• Published 28th Mar 2012
  • 2,367 Views, 51 Comments

Beat of the Heart - Dr.Shisno



A tale of love and rediscovery of music.

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Chapter 6

The pegasus laid his head on the table before him, trying to relax. His muscles ached, refusing to respond. Even the effort of trying to take a sip of tea from the cup in front of him was taxing. He wished for the world to swallow him up and ease his pain, but this was not to be. His apartment was silent, save for the sound of his breathing. The hustle and bustle of the city on the other side of his apartment walls did not touch the aching pegasus.

After letting the time pass him by, Flare finally concluded to get on his hooves and check in at work. He knew there weren’t any deliveries for him to make that day, as it was his day off, but his lack of objective would inevitably prove to be his undoing. Seeing as Octavia was arriving tomorrow, he might make it something special. Throwing a saddlebag on his back and closing the door behind him, Flare made his way out of the apartment complex, pushing past the pain.

He chose not to fly, on account of his wings hurting, and the need to stretch his legs. The city moved in complete contrast to his slow movements, while the sounds of the activity only worsened his headache. The occasional pony bumped into him, some offering the occasional courtesy of an apology, but it didn’t matter too much to him. The fresh air and movement did little to bring up his mood.

His pace slow-going, it took longer than usual to arrive at The Hornless Alicorn. Being midday, there were few ponies in the place, which suited Flare just fine. Finding a nice spot on a stool, he let his head rest on the bartop, having a sigh escape his lips. The pegasus was more or less content in his position, trying to melt into the furniture.

“I’ve seen that look before,” Flare shifted his head to see Twist behind the bar, shooting him a concerned look. “What’s eating you this time?”

“Nothing,” Flare huffed. “Just tired. You surprised me with the laundry list of deliveries the past few days.”

The bar pony shrugged. “You should know better, you been working the same job for the past few years now. A difficult past few days isn’t enough to knock even you down.”

“It’s really nothing,” Flare rolled his eyes. “Just tired and sore.”

“Then what the hay are you doing here? It’s your day off.” Twist raised an eyebrow at Flare. “I’d expect you of all ponies to use it to your fullest.” She placed a glass of water in front of the pegasus. “Something up?”

Flare took a sip from the cup. “If I lie to you, will you leave me alone?”

The unicorn sighed, “Well, if it helps to keep you moving about here, there is a delivery to be made. Nothing big, but they want some of our top stock.”

A sigh left Flare as he sat up, “I guess that’ll d-,” the last part of his sentence was cut off by a backhoof sending Flare’s head back onto the bar. The pegasus groaned, looking up at his assailant. Twist flipped her mane, before giving Flare a more serious look.

“Look, I don’t know what your problem is, Flare. Do yourself a favor and help yourself. If you’re having mare problems, I feel bad for you, but do-,”

“It’s not mare problems.” Flare wiped at a bit blood coming out his nose. “Besides, Tavi isn’t in town. Off doing some concerts in Hoofington. I’m just tired and sore, really.” He examined the blood on his hoof, “And Celestia, was that really necessary?”

“Sorry, got a bit carried away.” The unicorn shook her hoof, trying to shake off some pain. “Been wanting to do that for a while, though.”

“Glad to satisfy your needs,” Flare said sarcastically, rubbing the sore spot on his face, trying to ease pain. “Where’s the delivery at?”

“Southside, I believe.” Twist went under the bar, rummaging through some papers. She popped back into sight with a small stack of notes. It took a few moments, but she finally found the right document. “Yup, Southside, your side of town. Should be easy to find, here’s the address.” She levitated the note over to him.

Flare looked over the note for a few moments before shrugging. “I’ll find it eventually. Shouldn’t be too difficult.”

Twist smiled, “There’s the Flare I know. And thankfully, due to the small delivery, you don’t need to take the cart, leaving only your body and the drinks to damage on this journey.”

“Hey now,” Flare jabbed a hoof at Twist’s direction. “That only happened once, and you know it.”

“Pssh, whatever.” She scoffed at him. “Just go get your saddlebag and hat so you can get this job done.”

Flare got off the stool, waving his boss off with a mock salute. “Whatever you say, ma’am. I’ll be back in time for first call.”

Twist watched him go, shaking her head. “Crazy kid,” she mumbled under her breath before returning back to work.

