• Published 30th Oct 2011
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Two's Company, Three's a Crowd - Lithe Kamitatsy

One night of fun for a certain musical pair will leave their lives upside down.

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Chapter Twenty-Nine

"Octavia, would you be a dear and run down to the market for me?" Madeline asked, trotting up to her. It was around lunch-time, and Madeline was short on ingredients for her famous Winter Stew. "I would ask your father but he's busy cleaning the snow off the fields so he can till them."

"Of course, Mother. What do you need?" Octavia asked, moving over to the kitchen table. She retrieved a parchment and pen to write down a list.

"Okay. I need an onion or two, around six or seven carrots, some garlic cloves, tomatoes, rosemary, clam broth and parsley."

Octavia finished writing, and set the pen down. "Anything else, Mother?"

"Not off the top of my head." Madeline then hoofed her a small pouch full of bits. "This should be more than enough. Just head on down to the grocery store on the far end of town, dear. Thank you!" Madeline said, giving Octavia a small kiss on the forehead. "Be careful, that area is not quite as forward and welcoming as this side of town."

"No need to worry, Mother. I will be back shortly. Vinyl, come along. I could use your help."

"Huh? Where're we going?" Vinyl asked as they headed out the front door.

"To the grocery store. Mother needs a few ingredients for her Stew."

"Ooh, that sounds great! When will it be ready?" Vinyl asked.

"Vinyl, she has not started it. We're going to the grocery store to get the ingredients."

"Well what are we waiting for!? Get your flank in gear so I- mean, we can eat your mom's delicious cooking!" Vinyl said.

"Right, right." Octavia said, catching up to her. The two walked close to one another across town, crossing over into Southern Hoofington. They continued chatting about different things until Vinyl stopped.

"Hey...do you feel like somepony's watching us?" Vinyl asked, an eyebrow raised. She looked around, and saw a pair of mares staring daggers at them. "What're you looking at?" Vinyl called out. They remained silent, and simply cantered away. "That's what I thought..." she growled.

"Forget them, Vinyl. We have things to do." Octavia said, pulling Vinyl along with her. As they continued walking, the stares only got progressively worse- to the point that Octavia was feeling extremely uncomfortable, and Vinyl was only getting angrier.

"What the hay is going on here!? What's with all the looks!?" Vinyl yelled.

"Something tells me we are not very well-liked right now..." Octavia said, anxiety coursing through her. "I would like to get this taken care of as quickly as possible," she said as they entered the grocery store. Thankfully, the other ponies were more concerned about their errands to notice Octavia and Vinyl, and they were able to retrieve their groceries without much difficulty. As they stood in line, Vinyl heard something that pushed her over the edge.

"Why don't we just get in this line? It's so much shorter..." A young colt asked his mother.

"Absolutely not. I'm not letting you anywhere near those filly-foolers." The mother responded bitterly.

"WHAT DID YOU CALL US!?" Vinyl yelled, furious. Octavia was forced to restrain her from savagely beating the mother where she stood. The mother grabbed her child and hurried off.

"Vinyl CALM DOWN! Just forget about it!" she urged, holding her back.

"YEAH! You'd BETTER RUN!" Vinyl yelled after her. A few moments later, the manager trotted up to them.

"Fillies, please pay for your groceries and leave. You are upsetting the customers and I do not tolerate disturbances in my store." The manager ordered.

"What the BUCK is WRONG with you ponies?!" Vinyl yelled as Octavia continued to restrain her. Octavia threw the bag of bits in front of the cashier, and dragged Vinyl out of the store, the bag of groceries held between her teeth. To their horror, there was a small gathering of ponies, all of them standing in a threatening semi-circle. One stallion trotted out from the group, facing Octavia and Vinyl.

"We don' take kindly to y'all kinda folk in this here part a' town. Freaks is what you is, two ponies of the same gender together just ain't normal. Git out before it gets ugly," the stallion growled as he took another step forward. Vinyl broke free of Octavia's grip, and trotted up until their faces were inches away from one another.

"Here's what me and my marefriend think of ' your part of town', buddy." She wheeled around, and planted both of her rear hooves into his chest, sending him reeling back into the crowd."Call Octy a freak again, and I'll make sure your heart comes out of your rump." Octavia watched in horror as he slowly got back on his hooves, panting heavily.

"Take care of 'em...teach them a lesson they'll never forget," he wheezed, holding his chest. Octavia's eyes widened at what she heard.

"Vinyl, we need to leave. NOW!" Octavia urged as the crowd began to close in.

"Uh...probably not a bad idea!" Vinyl and Octavia darted off through the gap in the crowd, the other ponies following them in hot pursuit. They were forced to rush through back alleys and side streets to avoid the crowd, dodging rocks and even glass that other ponies were throwing at them. They found themselves backed into a dead-end alley, the crowd bearing down on them.

