• Published 6th Jul 2014
  • 2,493 Views, 164 Comments

The Tunes Are A-Changin' - ShadeJak

Set in the FiveScoreverse. A couple as opposite as night and day find their relationship may be more then it seems in a mad god's twisted game...

  • ...

Long-Ago Meeting

~Almost thirty years ago...~

I couldn’t believe it! How could a night that myself and the rest of the Canterlot Orchestra spent so much time preparing and rehearsing for, a night that had taken such care and practice over the entire year to make perfect, go so disastrously wrong?

“Shot Glass, another champagne, please,” I said, the unicorn bartender obliging my request as I listened to the soft music playing nearby. The establishment wasn’t the pinnacle of Canterlot’s diners, but it was still nice and quiet. After the night I’d had, it was all I wanted.

I leaned against the bar table, my exhaustion denying me any opportunity to hold on to my normally respectable image. Not that my appearance was any better; after the Gala and much of the Cantelot Palace’s ballroom had been reduced to ruin, I’d barely gotten out with my instrument intact and looked a complete mess. My mane and tail, both I prided on keeping brushed to perfection, now looked horribly disheveled, my coat was still a little dusty as well, and I had carried myself in with a tired shuffle. Word of what had happened got around rather fast, so I fancy it was to my benefit as I earned myself far fewer stares then I’d expected. In fact, there were some in worse shape sitting at a few of the booths of upper and middle class who’d shared the same wishes that I had, evidently. By my assumption it was an attempt to show off the extent of the damage to those who had not gone.

“The nerve of those ponies!” one particularly high-class mare remarked bitterly from one of the booths.

“The Canterlot Orchestra humiliated! The ballroom in shambles! That dreadful stampede! It was fortunate nopony was injured!” a stallion replied.

“I don’t know if this apple cobbler’s going to wash out of this dress!” another mare complained, looking down at her horribly-stained gown that had no doubt looked quite lovely prior to all that had transpired.

As self-involved as they had sounded, they had a reasonable point all the same. The latest Grand Galloping Gala had started and initially proceeded without incident, and promised to be one which high society would speak fondly of for days to come. Our rehearsal had paid off wonderfully, our music had never been better that even I was not without the certainty that I had pleased many a guest as did the others….

…But then when that childish pink pony intruded upon the stage and started insisting we play a foal-age song and pushed me to the floor, I knew this respectable event was doomed to fall apart.

It only grew worse from there.

All in all, a perfectly acceptable reason for a quiet night of drinks. At least everypony here seemed to share my sentiments for the most part. Taking the glass in my hooves and gently drinking in the sweet wine, I closed my eyes, trying to begin the process of putting this night behind me.

My cello, the music I made and played at home when I had the spare time, it always relaxed me. The dedication and focus were essential to make the melody flow with grace and beauty, the wonderful and soothing music I could just get lost in as I played on. I wasn’t completely tired, perhaps when I got back to my flat I could…

“Woo! I thought the stiffs usually left this shindig with smiles on their faces!” a rather sudden and cheerful female voice declared, breaking my concentration. “The usual!” its owner said, prompting my eyes to snap open and look over at who had decided to sit next to me.

It was another mare, a white unicorn around my age with a black eighth-note as her cutie mark. Any semblance to normal ended there with a screeching halt. Her mane and tail were a bright, almost electric blue lined with highlights, and looked as though she had never gone near a brush in her life; instead opting to spray whatever they happened to look like when she rolled out of bed under the pretense of being trendy. Also of note with the large, mirrored purple sunglasses she wore over her eyes, obscuring them completely.

As soon as some alcoholic beverage that I suspected to be a soda mixture was slid over to her, followed by the mare exchanging a hoofbump with the bartender, she seemed to notice me for the first time. “Whoa, you look like the jungle attacked you!” the unicorn said.

Well, aren’t you the blunt one? I thought to myself, facehoofing and rolling my eyes after. “Funny you should say that, because for all intents and purposes that’s exactly what happened,” I replied.