* * *

The pegasus flew aimlessly around in the sky, his delivery done, the day back to being his. He even managed to make it back to The Hornless Alicorn before first call, much to the dismay of Regal Twist. Downing a drink, he headed off into the city in hopes of finding things for making a special night for Octavia. He thoughts bounced around how to impress the high-class mare. He knew when her train arrived, which was to be late in the evening. Ideas of a simple dinner crossed his mind, simple setting emphasized. Maybe even a nice bottle of wine, if he could find one. His smile grew a bit, feeling the sun on his back as he flew, wishing all his days could be this easy. The fresh air in his lungs and beneath his wings, he drifted back down to the ground.

Touching down in the Southside of the city, he let his hooves guide him to the fresh markets. The pegasus mused that he didn’t have to time to get the ingredients tomorrow; he’d get them today. It was late midday, so the market wasn’t as packed as it could be, but there were a decent amount of ponies milling about the area, buying and selling fresh produce and vegetables. He shifted his saddlebag awkwardly trying to navigate the small crowds. The ideas in Flare’s head of dinner were limited, however, for his cooking skills barely went past boiling water.

Maybe a light snack, he thought, eying a few haycakes. Something healthy like a salad, his gaze drifting to lettuce. He kept drifting through the market, hoping to have something catch his eye. There has to be something. To look classy and refined, something our last few encounters have been missing. Flare sighed, I’m just not the classy and refined pony, it seems.

For an hour, the pegasus milled about the market before pausing in front of one stall. He eyed the produce, oranges, with a bit of curiosity; he even held and closer inspected the fruits. Flare’s actions went on for about a few seconds before the vendor questioned his motives.

“Good afternoon, sir,” The vendor started. “Anything I can help you with?”

Flare’s gaze didn’t shift from the orange he held in his hoof, “Dunno, sir. Just looking around right now.”

“You sure?” The vendor raised an eyebrow. “You looked a bit lost, so I thought I would ask.”

The vendor’s question made Flare smile. “In more ways than one, you have no idea. But, I’m just looking for something to make a nice quick snack.”

“Well, you sure came to right place! Oranges make a nice treat, packed with lots of vitamins. No big mess, they even come pre-sliced by nature.”

“Huh,” Flare examined the orange closer. “What can I do with it? I mean, I just don’t want plain oranges.”

“It can spice up plain ol’ lettuce leaves with a nice vinaigrette. Tell you what,” The vendor ducked behind his stall, coming up a few moments later, handing a Flare a piece of paper. “That’s all you need for that salad. Healthy, quick, and easy.”

The pegasus looked over the short list of ingredients, contemplating his small list of options before sighing and handing over a few bits. “Fine, you win.”

The vendor pocketed the bits, before handing over a bag of pump ripe oranges. “Trust me, you won’t be disappointed. Knock her dead.” He added a wink to accent the end of the sentence. A raised eyebrow was all Flare had for a response, before depositing the oranges in his saddlebag. He waved the vendor a silent goodbye, leaving the vicinity of the orange stall. He eyed the ingredient list as he walked. “Might as well, not like I have any other ideas.”

* * *

Flare settled into his normal position that day: laying his head on the table, feeling tired. He had finished his errands, finding all the ingredients he needed for the salad, all with relative ease. He did find a spot of trouble though, trying to locate a nice bottle of wine. All the nice vendors of fine wine were on the north side of the city, in the “nicer” communities of Manehattan. The delivery pony caught more than a few unsatisfactory stares walking into some of the stores. Some of the wine curators even laughed at him for bringing up an expensive bottle of wine. Yet all laughing stopped when the bag of bits was brought out. After bringing everything home, he had a small bite to eat before heading out into the growing nightlife.

Which brought the pegasus to where he was now. Sitting with his head down on a table, enjoying the light atmosphere around him. He was in the Muddy Hooves, the best blues bar in the Southside of Manehattan. The smoky dark atmosphere was just what Flare was looking for. After ordering a drink, the pegasus found a dark corner booth, and he allowed himself to be swallowed up by it. His closed his eyes, letting the live band sooth and calm him. Memories of his past resurfaced and he let past events dance about his head. The music and the memories rolled into one, as a smile slowly spread across Flare’s lips. The swing of twelve/eight pattern, the twang of the guitar, and preaching lyrics helped the pegasus’s eye droop.

