• Published 26th Jul 2015
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The Things Tavi Says - shortskirtsandexplosions



Let me tell you a few things about my roommate, Octavia. After all, she saved my life.

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Frightening Things

Author's Note:

I'm about five minutes into the last session of the night. My mind is abuzz with plotting what tune to transition into. I have several spare records at my disposal. The problem is, most of them are a bit too heavy on the bass for what I need right now. What Twilight and the rest of the Council require is something gentle and trance-like to ease us out of the party atmosphere. I know I should have planned for better, but I was performing for a lot longer during the first half of the party than I had anticipated.

My mind is so busy with pondering the next step that I fail to notice the voice wafting up to me until there's a tug on my tail. This startles me so much that I nearly scratch the record I'm playing. Lifting half of a set of headphones off my ears, I look down curiously, blinking through my shades.

It's Beau. He looks nervous... panicked, even. His muzzle moves, and it's not until I drop the other half of the headphones that I can make out his words.

"...seen her lately? I've been looking all around the ballroom, but I don't know where she's gone."

I raise an eyebrow behind my shades. It's the signal I always give Beau to indicate how confused I am.

"Octavia, Vine," Beau emphasizes. His voice is a great deal breathier than I would have anticipated. He's very scared for some reason. Maybe it's the punch speaking? But then he exhales again: "I need to find her! I'm afraid that... that..."

He hesitates. The zebra's ears fold back—a very guilty expression.

Now I'm really confused. I look across the ballroom to my left.

Octavia's stage is empty. Her cello leans against the stool, abandoned.

My lips part. I gaze down towards Beau again.

"Look, I... I've been getting really... really close to Merriweather," Beau rasps. "And, in the time we've... hung out together, I... I-I feel like I may have t-told him a bit more than I should have... about things. And... uhm..." He sniffles, trembling all over. I've never seen Beau look this vulnerable, and that's what freaks me out the most about this. "He's not as subtle as me and... and he was talking with Tavi earlier, Vine. I... I'm scared that he may have triggered something he shouldn't have. I mean... I-I'm still trying to get it out of him. The stallion's had a bit too much to drink and... and..."

I feel my heartbeat racing—if only to try and match Beau's anxiety. I raise a hoof to steady him, to request that he repeat himself.

But he shudders and says, "This is all my fault. Just... j-just finish your session, Vine. I-I'll go find Octavia. I'll take care of this, okay? I'll make this all right! I promise!"

I grit my teeth, waving at him.

But it's too late. He trots off hurriedly through the remaining crowd. His tail whips frightfully. I'm not sure even he knows where to go or what to do.

I stand nervously at my booth, contemplating the situation—or the lack thereof.

What would Merriweather have "triggered," exactly?

Octavia's an understanding mare.

I think...

Yeah, Beau is just overreacting. He hasn't been in a relationship for a long time and his heart is trying to make a catastrophe over nothing.

Tavi's fine.

I'm sure she's just off to use the filly's room. Odds are she found a stash of wine at the Gala tonight and she's just—

A wave rolls through the Ballroom. Everything ripples—including my heartstrings.

I gasp, freezing in place. I sit back on my haunches, craning my neck, ears twitching.

I wait and I wait and—

It happens again. Another wave. Deep and drenching and indigo.

My blood freezes over.

Scrccchhhttt! The speakers rip, and then the music dies.

The ponies milling and swaying about the ballroom jolt in surprise. Half of the room's eyes turn, gazing curiously at my DJ Booth.

I descend from my table and land on the cold crystalline floor. I trot through the awkward silence, filing through the crowd, keeping my ears pricked towards the ceiling.

Again...

Indigo...

Incalculably far away... but very real.

I hear it... I hear her...

I shuffle through the crowd. There are a gazillion eyes on me, but I don't care. Each trailing wave leads me towards a doorframe to the far left, behind Octavia's stage.

A body files through the mess. Two bodies.

"Uhhh... hey there, Vinyl...?" Pinkie Pie coos.

"Is everything alright?" Fluttershy asks.

I don't listen to them. I can't listen to them. My ears tune in on the indigo and the indigo alone as I brush on by, my trot turning into a half-hearted gallop, matching the stutter of my heart.

"Uhhmm..." Fluttershy glances at her friend.

Pinkie Pie clears her throat, turning towards the crowd. "Okie dokie lokie, everypony! That was tonight's entertainment! Uhhhhm... g-give it up for DJ-P0N3! Yeah!"

The ballroom slowly breaks into crimson applause... then melts behind me as I rush into the nearest hallway.

I'm panting at this point, threading my way down black and blacker crystalline corridors... searching... seeking.

And again...

Indigo...

Closer now...

Indigo...

Fractured... desperate...

Indigo...

Weeping... pleading...

Her color is not alone. It's accompanied by something else. Something wretched... and wretchedly familiar. A patchwork of coarse browns and grays. Sandpaper to the ears... to my ears.

I glance at the floor.

Mottled feathers and torn velvet roses litter the ground.

They form a trail... bleeding around the corner.

I'm galloping at this point. My dashes right, left, then right again...

And then I see her... draped in a vice-like pair of talons... his talons.

A gangly freak of a griffon in a gold vest holds Octavia by her neck. Her dress is torn from an obvious scuffle. Her legs dangle beneath her—dangle beneath his grip as he drags her towards a thick set of crystalline doors labeled "Royal Treasury."

"For the last time, you stupid mud horse!" Ambassador Talonsmith snarls, aiming a pair ot talons against the soft-spot between her eyes. "Give me the combination to this lock or I'll hang you by your garters!"

"And f-for the last t-time, you insufferable brute..." Octavia's words are tough, but her voice isn't. She sniffles, just upon the crest of indigo sobs. "I don't know it! I'm j-just a minstrel!"

"And just what's a damned musician doing wandering the halls at this hour?! Huh?!" Talonsmith spits in her face. "Don't pretend, hussy! I know you're a guard in disguise! Now tell me the blasted combination already so I can get what belongs to Griffonstone!"

"I... d-don't... know it!"

"Rrrrgh!" The air splashes with crimson as he slaps my best friend. "You're not making this any easier for the two of us?!"

I brace my legs hard against the floor. Hissing magenta, I aim my horn at him and channel forth as much magic as I can. My vision goes black, and when it comes back... the abominable griffon is still standing there, the shoulders of his tunic barely smoking.

"Huh?!?" He turns and glares over his shoulder at me. "The hell is this?! Some kind of musician's convention?!"

"Vine! Vine, love!" Octavia sputters, trembling, bleeding from the lip. Her voice lifts into violet for a split second before diving deep into an indigo abyss. "Don't be a hero! Get the guards! Get Twilight! Get—"

"Shut up!" Talonsmith's patchwork breath suffocates her. He spins around, grasping Octavia from behind as he plants a series of razor-sharp talons right up against the mare's velvet chest. Octavia shrieks in pain and fright, and the cretin's voice seeps through it, his hawkeyes glued on my shivering frame. "I'm only going to tell you this once, unicorn. Leave us be, or I promise you: this pathetic mule's death won't be a slow one..."

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