Two's Company, Three's a Crowd

by Lithe Kamitatsy

First published

One night of fun for a certain musical pair will leave their lives upside down.

Everyone's favorite musical pairing is back in another fanfic! Octavia and Vinyl are now room-mates, and are like any other couple...but how will they react when they discover there's another about to show up?


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Octavia and Vinyl entered their apartment, talking and laughing like old friends as they set their things down. “Vinyl, that was so much fun. I must say, I give you far less credit than you are owed.”

“Yeah, a little more credit would be nice,” Vinyl winked. She took a deep breath and sighed, feeling her heart racing slightly as Octavia’s lilac perfume wafted from her neck. She watched as Octavia removed her scarf from her neck, throwing it on the sofa. Vinyl felt a small flush of heat rush through her as she watched Octavia walk away, her eyes focused intently on the swishing of Octavia’s tail as she walked. “Hey, Octy...?” Vinyl asked softly.

“Yes, Vinyl?” Octavia asked, turning to face her. She blinked in surprise when Vinyl had already closed the distance, their faces only inches apart.

“You’re really cute, you know that?” Vinyl whispered softly, her eyes sparkling like rubies in the soft light. Octavia blushed brightly at the compliment.

“Thank you, Vinyl...but it’s clear that you have had a few too many to-” Octavia was cut off as Vinyl forcefully pressed her muzzle to Octavia’s, their lips locked in an electrifying kiss. Vinyl’s warm, smooth tongue danced with Octavia’s, Octavia feeling her knees shake slightly from the strength and intensity of the kiss.

“V-Vinyl, what has g-gotten into you?” Octavia mumbled softly as Vinyl continuously broke and restarted kisses and nuzzles, the unicorn being more aggressively affectionate than usual.

Vinyl forced her lover back further toward their bedroom. “You just look... sexy tonight, but I wouldn’t worry about what’s gotten into me. You might wanna think about what’s gonna get into you...” she spoke as sensually as she could muster.

Octavia’s face turned a deep shade of crimson, returning the kisses almost as intensely as her partner. The kisses grew more intense and more frequent with every passing moment, the cellist finally forced onto her back when her rear legs made contact with their bed. Vinyl immediately straddled Octavia, continuing to shower her with gentle kisses and brushes of her mane, her tail gently twirling itself around her lover’s. Octavia’s mind was in a flurry. Vinyl is being more aggressive than usual…I could DEFINITELY get used to this… She thought as a smile spread across her flushed face.

She practically squealed in delight when she felt Vinyl slowly begin to move down her body, her horn beginning to glow softly in the dark light of their room. “Same as always, Octy?” Vinyl questioned softly.

“Same as always…” Octavia responded, her heart racing.

That night, neither pony slept.

~Several Weeks Later~

Octavia watched the doctor pony walk out of the room and shut the door, leaving the cellist to the silence of the room around her, as well as her thoughts. She gazed around the room, looking to the familiar white-washed walls, as well as a familiar painting of what appeared to be a young colt staring at a vision chart while the doctor prepared a syringe behind him. She then noticed a rack of pamphlets near the door. She squinted a bit to read the print on one of the covers.

'Proper Hoof-Care for the Active Pony…’ Octavia thought. Mother and father always took good care of me as a filly, so I never had to worry much about that…Vinyl on the other hoof- ugh! She should at least file them down so they do not look like saw blades!

She grumbled inwardly, shaking her head. What on earth has gotten into me lately? I have been overly sensitive to everything around me…oh, I hope I am not suffering performance exhaustion-

Her thoughts ground to a sudden halt, her face turning beet red as she thought of the now two different types of “performance” that filled her head. NO, NO, NO! Not THAT type of performance! Oh, Octavia get a HOLD of yourself! she yelled at herself, doing her best to shake both the thought and the blush away. I’m even starting to THINK like her…

She then yawned, rubbing at her eyes briefly. I will say this, I have been feeling a little weak lately…maybe it WAS a good idea to listen to Vinyl…for once. Celestia knows this will be her last GOOD idea for a while- no, I should not say that. Vinyl is far from being dumb, it is just the sheer lack of coherence in her thought process that-


The voice made Octavia jump. She was so deep in thought she hadn’t heard the nurse pony enter, holding some documents. She chuckled, her heart finally slowing down to a normal pace. “N-Nurse Redheart, so good to see you again.”

The cream colored pony with a soft pink mane and a red cross for a cutie mark gave her a warm smile. “It’s good to see you too, Octavia. I have your results with me.”

The nurse walked over to a nearby table, placing her papers upon it and taking a few moments to review them. After a few moments of silence, the nurse spoke up. “Well, I’m very pleased with the results of your check-up. It would appear the problems you brought up with Doctor Haysworth were nothing to worry about. You just need more bed rest, is all…especially now.”

The last part passed right over Octavia’s head. “Oh good, I was worried that the recent string of concerts and lack of rest because of them-“ she paused for a moment and thought -and because of a certain unicorn- then continued, “-would have begun to affect my health.”

The nurse smiled. “Well, you have nothing at all to worry about. You have a clean bill of health. Your blood-work came out fine; your hemoglobin is up, and your white blood cell count is normal. Although your blood pressure is a little higher than normal,” she stated.

Octavia chuckled to herself. She loved Vinyl to death, but at times the DJ would just grate against her nerves. “No surprise there.”

“Oh, and the doctor wanted me to remind you that you need more iron in your diet. Remember, you’re eating for two now,” she said, giggling afterward.

Octavia frowned. “Eating for two? I do not quite understand what you mean… have I gained weight?”

It was the nurse’s turn to frown. “What do you mean you don’t understand? Did the doctor not tell you when he was done examining you?”

Octavia’s expression grew from one of confusion to one of worry. “Tell me what? Is there something wrong with me? Am I ill?!” she questioned, beginning to panic.

The nurse sighed. …They don’t pay me NEARLY enough for this… She then smiled. “Well, I guess then it’s my job to say: Congratulations, Miss Philharmonica. You’re pregnant!”

Octavia’s jaw unhinged itself from the rest of her skull. “C-Could you please repeat that?!”

The nurse giggled. “I said you’re pregnant, Octavia. You’re going to have a foal! Isn’t this exciting?!”

“Oh… very exciting… why is the world spinning?”

Apparently it was all too exciting, because it was only a moment later that Octavia ended up on the floor, unconscious from the shock.

Chapter One

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“Octavia! Octavia can you hear me!? I need you to answer!”

Octavia’s hearing was muffled. The voice that was calling out to her seemed very distant, almost completely drowned out by the intense pounding in her head. She moved slightly, but her body felt heavy.

W-What…in Equestria happened…answer what? She thought, slowly regaining her senses.

“Oh thank Celestia she’s waking up! Somepony get her a glass of water!” The voice was deep and husky.

Must belong to a stallion… She thought, her mind swimming. She slowly opened her eyes, immediately shutting them again. The light on the ceiling was blinding. She sluggishly raised a foreleg over her face, covering her eyes as she slowly opened them once more.

“How are you feeling, Octavia?” The husky voice asked again. When she focused her eyes on the source, she saw the voice had belonged to her doctor.

Doctor Haysworth was a short, but solidly built Earth pony. His coat was a pristine white with a light orange mane, bright green eyes and a stethoscope for a cutie mark. He wore a typical doctor's coat and held a clipboard in the crook of his left foreleg.

“…I feel like I was just hit with a sack of bricks…” she replied weakly, two aides slowly helping her back to her hooves.

“You gave us quite the fright. It’s not often that we have patients collapsing in our examination rooms.” He chuckled. “I am also terribly sorry for not telling you the news. I had a vaccine to administer to an elderly patient, so I was in a bit of a hurry.”

“It… is no trouble at all, Doctor… no trouble at all…” she said, her voice much softer than normal. “…So it’s true then… I’m pregnant?” She asked timidly, hoping against hope that what had caused her to faint was simply a joke.

“Yes, you are, Octavia. You’re going to be the proud mother of a colt or a filly,” The doctor smiled warmly. “Now, judging by the hormones found in your blood, I can state that the foal is about three weeks along, and should be due sometime next September,” he said, reviewing the data from his clipboard, making sure he was giving her the right information.

“I cannot begin to fathom how this happened… I have not had any 'relations' with a stallion…” A shocking discovery overcame her.

“…Does that mean…the foal…is Vinyl's?!” she shrieked, her pupils shrinking to pinpricks and her tail fraying out like she had been hit with a bolt of lightning.

The doctor dropped his clipboard. “Excuse me? Did you say you had not had relations with a stallion? Astounding! This- this is remarkable!” the doctor said, a look of excitement filling his eyes. “Octavia, do you know what this means?! You’re the first mare to have a magically-induced conception in decades!” He said with such excitement one would believe his birthday came early. “This is amazing news! I’ve never delivered a foal created through magic! That’ll show that old coot of a father that I’m good at what I do!” he sneered. The other nurses and assistants gave the doctor a worried expression. The doctor blushed, and cleared his throat. “Again Octavia, I give you my most sincere congratulations!”

“I-I do not understand. What do you mean, ‘magically-induced conception?’ Is that even possible?” she asked, unable to put the pieces together. She knew, as any other pony, how foals were made. It was usually between a mare and a stallion, they had intercourse, and they conceived, simple as that. She sighed heavily.

It just HAD to be me, she grumbled. She then began to think.

“Wait…you said that the foal was three weeks along?” She asked, curious.

“Yes, I did. Why?” The doctor asked in return.

“…No reason.” She said, her expression becoming stoic as she remembered back to three weeks prior; the last time her and Vinyl had gotten... intimate.

She then pondered how she was going to evade the law once she got a hold of Vinyl.

Chapter Two

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Octavia gave a heavy sigh. Her emotions jumped back and forth between screaming out in anger, and curling up into a ball and crying for hours. Her thoughts were weighing heavily on her heart.

Why me…? Why, of all ponies, did this have to happen to me?’ She thought, grasping for an answer that just wasn’t there.

My life has been completely up-ended…what am I supposed to do? How am I going to support or care for my foal, when I travel so much? Not to mention I do not get paid very much, seeing as the periods of time between performances can stretch… She sighed again.

A chilling sensation suddenly surged through her as a dreadful realization hit her.

My career…when the Canterlot Enquirer finds out, they will tear my reputation to shreds! Not only did I get myself pregnant, I got myself pregnant- with a MARE!

Octavia let out a small whimper as she trotted towards a nearby coffee shop, one that she and the rest of her band would always go to after a concert.

“My ensemble…what will they say? What will they think of me? How can I look them in the eye and tell them I am going to be a mother?”

“O-ho, is this true? Well, congratulations!” A familiar voice said from behind her, sending a massive chill up her spine.

Octavia wheeled around, her worst nightmare suddenly coming true. The rest of her ensemble was standing before her, having heard every word.

“Well? How far along is the foal?” Frederic asked. The brown earth pony with soft green eyes swept a few strands of his long white mane out of his face. As the piano player of the group, his voice was smooth and flowing.

“Th-three weeks…” Octavia said, her voice barely a whisper.

WHAT?!” The other mare in the group yelled at the top of her lungs. The blue mare stared curiously at Octavia, waiting for an answer. She was the tuba player of the group, and the constant need of air had helped her lung capacity as well as completely destroyed her sense of hearing.

“BEAUTY BRASS! YOU’RE YELLING AGAIN!” Frederic yelled in return.

“Oh, terribly sorry! You know how bad my hearing is, right Harpo?”

The purple pony nodded, not saying a word. The harp-player was a pony of few words, often choosing to stay silent than share his opinion. He simply stared at Octavia, a small smile on his face.

“So, how long has she been with foal, Frederic?” Beauty Brass asked, eager to know.

“Around three weeks, Beauty Brass.” He responded.

WHAT?!” She yelled again, her hearing having given out at a particularly bad moment, causing ponies passing by to look over at them, curious as to what she was yelling about.

“THREE WEEKS, BEAUTY BRASS! STOP-YELLING!” Frederic screamed, trying to keep his composure.

“Ohhh! That’s wonderful news!” Beauty Brass trotted over to Octavia, taking her forehooves into her own. “Congratulations, Octavia!”

Octavia looked close to tears. “…How? How are you able to still look at me the way you do? I got myself pregnant for Celestia’s sake! You all know how busy our schedule is! How can I possibly take care of a foal with the way our lives are? How can you even look at me the same?! I have completely disgraced myself and-“

She was cut off as Frederic planted a hoof over her mouth.

“Octavia, you needn’t worry what we think of you. We aren’t just your band-mates, we’re your friends. We’ve been performing together for so long, don’t you think it’d be strange if we WEREN’T happy for you?” He smiled softly. Both Beauty Brass and Harpo nodded in agreement.

“We could not be any happier for you, Octavia. To be honest, we figured it would only be a matter of time, seeing as Vinyl was particularly open the last time we went drinking after a concert.” He chuckled.

Octavia’s face burned with embarrassment. “She…she did WHAT?!

“You had stepped away to use the restroom, and she just gushed. She spared not a single detail. One particular line stuck with me.” The brown pony then thought for a moment, bringing a hoof to his chin.

“Ah, here it is: “I like your horn like I like my liquor: thick and hot on the way down.” He chuckled.

Octavia felt like she was going to faint. Never in her LIFE would she have believed Vinyl would ever repeat that.

…Okay. It is official. I am going to be locked away for the rest of ETERNITY once I find Vinyl.’ She said inwardly, her rage shooting to a level that it manifested itself in a violent twitch. As quick as it came, it was gone.

“Um…Octavia, are you well?” Frederic asked, having noticed the violent twitch.

“Oh, I am quite alright. I did not think that I could ever feel the way I just felt, and I am pretty sure that if it ever happens again, I might not live through it.” She said simply.

“Right…either way, we are absolutely ecstatic about the news. When are you due to deliver?”

“Doctor Haysworth said sometime next September.” She said, calming down.

“Excellent. We wouldn’t miss it for the world, isn’t that right everypony?”

WHAT?!” Beauty Brass yelled again, having spaced out mid conversation.

“SHE’S DUE IN SEPTEMBER, BEAUTY BRASS! PAY ATTENTION, YOU DEAF NITWIT!” He yelled, finally losing his composure.

“I get it, sheesh…no need to yell…” Beauty Brass said, clearly offended. Frederic felt his face heat up with anger.

Harpo simply shook his head and gave Octavia a look that read “What can I say?”

Octavia then laughed for the first time all day. She felt her spirits being lifted and her fears melting away. She knew that if anypony would be there to support her it would be Vinyl, and her ensemble. She then smiled warmly.

“Thank you everypony…I needed this. I have been very conflicted over the news, but maybe now I can start to move forward.” She said, feeling more relieved in hours.

“I’m glad we were able to help. Now, if you’ll excuse us, we have other matters to attend to. Come along now you two.” Frederic said, ushering Beauty Brass away, Harpo following quietly.

They left Octavia to her thoughts. ‘Alright, now that all is said and done, I have a certain unicorn to find. She and I are going to have a loooong talk.’ She thought, preparing a lecture the likes of which she was certain Vinyl had never heard before.

Chapter Three

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Octavia entered her apartment to a strange scene.

The living room was a disheveled mess, several records of artists she didn't recognize strewn about over the couch, music blaring to the point the walls were shaking. It was a small wonder the neighbor's hadn't tried to stop her.

Then again, if they did, knowing Vinyl she would have just turned it up to spite them...which is why THIS NOISE IS MAKING MY EARS BLEED! She screamed in her mind, determined to find whatever record was playing, and END its sorry existence.

She dropped her key in the bowl on the table next to the front door, and began to search for Vinyl throughout the apartment.

The first room she checked was the bedroom, coming up empty. The room was still neat, Octavia giving a small sigh of relief that that was one less thing she had to do.

"VINYL!" She yelled, but still the music drowned her out.

She then checked the kitchen, no sign of the DJ anywhere, aside from the absurd pile of dishes in the sink.

"UGH! When I get my hooves on her I will wring her neck until it STOPS BEING FUNNY!" Octavia fumed, resuming her search.

She checked all over the apartment, but could not find Vinyl.

This apartment is NOT THAT BIG. Ponies do NOT get lost in an apartment this size! She yelled inwardly. She then noticed a small glimmer of light coming from under the bathroom door, as well as a muffled voice coming through the door.

"YOU ARE MINE!" Octavia growled, rushing the door.

She pushed open the door, and felt her mane fray out from the sight, her eyes shrinking to the size of the eye of a needle.

Vinyl had just gotten done taking a shower, and as always, had tracked water all over the bathroom floor. Octavia found the DJ rocking out in front of the bathroom mirror as she dried her mane, water spraying everywhere (including all over Octavia) as she bobbed her head back and forth.


"VINYL!" Octavia yelled, trying to get her attention.


"VINYL!!!" She yelled again, growing angrier and angrier by the moment.


"VIIIINYYYYLLLL!" Octavia roared at the top of her lungs at the exact moment the song ended.

"YIPE!" Vinyl yelled in surprise, not expecting another voice behind her. She immediately wheeled around, both her front hooves raised.

"I KNOW HOOF-TO-HOOF COMBAT!" She yelled, her towel still over her face as her chest heaved heavily, her heart pounding like a drum.

"Vinyl, for Celestia's sake, how many times have we spoken about you getting water everywhere?!" She said, her voice coated in anger.

Vinyl immediately recognized the voice as Octavia's and relaxed.

"Hey babe, how'd it go at the doc's? Everything good?" She asked, removing the towel from her face, her still-wet mane lightly spraying Octavia as it frizzed back to its normal shape.

"Everything is NOT alright! You and I need to have a talk." Octavia said firmly, somewhat out of breath from all the yelling. "It did NOT help that I walked into that infernal racket you call music!"

"Hey, hey, hey, Deadhor5 is NOT racket! He is an ARTIST! Not to mention Rob Wires has the voice of an angel!" She swooned. "He can sing for me ANY DAY."

"He does have an exceptional vocal range...such a shame he wastes it on such noise." Octavia huffed.

"Again, Octy, it's not noise! It's called house!" Vinyl corrected.

