• Published 5th Jul 2015
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Dinner at Ravenloft - Meep the Changeling

Vinyl's father invites her and her friends to the family for a weekend visit. Unfortunately for Vinyl, there is something she neglected to tell her friends about her family...

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The Dinner

Octavia Melody - 10th of Solar Dusk ‘03 EoH - Evening

I wish I could have been impressed by the dining hall, but I had far more pressing matters on my mind. Sure the large room was rather grand, just like the entryway, only with three big marble long tables making a U shape for everypony to dine at. But I had just learned my special somepony was a vampire.

While I thought I was fine with it, I wasn’t completely sure yet. It wasn’t any animosity for vampires, civilized predatory creatures get a rather unfair reputation. It was mostly the fact Vi had neglected to tell me something so basic about herself, despite how close we were. Though, that did make me something of a hypocrite. I had my own secrets as well.

I suppose in the end everypony has the things about themselves they hide. Everypony has the things they fear others learning. Some of them are simply greater than others. So I couldn’t bare her too much animosity. Especially when her life was on the line.

The other thing filling my mind was the fact that just above the massive carved wooden throne at the center of the table arrangement was a huge, gold framed, oil painting of Vinyl's father. While plenty of nobles I knew had paintings of themselves, his was labeled with a brass nameplate with the word ‘Me’ etched into it along with a few bars of a song I assumed was theme music. The burning ‘why?’ of that nameplate was almost as mind consuming as Vinyl's true self.

Vinyl… How many times had I woken up to breakfast in bed? How many countless cold nights had she cuddled up and offered hot chocolate? There was the time she helped me score one of my symphonies, despite not enjoying working with classical music. A million acts of love over nearly eighteen years. She might have withheld her true nature from me, but she did truly love me.

As I took a seat next to Vi at the table, I nodded to myself, resolving to continue loving her just as I had before. The only thing which changed was I no longer had to cook. A bonus for any mare who despised pots and pans.

I reached over and gently squeezed Vi’s hoof with my own, giving her a reassuring smile. Nothing had changed. Everything was fine.

She turned, noticing the squeeze, and gave me the most gleeful, relieved smile I had ever seen her give anypony. It lit up the room almost as much as Colgate's grins, and this time, having seem them once before, I could make out Vinyl's fangs. They did look rather cute.

Perhaps I should open myself completely to her. I knew presumably knew everything about her now. It would be only fair.

A tinge of fear shot up the base of my neck. Perhaps that would not be the best thing to say to a vampire… Truth did lurk within fiction after all. Who knew what stories were more than merely fabrications of an artist's fancy.

I needed to focus on something else. So I focused on that nameplate. I could swear I recognized the score’s notation from somewhere.

Bon-bon - 10th of Solar Dusk ‘03 EoH - Evening

I’d always thought of Vinyl as being a bit off for a pony. That chill, laid back attitude wasn’t very typical. At least, not like how Vi had it. Sure a pony might be a relaxed person, but Vi was relaxed like she was indestructible. That always made me wonder if she were reckless, or hiding something.

I figured she was simply overly confident in her magic. Perhaps she knew some hidden arcane lore, or had mastered the use of sorcery. Or as it turned out, was a Vampire. That would also do it.

Profiling ponies is something I do. It helps with a lot of things besides what I was originally taught it for. Working out exactly the right kind of sweets to make for a customer based on their order and my profile of them was one of the only reason I could compete with Pinkie. It’s what kept that skill sharp for me. It’s why I was accepting of Vinyl's past.

Subconsciously speaking, I had known something was off with her. So now that I knew it was less me being angry, and more being surprised at the result. Therefore, nothing had changed in our relationship aside from my eagerness to know a few lingering details. Details which I was planning to ask Vi’s father when he returned from wherever.

A stallion who looked for all the world like the stereotypical butler, only middle aged not old teleported into the room near one of the doors and immediately opened it with his magic. “Announcing the Count and Countess Scârtâi.”

The door creaked open, Vinyl's father walked into the room, an equally tall pale blue mare at his side. I focused my attention on the mare for a moment.

