• Published 20th Apr 2014
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On The Wings of Wind - Chazonic

When an adopted pegasus stallion with no memories of his early colthood travels to ponyville in search of his place, will he find the friendship he never knew existed? or will his secret be the ruin to his new life?

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Chapter 19 - Enter Regretful Manehatten

In hindsight, it was probably better for me that I had quit working at Sweet Apple Acres before all of this happened. Production in the band was incredibly time consuming in order for everything to go efficiently, considering the rather punishing deadline for the concert. It resulted in most of my time being spent in a basement suite enchanted with soundproof walls while attempting to match the timings of the previous songs as well as getting the new song up and running.

This meant quickly dealing with the wind currents, finally bothering to get the weekly wind schedule mailed to me directly, then rushing to the suite to write (being the lead singer, even a replacement, also meant writing new songs) and/or practice songs before heading home, occasionally picking up food for the house, rinse and repeat.

I haven't seen Applejack since my sudden blackout in the middle of the street. I was scared by what she had done to me on top of the resentment I used to have against her.

Yes... used to...

The other band members quickly found out what had happened between me and my 'friends', much to my initial dismay and eventual despair. The remained supportive of me in my singing and song writing endeavors, yet they kept talking to me about it...

Two days after joining

"Hey Zephyr?"

"Hm?" I look up from my desk to see Electron Note approaching me. Out of all the band members, her and Burst Mic were the only ones I really connected with. Strings was usually "business only" talk despite his friendly demeanor, Iron only said a few words occasionally, and Snare reminded me too much of Rainbow Dash to be comfortable around her.

"I've noticed how you still seem out of it, even after Burst's pep-talk yesterday."

I yawn. "Sorry about that. Never realized how tiring all of this actually is. You guys certainly have your work cut out for you."

She raises an eyebrow before sighing. "While that might be true, I can tell that's not the real reason for your... condition. Hay, Snare can be tactless, yet even she can tell your behavior isn't purely due to nervousness." I give her a curious look as she pauses. "Is this got something to do with your friends?"

My anger flared up briefly before I extinguished it, though I must of shown it as Electron took a small step back. "That isn't something I want to talk about right now."

"Zephyr... bottling it up isn't going to help you--"

I gave her an irritated look. "Just forget about it, ok? We've got bigger things to worry about."

Electron gave a defeated sigh before wandering back to her equipment. Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed Iron staring at me rather intently, though I brushed it off and continued with the lyrics of the new song.

Five days after joining

"Zephyr... can we talk?"

I look up to see Burst standing in front of the desk, giving me a worried look.

"Depends on the subject. Want the truth or do you want me to lie to you?" I occasionally try to be humorous, although it more than often fell flat on it's face.

"The truth. I talked to Pinkie the other day about your recent behavior."

I groan. "My behavior isn't anything to write home about."

"Even if it's dealing with what happened between you and your friends on your birthday?"

For the first time, I actually resented Pinkie for being herself. "That... has nothing to--"

"Getting angry at your friends for trying to throw you a surprise birthday party?" I glare at him, yet he stood resolute. "You do realize they were trying to do something nice for you. Even if they went about it the wrong way."

"That's because they practically made me relive a part of my colthood I wish to forget. Foals always abandoned me even when they claimed to be my friends and it constantly haunted me, to the point of dropping out of high school!" Slamming my hooves on the desk, I added, "when I moved here and they actually became my friends, I thought nothing in the past would affect me anymore. Them doing what they did... it destroyed me!"

"Does that change the fact you blew them off because you refused to see their good intentions?" I recoiled a bit as he sighed. "You accentuated all of the negatives during their attempt to make you happy and never bother seeing the positives of their final result. Weren't you supposed to believe in the fact that they would never try to consciously hurt you?"

I started chewing on my cheek as I processed his words. He shook his head. "We'll talk more about that later, there's also the matter with Electron."

"Did something happen to her?"

"No, but she was a bit depressed after she tried talking to you a while back. She talked to you because she was worried about you, Zephyr. To her, you were in a downward spiral of emotion, yet you blew her off like she had invaded your privacy.

"If we are to make this up coming concert to be a success, we need to be in top form as a team and as friends. Communication is vital for for any relationship to work, yet if you keep shutting us out it's going to fall apart." He looked at me with a bit of pleading in his eyes. "We need you to be honest with us, Zephyr. Not only do you keep driving us away, you're hurting yourself by bottling your feelings."

"I... I didn't mean to..."

Looking at the clock he said, " again, we'll talk later. In the meantime, you should think about what's happened thus far with a different perspective." With that, he leaves me with my very conflicted thoughts.

True to Burst's word, he kept talking to me about my problem. Electron often accompanied him after I apologized profoundly to her for my behavior and even Snare had pitched in her two bits occasionally.

