• Published 9th Sep 2011
  • 23,958 Views, 430 Comments

U-Harmony - Ebon Mane

Twilight's curiosity pushes her to go were no bookworm has gone before: On dates.

  • ...

Her Open Opportunity


Twilight Sparkle arrived in Manehattan. She was immediately stunned, not by the unstable mode of transport, but by the noise and activity. The unicorn stood in a relatively clear corner, where a fence intersected a stone wall. Vast crowds of ponies moved past her, the shifting of their garishly clashing coats causing her eyes to lose focus. For a moment, all the mare could see was a shifting sea of colors, and all she could hear was a dull roar, loud carnival music, and the occasional distant scream of excitement. She shook her head and forced herself to look past the swarm, to where grand monuments to earth pony engineering, pegasus construction, and unicorn enchantment rose. Metal boxes filled with colorful dots, so tiny in the distance, barreled along metal tracks at speeds that would put most pegasi to shame.

So these were the 'roller coasters' that she'd heard so much about.

"Awesome, isn't it?"

Twilight turned toward the source of the question, and she did her best to keep from drooling as her eyes took in the other mare's form.

The white-coated unicorn had a mane striped with light and dark blues, cut to fall effortlessly into style. She wore purple-tinted mirror shades and a casual grin that seemed to tell the world 'I'm more awesome than you and I know it, but it's not a big deal that I am a big deal.' She stood slumped to the side, relaxed into a balance that should not, by Twilight's reckoning, have kept her from falling. The purple mare's eyes lingered on the other pony's cutie mark: a music note.

The librarian could not imagine how U-harmony had managed to match her up with somepony so incredibly... cool! "Hi! Nice to meet you, I'm Twilight Sparkle," she said with a smile.

The other unicorn nodded as her grin widened. "My name's Vinyl Scratch but I don't want to hear the word 'Vinyl' out of you," she said with obviously mock seriousness, "all the cute mares just call me Scratch." Twilight couldn't tell past the other pony's eyewear, but she got the impression that the unicorn had winked at her.

The purple-maned unicorn's ears folded back as she blushed. "Okay... Scratch."

"So, never been to Manehattan before?" Vinyl asked.

Twilight laughed nervously and shook her head.

"Ha!" her date barked, "I can spot a tourist from a mile away. Don't worry about it, hot stuff, you're in good hooves. Come on!" Scratch walked forward, and the crowd parted around her. Twilight followed in her wake, trying to avoid the hordes of Manehattanites and tourists barreling across the crowded square. She was only able to avoid jostling other ponies when she followed directly behind her date, who seemed to have no trouble strolling forward at a leisurely pace without hitting anypony. The librarian found herself close enough to her date that she couldn't resist letting her eyes drift down to watch the other mare's flanks. The way they swayed from side to side fascinated her, and the motion seemed to grow more pronounced with time.

Twilight was startled out of her reverie by a bark of laughter in front of her. The mare realized that she had been biting her lower lip and humming softly to herself. She looked up to see Vinyl Scratch looking back at her as they walked. The librarian felt her face twist with mortification, but her date just smiled at her and shouted over the din of the crowd, "Like what you see, doll? There's plenty of time for that later. Right now, I'm just going to show you how we have fun around here. Get your ticket out, pet." The white-coated mare came to a halt, and Twilight managed to stop before crashing into the flanks she'd been studying so intently. She didn't know quite how to feel about that.

The purple-maned unicorn looked around, and gaped at the lines of ponies all queued up an ready to pass through the huge gates. A looming sign above easily dwarfed any building in Ponyville. All garish reds, blinding oranges, and enchanted lights, the beacon proclaimed: SEVEN PENNANTS, MANEHATTAN.


"Don't worry sweet cheeks, everypony's nervous their first time," Vinyl Scratch said.

Click click click click click click click click click click click click click click click.

Twilight had never heard a more ominous noise. She was strapped into what amounted to an iron box on wheels, suspended on a track high above the ground. The contraption was held up by what, in retrospect, seemed to be laughably flimsy metal poles. The garish paint job probably did not help any of it stay together. The unicorn stared intently at the cloudless sky; earlier in the makeshift train's morbid climb, she'd made the mistake of looking over the side.

Never again.

The unicorn breathed deeply and slowly, trying to calm herself. All the while, that horrible chain continued to rattle.

Click click click click click click click click click click click click click click click.

The Manehattanite mare patted Twilight on the shoulder with a hoof. When the purple-maned unicorn turned to look at her, she shot the panicked pony a cocky grin. "We're almost to the top. Just put your hooves in the air and pretend you're a pegasus. These rides are always best in the back car, so don't think I need to remind you to make noise," Scratch said, tilting her head so that her date could see her red-irised eyes over her shades, "besides, just looking at you, I can tell you're a screamer, hot stuff." She winked at Twilight.

The librarian tried to process that.

Click click click-.