I couldn’t help but notice she carried herself in a military bearing, no not military, combat trained, but more domestic officer than soldier. At some point it was very likely she had been a city guard of some kind. I also couldn’t help but notice she had epicly curvy and plump flanks but a skinny body.

Oh. My. Celestia. The vampire married the police girl, with the big flanks. Ha!

“Renfield,” the Count sighed rolling his eyes. “The formal dinner, is tomorrow.”

“That is no excuse to curtail my duties sir.” the butler said turning to us as Vi’s parents took their seats. “Tonight’s dinner had to be rushed, as such I hope you do not mind a simple appetizer while a main course is prepared.”

A pair of earth ponies quickly rushed in from a servant's entrance and in record time set a solar salad in front of everypony that was big enough to be a main course all on it’s own. They were almost totally silent except for the clinking of plates. Except when one of them set down Vi’s plate.

“Welcome home m’lady. Don’t worry I remembered no garlic.” the servant said with a small bow.

Vi gave her a small smile, “Thanks Light, good to see you again.”

She giggled and pushed her cart off, “Well it’s not like I’m going anywhere.”

Octavia gave Vi a suspicious look.

“She was my nanny Octy.” Vi said rolling her eyes.


“So um, everypony,” Vi started pointing to her folks as if there were other ponies in the room for some reason, “This is my mom. Mom, this is Lyra, her wife Bonbon, Meep, Cole, and this is Octy.”

“It’s nice to meet you all, especially you Miss Melody.” her mother greeted with a polite nod. “You may call me Star, or Cluster, you’re family. Everypony else, please address me by my full name.”

Octavia nodded politely, “Er, Is your full name Star Cluster or Cluster Star?”

Star stopped speaking for a moment, then looked to her husband, “I have no idea, do you remember?”

“Faust no! Look girls we’ve been using pet names or been called by honorifics and titles for… well millennia. Buck it, Let’s just say it’s Star Cluster that sounds more sexy.” The Count finished with a laugh.

“You remember your name!” Lyra accused.

“Yes, but I have to sign it all the bloody time. I should get a stamp…” he moaned miming a hoof cramp, “Anyways, everypony dig in. The main course is on it’s way. I think you’ll like it. The Unhallow Glade is home to ambulatory carnivorous plants, quite dangerous to hunt, but also rather delicious when steamed or roasted. I’ve been told by griffons it’s similar to beef in flavor so if you were ever curious about meats, you’ll know soon enough.”

Well, that would be a rather interesting experience. I had always wondered what flavors a carnivore experienced when-

Lyra gasped, “So I did see something through the fog!”

“What?” Star asked in confusion. “I dont think so. We have a full flight on watch every night keeping them penned up in the woods to the north. There are wards and other protective measures… Dear, did you send out some servants to be spooky again?” She asked giving Damsire an amused smile.

“... Maybe…” He sighed.

Star rolled her eyes, “Please tell me you didn’t have somepony do the dramatic lightning again. That damages so many roofing tiles it-”

“I didn’t. Thunderbolt is sick this week anyways.” The Count lamented.

I decided to interrupt. “Er, pardon me, but you said Celestia knows you’re, well you. How come the general public doesn't know about you and well, true vampires. Is there a national security concern?”

The Count nodded, and levitated a silver glass up to his lips to take a drink of something that was not a port noir vintage. It was a wine, but I had figured him for a port type of stallion.

“Sure. How about I tell you girls about the family history, then you share a little about yourselves.” He leaned back, tipping his throne a small ways as well, “Well, back in sixty six…”

Lyra Heartstrings - 10th of Solar Dusk ‘03 EoH - Evening

Okay Lyra, you are sitting at a table with the father of all vampires! He’s about to tell you his ‘story’ which could be total ponyfeathers. If it’s legit, you can accept Vi and move on. If it’s not, you gotta remember it perfectly and accurately so you pick it apart later after writing it down. It’s going to take all of your willpower, but mouth shut, ears perked. I know you can do it Lyra, and I’ll imagine a little chibi Bonnie cheerleader to help motivate you.

I imagined a little chibi bonbon in a cheerleading outfit. Then a kinda chibi bonnie in a normal cheerleader's outfit. Then a not at all chibi Bonnie in a fetishized cheerleader's outfit. Then a somehow even sexier Bonnie laying in bed atop a discarded cheerleader's outfit, beckoning me to come and-

Dammit brain! Focus! Also, remember to get Bonnie a cheerleader's outfit.