All it served to do was turn my resentment into a bottomless pit of regret. Even after I realized my horrible mistake, they kept trying to reassure me that everything would be fine if I talked to them about it.

Despite that, I couldn't bring myself to do it. I was the one who refused to accept their gesture. I was the one who never gave them a chance after the fact. I even started avoiding Pinkie Pie again because of how unworthy I felt, as cliche as that sounds.

Everything they've done for me... everything I've done for them was rendered pointless...

They didn't lose ME as a friend. I lost THEM. Let the punishment fit the crime I suppose.

It was thanks to that I finished the new song we were going to sing as the concerts closing act, lyrics and melodies alike. They say an artist's greatest work comes through their suffering. I could only hope that's even remotely true for me.

With the new song written and the other two songs down, the last four days was spent on the newest song.

Getting on the train to Manehatten the day before the concert was probably the closest I've come to a complete nervous breakdown. I knew that most ponies would be heading there the day before in order to be there when it first starts.

This meant I ran a high chance of running into my former friends boarding and/or exiting the train since we somehow got a high-class train cart all to ourselves.

"Geez dude, are you going to sit in that corner for the entire trip?" Snare apparently checked to make sure I was still there. I had taken to shivering in the corner after I got a brief glance at Rainbow Dash's tail in the boarding crowd. I WAS recovering a bit emotionally, but I'll never be rid of my overwhelming guilt, despite what everypony tells me.

"Just... let me know when we're there. I'd rather not risk anything."

"No can do, boss. Burst wanted to see you in his compartment for one second." She giggled before adding, "no offence but you're still too green under the collar to be my boss. I guess if you 'cornered' me about it, I'd relent." Apparently she's trying her hoof at bad puns as well.

"Hah... point taken." Feeling a bit better, I went to see Burst. Electron was already there with Iron and Strings.

"Glad to see you haven't completely lost your nerve, Zephyr. We were just discussing what we were going to do for the rest of today after unpacking."

I thought for a moment before facehooving over something I almost forgot. "I just remembered that I need to visit my mom first and foremost. I got a letter from her two days ago and she wanted to see me before the concert. I was just wondering... do you guys mind coming with me? I-I mean... If you... um... want to."

Snare laughed as Electron and Strings shook their heads in amusement. That was when Snare said, "look at him being bashful." She stopped laughing when she saw Iron's withering glare. "Though... with your emotional roller coaster, I can't blame you."

Electron gave me a thoughtful look. "I don't mind. I just want to relax until the concert. Besides, I want to meet your mom which would most likely be a pleasant visit."

Burst looked at the other members for acceptance before looking at me again. "Seems we really are a passive band despite what we sing. Hope your mom will have rival band members under her roof."

I shook my head. "She should be ok with it. She WAS a freelance singer before her current band."

"Then that's the plan."

The hotel we were staying at was in close proximity to where the concert was being held, Times Circle. Normally it charges out the nose for decent rooms, but bands get in free of charge and VIP ticket holders can get in at a discount. Despite the price, most ponies tried to check in for the convenience of being among the first to get in when the 'gates' open.

Our suite supported six ponies and was on the top floor, giving quite a view over the Circle and city.

Unfortunately for my heart, I heard the girls and fillies move into the next door room. At this point, I felt like Celestia was taunting me. Getting out of the hotel without seeing them was a stroke of luck. Snare kept telling me to "pony up" and talk to them, but I kept declining.

Iron's stare didn't really help my situation...

It didn't take long to find mom's place considering her house's proximity to the Circle. It also didn't take long for her to respond after I knocked.

Her eyes lit up as she saw me. "Zephyr, your here!"

"Hi mom..." I give her a big hug, partially feeling guilty over being a bit harsh in my last letter to her when I told her off.

"Who are your friends?" She looked at my band mates curiously.

Burst stepped forward. "Your son is a temporary part of our band. I'm Burst Mic." he held out his hoof

Mom raised an eyebrow as she shook hooves. "I've heard of a band that had gotten a temporary replacement. That's you foals, huh?" She shook her head in amusement. "I'll get the details later. For now, why don't you come in? I was about to start making dinner."

Electron widened her eyes. "Oh no, we wouldn't want to impose."

Mom simply laughed. "I insist. It's the least I can do to thank you for taking in my son, even if he's only temporary." I blush at her words, earning a chuckle from Snare and Strings.

Burst smiled. "Thank you for your kindness, Mrs. Earthwing."

She waves a hoof dismissively. "Call me Harpsong. And all of you are always welcome in my house."

"I should probably bring this up since you're here and all."

I look up from my plate full of daisy steak with peas and mashed potatos. Why she had this much daisy steak in stock, I'll never know. Mom's seem to work in mysterious ways.

"What might that be?" Strings had already finished his meal.

"There have been some changes to how this concert is going to work and since all of you got here today, I feel I should give you the run-down. First and foremost; it's confirmed that there's a total of twelve bands playing this concert."

