• 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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Stealing Things

Author's Note:

"Vinyl, it's only a physical," Octavia murmurs, trying to solace me with satin circles of purple velvet. "You've had dozens of them over the past seven years! If not hundreds!"

It barely works. I lumber towards the front entrance of the Castle, staring limply through cold shades at the yellow-framed sheet of paper in the middle of the folder that Princess Twilight Sparkle has given me. I try not sigh, or else I might trip over myself. I'm only marginally successful.

"Besides, Her Majesty has made it abundantly clear," Octavia says. "This is a mandatory step in our hiring process. And can she really be blamed?" The mare tosses her mane back, trotting tall and proud as we make our way to the place's exit. Royal guards and servants continue rattling about in red gaggles on either side of us. "She's opening up her Palace—her very home to an entire cornucopia of humble pony workers. One if one of us secretly harbored some contagious illness? Her Majesty can't afford that! An examination is not only proper, but simply healthy! And what's more, she's promising to fund it completely!" She smiles my way. "When was the last time you had the luxury of that, huh?"

My ears only droop all the harder.

"Oh, love, please." That's enough to stab me, ripping me from my loathsome thoughts. "You're not a little foal anymore. If anything, you should be quite used to these sorts of medical trips. Why's it bothering you so?" She arches an eyebrow. "Because somepony other than me is making you go through with it?"

I bite my lip.

She smirks ever so slightly. "Would it make it easier if I went with you again? Like last time?"

I scuffle to a stop, shaking my head vigorously.


I'm done with her hoof-holding me.

She shouldn't have to... I mean she doesn't deserve—

"Because I'm more than willing." She smiles. "I'll be undergoing a physical too, of course. It won't be out of the way."

I facehoof, shuddering.

"Awwwww... now don't be that way, darling." Octavia turns to face me. "Look."

I stare down at the floor.

"Vine, look at me."

I lift my head up, face long.

She smiles gently. "Even if the doctors don't have anything different to say than they have the past seven years, remember... you are strong." Deep, heavy purple. "You've overcome so much, and you've made a masterpiece of it all." She rests a soft hoof on my shoulder, speaking with an even softer tongue. "The masterpiece that is you... whom I'm so very proud to be associated with... even if I envy her talents from time to time." She finishes this with a well-meaning wink.

She deserves a smile. So I give her one.

"Yes... do rejoice..." She smiles. "It's just a physical. And besides!" She spins about and skips gleefully for the door, mane and tail flouncing. "We're royal minstrels now! Heeeee! Nothing can bring us down—"

Whud! Octavia bumps hard into a muscular chest.

She falls down. "Ooof!" As the red burst fades, she rubs her flank, wincing. "Ow... my goodness!"

I jolt, wincing all over. Before I can rush over to her, an outstretched wing of orange feathers blocks me.

"Whoah, there!" A voice. A very very... masculine voice. I'm too overcome by the absurd breathiness of it to even define a color. "Horseapples! Even in this place, I can't stop being a klutz!" He drops a heavy crate full of armor onto the crystalline floor with a red thud! "Miss, I am so... so sorry." He leans down, reaching a gentlecoltly orange hoof to help Octavia up. "Are you hurt?"

"No, I... I think I'm..." Octavia looks up. Then something happens that I haven't sensed... well... ever, actually. It's hard to describe, but it's almost as if her voice dips past purple... beneath indigo... and into a deep dark place too brackish to comprehend. The closest thing I have to compare it to is... is... cerulean? No, that's not it. I can't think right now, I can only hear Octavia's voice... her murmuring voice as she drips: "I'm the absolute best I've felt all day."

I lean my head at a crooked angle. I tilt my gaze towards the stallion.

He lifts Octavia briskly up to her hooves. His wings fold at his sides, and that's when I finally get a view of his angular muzzle poking out of a crystalline helmet. The colt... er... I mean stallion's coat is a bright orange, like Scribbler's purrs just before feeding time. It unnerves me.

"Well, that's good to know! I thought for a second there that I totally plowed you!" he says with a chuckle.

"Yes. Eheheheheheh..." Octavia's giggles dip and rise, dip and rise. She slowly tucks a lock of mahogany mane hair behind her ear. Uh oh. "Imagine that..."

"As a royal guard, it's my duty to protect the citizens and royal subjects who visit this castle," he says. "Not knock them into the ground!" He bows low. "I promise, it won't happen ever again."

"Oh, perish the thought!" Octavia says with a coy grin. "Then... uhm... you are one of the guards that the Princess hired to guard the Castle?"

"Eheheh..." A slight rosiness crosses the stallion's cheekbones. With a slight heave, he muscles the crate of armor back onto his supple flank. "I guess that's one way of putting it." He glances at our rear ends. A deep part of me twitches—until I realize he's studying our cutie marks. "Oh! Wow! You two must be the royal minstrels that Twi—er... that the Princess has hired!"

"Yes. As a matter of fact, that is quite true! Erm... as of today, that is!" Octavia curtsies with the most grace I've seen since her last concert performance. "I'm Vinyl Melody an this is my good friend Octavia Scratch... erm..." She winces. "What I mean is, we're Taviscratch—" She winces harder, the purple dipping, dissolving. "I-I mean—!"

He chuckles. "I think I get it. Well, hey! If we're both stationed here at the Castle, then we'll likely run into each other again! Er... well... heheh..." He winks. "You know what I mean."

"Yes. Uhm... quite."

The stallion glances down the hall at the source of much crimson clattering. "Well, I-I'd best be off. If I don't help set up the armory P.D.Q., my Captain is going to hang my flank from a flagpole for all of Ponyville to see."

"Mmmm... wouldn't that be a shame."

"Harmony's blessings!" He salutes, and trots firmly off.

Octavia turns her head and stares after him... and stares and stares and stares.

I look at her. I look at the distant stallion. I levitate my folder of sheets, pretend to shuffle them, and slap the thing shut with a crimson clap.

If I know Octavia, that's enough to snap her out of it. And I'm right. The mare jolts, looking my way. "Uhm... where were we, exactly?" She brightens, her violet voice returning, chasing the blush away. "Oh! But of course! I do believe a celebration is in order!" She trots gaily out the Palace entrance. The extra spring in her step is not lost to me. "I have a good mind to buy Scribbler a bag of treats! Heeee! Life is most certainly handsome—Good! 'Good' is what I meant..."

I shuffle after her, dragging my tail. I tongue the inside of my mouth in deep thought...

And then I find it... the color... the tone of his voice.

Brown. Deep, deep brown.

And, no, it's not mud...

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