thank you, professor. I’ll be in touch.” She said goodbye to her former mentor and began her way home.




__________________________________________________________________





Vinyl heard the front door open, signaling that Octavia had returned from her auditions. She was hoping that she would be seeing an excited mare jump up and down with joy for finally getting a part. She didn’t see the mare, but she heard her.

Cello music played after a few minutes of silence and Vinyl sighed as she knew the meaning behind it. Over time Vinyl had learned that Octavia would play music befitting her mood, something she did herself or had done when she still had her deck. Judging by the low-key slow notes drifting through the apartment Octavia was sad. Vinyl left her spot at the window and trotted over to the music room.

A quick look inside told Vinyl that she had been right. Octavia slowly played her cello with long strokes of her bow on the strings. She had her eyes closed and her lips pressed tightly together in silent frustration.

“How did it go?” Vinyl asked and trotted up to the cellist, keeping a pony’s length distance between them before she stopped. She didn’t really have to ask as it was obvious.

“Didn’t get the part.” Octavia replied and stopped her music, but didn’t open her eyes.

“All of them? What are they? Deaf!?” Vinyl frowned at the puzzling lack of seeing the talent of her friend by the directors.

“I met my former professor by chance today.” Octavia did not comment Vinyl’s question, but opened her eyes and looked at her. “He said it had something to do with me not having enough fame to be considered.”

“That’s just nuts. You’re the earthpony cellist. The…the prodigy they called you in university. Isn’t that famous enough?”

“Apparently not.” Octavia angrily swished her bow through the air. “Uuugh! It’s so damn frustrating! How can I gain fame if they won’t even let me play in front of a crowd?”

Octavia was beginning to go on a rant as the pent up frustration of half a year of rejections spilled over.

“You’d think that they might give me, the earthpony with a talent for unlikely instruments, just a small chance. Anything, a…a garden party for all I care. Maybe even a birthday party for a foal. Just anything to show them my love for my music. Instead they have this stupid prerequisite of needing a reputation and small bits of fame before even being considered for the smallest part. I might have had that as well if it hadn’t been for that damn contest, but no….I….”

Octavia trailed off and shot Vinyl a nervous glance. In her ranting she had let something slip that she didn’t want the other mare to know about. To her dismay Vinyl picked up on it immediately.

“Contest? You mean the one that I won?” Vinyl asked with surprise. Octavia didn’t answer, but just kept her eyes fixed on the strings of her cello.

“Wait, wait. You’re telling me that if you had won that contest you might have had enough fame to get your first few parts?” Vinyl was startled by her conclusion and hoped Octavia would say it wasn’t so. The cellist just continued to stare silently at her instrument in her hooves.

“But you placed second! That has to count for something.”

“They don’t look at second place.” Octavia’s reply was just a whisper and she shrunk back a bit, trying to hide her face behind the cello’s neck.

“But…oh, wow. Y-you mean it’s all my fault? I cost you your chance to start your career?” Vinyl dropped to her haunches in shock. A sudden feeling of guilt coursed through her system.

“If I knew a time spell to turn back time and change the outcome, I’d do it in a heartbeat. My win didn’t really bring me any luck, did it?” Vinyl said after a few moments of uncomfortable silence and she meant it from the bottom of her heart.

“I’m sorry, Vinyl. It was wrong of me to even mention it.” Octavia looked back to the unicorn in front of her and continued before she had the chance to reply. “It’s just a small part of the entire problem. Even had I won there are still bigger obstacles to overcome.”

“Like what?”

“They are also looking for some originality in my performances.” Octavia sighed. “They might take more notice of me if I played something of my own.”

“Ok. That doesn’t sound so bad.” Vinyl was still trying to wrap her head around the things she had thus far learned.

“You don’t understand. I can’t play anything original.” Octavia admitted quietly. Vinyl arched an eyebrow in confusion. “I cannot create music.”

“What do you mean? I hear you play all the time.”

“That’s just pieces that some other pony wrote. I can’t write my own music.” The cellist rested her head on the cello’s neck. “I can play half of the pieces written for a cello blindfolded. Give me some notes and I can play them perfectly after the first try. But try as I might, I cannot write my own. I just lack the talent for something like that.”

Vinyl’s day had turned out to be quite full of surprises thus far. The last thing she would have expected to trump her involvement in Octavia’s lack of a career was the admission she had just heard.

Strange that the grey mare would not have that talent. Vinyl would have bet all her possessions that the cellist was a creative musician. An idea popped into her head, perhaps she had just found a way to try and help her friend.

