• Published 10th Jun 2014
  • 1,207 Views, 35 Comments

Hoe Down - Talon and Thorn

Octavia isn't finding it very easy to adjust to her new life in Ponyville. The place is full of crazy ponies! How will she cope when the inhabitants decide to throw a part in her and her fellow element bearers honour? A Cadenceverse story.

  • ...

The Ballad of Tavi and Mac

Several dances later, Octavia had lost count of the precise number, she was feeling rather overheated. The warmth generated by so many energetic ponies in a relatively small area was overwhelming and had left her panting. Despite the lightness of her heart she felt she needed a few moment to rest her tired hooves. So apologizing to her current partner, she didn’t know his name, she staggered out of the dance floor to try and get a few breaths of fresh air. She considered loosening her tie but that seemed to be a little too informal. An unknown aura levitated a glass into her hoof and she gratefully downed it without thinking. The tingling in her mouth returned, it was cider. To her surprise it tasted good, she had never been a big drinker and when she did it was normally wine. She generally preferred to abstain, although Pageturner had occasionally dragged her from her rooms to socialise with the other students. Of course, Octavia now knew that her assistant had been desperately trying to get her to make friends, without success. Still this cider did have an interesting taste, although she should probably pace herself. Then the crowd seemed to open up in front of her and a familiar red stallion was visible. Mac seemed to be trying to push his way through the crush without actually touching any other pony. Octavia felt her pulse race as he drew near, his jacket highlighted his barrel chest and his mane had been styled drawing her eyes to his face, she found herself trying to count his freckles. Her hoof shot out to grasp another drink automatically pouring it down her throat.

“Evening Miss Octavia,” mumbled Big Mac as he drew close, his eyes fixed on the floor.

“Good evening Mr Macintosh,” said somepony, it took a second for Octavia to realise it was her.

“Saw you dancing... good,” muttered Macintosh, his supply of words seeming to dry up.

“Tha.. thank you.”

“Would...” Sweat started to pour from Mac’s brow.


“Would...” repeated the stallion his jaw seemingly stuck.

“Yes?” said Octavia hopefully leaning forwards slightly.

“Enope,” cried Mac suddenly turning and fleeing through the crowd.

Octavia’s face fell as she saw the stallion push his way through the crowd away from her.

A short distance away Caramel facehoofed.

Lyra sat staring up at the dance floor as Bon Bon was being spun around by a purple maned mare wearing a gleaming white cowpony costume inlaid with rhinestones. She let out a long sigh as she saw her lady gracefully cavorting about.

“Why don’t you just ask her to dance?” asked Octavia standing next to her, her romantic ambitions, not that she had any, might not be fulfilled but she could at least help her friend. “It won’t mean anything, everypony is dancing with everypony else.”

“It would mean everything to me,” murmured Lyra. “But no, to properly court my lady I must do everything in the right order, she deserves no less. I cannot dance with her yet.”

“Do whatever rules you’re following say anything about when in your relationship you should save the world for her?”

Lyra thought for a moment. “Well no,” she admitted, “But I must carry out mighty deeds for her anonymously.”

“Does it specifically say when you should deal with the twin tyrants?”


“I would say that was above just a mighty deed, it was almost super equine. I think you might deserve a single dance for that, don’t you?”

“Well,” she looked longingly up at Bon Bon. “Maybe...”

“Thank of it as a reward for a job well done,” said Octavia pushing a little harder. She was sure Bon Bon would enjoy a dance with Lyra and it could be part payment for the various difficulties she had heaped upon her landlady.

“I don’t know...”

In front of them the dance came to an end and Rarity and Bon Bon curtseyed to each other. “Excuse me Rarity,” said Octavia striding onto the floor, “Can I have this dance?”

“Of course Lady Philharmonica,” said the designer looking pleased.

Bon Bon looked around for a moment and Octavia gazed significantly between Lyra and her.

Screwing up her courage the mint mare stepped onto the floor and faced Bon Bon. “May I have this dance?” she asked.