The Count cleared his throat and began to tell his story. “By sixty six, I mean eleven sixtysix in the Classical Era, just so you don't confuse it with all the other sixty sixes. Anyways, Starswirl, my brother and I were some of Equestria’s best mages and there was something of a changeling problem. Er- No offence Meep, this is the Crusades I’m talking about after all.”

“The what?” Meep asked curiously.

“The Changeling Crusades led by High Queen Phyla. Did your hive teach you about those? They are a bit important to your people’s history.” He asked.

“I… I don’t know. I’ve been using a life extending trick, but it turns out that it um, sort of destabilizes older memories. Sorry.” Meep informed.

Yeah, meaning her humans intel was completely unreliable… No! Bad Lyra, vampires now, humans later!

“Ah! Ta’chrik’s Chrono Warp.” The count nodded knowingly, “That will mess with you pretty bad from what I understand. Regardless, at the time, Changeling attacks like the Canterlot invasion were common place, only the Queens of the day actually knew how to fight and command armies.

“It wasn’t your species fault, ponies had just destabilized them pretty harshly by destroying the overmind which had been controlling them. The Queens couldn’t handle working without another’s orders so they elected a High Queen to rule everyone and she was a real tyrant. They don’t make them like that anymore and thank Faust for it.

“So with all the fighting going on every few months or so, the King, er- This is Pre-Celestia, we had a King then. Anyways, the King asked Starswirl, my brother, and I to try and work out a hex we could use to ensure changelings could feed without harming ponies. He wanted to try and capture changelings as much as possible and integrate them into society to mitigate the enemy's numbers and to prove to the Queens out species could co-exist.

“We were having a very hard time with it too, this was before Changelings evolved remote feeding, they had to actually bite you back then. Since we were totally stumped, and well, we were all rather young and stupid, instead of old and slightly less stupid, so we decided to test a theory of the day.

“Back then a lot of philosophers believed in the Dionysus Method, which states that some problems simply cannot be solved while sober because your mind is thinking using normal logic, preconceptions, and so on. We figured we would give it a shot before saying we couldn’t do it.”

That actually made a good amount of sense to me. I had some great ideas while buzzed. It would probably be bad if you tried it completely smashed off your plot though.

The count shook his head and laughed, “So one weekend we get completely wasted and thus was the anti-art of Drunk Thaumaturgy born! Also we turned me into a vampire, my brother into an axe crazy litch, and Starswirl, the lucky bastard, gained the ability to see the flow of time. So, my brother and I, now evil, powerful mages, and supernaturally powerful had a bit of a well… Bloody rampage the likes of which have not been seen since that stallion accidentally burned a one of a kind tome of lore in front of Princess Twilight.”

Everypony winced. That had been one of the most terrible things I had ever seen in my life. Thank Celestia Luna had another copy…

“Ooo… Right you six live in Ponyville. My condolences. Anyways, my brother and I spent a few thousand years doing whatever the hell we wanted to. We split up eventually, he went north seeking ‘pure darkness’ or some crap like that, while I stuck around here and started playing a more subtle game of havoc.

“I’m not too proud of those days, please understand, I was completely mad. I managed to guise myself as a normal pony and wormed my way into ruling this keep and my title by backstabbing my way up the ranks of the kingdom this used to be a part of. It was… huh… Buck it, I became a count of Somewhereia!”

I couldn’t help but giggle at his joke. He gave me a smile and took another swig from his chalice. “So since Somewhereia was ruled over by a rather stupid earth pony, and no I’m not being racist, I mean this guy was so inbred he looked like a sourdough bun. King Bronco, the Randomly Biased, as we unaffectionately called him, decided to declare war on Equestria. You know, the bigger, more powerful, guarded by super powerful mages nation that encompassed us.

“I was crazy too, so that sounded like fun! And I was damn good at it to. Held out a whole fourteen years longer than anypony else did!”

Star nodded, blushing lightly, “He would run out into battle all on his own. It was incredible. You should do that more often.”