"REGARDLESS! We have matters to discuss. Meet me in the kitchen when you are done." She said, her tone serious. She turned and trotted her way towards the kitchen.

"Uh...okay." Vinyl said, turning to finish drying her mane.

~A Little While Later~

Vinyl took a seat across from Octavia, who was having a bit of tea to calm her nerves.

"So, what's this uber-important matter you talked about?" Vinyl said, curious to know what Octavia had on her mind.

It almost irked Octavia to see Vinyl so relaxed. We will see how relaxed you will be when I tell you that-that-

She stopped. How was she gonna break it to Vinyl? She had been so caught up in the events of the day she hadn't considered how she was going to break the news to her marefriend.

"" She started, trying to find the right words.

"You what, Octy?" Vinyl said, tilting her head slightly, trying to understand.

"...I...I am...pregnant..." Octavia said, her voice very soft.

Vinyl's eye twitched, the news completely throwing her mind upside-down.

"WWWWHHHAAAAATTTT!?" Vinyl shrieked, not sure what to make of the news.

Octavia jumped slightly at the reaction, but what followed made her heart ache.

"I CAN'T BELIEVE YOU! HOW COULD YOU DO THIS TO ME?!" Vinyl yelled, her ruby red eyes welling over with tears. "I CAN NOT BELIEVE THAT YOU, YOU OF ALL PONIES, WOULD DO THIS TO ME!"

"Vinyl-" Octavia started, but was cut off.


"VINYL-" Octavia tried to start again, but failed miserably as Vinyl continued on her misguided tirade.



Vinyl stopped dead in her tracks. The words rang loudly in her head, tears still streaming down her muzzle and dripping off her chin. "Wh...what?"

"Yes, Vinyl...the foal is yours..." Octavia said with a thick blush, averting her violet eyes.

" is?" Vinyl said softly, trotting over to Octavia with a look in her eyes that she would break if it wasn't true.

" i-" Octavia was cut off as Vinyl forcefully kissed Octavia, her hooves on Octavia's neck.

"YESS! OH MY CELESTIA I CAN'T BELIEVE IT! YEEEES YES YES YES YES!" Vinyl hopped around the room, doing a complete 180 in mood.

" are you so happy? J-Just a moment ago you were..." Octavia mumbled, unable to believe her eyes.

"Are you KIDDING?! I was worried that you had cheated on me, but now that I know the foal's mine, I COULDN'T BE HAPPIER!" She squealed, unable to contain her excitement.

"Y-You are? I-I never would have guessed that you would have wanted this so badly...I never knew." Octavia said, bringing up an excellent point.

"Oh, I never told you? It's always been a dream of mine to have a foal." She said flatly, as if it was no big deal.

Octavia was shocked. She never knew such a side to Vinyl existed. Vinyl was the textbook definition of tomboyish, so to see such a feminine side to her was surprising...and refreshing.

"Octy, just 'cause I don't act like a girl doesn't mean I don't THINK like one." She giggled, trotting back over to Octavia.

"I've dreamed of being a mom ever since I was a filly. I kinda gave up on that when we started dating, but you're going to make my dream come true! THANK YOU SO MUCH, OCTY!" Vinyl said, pulling her lover into a tight embrace.

Octavia couldn't help but smile, wrapping her forelegs tightly around Vinyl.

What surprised Vinyl was the sounds of Octavia crying, finally letting out all the pent up emotion she had had throughout the day. She simply held Octavia, gently stroking her mane as she got it all out.

"Geez, Octy...I didn't think you were so worked up..."

Vinyl pushed Octavia back a bit, and wiped her eyes with a hoof. "Just relax, alright? Thing's are gonna be great from here on out." She said, giving Octavia her trademark smile from ear to ear.

"P-Please...try to refrain from smiling like that...your face might get stuck like that..." Octavia chuckled.

"Oh come on, you know you love it." Vinyl said, her smile turning into a smirk.

"Yes...I do." Octavia blushed, returning to Vinyl's embrace.

Chapter Four

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The pair were quietly eating dinner together, sitting side by side. After a small period of silence, Vinyl spoke up.

"Hey, do you want me to go with you to tell your parents or are you gonna do it by yourself?"

Octavia's jaw hung open, a bit of food falling out and back onto her plate.

"Octy, are you al-"

"OH MY CELESTIA, I FORGOT ABOUT MY PARENTS!" She panicked, her heart shooting up into her throat.

"What am I going to do!? What am I going to say!? How am I supposed to tell them that I got myself pregnant when I am not married to anypony?! Oh dear Celestia what am I to do!?" She panicked, beginning to hyperventilate.


"They will probably disown me...throw me out like the disgraceful foal I am! Oh, what in Equestria am I going to do!? They will probably never speak to me again!"


"I-I do not think I would be able to handle that! My foal, growing up without grandparents! I-I-"

Vinyl forcefully grabbed a hold of Octavia's shoulders, and shook her slightly.

"OCTY! GET-A-HOLD-OF-YOURSELF!" She yelled, releasing her grip once Octavia had fallen silent.

"I...I apologize, Vinyl...I did get a bit out of hoof..." She said, bringing a hoof to her forehead. "Oh Celestia...what am I going to do?"

Vinyl frowned. "Alright, enough. I'm going with you, end of story."

Octavia's eyes widened. "WHAT?! You cannot POSSIBLY believe that my parents will accept this sitting down!?"

Vinyl chuckled, shaking her head a bit. "Octy, oh my dear, precious don't know MY parents. THEY'RE the ones we should be worried about."

"I find it hard to believe that the parents of a mare so...liberal as yourself would be a be honest, I see them being more accepting than my ensemble." Octavia said, raising an eyebrow.

Vinyl shook her head. "I'm able to tolerate your snooty, up-tightness because I lived with them for so long, but that's besides the point!"

Octavia opened her mouth to retaliate, but was met with Vinyl's hoof which forced it shut once more.

"I think we should visit my parents first, and get it out of the way." She said, focusing her ruby eyes on Octavia's violet eyes. "It's like pulling a thorn out of your flank. You either do it slowly and have it hurt a TON more, or you do it quickly, it hurts a little bit, and you move on with your life. Trust me, you wanna do this quickly."

Octavia brushed Vinyl's hoof away and sighed. "If you insist. Where do they live?"

Vinyl blushed. "...Echelon Gardens..." She mumbled under her breath.

Octavia's jaw dropped. "E-E-ECHELON GARDENS!? Only Canterlot's most PRESTIGIOUS live in Echelon Gardens! J-Just who are your parents!?

Vinyl sighed. "I never did tell you my full name, did I?"

Octavia shook her head. "No, you never got around to it. I know "DJ PON-3" is your stage name, and I know "Vinyl Scratch" is your nickname, but I am curious to know what your real name is."

Vinyl sighed, hiding her blushing face behind her electric blue mane. "My real name is Vincenza Staccato, and my parents are Rolando and Marianna Staccato."

Octavia's jaw hit the floor. She couldn't believe it. She was dating the daughter of her ROLE MODEL.

"Y-You...y-you.." Her expression turned from one of shock to one of utter confusion. "YOU'RE the daughter of the famous Rolando Staccato!? He's one of the most-"

"-legendary violin players of all time, blah, blah, blah." Vinyl cut her off, imitating gagging on a spoon. "Yes, he's my dad, now if you're done gushing like a little schoolfilly, I'd like to plot our course of action."

"Vincenza..." Octavia repeated to herself. "How cute..." She said, picturing a young Vinyl with a bow in her mane, blushing slightly.

"Ugh I HAAAATE THAT NAME!" She said. "It's so stuffy and old-fashioned! I just wanna let you know that if you EVER address me by that name, I WILL NOT answer you, got it?"

"Whatever you say...Vincenza..." Octavia giggled, unable to contain herself.

"...You're never going to let me live this down...are you?" Vinyl said flatly.

"Nope!" She giggled. When she saw Vinyl's irritated expression, she smiled. "Oh, come now, Vinyl. It is a beautiful name."

"Beautiful if you lived when the way Princess Luna talked was still normal." She said dryly. "Anyway, it's too late to go visit them tonight, so we'll do that in the morning. Where do your parents live, Octavia?"

"Hoofington, why?" Octavia asked as she walked back over to the dining table and picked up her plate with her teeth. She trotted over to the garbage can, dumped what remained of the contents in the garbage, and put the plate in the sink. "By the way, you left a mountain of dishes from last night, so you do dishes tonight. Understood?"

Vinyl was deep in thought. "Hoofington, eh? Good. By carriage that's about a two-day canter, and the path passes right through Ponyville. I have a friend who lives there, so if anything we can bum at her place."

Octavia sighed. "Vinyl, we will not "bum" anywhere. If your friend has the accommodations for two mares to stay the night, then by all means. If not, I am sure we can find a hotel or something."

As Vinyl thought back, she then realized that it didn't quite make sense how Octavia had gotten pregnant.

"Hey Octy...did the doctor say just HOW you got pregnant?" Vinyl asked, curious.

Octavia furrowed her brow. "You ask this, NOW?" She then sighed. "He mentioned something about, "magically-induced conception", but I do not know how that works. He never gave me an explanation, so I left it at that." She said.

"Hmm, then it's a good thing we're gonna be passing through Ponyville. Rumor has it Celestia's star student lives there, and if anypony can give us the low-down on how it happened, it's gotta be her."

"Whatever that means." Octavia said, a bit confused.

"If anypony knows, it'll most likely be her, Octy. Geez, get with the times, would ya?" Vinyl chuckled.

Octavia blushed in embarrassment. "I do not need to speak like a delinquent to be caught up with the matters of today, Vinyl! You know that as well as I do!"

Vinyl laughed. "Yeah, but it doesn't make it any less fun to tease you about it."

"... Revenge for calling you by your real name, am I right?" Octavia said flatly.

"Oh, totally." Vinyl said with a laugh.

Octavia couldn't help but smile. "Either way, I suggest we go to bed early tonight. We have a long day ahead of us tomorrow...not to mention I am exhausted!" She said, stifling a yawn.

"Yeah, not a bad idea. Believe me, we'll need all the energy we can get for tomorrow...Celestia help us." Vinyl sighed.

The two then entered their bedroom and shut the door, the light of their tiny apartment winking off as Luna's night sky shimmered above.

Chapter Five

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Vinyl woke up with a start to the sound of heavy retching. She frantically looked around and found Octavia missing from their bed. She quickly rushed out of bed and threw the bathroom door open. She found Octavia leaning over the toilet, heaving the contents of her stomach into the bowl.

"Octy, what's wrong!? Was it dinner!? Oh Celestia I KNEW I shouldn't have thrown in that new seasoning!" She said, doing what she could to hold back Octavia's mane, stroking her back to alleviate the pain.

"Urgh...this must be...m-morning sickness..." Octavia said weakly, feeling another wave surging to her throat.

Vinyl winced slightly as she heard the noise of body fluid hitting porcelain. It was one thing to see somepony lose it after drinking so much, but to see Octavia in such bad shape wasn't exactly easy.

"Oh...if that's all, then I guess it isn't so bad..." Vinyl shrugged.

Octavia shot her a look that could have made the Princess herself back away.

"...Considering that it wasn't the food, you know? I mean, this just means the foal's growing, right?" Vinyl chuckled sheepishly, trying to make light of the situation.

Octavia coughed a few times, sliding off the toilet bowl. She slid her hoof down the handle, flushing the contents away. Vinyl helped her to her hooves, and stayed nearby in case she needed help moving.

"I...I am alright now, Vinyl. Thank you..." She said, grabbing a cloth and wiping her face. She threw the dirty cloth in the hamper, and slowly moved back to the sink to brush her teeth and get the horrid taste of vomit out of her mouth. After a small period of silence, Vinyl spoke once more.

"I'm sorry...about all this." She said, her voice sincere. "I didn't think of the situation it would put you in. I just wanted us to have a night of fun, y'know?" She sighed, feeling terrible for putting her marefriend through it all. Octavia spit out the toothpaste and wiped her mouth.

"It is far too late for apologies." She said, raising her chin and shutting her eyes, feigning disinterest. She only slightly opened one eye to see Vinyl's expression, and chuckled inwardly when she saw one of genuine concern.

"You will just have to prove how sorry you are by being a good parent." She winked, giving Vinyl a small kiss and a nuzzle as she trotted out of the bathroom.

Vinyl blushed, a small smirk making its way across her face. "Yeah...that's fine."

"Anyway, are we ready to go see your parents? We were slated to leave by nine, and it is already seven thirty." Octavia reminded, moving to the bedroom mirror and beginning to comb her mane.

The happiness that Vinyl was feeling from the kiss and the nuzzle quickly disappeared at the mention of her parents.

"Ugh...I'm SO not looking forward to this." She muttered, her expression showing severe irritation.

"Oh, come now Vinyl. I am positive they will be ecstatic to see you again. I know I would be if our son or daughter came by to see us after moving out." Octavia said, focusing on getting a particularly difficult knot out.

"Yeah, you'd think so right? Believe me, the day I left was a happy day. I'd never felt so free in my life. Good riddance, get me?" Vinyl said, puffing her chest out with an air of indignation.

"You cannot truthfully mean that, Vinyl." Octavia said, sounding a bit shocked. "I am certain your mother and father miss you terribly, and would love to see you again."

"Yeah well, we'll find out soon enough, won't we?" Vinyl muttered.


The couple trotted through the main walkways of Echelon Gardens. Octavia had never once set hoof in Echelon Gardens, because only those of nobility or great prestige were allowed in. Vinyl was able to prove to the crossing guard pony who she was after arguing with him for ten minutes and threatening his safety a few times, and the two were on their way.

Echelon Gardens looked like paradise. The walkways were paved with marble, the trees that lined the streets appeared like they were groomed and manicured every day. Even the air seemed to filled with a certain regality to it, as if it were processed and refined somewhere in the gated community. Several other ponies were seen walking around, all of which were dressed in clothing Octavia was sure cost more than her apartment...each.

The houses were quite the sight to be hold. Most were either small mansions, or homes Octavia was certain could rival Princess Celestia's castle; however, she herself had played for the Princess several years in a row at the Gala, and was entirely certain that none of these homes could be as elaborate as the Princess' castle.

Vinyl, however, looked like she had eaten several sour candies at once and had been kicked in the flank a few times. She could hear the ponies muttering about her, as well as feel their eyes boring through her.

"I HATE this place." She muttered bitterly. "It's stupid, boring, and so uptight you can't even breathe properly." She then felt a pair of eyes as a colt that was standing nearby stared at her curiously.

"WHAT?!" Vinyl said forcefully, startling the young colt. The colt blushed and hurried off, obviously embarrassed and frightened that he had been caught.

"Vinyl! I am surprised at you. I understand that you are not exactly pleased with the idea of visiting your parents, but that is no excuse to be rude to others." Octavia chastised.

"I don't care. I hate this place, I hate the ponies IN this place, and I want to leave as soon as possible." She muttered.

After several minutes of walking, the pair finally arrived at Vinyl's home. "This is the place..." Vinyl muttered as they arrived at the gate. She looked over at Octavia, and face-hoofed.

Octavia's eyes were wider than Vinyl had ever seen; wide enough that the violet in her irises had disappeared. Vinyl's home was MASSIVE, even in comparison to the other homes they had passed on the way there. The garden infront of the mansion was about the size of one home they had seen when they entered, and the home itself extended in ways Octavia thought impossible prior.

"Alright, you've seen my house, let's get this over with already!" She said, visibly annoyed. They walked up to the gate, and a small pad with a green light that glowed softly.

Vinyl placed her hoof on the green pad, and the machine clicked a few times.

"IDENTITY CONFIRMED AS: VINCENZA STACCATO." Octavia giggled at this, still finding Vinyl's proper name rather comical.

The gate opened, allowing entry. "WELCOME HOME, VINCENZA." The machine said once more, falling silent a moment later.

The two walked down the path towards the front door, Octavia completely stupefied by the beautiful garden that lay on both sides of the path. Gardener ponies moved gracefully through the foliage, tending to and caring for each and every flower and branch in the garden. It completely boggled her mind why Vinyl would EVER want to leave such a place.

They came up to the front door, and Vinyl knocked a few times, receiving no answer.

"Nrrgh..." She groaned, knocking again, still receiving no answer.

"NNNRRRGHH." She fumed, banging both hooves on the door, to no avail.

"NNNNRRRRGHHHHHHHH!!!" She raged, banging on the door as hard as she could.

"WOULD YOU PLEASE CEASE THAT INFERNAL RACKET!?" A voice said, the other half of the door already open. The butlerpony had a jet-black mane that was slicked back over his head, his eyes a soft rouge. His coat was a pale white, and he wore a black pinstripe suit and had a teapot for a cutie mark.

Vinyl stopped, and blushed for a moment. "Heheh...sorry..."

The butler looked her over, and after a few moments, turned pale. "L-L-Lady V-Vincenza?! Is that- Is that really you!?"

It was then that the voice of the butler suddenly became familiar. "Yes, Sebastian, it's me. Are Mom and Dad home?" She said, her expression falling flat once more.

The butler shook his head, unable to shake the new image of his mistress. "Y-Yes...they are, but please, Young Mistress, do not tell me you plan to meet them with...that kind of mane?!" He pointed his hoof directly at her, obviously worried about how his masters would handle her electric-blue mane.

"Look, Sebastian, I don't CARE what they think of my mane, now let us in!" She yelled, getting more and more upset by the moment.

"Us?" Sebastian looked over at Octavia, who was busy looking around at everything, taking in the sights. It took him a moment, but he recognized her. "You! You're Octavia Philharmonica! I daresay the Master finds your music to be most pleasurable." He said, taking a bow.

Octavia felt her face heat up to the point she was afraid she was going to pass out. "R-R-Rolando St-Staccato enjoys m-my music!?" She mumbled, almost unable to contain herself.

"Oh, most certainly. Do come in!" Sebastian responded, backing away so the two could enter.

The foyer was quite possibly one of the most ornate entrances to a home Octavia had ever seen. The mahogany staircase shone from the polish, and the candles and teak furniture gave the mansion an inviting, yet antique and beautiful appearance.