“Ok. So you can’t write music. What about changing a piece you know around a bit. You know…remix it.”

“Remix…it? What purpose would that serve?” Octavia looked at her friend with a frown of confusion on her brow.

“Well if they want originality then remixing something should count. Just play a few notes more here and there. Leave a couple away or change a few pieces of the song around. You know….spruce it up a bit.”

“You really think that is possible? I have never heard of somepony sprucing up classical pieces of music.” Octavia had her doubts, but she was also now curious what the unicorn was proposing.

“Heh, you never heard of me before either. See this?” Vinyl pointed a hoof to her flank. “This cutie mark doesn’t lie, Octavia. I bet you anything I can spice up whatever you can play.” Vinyl saw her chance at redemption and grinned at the cellist. “Care to give it a try?”

“Fine.” Octavia straightened herself up and was genuinely intrigued what her friend had in mind. “What do we do?”

“Play something I know first.”

“Well, what do you know?”

“I am not good with names, Octavia. Just…play something famous that I’m bound to know.”

Octavia thought for a moment and began to play a piece known all over Equestria. She only played a few notes of the slow and sad melody when Vinyl stopped her.

“Yeah, ok. I know that one. That’s the tune they play during funerals and such. Could we perhaps play something a little more…you know….upbeat?”

After a moment Octavia decided to play a piece written for cellos by the famous composer Marezart. Vinyl’s face lit up as she recognized the melody and let Octavia play it until the end.

“Yeah, that’s more like it. Ok…now just to find something to spice it up with. Uh…may I?” Vinyl pointed a hoof towards the instruments around the room.

“Sure, go ahead.” Octavia gave her permission and Vinyl beamed at the prospect of making some noise.

Vinyl looked around in the room full of musical instruments. After a moment of quiet contemplation she sat down behind the semicircle of bongo drums. She gave them an experimental tap with a hoof.

“You are not seriously thinking about accompanying Marezart with bongos are you?” Octavia scrunched up her face in doubt.

“Well, seeing that I don’t have a deck anymore, we are limited to the instruments I can play. The only ones here are the bongos or the tambourine. So which is it?” Vinyl gave a mischievous smile to the cellist, who just stared at what was about to happen.

“Bongos it is.” She said fueled by her own curiosity to see what Vinyl was going to do.

“Excellent! Shall we begin?”




__________________________________________________________________





Octavia didn’t know how Vinyl did it.

By all logic a classical piece of music should not sound good together with bongo drums. Yet somehow it worked. She even dared to think that it sounded rather good. She sent a silent apology to the long dead composer for the rather unique treatment of the piece. No doubt Marezart would be spinning in her grave by this point.

Octavia had to give Vinyl credit. It was obvious that the unicorn knew what she was doing. Every note of the drums was timed perfectly to Octavia’s tempo. Despite her initial reservations the cellist was having fun. A lot of fun thanks to the energetic mare banging her hooves on the drums and making a show out of it. The unpleasant memories of the morning were blown away and now just a thing from the past.

She grinned and started playing the piece once more, the fourth time thus far.




____________________________________________________________________





Vinyl was having a blast.

It had been so long that she had done anything to do with music. Now sitting behind the drums in front of her she finally felt alive once more. Seeing the face of Octavia shift from confusion to joy was an added bonus.

This was what she was meant to do. Bring joy to ponies with her music, to see them dance and have a good time. Her enthusiasm knew no bounds and she jumped from one set of drums to the next. Perhaps this was a way to help Octavia overcome her dilemma and Vinyl silently vowed to help her friend attain the goal she had set for herself, whatever the cost may be.

She had started to headbang along with the beat she was producing. During a particular energetic whip of her head something happened that brought the entire musical number to a screeching halt, literally.

Vinyl watched in horror as her shades flew off her head and towards the door. In a moment of panic she briefly locked eyes with Octavia. The cellist’s expression shifted from joy to astonishment and then to a painful grimace as she lost her grip on the cello and screeched the bow across the strings.

Vinyl quickly averted her eyes and grabbed the sunglasses with her magic. They sped back to her in a blur and settled back on their original position. She was hoping Octavia would just ignore what she had seen and continue playing. No such luck, as the cellist gaped at her with an open mouth.

Octavia put her cello back into its stand and dropped on all fours. She had only very briefly seen Vinyl’s eyes for the very first time and wanted to see them again. Perhaps she had just imagined what she had seen, but she just had to find out.