The unicorn frowned in what I assumed was confusion and looked around, no doubt noticing nopony here looked in presentable condition, but then again who was she to judge?

“Uhhh… what?’ she asked, sipping her drink.

“The Grand Galloping Gala, it ended in a complete disaster thanks to some very disruptive ruffians that did not have the faintest concept of how to behave in polite society!” I explained firmly.

The unicorn sat there in silence for a moment, then raised up her sunglasses, revealing a pair of astonished magenta eyes. “Dude… and I missed this?” she asked.

“So it would seem. Lucky you,” I replied bitterly, taking another sip of my drink.

“Wow, if I’d have known it’d go down like that I’d have gone to that snore-fest in a heartbeat!” she declared with a grin.

I could only stare agape at her. What did she just… I could not believe she’d have the brass to say such a thing! “I’ll have you know, the Grand Galloping Gala is a—” I began.

“Snore-fest!” she said once more, cutting me off.

“Maybe to your…” I looked the other mare over. “…I’ll assume less refined tastes,” I said.

“Refined? Pfft! That’s just another word for uptight,” the other pony remarked with a hoofwave. "I’m amazed half these high-and-mighty Canterlot elite can walk with their asses clenched so tightly together...”

I spat out my drink from her sudden use of vulgar language. After I'd made several apologies and wiping down the table with the napkin I’d asked for, I noticed the unicorn watching me and failing miserably to hold back a giggle fit that seemed to be just below the surface.

“I’m certainly glad you’ve found some merriment at this,” I said with an eyeroll.

“Should see it from my end. It’s not every day I see a pony do a genuine spit take!” the other mare replied. After a brief stare off, she looked down at her drink. “Sorry, you look and sound like things went down pretty awful. Figured I’d try my hoof at cheering you up,” she said.

Once more I was taken by surprise. Seconds ago, she was coming off a complete dullard, but now was showing me she just wanted to help… in her own rather obnoxious way, but still. “I see…”

“Hey, look. Why don’t we order some more rounds, and start from the beginning?” she asked with a grin, floating out some bits from her saddlebag. “On me if you’re willing to spill the story!”

After losing my first drink but not wishing to impose bad manners by turning down the kindness of strangers, even one as strange as this pony, I decided to humor her and accept. “Very well.”

“That’s the spirit! Two more of the same!” the unicorn cheered, getting a nod from the bartender as I prepared myself to vent. A part of me seemed to warn I shouldn’t lower myself to complaining so profusely in public, but on the other hoof, the upper-class ponies who had been desperate enough to come here in their current state weren’t being particularly discreet of their grievances either.

“Where to start,” I muttered as my next glass of champagne arrived, my new bar mate watching me at full attention.


“So things were going well… our orchestra had been giving its best performance yet, the guests were happy, but then… then, this childish dullard of a pony dressed like a walking birthday cake comes on the stage, insisting we play the Pony Pokey of all things! As she was to our understanding a guest of the Princess, and out of some hope it’d get her off the stage without causing a scene, we obliged,” I explained, feeling a little fuzzier in the head but still perfectly coherent enough. My tolerance to alcohol was rather high and I knew my limit… I think…

“And then I’m gonna guess things went from bad to worse?” the other mare asked.

“Oh, you have no idea!” I said bitterly, taking another drink from my glass. “Instead of leaving the stage, she begins prancing around and singing the bloody song like she were at a foal’s birthday party, bumping into us and sending me flat on my face when she grabbed me and tried to move my cello bow for me!” I protested. “I’ve never been so embarrassed! Everypony was watching!” I shivered, recalling all the stares and taking another sip, the unicorn taking a sip of her own drink before looking back at me.

“I heard the place got trashed. All this from a Pony Pokey round?” she asked, cocking her head.

“Oh, no. That was just the start of it,” I continued. Another sip. “Then she stage-dives a vending cart that had just been wheeled in, sending food all over the place and causing the Princess’s nephew to panic, knocking over a statue, which a pegasus attempting to catch it instead knocks into a column, causing a domino effect that destroys much of the ballroom…”

I swear she was trying not to laugh, but I felt too light in the head to properly scold her. It was around then I realized I should stop with the drinks and nudged my glass away as carefully as possible.

