• Published 20th Jun 2014
  • 5,271 Views, 228 Comments

First Impressions - Terrasora

Octavia and Vinyl, childhood friends, begin their years of study in Canterlot Conservatory.

  • ...

Meetings in Canterlot Conservatory

There is a certain amount of comfort in knowing another student in a new school. It is not the simplest matter to make friends, even to a species as naturally friendly as ponies, and the value of having at least one person to confide in cannot be overstated.

Octavia Philharmonica, however, was seriously beginning to question this value.

“Tavi, stop moving so much! That was comfortable!”

“Go find a pillow!”

“But you’re my pillow!”

“Get away from me, Vinyl!” Octavia placed a hoof on Vinyl Scratch’s forehead, making sure to avoid her horn, and pushed.

Vinyl struggled forward, hooves flailing but unable to reach the other mare. “Let me love you!”

Octavia pushed one more time, managing to send Vinyl sprawling onto her back and earning a moment of respite. The grey mare huffed, smoothing her mane back and adjusting her bowtie.

“Honestly, Vinyl,” she began, “would you give me a moment?”

Vinyl sat up, rubbing at her forehead. “Sure. And then can we hug and stuff?”

Octavia let out an exasperated sigh. “I see that you haven’t changed at all.”

Vinyl grinned, lifting her shades and revealing the bright red eyes that Octavia remembered so well. “Is that a bad thing?”

“I-I,” stuttered Octavia. “Well, I meant that—”

“MIss Scratch,” came a voice from the door. Harmonia Philharmonica stood at the doorway. “You haven’t unpacked your room.”

Octavia blanched at the sight of her sister, quickly retreating to a more suitable distance from Vinyl.

“Do I have to do that right now, Harmonia?” groaned Vinyl. “I’m hanging out with Tavi!”

“Professor Philharmonica,” corrected Harmonia with a slight frown. “And yes, you do.”

“Well, can she help?”

“Your room is your responsibility, Miss Scratch, not Miss Philharmonica’s.”

Vinyl pouted, slowly climbing to her hooves. “You used to be cool, Harmonia,” she grumbled.

Harmonia rolled her eyes. “Professor Philharmonica. And go clean your room.”

Vinyl Scratch put her shades back into place, still grumbling as she made her way out of Octavia’s room. Harmonia followed, poking her head out of the doorway. Vinyl turned around midway down the hall, saw that Harmonia was still watching her, stuck out her tongue, then continued on to her room.

“You didn’t seem surprised to see her,” noted Octavia. “Either in the hallway or in here.”

“This is my floor, Octavia, I know every student staying here.”

“It would have been a simple matter to warn me that Vinyl would be a few doors down.”

Harmonia arched an eyebrow. “ ‘Warn you’? I would have thought that you’d enjoy it. A pleasant surprise to have your marefriend so close.”

Octavia turned slightly pink. “She’s not my marefriend, just an old friend. I’m tired of you calling her that, Harmonia.”

“Professor Philharmonica.”


“In any case,” continued Harmonia, “as both your teacher and your sister, I hope that Vinyl won’t become a distraction to you. Not to mention that she’s two years younger than you are.”

“Long Play’s a few years younger than you are,” Octavia reminded her.

“Long Play and I are not students.” A slight pause. “And that’s besides the point! What does that have to do with anything?!” Harmonia had matched her sister’s earlier blush.

Octavia smiled. “Forgive me, Harmonia, but I’m keeping Harpo waiting.”

“For the last time, it’s Professor Philharmonica when we’re on campus!”


Harpo Parish Nadermane stood outside of the girl’s dormitory, ogling the passing students and trying to make it seem as though he wasn’t. However, he wasn’t doing a very good job of it.

“Harpo,” said Octavia as she came out of the dormitory, “stop ogling the students.”

“I’m not! I would never.”

“You most definitely are.”

“Well, just a little. Is it just me or is everyone in this university absolutely gorgeous?”

“It’s just you.”

Harpo smirked, running a hoof through his mane. “Why Octavia, I never knew that you saw me in that way. I’m flattered.”

Octavia sighed. “I walked right into that one.”

“Don’t feel bad, I’m far too witty for my own good.” Harpo’s eyes trailed after a group of upperclassponies, his neck craning slightly as they passed by. “Wait, what were we talking about?”

“You were about to show me the way to a café you enjoy.”