“I would my dear, but unfortunately, there’s a lack of things to run out and fight these days. My enjoyment of a good physical challenge aside, at the end of that time I faced Celestia herself. Now that was an epic battle! The sky shook! Seas dried up! Cat’s and Dogs cohabitated! The very earth itself-”

“She just walked up and blasted him point blank with the Elements as an opening attack.” Star said taking a sip of her wine.

The Count gave her a wounded look, “Really? Do- do you have to stab my pride like that?”

“When it means you lie to family to seem more awesome, yes, I do.” Star said curtly.

He sighed and muttered into his chalice, “You’re lucky you have nice flanks.”

Bon-bon and I shared an amused look and silent laugh. Yep, they were a happy functional married couple! No sarcasm.

“Ask her how to get flanks like that later.” Bon-bon mouthed to me before going back to looking at the Count as he resumed speaking.

“So yeah, I got my plot handed to me by a whippersnapper because she had a linear coherent love canon of doom, and that snapped me out of my madness.” He said bitterly, “Now, I had done a lot of evil things in my day. I mean, I’m a buck-mothering vampire overlord! But I felt awful about everything I had done. I had spawned a thousand other vampires, created a species of blood drinking ponies I had thought would be forever outcasts, and caused a lot of suffering.

“So in restitution for my crimes, I asked Celestia for permission to create Hollow Shades out of my holdings. In exchange for allowing me to live and an equal position in her court, I vowed to run my fiefdom as a refuge for the outcasts, a place for monsters to go to for help. Think of my lands like a supernatural creature rehab center. There are rules for those who live here, none of whom are normal, but all of whom only wish for a peaceful existence.”

Huh, that was a good story but there was one hole in it. A hole my brain demanded I pick at with a burning fury the likes of which only Bon-bon had seen that one time I thought she was hiding a book of human lore from me.

“That’s cool and all, but if this is a rehab community for monsters, why the hay do you have it all old B horror movie?” I demanded.

“Oh bite me! It’s cool!” The count protested in a way to honest tone rolling his eyes.

“Huh… Seems legit.” I said sitting down and taking my first bite of salad.

Right so, her dad was definitely not lying. Well, at least when he did his wife smacked him down a peg. Vi was okay in my book again. As long as she didn't bite me.

Colegate Aquafresh - 10th of Solar Dusk ‘03 EoH - Evening

“Wait wait wait!” I exclaimed in incredulous shock. “The cape, the spooky castle of death, and the cursed rain, the huge oil painting, all the cliche vampire stuff… you have because it’s cool?”

“Damn strait!” Damsire proclaimed, “Just you watch, three more centuries and this will pop back into fashion. I’ll be the coolest dude ever! For like, two hundred years. I know what I like and I’m sticking too it.”

Huh I hadn’t thought of that. He had to have seen a ton of different trends over time… “Huh… That’s an interesting perspective. You’ve gotten to see how everything has been. The whole march of progress! That has to be awesome!”

He shook his head. “Not always. It can improve or decline, and it’s almost ever better for everyone over all. This is one of the best times to be though. I just wish they would stop repressing herds and stallion couples. Those two groups have had a really sucky thousand years. Also non-arcane tech has fallen out of favor again despite it’s benefits… You win some you lose some.”

“Oh… Well it can't suck living for that long can it?” I asked shyly. I had never asked Meep that question, I mean sure she hadn't lived nearly as long but she could. It would totally suck to just have misery compound.

“No not at all! In general things trend upwards, and you make all sorts of new friends as time goes by and eventually, you might meet a few people to spend forever with. There’s a community of immortals on Equis… Though, well, you do have to beware the one rule of immortals.” He replied with a cheerful grin.

“What’s that?” Octavia asked curiously.

“There is always a bigger fish. So don’t step on anything’s hooves. Now then, my turn for questions. Ms. Aquafresh, do me the honors of a blurb or two about yourself.” The Count asked swishing his glass about in his magic.

Ack! Spotlight! Umm, “Uh, I clean teeth for a living.” Oh ponyfeathers that sounded pathetic! “I mean, I’m an orthodontist. It’s been kind of a life passion. I know it’s kinda weird that I’m not pursuing a job related to my cutiemark, but well it’s hard to have a job that involved being on time for everything but imparts no other real skill. I mean, sure, delivery services, but I wanted more out of life. Also I figured I would need to be some kinda scientist to catch Meep’s attention.”