"...Oh no...oh no oh no oh no..." Octavia repeated, feeling herself press up against the wall behind her.

"I think...we're in trouble," Vinyl said, fearing for her and Octavia's safety. She then did the one thing that came to mind- she stood in front of Octavia, shielding her from whatever may come. I gotta protect Octy...I gotta protect my kid! Just as the crowd was about to close in, the stallion from before soared past them, crashing into the wall and sliding down it, unconscious.

"GET AWAY FROM THEM!" A voice roared from behind the crowd in a thick Scoltish accent. Kester began to force his way through the crowd, pushing his way towards his daughter. "Ye ponies make me SICK, attackin' two defenseless mares just 'cause o' their preferences! Wha' are ye, ponies or ANIMALS!?" Kester roared, startling a few of the ponies nearest him. He stared down the manager of the grocery store, who was near the front. "A' thought ye were better than tha'. A' have no interest in dealin' with somepony so prejudiced against ma' family. Ye just lost a produce provider," he growled, a look of disgust and disappointment on his face. The manager took a few steps back, and hung his head in shame. "Come along, girls...let's go home."

Kester, Octavia and Vinyl all left together, Octavia sticking close to Kester. "How did you know where to find us?" Octavia asked, somewhat shaken by the events they only narrowly escaped.

"Yer mother tol' me where ye went. A shame tha' only grocery store is in this part o' town. Are ye alright, Octavia?" Kester asked, wanting to make sure his daughter was safe.

"Only because of you, Papa..." Octavia said, moving closer to him.

"Yeah, thanks Kester. You really saved our hides."

"It's like A' said, girls. Family protects their own," he said with a wink.

"About the grocery store...are you sure cutting ties with the store is alright? What about the money you were getting from the store?" Octavia asked, feeling both worried and guilty that it might have been her fault that her parents were now in financial stress.

"No need ta' worry, dear. A' have other sources o' income A' can fall back on," he said. "Do you understand what A' meant, though? About how not everypony'll be pleased with yer choice o' bein' with Vinyl. Ye saw tha' they were goin' ta' get violent even. A' feel somewha' responsible for not stoppin' ye before ye left ta' get the groceries." Kester sighed.

"It is not your fault, Papa...you had no idea. We should have been more careful." Octavia said. "You would have been proud of Vinyl, though...the stallion you knocked out called us freaks, and Vinyl kicked him in the chest for it," she smiled.

"I wasn't about to let that idiot talk down about you. You did the same for me when my dad flipped out, so I figured I'd return the favor." Vinyl gave her a smile and a wink.

"Vinyl, A' don' think A' can be any more proud of ye than A' am right now. Ye defended ma' daughter's honor withou' a second thought, and when A' found ye, ye were standin' in front of her, ready ta' protect her. A' can't thank ye enough." Kester said, patting her on the back.

"It was nothing..." Vinyl blushed, smiling bashfully. "I just did what I felt I had to do- protect my marefriend and protect my kid," she shrugged.

"An' tha's why A'm very proud...an' exceedingly grateful." Kester said.

The trio returned to the house, Madeline waiting for them at the front door. "Oh thank goodness you're alright!" Madeline said, rushing up to Octavia and Vinyl, checking them for injuries. "Oh dear, you're bleeding!" Madeline exclaimed, finding a long but shallow cut on the side of Vinyl's neck, previously hidden by her mane.

"What? I am?" Vinyl asked. "I didn't even notice." Madeline hurried back into the house, and retrieved a first aid kit. Within a few minutes, the wound was disinfected and bandaged.

"Thanks, Madeline." Vinyl smiled.

"No, thank you for keeping Octavia safe." Madeline smiled, hugging Vinyl. "We're so lucky she found somepony like you."

"Aww, thanks." Vinyl grinned, returning the embrace. Once done, Madeline clapped her hooves together.

"So! Who's hungry? I made a few other snacks while waiting for you two to come home. Let's get inside and just put this all behind us with some good food." Madeline said, following them in. They moved into the kitchen, and Vinyl sat at the table, eagerly awaiting whatever dish might be set out in front of her.

"Vinyl, shut your mouth or flies will be your main course." Octavia said.

"Hungryhungryhungryhungry!" Vinyl said, dragging her hooves down her face, to which Octavia face-hoofed. A few moments later, Madeline brought out several bowls of her soup, setting them down.

"Enjoy. It's not my Winter Stew, but it's just as good." Madeline smiled, taking her seat at the table.

"Aw, I'm not really one for soup." Vinyl said, somewhat disappointed.

"You have never tried my mother's soup." Octavia said with a smirk.

Vinyl dug into her bowl of soup, and set her spoon down. "Madeline, this is the best soup I've ever had. I love you." Octavia couldn't help but laugh out loud at Vinyl's sudden change of heart.

The four of them sat around the table, laughing and talking as they ate their soup, closer to one another than ever.

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