“Oh, that’s right! This way, if you please.” Harpo began walking, Octavia following after him, but he had hardly taken a few steps before stopping. “Are you sure you don’t want to wait for that other mare? Vinyl, was it?”

Octavia made an uneasy face, glancing upwards, towards her floor of the dormitory. “She’s… a bit busy right now. We can go on for now. I’ll show her the café myself later on.”

Harpo shrugged and resumed his walking. He kept up a running commentary as they traveled. Apparently, the café was currently managed by one of the too many friends that Harpo had; an older Conservatory student by the name of Noteworthy. It was relatively well-known among students, but it was a tad out of the way, so it wasn’t always filled to capacity as other places nearer to campus tended to be. Besides that, the café had a small stage and just the right feel to pull in a few aspiring musicians. It was, Harpo assured, a very pleasant eating experience.

Noteworthy met them just outside of the café. “Afternoon, Harpo,” he said with a smile, bumping hooves with the other colt. “How’s Conservatory?”

“Distracting,” replied Harpo. He gestured towards Octavia. “This is Octavia Philharmonica, the friend that I told you about.”

“Oh, Professor Philharmonica’s sister!” Noteworthy bumped hooves with Octavia. “Your sister is a fantastic teacher.”

“I’ll tell her you said so.”

Noteworthy laughed at that. “You don’t have to, I’m half-certain that she hates me. Still, she’s a very good teacher. Anyway, Notes”— here, Noteworthy gestured back towards the cafè —“isn’t quite open yet, but I’m sure that I could find you two something if you’re hungry.”

“Octavia?” asked Harpo.

“If it isn’t too much trouble.”

Noteworthy smiled. “None at all. Follow me.” He turned around, reaching into a saddlebag and taking out a key. Notworthy unlocked the door, holding it open to admit Harpo and Octavia.


Vinyl, meanwhile, had found her way back to Octavia’s room. She sat in a chair by the window, staring out over Canterlot. Octavia had gotten the nice side of the building, the side with a spectacular view of the glittering city. Vinyl was on the other side, where the mountain that Canterlot stood on obscured most of the view. Only a few buildings stood on that side before Canterlot dropped away and there was nothing but sky and the barest hint of the forest far below. A few clouds drifted off in the distance that Vinyl believed could be Cloudsdale, but she wasn’t entirely sure.

Vinyl Scratch let out a sigh, adjusting herself slightly in her seat. “C’mon, Tavi,” she muttered under her breath.

“Ummm, excuse me?” came a refined, Canterlotian voice from somewhere behind Vinyl.

Vinyl started at the voice, her chair pitching backwards dangerously. She turned, a grin forming on her face. Her prepared greeting, however, died on her lips. The mare standing in the doorway was blue, not grey.

The mare blinked in confusion as a disappointed look flashed across Vinyl’s face. “I’m sorry,” she said, “was I disturbing anything?”

Vinyl turned back to the window. “Nah, you’re fine.”

“I see.” The mare looked around the room uneasily, shifting the luggage she had with her before slowly setting it on the ground.

Vinyl kept her eyes fixed on the view.

“Excuse me,” began the mare after a few moments of silence, “are you Octavia Philharmonica?”


“Oh… This is room 432, isn’t it?”

Vinyl nodded.

The mare knitted her brow in confusion and checked the outside of the door. Sure enough, a bronze number ‘432’ was fixed in place. She was in the right place.

“Do you know where Octavia went?”

Vinyl shook her head. “Out, I guess.”

A slight pause. The mare slowly walked over to one of the beds and took a seat. “I’m Beauty Brass, may I ask your name?”

“Vinyl Scratch.”

“It’s nice to meet you, Miss Scratch.”


Beauty Brass cast a sideways glance towards the other mare, but didn’t say anything more. The two of them stayed motionless where they sat, Vinyl quite content to be left to her thoughts and Beauty Brass not quite prepared to attempt conversation again.

Five minutes passed. Then ten. Then twenty. Beauty Brass found her eyes growing heavy, nodding slightly as she drifted closer and closer to sleep. Her eyes snapped open.

“Do you have the time?” asked Beauty.

Vinyl turned around and looked at Beauty. At least, it seemed as though she were looking at the other mare. It was difficult to tell with her sunglasses on.

“1:20,” said Vinyl.

Beauty Brass shot to her hooves, quickly diving into one of her bags and extracting a notebook, a quill, and a sealed inkpot. “Are you attending the lecture today?” she asked politely, if a bit hurried.