"Where is he, Sebastian?" Vinyl said, desperate to get it over with.

"He is in his study, Lady-"

"There is no need, Sebastian. I was alerted by one of the guards who was watching through the security cameras." A voice said. The voice was firm and loud, and definitely masculine.

From the top right of the staircase, a tall stallion with a grey and black mane appeared, wearing a robe that was almost certainly the finest silk money could buy. His eyes were an ice blue, and on his flank rested a violin, his calling in life.

"Hello, Vincenza." Rolando said, staring directly at his daughter.

"Hello, Dad." Vinyl said, staring right back.

Chapter Six

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Several moments passed in silence, the tension thick enough to be cut with a knife.

Vinyl stared intently at her father, who returned the intense stare in kind, not wanting to back down. Octavia wasn't sure what to do; was she to say something and break the silence, risking an angry outburst from either side, or simply let it play out? The silence was so profound the sound of music playing in the distance could be heard.

After what seemed like an eternity, Rolando finally spoke up. "So good to see you again, my dear...have you been well?" He said, beginning to make his way down the stairs. He closed the distance between Vinyl and himself, and gave her a soft kiss to each cheek.

"I've been fine, Dad. Look, we've got a lot to do, so we're kind of in a hurry-"

"Nonsense! You took the trouble to come by and visit, so I insist you stay for the day," he said. He clapped his two front hooves together, and Sebastian locked the front door, standing in front of it to bar any entry or exit.

"Ugh, Dad! Just shut up for a second and LISTEN!" Vinyl said, already irritated at her father.

"That voice...could it be? Could it truly be!?" a softer, feminine voice said from the top of the stairs.

Vinyl face-hoofed. "This is EXACTLY what I was trying to avoid..." she sighed. "Yes, it's me Mom."

Suddenly, a mare still dressed in her night gown rushed down the stairs, pushed past her husband, and locked Vinyl in a bone-crushing embrace. "Oh, my dear Vincenza! How I have missed you so!" she said, her voice giving the impression she was on the verge of tears.

"Yes-Mom-It's-Good-To-See-You-TOO-CAN'T-BREATHE!" Vinyl choked, desperately trying to free herself from her mother's grasp.

"Oh, I do apologize dear...It has been too long..." her mother said, taking a step back. Octavia was taken aback by her appearance.

Marianna was a slender unicorn with a soft ivory coat, eyes as red as roses, and a mane that was royal blue. Her mother was absolutely beautiful, quite possibly the most beautiful mare Octavia had ever seen, save for the Princess.

"Come, come, Vincenza! We have much to discuss!" her mother said, grabbing her by the hoof and leading her elsewhere.

"W-WAIT-THERE'S SOMETHING I NEED TO-AAAUGH!" She groaned in frustration. Every possible thing that she was afraid of happening, was happening. This left Rolando and Octavia by themselves in the foyer.

"M-Master Rolando...if I may speak freely, I must tell you you have been an idol of mine since I was just a filly, and I cannot begin to tell you how your music has shaped my life-"

The stallion raised a hoof, a small smile playing across his face. "No need to thank me, Octavia. The violin was simply my calling in life, and I intended to make sure the world heard my music," Rolando said. He spoke softly, but his voice was still firm.

"Y-You know m-my name?" Octavia stuttered, completely in shock.

"Of course, my dear. You and your ensemble are the rising stars of the Equestrian classical music world. How could I not listen to work I inspired? What kind of role-model would I be? I must say, Octavia- your work with the cello is nothing short of magical."

Octavia felt faint. Her role model, was praising her. She felt she could die happy. To top it all off, her role-model would be the grandfather to her foal. Could life get any better?

"In fact, Octavia, I would appreciate it if you accompanied me to my studio. Follow me, if you will," he beckoned, turning towards the stairs and beginning to climb. Octavia quickly followed suit, intent on seeing what Rolando had in store for her.

The mansion felt like it went on forever. The halls wound on for what felt like miles, until they finally arrived to Rolando's private studio. He held the door open for her, following her once she had entered. The studio was small, yet very cozy. It had a small desk for writing sheet music, several cases filled with different instruments laying against a nearby wall.

"Have a seat, Octavia. I will be with you momentarily." Rolando moved towards a door on the far wall of the studio, opening it and reaching inside. Octavia took a seat in one of the two chairs next to the desk, waiting patiently. A few moments later, Rolando reappeared with what appeared to be a violin and a cello case. He laid the violin case on the desk behind him, and opened it. The Stratovarius that laid within was in excellent condition, but showing signs of obvious wear.

He then pushed the cello case over to Octavia. "Go on, open it," he instructed.

She did as she was told, and undid the latches on the sides of the case. Octavia's heart skipped a beat as the air was forcibly sucked from her lungs. The cello before her was absolutely magnificent. The maple-wood body gleamed in the morning sunlight, the steel strings vibrating at the slightest touch. It was in pristine condition.

"Wh-what am I supposed to do with this?" she asked in a slight daze.

He chuckled softly, raising his violin to his chin, taking the bow in the crook of his right forehoof.

"What else does one do with a cello, Octavia? I wish for you to play with me," Rolando said with a smile.

Octavia felt her heart stop for a brief moment. Apparently life COULD get better. She was about to have a private duet with her idol. She shifted the cello in her grip, and picked up the bow, gently moving it across the strings.

The two began to play slowly, simply running their bows across the strings in simple chords.

"Yes...I have waited for something like this..." Rolando said softly, his eyes closed as he continued to play.

The two traded phrases and chords, their bows dancing across the strings as their hooves instructed their instruments what to sing. Rolando took the lead, playing a charming melody, followed by Octavia playing a slower, slightly more melancholy melody.

The two then came upon a more melancholy phrase, giving a feel of nostalgia and sadness as they played. Octavia felt tears welling in her eyes, the passion in the piece they were playing overflowing within her. She opened an eye to look at her role-model, who was passionately running the bow back and forth across his violin, swaying back and forth in the rhythm.

The melancholy passage came to an end, as Rolando decided to test her technique and speed. He played a small flitting piece, to which Octavia responded in kind. They traded back and forth, trying to best one another. The violin and cello screamed in pleasure and pain as their users assaulted their strings, the two separate threads of notes blending together in masterful harmonic bliss, ending in a passive, major chord.

Octavia raised her bow, wiping her eyes. She couldn't help herself. Her foal-hood dream had finally come true.

"Octavia, that was absolutely magnificent. I can honestly say I feel accomplished as a role-model." Rolando said, taking a bow.


"Oh, Vincenza dear, we must sit and talk!" Marianna said gleefully, dragging her daughter into one of the many bedrooms. "Your mane is a bit of a mess, dear. Let mother brush it for you!" She said, using her magic to bring one of the many brushes to her.

"Mom, I'm fine, you really don't need to-" Vinyl turned to face her mother, whose ruby eyes were threatening to be lost in a sea of tears.

Vinyl sighed heavily. "Fiiiine..."

Marianna squealed with glee as she raised the brush and began to attempt to straighten her daughter's mane. "So tell me, Vincenza, what brings you by? I daresay it has been years since we have last seen you. You could stand to write to us, you know. We do worry." She said softly.

Vinyl felt a bit bad. Her mother was right- she HADN'T kept in contact.

"I guess you're right about that... and as to why I'm here..." Vinyl swallowed hard, feeling a lump in her throat. This was going to go either of two ways: either her mom was absolutely ecstatic and would burst into tears, or she would be utterly devastated, and burst into tears.

"Mom, promise me that no matter what I'm about to tell you, you're going to continue to accept me." Vinyl warned.

"Of course dearest, tell me what you have to say." Marianna said.

Vinyl took a deep breath. "I'm going to be a mom. You're gonna be a grandma." She then turned to face her mother, hoping her reaction would be a good one.

Marianna's eyes widened to the size of saucers. As expected, Marianna burst into tears, wrapping her forelegs around her daughter's neck. "OH CELESTIA! Vincenza, you could not have given me better news!" She sobbed. Vinyl sighed, patting her mother on the back. After some time passed, Marianna calmed down.

"When are you due, dear? Oh, we need to begin preparations! Do you have any idea on the gender?" She asked, barraging Vinyl with questions.

"Mom, Mom, hold on...I'M not the one giving birth." Vinyl said, illiciting a confused expression from her mother.

"I-I don't understand..." Marianna stammered.

Vinyl sighed for what seemed to be the umpteenth time. "I'm not the one who's pregnant. Remember the mare I walked in with? You know, the cute one with the black mane and the pink bowtie?Has a treble clef for a cutie-mark?"

"Oh yes, of course." Her mother said. "I still do not understand, though."

"Mom, she's my marefriend. She's the one giving birth." Vinyl facehoofed.

It just didn't make sense to her. "B-But you are a mare...and she is a is that possible?" She furrowed her brow, desperately trying to understand.

Vinyl blushed. "...It somehow involved my horn."

Marianna turned a deep shade of rouge. "Oh my...well...I am still thoroughly excited for you, dear. We must set up arrangements for a foaling shower!" She said, her voice cheery and upbeat.

"Mom, aren't you shocked at ALL that I'm with a mare, much less having a foal with her?" Vinyl said, unable to comprehend how her mother was so accepting of it all.

"Oh, dearest, all I want is for you to be happy. If that means you being with a mare, then who am I to judge? All a parent wants from their child is for them to be safe, healthy, and happy." She said softly.

"Thanks, Mom." Vinyl said, returning the embrace.

"No need to thank me, dear...I am simply doing my job as your mother." Marianna replied, hugging her daughter tightly.

Vinyl then sighed again, dejected. "I just hope Dad is as accepting..."

Marianna nodded in agreement. "Your father is not exactly the most...flexible of ponies. I daresay he will not take it well...if you want, I will tell him for you. The last thing I want is to see you and your father fighting again..."

"No Mom, it has to be me. I have to stand up to him. I've gotta be the one to tell him to back off and accept it." She said, her voice resolute.

"If that is what you want, then I will gladly step aside. Just know that I will ALWAYS love you, Vincenza. I am your mother, and you can do no wrong by me."

"Thanks Mom...I needed to hear that." Vinyl said, giving her mother a kiss on the cheek.

"I know! You two are staying for dinner. Whatever plans you had for the rest of the day, are now cancelled." Her mother giggled.

Vinyl sighed. "I guess if I have to." She then chuckled, hugging her mother again.


Vinyl met up with Octavia in the grand dining hall. "Hey Octy...uh, you alright?"

Octavia's expression could not be described in any other way as dreamy. Her eyes were glassed over and she was grinning from ear to ear.

"Uh, Octy. Equestria to Octy, come in. You're kinda creeping me out."

Octavia blinked a few times and snapped herself out of it. "Oh, sorry Vinyl. I feel like I have been walking on air for the last several hours. Your father and I have been practicing together...I was finally able to make my dream a reality, all thanks to you." Octavia quickly leaned over and gave Vinyl a pop-kiss, winking as she walked towards the table. Vinyl felt her knees go weak from the shock.

"Y-Yeah...n-no problem..." She mumbled.

Rolando and Marianna took their seats on one side of the massive table, Octavia and Vinyl sitting across from them. Sebastian delivered their meals, placing the large platters before them.

"Freshwater lilypads roasted and baked with fresh garlic, chives and scallions served on a bed of angel-hair pasta with a light rosemary sauce. Bon Appetit." Sebastian said, bowing away.

Vinyl hungrily dug into her plate. "Whoo, Sebs has still got it!" She said, chowing down. Octavia was absolutely mortified.

Marianna simply giggled, Rolando remaining stoic. He then spoke. "So said you had something to say to me?" He raised his fork and ate a slight bit, wiping his mouth a moment later.

Vinyl coughed slightly. It was now or never.

"'re gonna be a grandpa." She then reached over and took Octavia's hoof in her own. "Octavia and I are having a foal." She then braced for impact.

Rolando dropped his fork, in complete and utter shock. A moment later, his face flushed a shade of crimson, flames of anger roiling to the surface.

" DARE YOU!?" He roared, slamming his hooves on the table. "Dear..." Marianna started, but immediately retreated when he continued. "HOW DARE YOU SULLY THE NAME I HAVE STRIVED SO HARD TO BUILD!? Not ONLY do you get yourself PREGNANT, you get yourself pregnant with a mare, AND OUT OF WEDLOCK NO LESS!" He screamed.

"I have had ENOUGH of you deliberately tarnishing our name! You have been an ungrateful brat since the day you were born, and now you not only ruin you OWN life, but OCTAVIA'S as well!? You FOALISH little filly, YOU HAVE RUINED US!"

"ENOUGH!" Octavia shrieked. The remaining three turned and faced Octavia, who was shaking with anger. Tears were visibly streaming down her face.

"Octy, no! I can handle him hating me! I couldn't handle it if-"

"I WILL NOT STAND FOR THIS!" Octavia yelled, slamming her own hooves on the table. ""I could not care LESS if you WERE my role-model, you could be THE PRINCESS HERSELF, AND I STILL WOULD NOT CARE!"

"Nopony, and I mean NOPONY, will ruin the two GREATEST THINGS to happen to me in my life! You will NOT speak so horribly about your daughter, whom I LOVE with ALL MY HEART, and you will NOT SPEAK ILL OF THE FOAL SHE HAS BLESSED ME WITH!"

Octavia rose from the table, and hurried off without another word, her sobs echoing off the walls.

Chapter Seven

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Octavia galloped as fast as she could from the dining hall, unable to hold back her sobbing.

She didn't care where she was going, she just wanted to be away from any and everypony. Her image of Rolando was shattered. She rushed past Sebastian, leaving him stunned.

"Miss Octavia?" He called after her, receiving no response.

My foal's grandfather...he hates us both! She thought as she charged through the endless halls, trying to find a room where nopony would find her. She knocked open door after door until she found a bedroom. She entered, and slammed the door behind her. She climbed up onto the bed, buried her face in the sheets, and wept. foal will grow up without a grandfather...this cannot be true! He...he was so kind and sweet before...How could he be such a monster!? She whimpered at the thought, the image of Rolando verbally tearing Vinyl and her "mistake" apart still playing over and over in her head.

What was so wrong about her and Vinyl having a foal? Octavia wracked her brains for an answer, and came up short every time. Even though she could find nothing wrong, Rolando had made it sound like a travesty, a blight upon the world.


Octavia looked up from the sheets, seeing Vinyl standing in the doorway.

"Oh...Vinyl..." Octavia threw herself at Vinyl, losing what little composure she had left.

Vinyl held Octavia's head to her chest, her heart breaking at the sounds of Octavia's crying. Vinyl slowly made her way towards the bed, leading Octavia with her, the two lying down facing one another.

"It's okay, Octy. I took care of don't have to cry anymore..." She soothed, gently stroking Octavia's mane.

" could he be so cruel?" Octavia managed to choke out. "Our...our foal is going to grow up without a grandfather!" She squeaked.

Vinyl stiffened slightly. "...We don't need him. Our foal doesn't need somepony like that in its life. If he can't accept all three of us, then I'd rather he accept none of us." She said firmly. "Besides, I took care of him."

"Wh...what do you mean you took care of him?" Octavia asked, looking up at Vinyl.

"Oh, I told him that I hated him and that if he ever wanted to see me again, he'd have to apologize to both of us and actually MEAN it." She said, proud of herself.

Octavia stared at Vinyl for a few seconds, and couldn't help but crack a smile. She tightened her embrace around Vinyl's neck. She was absolutely touched that Vinyl would go to such lengths for her and their foal.

"C'mon Octy...gimme a biiig smile~" Vinyl asked, pretending to pout. "Pwwweeeeeease?"

Octavia tried to give her best smile, but Vinyl recoiled slightly.

"Yeeeah...nevermind. Don't do that. It's creepy." Vinyl said, averting her eyes.

"Ohh you!" Octavia blushed in embarrassment, nudging her chest softly with a hoof.

"See? THAT'S the Octy I know and love." Vinyl chuckled.

Octavia craned her neck upward, pulling Vinyl into a gentle kiss, blushing hotly. After several moments, Octavia pulled away, opening her eyes to look at her lover.

"...Thank you for defending me...for defending us..." Octavia said softly, nuzzling Vinyl affectionately.

Vinyl was stunned, her face redder than her eyes. "Uh-buh-whuh?" She shook it off, and cleared her throat.

" was no big deal...but YOU on the other hoof, YOU WERE AMAZING!" Vinyl said, completely impressed by Octavia's shocking display at the dinner table.

"I mean, you slammed your hooves on the table and everything! I swear I thought you were gonna leap over the table and beat him until he apologized!" She laughed. "I'm not gonna lie, Octy. You're cute when you're mad."

It was Octavia's turn to blush. "Oh...that...I simply reacted on impulse...I just felt so...angry at the way he spoke about you and our foal...I just could not handle it." When she looked at Vinyl again, she jumped slightly.

Vinyl's face had contorted into an extremely cheeky grin. "You may hide it often, but you really do like me, don't you Octy?"

"V-Vinyl, please, now is not the-" Octavia stammered.

"You do, don't you Octy? I mean, I can't blame you. I am pretty hot." She said, raising her right eyebrow in mock sexiness.

"About as hot as an ice cube in a freezer, maybe." Octavia chided.

"Hey! That wasn't nice!" Vinyl said, feigning being offended.

" a bad time?" A male voice said from the doorway.

The two immediately looked towards the door, and to their surprise, stood an almost wounded-looking Rolando standing in the doorway, an absolutely FURIOUS Marianna standing behind him.

"Well? Go on!" She said forcefully, causing Rolando to jump slightly.

"Listen girls...I...I wish to both of you." He said meekly. Vinyl's jaw dropped. Not once in her ENTIRE LIFE had she heard her father apologize to ANYPONY excluding the Princesses.

"Go on." Marianna said, determined to see her husband's apology through to the end.

"I acted completely out of line in response to the two of you having a foal, and I am terribly sorry for the way I acted." He then turned to Octavia, who looked rather stunned.