The cellist trotted over to the unicorn, who was now shifting around nervously behind the drums. Wordlessly Octavia used her front hooves to delicately lift the sunglasses off her friend’s face. Vinyl had them closed, but opened them after a few seconds.

A shade of purple.

Octavia was confused, that wasn’t what she had seen. She noticed that Vinyl’s eyes seemed unnatural, as if she had painted a false set of eyes over her own. The cellist noticed a very faint glow around the unicorn’s horn.

“Show me.” Octavia asked softly and gasped as Vinyl let her magic dissipate with a sigh.

The fake purple eyes faded away and revealed their natural color. Octavia could do nothing but stare at them.

They were red like rubies.

Octavia studied Vinyl’s face with wonder. She had heard the phrase “Eyes are the window to the soul.” and “To read somepony like an open book.”, but never before had actually seen it to believe it. She most certainly believed it now.

Octavia felt she was seeing the real Vinyl Scratch for the very first time. Her eyes were the most expressive ones she had ever seen. Every single emotion of the mare was open for the world to see in those ruby red eyes as they darted around nervously, avoiding looking at Octavia.

The cellist had seen ponies before with red eyes. At least in paintings, that is. The art museum in Canterlot had a few pieces that portrayed ponies with red eyes. Until now she had thought it had been an artistic choice, never had she even dreamt of seeing something like that with her own eyes.

“Freaky huh?” Vinyl asked with a shaky voice and shifted about uncomfortably.

“No….” Octavia was still lost in her thoughts and kept studying those big red eyes. They were strangely mesmerizing.

“Y…you’re not weirded out?” Vinyl briefly locked eyes with Octavia’s.

“Why should anypony be weirded out by them?” Octavia spoke in almost a whisper. “They are beautiful.”

“You think so?” Vinyl gave her a doubtful look.

“Why do you wear those sunglasses?” Octavia had a suspicion, but felt compelled to ask nevertheless.

“Kinda had a bad time growing up.” Vinyl tried a small smile. “At school they used to say bad things about them. Freak, demon and a few others things I don’t really want to say.”

Those eyes, so full of hurt and pain all of a sudden. Octavia felt disgust for the ponies who couldn’t see them for what they were. Unique and one of the greatest wonders in Equestria.

“They were wrong.” Octavia saw hope and relief in Vinyl’s eyes. The grey mare held up Vinyl’s sunglasses in a hoof for her to take. “Please don’t hide them away.”

Vinyl grabbed the shades with her magic, but hesitated to put them back on. She gave Octavia a warm smile and put them on top of her head instead, resting comfortably on her mane just above the horn.

Octavia had to put some effort into taking her eyes off the mare's eyes. She would have been perfectly content just to watch them for the rest of the day, but she could feel that Vinyl wasn’t too comfortable just yet without her sunglasses on.

“Shall we continue our little music session?” She asked and gave Vinyl a smile as she trotted over to her cello.

“Sounds good.” Vinyl let out a long breath she had been holding. With her secret now exposed it felt as if a weight had fallen off her shoulders she hadn’t even been aware of. The cellist had surprised her once again, this time by not shunning her away like to many ponies before had done, just because of the color of her eyes.

“Oh, fiddlesticks!” Octavia’s sudden outburst derailed Vinyl’s current thoughts.

“What’s wrong?”

“One of my strings is about to snap.” Octavia let out a grunt as she ran a hoof over the string in question. “I don’t have any spares left over. Guess I’ll have to go out and buy some new ones.”

“Mind if I tag along?” Vinyl asked hopefully. Thinking back to her youth brought back unpleasant memories and she didn’t want to be alone with them all of a sudden. “I’ve been cooped up here for ages and could do with some fresh air.”

“Excellent idea!” Octavia’s face lit up at Vinyl’s proposal. “Let’s go shopping!”

There was something about the glint in Octavia’s eyes at her happy exclamation that seemed ominous to Vinyl. She suddenly hoped her proposal wouldn’t backfire on her.




_________________________________________________________________





Shopping with Octavia was actually rather boring.

At least when it came to Octavia’s own purchases. She didn’t waste any time perusing the selection, but rather made a beeline for whatever she needed. Vinyl was very happy about that as she wasn’t much for pointless perusing herself.

She was however very unhappy when it came to things that were meant for Vinyl instead. Octavia changed her goal orientated style of shopping for the one Vinyl despised. Inspecting every single item on selection and contemplating if it clashed with Vinyl’s coat or mane.

Octavia’s original plan for coming in the clothing shop was to place another order for bowties. After Vinyl reminded her that they wouldn’t be needing that anymore, she had decided to buy something for Vinyl instead.