“So there we were, the Canterlot Orchestra, covered in dust and trying to salvage our instruments just as the Princess entered the room. And then… a most unbelievable thing happened,” I muttered, still in some disbelief at the nature of the final straw that had truly rendered the night impossible to save. “You recall saying I looked like I was attacked by the jungle?” I asked.


“Well, that’s more or less exactly what happened. Almost immediately after Princess Celestia arrived, a stampede of animals bursts into the room and nearly tramples everypony!” I stated.

“Wait, what?” my bar mate asks.

“You heard me. The entire Canterlot Garden’s animals just came bursting in, being chased by this hysterical pegasus that was screaming at them like she were completely mad!” I sighed, facehoofing. “After that, there was nothing left but to pick up whatever instruments of ours were still intact and leave as quickly as possible with as much dignity as we had left,” I let out a loud groan of frustration. My head felt fuzzy and light and I was still a mess from the whole incident. “Without a doubt the worst night of my life!” I muttered.

I felt a hoof gently touch my shoulder. “Feel better?” the other mare asked. Oddly, I did. Even with the alcohol in my system it did feel like some of the weight was off my back, now.

“I suppose I really did need to vent,” I said, sighing.

“We all do, sometimes!” the unicorn said, resuming her upbeat demeanor. “Name’s Vinyl Scratch, by the way! What’s yours?”

I sighed, rubbing my head a little with my forehoof to fight off the fuzziness. “Octavia. Octavia Melody,” I replied. “As you may have determined, I am the cellist of the Canterlot Orchestra, though it will take us some time to recover from this catastrophe.”

“Yeah, figured,” Vinyl replied. “But hey, pleasure to get your name! So does the name DJ PON-3 ring any bells?” she asked, looking at me like she was expecting the answer to be a yes. Unfortunately, she was about to be disappointed.

“No,” I replied.

“Aww, darn,” she said, ears drooping. “Then again, guess you don’t look the type who listens to my stuff.”

“And that would be...?” I asked.

“All the modern-age stuff!” she said proudly. “Techno, dubstep, the works! I do some disk jockey work at the Madmare Club. Nopony drops the beats like I do!”

“The Madmare Club? That place where all the noisy and uncouth colts and fillies trying to be… oh, what’s the word…” I pondered almost mockingly. “…hip and with it all go to? Nevermind that they’re only grinding their bodies to randomly mixed bursts of noise?” I asked.

“Hey, at least my audiences stay awake!” Vinyl replied, somehow undeterred by my response. “You oughta listen to my stuff once and awhile. It’d blow your mind, babe!”

“No doubt it would,” I replied. “So much so, that they’d be mopping the remains of my head off the walls and floor for days after.”

I had not expected Vinyl to burst into a fit of rather astoundingly joyous laughter in response to my criticism towards her apparent taste in music. Once she composed herself and apparently showed no concern for all the stares she got, the unicorn took another sip of her drink and smirked at me. “Wow, Tavi! You are a total riot! And here I thought the crowds you hung with didn’t have a sense of humor!”

Tavi? I suppose it was better then Octy. “That wasn’t a… don’t call me…” I muttered, the fuzziness hitting again as I felt my eyelids gain about fifty pounds each.

“Whoa, you alright?” she asked, helping me sit straight. “Look, you’ve had a pretty rough night, how about I get you home?”

“I don’t…” I muttered, sliding from the stool and admittedly, I did feel a little numb. Perhaps I had lost track of how much I had drank when I ranted. A much more sober part of my mind was relieved none of my fellow orchestra members were here to see me like this, and I hoped the high-society ponies here weren’t going to speak of me, as their night had been no better then mine.

“Here…” I heard Vinyl say as she dropped some bits on the table and suddenly used her magic to prop me onto her back and brought me outside, floating my cello case alongside us.

“Indulge me… what brings a mare of your particular type to a place like that?” I asked, looking back over at the place we’d just left. “Doesn’t it… bother you to think many of the ponies there may find you rather… out of place?” I asked as my speech began slowing.