"Octavia, I hope you can forgive me...I fear I might have ruined the image you held of me, and if that is true, I do not blame you. I acted like a monster, and a horrible one at that. In truth, I am rather excited at the prospect of being a grandfather. I loved my grandfather to death, and I intend to be as good a grandfather to my grand-foal as he was to me."

Octavia was absolutely touched by his apology. She felt tears welling in her eyes, and simply let them run down her cheeks. The relief that swept over her was palpable.

"Apology accepted, Rolando...but I am not the one that needs the apology." She said, nodding her head in Vinyl's direction.

Rolando faced his daughter, unable to look her in the eye. "Vincenza...I am so, so unbelievably sorry for what I said to you. I was unrealistically harsh, and had no right to call you an "ungrateful brat." He grimaced as he repeated what he said to her, as if the words had left a bitter taste in his mouth.

"Your words left a lasting impression on me. I could not handle it if my only daughter hated me...the prospect of never seeing you crushed me." He admitted. "What impressed me most about you...was how you stood up to me to defend Octavia and your foal, even if it meant losing me as a parent. That is what a parent does for their child- whatever it takes...and I could not be more proud of you." He said, his voice kind and soft.

Vinyl wiped her eyes, not wanting to show that she was getting emotional. She took a deep breath and cleared her head.

"...It is too late for apologies!" Vinyl said, raising her hoof in a fake dramatic fashion, only to burst out laughing at all the reactions she gained from it.

"Oh...oh...that was stomach!" She continued laughing as Octavia facehoofed.

"...How I ever fell for this one I will NEVER understand." Octavia mumbled.

Once Vinyl calmed down enough, she looked her father in the eye. "I appreciate your apology, Dad. You were a jerk; a pig-headed, angry, offensive jerk- but I forgive you all the same." She said, giving her father a hug, who gave a giant sigh of relief.

"Oh thank Celestia..." He said softly. Once Vinyl let go of him, Rolando cleared his throat. "Well, now that this is all cleared up, it is getting rather late, so I believe we-"

He was interrupted by the sound of a certain mare clearing her throat.

"Oh no, we are not NEARLY done here. You have one more pony to apologize to." Marianna said, tapping a hoof on the ground for him to get on with it.

Vinyl had to stifle her laughter. It was one thing to see her father angry, but when her MOTHER got angry, mountains themselves would move out of her way.

"Y-Yes...y-you are absolutely right, dearest...I-I am v-very, VERY sorry for b-being so rude to our daughter and to you, a-and f-for shushing you at the t-table. I swear on my life i-it will never happen again." He stammered.

"...You better bet your RUMP this is the last time it will happen, now move!" She said, pointing forcefully down the hall back towards the main area.

"Yes dear..." He said meekly, hurrying out of the room and down the hall.

Vinyl was in complete awe of her mother's ability to dominate her father. Octavia was rather shocked as well, and impressed. I could learn from her...just in case Vinyl ever gets out of hand... Octavia thought with a small giggle.

"Mom...what did you SAY to him to get him so freaked out!?" She asked, eager to know.

"Oh, just that if he did not come straight up here and apologize to you, I would never speak to him again..." She said. "Oh, and that this-" She ran a hoof along her curves, stopping right at her flank. "-would be forever off-limits to him." She winked. "In all seriousness Vincenza, your words hit him hard...he looked like his world had just fallen apart. I had to shake him a few times to get him to come back to reality."

Marianna trotted up to the two mares. "Girls, I am very proud of you both. The way you two defended one another proved to me that you will make great mothers to your foal. It is very clear that you two are made for one another, and I am as sure as Celestia is princess on that matter." She winked.

Both Octavia and Vinyl blushed, their tails intertwining with one another.

"Now, if you will both excuse me, I have a certain stallion to deal with." Marianna said, leaving and shutting the door.

Vinyl stretched her body a bit, and laid back down next to Octavia, staring at her.

"What is it Vinyl?" Octavia asked, curious as to why she was staring at her.

"You's been a little while since we've..." She then leaned over and whispered in Octavia's ear. Octavia's face turned a bright pink at what she heard, and sighed.

" did do a good job of defending me...and we have both had a very emotional day..." She said, blushing heavily. "On one condition- you have to be gentle."

"Deal!" Vinyl said.

The two shifted in bed, Vinyl crawling under the covers as Octavia turned out the light in the bedroom, joining Vinyl a moment later.

Chapter Eight

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Octavia was the first to wake up, sunlight gently peeking through the Veneightian blinds covering the window.

She stretched some, but chose not to move much, feeling Vinyl's forelegs wrapped around her, the soft sound of her breathing pleasant in her ear. At least, when it wasn't punctuated by an abruptly loud snore. She jumped slightly at this.

Ugh...why am I not used to this by now? She grumbled, gently pulling away from Vinyl who rolled over in the other direction, continuing to sleep. Octavia then crawled out of bed, stretching a bit, her joints popping. It was then that she realized that she smelled of sweat and other things.

Vinyl and I were rather..."active" last night... She blushed, thinking back to the night previous. No matter...I wonder where I can take a bath to clean myself up? Octavia wondered, quietly leaving the room.

She walked down the hallway full of doors, looking for any signs of what might lead to a bathroom. She came to a flight of stairs, and moved down them, enjoying the feeling of the cool air in the mansion against her coat. As she trotted by, she noticed Sebastian putting out the candles he had lit the night before.

"Good morning, Sebastian." Octavia said, moving over to him.

"Oh, good morning to you as well, Miss Octavia. I am surprised to see you awake this early, provided how engaged you were in your..."activities" with Lady Vincenza last night." He said rather bluntly.

Octavia turned a deep red. "I-I-w-well..." She stammered, unsure of how to respond.

The butler merely chuckled. "Is there anything at all I can assist you with?" He asked courteously, giving a charming smile.

"Yes, actually. I was wondering where I might be able to take a bath..." She asked, shaking the blush away.

"Right this way, Miss Octavia." He said, taking a short bow and beginning to lead her towards the bath.

The two trotted for what seemed for miles, the long, winding halls filled with grand portraits of family members or other famous composers or artists. The tapestries that hung from the ceilings were absolutely marvelous, and appeared to cost more than Octavia could ever afford in a lifetime.

"Here we are, Miss Octavia." The butler pushed open the door, and Octavia gasped.

The bath hall was ENORMOUS. The floor was paved with marble, leading up to a grand basin filled with sparkling water, steam creating a small fog above the surface of the water. Octavia was amazed at the grandeur, but she was even more impressed by how clean it looked.

" often do you clean this bath-hall?"

"Every day, Miss Octavia. It is an easy task once you get used to it. Now, the bath soaps and salts are in the basket on that bench, and you can use whichever one you like. You are technically family now, so you get all the same privileges that my masters would. Do enjoy your bath, and I will be right outside if you need me." Sebastian said, bowing out and shutting the door.

Octavia wasn't sure of what to do first. She made her way to the small bench, and perused the selection, most of which she was unfamiliar with.

Candied vanilla almond... She brought her nose to it, and immediately fell in love with the soft, creamy scent. She picked it up and moved to the edge of the water. She dipped a hoof into it, and felt the temperature was just what she was used to at home. She slipped into the water, feeling it come up to her neck.

"Oh Celestia...this is heavenly..." Octavia cooed, feeling more relaxed than she had in days. She closed her eyes and let the tension slip away.

"Agreed...Sebastian always does a wonderful job maintaining the baths."

Octavia froze at the sound of the other voice, her eyes wider than the room they were in. She turned her head to the left, and sure enough, Marianna was seated right next to her, gently rubbing her face with a washcloth.

"Oh, I am terribly sorry, dear. I did not mean to frighten you." She said upon seeing Octavia, who had her right hoof to her heart.

"I-I-I am SO sorry, Madam Staccato! I-I had no idea you were using the baths-"

"Shush, Octavia. Call me Marianna. To think you call me Madam when you are giving me my grandchild; I will have none of that out of you." She said, feigning scolding her. "Besides, it is my fault- I should have locked the door before I entered."

"I-I suppose you are right, M-Marianna..." Octavia said, giving in. "Why are you up so early?" She asked.

"I am always up this early. I prefer rising with Celestia, not Luna, like my husband." She laughed.

Octavia felt quite homely in comparison to Marianna. The unicorn was strikingly beautiful, all her features delicate and soft. Even her laughter sounded like the chinking of china.

"If anything, I am surprised YOU are awake this early. It was a little hard to sleep with all the fun you two were having." Marianna giggled, blushing a bit.

Octavia felt her face flush so badly she was amazed at how much blood she had in her body. " heard all that?!"

"Dear, the walls are made of wood, and you are in the house of a composer. Acoustics." She winked.

Octavia was dumbfounded. The idea that the entire mansion was acoustically sound had not once crossed her mind.

" very sorry you had to hear that..." Octavia said, averting her eyes.

"No trouble at all, dear. You two are young and full of energy, right? I will suggest you be careful though, now that you are carrying."

"O-Oh of course! I would never do something that would directly put my foal in harm's way." Octavia said, her voice firm.

"That is what I like to hear, Octavia." She then held up the cloth. "Would you mind washing my back, dear?"

"Of course, Marianna." Octavia moved forward and took the cloth from her. Marianna rotated to face away from Octavia, who began to gently scrub her back.

"...Would it be alright if I asked you something?" Octavia started, wanting to clear something up.

"Ask away, dear. I will answer whatever you ask to the best of my abilities." Marianna replied, enjoying the feeling of the cloth on her back.

"Rolando was furious last is it that you were able to get him to calm down and apologize so quickly? All joking aside, of course..." She said, remembering the answer her and Vinyl received the night before.

Marianna gave a small sigh. "Well, after you rushed off, Vincenza turned to her father and began to yell at him...and yell, and yell, and yell. Now, I am not one for in-fighting in my family, but in this case I knew it needed to be done. He had gone too far, and he needed to be knocked down a few pegs. Vincenza told him that she had grown tired of how no matter what she did, he always looked down on it, and that she had had enough. She was not sorry for falling for you, nor was she sorry for getting you pregnant." She took a breath, and continued.

" A moment later, she told him she hated him. She hated him for the way he treated her, and the way he made your foal sound like it was the biggest mistake anypony could ever make. She said that she would never forgive him for the way he made you feel. She then got up and left to find you. He sat there in stunned silence, staring straight at where Vincenza had been seated a moment before."

"As hard as that is to believe after the display last night, he really does care for Vincenza. He worries over her night and day, always wondering what she is doing, if she is safe, if she is healthy; he just does not like to show it. He grew up with even STRICTER parents, so emotion was not a thing he was taught to show...but the idea that his one and only child hating him for the rest of his life was something he simply could not handle, so I took over. I yelled at him a bit to get his act together and apologize before the damage became irreparable, which is exactly what he did."

Octavia was touched by her explanation. "So Rolando is the type that chooses not to show affection towards Vinyl...but he does love her."

"Vinyl?" Marianna asked, tilting her head.

"Yes, Vinyl. You know, Vincenza? Vinyl is the name she chooses to go by in public."

"Vinyl, like a vinyl record? How cute~" Marianna giggled. "As to what you said, you are absolutely correct." Octavia then put down the cloth, having finished the job.

Marianna then turned to face Octavia. "Octavia, you are very lucky. Vincenza was never the type to put her mind so intently on something, and to see the way she is with you, as a parent, is all I could ever ask for. She smiles more, she laughs more, she seems like the child I had always wanted her to be. Please...take care of her." She pleaded, taking Octavia's hooves into her own.

"Of course, Marianna...I love Vinyl, and I do not see that changing." She said with a blush.

"Thank you do this mother proud." Marianna said, pulling Octavia into a quick embrace. "Now, get washed up so we can all have breakfast before you go. Vincenza told me you plan to tell your own parents about the foal, so I do not want to keep you." She said, wading towards the edge of the bath and getting out.

"Oh, right! My bath." She said, picking up the brick of soap that sat at the edge of the water, long forgotten. She quickly washed up, and got out of the bath, drying herself of as quickly as she could.

As she left the bath, she ran into Vinyl. "Hey, I was wondering where you were." She then sniffed the air.

"Octy, you smell great! You just come outta the bath?" She asked. She then thought about it. "We did get pretty sweaty last night, didn't we? I'm gonna be honest with ya, Octy. You are crazy good in bed." She winked.

"Oh, be quiet! I have heard quite enough about what we did last night." She said. "...But I do not think you have heard enough about what YOU did for me last night."

Octavia moved over to Vinyl, and gave her a soft kiss. "...Thank you again for sticking up for me. Now come on, breakfast should be ready soon."

Vinyl was shocked, her legs rooted in place. "U-Uh...s-sure..." She then moved forward. "I think I'm on a roll..." She laughed.

Vinyl quickly caught up to Octavia, the two trotting side-by-side towards the dining hall.

Chapter Nine

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The pair entered the dining hall first.

Celestia's morning sun shimmered down through the large windows, the bright light reflecting off the polished surface of the massive mahogany wood table. The silverware and china were already set out for breakfast, and the smell of the food cooking gently wafted in from the kitchen, filling the air with a delicious aroma. Octavia and Vinyl took the same seats as they had the night previous. Octavia quickly checked the spot where she slammed her hooves down for damage, sighing in relief when she saw there was none.

"...The amount of bits necessary to fix damage on a table like this would be able to fund my ensemble's concerts for the remainder of ALL our lives..." Octavia mumbled to herself, thankful that she wouldn't be going bankrupt any time soon.

"Hm? You say something, Octy?" Vinyl asked, looking over at her. "You've been staring at the table for a few minutes now. You looked like you were going to cry."

" need to worry, Vinyl. I am just thankful I will be holding on to my hard-earned bits for a while longer. I was terrified I had damaged your parent's table in my fit last night." She said, relaxing in her seat.

"I get ya. I remember when my parents bought this table. As for you hitting the table, I'm gonna say it again. You were pretty sexy last night." Vinyl laughed.

"Oh, that is quite enough, Vinyl! I would rather not remember how childish I acted in front of your parents, thank you very much." Octavia chided.

"You can get angry at me all you want if it means leading to fun time." Vinyl said, raising her eyebrow and smirking in just the way Octavia found irritating, just for the sake of irritating her. It worked.

"Careful, just may get what you wish for, and not the way you intend." Octavia warned, her right hoof dangerously close to the butter-knife.

"Good morning, girls!" A cheery voice said from behind them. The pair turned around to see Marianna and Rolando standing in the doorway.

"Oh, I find the way they argue to be so endearing~" Marianna giggled.

"I trust you two slept peacefully last night? I know last night was difficult for all of us, so I pray you two were able to relax." Rolando said. This surprised Octavia, judging by what Marianna had told her earlier in the baths.

Marianna face-hoofed. "Truly you sleep like a boulder." She said. "No matter. Shall we sit down for breakfast? I would like to spend as much time with them before they leave to Hoofington." She said, leading her husband around the table.

The pair sat down across from Octavia and Vinyl, Sebastian bringing their meals out a moment later.

"Fresh eggs cooked sunny-side up, garnished with chives. Served with a fresh glass of ice-cold milk and a cinnamon and creme cheese danish. Bon appetit." He said, bowing out.

As they ate, Rolando spoke up. "So your parents live in Hoofington, Octavia? That is quite a good distance away. I will have a carriage prepared to take you to your home." He said matter-of-factly, taking a sip of his milk.

Octavia blinked in surprise. "Oh, that is not necessary, Rolando. I am perfectly content going by hoof-" She was cut off when Rolando raised a hoof.

"Absolutely not. I will not allow you to exhaust yourself while carrying my grand-foal, and that is all I will say on the matter." He said, raising his chin and smirking slightly. Vinyl smiled wide, proud of her father for making such a helpful contribution.

Octavia smiled. "I will be more than happy to take the carriage. Thank you, Rolando." She said, bowing her head slightly in thanks.

"It is of no trouble at all, dear. Now, I understand that you are due in September?" He asked, taking a bite of his eggs.

Octavia swallowed what remained of her danish, washing it down with a bit of milk, then beginning to speak.

"According to the doctor, yes. He wants me to visit him once a month to monitor the foal's growth, seeing as I am the first mother to give birth to a magically-conceived foal in decades..."

"Is that so? How interesting...tell me. How does that happen?" Rolando asked, curious to know.

Octavia shrugged. "I would tell you if I myself knew. The doctor gave me no clear answer, and apparently it has been a while since this has happened to anypony, so I can imagine documentation is rare...however, I do have something in mind." She said.

"Oh? Do tell." He said, interested.

"Well, I have heard talk that Princess Celestia's star pupil currently lives in Ponyville, and the path to Hoofington goes through Ponyville, so I intend to ask her about it while we are there. Vinyl- I mean, Vincenza has an acquaintance there that she believes will allow us to stay the night."

"I see..." Rolando said, raising a hoof to his chin in thought. " said Celestia's star pupil lives in Ponyville? So THAT is where Twilight Sparkle lives now. What a charming young mare, that Twilight. We were all wondering where she had gone when we stopped seeing her by the Princess' side. I am sure the Princess has her reasons. I am sure she will be more than willing to help you with whatever you need." He reassured.

"I will keep that in mind, thank you." Octavia said, working on her eggs.

It was then Marianna's turn to speak. "So, have you two decided on a name yet?" She asked. Octavia and Vinyl looked at one another, and shrugged. "Well, we haven't really thought about it. The last couple of days have been kinda outta control, so we haven't really had the time to think about it. Either way, it's not like we'll know if it's a colt or a filly until it's born, so we'll probably leave it up to the surprise." She said.

Marianna thought about it, and nodded. "Fair enough...remember what we discussed Octavia, I am holding the foaling shower. Be sure to have your mother send me a letter so we can coordinate." She said with a warm smile.

Octavia smiled in return. "Of course Marianna, I will do just that."

With breakfast finished, the four made their way to the grand foyer, standing near the door. Sebastian arrived a moment later with two saddlebags filled to the brim with items. "I took the liberty to have Sebastian load up some saddlebags for you two. Two sweaters in case you get cold, some snacks in case you get hungry, some bottles of water and bits in case you need to buy things while you are out."