“Oh, of course,” replied Bon Bon with a smile that almost caused Lyra’s legs to melt. Octavia swore she almost heard a ‘squee!’ sound as the unicorn smiled.

The bard stepped forwards and put an arm gently around her lady.

“You can grip a little tighter you know. I won’t break, plus I don’t want us to fly apart once we get going.”

“Indeed, once we start I would want us to stay together, forever,” murmured Lyra as the music started up again.

“Would you like a drink?” asked Octavia gesturing with her glass to Vinyl. She had just gotten away from the dance floor again and had felt the need to hydrate. She might have been just a little more tipsy than she thought as the glass sloshed a little throwing some of the drink to the ground. There was something about the cider than was a little bit moreish.

“Just the lemonade for me thanks,” replied Vinyl. “I don’t touch anything harder before my set. I can’t perform to my best if I’m buzzed. Course once I’m done I’m going to party like it’s going out of fashion.”

“What do you mean your set?”

“You’ll see, it shouldn’t be much longer now.” Octavia frowned, it was getting rather late, may of the foals and ponies with families had already left although it didn’t seem to have deadened the mood any, hordes of ponies were still swinging across the dance floor. “Hey, did I see you with Mac earlier?”

“He began to talk to me but he suddenly needed to be somewhere else,” said Octavia scowling.

“Yeah, well he’s just shy. I’ll see if I can help him work up his courage.”

“Please don’t try to get him drunk.”

“Hey, I have other weapons in my arsenal. You’ll see.”

“Alright everypony,” called Applejack from the stage. “Now the band needs a bit of a rest you’ve plum tuckered them out.” There was a round of boos from the crowd. “Don’t worry they’ll be back in a bit, but we got something a little different for you to pass the time. Our very own element of Magic, DJ-PON3 is going to take over for a while!”

“Vinyl?” asked Octavia.

“Applejack asked me to fill in. I hold raves here sometimes so I’ve got some equipment here,” her horn glowed and lifted the tarpaulin off of the shape at the back of the stage revealing a turntable and a number of speakers she quickly spread out.

There was a grumble from the back of the hall. “We came here for a hoe down, not some modern nonsense,” came a cry. There were some boos against the comment.

How rude through Octavia, she was no fan of her friend’s musical style but she would never be as crass as to point it out in front of the crowd of fans.

“Well this here is ma, and these girls, party, so I can have whatever music I want,” called Applejack gesturing at the element bearers. “It’ll last less than an hour, if you don’t like it you can go for a walk for a bit, maybe get something to eat, we got plenty left.”

“Hey Red,” called the stallion to Red Tape, “Can’t you get her shutdown? You ain’t no fan of Vinyl.”

“Applejack has an entertainment licence and none of us paid, she can play whatever she wants,” replied the Bureaucrat getting to his hooves a little unsteadily. “Unless Vinyl’s equipment is dangerous in some way, my hooves are tied.”

“You’re free to check it all Reddy,” cried Vinyl from behind her turntable, her horn began to glow as she powered up the equipment. Red made his way through the crowd and came to a stop in front of the speakers. His horn in turn glowed red and there was a burst of feedback from the speaker stacks making much of the audience jump. The two unicorns talked quietly for about ten minutes as they tested the equipment. Red getting more and more worked up while Vinyl had a small smirk on her face.

Finally Red announced defeat. “I can see no legal reason why Vinyl cannot play her ‘music’ here,” he admitted.

“Come on, there must be something you can do,” said the original complainer.

“I don’t like it any more than you do,” he shrugged, “But I don’t have any choice. Rules are rules and Vinyl’s equipment meets all of them. Like Applejack said I suggest we just go get something to eat for a while.”

“Thanks Reddy,” yelled Vinyl her voice amplified by magic causing the stallion to jump. “Now that I’ve been certified as safe and all the fuddy duddies are off to stuff their faces, are you ready to PART-IE?”

“YES!” came the reply from the crowd.

“I can’t hear you!”

“YES!” roared the crowd.

Pinkie pie bounced up and down almost hitting her head on the roof, “Yes, yes, yes, yes!” she cried.

