• 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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Representative Things

Author's Note:

A gray breath.

She leans a hoof forward, turning a pen slowly around atop the table, aiming it away from us, towards us, and away again.

Another gray breath.

Her lips press together.

And then... words...

"I remember one time... over a year ago. It was the Running of the Leaves. I entered the first race I ever participated in. It was... an invigorating experience. I followed every tip and trick that the books I read on endurance races taught me. In the end, I even finished in fifth place! And yet... my enthusiasm was cut short... because not long after I crossed the finish line, two of the best friends I had ever made got into a horrible... nasty fight. I remember how embarrassed I felt. Ashamed, even. But I didn't have to chastise them. For one, it wasn't my place. And—for another—Princess Celestia was there to witness everything. Just her bold presence alone was enough to convince my friends of the horrible mistakes that they had made. Before my very eyes, a supremely ugly friendship problem... more or less amended itself. And ever since then—with an exception of Discord's mind-altering influence—I've not had to witness my friends go to such lows ever again."

With a deep sigh, Princess Twilight Sparkle looks up from across the table within the Royal Throne Room.

Her lavender brow furrows.

Eyes burning.

"Over twelve months have passed. I am now an alicorn... the Princess of Friendship. It is no longer just my function to learn... but to teach... and to govern. Unlike the old days, I no longer have the luxury of Princess Celestia looking over my shoulder, influencing things... or even fixing them. It is up to me to ensure that this part of the kingdom—Ponyville—abides by harmonious law and ethics. And unlike Celestia or Luna or Cadance—who act with individual authority—I must take into account the members of my Council. After all, a Princess of Friendship does not earn her throne on her lonesome. We are all in on this together. Applejack, Rainbow Dash, Fluttershy, Rarity, Pinkie Pie, Spike... and even my servants."

She leans forward, staring rigidly at me.

"Vinyl Scratch, when you auditioned to become a Royal Minstrel, you entered into an accord with something higher than yourself... higher than all of us. Access to the Castle and its amenities was not given to you freely. There was a price to pay... a price of commitment... a promise to abide by the rules of harmony and friendship and good will to all equine kind. I witnessed every moment of your talent blossoming since you arrived here. As a representative of the Castle of Friendship, you excelled, and you never ceased to make me proud of you... until now."

I bow my head. I feel the shivers coming on. Her voice continues pouring into my ears, taking on a blue tint.

"I've heard multiple accounts of what happened. I know that Opulence Von Melody overstepped his bounds. He's certainly not the most harmonious pony. If I was in your place, I'd detest him too. As a matter of fact, I spent most of the last few days brainstorming with Spike, looking for a legal loophole to counteract his measures to relocate his daughter. Nopony liked him; he pressed everyone's buttons just the right way. I certainly found him more than just a little bit disagreeable. But that's not the issue here. Opulence was never a member of the Court of Friendship. You were. And what you did not only broke the laws established to maintain peace and serenity in Ponyville... but it was unbecoming of a representative of Friendship. Smashing his face in with furniture? Did you ever... ever stop to think of the ramifications such despicable violence might have, Miss Scratch? Did it occur to you that we might be having this unpleasant conversation at the tail end of it? Have you... h-have you taken the opportunity to imagine how Octavia will react to what you did to her very own father?"

A momentary, naked pause.

She gets up out of her table and paces about, drawn in circles by a weighted sigh.

"Life is complicated, for sure. Things are hardly black or white in reality. No doubt the wounds you and Octavia have with Opulence run deep... deeper than I'll ever have the good fortune of knowing... or understanding. I wish with my whole heart that I could grasp exactly what's going on here... what horrible things Opulence may have done in the past or what issues Octavia may have had with him... that it would have motivated you to do something so impulsively sociopathic. I doubt I'll ever know the full story. But that's not the issue here. Whatever you and Octavia have always known... or always felt... it was in your heart and mind the very moment you joined this Court. Therefore, it was your responsibility to deal with such elements reasonably, like an adult, and adhering to the rules of Friendship and Harmony—all of which you broke the very moment you assaulted another citizen inside a public hospital. I mean... how am I going to clean up after this? If I invite delegates over to future Friendship Galas, will they have reason to fear my very own subjects attacking them over a foul glare or a poorly-timed joke?! I mean... you didn't just put your own reputation on the line, Vinyl. You compromised mine and that of all of my closest friends, now!"

Biting my lip, I stare up at her like a guilty filly.

She sees it. She stifles a groan. Trotting over to my side, Twilight rests a hoof on my shoulder.

"I'm responsible for other things too, of course. Take Talonsmith Jr for example..." She shudders. "Not a night has gone by since when I haven't... ached inside for allowing such a breach of security to take place. Octavia suffered for it... and so have you. No doubt this has put you under a great deal of stress. I know... I understand how protective you must feel about her. And with how strained things have been lately, it's not exactly a stretch of the imagination to envision you cracking under the pressure. But that still doesn't change the commitment you've made... that we've all made, and your actions are in direct violation of that. And... and it simply cannot stand, Vinyl. It can't. Consider how lucky... how incredibly fortunate we are that Opulence Von Melody chose not to press charges, because a stallion as greedy and avaricious as him could very easily have taken this situation all the way to the Upper Echelon of the Equestrian Judicial System and humiliated the whole Court if we wanted to. That is why... a v-very good reason why we must strive to be better than other ponies... and better than ourselves."

She leans back. Her breath turns a denser gray, and that's how I know that things are about to crumble.

"When it all comes down to it, Miss Scratch, the Court and its reputation will suffer if there's no penalty enacted for this incident. However... the Court is not entirely present at the moment. I have to meet up with the rest of my friends so that we can collectively decide your fate—that is... your fate as a minstrel of the Royal House of Friendship. But until then, I cannot in good faith act as though nothing horrible transpired. Thus, it is with a heavy heart that I, Princess Twilight Sparkle, must suspend you indefinitely. Until it is decided otherwise, you are no longer a minstrel of the Royal Court, and the Castle premises shall be off-limits to you except by official invitation as scheduled by Spike or myself. When the members of the Court meet and make their decision, I shall have the Royal Guard summon you so that you will be told your future within the halls of this Palace. But I cannot promise you anything, Miss Scratch. And—to be perfectly honest—I... w-wouldn't put my hopes up."

I nod. I understand.

She sees it, and I think it hurts her almost as it does me. "You're dismissed," she murmurs, turning towards her throne.

I stand up. My legs are a lot more numb than I anticipate. Nevertheless, I turn and begin my long shuffle towards the exit.

"Vinyl..." Her voice is frayed. Gray tatters.

I turn and look towards her.

She doesn't have the strength to look back. I cannot blame her. "From what I hear, Octavia is getting along quite well. She's back at home, waiting for you. I suggest you go see her." The Princess' shoulders shake. At last, she glances back, eyes glossy... glossier. "This is between you and me, Miss Scratch. But I..." A sniffle. Tears form. "I-I have never quite felt comfortable with Friendship being distilled into a quantifiable form: a tiara, a throne, an entire castle. What I've done today, and what I do tomorrow—I do for Equestria. It is my duty. As for yours?" A shuddering breath. "It is very much possible, I b-believe... to be a horrible representative of the Court... and yet a stellar representative of friendship. No matter what happens from this day forward, I believe... I know... that Octavia is very... v-very lucky." A heavy gulp. "Just as I h-have been."

I stare at her.

She turns her back again, and that's when I know I should be leaving.

And so I do.

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