Star chuckled and looked over at best buggy. “Is that true?”

“No. I um, I’m not good with social stuff. I really only worked out she was into me by luck and about thirteen hours before the Canterlot Invasion.” Meep admitted, cheeks bioluminescing with a light blush. “She probably thought of that because I’m a scientist myself. An astrophysicist to be specific. I helped to pioneer the field in fact. Stars are sort of my whole reason for using Ta’chrik’s Chrono Warp in the first place. I’m surprised you know the name of that trick.”

The count shrugged, “You tend to pick up lore as you come across it. Besides, I am the product of your species essence, dark magic, and sorcery. Vampires are descended from changelings in a way. I investigated your species quite thoroughly to try and find a cure or a work around for my curse. Nothing doing I’m afraid, but that’s fine because when you accept what you are, it’s really not a problem. Quick question, how old are you?”

“About four hundred, why?” Meep asked.

“I see, and how long have you been away from a hive?” He asked arching his brows.

That seemed like an odd question.

“Um, all but like seventeen of them.” Meep replied in a confused and concerned tone.

“That’s fascinating!” The Count sat back in his chair and stroked his chin with a hoof briefly. “You should have metamorphosed into a queen by now. Have you been eating properly?”

“I, what?” Meep demanded incredulously.

“Agreed!” I exclaimed.

“Humm… Later this evening how about you come with me to my library?” He offered at last. “You seem to have forgotten or not been told much about your own species. Suffice to say changelings propagate their territory when a changeling is separated from a hive and eats enough. At which point she becomes a young queen and can start a new hive. As you have a spouse, you should have enough love in your system within a few years tops.

“Now then, Ms. Heartstrings, if you would so kindly have your turn?”

Lyra nodded. “I’m just a musician, I play the lyre, mostly as a pun based on my name.” She said with a grin.

“Yes I noticed your name. I honestly didn’t think you were a pony at first. It’s a very unpony like name. Though not in a bad way.” Star said in a slightly less than totally sincere voice.

“Thanks! I picked it myself. I basically just play music in the parks and help ponies with odd jobs and stuff. It’s a simple life but I like it.” Lyra said evasively.

Damsire nodded, a smirk plastered on his face. “Mhm, yes… So where did you pick up Mage Meadowbrook’s Ablative Shield? I saw you fighting during the Canterlot Invasion. That was rather impressive, especially since the tome is quite rare.”

Lyra’s eyes drooped. “Oh, well… I’m a bit of an amateur archeologist and anthropologist. But that’s just a hobby.”

Bon-bon rolled her eyes, shook her head and mouthed, “Watch this.” to the count before asking, “That reminds me, you're quite old. Do you have any possible human artifacts in-”

Lyra’s eyes didn’t just widen, they exploded. “Oh my gosh! I didn’t even think about that! Do you have a private collection? You lived way further back than I’ve ever managed to dig! You could totally have-”

“Whoa! Hold yourself there Miss!” The count chuckled. “Back in the day Humanology was a quite popular hobby, but I never participated in it. I was more into practical thaumaturgy. Biomancy specifically. There may be a book or three in my library though, feel free to come with me after dinner.”

Like magic, the doors opened and the two servants from before wheeled in a large cart with a gold platter on it. Again, with incredible speed, quiet, and skill they dished out a serving to everypony, taking the old plates away in the same motion.

“How long have they been doing this for?” I wondered out loud.

“One thousand years as of last week miss.” The one Vi had called Light earlier said, flashing me a fanged grin.

“Oh… I guess it makes sense all the servants would be vampires too.” I commented.

“Not all of them, but a good chunk.” Vi commented. “If there hasn’t been any changes we’ve got vampires, a few lamias, some normal ponies, a couple kelpies… Huh, I know I’m forgetting something…”

Her father nodded, “That’s about right. There are many more creatures in the town, but I prefer my castle to be staffed with people who won't alarm visiting dignitaries. How about you Ms. Bon-bon, will you do me the honor?”

