• Published 31st Jul 2012
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Octaves Beyond - GuitarKirby

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Chapter 8: Romantic Recital

Shade roared in frustration, his hooves scrabbling through his mane.
"HOW DID I MISPLACE MY MUSIC?!" He tore through his notebooks, and his suitcase, and his hotel drawers. He had even torn through his saddlebags, in which he never left anything of importance. The music was simply not to be found. In his anger, he bucked the bed. A short message fell from the sheets. He stood over it, steam rising from his nostrils as he read.

Shade, I took the liberty of copying your music and rewriting several places. I also cleaned up your handwriting, which I found horrid. Come see me as soon as possible for the improved version.
- Octavia

Shade stared at the page for a moment, and felt a slightly hysterical laugh bubbling up in his throat. He shook his head as the laugh burst from him.
I always freak out right before a recital... He stepped out of his room as his breathing began to even out. The music was safe, and he was prepared... At least, he was prepared for the musical section. As far as admitting his feelings to Octavia, he wasn't entirely sure he was ready.
But that's a good thing, he insisted to himself. That's something I actually SHOULD be nervous about... He walked downstairs, and started making breakfast; buttered toast and donuts, along with a glass of milk and a glass of apple juice. A lot of food, but he needed his energy for that evening. The whole time he ate, he rolled his hooves in circles on the table. He hated his own feelings at the moment. More accurately, he didn't hate the emotions themselves - he was used to preshow nerves - but he was upset by the fact that he wasn't sure whether they were preshow nerves or simply his anticipation of telling Octavia. He looked down at a half-eaten donut.
"I can do it. It'll be easy, right?" he asked. The donut remained stoically silent. Shade spoke again. "But what if she doesn't like me back? What if she says she doesn't want to even be friends with me anymore?" The donut still did not respond to his line of questioning. He sighed and pushed the plate away. Suddenly, he heard a small voice say something next to him. He turned to see a light pink mane covering half the face of a yellow pegasus. He raised an eyebrow. "What was that?"
"Oh, um, well..." said the mare. "I just heard you talking to that donut, and I thought you should really say something to whoever it is you're talking about." She blushed, and looked down. Shade was stunned by her rather direct speech.
"What's your name?" he asked, unable to think of anything else to say.
"I'm F-Fluttershy..." she said, almost in a whisper. Shade stood off of his stool, and smiled.
"Thank you, Fluttershy. It's always nice to have somepony offer their advice." She gulped and looked up, seeing Shade smile. She returned his look, albeit rather uncertainly. "Looks like I have a bigger day ahead than I thought... You're coming to the recital tonight?" She nodded and spoke.
"Oh, yes, all of my friends and I are coming." Shade racked his mind as something occurred to him. He knew the name Fluttershy... He let out a gasp of recognition.
"You're an Element of Harmony!" he said. She blushed and hid behind her mane, slightly frightened by the increase in volume. Shade brought his voice down a notch. "Sorry... You're the Element of Kindness, right?" he asked. The pink mane moved up and down, indicating that she had nodded. "Thank you so much, Ms. Fluttershy." A teal eye looked out from behind the mane. "Support can change everything, so thank you very, very much."

Shade spread his wings and soared out the window, feeling as though walking wasn't even an option; when he felt so inspired to fly, why should he bring himself to the ground when he simply felt so UP?


Octavia calmly strapped her cello across her back. For all her flaws, she had the undeniable strength and endurance that defined Earth-ponies, and so was able to carry rather heavy items with her wherever she went. Her focus was all on her performance for that evening... Or so she had thought. She found that her mind kept straying to Shade. She shook her head every time this happened, but still it continued. She finally accepted it, deciding that it was just because he would be accompanying her for the recital, and she was merely worried about how he would perform.
I do hope he can keep up with me, she thought, attempting to instill the idea in her mind as a belief. As if to defy this, her imagination began returning her to the hill, and Shade's warm fur next to hers, his wing over her back...
"No!" She exclaimed, shaking her head harder than before. Two ponies looked up at her voice nervously. One was the color of cider, the other a bright red. Octavia sighed. "I apologize for my outburst, Applejack, Big Macintosh." Applejack smiled widely.
"Why, no harm done 't all, sugarcube. Ain't that right, Big Mac?"
"Eeyup."
Octavia smiled at the two of them.
"So, what's yer name?"
"I'm Octavia; I played cello at-"
"The Grand Gallopin' Gala, I remember. Y'all were right brilliant on that there oversized fiddle a' yers." Octavia had to stop her smile from faltering; it irritated her when people compared the cello to the violin. However, she made no comment.
"Thank you, Applejack, for the complement."
"A' course." Applejack turned to Big Macintosh. "Big Mac, would you leave us here for a few minutes? I got somethin' I wanna ask Ms. Octavia here." Big Mac smiled.
"Eeyup."