"Thanks Mom, this is great." Vinyl said, giving her mother a quick hug. Octavia trotted over to Marianna, and gave her a hug as well.

"Thank you so much, Marianna. You have been so kind to me." She said.

"Think nothing of it, are family now after all." She winked.

"I will be sure to have my mother send you a letter as soon as I arrive." Octavia said with a smile.

Vinyl trotted up to her father and looked him in the eye.

"...You have grown so much, Vincenza...I am so proud of you. Be safe." He said, moving over to his daughter and pulling her into a tight embrace.

"Yeah...I will..." She said, returning the embrace. "I love you, Dad."

"I love you too, sweetheart." He said softly, giving her a kiss on the top of her head.

"The carriage has arrived, Master Rolando." Sebastian said, holding the door open.

The Staccato's watched as the two mares cantered away, talking to one another as they did. Marianna chuckled when she saw Octavia bump Vinyl's shoulder in annoyance. "They are so good together...right dear?" The only response she got was sniffling.

When she looked up, Rolando was biting his lip, making a futile attempt at holding back tears as he watched his daughter canter away. "Oh, dearest. There is no need to cry...they will be just fine." Marianna said, doing her best to soothe her husband's pain.

"She is all grown up...she is starting her own family now...I remember the day she was born, Marianna..." He said, his voice cracking slightly.

"I know dear, which is why you need to be happy for her, and be the best grandfather you can possibly be. Come now, let us wave them off with smiles." She said.

The two young mares entered the carriage and looked back, waving happily. Marianna and Roland waved them off, watching as the carriage disappeared from view.

"They will be fine, will see." Marianna said comfortingly, ushering her heart-broken husband back inside.

Chapter Ten

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Octavia and Vinyl sat across from one another, simply looking out the windows as they rode in the carriage.

They watched several ponies as they passed them by, the carriage making its way out of Echelon Gardens and into the regular streets of Canterlot.

"Well? Was I right or was I right?" Vinyl said.

"...I suppose they were quite...different than what I expected." She admitted. "They were very nice, though."

"If by different you mean crazy." Vinyl corrected. "I mean sure, my mom is great, but my saw what it took to get him to apologize. He's a stubborn one- always has been, always will be."

Octavia thought about it for a moment. "What an interesting pair...they are so different. Much like ourselves, now that I think about it more."

"Well, I'm sure my mom could get any stallion she wanted, she just chose my dad because she was able to get past the snootiness and see he's not such a bad guy on the inside." Vinyl said.

"Do you know how they met, Vinyl? I would be interested to know, and a story would be able to pass the time."

"Actually, yeah. My mom told me the story of how they met when I was younger, but I remember it for the most part..."

Vinyl then began to tell the story of how Rolando, a fresh Canterlot University of Music and Art graduate met the mare of his dreams.


"Congratulations, my boy. You could not have made me prouder. Graduating magna cum laude as well as gaining the favor of the do the Staccato name proud." An older stallion said, giving Rolando a pat on the back.

"Yes father...thank you for your praise." He said, giving a slight bow. He caught movement out of the corner of his eye, and saw a unicorn that he had had for a class on music theory. "Oh, that was one of my professors. Father, if it is alright, I would like to go thank them for their time and patience with me."

"If you must, son. We have a meeting with the Princess soon, so do not tarry."

"Of course, father. I will be back momentarily." He said, hurrying off to find his teacher. He moved swiftly and smoothly through the crowd, moving past other graduates and their families, eager to find the teacher. He was so focused on finding his teacher that he didn't notice somepony had stepped infront of him.

He bumped into the other pony rather hard, causing him to step back a bit.

"Oh, terribly sorry...I was not watching where I was going, but it would seem that neither were-" When he opened his eyes, he felt the air get sucked out of his lungs.

Standing before him was a unicorn mare so beautiful he could not comprehend whether she was real or perhaps he had run into a tree. Her royal blue mane was straightened and curled right at the ends, her ruby red eyes shining brightly, her cutie mark a rose that was in full-bloom.

"Oh dear, I am very sorry. Are you alright?" She asked, proving the former as true.

"I-I-I-I-" He stuttered, unable to get the right words out. She simply giggled. "It is quite alright. You were right in saying I was not looking where I was going. Again I am very sorry." She said.

" is no big deal...nopony was harmed, right?" Aside from the simple sentences that were escaping his mouth, his brain was full of nothing but static.

"Not at all." She then heard someone calling for her. "Well, I must go. Someone calls for me. Excellent performance on the violin, by the way. It was a moving piece."

Rolando felt his heart soar in ways he only felt when he was playing his violin. He had rarely felt this way before, but never because of another pony.

Once she had left, Rolando's good friend Easel, a Pegasus who was a painter, caught up to him. "Hey Roly. You alright? You're just standing there, staring off into space." Normally Rolando hated it when Easel called him that, but he was too focused on a certain mare to care.

"Who...who was that?" He asked, his voice soft.

"Who are you talking about, Roly?" Easel asked, confused.

"Her..." He said, pointing at her as she talked and laughed with other classmates.

"Her? I'm pretty stunned you don't know who she is. Her name is Marianna Rosada. She graduated top of her class in Floral Artistry. I've heard talk that she comes from a long line of flower arrangers that date back to around the time Celestia and Luna came to be the Princesses."

"Amazing..." He breathed, unable to take his eyes off her.

"Hey, Roly, you're kinda worrying me here- ohhhhh, I get it now." Easel said, a knowing smile stretching his face.

"You like her, don't you?" He chuckled.

Rolando finally snapped back to reality. "What? How could you draw such a conclusion from what I am saying? There is no possible way I can feel something like that towards a mare I met only moments ago." He protested.

"C'mon, Roly. You've got the whole "love-at-first-sight" thing going on here. Admit it, Roly. The lovebug done bit you good." He laughed.

"Bug? What bug? I was not bitten by a bug. I told you I ran into her, not that I was bitten by any bug. You are not making sense, Easel, and stop calling me Roly. You know how much I hate that."

Easel face-hoofed, and patted Rolando on the back. "Sure I'm not, Roly. Anyway, I've gotta go see my parents. Catch you later."

"Right, of course. Catch you later as well." He said, calling after his friend. "Hmm...I wonder if father knows of her family..." Rolando thought out loud as he watched her again.

Marianna could feel eyes on her, and turned around. She caught Rolando looking at her, whose heart jumped into his throat. She gave a smile and a wave.

Rolando felt like nothing else in the world existed. Her smile was more beautiful than he had ever seen on a mare, and the way her face lit up when she did he felt could outshine Celestia's sun. He blushed heavily, and waved in return, not knowing what else to do. He gave her a goofy smile, which made her laugh. The way her muzzle scrunched up when she did made his heart skip a beat.

"Hey, Marianna...I think that stallion over there likes you. He's been watching you for some time now." One of the other mares said to her.

"You think? Well...he is rather handsome, and his violin-playing is simply stellar..." She said, thinking about him. "I know his first name is Rolando, they said it at the ceremony, but does anypony have an idea what his last name is?"

"I think it's Staccato, if I'm not mistaken." One of the other mares said.

"Staccato? I know that name from somewhere. Papa might have mentioned it before...I believe his father and mine have collaborated in the past...what do you girls think? Should I go over and talk to him?" She asked, unsure.

"Well, I would say so...if he wasn't already gone."

Marianna wheeled around to look, and sure enough, he was nowhere to be seen.

"Oh, horse-apples...he disappeared. Well, we still have to pick up our degrees, so perhaps I will bump into him again in a few days." She said, sounding a bit excited.

"You know, for some stallion you just met, you're kinda happy about seeing him again. You like him, don't you?!" One of the other mares teased.

"I think that is rushing it a bit...he is handsome, and he is talented...perhaps I will ask him out, unless he were able to muster up the courage and ask me out first, that is." She giggled.


"...And that's the story." Vinyl said, taking a breath. She reached into one of the saddlebags her mother packed and retrieved a bottle of juice.

"All that story telling made me thirsty." She said, twisting the top off with her teeth and taking a drink.

"Would you mind if I had some?" Octavia asked. "Sure." Vinyl said, passing her the bottle. Octavia began to drink when Vinyl spoke.

"You know Octy, you and I are sharing a bottle of juice...that's like sharing an indirect kiss." Vinyl said, eager to see Octavia's reaction.

Octavia's eyes widened and her face flushed horribly. She swallowed the juice and set the bottle down. "You always find a way to ruin the moment. It is absolutely amazing."

"So I've been told." Vinyl chuckled, proud of herself for catching Octavia off guard.

"Well? What happened next?" Octavia asked, curious to hear where the story went next.

"What do you mean? You asked about how they met, and I told you." She said, confused.

"Well, would you mind telling me where it went from there? I am curious as to how their first date went." She said, very much interested.

Vinyl sighed. "...Alright. I'll tell you." Vinyl took another deep breath, and continued on with her story.


Several days later, Rolando was walking down one of the promenades towards the grand auditorium, where they would be giving the diplomas to their respective recipients. He rounded a corner, and sighed when he saw the line.

"It looks like I will be here for a while." He said to himself.

"Well, you never know. It may speed up." A voice said from behind him, causing him to freeze in place. He turned around and saw Marianna, his heart ready to burst out of his chest.

She is just as beautiful as I remember... "H-H-Hello..." He said rather shyly.

He is quite cute when he acts shy. She giggled slightly. "Hello Rolando."

His heart skipped a beat. "Y-You know my name?"

"Sure I do. I never knew our fathers worked together for Princess Celestia's birthday celebration a few years back." She said.

Rolando thought about it for a moment. "Ohh, of course! Your father was the one who created the spectacular arrangements of roses and sunflowers for the Princess. It was magnificent." He said.

Marianna blushed. "I was the one who picked out the sunflowers..." She said, trying to hide her blush behind her mane.

Rolando felt his knees go weak. How cute... He thought. "Well you have a wonderful eye for quality. Those sunflowers were enormous, and their color was so vivid. What I thought was simply amazing was how they all bloomed right as the Princess entered. It was breath-taking."

"You flatter me, Rolando." She said, waving a hoof at him. "It was simple. I wanted to pick the late bloomers that had more time to grow, as well as the ones that were right about to open, so I could time it with the Princess' entry." She explained.

"Nothing a little unicorn magic could not take care of. What I was impressed with, was your duet with your father. The music you two played was captivating. It was light, airy, and perfect for the mood of a birthday. I caught the Princess humming the melody a few times, and I am certain that that is no easy feat."

Rolando could not help but grin from ear to ear, a deep blush painting a red strip under his eyes. "It was nothing. It was a piece my father and I had practiced for some time, intended as a gift to the Princess. We played to the best of our abilities to please her, and I am happy to know that I did."

"Although I am sure it would not have been quite as enjoyable if you were not there." They both said to one another in unison, causing each other to blush.

Rolando then cleared his throat. Now or never, Rolando...this is your chance... "Um...Marianna...I was wondering..." He started, more nervous than his first private performance for the Princess. "W-Would you be willing to accompany me to dinner sometime soon?"

Marianna blushed hotly, smiling. "Rolando, are you asking me out on a date?" She said, playing with him a bit before giving her answer.

"Um...I would suppose so, yes." He said, his heart racing.

"Well...I am rather busy. My parent's business is extremely important and as the inheritor of the business, I really should be present so I can learn the trade..." She said, enjoying every moment of toying with him.

She is going to say no...she is about to turn me down...Oh Celestia help me... He thought, fearing the worst.

"Relax, Rolando, I am only playing with you. Of course I will accompany you to dinner." She smiled.

Rolando felt relief wash over him in ways he thought impossible. "Excellent." He said. They turned around, and realized they were next in line. They quickly retrieved their diplomas. She used her unicorn magic to bring over a small piece of parchment and a pen, and quickly wrote down her address.

"Pick me up Friday evening at dusk at this address. I will be waiting for you." To Rolando's surprise and ultimate shock, Marianna quickly leaned in and nuzzled him slightly, winking as she left.

"...S-Sure...of course..." He mumbled, completely breathless.

He turned and dashed off, thanking Celestia a million times over for his success.

Chapter Eleven

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Rolando paced the front step of Marianna's house nervously.

"Alright, can do this. This is no different than the other dates you have been on. The only major one is that you are doing the pursuing...which I have never done before..." He said to himself.

"No matter...I will treat her out to an excellent night. No need to worry. I will do fine. I am a Staccato, after all. Staccatos do not fail." He said, boosting himself up.

"No, I cannot act like that...I am positive she does not like self-important idiots. I must be the epitome of a gentlecolt, just as father taught me." He said, clearing his mind.

"How long do you plan on standing there talking to yourself?" Marianna giggled, standing in the doorway watching her date for the night pace back and forth, mumbling to nopony in particular.

He seized up at the sound of her voice. "A-Ah...Marianna. So good to see you." He said, turning to face her. Once again, he felt himself surprisingly short of breath.

Marianna had dressed herself up marvelously. She was wearing a rose-gold necklace with a small sun pendant, her royal blue mane tied up in a knot at the end, the sea of royal blue hair cascading down her left shoulder. She had lightly dabbed on a light shade of purple eye shadow, bringing out her red eyes even more.

He felt like he was in rags in comparison. He mentally looked himself over. He was dressed very nicely, wearing a black jacket with a vest underneath, his jet black mane combed back neatly. He looked great, despite his own opinion.

"I...hope I did not under-dress." He said, gently moving a rock with his right hoof.

"Oh, this? No worries. I may have over-dressed a bit. I had a feeling you would come dressed nicely for the occasion, so I wanted to make sure I did as well. Is it too much?"

Rolando looked up quickly, a small look of surprise in his eyes. "A-Absolutely not! You look absolutely beautiful, and I could not count myself luckier to be accompanied by a mare such as yourself." He said. When he realized what EXACTLY he had just said, his face lit up brighter than the lamps that lit the street.

Marianna blushed as well. "What a sweet thing to say, Rolando. You are rather dashing yourself..." She said, blushing lightly.

"Well...shall we go? I set up reservations at Plume D'Or for eight this evening." He said, extending a hoof.

"Of course." She said, turning to lock the door to her home.

Once they were on their way, they chatted about trivial things, such as their trade and their interests. The pair walked fairly close together, close enough they wondered whether they would trip over one another.

She is so close to me right now, I am certain I can feel her body heat radiating off her coat... He thought, trying to fight a blush as Marianna talked.

"What about you, Rolando? Tell me a bit about the violin. Why do you enjoy it so?" She asked, curious.

"Hm? The violin? Oh, it is very simple. I love the violin, simply because it is an instrument that lets you paint an emotion in a way no other instrument can. It can play beautiful, uplifting melodies, or heart-wrenching melancholy phrases. It is a medium through which the performer portrays his soul, and it is a window to the heart through the music that comes forth from it. If there was ever a way to see into my heart, it is when I am performing. There is no other feeling like it. It is as if I have the ability to move the hearts of my listeners at my leisure...and I intend to show all of Equestria my gift. I intend to bring all the hearts and minds of Equestria together in the most peaceful of ways: through the purity of music." He said, with a smile on his face, his voice brimming with resolve.

Marianna found herself completely entranced. She was completely taken aback by the magnificence of his dream. He sounded so sure of it, that she was convinced he would do it someday.

"That...was beautiful, Rolando...I never imagined you had such an amazing dream." She said, feeling a bit inferior to him. "My dream is not quite as grand as yours..."

Rolando shook his head. "No dream is any less worth achieving than another. Tell me, what is your dream?" He asked.

Marianna blushed as she revealed her truest desire. "I want to create my own breed of rose...a rose that shines different colors when in the that will be so beautiful that Princess Celestia herself will wear one in her mane." She said.

Rolando couldn't help but smile. "That is a beautiful dream, Marianna. I am sure you will achieve it one day." He said with a reassuring smile.

Marianna smiled in return. "Thank you are a true gentlecolt." She said, leaning upward and giving him a small kiss on the cheek.

"We have to hurry, our reservations are almost up!" She said, taking him by the hoof and leading him towards the restaurant. They arrived right on time, trotting up to the host.

"Bienvenue a L'Plume D'Or. Do you two 'ave a reservation?" The host said with a thick French accent.

"Yes, dinner for two at eight?" Rolando said.

"Last name, s'il vous plait?" The host asked.

"Staccato." He said. Suddenly, the host went pale. "M-My apologies, Monsieur Staccato. Right this way." He said, leading the pair to their table. They sat down, and waited for the waiter, who arrived a moment later.

"A pleasure to see you again, Monsieur Staccato. To what do I owe this pleasant visit?" The waiter said, turning his head to face Marianna. "Oho, what a nice surprise. And you are?" He asked politely.

"Marianna. Marianna Rosada, a pleasure to meet you." She said with a smile.

"Marianna Rosada, as in THE Marianna Rosada? What an honour! We have gone to your parents for floral arrangements many times- we are frequent customers." He said.

"I noticed my mother's new lily arrangement at the entrance. I was wondering where it was going yesterday." She giggled.

"Well, how may I serve you this evening?" He said, taking another bow and waiting for their orders.

"Well, first we will start off with a bottle of your finest pinot noir, and perhaps a basket of bread."

"Right away, monsieur." The waiter said, hurrying off.


The pair laughed and talked as they trotted back to Marianna's home, closer than ever. On several occasions, Marianna would find herself leaning against him, to which he did not complain. Rolando reveled in the feel of her soft coat, and the beautiful sound of her laughter.

So this is what it is be in love... He thought, with a small smile. I do not think I would trade this for anything else in the world...

Marianna leaned against his shoulder, her head resting gently against his neck. His shoulders are so broad...they appear so strong. I do not think I would not mind staying like this...maybe for the rest of my life~ She thought with a blush and a smile.

Once they arrived at her home, he walked her up to the step. "Well...this is were we part, I suppose." He said, his heart sinking slightly at the thought of separating from her, even for a short while.

"For now..." She said with a blush, noticing the small drop in his mood. "Thank you so much for an absolutely wonderful evening, Rolando..." She then moved slowly up to him, and shared a soft, passionate kiss with him. His eyes nearly bugged out of his head, his mind instantly becoming mush and his heart nearly beating out of his chest.