“Certainly.” She smiled briefly. “I run a small specialty candy shop in Ponyville. It’s hard to compete with Pinkie Pie, but fortunately I have found a few niche markets. She doesn't serve much more than pastries and general types of candies. So I do things like jawbreakers, chocolates, erotic treats, and candied fruits and nuts. I do most of the work myself, though I do have some help from a couple apprentice candymakers.”

“I see, and how did you meet your wife?” The Count asked.

“Why is that important?” Bon-bon asked politely.

“Because I can read lips, and if you like, I can show you the spell you wanted to know… Or rather, show her. Call it a fair trade. I’m a sucker for romance.” The count said with a wink.

Star facehooved. Everypony groaned, except for Lyra who snickered and threw the count an ‘air hoof’.

He flashed her a smile, “I like you! Quick, throw a pun at me!”

Lyra didn’t even blink. “I would but I wouldn't want to offend you by mis-stake.”

“Heaven’s help me! He’s found a rival!” Star groaned putting her hooves over her eyes.

The count nodded slowly, as if appraising a fine wine. “A steak pun. That’s a rare medium, well done!”

“Octavia! Save us from a pun off!” Meep begged, looking pleadingly into Octavia’s eyes.

“That was a pun?” Lyra asked. “I don’t get it…”

“Yeah, I really don’t either.” Octavia said slowly.

The count’s ears drooped. “Awww… well at least the werewolves and gryphons get it. Why don’t you go ahead and tell me about yourself Miss Melody? After Bon-bon finishes telling me how she met her wife of course.”

“Oh that’s not a big mystery,” Bonnie laughed. “Vi started a gaming group in high school, Lyra and I met there and are that one teen couple who actually stuck together. Mostly because I like troublemakers. Go on Octy, It’s your turn.”

Weirdly enough, I was having a lot of fun this evening. Too bad I was going to have to politely pretend to like the entree. Beef flavored moving plant just didn’t sound appetizing.

Meep - 10th of Solar Dusk ‘03 EoH - Evening

Up until this point I had been a bit irked that everypony had just accepted Vi for what she was after deceiving everypony this whole time. I mean, seriously, aside from Cole and Vi everypony in our group had given me the could shoulder for a week. It had taken nearly a eight weeks to be one hundred percent accepted. The fact that everyone was cool with Vi in minutes, that hurt.

But I let it go. Buck it. I wasn’t going to be petty over something stupid. Besides, ponies, herd logic. Vi was a part of the herd and a pony so she was okay. Can't help biology. Unless you’re a changeling. Also they are my friends. I dont like being mad at my friends.

Upside of this whole thing was I would get to rib them forever over this! As for my personal feelings about Vi… Well I’m not a big enough hypocrite to be mad at somepony for doing what I do. Unless they do Cole without asking me first. Then I’ll be mad.

Octavia cleared her throat. “I-I’m sorry did you say werewolves just now?”

The count nodded, “Yes. We have a few packs of them. Nice enough as long as you keep them fed. Don’t worry, none of them will bite you. That’s not how they turn somepony anyways. May I ask how you and my daughter started dating? I’d like to hear your side of it.”

Octavia gulped and nodded, “Um, sure. I… I started dating Vinyl after I came back from a reform school my parents made me attend. I was a bit of a… rebellious filly. Rather uncultured. I went to far one week and my parents decided I needed some discipline…

“Er- when I got back home I returned to school. I very desperately needed my old friends and they welcomed me back quickly enough once they recognized me. Vinyl expressed an interest in me shortly thereafter. I’ve come to understand she enjoys my… refined persona.” Octavia smiled nervously.

“Heh, that and your beautiful coat.” Vi commented flirtatiously.

“It’s just gray.” Tavi dismissed.

“It’s a lovely steel gray with light white highlights in places which make it look like you are glowing. Slightly darker lines of gray define your features and give you a very distinguished look, as if you had a glamor charm cast on you.” Star commented, taking a sip of her wine.

The count nodded, “Your mane has similar properties, but is a rich velvety black.”

“Vampire vision, love.” Vi commented with a wink.

Octavia blushed such a deep shade of pink I swore her fur actually changed color. “R-really?”

“Yes!” All three Vampires said in unison.