After he left, Applejack turned to Octavia.
"So, who's the colt?"
"What?" Octavia felt confused by the remark. Applejack laughed.
"The colt you was just thinkin' of. I can tell you're thinkin' about a certain special somepony. Who is it?" Octavia found herself blushing.
Was it really so obvious?
"I, I," she spluttered for a moment, before finally responding. "I was thinking of Shade." Applejack grinned.
"Y'mean that piana colt who I hear's playin' with ya in town t'night?"
"That would be him," said Octavia, feeling somewhat embarrassed.
"Well, that's right wonderful, I reckon," said Applejack. Octavia looked back at her in surprise.
"What?"
"I said, that's right wonderful. Y'all need t' be honest with 'im, though. After all, what if he's just as interested in you?"
Octavia merely blinked, unsure what to say; she would first have to admit and come to terms with the fact that she had found a passion apart from music before she could even consider telling Shade what her feelings were. Applejack seemed to understand.
"Look, I might be the Element o' Honesty, but I know right well when somethin' needs to be kept quiet. You decide how you feel 'fore you tell 'im, but then you tell him right quick. It'll make life easier for the both of ya." Applejack then turned and departed, leaving Octavia happy, if slightly conflicted over her emotions.


The stage that had been set up in front of town hall was bathed in light for a moment, before said lights were shut off. It had been the final test before the beginning of the recital. Celestia had arrived in the afternoon, and was met by the Elements of Harmony. Twilight Sparkle took her seat directly next to the princess, while the other five Elements sat around the two. Everypony else sat on the elevated seats that had been erected in mere hours by several local unicorns (who were led, naturally, by Twilight Sparkle). The stage was set, and the whole area had the style of an outdoor theater. A spotlight came on, revealing Mayor Mare in the center of the stage.
"Mares and gentlecolts, it is my deep pleasure to introduce two of the most talented musicians ever to grace the beautiful land of Equestria! Octavia and Shady Sound!" she bowed, sinking behind the curtains as the light faded. Another light came on a single chair in center-right stage. Resting against the chair was a cello. Octavia stared at it from behind the curtain, her heart pounding, but her mind focused. She stepped out as another light fell on her. Her mane was carefully combed back, and she walked tall and proud. She drew her bow from a thin case on her back, and sat in the chair. She took a moment to slide the bow across the resin, and then stood. The cello's neck rested on her shoulder, and she began to play. The low tones moved with her emotions, slowly working out into the crowd. She looked at all of them; rather than a single unit, as she often saw, they became like a sheet of music to her. Suddenly, she felt the flame in her heart jump; she saw them as Shade did. A light came on at center-left stage. The jet-black pegasus was beginning his part. She felt their melodies mold together, until it seemed that they were one musician, with one instrument. The audience stared in awe. Celestia herself seemed impressed by the connection between them. For the first time in years, she looked away from her instrument, and the audience, as she performed. She saw Shade looking back at her over the piano. He smiled, playing with her.

Both felt it. Both the audience and the performers. The tune changed, moving from slow and practiced to passionate and intense. It was no longer pitch-perfect uniformity, but it had grown more powerful. There was electricity in the music now, and it was growing wild. Octavia saw a streak of her black mane fall over her eye, sweat beading at her brow. She was amazed; she never, ever broke a sweat in a performance. Shade seemed to be passionately massaging the piano keys into the shape he felt was most pleasing. She watched in amazement, as did he. The two felt that the song would never, ever end, nor did they want it to. Shade made a gliss up and down the piano, and Octavia slid down the cello, playing fifths and thirds while moving her hoof in ways she never imagined. The song began to slow, not because they intended it, but simply because they were running out of energy. The audience seemed to be glowing with amazement, and the Elements of Harmony's eyes seemed to brighten. Celestia smiled at the two, knowing that a great new romance was forming before her. The two finally finished their song. However, it did not resolve as most songs did. Rather, it simply stopped, as though it were unfinished, ready to have more written. The two turned to the audience, expecting polite clapping, or even a standing ovation. What they received instead was far more amazing.
Everypony in the audience stood and bowed to them, Celestia included.
They simply stood, dumbfounded for a moment, before bowing back. They then turned, and left the stage. When they were backstage, they heard a loud cheer from the audience. They looked at one another. Everything they had wanted to say to one another no longer needed saying; they could simply see it in the other's eyes.

(Author's Note: One more chapter to go, and we're done. Get asking some questions so I can have something to answer when I'm done!)

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