• Published 24th Jan 2017
  • 18,481 Views, 1,807 Comments

Stranger in the Forest - TrixterCat



When Fluttershy encounters a new creature in the Everfree forest, how will the ponies deal with its strange ways and its inability to speak?

  • ...
54
 1,807
 18,481

PreviousChapters Next
Chapter 14 - Music Is In the Air

“I’ll be off now, Bonbon.”

“Okay. I’ll see you later at the park, then.”

Lyra stepped out of the house she shared with Bonbon to a bright, sunny day in Ponyville. It was the perfect kind of day in her opinion. A warm summer day, yet there were enough clouds in the sky that it didn’t get overbearingly hot, and, most importantly, it was windy. Lyra loved the wind, how it would tousle her mane, make the leaves in trees rustle and carry sweets scents with it (like the scent of a freshly baked strawberry muffin coming from the Sugarcube Corner). She also liked to imagine, that when she played a song, the wind would carry the music wherever it went for other ponies to hear.

It was good that the weather was so promising, for Lyra had plans for the evening. She and a few other ponies were planning to hold a small concert in the Ponyville Park later this evening, and it would do no good if they got a sudden storm from the Everfree.

Lyra greeted the ponies that she walked past. She needed to check up on the others to make sure that everything was ok for this evening, and the first on her list was to meet up with Vinyl Scratch. Vinyl and Octavia lived on the edge of the town, whereas Lyra and Bonbon lived quite close to the center of town. Sometimes, she wished that they didn’t live so close to all the hustle and bustle, but it did certainly make Bonbon’s job a lot easier when one’s workplace and home were in the same building.

As Lyra neared the Carousel Boutique, she saw the easily recognizable form of the town’s newest resident (even if he didn’t officially live in Ponyville, he sure liked to spend a lot of time there) having tea with Rarity outside.

“Hi there Miss Rarity, Scruffy!” Lyra greeted them as she trotted closer.

“Good day Miss Heartstrings,” Rarity pleasantly greeted back. Scruffy offered a warm smile and a wave of a hand.

“What are you two up to?” Lyra asked when she noticed the stack of parchment and a quill on Scruffy’s side of the table.

“Oh, just making sure that our student here keeps up with his homework while Twilight is away.”

“Huh?”

“Our dear Scruffy here has been studying our language with Twilight for the past week or so. He can’t speak it, unfortunately, something to do with his vocal cords not being the same as ours, but, he can still learn to read and write it.”

“Oh, that’s so neat!”

“He has made great progress with Twilight, but she had to go to Canterlot for today, so I’m here to assist Scruffy instead.”

Lyra circled the table to take a look at the content of the parchments. There were rows upon rows of words on each one of them, often with pictures to illustrate what the word meant, and all of them also had some other symbols written after the pictures, which Lyra didn’t recognize. There were also a few easy sentences here and there, something a foal might get when they were first learning to read, but Lyra couldn’t tell if they were written by Scruffy, or given to him to translate.

“Looks like he has made a lot of progress.”

“Indeed he has. Twilight told us that the princesses were considering meeting with Scruffy, but they decided to postpone it for now, since they couldn’t communicate with him. When Twilight explained this to Scruffy, he seemed to be all the more determined to learn our language.”

“Are these symbols his own language then?” Lyra pointed at one of the parchments.

“Jes.”

Lyra almost jumped when the deep voice came from close to her ear. She turned to see the mischievous smile of Scruffy looming over her. Rarity tittered behind her hoof.

“Ah, yes, while his vocal cords prevent him from speaking our language fluently, he has picked up some words that he can say.”

“H-he-hellu.” Scruffy greeted Lyra.

“Oh you…! You scared me there!” Lyra said in mock anger, before beginning to giggle. “Hey there Scruffy. So, hard at learning, eh?”

“Jes. A-ai…ai k-trai.”

“Well, you’re doing good, so keep going, and we can have a proper conversation in no time!” Lyra encouraged. Scruffy chuckled and nodded.

“Oh, he and Twilight have already had small conversations just through writing,” Rarity said as she sipped her tea. “She wanted to ask what his real name was, but since we don’t understand each other’s languages enough, we don’t know what it means.”

“Aww. I’m sure we’ll get there eventually.”

“Mmhm. But what about you? What are you up to on this fine day?”

