• Published 14th Sep 2012
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The Perfect Little Village of Ponyville - McPoodle

Vinyl Scratch is forced to take Twilight's place facing off against Nightmare Moon

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Chapter 1: A Mad, Unreasoning, Directed Panic

Thought Experiments 1:

The Perfect Little Village of Ponyville

Chapter 1: A Mad, Unreasoning, Directed Panic

Once upon a time, in the magical land of Equestria, there lived a unicorn named Vinyl Scratch.

Tap-tap-tap-tap-tap! went the song in her mind...

Vinyl Scratch was a pony of extraordinary musical talent, and this talent had earned her the honor of being Princess Celestia’s personal student.



Tap-tap-tap-tap, tap-tap-tap-tap...

For ten years Vinyl Scratch had devoted herself to her studies, sparing no time to socialize with her peers in Celestia’s School of Music.



In this time, she grew from a shy filly into an opinionated young mare.


Tap-tap-tap-tap, tap-tap-tap-tap...

Now she was being sent on the greatest test of her life, a test that began with a hot-air balloon trip from the royal capital of Canterlot to an insignificant little village called Ponyville.

The balloon floated gently on the pre-dawn breezes. Slowly, another sound grew to prominence over the whistling of the wind: a single violin playing a lonely tune. This sound seemed to emanate from the very heavens themselves.

Vinyl Scratch clambered up from her napping posture at the bottom of the basket. Her coat was the color of eggshells, and her mane and tail were equal parts blue and cyan in color. On her flank were two musical notes. Vinyl’s ears swiveled about as she sought in vain for the source of the music she was hearing. By now the violin had been joined by an entire heavenly ensemble of strings, playing a sweet song of ever rising notes. And then, it seemed by their bidding, the sun suddenly rose above the horizon.

A wave of yellow light washed out over the mountains and plains, illuminating an entire world of beauty. The pony witnessing this should have been awe-inspired, overwhelmed with thoughts of incredible well-being and love for all of the pony’s fellow creatures.

Instead, she was overcome with fear and horror. I am at a loss to explain why she felt that way. Perhaps this song reminded her that she would have to put on a performance for the inhabitants of Ponyville in less than twenty-four hours. In fact, I’m certain now that it was stage fright that caused the pony to dive back down into the basket in a panic.

It most certainly was not stage fright.

The unicorn had been struck by a fundamental contradiction, one that could not be resolved:

Vinyl Scratch was looking upon the most beautiful vista she had ever seen.

And Vinyl Scratch had been blind since birth.

She was confident that both of these facts were absolutely true. And yet they could not both be true at the same time.

Secondary to this was another, lesser mystery: She had woken up to the fading strains of a rock song with a persistent bass and drum line that had been replaced by the violin tune. The song was one that she knew she knew, and one that she somehow knew was vitally important to her, but she didn’t know where she had heard the song before.

Vinyl Scratch squeezed her face into the wall and wrapped her forelegs tightly around her head, as if she could somehow push the sunrise out of existence just by blocking it out of her vision.

“Vinyl?” asked a voice next to her. “Vinyl, what’s wrong?”

Vinyl knew that voice.

“S...Spike?” she asked, keeping her face hidden. “What’s going on?”

“It’s your arrangement, Vinyl,” the baby dragon replied. “Did you hear it? I know you told me to wake you when we landed at Ponyville, but I couldn’t let you sleep through the premiere.”

This statement made absolutely no sense to Vinyl, so she focused on her other senses besides hearing and the impossible sense of vision. In doing so, Vinyl realized that the sharp point poking into an elbow was her sunglasses. With her eyelids squeezed shut, she used her horn’s telekinesis to put them on. For some reason this act was accompanied by a sound like a note from a French horn. Regaining her glasses did a lot to calm Vinyl down, as she always got an extreme reaction from any pony who had ever seen her when she wasn’t wearing them. Slowly, she opened her eyes.

Her functional, completely normal pony eyes.

She focused on the crisscross pattern before her for several moments before realizing that it was the wall of the balloon’s basket, and that it was tinted purple because that was the color of her sunglasses’ lenses. She realized she was still hyperventilating, and took a few deep breaths. Finally she sat up, and looked around her.

Vinyl Scratch used her horn’s telekinesis to put on her large purple sunglasses. She didn’t really need to wear her sunglasses, but she found it a good way to distance herself from those that sought to get too close to her. After a few moments of controlling her breathing and staring at the walls of the basket, she looked up at the worried baby dragon standing beside her.

This didn’t make any sense. Even if by some miracle she had suddenly gained the ability to see, Vinyl had never been able to see before. She shouldn’t be able to tell what the color purple was, or what Spike looked like. She even remembered what his egg had looked like right before it hatched...

The brief mental image provoked a second panic attack in Vinyl Scratch. How could I know what it looked like? she asked herself. She replayed the image in her mind, an image from the most important day in Vinyl’s life: the day she became Princess Celestia’s prime student.

But I’m not! her mind screamed back. This in turn was refuted by more memories. The Princess had seen some kind of potential in her, and had worked diligently to encourage her musical studies, until her skill was second only to the Princess’.

This fact also distressed Vinyl. Not the fact that she was musically inclined, but that the Princess considered a musical talent so important. But it was music that put those glasses on your face, Vinyl’s mind answered her, and it was your arrangement of the Rising Song, sung by Celestia, that caused the sun to rise this morning.

“My...arrangement?” Vinyl said out loud.

“That’s what I’ve been trying to tell you!” said Spike, who had indeed been trying to snap her out of her trance for the past five minutes. “She probably just wants you to feel better after that letter she sent you.” And with that he pointed at a scroll at his feet.

Vinyl levitated the scroll to her, accompanied by her characteristic French horn sound, and read the letter addressed to her from Princess Celestia. Then she examined the note itself to determine its authenticity: the way it was strangely warm to the touch, the embossed tangle of tiny cords embedded into the top of the page that represented the Draconic Bloodline Code of Spike and Spike alone, and finally the similar tangle of little threads at the bottom that acted as the Princess’ “return address” (don’t ask how an alicorn ends up with a Draconic Bloodline Code—it’s complicated). This was an official missive, no question about it.

And yet Vinyl felt that she had to read the note again, and again, and again, to make absolutely sure it said what she thought it said:

My dearest, most faithful student, Vinyl,

You know that I value your diligence and that I trust you completely, but you simply must stop reading those dusty old librettos.

There is more to a young pony’s life than studying, so I'm sending you to supervise the preparations for the Summer Sun Celebration in this year’s location, Ponyville, and I have an even more essential task for you to complete: make some friends!



The reminder of the upcoming celebration must have brought Vinyl Scratch back into full-blown panic mode.

This was all dreadfully, dreadfully wrong, thought Vinyl. Perhaps even more so than the whole seeing business. She knew this letter, by heart, but it belonged to a story in which her part was entirely forgettable. The letter should never have been addressed to her, and it was never supposed to be Vinyl in this balloon. It was supposed to be...to be...

But the answer to that query eluded her. She was the chosen student of the Princess, in a world where music was magic, and Spike was her trusted assistant and conductor. Conductor, because Vinyl Scratch was frightfully awkward around others.

Wrong! cried a new voice in her head. Wrong, wrong, wrong! Vinyl was starting to hyperventilate again. She had no idea where this other voice came from, but she somehow knew that she should know, like this was the voice of her closest and best friend that she had somehow forgotten about. Whoever she was, she sounded a lot cooler than Vinyl Scratch.

Just then the basket set down on firm ground. The time for reflection was over.