• Published 1st Feb 2013
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Eternal Equinox: A Vinyl-Verse Story - Commando-Scarecrow



Imagine a world where Vinyl Scratch will weild the element of harmony. This is it.

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Chapter One: Epic Train Time

"Stop it." Sapphire Star, a blue-violet crystal pony stated plainly to her charge in their passenger room on the train. She had golden eyes and a quill pen and paper cutie mark. She was a reletively small mare. Maybe a a whole two inches shorter than Vinyl Scratch herself.

"Alright," Vinyl Scratch, a white unicorn musician that had somehow gotten to be King Sombra's personal student, turned off the small flashlight and placing it in her money pouch. She'd brought it to see if shining on a crystal pony would make them glow. As it turns out, it did. It was beautiful. And it had also irritated Sapphire Star to no end. But it wasn't like there had been anything else to do on the train to Ponyville. The trip there was infamously long, after all, and Vinyl had already listened to all the records she'd brought... three times.

"Have you ever been to Ponyville, Miss Vinyl?" The attendant asked, genuinely curious. She'd been sent by her teacher, King Sombra, to keep an eye on the blue maned musician. He knew she had a knack for getting into trouble, so he knew that an attendant would probably be needed.

Vinyl Scratch gave an irritated sigh. "No. And stop calling me 'miss', Saphy. Titles make my skin crawl." It was true. In fact, she made it a point to avoid most duties that the king gave her because it would end up giving her more of a title. She was happy just being a student.

"My apologies, Madam." She was seriously doing this to get back at her for the flashlight thing. Vinyl knew that. But she guessed that that was just the price she had to pay for being allowed to plan one of the biggest bashes of the years. The annual Eternal Equinox festival. As her mind wandered back to the day she was given the position as festival organizer, she looked through the windows of the train and out to the rolling green pastures and trees, just beginning to fully adopt the magnificent golden hues of the fall and remembered being sent to the small town of Ponyville...

My little Pony, my little pony
Ah ah ahh ahh
My little Pony
Never wondered what true friends would be like
My Little pony
Until all my new friends got me so psyched
Dedication, Lots of trust!
Giving all you got, And heads to bust!
Helping others, it's an easy feat!
And magic makes it all complete!
It's my little pony
I just can't believe I have so many new friends!

“Hark!” The King shouted as Vinyl entered his personal study. He’d been spending hours, maybe even days, in there lately, so, naturally, Vinyl was worried about him. “From within my study I dost hearest!” She heard her teacher and king shout as he turned around to meet her, his green eyes meeting hers and his grey coat and raven black mane complimented well by his very regal looking crimson robe. "Pray tell! What dost my young apprentice bringeth her instructor!?"

Vinyl sighed. This was their king… for the last thousand years. But then, she did know how much he loved talking like he was one thousand years old just for kicks. “You called me, your Majesty?”

As he lowered his feather-quill pen on his desk of mahogany, an exceedingly rare wood found only in the forests surrounding the city of Maredrid. He preferred the aesthetic of the old fashioned, and flowing red cloaks and quill pen were just a couple of them. He smiled wryly. “Yes I did my student.” He lifted himself from a scarlet cushion and began to leave the room. “Come, Vinyl. We need to talk.”

The master and apprentice wandered through the beautiful, centuries old alabaster and crystal walls of the palace. It was were Vinyl Scratch had called home for the last 9 of her 17 years, and in those years, King Sombra had only asked Vinyl Scratch to walk with him like that maybe a hoof-full of times. She knew this was going to be serious. “As you are aware, your 18th birthday is arriving.” Of course Vinyl Scratch knew, but she listened on to the thousand-year-old unicorn. “And as you know you’ll be needing to take on more responsibilities.” Then he looked at her, almost through her sunglasses, with a look of fierce joy. “And, as the unofficial princess of the Crystal Empire, I’ll be needing to find you a proper suitor.”

“Wait, what?” Despite hearing off-beat things from her king at least three times a day, this actually took her greatly by surprise. Which was a surprise all in itself.

“How do you feel about that one cellist?”

“Octavia’s not my girlfriend!” Oh great, she thought in her anger. This again.

“Not that there’s anything wrong with that.” He added that on as an afterthought. "I'd still love you as my own even if you were a-"

“For the love of-“ He actually made that assumption a few times while she was his student. Each time she took it even worse. “We’re just friends! Seriously, Old Colt, I even tried to hook her up with that violinist once!” It didn’t work out that well, but it wasn’t Vinyl’s fault that Octavia had crazy high standards. But, then, the cyan and cobalt maned musician really wasn't sure it would work out anyway. At that point she was just spit-balling to see if Octavia would put some effort into a relationship with somepony else. She still cared more about her career more. "I don't even like mares that way!"