“Oh no,” thought Octavia as the ‘music’ started.

Octavia was not a fan of Vinyl’s ‘music’, even covering her ears it still thudded its repetitive beat through her. Still the white mare was still her friend so she tried her best to grin and bear it, hopefully it would be over soon anyway. So she made her way to the back of the barn where the noise was just about bearable. The majority of the ponies present didn’t seem to agree with her view of Vinyl’s music and were happily throwing themselves around the floor.

Off to one side she noticed Red Tape surrounded by a number of empty glasses staring up morosely at Lyra threw herself around the dance floor.

“Not enjoying yourself?” asked Applejack. The party’s host was chewing her way through a few apples as she waited for Vinyl’s set to end.

“I would not say that,” said Octavia, “But Vinyl and myself have rather different tastes in music.”

“I hear that, I’m afraid I’m not much of a fan of your classical music.”

Octavia bit her tongue, only a few days ago she would have considered Applejack deluded in her beliefs but now she could try to see the orange pony’s point of view. “I suppose each pony has their own preferences,” she managed.

“True, true,” nodded Applejack watching the dancing crowd.

“If fact the princess has asked me to study Ponyville musical styles, maybe I could talk to you about this music more later?”

“I don’t see why not, I play a little fiddle myself. I’m not as good as cousin Fiddlesticks of course.” She nodded towards the yellow mare then frowned and looked back at Octavia. “How the heck didn’t I notice that before?” she mumbled.

“Notice what?” asked Octavia.

“Uh, nothing. Now course if you really want to understand music you gotta learn to play it not just talk about it.”

“I... I believe you are right,” said Octavia in surprise, why hadn’t she thought of that.

“We’ll I suppose I can try and give you a few lessons, I’m sure you’ll pick it up quick enough, your cello ain't anything but a big fiddle after all.”

Octavia struggled to stop herself pointing out how wrong that statement was. “That is very kind of you,” she managed.

“It’s nothing after what you did for Equestria.”

Shuffling slightly Octavia decided to try and broach and uncomfortable subject while she had time with Applejack. “Applejack, I would like to apologize for my actions during the equinox. I should not have stopped Bon Bon from hosting her own stall, it was good of you to share your space with her and I know it must have hurt your own takings.”

Applejack chewed over the matter for a moment. “You’re right you shouldn’t have, but it’s mighty big of you to admit it. So I forgive you. Put it there.” She held out an arm.

Octavia gazed at Applejack’s hoof warily for a moment before linking arms with the farm pony who shook it vigorously almost knocking Octavia over.

“Thank you,” said Octavia holding her aching arm out for a moment, then her ears pricked up as the sound of the ‘music’ suddenly reduced. She looked over to Vinyl who was propped up behind her turntable grinning as always.

“It’ almost time for DJ-PON3 to go,” cried Vinyl over a chorus of boos. “But for my last tune I’d like to try something a little different. I know some of you out there are crazy enough to not enjoy my wubs.” She made a face. “So I thought I’d try something new, something a little bit country and a little bit rock and roll. So I’d like you all to stomp your feet for Fiddlesticks.” The yellow mare with the fiddle from before walked onto the stage and bowed. “And while I’m at I’d like to take the time to spread a little looovvveee.” A beam of light shot out from her horn illuminating Big Mac where he was hiding at the back of the barn, he stopped gently swaying from side to side to the beat and his eyes began to shoot from side to side as if looking for an escape. “Now I’ve been told that a certain somepony wants to dance with a certain red stallion but they're too shy to ask each other.”

Octavia felt her cheeks burn, it felt as if the eyes of a whole barn full of ponies were on her. What was Vinyl doing? she thought, she couldn’t think this would actually attract her shy suitor could she? Next to her Applejack began to seethe, “What does she think she’s doing?” she demanded. “Picking on Mac like that!”

“So these beats go out to the two of you,” continued Vinyl nodding to Fiddlesticks who brandished her instrument and began to play while Vinyl sang, a heavy beat thudding from her equipment.”