“I was on my way to meet with Vinyl Scratch about today’s event.” Rarity’s eyes widened and color drained from her already white cheeks.

“Oh heavens! The concert is today?” Rarity exclaimed.

“Uhh…yes.”

“Oh, how could I have forgotten?” Rarity lamented as she hopped from her chair and started to pace back and forth. “It completely slipped my mind…and I haven’t finished my dress yet!” Horror was apparent in her voice, but it only caused Lyra and Scruffy each to raise one eyebrow.

“Umm…”

“And I need to modify Sky Blaze’s jacket today, too!” Rarity spun around so that she was nose to nose with Lyra. “I’m terribly sorry to ask you this, dear, but I really need to get back to work, and I can’t help Scruffy with studying our language while I need to concentrate. Could you perhaps help him today, instead?”

“Umm…I mean…sure, I just need to check up on the others to make sure that everything is ready for tonight.” Lyra agreed hesitantly. Rarity turned towards Scruffy.

“My most sincere apologies, but we have to cut our tea time short. I know I promised to help you today with your studying, but I completely forgot what day it was.”

“Umm…” Scruffy scratched his chin unsurely.

“Oh…hmm…Today. Music.” Rarity said while conjuring images with her horn. Ponies were dancing around a music note. “I. Forgot.” An image of Rarity trotted in to view, who was surprised at what she saw. “I. Need. To. Make. A. Dress.” The image hurried to her boutique, where she soon emerged wearing a fabulous dress.

Scruffy blinked at the images, wracking his brain, and nodding slightly at Rarity. He turned to look at Lyra, who was trying to hold back her laughter.

“I must be off now. I’ll see you at the concert tonight!” Rarity said over her shoulder as she hurriedly trotted inside her boutique.

“That one is always so worried about her appearance,” Lyra shook her head, and turned to Scruffy, who looked like a puppy who had just been told that they weren’t going to go on a walk after all. “I guess you are stuck with me for today then, Scruffy,” Lyra said with a smile.

********************

Knock knock

Lyra stepped back from the door. For a long while, she couldn’t hear anything, but eventually, a shuffling sound approached the door. There was a rattling sound before the door slowly opened, and the unmistakably sharp, blue mane of Vinyl Scratch emerged.

“Good morning Vinyl,” Lyra greeted the disaster that was Vinyl’s unkempt mane, for she couldn’t actually see the pony’s eyes behind the tangled mess.

Hmmrrrmm…mornin’…” Vinyl’s voice murmured back.

“A rough night?”

Mmmm…

“Can we come in?”

Mmmm…

Vinyl turned around and shuffled back in to the house. Lyra followed her in, and motioned for Scruffy to come inside too. Vinyl headed slowly towards the kitchen, bumping against things in her stupor.

“Do you need some help there?” Lyra asked.

Vinyl continued on as if not having heard anything, but soon stopped and let out a small sigh.

Coffee…” Came the tiny, squeaky voice.

“One cup of extra strong coffee, coming right up.”

Vinyl nodded, and changed her direction for the table instead, while Lyra went ahead to get the coffee machine running.

“So…what were you up to last night? Some late-night fun with Octavia, perhaps?” Lyra asked playfully while she fiddled with the machine

Hmrm…I wish…had a gig at Canterlot…” Came the muffled response as Vinyl pressed her head against the table. Scruffy sat down next to her, but soon stood up again because he spotted a brush on the other side of the room.

“Ah…I guess you took the night train back?”

Mmmm…

Scruffy sat down again, and tapped Vinyl’s leg to get her attention.

“Hrmh…wha…?” Vinyl rotated her head on the other side. Scruffy could see bloodshot eyes squinting at him past the mane.

“…that a bear…?” Vinyl muttered.

“No, silly. That’s Scruffy. You know, the one who’s been visiting Twilight’s library for the past week or so? The one who showed Trixie what-for when she was all mad with power?”

“…Hrmh…” Vinyl brought one of her hooves up in front of Scruffy, who made his hand in to a fist and slightly bumped it. “…Cool, dude…”

With Vinyl still being half-asleep, Scruffy scooted a bit closer and took it upon himself to sort out Vinyl’s messy mane. Soon, the pleasant smell of coffee filled the kitchen, and Lyra placed a hot cup of coffee in front of Vinyl, who eagerly reached out for it.