Half the time she thought he did that just to have fun with her. As he once told her, being king is an extremely boring job. He got his laughs from whoever he could. And as luck, or bad luck in Vinyl’s case, would have it, she was always his closest target. “But I digress. That is not really what wanted to talk to you about.”

“Grr,” Vinyl let out a low and agitated growl at her teacher. Yes, this was her king and teacher. And this wasn’t the first time she wondered how the in the hay he got the job in the first place. Never mind how he saved the world from Solaria Dawn and Night Mare Moon a thousand years ago.

“What I really wanted to talk to you about was the Great Eternal Equinox Festival.” The Eternal Equinox, celebrating the equality of the night and day, was one of the biggest bashes of the year, rivaled only by the Grand Galloping Gala. Then he jabbed his hoof into her chest. “And I want YOU to be the one in charge of everything going flawless.”

“SWEET!” Vinyl Scratch said that entirely by reflex, along with hugging her teacher. He smelled like smoke, but not bad smoke. More like the scent of a warm fire in a place that was familiar and comfortable. She could barely even contain her joy in the long white hallway, which King Sombra responded with a warm smile. “I won’t let you down, your Majesty!” This was the biggest thing he’d ever trusted her with. Even bigger than letting her plan the Grand Galloping Gala a few years ago... that actually ended in disaster. So she really meant it when she said she wouldn't let the old colt down.

"Now the only stipulation is, Vinyl," the king had told her very sternly. It didn't matter. Absolutely nothing could ruin this moment. "Is that you may not, under any circumstances, perform as the entertainment."

"Oh come on!" She was wrong, something did ruin the moment, and Vinyl Scratch didn't take it well, but she did take it. She had to. King Sombra was busy in his study all the time lately doing Galaxia knows what, so he really didn't have the time to take the long, and boring, trip to Ponyville and iron out all the details for the Eternal Equinox Festival. There, Vinyl was supposed to find out how everything was going. From entertainment, to food and to the decor. It was all Vinyl Scratches problem, or opportunity, depending on how a pony looked at it. Maybe her teacher thought it was a good way for her to learn some responsibility. Or maybe he just needed some alone time. He always did get kind of moody this time of year.

But then Vinyl had a question to ask. Since her 18th birthday was coming up, she maybe thought it was a good idea to get this out of the way. It had actually been on her mind a lot lately. “There was something I wanted to ask, actually.”

“Hmm”? King Sombra raised one his black eyebrows at his pupil. “Yes? What is it, Vinyl?”

“Well,” Vinyl Scratch looked to the floor, not really sure about how to proceed with this, so she figured she would just go ahead and ask him. “Why me?”

“What do you mean?” She had a feeling that he knew exactly what she was talking about, but he always wanted things clear for him to see. Which was kind of ironic, given he could turn into a living cloud of shadow anytime he wanted to. He just usually didn't want to.

“Why did you choose me to be your student?” Her eyes begged him for an answer, even though every time she'd asked, he side stepped ti completely. “Why did you pick me up off the street, a seven year old musician from the streets, and choose me to be your student? You could have chosen anypony else. You could have even had somepony with a special skill actually IN magic.” Vinyl knew they existed. She'd never seen one, but if being the student of a living smoke cloud taught her anything, it was to always have an open mind about things you don't have a clear picture on. Because if it turns out you're wrong, it can and will end up biting you in the flank.

He only gave her an all knowing smile. “The reason for my choice will become obvious given time. Trust me on that.” He had so much faith in her. “I know what I’m doing. Remember, I don’t just wear this crown on my head to keep my head warm… although it is nice to have it on during the winter time.” The white unicorn chuckled a little bit at her king’s joke. Still, she couldn’t help but wonder why he chose her and not somepony with more potential.

...

"Any idea how far away we are, Saphy?" That was more or less Vinyl's pet name for her personal attendant. It was also about as close as they got, actually. They'd known each other for a few years, but she'd always declined Vinyl's offer for friendship. "Because I am so freaking bored out of my gourde over here." She rested her head on her arm, watching the veritable colors of fall, from amber to gold and red, fly into the wind passed the train.

"I believe the train should be stopping any minute now, Madam," that time she said it with small smile on her face. "Have you any ideas of what the festivities will hold?"

That was a good question, actually. Vinyl really hadn't taken the time to think about it. "Dunno." Then she got to thinking about it a little more in depth. "I have a friend that lives over there in town, so maybe I'll help her out and give her a little extra publicity." She was talking about her gray earth pony friend, Octavia. The two had known each other for almost as long as Vinyl had been the king’s personal apprentice. They even went to the Crystal Imperial Academy of the Arts as fillies. Vinyl had even set her up with her first boyfriend. That... could have gone better. But hey, live and learn, right?

"That would be an excellent idea, Madam," Scratch could easily see past her maid's sycophantic facade.