Vinyl found herself practically dragging Octavia away from the various items of clothing on offer. She knew she meant well, but Vinyl hated shopping for clothes with a passion. In the end she gave in to Octavia’s incessant endeavors to buy her something and was now a proud owner of brand new saddlebags. White ones with her cutie mark emblazoned on the side. Vinyl could appreciate a new pair of saddlebags, as her old one had been sold by her former landlord so long ago.

The owner of the shop had visibly blanched as his most frequent customer did not place her usual order. His plans for buying a new carriage were now in jeopardy and he resorted to raise the prices of his other wares by a few bits after the mares had left.

Vinyl and Octavia had just left the shop as Octavia called out a warning.

“Look out!”

Vinyl turned her head to whatever had alarmed her friend and was hit by a book on the nose. She dropped on her haunches and rubbed her nose with a hoof, while her assailant looked at her with embarrassment.

“Oh, I am so dreadfully sorry.” The lavender unicorn said and swished the book she had been reading and floating in front of her away to the side. “I was reading and not paying attention. Are you ok?”

“Yeah. No harm done.” Vinyl informed her and rubbed her nose one last time. “Might want to watch where you’re going.”

“I am so sorry. Normally my assistant keeps an eye out for where I go.” The unicorn turned her head to the creature on her back and gave it an angry look. “Seems like he wasn’t doing much assisting this time.”

“Hey, I am assisting you!” the purple dragon on her back replied.

“You are just eating the donuts we picked up from Donut Joe’s.” she rolled her eyes.

“That is assisting! I am reducing the weight in your saddlebags.” The dragon burped, causing a small green flame to erupt from his mouth.

“That isn’t doing anything! You are still riding on my back, only now full of donuts.” The unicorn shook her head and turned to the two mares silently watching the discussion. “Again, I terribly sorry for bumping into you.”

The musicians watched the lavender mare and the dragon her back trot away, all the time arguing about weight distribution. They just stared baffled at what had just happened.

“That was….strange.” Vinyl finally said.

“I wonder if she’s is a student of some kind.” Octavia wondered aloud.

“If that’s the case, then I took the wrong classes.” A few pegasi caught Vinyl’s eye. They were positioning a bunch of rather grey clouds above the city. “Looks like it’s supposed to rain later. Where to next?”

“Strings.”

With a goal set Octavia led the way through the streets of Canterlot.




__________________________________________________________________





Vinyl enjoyed being outside. The fresh air and moving about outside was invigorating, maybe even more than she would have suspected. She still got a few looks from ponies going about their own business, but unlike a few months prior these looks were simply curious and not hostile. Had she been out and about without her sunglasses she would have attracted a lot more attention. She was nowhere ready to face other ponies without them, but had decided that within the confines of her home she would leave them off.

Buying new strings for Octavia’s cello took up a lot of time. The cellist would only be satisfied with a certain brand and the shop had to send a pony out to storage to retrieve them. By the time they had finally made their purchase it had begun to rain.

“Great. What do we do now? Wait it out?” Octavia cast a look up to the sky. The grey clouds were full of water and it seemed the rain would last for some time.

“It’s just water, Tavi.” Vinyl shrugged her shoulders and took a step out from the doorway of the shop.

“Tavi? Did you just call me Tavi?” Octavia raised an eyebrow at her friend.

“Yeah. The oc makes your name sound so hard. Thought I’d give you a nickname instead.” Vinyl looked over her shoulder and gave her a friendly smile that wavered a bit after she became unsure if the cellist would be ok with a nickname. “You don’t like it?”

Octavia smiled again, which Vinyl returned. “I like it. But that doesn’t make the weather any better.”

“It warm outside and we live only a couple of blocks away. Come on, it’ll be fun.”

“Fun? How can it be fun?”

Vinyl looked around for a moment to answer Octavia’s question. With a wide grin she jumped into a nearby puddle making a big splash.

“See? Fun!” to emphasize her point she jumped up and down a few more times with small hops.

“Are you nine years old? How can that be fun?” Octavia asked incredulously.

“Don’t tell me you never jumped around in puddles before?” Vinyl giggled as Octavia just shook her head. “Oh, you have been missing out. Come on! Try it.”

“I really don’t see the appeal.”

“Try it, try it.” Vinyl hopped again on the spot.

Octavia sighed and looked around for a suitable puddle. She found one nearby and put the tip of her hoof in the plate sized puddle.

“Yeah, that’s not going to work is it.” Vinyl stepped out of her puddle and bowed to Octavia. “Here, I shall be so kind and offer you mine to try out.”