Electron put a hoof to her chin. "Explains why a lot of ponies kept stating this would be the biggest concert in a long time. Most concerts have three or four bands tops."

Mom nodded. "Exactly, and a normal concert wouldn't be able to handle everything. The authorities decided to split all the bands into three separate buildings, each with a few different genres set to play in said buildings." She gives all of us a smile. "Your band and mine got stuck in the same building. Hope you don't mind."

I don't know about the rest, but as long as the other two bands don't sing the only country music in the concert, my chances of seeing Applejack again is slim.

Snare waved her hoof dismissively. "I honestly think that's a better way of doing it. In the past, they organized concerts for specific genre's, but more than once, fans of one type of music had to sit through other types because the ponies behind the scenes were too lazy to split them up."

Strings nodded. "Plus this is also a way around the time limitation of one day to have everypony sing their songs."

"This brings me to the next change." Mom put her hooves on the table. "While the original plan of three songs per band is still there, they're making the last songs sung, all of the NEW songs, a part of a contest of sorts on the biggest stage."

This got Snare's attention. "What's the prize?"

"The top three bands get tickets to the Grand Galloping Gala." Snare deflated a little. "First place gets brand new music equipment of the best kind on TOP of a large sum of bits. Second place simply gets a lot of bits and... a boat."

This dumbfounded me. "A boat? Seriously? Who in Equestria is going to find use for a boat besides ponies living next the the oceans?"

Burst shakes his head. "You'd be surprised." I facehoof.

"... Third place?" There's Iron. He has a deep voice, yet it doesn't have an edge to it. Deep, yet soft is the only way I can describe it.

"Third place gets... even less bits and that's it. The other nine bands get restaurant gift cards as a consolation prize, with dead last getting a booby prize on top of it." Snare snickers and gets a look from Electron, much to my confusion.

"Having a new song judged in a contest... talk about pressure, especially for Zephyr," Strings stated with worry.

Mom looks at me surprised. "You wrote a song? I can't wait to hear it." She giggles nervously. "Though now would probably be a bad time to mention Princess Luna will be there for the contest."

I huff. "No, you'll mention it anyways. Still, that means we can kiss a top three position good-bye."

Burst shook his head. "Remember, Luna has been away for... a thousand years? Still boggles my mind when I think about it."

Electron rolled her eyes. "That could go one of two ways: She's either hung onto what she liked from before she was banished or she is leaving herself blank to see which of today's music pleases her the most."

Snare put her hooves behind her head. "I don't see the issue. We play like we always do and let fate decide our... well fate."

"Your speech was so inspirational it's moved me to tears..." I say while sarcastically clapping my hooves. Everypony laughs as Snare gives me a death glare.

Burst clears his throat. "Thank you for the info, Harpsong. It's getting late, so we should head back to our room. Big day tomorrow after all."

Mom nods. "See you back-stage tomorrow. May the best band win!"

"I'm going to be behind you guys so don't wait up," I whisper to Electron and Burst, who nod. I wait as the rest of the band files out before turning to my mother.

"What's troubling you, Dear?"

I sigh before hugging her again. "I'm sorry... for being harsh on you in my last letter. I was in emotional distress at the time."

"It's alright, Zephyr. I understand; whatever happened must of been huge for it to have messed up your writing so much."

My writing then wasn't THAT bad!

"Of course, write like that again to your mother... and I will have to take drastic measures!" The way she said it made me cover my head with my wings in fear. This was the exact reason why I feared talking to the girls--

"Just kidding!"

Harpsong you magnificent troll mother you, I've heard your MUSIC...

I swear I've heard something similar to that before.

"Give me a heart attack why don't you?" Mom's still to busy laughing her flank off on the floor.

"I'm sorry but that was just perfect!" Her laughter died down as she got back up. "In all seriousness, you should probably catch up to your band mates."

"Right. Love you, mom!"

"Love you too, sweetie."

All that was left was to sneak back into the hotel and get rest for tomorrows concert. Sadly, when everypony in my room went to sleep, I could hear the girls talking a bit about me...

I drew my head under the covers.

All the hurtful things Rainbow and Applejack are saying... the snooty comments from rarity...

The silence from Twilight, Pinkie, and Fluttershy...

I deserve it.

Harpsong settled down in her bed as she eagerly anticipated the next day. She wanted to hear her son sing for a band for the first time and the very thought made her restless...

Until something she had forgotten about suddenly hit her.

"His letter said I shouldn't divulge information like that to Twilight Sparkle... I don't remember sending her any letters."

Author's Note:

Hopefully this has me back on track. I played this chapter by ear, as I've never been on 'emotional roller coasters' before, especially like this. Hopefully my attempt wasn't too cringe-worthy.

Once again, any typos, suggestions, or possible fixes are greatly appreciated.

... I really should be doing my homework instead of this. :twilightoops: :rainbowderp:

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