If it hadn't been for Apple eyed Mac
She'da left town and not come back
Why don't cha speak out? Why holdback?
Who do you dream of Apple eyed Mac?

The whole party took up the cry again and again whooping and hollering as they cavorted across the floor. Mac still caught in the unicorn generated sport light tried to join in but it was clear his heart wasn’t in it. Octavia felt pity for him, couldn’t Vinyl see how nervous he was?

He came to town like a Hearth's Warming storm,
Ploughed all our fields, so strong, bright and warm
His muscle was his tool and his smile like the sun
But there’s more to life than apples, just have fun!

Mac’s eyes locked with Octavia’ across the room and for a moment she thought that the large stallion might actually act upon Vinyl’s prompting but he broke the gaze and turned away.

He broke hearts wherever he went
No mare could resist him, they all did lament
What shall we do now? We can’t go back
None could compare to Apple eyed Mac

Several mares detached themselves from the crowd and draped themselves over Mac’s form making him look even more uncomfortable than previously and bringing a sharp stab of jealousy to Octavia’s heart.

If it hadn't been for Apple eyed Mac
She'da left town and not come back
Why don't cha speak out? Why holdback?
Who do you dream of Apple eyed Mac?

As the final chorus died down and the music came to an end an expectant hush passed over the crowd as all eyes seemed to settle on Mac. He looked for a moment like we would faint away where he stood but instead he turned on his heels and rushed out of the barn as quickly as he could.

On the stage Applejack moved over to replace Vinyl giving the white mare the stink eye as she passed. “Well now that DJ-PON3 has done quite enough for the night I think we should get back to some less interferin’ music. Let's all stomp our hooves for the band as we start our next dance the flower of Ponyville...”

“Vinyl! What did you do?” hissed Octavia as she met the DJ coming off of the stage.

“Tried to give Mac a little push,” said Vinyl wiping her brow and levitated a glass over. “Not sure why it didn’t work though. Who wouldn’t want a song in their honour?”

“Someone who isn’t an egomaniac? From what I’ve seen Mac is shy, he doesn’t want a lot of ponies staring at him, he isn’t you.”

“Oh! Sorry Octy, I guess he’d never work up the nerve to talk to you in such a crowded place,” said Vinyl in mock surprise.

“Yes. I feel sorry for him, he’s probably mortified.”

“I suppose somepony should go and out and make sure he’s alright out there with only the stars for comfort, all alone, by himself.”

“Yes, you should.”

“I wasn’t thinking of me, those stars can be rather romantic don’t you think?”

Octavia glared at her grinning friend for a moment, then slowly the bit dropped. “Oh.”

“Yep, now run along Octy, your bit of rough is waiting.”

“But what if I don’t...,” she grimaced for a moment before turning and rushing to the door.

“Just call me the DJ of Looovvveee,” muttered Vinyl to herself as she watched her friend go.

Octavia stepped out into the cool night air and took a deep breath her eyes swinging around for a sign of the red stallion she had been pursuing. Her head was buzzing from the heat of so many bodies dancing together, the noise of the music and she suspected maybe just a little too much of the Apples hard cider. Her ears twitched as she heard a soft moan from off to one side. Brow creasing with confusion she following the sound and turned a corner to find two pegasus mares embracing. Their mouths were locked together, tongues duelling violently. As Octavia watched open mouthed the mare with her back to her pulled her head back before starting to nibble her way down the others wing. Giving a growl of pleasure the other mare rested her head on her partner's shoulder, her blue coat standing out against the other mare’s blond mane, and her eyes fluttered open before locking onto Octavia’s and a look of panic flashing over her face.

With a whoosh of displaced air the blue mare shot into the air so quickly she almost seemed to leave a flickering image behind. Surprised the other mare staggered forwards for a moment before a quick twitch of her wings turned the move into a flip, for a moment she hovered upside down staring at Octavia before, face glowing, she also fled, at a much slower rate, in the same direction as the first pegasus.