"Stop kissing up, Saphy..." Vinyl bluntly stated almost by reflex. She had a feeling that responsibility wasn't the only reason she was sent down here to set up everything for the Fall Equinox Festival. In the days before she actually left the Empire, King Sombra had been telling her that she needed to make more friends. Which struck Vinyl Scratch as odd because, as a DJ in her day job, she had plenty of friends. Dozens, maybe even over a hundred of them. But she could use the vacation. And Vinyl Scratch always did love party planning. "You're not good at it."

"I'm sorry, Madam." There again with the madam.

"Saphy!" This was getting ridiculous. "Call me madam again!" The white unicorn was getting visibly irritated by her off-blue traveling companion now. "See what happens!" She dared her attendant.

But she didn't take the threat seriously. In fact, the crystal pony was now wearing an ear-to-ear grin on her face, her golden eyes beaming with laughter that she herself was expertly resisting to release. "Of course. Please forgive me, Madam."

Vinyl Scratch glared at her attendant with a look that appeared to be made up of one half vat-of-boiling acid, and one half of sheer animosity. Then she broke into a small smile. "You're alright, Saphy." Her grin widened as she realized that there might be hope for her yet. "You're alright." Then she felt something that came as a very welcome relief. Vinyl and her attendant felt the train slowly break into the station. “Finally!” It took a whole day, and a very boring traveling companion, but they were finally here. “C’mon, Saphy!” She grabbed her maid by the arm, running towards the door, only to find that something was off. There were trees, sure, but it was nothing like what Octavia had told her. In fact, it looked more like one of those “old-westy” towns she’d heard about in her some of her records more than anything. “Wait a sec…” She turned to the nearest guy that worked on the train. “Hey, guy! Where are we?”

A golden earth-pony with green eyes looked back at her. “Why, ma’am, ya’ll are in the great town of Appleoosa!” It almost sounded like he said that last part with a whinny. Apparently, he was proud enough of this town to do that.

Rage built up in Vinyl Scratch’s veins as she felt her blood boil. “And how long until we get to Ponyville?” She did her best to be polite to the train worker. It wasn’t his fault that this was the train to Appleoosa.

“Why, that’s where we’re headed as soon as this stop is over and done with, ma’am!” Then he turned down the excitement. Good, Vinyl thought. She was all for optimism, but getting stopped here had put her in kind of a bad mood.

“Well, how long until the train gets back to moving?” She asked him, still expertly executing her best polite face in spite of her anger.

Then he smirked at her, taking out a small pocket watch with the emblem of an apple on it. What was he doing? “Why, it should start right… about… now!” The train suddenly jolted, causing Vinyl and Sapphire Star to fall over. “But the trip will still take another day, or so.” He began to walk off into the next box car. “Y’all might as well make yerselves nice and comfy here.”

“Allow me, Madam,” Sapphire Star said as she tried to help up her charge as they watched the train colt leave. Vinyl Scratch gratefully accepted her help and watched as the train moved past the myriad apple trees that dotted the rustic and dusty landscape of the frontier town.

“Thanks, Saphy,” She sighed in irritation at what just happened, so much so that she even ignored Sapphire Star calling her madam. Well, she thought to herself. There’s no helping it now. “I’m gonna go get a bite to eat.” She walked off to the food car, turning to her sort-of-friend without even realizing it. “You want; I could get you something while I’m there.”

She shook her head no at her charges offer,” No thank you, Miss. I’d brought my own lunch for the trip here.” She said that with an amused smile.

"Well the offers still open if you-" Wait a sec… she knew something. “Sapphy…” Viynl's voice went eery calm, which almost never happened. “Did you know that this train was going to stop at Appleoosa before Ponyville?”

Now the blue-violet pony was wearing her Cheshire grin yet again. “Why, of course not, Miss Vinyl. And of course I didn’t know that this trip would take an additional whole 17 hours, with which your teacher, King Sombra, told me to force you into your studies which you have been slacking off on for the past week or so, making this an opportune moment for you catch up on all of them,” Vinyl Scratch sighed. So it came to this, eh? It would explain why they were headed to Ponyville a whole three days before the Autumn Equinox Festival. “That would simply be preposterous, Miss Vinyl.”

With one last sigh, Vinyl Scratch surrendered to her teachers “not-commands” to make her study while on the trip here. “Alright, Saphy, I get the idea.” She made her way to the food car. “Just lemme get a bite to eat, and I’ll be right there.” So she made her way to the food cart, choosing to order a little something extravagant for all her troubles. She went for a carrot burger with apple bacon. The lunch of champions. While Vinyl thrived in the chaos as much as any occupational DJ did, she couldn’t help but think that this was just the beginning of all her head-aches. “Well,” mumbled under her breath, taking a drink of her sparkling cider, one of the few luxuries she actually went out of her way to enjoy, “only thing I gots to say to that is ‘bring it on’.”