“Aaah.” Vinyl let out a satisfied moan as she took her first sip of coffee.

“Feeling better?”

“Give it a moment,” Vinyl responded as she tried to get as much coffee in her system as possible without burning her mouth.

“Are you still feeling up for tonight? Can you get everything ready before the concert starts?” Lyra asked after a minute

“Don’t worry about that. I’ll get everything ready. Made sure to do most of the work yesterday when I had the time. I just need to set it up at the stage.”

“Thanks Vinyl, you’re the best.”

There was a sound of a door opening and closing, and soon another pony entered the kitchen.

“Oh…I didn’t know we had visitors,” Octavia said when she noticed Lyra and Scruffy.

“Sorry about that. I came to check with Vinyl to make sure that everything was ready for tonight.”

“Ah yes, the concert you are organizing.” Octavia nodded. She turned her gaze towards Scruffy, who nodded at her with a pleasant smile. Octavia nodded back.

“Hey sweetie,” Vinyl greeted from her slouched position, muzzle half buried in her coffee mug.

“And I see you even got our zompony to rise from her grave.” Octavia eyed the brush that Scruffy was still holding in his hand.

“It was a long and hard battle,” Lyra said in a tone one would use to tell an old story. “But after obtaining the mystical liquid called ‘Coffee’, we knew the day was ours.”

“Har har,” Vinyl said, disappointed that her mug was now empty.

“There’s still more coffee if you want some,” Lyra said.

“Yes please.”

“Don’t worry about your coffee,” Octavia said as she sauntered next to Vinyl. “I got more effective methods to get you awake,” she said and nuzzled Vinyl’s cheek. Scruffy could see a small blush forming when Octavia moved towards Vinyl’s ear.

“Octy…we have guests…”

“Mmm, they won’t stay here all day.”

“Ehehee…” Lyra laughed awkwardly. “Yeah…I think we should go, Scruffy.” She motioned for Scruffy to follow her, and the two of them left the lovers alone.

********************

“I think that’s the last one,” Lyra said as they walked away from where Sky Blaze and his band were staying for the concert. “All ponies ready, and accounted for.” Lyra ticked off the last box from her mental checklist.

“All…kood?” Scruffy asked.

“Yes. All good.”

They walked to a nearby bench and plopped down to rest. They had gone through all the ponies who were to perform tonight, and no problems had presented themselves.

“All we need to do now is wait for the evening.”

Lyra sat there in silence, letting the wind carry all of her nervousness away. There was no need to worry about tonight, all would go well, and even if there was a small hiccup, they could fix it. Maybe she should practice her own song one more time though. Just in case.

“Hey,” Lyra suddenly said. Scruffy turned from his studies to regard the mare. “I haven’t heard you play anything in a while.” She smiled at Scruffy, who tried desperately to understand what she had just said. Lyra mimicked playing the harmonica, which caused Scruffy to snap his fingers in understanding. He fished out his harmonica from one of his pockets.

“Ai…pley?” He asked.

“I’d love to hear you play. I really liked it the last time.”

Scruffy closed his eyes and leaned back, thinking. After a while, he opened his eyes, brought the harmonica to his mouth, and started playing.

When Scruffy stopped playing and turned to Lyra, he was slightly shocked by the teary eyes that greeted him.

“Th-that was so sad,” Lyra said as she dried her eyes. “But beautiful nonetheless.”

Scruffy let out a small chuckle and pocketed his harmonica again.

“I wonder if you are some sort of musician,” Lyra pondered to herself. “There’s so little we know about you.”

Scruffy tilted his head, and Lyra smiled lightly.

“But hopefully that’ll change soon.”

********************

“Is everything set?” Lyra asked from the band that were getting ready to play.

“Yep. We are ready when the curtains open,” Sky Blaze replied.

“Fantastic.”

Evening had finally come, and with it, the Ponyville park had filled up with eager ponies. It wasn’t every day that somepony decided to organize and put together a concert. Rows upon rows of ponies were talking to themselves excitedly, waiting for it to start.

“Looks like we sold out,” Lyra murmured to herself as she peeked at the audience. “Deep breaths Lyra, deep breaths,” she calmed herself.

“Everything is set up and ready to go,” Vinyl said as she emerged from around the corner.