Octavia blushed, hoping that she would not get a reputation as a voyeur. Still it looked like Dash and Ditzy had taken Lyra’s advice. Now maybe she should take Vinyl’s, turning towards the orchards that dotted most of the landscape she noticed a single moving figure amongst them and started to gallop towards it, before remembering herself and slowing to a more stately pace.

She found Big Mac leaning against a tree methodically smashing his head against it while intoning, “Stupid, Stupid, Stupid.”

Octavia took a moment to straighten her dress before stepping into the stallion’s line of sight, she winced at the amount of damage he seemed to have done to the tree. “Mr Macintosh,” she said watching his eyes suddenly go wide before dropping to the ground.

“Miss,” he mumbled.

“I should apologize for Vinyl’s behaviour, she did not mean to embarrass you so much.”

“Enope, not her fault. Just don’t like folks staring.”

“I hope I am not being too forward, but your looks are rather striking.”

“Just a big lump,” muttered the stallion shying away.

Octavia stepped forwards. “You should not say that about yourself, you are an attractive stallion, very attractive.”

The stallion raised his head making eye contact for the first time. Octavia blushed.

“Thanks Miss. The foals at school didn’t think so.”

“School?” she asked.

“Never did fit in, too different, too big.”

“Oh! Well you are not a foal anymore, you are a grown stallion. Very much a stallion,” she muttered before shaking herself out of her revelry. “Now was there something you wanted to say to me earlier?” she asked hopefully.

“Errr, eyup.”

“Yes?” she took another step forwards, she was only a few feet away now and she swore she could feel his body radiating heat into the chill air.

Big Mac’s mouth opened but no sound emerged, his gaze dropped again.

“Yes?” asked Octavia again beginning to get frustrated.

“Not good with words... Sorry.”

Octavia sighed, maybe this was for the best. There was obviously a physical attraction, he was a tall, chiselled, muscular, mouth wateringly attractive stallion but did they really have anything further than that in common? The state of her hormones was not a good basis to build a relationship on, and had he really shown any sign that he reciprocated her feelings? She could well be making a complete foal of herself. “I am sorry I have disturbed you Mr Macintosh, I really should be getting back to the party. I wish you a good night.” She turned and slowly started to make her way back to the barn.

Watching her go Big Mac took a step forwards then stopped one hoof held out towards her. He opened his mouth but again words refused to come. Stamping angrily at the ground he closed his eyes and opened his mouth again. To Octavia’s surprise singing washed over her from behind. She turned slowly open mouthed to check that the sound was actually emanating from the stallions mouth. Gone was his previous nervousness he stood tall although his eyes were screwed up tight. Octavia found that her legs seemed to have turned to jelly and she slumped to the ground, her mind completely blank apart from the words flowing into it. Finally almost a minute after Max had finished singing she found she could speak again.

“That... that was beautiful. I did not know you could sing like that,” she said in astonishment.

“Singin’s easier than speaking,” he explained.

“Mac, I... I am not looking for a suitor now, I am just settling in and although you are handsome, very handsome,” her voice trailed off as she became distracted, admiring his apple cutie mark and thinking how nice it would be to just bite into it. She shook herself, yes she’d definitely had too much to drink.

“You’re pretty too.”

She blushed. “Thank you. But what I am saying is that I do not see our relationship going far at this time but... butwouldyouliketodance?” she squeaked.

Mac nodded his head bobbing up and down in a blur. “Eeyup.”

A wide smile broke across Octavia's face and she shivered slightly not entirely due to the temperature. Mac stepped forwards gently hesitantly raising a forearm before gently placing it over her shoulder. She could feel the vast muscles moving under his skin despite the minimal force he was using, she was sure he could crush her if he so chose, but still it made her feel oddly safe. Without further words the two of them made their way back to the barn.

Author's Note:

Right that my shipping quota for the year (in the Cadenceverse anyway, I'm still working on Climbing the Mountain for the Lunaverse). I really like Octavia and Mac as a low key couple. I wouldn't expect wedding bells any time soon but they might enjoy spending some time together every so often.

As always comments are appreciated