They broke the kiss a few moments later, requiring breath. "...Perhaps we can go out again this coming Wednesday? I am free that evening." He said, hopefully.

"...I will do what I can to free my schedule." She said softly, blushing brightly. "Have a good evening, Rolando." She said. She gave him another small kiss and a nuzzle, then entered her home, the door shutting quietly.

"Yes...have a good evening..." He said, breathless.


"...and that about covers it." Vinyl said, her throat dry. "Urgh, I need more juice." She said, popping open another bottle of juice. Octavia had a light blush across her face.

"That was a beautiful story, Vinyl. They really make a cute couple...I would like to think of us the same." Octavia said softly.

"Aww, Octy. You're too cute." She laughed, taking a close seat next to Octavia, nuzzling her.

"Please, do not make this weird." She sighed.

"You know you like it." Vinyl said with a knowing smile.

"...I suppose I do." Octavia said, smirking slightly.

Octavia then looked out the window, seeing the lights of Ponyville in the near distance. "Oh, it seems we are almost there."

"Cool! Maybe Pinkie'll have a place for us to stay." Vinyl said.

"Pinkie? Who is Pinkie?" Octavia asked.

"Oh yeah. She's really cool, she's a total party-goer. I've known her for a couple years now." Vinyl said.

"If you say so." Octavia said.

The two leaned against one another as the carriage pulled into town, Celestia's sun setting over the horizon.

Chapter Twelve

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Octavia and Vinyl exited the carriage, taking their first breaths of Ponyville air.

For some reason, they both felt right at home. The feel of the small town was quaint and welcoming. The scent of fresh apples floating over from Sweet Apple Acres mingled with the even more delicious smell of fresh baked goods wafting from Sugarcube Corner. The two trotted around the main fountain, watching other ponies move past them, finishing their errands before nightfall.

"If I remember correctly, Pinkie told me she lived at Sugarcube Corner." Vinyl said,turning towards the bakery.

"I see. Well, lead the way then." Octavia said, following Vinyl as she made her way towards it.

The two entered the confectionery, completely overwhelmed by the delectable smells within, the shelves lined with treats the likes of which the two had only seen in Canterlot's best bakeries, and even they could not compare to how good everything looked. The stallion at the counter turned from what he was doing, hearing the bell above the door signal the entry of a customer.

"Welcome to Sugarcube Corner, where we bake the sweetest treats for you to eat! How can I help you two lovely young mares today?" He asked cheerily.

"Oh, good evening sir. We were wondering-"

"Hey, is Pinkie home?" Vinyl asked, cutting her off. Before Octavia could finish, a hot pink blur shot passed her and nearly tackled Vinyl back out the door.

Mr. Cake merely sighed. "Why yes, she is. I'll be in the back if you need me." He said, moving through one of the doors and shutting it behind him.

"SCRATCHIE! It's SOOOO good to see you again! Which is funny, because I KNEW I'd be seeing you again. I had the strangest twitch- ear flop, knee shake, tummy rumble, and a hoof itch, ALL AT ONCE- that means I'm going to see an old friend, and here you are! It's been almost three months and four days since we saw each other at that party, which was a TOTAL rager!" Pinkie said, somehow all in one breath.

Octavia felt exhausted just listening to her. She hadn't even MET this "Pinkie" yet and she could already tell why Vinyl spoke so fondly of her: Pinkie was just as crazy as she was.

"It's good to see you too, Pinkie...though it'd be GREAT if you got off of me first!" Vinyl groaned, Pinkie still sitting on top of her.

"Whoopsie, silly me! I didn't mean to tackle you, Scratchie, I was just sooooo excited to see you! I mean, I've been waiting for it for like, eight chapters now." She said, moving off of Vinyl to allow her to get up.

Vinyl raised herself back up, and looked at Pinkie. "What are you talking about? Chapters?"

Pinkie gave her a quizzical look. "What do you mean, Scratchie?"

"You said you were waiting through chapters to see me. Chapters of what?" Vinyl asked.

"I never said that. You're such a silly filly, Scratchie." Pinkie giggled. "So, how've you been? What brings you back to Ponyville? You haven't really been back here since Rarity's fashion thingy, which was SOOO much fun, until Rarity got all sad and became a hermit for a few days, but she's all better now."

Vinyl blinked a few times, and shook her head. " and Octy are on our way to Hoofington to go see her parents."

Pinkie then rounded on Octavia, circling her and examining her, locking her blue eyes on Octavia and ONLY Octavia.

" something I can help you with?" Octavia said, feeling somewhat awkward towards the pink pony who was now looking at her like some sort of display object.

Pinkie whistled. "She's cute, Scratchie! She your maaaarefriend? Is she? Is she? Is she is she is she?!" Pinkie giggled, nudging Vinyl's shoulder repeatedly.

"Actually, yeah, she is. We're on our way to Hoofington to tell Octy's parents that we're gonna have a foal-"

Vinyl was silenced by a hoof to the mouth. Pinkie turned her head, her eyes so wide that the blue rims were no longer visible. There was a low, rumbling sound as Pinkie began to shake violently. Octavia took a few steps back, not sure of what to expect.

"OMYGOSH!" She yelled so loudly that Vinyl's mane was blown back slightly, immediately returning to its normal frizzy state a moment later. "WE HAVE TO THROW A PARTY! I CAN'T BELIEVE MY FRIEND SCRATCHIE IS GOING TO BE A MOMMY!" Pinkie yelled. "Cake. LOTS AND LOTS OF CAKE! Blue and pink streamers, CONFETTI! Decorations, BALLOONS" She rambled, unable to control herself at the exciting news.

"Uh, Pinkie, just relax-" Vinyl started, only to be silenced again.

"Relax!? RELAX!? How can I relax when you're HAVING A BABY?! We NEED to celebrate! When are you two leaving?" Pinkie asked, her focus now trained directly on Octavia.

"Um...sometime tomorrow, I suppose." She responded, wincing slightly as she waited for the next outburst.

"PERFECT! I'll have an AMAZING party set up by tomorrow! Now go on and get so I can start working on stuff!" She said, pushing the pair towards the door.

"Wait, Pinkie wait! Is it alright if we bum with you for tonight?" Vinyl asked.

Pinkie stopped to ponder the question. "Bum? What's that mean?" She tilted her head, bringing a hoof to her chin.

"I told you that that is not how you use that word." Octavia said, proud of herself.

"You're still old-fashioned and it won't stop me from picking on you." Vinyl said with a smirk.

"If you do not have room, Pinkie, is there anywhere else we might be able to stay?" Octavia asked.

"I'm not really sure about that, but you can definitely bum here with me!" Pinkie said cheerily.

For the first time since the two had met, they actually face-hoofed in unison. They looked at Pinkie, who was happily staring back at them.

"So we can stay here tonight?" Vinyl asked.

"Yup! You can take the room across from mine! It's just up the stairs! I gotta go fix it up, though. I was using it as Gummy's room for a little while, and we all know how crazy he can get!"

"Gummy?" Octavia asked, confused.

"Pinkie's got a pet alligator named Gummy." Vinyl said. "I met the little tyke last time I was in town. Cute little guy."

Octavia slowly inched towards the door. If there was one thing that she could NOT handle, it was anything reptilian.

"Relax, Octy. He's toothless- he can't hurt anypony even if he wanted to." Vinyl reassured. Regardless, Octavia still wanted NO PART of Gummy whatsoever.

"...I think I will go wait outside..." Octavia mumbled, quickly exiting the shop.

Vinyl sighed and shook her head. "She's afraid of anything that could bite at her ankles, and sorry to say, Gummy's one of them. She'll come around though."

"No problem! Gummy will be sleeping with me tonight so you two can use his room, isn't that right Gummy-wummy?" She said, turning her head slightly to show the purple-eyed gator latched onto her mane. The only response Vinyl received, if one could call it a response, was Gummy's eyes blinking independently of one another.

"...Riiiight. Well, we'll be back in a bit." Vinyl said as she turned to leave.

"Okie-dokie-lokie!" Pinkie said, hurrying off upstairs to fix up both the room and begin preparations for the bash.

Vinyl found Octavia sitting on a bench nearby, looking none too happy.

"You decided on having us stay on a place with an ALLIGATOR in it, even though you KNEW I was afraid of reptiles?!" She said, her voice coated with anger.

"Look, I'm sorry Octy. Besides, Gummy is going to be staying in Pinkie's room, so he won't be able to pull anything, alright?" Vinyl pleaded. "I really am sorry. I'd completely forgotten Pinkie had Gummy, so I thought it'd be alright."

Octavia sighed. She couldn't really stay mad at Vinyl. Her apology seemed sincere enough.

"Fair, what shall we do while we wait for Pinkie to prepare our room?" Octavia asked.

Vinyl thought about it, and a very fond and familiar memory came to mind. "I know. C'mon, follow me!" Vinyl said, breaking out into a gallop. Octavia blinked, slightly confused, but decided to follow regardless.

The two exited the main part of town, and came upon a small hill with a sign posted at the top that said "Firefly Fields" in black paint. Vinyl smiled, recalling the first time she had been here.

"Octy, I know you're gonna love this." She said, leading Octavia over the hill and into a rather large clearing surrounded by thick trees.

"I do not see what is so amazing about this, is just a clearing." She said, unimpressed.

"Wait for it." She said, watching the sun disappear beyond the horizon. The moment the last ray of light disappeared, it began.

Nightingales that had just woken up from their day-time slumber began to join others as they began to sing, all trilling a simple melody, fireflies beginning to wink to life amongst the tall glass of the clearing, in complete sync with the nightingales.

"C'mon Octy!" Vinyl said, rushing past her into the tall grass, the fireflies scattering away from her, continuing to blink in unison with the melody. Octavia blinked as a small one flew up to her and perched itself on the tip of her nose. She surprised it with a small sneeze, the firefly moving away to rejoin the group.

"...Oh, alright!" She said, joining Vinyl amongst the fireflies. The two played amongst the grass, much like they would if they were younger. A new feeling began to well within Octavia...she was having the time of her life simply playing with Vinyl, leaving all her cares behind back in Canterlot. For this time, she was being herself with the love of her life, and she would not allow herself to miss out on making such a beautiful memory with her.

The two continued to play with one another, making a game out of trying to catch the fireflies; they would move out of the way in just enough time to allow themselves to escape. Octavia laughed when Vinyl ended up on her back.

"Oh yeah? I'd like to see you try!" Vinyl challenged.

"Fair enough." Octavia reared back, and launched herself up into a particularly thick group of fireflies, who avoided her completely. Vinyl fell over laughing when she saw Octavia end up on the ground with nothing.

"It is not that funny!" She said, getting back up.

"Of course it is! Besides, I have another fun game in mind." Vinyl said raising an eyebrow with a mischievous smirk. She quickly reached forward, and yanked off Octavia's bow.

"Wha- Vinyl! Give that back!" She said.

"Yer gnna hafta takth it bacth!" She said, dashing off into the grass.

"Oh, it is ON!" Octavia smiled, chasing after her. The two rushed through the grass, Octavia hot on Vinyl's hooves. The unicorn was fast, but Octavia's rear legs were stronger from having forced them to support her own weight as well as the weight of her cello for hours on end. She closed the distance, and gently nipped on Vinyl's tail, causing her to tumble. Octavia tumbled over her, the two landing in a heap.

Octavia leaned downward, and took her bow back from Vinyl. "Looks like I win." She winked.

"Yeah, yeah, you won this round." She chuckled. When the two took to their hooves, they looked around and saw a small hill. They proceeded to climb it, and were completely awestruck by the view.

The hill gave them a beautiful view of Luna's night sky, the moon hanging almost picturesque in the distance. There wasn't a single cloud in the sky, the Weather Patrol having done an excellent job of keeping the rain away when it wasn't needed. The two sat side by side, simply staring out at the stars, the nightingales continuing to sing their song as a few fireflies buzzed past them, mixing in with the sky above them.

" absolutely breath-taking..." Octavia said softly.

"Amazing..." Vinyl said. To Vinyl's surprise, Octavia scooted a little closer to her, and rested her head against her neck, a soft smile with a bright blush outlining her face. Vinyl blushed and started to speak, but decided against it, simply leaning her head on Octavia's. This was one moment she did not want to ruin.

The two sat in silence, enjoying each other's presence, simply watching the fireflies mingle with the stars.

Chapter Thirteen

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The pair experienced a harsh awakening as Pinkie barged into their room.

"Gooooood MORNING, EVERYPONY!" She yelled. "It's time to get up! You gotta come downstairs and eat breakfast before I give you the tour of Ponyville! Rise and shine! Wakey wakey eggs and...whatever else you eat with them!" She said, opening the blinds, accidentally blinding both Vinyl and Octavia.

"Wha-what is going on!?" Octavia asked, bewildered and confused.

"PINKIE! CALM DOWN!" Vinyl yelled, trying to gain her bearings and silence the pink pony from further assaulting their ears.

"Ooh! Are we playing a new yelling game? I WANNA PLAY TOO!" Pinkie yelled back. "NOW IT'S YOUR TURN, SCRATCHIE!"

"Pinkie, stop yelling! You're hurting our ears! We JUST woke up!" Vinyl said. As much as she valued her friendship with Pinkie, at that particular moment, she valued sleep a significant amount more.

Pinkie stopped for a moment, and giggled. "Sorry Scratchie, I'm just REEEEALLY excited for the party we're having today for your baby! It's gonna be the BIGGEST BESTEST PARTY Ponyville's ever seen! I'm putting out all the stops on this one! It's going to be the PERFECT PINKIE PARTY!" She said, vibrating with excitement.

"Ugh...any chance I had of going back to sleep is now completely gone." Vinyl grumbled.

"My ears are still ringing..." Octavia murmured, rubbing her aching head with a hoof.

The pair got out of bed, and took a few minutes to straighten up. Once they made their way downstairs, Pinkie was waiting for them with two heaping plates of flapjacks.

"I made them myself! They've got our super-special apple syrup! I made sure to get some fresh from Sweet Apple Acres. Applejack wasn't too happy about me taking it, but I'll pay her back later." Pinkie said cheerily, as if what she did was no big deal.

" stole the syrup?" Vinyl said, raising an eyebrow.

"Silly filly, I borrowed it! I just did it when Applejack wasn't looking, or at least I THOUGHT she wasn't..." Pinkie said, suddenly becoming lost in thought.

Vinyl and Octavia looked at one another, and decided not to question it. They already had a large enough headache between the two of them after their rude awakening. They each took a bite, and they felt the smooth, bright flavor of the apple syrup come to life in their mouthes. The syrup was some of the best they had ever had.

"This...this is so good I could cry..." Vinyl said, shoveling her flapjacks into her mouth as fast as she could to keep the flavor coming.

"I have never had apple syrup...I do not think I want any other type anymore..." Octavia said, savoring each and every bite slowly.

"I'm really, really glad you like it! I'm sure Applejack will be happy to hear it too, seeing as nopony's ever tried it before-"

Suddenly, the door to Sugarcube Corner burst open, a particularly angry orange mare in the doorway.

"PINKIEEEE! If y'all don't return mah syrup right this INSTANT, Ah'll corral ya an' make ya work off EVERY DROP IN THOSE BOTTLES!" She yelled.

Octavia leaned over to Vinyl. "...Three guesses says she is this "Applejack" Pinkie mentioned..."

"What was your first clue, Octy?" Vinyl said. "No need to yell, she's right-" Vinyl turned to point at Pinkie, but she was nowhere to be seen, even though she had been there only a moment before.

Vinyl sat in stunned silence for all of a second before Applejack rounded on them.

"So YOU two're the ones eatin' mah syrup!" She said angrily. Suddenly, to both Vinyl and Octavia's surprise, her expression turned hopeful.

"Well? How is it? Too sweet? Too thick? How's the flavor?" Applejack questioned.

Vinyl and Octavia looked at one another, Vinyl taking the initiative to speak up first.

"It's delicious...some of the best syrup we've ever had." She said honestly.

"Pheeyew! What a relief! Ah was gettin' all worked up fer nothin' by the looks of it. Heh, looks like Big Mac owes me twenty bits." The farmpony chuckled to herself, rubbing her hooves together at the prospect of earning a bit of extra cash.

"Sorry about all the commotion, the name's Applejack, the proud manager of Sweet Apple Acres." She said, taking a quick bow. Octavia wasn't sure what to make of her, but Vinyl seemed interested enough.

"Cool hat." Vinyl said. "Mind if I take a look at it?"

"No can do, sugarcube. This here hat's mah pappy's, and on mah head is where it's stayin'." Applejack responded. "Ah reckon Ah've never seen y'all round these parts. Y'all new in town?" She asked.

"We're actually just passing through. We're on our way to Hoofington to tell Octy's parents we're having a foal." Vinyl said, Octavia face-hoofing.

"Are you just going to blurt that out to just anypony!? Not everyone is accepting of two mares dating, you know!" Octavia said forcefully.

"Relax, Octy. I'm sure she doesn't mind, right?" She said. The response she got wasn't quite what she expected. If anything, Applejack was puzzled.

"Now wait just an apple-buckin' minute. This here mare's yer marefriend, right?" She said, pointing to Octavia.

"Yep." Vinyl responded.

"Y'all just said she's havin' a foal, right?" She continued.

"Yep." Vinyl responded in the exact same way.

"Ah'm pretty sure that that's not quite how-" She then noticed the horn on Vinyl's head, and it somehow made sense. "Oh, Ah get it now. Ah'm not exactly versed in magicky stuff, but Ah guess it makes sense when a unicorn's involved somehow."

"Yeah, well, we're not entirely sure how it happened either." Vinyl stated. "That's why we're gonna go see Celestia's student to go see if she's got an idea."

"Ya'll mean Twi, right? Makes sense y'all would go to her. Mare spends more time readin' than what Ah'm sure's healthy, but she is the librarian after all, so she'll prolly be able to get y'all yer info." Applejack said. "Only problem, she rises later in the mornin', so Ah'm willin' to bet she ain't up yet. Ah can show y'all round Ponyville in the meantime, if'n y'all don't mind." She offered.