Had it not been for the tap on the pegasus’s shoulder, Flare would’ve drifted off to sleep. Opening an eye to the disturber of his peace, it was a big black sought stallion stood there, eyeing the sleepy Flare with suspicion.

“Can I help you?” Flare sighed.

“You Flare Chaser?” The stallion’s deep voice held presence, though barely spoken above the band on stage.

“Who wants to know?”

“It’s him, ma’am,” he nodded to a figure behind him, whom Flare couldn’t make out in the pony in the dim lighting.

“Thanks, Coal Train,” a mare voice came from behind the stallion. Another sigh from the pegasus as he recognized the voice instantly. “Take some extra bits, enjoy the rest of your night.” The stallion nodded and left, leaving to let the white unicorn mare slide into the booth across the table from Flare, “You’re a hard pony to find, you know that?”

“Sorry, next time I’ll leave a map,” Flare merely mumbled. “My side of town isn’t that bad, Scratch. Bodyguard and the hoodie? Paranoid much?”

The unicorn slid the hood off her head, letting her unkempt blue mane fall out. “You can’t be too careful these days.” She grabbed Flare’s untouched drink, taking a long drink from it. “What’s got you hiding in this dump?”

“Listening to some music,” Flare groaned, lifting his head off the table.

The unicorn took another long sip from the drink, her gaze drifting to Blues Band on stage. “Listening to those geezers? Music?” Her look returned to Flare, “You’re one weird bucking pony.”

“Whatever you say, Scratch,” Flare rolled his eyes. “What do you want, ‘cause I know you sure wouldn’t come here just to talk to me and listen to old geezers play noise in this dump.”

“Oh fine, it’s always business with you anyway.” Scratch finished the drink before setting the empty cup on the table. “I need a favor.”

Flare rolled his eyes, “Again, my first question. What do you want?”

“I need a night,” She leaned in closer. “Besides, you still owe me. Big time.”

“Scratch, I-I can’t,” Flare’s voice stutters. “I can’t do that.”

“Why?” It was her time to roll her eyes. “That didn’t stop you last time I asked, or the time before that, or the time before that.”

“Look, I just can’t this time.” The pegasus struggled a bit, but finally found that honesty was the best way through this situation. “I found somepony and it just wouldn’t be right.”

“Ah, sure. I see how it is.” Scratch leaned back in her seat. “Well, I’ll tell you how it’s going to be. There’s this batch of Applejack Daniels that hasn’t seen the light of day in forever. No one knows about it, but I can get you it. Simple as that. One. Night. Besides, you owe me way more than one night for those Scotch Cherries.”

Flare’s gaze shifted around the club: to the bar, to the club goers, and finally to the band on stage. Their swing and twang were hypnotic, the lyrics just as entrancing. A frown replaced his long past smile. His thoughts mused about his chances at becoming a Blues musician.

* * *

Flare lay there in bed alone, not in particular care for how long, letting his music alarm play. It was Ponywood Undead, something Flare had not listened to since his punkish colt years. The song playing wasn’t one of their better-known songs, but “Circles” found a nice place this morning for Flare. Slow, ponderous even, song sang of begging of help and the loss of self. Around listening to the song a third time he stumbled out of bed, the eventual need to get to work surpassed the need to mope about.
A note taped on his fridge stopped his daily routine in the kitchen. A sigh left the pegasus’s lips, but he figured it would be a good idea to read it

Hey Flaretail,
Thanks for last night; we’re somewhat even for now. If you could pencil me in for a “surprise” appearance at The Hornless Alicorn tonight, that would be even better. Expect that Applejack Daniels to be in soon.
Hope you don’t mind that I borrowed your oranges for breakfast. Gotta stay healthy, you know?
See you soon
XO
Scratchy

The pegasus stared at the note for a few more seconds before tearing it off his fridge, crumpling it up, and tossing it aside. He took a few more deep breaths, slowly slumping to the floor, letting his head hang in defeat. The tears fell as he took another breath, trying to regain some composure.

“Bucking mares.”

Comments ( 4 )

... I'm of the opinion at the moment that Vinyl is a bit of a bitch. Anyway, fun chapter.

Mares, ladies, females in general
Who gets them besides themselves

2449736 I'm surprised it took someone this long to get that reference

2449957 I'm surprised as well. I just started reading this story yesterday and after checking that no one commented on it I decided to mention it. Anyway very nice story please continue it when you can.

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