“That’s very nice of you, but I really don’t see….aaaah!” Octavia let out a small shriek of surprise as Vinyl had walked around her and whipped her tail on Octavia’s flank. The cellist jumped into the air and landed with a splash in Vinyl’s puddle.

“Perfect landing!” Vinyl earned a glare from the earthpony. “Just one hop. Come on, I know you want to.”

Octavia gave in to Vinyl’s teasing and seeing as she was wet now anyway, she could at least give her friend the satisfaction of seeing one jump. It was only a small hop, her hooves barely leaving the water’s surface. The resulting splash had a nice sound to it and felt actually good in a way. So she hopped again, this time a bit higher.

Vinyl watched with a face splitting grin as the refined mare jumped up and down with a huge smile of her own plastered on her face. Thanks to the rain and Octavia’s movements the grey mares black hair was soaked and out of form. It gave her a wild appearance that matched the smile she was wearing.

Vinyl casually trotted up to the jumping pony, ignoring the fact that she was getting splashed with water.

“Race ya?” she asked with a smirk and saw a fire light up in the other mare’s lavender eyes.

“You are on!”




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Two mares raced through the wet streets of Canterlot laughing like foals.

The few ponies that were still about looked on in surprise at the adult mares hopping from puddle to puddle. A few of them thought they might possibly be mad, but simply shrugged and went about their own business.

Octavia had the advantage over Vinyl in both speed and endurance. Earthypony heritage played a large part in it, but Vinyl was also out of shape. Her diet had been healthy and had increased her weight to almost what she had weighed before. The lack of exercise kept her lagging behind Octavia. Vinyl didn’t really mind as that gave her more chances to see the grey mare hop into puddles with gusto and grinning like a mad mare.

They sped around a corner and jumped into a large puddle wide enough for both of them. Octavia had waited for Vinyl to catch up and they both landed the same time. The splash of water was high enough to reach the front windows of the shop on the corner.

“Oi!” The owner of the shop, a rather plump stallion with a big greying mustache and wearing a brown shopkeepers coat, stopped the conversation he had been having with an equally plump mare wearing a nurse’s outfit and a saddle umbrella, to yell after the two friends.

“Watch what yer d-d-doing!” he stomped a hoof in anger that his pristine windows had been soiled with small drops of water.

The ponies responsible hadn’t even heard him and continued their race undisturbed. He grunted as he heard the nurse giggle at his outburst. While shaking his head he turned around to yell into the shop for his assistant.

“G-G-Granville! Fe-fe-fe-fetch yer cloth!”




_________________________________________________________________





Octavia pulled ahead again as they raced down the final stretch towards their home. She expertly jumped from one puddle to another, with Vinyl a good few seconds behind her. Her hooves pounded the wet pavement and she accelerated a bit more. She spied a huge puddle on the other side of the road and decided to get more of a lead to jump into that one.

This will be the best one yet!

Octavia jumped up high into the air and sailed a fair distance. Her jump had been angled perfectly and she would hit her target dead center. The smile on the mares face became wider as she descended into the puddle that was almost three ponies wide and at least two ponies long.

She hit the water with a much larger splash then she had reckoned with. What she also had not expected was the depth of the puddle. The water reached up halfway on her rump. Startled she looked around for a way to climb back out.

Vinyl came trotting up to the partially sunken mare and laughed at Octavia’s predicament.

“Well looky here. A seapony!”

“Very funny. Lend me a hoof would you?” Octavia extended a fore leg that Vinyl grabbed on to with one of her own. After a few grunts she managed to pull the now thoroughly soaked cellist from the depths of the inner-city puddle of doom.

“I think I am going to need a bath.” Octavia mused and glanced over herself.

“You just had one.” Vinyl smirked. Octavia didn’t respond and shook some of the water from her coat and mane. Most of it hit Vinyl who just ignored it.

“I mean a hot bath. Come on Vinyl, let’s go home.”

Both mares trotted the last few meters to their home in a more casual tempo. Each of them nodded a greeting to the porter who just stared at them with wide eyes.

Inside the elevator Octavia suddenly giggled.

“What?” Vinyl just had to giggle a bit herself as the sound was infectious.

“I had fun today, Vinyl. Thanks.” Octavia nudged the unicorn with her shoulder as they stood side by side. Despite the rough beginning of her day, Octavia had a lot of fun and even learned something more about her mysterious friend. And she had found a newfound love for puddles.

Vinyl nudged her back and beamed at the grey mare.

“With me around the fun never ends.”