Suddenly, the horrible sound was gone, but it was replaced by an even more disconcerting feeling of acceleration. They crested the hill, and Twilight saw the park laid out below her. She panicked, throwing her hooves up in an attempt to shimmy out of her restraints and screaming at the top of her lungs.

Vinyl Scratch laughed and shouted, "That's the spirit, luv!" as they went barreling down precipitous incline.


The train stopped at the station with a final jolt of metal on metal. The restraints released, and Twilight Sparkle climbed slowly onto the wooden platform, joyful ponies streaming around her as they exited the ride. Her eyes were wide, her body shook, and her teeth chattered furiously. She wondered how many years it would take for her heart rate to return to normal.

Twilight jumped slightly as Vinyl Scratch bumped her lightly with a shoulder. The other mare had the same cocky grin, shining almost as brightly as the purple shades, and didn't seem to have been at all affected by what the librarian had seen as a near-death experience. "What'd ya think, foxy lady?"

The purple-coated unicorn just stared at her date for a moment. Then, her face broke into a manic smile as she nearly shouted, "Can we go again!?"

Scratch chuckled and patted her on the shoulder with a hoof. "Sure thing, daredevil."


"What is it?" Twilight asked. She stared at the strange item her date was levitating in front of her. She hesitated to call it 'food'; it didn't look like any sort of meal she'd ever seen. A featureless grey tube as long as her shin sat on a peice of bread that seemed to have been designed to be split almost, but not quite, in half. The unnatural-looking item was covered in diced onions, lumpy green goo, and thick red and yellow sauces. At a glance, the mare probably wouldn't even have deemed the cuisine worth feeding to Spike.

Vinyl Scratch tilted her head. "Like I said, it's a coney dog."

"Yeah, but...." The librarian paused to lean forward and sniff the offering. At least the smell wasn't bad. "What's it made out of?"

The other mare looked up, bobbing her head from side to side each time she listed an ingredient, "Well, there's corn cobs, just the cob of course, no kernels, carrot tops, potato eyes, apple stems, peach pits, iceberg lettuce, broccoli, and basically anything else that nopony would normally choose to eat."

Twilight gaped at her date, then recoiled from the still-hovering coney dog in disgust. "Really!?"

"Ha!" the blue-maned unicorn barked, "That never gets old. Nah, don't worry about it, they're mostly tofu." She bit into her own dog, and Twilight couldn't help but follow suit.

It was far from the studious unicorn's normal fare, but walking through the crowds, the light, and the roaring din of the amusement park, it just felt right.


The pair rode about a dozen roller coasters that night, but Twilight never did figure out how her date managed to keep those sunglasses from falling off during the rides. It wasn't long before she just stopped caring; the librarian was having more fun than she'd had in months.

Eventually, though, a booming announcement informed the ponies that remained among the rides and stalls that it was nearly closing time. Vinyl Scratch led Twilight out of the park, and the two of them found a bench in the plaza outside of Seven Pennants and took a seat. A cold wind blew off the nearby ocean, and the librarian shivered. Her date scooted closer to her and threw a forehoof around her shoulder, pulling her in to lean against the other mare. It felt delightful. The pair looked up at the stars, and Twilight Sparkle sighed contentedly.

She wondered if this was the sort of date that luckier mares went on all the time. Fun times with sane ponies? The librarian could get behind that. It was nice to be matched up with a pony that wasn't married or a stalker. Her date was just a slightly eccentric DJ. Scratch's biggest quirk was that the mare never seemed to be able to decide on what to call her. Twilight had learned scores of affectionate nicknames in just a few hours. She wondered idly what 'sugar tits' were. Perhaps a type of candy? She'd have to ask Pinkie Pie sometime.

Eventually, Vinyl Scratch broke the silence, "I had a lot of fun tonight, sweet thing. You should visit Manehattan more often; the girls and I are looking for a fifth."

Twilight turned to look at her date, "You mean like a fifth band member?" She asked, tilting her head in confusion, "I don't play any instruments."

The other mare smiled sheepishly, "Uh... not exactly." She rubbed the back of her head with a hoof, "Maybe I should have made things more clear. See, not all relationships are two-pony things, y'know?"

The librarian blinked. "What?"

"Have you heard of polyamory?" The white-coated unicorn asked.

"Um... I've read about it once or twice," Twilight said, tapping her forehooves together and looking away from her date. "I don't really know how it... er... works?" She glanced back toward the other mare.

"Well it's really simple," Scratch said, the energy and confidence returning to her voice, "You see, babe, when a mare and a mare and another mare and a fourth mare all love each other very much, they move in together and buy a really, really big bed. We're talking huge here. And then...." She began to make squeaking noises in an eerily accurate imitation of bed springs.

"I get the idea! The gestures are not necessary!" Twilight blushed as the other mare stopped and chuckled at her embarrassment.

"So what do you think, Twilight?" The DJ asked.

"...I'll consider it."