• 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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Yesterday's Things

Author's Note:

"Cyan? Cyan Sings?"

I screwed the cap back onto a water bottle, wiped my muzzle clean, and looked across the backstage area. "Yes?" I asked with a bright smile.

"You're on in five!" exclaimed a stagehoof. She held a clipboard in front of her as she galloped swiftly between stallions carrying setpieces left and right. The bright gold bulbs of a makeup vanity glinted off the unicorn's teeth as she grimaced. "Ungh!" She flipped through the sheets of her program. "That Lulamoon magician is late again! I swear! Why does every pony from Whinniepeg think we abide by their schedule?!"

"What, does that mean you're one performance short, or—?" I asked.

"Make that three! The first act got stuck in Manehattan traffic and those Flim/Flam Singers from Fillydelphia had to pull double-time! Dang it!" The mare dodged a group of flashy-dressed dancers and growled towards the far end of the stage. "Y'know, this wouldn't happen if I had been hired as stage manager a year ago! Phil, I'm talking to you, Phil!"

I blinked. Out the corner of my ears, I heard a wave of applause and cheer. The latest act is ending. "Looks like I'm up."

"Cyan, I-I'm so sorry about how chaotic things have been!" The mare stares at me, eyes glossy. "It won't happen again! I swear!"

"Hehehe... lemme guess..." I smile. "I've gotta stall for time you can find another act to finish the show with."

"Uhhhh..." The mare squirmed in place. Her eyes shifted about. "I... uh... I-I think I can get the Buffalo Brothers back in to re-do their juggling act." She gulped hard. "The crowd seemed to love that."

"Or..." I adjust my sparkly blue dress. "I could... y'know... sing two more songs to keep the audience happy. It could easily close out tonight's performance."

"But, Cyan! Miss!" She trembled, hugging the clipboard close. "We're talking about twenty straight minutes! We... we only have you paid for less than ten! I don't think... I-I mean I can't quite get in touch with the financier this second! I—"

"Heehee..." I winked her way. "Don't worry. I won't have my agent bill you for more."

"You... you're sure of that?" The stagehoof shuddered. "Miss Sings, if it weren't for you, tonight's show wouldn't even have half its draw! I... I'm afraid our venue simply isn't used to—"

"Think nothing of it. Besides." I trotted over to a mirror and inspected my long, curled mane. "I love shows like this. Not too small and not too crowded."

"We... we can talk about a bonus afterwards!"

"Just let it be," I said with an amused smile. I fluffed my electric blue bangs until they shone in the light. "I've got a new album coming up, and this will be my chance to sample some of the ballads with middle-class Manehattanites." I looked towards her. "It's a win-win, ya see?" A melodic giggle. "So please. Relax! I've got this!"

"Oh Cyan..." The mare exhaled, smiling rosily. "You're too... too kind. I really wish there were more performers like you in the world."

"Pffft. I don't!" I trot away from the mirror with a smirk. "A girl needs to stand out, y'know?"

"Heheheh... sure!"

Another stagehoof rushed up, waving a hoof. "Three minutes until the next performance!"

"That's you, Cyan."

"Right." I took a deep breath, facing the brightly-lit stage just beyond the dangling curtains. "Normally, I'd knock 'em dead, but I want ponies to trot away from this alive so they can buy my album."

The immediate vicinity of the backstage around me filled with chuckles.

And then—from high above—I heard a frighteningly loud pop! There was a bright spark of cold blue light. Just as it cleared, all our ears were pierced by the wailing sound of a stagehoof falling from a breath hight.

I looked up in time to see his body streaking downwards. He ricocheted off the edge of a platform, toppeled, and landed roughly on his side. Painful shudders rolled through his battered body, but otherwise he laid dead still.

"Blessed Celestia!"

"Did you see—?!"

"Heads up!" another stallion shouted from up high.

I shrieked, jumping back as a black length of cable slinked down, collecting in a half-loop around the stallion. Magical sparks spilled loose from the severed ends, and we all had to squint to see through it.

"He's hurt! We gotta help—" A performer rushed forward.

"No!" The stallion from above shouted. "Don't!" He climbed a few platforms down, and it was then that I noticed a big black light fixture dangling loosely above him—also framed by sparkling cables. "That cord's snapped and it's spilling loose manaflow! It's enough to power the lights of this theatre and it'll fry a grown pony to a crisp!"

"Well, we can't just stand here! We have to help the guy!"

"What we need to do is get this place evacuated!" The stallion climbed down the rest of the way, panting. "It's just a matter of time before—"

"Oh goddess!" the mare beside me yelped.

I winced from the feel of a hot blaze to my left. Glancing aside, I gasped to see that the loose wire's sparks had ignited the setpieces behind the collapsed stallion. One inch per second, the fresh flame climbed up the backstage curtains. Smoke spread swiftly, and the audience outside were already starting to gasp and shriek in fright.

"We gotta go!" A stallion shouted behind me. "Everypony out! Move slowly and calmly! Through the exits!"

"But... what about... about—"

"We gotta thin the crowd! Now go!"

I gasped, feeling myself shoved straight forward. My mane flounced and my body jolted from bumping into one set of shoulders after another. As we were forced towards the exit, I turned and glanced over my flank.

The limp stallion still lay behind a mess of sparkling cables. Three other stagehooves crowded around him, struggling to find a safe way to get to the injured pony. There was one thing I noticed about them—about everypony around me.

None of them were unicorns.

"Hey...!" I yelped, reaching a hoof out. "Wait! Just lemme—Ungh!" I winced as the crowd jostled me more and more. Then, with an angry snarl, I fired a blast of telekinesis from my horn. Two dancers yelped as they were shoved to their flanks. "So sorry! Please... lemme through!" I shoved and hopped my way over them. Once I was in the clear, I galloped over to the scene.

CRASH! A burning chunk of wood fell beside me. Only once I had shuffled back to the scene did I realize how out-of-control the blaze was. Nevertheless, I crept forward, coughing my way through the surmounting smoke. For a brief moment, the haze cleared, and I saw the stallion in great clarity. Without hesitation, I concentrated a wave of magic.

The cables beside him moved aside. The other stagehooves gasped. They briefly glanced my way, and their eyes lit-up instantly.

"Go... get him...!" I wheezed, sweating heavily as I struggled with my delicate task. The cable in my magic grasp shook and wriggled like a snake. Sparks of magic flickered in my direction, and I could taste the rust of blood building up in the back of my mouth. "Quickly! Can't... hold this for much longer!"

They didn't waste any time. Rushing forward, the stallions gently lifted the injured stallion and carried his moaning figure towards the exit.

My eyes trailed after them as they rushed past me. Then—out of nowhere—I felt a fountain of blue light scream into my vision.

"Aaaugh!" I stumbled backwards, being baked by the flames. There was a loud groan from above, and then a rush of air. "Huh?" I looked straight up.

The light fixture came crashing straight down. As soon as it struck the backstage floor, it exploded. The manacore shattered completely, and with nowhere else to go—the enchanted energy flowed straight out the cables and swam down the leylines that were levitating them in place...

...which led the electrical juices straight into my horn.

I didn't see anything at first... but I heard it, like a bombastic salvo of every drum and every trumpet and every violin ever made, splitting my skull in half and exploding out my eyes.

And all I saw was magenta... the painting of my screams.

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