Vinyl shrugged. “There’s a lecture today?”

“The first class of Basic Music Theory. Are you taking it?” From her position, Beauty Brass had a rather clear view of Vinyl’s cutie mark. It was, however, polite to ask.

Vinyl nodded. “I thought classes started tomorrow.”

“They do, officially. This will be an overview of the class, a chance to ask questions.” Beauty glanced around the room and found a clock hanging from the wall just behind her. Five minutes had passed. “It begins at a quarter to two, but it’s a popular class, so it’s best to get there early.”

Vinyl nodded noncommittally.

“Would you care to join me?” asked Beauty.

Vinyl pulled a face, glancing back at the window. Far, far, below her, the students of Canterlot Conservatory swarmed over the campus, small and indistinct. One of them may have been wearing a pink bowtie, but there was no way of telling.

“I understand if you’d rather not,” said Beauty. She shifted her weight from hoof to hoof, anxious to leave.

“Maybe later,” said Vinyl with the slightest hesitation.

“Sure.” Beauty was already heading for the doorway.

“Thank you for offering,” muttered Vinyl. Beauty Brass didn’t hear her.

A few more minutes passed. Vinyl stayed in her seat, watching birds fly across the sky and ponies mill about down below. It was, she decided, a rather enjoyable experience.


Harmonia Philharmonica stood at her desk. The seats before her were filled near to capacity, each one of the students—her students—armed with quill, notebook, and textbook and every eye fixed upon her. Harmonia licked her lips, trying to work some moisture back into her mouth before beginning.

“Starswirl the Bearded held the belief that a true practitioner of magic must practice every aspect of that craft. Should a magician fail to do so, he would be known as a pyromancer, or an illusionist; simply an expert in whichever one of the multitude subdivisions of magic that he had chosen to learn. He would not, however, be a pure magician.”

Harmonia paused slightly, partly for dramatic effect, partly to stop the shaking that had begun in her left front leg. This presentation never got easier. “I have never studied magic beyond a rudimentary education, but Starswirl the Bearded’s sentiment is not limited to that particular path of study. Our Conservatory in particular has taken Starswirl’s ideas to heart. Many of you have come here to learn how to compose a piece. You came to this school because of its music program and are genuinely interested in this class.” Harmonia felt herself stand a little more firmly. “Some of you did not. Some of you have no interest in the finer aspects of musical composition, preferring instead to wait for the finished product.

“If this is your attitude, so be it, but know that I expect nothing less than your best. If you can not give it, feel free to exchange my class for something more to your liking. But understand that if you came to the Conservatory to be an artist, a true artist, then you must not limit yourself to a single area of study.”

She stopped once again, surveying her class. A blue mare with a light brown mane sat in the very front row, scribbling furiously into her notebook. Harmonia felt quite sure that she saw a two-tone blue mane in the very back of the room. That was strange, Vinyl wasn’t supposed to be there until the next day.

Harmonia nodded, pushing the thought from her mind. “With that out of the way, allow me to introduce myself. I am Harmonia Philharmonica, and you may refer to me as Professor Philharmonica or Professor if my name proves too much of a mouthful. Welcome to Basic Music Theory.” She turned around, making her way towards the chalkboard.

“Let’s begin the year.”

Author's Note:

I gave in to the voice in my head and decided to go through with the sequel. Hopefully, it can live up to the first. I'm planning on writing a slightly different Vinyl than what I'm used to, which will certainly be fun to do. I am not, however, looking forward to the inevitable comparisons to University Days. But it was bound to happen; I love both school settings and OctaScratch and it was only a matter of time before I put the two together. DawnFade did it first and did it very well, so anyone writing a school-type OctaScratch (SchoctaScrath? OctaSchool?) must be prepared for it.

On another note, I want to make it public that I'm the kind of writer that needs a kick in the butt every once in a while. You guys who have me on Skype, feel free to pester me for updates. Just not in public chats, because I'll retreat like a Clefairy in the Safari Zone. The rest of you, send a PM! Leave a comment on my user page! Just try not to leave a flood of "MOAR NOW" comments on this story for congestion's sake. (This is, of course, assuming that this story is even worth reading and if you've made it this far, then you might think that it is.)

However, please feel free to leave any other comments down below and know that, as always, all comments are read, appreciated, printed out on colorful paper, cut with those scissors with zig-zig patterns, and used to decorate my graduation cap. But not in that order.

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