“Thanks, Vinyl.”

“No problem Lyra. Now go out there and make these ponies cheer!”

Lyra nodded, collected herself for a few more moments, and walked on to the small stage they had set up for this event. As ponies noticed her, the talking lessened, but didn’t cease completely. Lyra walked to the microphone that Vinyl had set up, and carefully tested that it was on. Satisfied with the result, she picked it up with her magic.

“Good evening everypony!” She greeted the audience, and a chorus of cheers came back. “Thank you all, who have decided to attend this little concert today. After weeks and weeks of preparing, tonight, we are ready to have a blast!” The ponies cheered again. “Good, you all seem very excited. First of all, let me thank everypony who contributed for today’s concert, and all of those who are here to play today. Special thanks goes to Vinyl Scratch, or as you might know her, DJ Pon-3, for providing the necessary equipment for this event.” The ponies cheered and stomped their hooves. “Now, what do you say that we get this show started?”

“Yes!” Came the answer from the audience.

“Then, without a further ado, our very first performer today is a band that got its origins from our very own town of Ponyville: Nightwings!”

Lyra stepped aside as the curtain was opened, which revealed a band of five pegasi. Each of them wore dark outfits, themed after Princess Luna’s night in some way. The ponies cheered loudly, and as it subsided, the band started to play.

********************

As the evening turned to night, and the ponies kept playing, Scruffy quietly slipped away from the concert area. As much as he enjoyed listening to the music they were playing, his back unfortunately didn’t agree on him sitting in the same place any longer. Especially without a proper chair. He made his way to a nearby tree to take support from it as he stretched his sore muscles.

Today had certainly been an interesting day, helping the mint green one to organize this event. Or that’s what he had gathered anyway. They probably were just making sure that everything was fine. If all of this was done in a single day, these ponies were the most efficient organizers he had ever seen.

Scruffy let out a pained grunt as his back made a cracking sound. As much as he loved these little creatures, and spending time with them, not having a proper chair was starting to get to him. Or to his back, to be precise.

“-Maybe I ought to bring my own.-” He chuckled to himself.

He leaned against the tree, and gazed over towards where mint green pony was getting on the stage to play. A small smile made it’s way on to his face. These ponies were certainly an interesting bunch. Each one was so full of life, and very much like humans. He turned his gaze towards the sky, and the moon. For a moment, he was sure he could see a shape on the surface of the moon, but when he blinked, it was gone.

“-And so strange too…-” He mused to himself, while listening to the song that the mint green pony was playing, while the specter of the moon continued its vigil over him.

Author's Note:

I'm here I'm here I'M NOT LATE DAMNIT! *Slams the big red button that says "Publish"*

Oh, why can't I do these things beforehand, and not at 3 am in the morning in a tea induced haze. Well, it's done, and technically I didn't even break my promise for one chapter per week. :rainbowlaugh:

Also, as I eluded earlier, my Patreon is ready for the public! Wohoo! :pinkiehappy: I will be sprucing it our later, but it should work for now. :rainbowkiss: If you are wondering, the banner was done by my sister, so go check her out too.

Now, about my patreon. I'm not planning on doing lots of stuff only in my patreon. I don't want to do "hey, if you wanna see my stuff, pay me". But, I do have plans to create something for those who decide to become patrons. Maybe once a month, or every other month, I'll try to write a one-shot fic for patreon, or pester my sister to draw some cool art for someone. :rainbowlaugh: But, if I do write something there, I will also, eventually, put it here (or somewhere else if it isn't a pony fic). So I'm not going to be creating stuff that is patreon exclusive permanently. Also, only become a patron if you truly wish to support me, if you want to give me something little back for writing, and doing lets plays, and whatever else I might create (I might do commissions at some point). :pinkiesmile: I'm not planning on living off of patreon, but little extra money to buy more tea is always a plus. :scootangel:

As for the chapter, huge thanks to lordelliott for helping with proofreading and editing. He also went through the last interlude chapter, so some typos were fixed. Hopefully you enjoy it, and I hope my music choices hit the spot. :rainbowlaugh:

(Thanks MonsterMyrr, my silly sister, for becoming a patreon.) :rainbowlaugh:

Join our Patreon to remove these adverts!
PreviousChapters Next
Join our Patreon to remove these adverts!