“Pfft! Let ‘em!” Vinyl said with a chuckle. “I got the career I love and I make all the money I need on it. What do I have to be ashamed of? As for what brought me here, can't I enjoy some of the finer things every once and awhile?” she asked.

“Well, aren’t you oh-so-sure of yourself…” I muttered.

“Hey, which way to your place?” she asked, ignoring what I'd said.

“Hail a carriage, it's quite a distance,” I said, and she complied, helping me in and climbing in after.

“221 Mane Street, please,” I said, the ponies pulling giving a nod and taking us to our destination. “You didn’t need to come along, you know,” I told Vinyl as she got comfortable next to me.

“Hey, I let you drink and vent, I’m gonna make sure you get home okay,” she replied. I had to admit, while she was rather loud and obnoxious, she was also rather caring and considerate. “Gotta stay awake, though,” she said, nudging me a few times.

“How degrading this is… I can only hope it’s not in the gossip columns… and you didn’t have to do this…” I muttered, in hindsight the alcohol was likely talking for me. All I wanted to do now was sleep and I couldn’t.

“Hey, remember? I work at a club, I’ve seen like, way worse, and I know how to deal with cases like yours,” she said with a smirk. “And anypony starts trash-talking about you, they got me to answer to!” she added, swinging her hoof for emphasis.

“Lucky me,” I replied, facehoofing after when I realized how I’d just sounded. “Vinyl… I’m sorry. I shouldn’t talk that way to you… especially after going out of your way like this for somepony you barely know,” I said.

“It’s all cool, babe!” Vinyl replied. “I told you, I work at a club, you’re totally the most well-mannered drunk I’ve helped out!”

“I’ll have you know I’m not drunk! I’m merely… buzzed,” I said, fighting the drowsiness.

“Sorry. Just stay awake, alright? If I even think you’re about to fall asleep I’m makin’ you listen to my latest remix!” she said, grinning rather mischievously and immediately I felt a great deal more alert, or as much as I could afford to be so I could avoid that level of torture on my ears.


Before we knew it, I felt the carriage stop as they announced our arrival at my flat. I attempted to climb out, but I was still too light-headed to talk straight so Vinyl helped me. Floating my cello case out with her, she kept close and brought me to my door, gesturing to the carriage to wait up.

“Behind the knocker…” I muttered. Vinyl used her magic, tipping it aside and a key fell out that she floated to the keyhole and opened the door.

“Nice place you got here. A bit pristine for me, but it’s definitely got a cozy vibe to it!” she said, floating my cello case in and resting it near my plush sofa. “C’mon over here,” she ordered, and reluctantly I climbed onto the sofa, laying down immediately and taking full enjoyment of the soft surface I was now on.

“You have my… my thanks, Vinyl…” I said softly, trying to stay awake. “There’s certainly… more to you then I’d have… imagined.” Annoying modern music enthusiast one minute, caring pony looking out for my well-being the next…

“Likewise. You’re cooler then the usual Canterlot elite. You made me laugh, accepted the help of a “lowly cur” as they usually call me... Wouldn’t mind hangin’ again and see what else you got about you!” she said with a playful grin. “But just rest up, you didn’t have enough for a hangover so you should be good by the time you’re up again.”

I heard her trot over to me, her grin still there as she said something about a new café and that she’d love company.

“Sure, absolutely,” I said, stretching my hind legs and hugging the nearest pillow I had, not entirely paying attention.

“Cool,” she replied. “Seeya tomorrow at two, then! And don’t worry, they’re supposed to have all those fancy drinks that sound like they’re from Prance that you should be totally into," she explained. "In the meantime, you get some sleep, you look ready to pass out any second,” she said, heading out the door and closing it behind her.

“Strange mare…” I muttered to myself, “Sweet… means well… but so very strange…” I mused before alcohol-induced sleep overtook me.

Author's Note:

And I hope you all enjoyed this little break from Earth for when Tavi and Vinyl first met. Next time, we return to the present day once again for more mishaps.