“Look, you are smart, fun, and hot, or my Vi wouldn’t have dated you. Deal.” Count Damsire said in a matter of fact tone. “Now more story!”

“Er, well I um…” Octavia cleared her throat again, “My parents are rather old school in terms of what forms of relationships they approve of. Traditional marriage is the only one they-”

“They only approve of polyamorous relationships composed of one mare and nine stallions?” The count asked sincerely. “That’s really rare today.”

Octavia shook her head. “N-no… Sorry I forgot your age. They are strictly for the marriage of one mare to one stallion and against everything else… To the point of threatening to cut me off financially and give the family business to somepony else if I didn’t stop liking mares.

“I- I couldn’t say no to Vinyl though. She just felt… right.” Suddenly her eyes narrowed, and her head swiveled to Vinyl in that patented ‘I’m suspicious and ready to be mad’ way of hers. “Did you use vampire powers to make me love you?”

Vi laughed, almost falling out of her chair. “Not the ones you are thinking of no! I dont have any mental powers. I did use my strength and speed to impress you though. But I like to think my music did most of the work.”

“Good. I don’t have to smack you.” Octavia harrumphed. A moment later she smiled, “Your music did do a lot to get my attention. I had only ever liked classical music and rock before. I still hate most electronica, but when you play it it’s… right. It’s like a proper symphony and not just noise.”

“Of course it is.” Star commented proudly, “She’s a musical prodigy. Vinyl has been writing songs since she was fourteen.”

“Yeah, but they weren't any good till I got a hold of an old sequencer. I’m okay on the organ but I just can’t make them dance like I can with keyboards and turntables.” Vi commented thoughtfully. “I wouldn’t say I’m a prodigy though. Talented, sure, I mean duh, I got the butt mark for it. But that’s it.”

“Speaking of music, what song is that on the nameplate of your portrait?” Octavia asked in a tone which implied she had been holding on to the question all night.

“My theme song.” The count answered with a small smile. “Here, hold on. Renfield! Play my music.”

Immediately the air was filled with the sound of a scratchy record playing a piece of pipe organ music. From Octavia’s vigorous headdesk, I assumed it was a famous one.

“How did I not recognize Trottcota and Fugue in D minor?” She moaned into the table.

“Why do you have theme music?” I asked. It was far more important to me to know than the plate of plant matter in front of me that was literally being wasted.

“Why don’t you?” He counter wryly.

That was a good point. “Huh… Colegate, I need theme music.”

She rolled her eyes and grinned at me, shaking her head.

The Count turned his attention back to Octavia, “Ms. Melody, would you say you love my daughter?”

She quickly sat up, and nodded firmly. “Yes, with all of my heart.”

“Even the left ventricle?” He teased in a beautifully stupid way.

Octavia smiled and nodded politely ignoring the dad joke. “I’ve forgiven her for not telling me she was a vampire. It’s very clear to me that I love her more than everything else in the world.”

“Awesome!” The Count stood up and clapped his hooves. Servants quickly entered the dining hall from every doorway.

He cleared his throat and proclaimed in a loud voice so all could hear, “As the master of this castle, the Lord of these lands, and a Count of Equestria, I hereby pronounce my daughter Vinyl… Scratch, and her beloved Octavia, mare and mare. Nopony is to breath a word of their union until the bride’s awful parents have passed by whatever means that so happens. My estate will pass along the legal benefits of your union through discrete channels to your home for your enjoyment.”

Everypony stared at him in stunned silence. Octavia and Vinyl were a league above us in their shock. I do not think a pony could look more surprised if that was their special talent.

Meanwhile, her father slipped a piece of parchment out from under the table. “Here’s your marriage license, it’s been pre-officiated by Celestia herself. Go ahead and sign it. I’ve arranged for this to be completely legal, but discreet. You will not lose your business Ms. Melody.

“Why don’t you two love birds sign this, then go spend your honeymoon in VI’s old room. It’s the highest room in the tallest tower, you can’t miss it.”

I was sitting next to Octavia, a mere three feet away. I can tell you with certainty that I had to regenerate my eardrums after her delighted squeal. I also swear she made a shockwave as she pounced Vi’s dad to give him one of the most grateful hugs I have ever seen in my long life.