"That is very kind of you, Applejack. We would love to." Octavia said, getting out of her chair and trotting over to her. "Well? What are you waiting for, Vinyl? An engraved invitation?"

"Oh, right." She quickly got up and followed the other two out, shutting the door to Sugarcube Corner behind them.

They walked through town, watching as it slowly came to life in the light of Celestia's sun. For some reason, the two of them felt so comfortable in this peaceful little hamlet. They couldn't explain it, but they definitely liked it. The first place they came to was a elaborately designed home, a sign on the front reading "Carousel Boutique." Applejack pushed the door open, and the three entered, a bell above the door ringing as the door pushed it.

"Cooomiiiing~" A voice said from down the hall. A few moments later, a unicorn with a snow white coat, blue eyes, a royal purple mane as well as three diamonds for a cutie mark appeared. "Applejack, what have we spoken about you tracking dirt into the boutique?!" She chastised.

Applejack looked down, and sure enough, her hooves were covered in dirt from the early morning's work. "Heheh, sorry Rarity. Ah didn't mean to." She blushed, embarrassed.

Rarity then turned to the two standing next to Applejack, to which she reacted explosively upon seeing Octavia.

"Y-Y-Y-YOU'RE-You're Octavia Philharmonica! HERE! In MY boutique! I absolutely ADORE your music, dear! Oh, what a privilege! An act of providence, one might say! Oh, I feel faint~" She swooned, using her magic to conjure a chair for her to collapse on.

"Uh...Rares, it's not that big a' deal." Applejack said, raising an eyebrow at her theatrics.

"Not that big a DEAL!? This is MOST CERTAINLY a big deal! I have someone who plays for the PRINCESS in MY BOUTIQUE!" Rarity yelled, bothered by the fact that Applejack had no idea who Octavia was.

"Woah, nelly! You've played for the Princess? Ah reckon it ain't easy." Applejack said. "Ah know Ah wouldn't be able to play much a' anythin' for the Princess. Ah'm sure country western ain't the Princess' flavor a' apples."

Octavia was blushing wildly at all the praise. "It can get tough performing for the Princess, yes...but I do so love to play music." She said, Applejack nodding in understanding.

She then turned to Rarity. " really is not that big a deal. If anything, it is I who am privileged to meet you. I have seen a multitude of your dresses in Canterlot shops, and your newest winter collection is all the buzz...I am what you would call a fan of your style, and have been following your work for some time now." She said rather shyly.

Rarity fainted. The praise from one of Canterlot's finest was too much for her to handle.

Vinyl was laughing her life away. "I-I think she likes you, Octy." She continued laughing, falling over while clutching her stomach.

"Oh, shut up..." Octavia growled.

"...Well, uh...why don't we all just leave Rarity here and go see Fluttershy? She's the nicest pony in Ponyville, and Ah'm sure she'll be excited ta hear y'all are havin' a foal. She takes care of animals, it's her callin' in life, and Ah'm sure she's helped birth tons of the animals we have in town." Applejack explained.

"Intriguing...maybe she would make a good midwife...what do you think, Vinyl?" Octavia asked.

"I just wanna see the animals." She shrugged.

"Of course you do..." Octavia sighed, unable to comprehend just how she fell in love with somepony so simple-minded.

"Well, lead the way Applejack. I am very much interested in meeting Fluttershy, given how you speak so highly of her." Octavia said.

"Fluttershy's sweeter than anything y'all can buy at Sugarcube Corner. She's a little on the shy side-" Applejack stopped. "-Actually, the poor filly's terrified of her own shadow, but Ah still think she's the nicest, kindest, most soft-spoken pony Ah've ever met in my life." Applejack said.

The trio left the boutique after leaving Rarity on the chair she had brought out, and made their way towards Fluttershy's cottage.

Chapter Fourteen

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The trio continued to trot towards Fluttershy's cottage, when Vinyl spoke up.

"Are we almost there?" Vinyl asked, bored. "I wanna see the animals already!"

"Ugh, you really have the propensity to be such a child, Vinyl. We will see the animals soon enough!" Octavia said, shaking her head.

Applejack chuckled. "Ah never woulda taken you fer such an animal-lover, Vinyl." She commented. "Y'all seem to be the rough-and-tough type'a pony like mahself, but then again, Ah like animals, too."

"I grew up with a bunch of animals back home. I had dogs, cats, birds, the entire collection of household pets as a filly."

"Well, then I suppose I might have been a little rash in chastising you, Vinyl." Octavia said.

"Yes, Octy. Yes you have. I'd like an apology."

"No." Octavia responded flatly.

"But you just said you were wrong." Vinyl said, confused.

"Just because I say something, does not mean I entirely agree with or accept it." Octavia said with a smirk.

"Eh, fair enough." Vinyl shrugged.

Applejack laughed. "Ah hafta admit, watchin y'all argue is mighty entertainin'. Just goes ta show that y'all're made fer one another. Heck, Dashie and Ah still argue, even though we're close friends. Ah just felt that a little competition never hurt nopony." As she spoke, a rainbow-colored streak soared overhead, high up in the distance.

"There she goes...her head's always in the clouds. Ah can't help but worry about her sometimes, though. Not much common sense in that pony."

"Huh...where have I heard that before?" Octavia said sarcastically, looking at Vinyl.

"Welp, here we are. Fluttershy's cottage." Applejack stated.

The three ponies neared the cottage, a butter-yellow pegasus with a pink mane and three butterflies for a cutie mark sitting on her front lawn feeding some of the younger bunnies and birds.

"There we go, little up all your food and you'll grow up big and strong." She cooed, smiling as she watched the animals eat.

"I dunno what's cuter...her or the animals." Vinyl said, watching the scene unfold as more birds came to join Fluttershy on the ground, some perching on her head and others on her back.

Fluttershy giggled slightly. "That tickles! You all must be hungry too. I'll go get more food." When she stood up, she noticed Applejack coming towards her home, with two strange ponies in tow.

"Oh no...Pinkie is still here..." She murmured, trying to act natural as Applejack approached.

"Hey 'Shy. How're you doin' this mornin'?" Applejack asked.

"Um...I'm fine, are your friends?" Fluttershy asked softly, edging away from Vinyl and Octavia. The pair introduced themselves.

"My name is Octavia." She gave a small smile and a polite bow.

"And I'm Vinyl, Octy's sexier and better half." She waved at Fluttershy, grinning from ear to ear as Octavia's hoof smacked her upside the head. "Totally worth it."

"They're stayin' in Ponyville for a couple days on their trip to Hoofington." Applejack said. " any chance, have ya seen Pinkie? Ah've got a right big bone ta pick with her."

Fluttershy seized up at the mention of Pinkie. "'t seen Pinkie this morning...I don't know where she could be...d-did you check Sugarcube Corner?" She stuttered, trying her best to cover up for the pink pony that was currently hiding in her house. Unfortunately for Fluttershy, Applejack didn't buy it in the slightest.

"...'Shy, Ah can tell yer lyin'. Ah AM the Element of Honesty after all. Now, Ah understand Pinkie probably put ya up to this, but she stole somethin' from me. Is she hidin' in yer house?" Applejack asked. Fluttershy started to shake her head, but shrunk and gave a small squeak from fear when Applejack stomped her hoof forcefully.

"C'mon, Fluttershy! She did somethin' wrong, and ya can't go protectin' her for it!"

Fluttershy began to whimper and tear up, and simply pointed at her front door. "I'm sorry Pinkie..." She whimpered, beginning to cry. A moment later, a pink blur shot out of the open door.

"YOU'LL NEVER TAKE ME ALIVE, APPLEJACK!" Pinkie yelled as she rocketed past them.

"Y'ALL GIT BACK HERE RIGHT THIS INSTANT, PINKIE!" Applejack yelled, charging after her, leaving Octavia and Vinyl with a crying Fluttershy.

"Aw, geeze...I'm not really good at dealing with this-" Vinyl started, but fell silent as Octavia pushed past her and moved up close to Fluttershy.

"There, there Fluttershy...there is no need for tears." Octavia soothed, gently running a hoof up and down her back. When Vinyl looked at her confused, Octavia shrugged. "Just take a deep breath and relax...I am sure Applejack is not upset with Pinkie, she just wants to talk to Pinkie about what she stole." Octavia said softly, trying to calm her down. After a few minutes, Fluttershy wiped her eyes.

"I'm so sorry you had to see me like this...I just get scared very easily..." Fluttershy sniffled, her voice almost a whisper.

"It is quite alright, Fluttershy. I used to be very timid when I was little, so I understand how you, is it alright if we enter your home? We have something we would like to discuss with you." Octavia asked, Vinyl nodding in agreement.

"Um...okay." She said softly. The three walked into Fluttershy's cottage, Octavia immediately falling in love with the little home. While it wasn't very big, it seemed very comfortable and welcoming. The three sat at her kitchen table.

"W-Would you like something to drink?" Fluttershy offered.

"That would be lovely, thank you." Octavia accepted. Vinyl shook her head.

Fluttershy went and retrieved a bottle of milk and placed it on her kitchen counter and poured it out into two small cups. She reached over and grabbed one of the bottles, labeled "HONEY" on the front. She placed one drop of honey in each of the glasses, and stirred them with a spoon. She then brought both cups over, placing one in front of Octavia and placing the other in her spot.

Octavia took a drink, and felt her entire body relax. The smooth texture of the milk as well as the sweetness of the honey did wonders for her.

"This is absolutely wonderful, Fluttershy. I would have never thought to put milk and honey together." Octavia praised.

" usually do that when bear cubs won't drink their milk...they usually run me dry when they try it for the first time." Fluttershy said softly, hiding behind her mane somewhat.

"Um...what did you want to talk to me about?" Fluttershy asked quietly, a bit nervous.

"Well, Applejack tells us your special talent is caring for animals. Is that correct?" Octavia asked. When she received a small nod as a response, she continued. "Well...I would imagine that also includes helping pregnant mothers give birth, right?"

Again, another small nod. Octavia then blushed. "Well...then I was wondering would be willing to help me give birth to my own foal..." She said softly.

Fluttershy's eyes widened and she began to smile. "Oh my yes, I would love to help. I've helped all sorts of animals bring their babies into the world, and I'd be more than happy to help you." She said with the kindest smile she could muster. "When are you due?" She asked.

"Sometime next September." Octavia said, returning the smile. "Thank you, Fluttershy. You have no idea what a relief this is."

"Nurturing life is my helping bring a foal into the world means just as much to me as helping a mother bear give birth to her cubs, even if it isn't nearly as dangerous." Fluttershy giggled sweetly. Vinyl wasn't sure if she was going to keel over from how cute Fluttershy was being.

"Any more of this and I think my pancreas might just try to run away..." Vinyl said, to which Octavia jabbed her in the side.

"Also, do you know when Twilight gets up? We have a few questions to ask her." Octavia asked, curious to know.

"Well, um...she used to be up fairly early...but ever since Trixie moved in with her, she sleeps in pretty late." Fluttershy answered truthfully. "Um...I can take you to see that's alright with you..." She said timidly.

"Of course we would, Fluttershy. Thank you for taking the time to help us." Octavia said, gesturing at Vinyl to thank her as well.

"Yeah, thanks 'Shy. You're pretty cool." Vinyl raised her hoof for a high-hoof, but raised an eyebrow when Fluttershy returned it so softly she barely felt it. "Eh...I guess that counts."

Fluttershy then walked over to a small rabbit who had been listening in on the conversation. "Angel bunny, I need you to keep an eye on the animals while I'm gone, okay?"

The rabbit acknowledged, folding his arms over his chest. He then tapped his wrist as if to remind her to keep an eye on the time. "I know Angel, I'll be back in time to give you your lunch." Fluttershy said sweetly. Angel smiled, hugged her right foreleg, and hurried off to complete his tasks.

With that taken care of, the three left for Ponyville Library.

Chapter Fifteen

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As they neared Ponyville Library, Fluttershy stopped them for a moment.

"Um...I'll be right back...there's someone I need to go talk to." She said, hurrying off towards a pair that looked somewhat familiar.

Octavia squinted slightly to see who she was going to go see, and felt anger welling within her. "Ugh...of all had to be her." Octavia muttered.

"Who is it, Octy?" Vinyl asked, confused. She raised a hoof over her eyes, and squinted into the distance. "Oh hey, it's Bonbon and that mare she's dating. What's her name again, Octy?" When Vinyl received no answer, she turned to where her marefriend had been standing only a moment before.


Octavia had cantered right over to where Fluttershy was talking to Lyra. Ugh, of all ponies, Fluttershy knows Lyra? What a shame...I was just starting to like this town. Octavia thought as she closed the distance.

"Is Mister Feathers feeling any better? I hope the medicine I gave him helped." Fluttershy asked, worried for the little mockingbird that Lyra and Bonbon had trusted to her care.

"Oh, he's doing MUCH better now, Miss Fluttershy. Thank you so much for-" Lyra stopped dead when she noticed a familiar face trudging towards her. Bonbon looked over, and sighed. "Lyra, please don't-"

"Well well well, I honestly thought that Ponyville did a much better job of cleaning up trash." Lyra said with a mocking smile.

"So did I, but I guess I never expected to see a roach the size and shape of a unicorn in my life, now did I?" Octavia returned, Lyra's mocking smile disappearing quickly at the insult.

Fluttershy shrunk away from the both of them. "O-Oh my...I hate confrontation..." She mumbled, hiding behind Bonbon.

"So what brings you here, Octavia? Did the Canterlot Guard finally realize that your music sounds like cats trying to kill each other and kick you out for disturbing the peace?" Lyra spat.

"Not at all. I would not be so quick to judge, seeing as you are no cherub Lyra...well, maybe in stature, but not in musical ability." Octavia fired back.

"Well, I can hardly see that wooden box you call an instrument doing anything for anypony other than making them want to cut their ears off." Lyra laughed.

"So you say, but I find it quite comical when I look at the lyre. The lyre was most commonly used by cherubs...and guess what? Cherubs are nonexistent...much like your talent." Octavia smirked.

As Octavia and Lyra continued to fight, Vinyl finally caught up, and took her place next to Bonbon, as she usually did when Octavia and Lyra tried to proverbially rip each other's throats out.

"Hey, Bonbon." Vinyl greeted.

"Hi Vinyl." Bonbon returned the greeting sheepishly.

"You think they'll ever stop fighting?" Vinyl asked with a sigh.

"Probably what brings you two to Ponyville?" Bonbon asked, trying to steer the conversation in a different direction. "Have you and Octavia finally settled down?" She questioned, raising a suggestive eyebrow.

Vinyl blushed brightly at this, and rubbed the back of her head with a hoof. "Yeah, we did...we're in Ponyville because...well...Octy's pregnant."

"Aww, what a cute petname for her-" Bonbon stopped mid-sentence. "Wait, what?"

"'re having a foal." Vinyl said again, blushing an even darker shade of red.

"Oh my goodness! Congratulations, Vinyl!" Bonbon said, hugging her. " is that possible?" She asked.

Vinyl shrugged. "Uh...chances are it had something to do with my horn." Vinyl turned an impossibly dark shade of red, and averted her eyes when she saw Bonbon blush as realization set in.

"Oh my..." Bonbon said. She then looked at Lyra, and began to wonder. Could that mean...we could also...?

"Um...Bonbon? Are you okay?" Vinyl asked, waving a hoof in front of her face. Bonbon snapped out of it a moment later.

"Huh? Oh, I'm fine...I just realized I have something to do at home." She said, quickly moving over towards Lyra. "Hello, Octavia! So good to see you again, sorry we can't stay we have things to do bye!" She said in one breath as she dragged Lyra away.

"B-Bonbon! What's gotten into you?!" Lyra protested as Bonbon dragged her away. "Just be quiet and follow me. We have things to...discuss..." She said with a blush as they entered their home and locked the door.

"Well that was weird." Vinyl said. She looked around and saw Fluttershy cowering in a small ball behind her. "Relax, 'Shy. They're not fighting anymore."

Fluttershy peeked out from behind her hooves, and gave an audible sigh of relief. "Oh thank goodness...I just don't handle confrontation well..."

"It is quite alright, Fluttershy. Ponies like Lyra are better off left alone." Octavia huffed as she continued on her way towards the Library, Vinyl and Fluttershy in tow.

Fluttershy then gasped. "Oh dear! I just remembered I have to go take care of a vixen that just had a litter." She said. "I'm so sorry for leaving so quickly, but one of the pups is really little, and he needs extra care." She said softly, taking to the air.

"That is quite alright, Fluttershy. We will see you later." Octavia said.

"See ya later, 'Shy!" Vinyl said, watching the pegasus take off back towards her home.

When they arrived at the library's door, Octavia knocked three times.

"Coming." A voice said from behind the door. When the door opened, a blue unicorn with a white mane poked her head out the door, looking very much bothered. "What is it? What do you want from Trixie?" She asked rather rudely.

"Trixie! That isn't how you greet ponies!" A voice said from inside the library.

"Trixie is sorry. What do you want from me?" She said in the exact same tone of voice.

"This mare's kinda funny." Vinyl chuckled. Octavia raised a hoof. "We are here to see Twilight Sparkle."

"...Enter." Trixie commanded, opening the door for them. The library was surprisingly large for a tree that didn't seem so big. To Vinyl's delight, a certain small baby dragon was keeping track of all the books flying off the shelf. Vinyl immediately walked over to him.

"Hey there, cutie. What's your name?" She asked, running a hoof on the spines on his head.

"Heh, I am pretty cute. The name's Spike." The dragon said, puffing his chest out. "Can I help you with something?" He asked, trying to keep his voice suave and smooth.

"Any idea where Twilight is? We've gotta talk to her about something." Vinyl said.

"Oh..." He said, feeling somewhat dejected. "Twilight! There's someone here to see you!" He called out. At the top of the library, a lavender unicorn looked through book after book for something to read. She came across a book with a green cover, coated in a fine layer of dust. She used her magic and pulled it out.

"Using the Aether for Fun and Profit? Ugh. I'm not one to judge a book by it's cover, but this one is awful. Ponies really should care a bit more about the fragility of the fabrics of time and space, not traveling instantaneously because they're lazy." She said, putting it back. She slid down the ladder, and turned to face the two ponies that had entered her library.

"I apologize if Trixie was a bit rude...we're working on her manners." Twilight chuckled, to which Trixie huffed.

"The Great and Powerful Trixie needs not show politeness to anypony but Twilight." She muttered under her breath.

Twilight looked at Octavia, and recognized her almost in an instant. "I know you! You're Octavia Philharmonica! It's been a long time since we've last spoken!"

Octavia looked puzzled. "It has?"

Twilight nodded. "Of course! I used to go to all your performances when I was still living with the Princess. She and I are big fans."

Octavia blushed. "I am it alright if we take up a moment of your time?"

"Of course! What can I help you with?" She asked, the five of them taking a seat at her table.

" it turns out...I am pregnant. With my marefriend's foal...the only thing I am confused about, is how. We came to you because we felt you would be able to give us the answer." Octavia said.

"I'm flattered, Octavia. Wait here, I think I know just the book. Spike, you're on book-catching duty!" Twilight said, rushing back up the ladder.

"Why can't Trixie be on book-catching duty?" Spike muttered, displeased with his job.

"Because The Great and Powerful Trixie answers to nopony." She said haughtily. Twilight cleared her throat audibly. "...Except her Kind and Ever-Loving marefriend..." She chuckled sheepishly.

Spike stuck his tongue out at her, and did his job as books flew off the shelf. Eventually, Twilight found just what she was looking for. “Arcane Magicks and the Gift of a New Life” She said as she pulled the violet book from the shelf. She moved back over to the table, and opened it up. She breezed through the chapters until she found something relevant.

"I says here, that 'If a unicorn where to unite with a female in an act of pure love, the unicorn can summon a magic so ancient that it is not bound by the laws of nature...the magic of the unicorn melds with the soul of its mate, and from it sprouts a new thread; a new life, created in the beauty of passion and love between them" Twilight read. "The fruit of their efforts will grow like any other nurtured by love, beautiful and free."

Octavia was breathless. If what Twilight said was true, Vinyl loved her more than she could ever imagine. Vinyl was blushing wildly. Even she could understand what was being said, and she wasn't sure how Octavia was going to handle it. Much to her relief, Octavia gently held her hoof and smiled.

Trixie was speechless. "Trixie...Trixie never knew such magic was possible..."

Spike was impressed as well. "Woah...I don't get it." He said, scratching his head with a claw. Twilight giggled. "You're still too young to understand, Spike. You will one day." She said. "Well girls, I hope that helped."

"Yes, it did Twilight. Thank you." Octavia said softly.

Twilight blinked in surprise when Trixie reached across the table and began to read through the passage as well. "You've never been this interested in reading much of anything, Trixie. What's on your mind?"

"The Great and Powerful Trixie does not need a reason to read! She is simply interested in what this book has to say." She said, hiding a blush behind her white mane. Twilight shrugged. "Are you girls hungry? I haven't had lunch yet."

Vinyl looked at Octavia, who shrugged. "We could eat."

"Great! Trixie, Spike, watch the library, please. I'll be back in a little while." Twilight said, the three making their way towards the door. Trixie ignored her, but Spike saluted.

The three then left the library, looking for somewhere to eat so they could continue their conversation.

Chapter Sixteen

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The three walked towards a small cafe near the Library, taking a seat outside while they waited for the waiter.

"Y'know, that Trixie filly is something else. How long have you two been dating?" Vinyl asked.

Twilight blushed slightly, thinking back. "Well, I originally met her a quite some time ago when she came to Ponyville, boasting about her magical abilities. She was dead-set on convincing everypony that she had vanquished an Ursa Major, amongst other feats. At first, everypony disliked her...for good reason, admittedly."

"Why is that?" Octavia asked, curious.

"Well, she DID kind of show up all my friends...she tied Applejack up with her own rope, turned Rarity into a fashion DISASTER, and a few other things that generally just embarrassed them." She explained. "Everyone kept egging me on about showing her up, but I honestly didn't want to stoop to her level and end up having everypony think I'm just like her. In the end, two other colts that live in town got a little over-excited and woke up an Ursa Minor, which came into town and started terrorizing everypony. I was able to put it back to sleep, but Trixie ran off before I could talk to her again." She said.

"So what, did she come back on her own? Or did you go looking for her?" Vinyl questioned.

"It's a funny, story actually...I received mail one day from her: a legal summons sent by her agent. As it turns out..." Twilight then turned a deep shade of red. "...She wrote a screenplay about me, and wanted my permission to have my likeness used in it."

Octavia smiled. "How sweet of her. She must really care about you."

Vinyl merely laughed. "So she sued you, just to get your attention?"

Octavia sighed. "No, Vinyl. She did not SUE Twilight, she just wanted her permission-"

"Huh. Maybe I should do that." Vinyl said. She then turned to Octavia. "Octy, I love you so much that I'm suing you. I'll see you in court." Octavia face-hoofed so hard that Twilight winced.

"Heh, kinda reminds me of the time I got that new Hoofby Surround Sound for my system, and blew out our neighbor's wall with the drop on the track I was mixing." Vinyl grinned, proud of herself.

"Ugh, please do NOT remind me Vinyl. The amount of begging I had to do to prevent our landlord from throwing us out was humiliating, not to mention I promised free concert tickets to him and his wife for the next year." Octavia groaned, remembering it clearly. "Thankfully, the neighbors were kind enough not to press charges."

"The police weren't." Vinyl said flatly, folding her forelegs.

Twilight chuckled sheepishly, not sure what to say. "Well, to put it simply, I talked to Trixie about why she created the screenplay. She told me she was in such awe of my ability and grace she felt she wasn't worthy of being near me, and tried to hide it with her illeisms and self-propagation. Over time, she grew to miss me to the point she felt she had to get my attention, but she was also afraid of how Ponyville would treat her after the mess she caused." Twilight paused to take a breath.

"I think it was what she did next that made me fall for her. She went to each and every resident of Ponyville and apologized, one by one. It damaged her pride, sure...but she said I was more important than that." She blushed. "Eventually, everypony started to see that she was a good pony on the inside, she just has a weird way of showing it. She moved in only a couple weeks ago, seeing as she didn't really have anywhere to stay, and that's how it's been ever since."

"That's a nice story." Vinyl said, content with the ending. It was then that Vinyl heard a whistling sound filling her ears. " I going deaf or do you guys hear that whistling?" She asked. Both Octavia and Twilight looked around, looking for the source.

"Yeah, I hear it too..." Twilight said.

"Me too..."

Vinyl looked up. "Uh..."

"WATCH OUUUUTTTTT! A voice yelled as it screamed towards them. At the last possible moment, Vinyl pushed Octavia out of the way, Twilight jumping backward as a rainbow-colored blur slammed into their table, destroying it completely and leaving a small crater where she made impact. When the dust settled, a cyan pegasus with a rainbow-colored mane and tail sat in the crater, very much dazed and confused.

"RAINBOW DASH! What were you thinking?! You could have hurt yourself, or worse, somepony else!" Twilight scolded as the dust settled. Rainbow Dash shook her head slightly to stop the shaking in her vision.

"Ugh...what..." She then realized she was on the ground. "DARN IT I was so close! I KNEW I shoulda pulled up sooner! Whatever, I'll just try that move again until I get it right! The Princess didn't call me the "Best Young Flier in Equestria" for nothing!" She grinned mischievously, eager to get back up in the air.

"Oh no you don't!" Twilight yelled as she used her magic to hold the pegasus in place.

"Wha-Twilight! Let me go!" She said, desperately trying to flap her wings but gained no distance.

"Not until you apologize to the two other mares you almost FLATTENED." She chastised.

"Ugh, fine! Just lemme go already!" A moment later, the purple glow around her faded, and she was free once more. She took a deep breath, and sighed. "Look, I'm sorry I almost-" Dash froze when she realized just who she was looking at. The white coat. The electric blue mane and tail. The violet sunglasses. The double eighth-note cutie mark. It HAD to be her.

"OMYGOSHOMYGOSHOMYGOSHOMYGOSHOMYGOSH!" Dash squealed, unable to control herself.

"Uh, you alright?" Vinyl asked, raising an eyebrow.

"Y-You're DJ-PON3...THIS IS SO AWESOME!" Dash yelled. "I LOVE your music! When's your next concert!? What about your next album!? This is AMAZING! You're like my FAVORITE DJ in all of Equestria!"

Octavia shook her head and sighed. "Monkey see, monkey do I suppose." Twilight stifled a giggle at this.

Vinyl smirked. "Now this is a pony that has an eye for talent!" She said, trotting over to her and draping a foreleg across her shoulders. "Well, I'm currently not touring, but I can give you a tidbit on my new album. It's called "More Manticores and Parasprites," and should be due out sometime in February." Vinyl said.

"Just for being such a cool pony, I'm gonna send you an advance copy and a backstage pass to my next set, on me." She winked. "By the way, that was a pretty cool move, even if you did crash. Keep it up, and I'll stake my CAREER on the Wonderbolts letting you in." Vinyl said, patting her on the back.

Twilight was worried. Rainbow Dash was shaking so violently from excitement she was convinced she was going to shake off every last feather on her wings. Suddenly, Dash gave a scream of delight and rocketed off back towards her cloud home, leaving a rainbow trail behind her.

"I gotta say, Vinyl...I've never seen anypony get Dash THAT excited. Well, aside from the Wonderbolts." Twilight chuckled.

"Ahem...and just who is going to pay for these damages?" A voice said from behind them. The three of them wheeled around, only to find a very unhappy waiter, standing over the wrecked table and broken plates.

"Just put it on my tab." Vinyl said. Octavia looked at her incredulously.

"WHAT TAB!? Vinyl, you have done this at the last THREE restaurants we have been to! Just SAY you do not have the money to pay for it!" Octavia yelled.

"But I do, I just prefer to pay it all in one go. Again, put it on my tab." Vinyl said nonchalantly.

Octavia looked ready to grab the nearest object and beat Vinyl with it, but was showing titanic amounts of restraint. She walked up to the waiter. "I will be back later with the money." She said, gritting her teeth.

The three left to look for another place to eat, not having eaten due to Rainbow Dash's sudden appearance.

"Hm, I guess we could go eat at Sugarcube Corner. I've actually been craving a danish recently." Twilight said.

"Sounds good to me." Vinyl said. Octavia was still upset at Vinyl, but agreed.

"I will eat, but I have to keep an eye on my sugar intake. I know I am going to do a lot of growing as the foal grows, so I do not want to have to do double the work once it is born to lose the excess fat." She said.

"That's very observant of you, Octavia. I'm glad you're taking steps to make sure the foal is born healthy, as well as staying healthy yourself. If you want, I can lend you a book on maternity care, that way there's no guesswork involved." Twilight offered.

"Gladly, I can use all the help I can get. To be truthful, I am scared...but I am more excited than scared. I was the other way around at first, but now...I am very much looking forward to the day my foal is born." Octavia said softly with a blush. Vinyl smiled, relieved to hear that Octavia was feeling the same way she was.

"Well, I'm sure things will turn out just fine. You know Nurse Redheart lives here, and she's got a small clinic. If you need to go see her at any time while you're here, she's open pretty much all day." Twilight said.

"That is good to know, I will definitely keep that in mind...and you know, I have to say. I have grown to like this little town very much. The sense of community is wonderful, and everypony seems to be very kind to and genuinely caring towards one another here...aside from a certain green unicorn." She said.

"Green unicorn? Do you mean Lyra? What's wrong with Lyra?" Twilight asked.

"Octy and Lyra apparently hate each other. Some sort of rivalry according to Bonbon. I think it's funny, personally. Octy's pretty good at throwing insults, probably because she had her nose turned up at birth."

"Oh, ha ha Vinyl. Very funny. I will have you know Lyra's talent does not even BEGIN to compare to mine. She has never played for the Princess, whereas I have played for her several times as Twilight can attest to." She said, boosting herself up.

"Why don't we talk about that over lunch?" Twilight asked. "I'd like to see if maybe we can get that resolved." She then held the door open to Sugarcube Corner.

"Resolved? I don't see that happening. Ever." Vinyl said as they entered.

"Why not? Maybe it's just a misunderstanding." Twilight suggested.

The three sat down at one of the tables, continuing their conversation, lunch completely forgotten.

Chapter Seventeen

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Twilight and Vinyl sat on one side of the table, talking to Octavia in an attempt to dig up the conflict.

"Would you mind telling me, Octavia? I would really like to try and help you fix whatever happened between you and Lyra." Twilight offered, concerned for both of her friends.

"I...I am not certain I want to relive this..." Octavia said anxiously.

"Yeah, it's time we shed some light on this, Octy." Vinyl said. She then turned to Twilight. "You wanna be good cop or should I be? I kinda wanna play bad cop."

"That's not really necessary, Vinyl." Twilight chuckled. "We're here to help her, not interrogate her."

"I dunno, interrogating her sounds pretty fun if you ask me." Vinyl said, folding her forelegs over her chest.

"Come on, Octavia. We're not going to laugh at you, or make fun of you for whatever might have happened." Twilight reassured.

"No promises, Twi." Vinyl said with a smirk.

"Well, I won't laugh at you." Twilight promised.

Octavia sighed. "...Alright...if you must know, it happened at my school's performance at the Winter Moon Festival. I will never forget that night as long as I live..." She let out a deep sigh, and continued.

"I was playing lead cello in the string section, and all was going well. The music was beautiful, the sky was clear, the stars were shining and the moon was full. Truly a perfect night for such beautiful music. It was then that I looked down and read the next measure that I noticed something wrong...the notes were not quite like I remembered. Thinking that it was just my imagination, I continued playing...only to notice that the entire orchestra was being thrown off. By me. Somepony had switched my sheet music, and I did not realize it until far too late. The entire orchestra was stopped because of my off-key playing."

Octavia took a shuddering breath, and continued.

"Naturally, the piece had become such a train-wreck that the audience began to laugh...they thought that my blunder was the biggest comedy act they had ever that point, I was too overwhelmingly embarrassed to continue, and rushed off-stage in tears."

Both Vinyl and Twilight were intently listening. "I'm sorry that happened to you, must have been very difficult to deal with." Twilight soothed. Octavia nodded in agreement.

"Oh, the worst is yet to come." She said, her voice changing from one of sadness, to one of anger. "After having cried for upwards of a half-hour, I eventually decided to go back out on-stage and collect my things...when I heard her talking. I heard Lyra talking to another band-member, and what I heard has me convinced that she was the one who did it to me."

"What did she say, Octavia?" Twilight asked. Vinyl leaned in slightly, curious to hear herself.

"These were her exact words." Octavia said. "......Ugh, that was quite possibly the worst performance ever. I've never been so embarrassed to perform next to another pony in my life! I mean, to play that badly? It's almost a crime...and to think it was just a prank. I've never seen somepony run off-stage so fast..." She said, imitating Lyra's voice. "Then, she started laughing. I knew then that I had to get I did."

"Okay, NOW this is getting good. How'd you get back at her, Octy?" Vinyl asked.

"Simple. At our next performance, I may or may not have stomped her tail with my right rear hoof. It scared her so badly that she shot her lyre into the ceiling...mid-performance." She smirked.

"Atta girl! That's my Octy!" Vinyl grinned, proud of her marefriend.

Twilight looked puzzled. "That doesn't sound like the Lyra I know...I want her side of the story."

"Can we do that AFTER we eat? I never got to finish those pancakes..." Vinyl said, holding her stomach. "...I wonder if there are any left..."

Octavia face-hoofed for what appeared to be the tenth time today. "I am certain they threw the pancakes out, Vinyl."

"What!? It should be ILLEGAL to throw out food that good." Vinyl grumbled.

The three walked up to the counter, a blue mare with a pink mane stepping out from a doorway behind it. "Oh! Good morning, girls! Is there something I can get you?"

"Morning, Mrs. Cake. I just want a danish." Twilight said.

"Got any pound cake?" Vinyl asked.

"I will have a chausson aux pommes with a cup of black coffee, no cream or sugar, just straight black." Octavia requested. Vinyl and Twilight looked at her like she had just grown a second head.

"Coming right up!" Mrs. Cake said, getting right to work. Suddenly, the door burst open again, and three young fillies barged in, talking over one another.

"MRS. CAKE! We're here ta help ya prepare the food for the party tonight!" The yellow filly with the bow said.

"Maybe that'll help us get our food-preparation cutie marks!" The unicorn filly yelled in excitement.

"Or maybe our wild-party cutie marks!" The little orange pegasus said, even more excited.

"O-Oh my...did Pinkie send you all to help me?" Mrs. Cake asked.

"YEP!" The three answered in unison.

"Oh...bless her little heart." Mrs. Cake said with a smile, though she said it through gritted teeth. Twilight stepped forward.

"Now girls, you have to pay attention to everything Mrs. Cake tells you, understood? A good student always listens to her teacher." She instructed, knowing just what the three were capable of.

"Yes, Twilight. We'll behave." The three said, halos appearing over their heads.

Octavia looked at the three, and could feel the mischievous intent radiating off them. Celestia help me if my child has a personality like one of them... She thought.

"Well girls, I have an order to fill for Twilight and her friends, so just wait right there while I finish this, then we can get to work on preparing for the party." Mrs. Cake said, getting back to the task at hoof.

The three fillies then turned to Octavia and Vinyl.

"Big Sis said that Miss Octavia would be with Twi, so which one a' you two is Miss Octavia?" The yellow filly asked.

Vinyl pointed to Octavia. "That'd be her." Octavia blinked in confusion.

"Well then, don't worry, Miss Octavia! We're gonna throw ya the best party ever! Ah'm Apple Bloom by the way, Applejack's little sister." The yellow filly said.

"It is a pleasure to meet you, Apple Bloom. Be sure to thank your sister for being so kind to us for me." Octavia said, breathing a small sigh of relief.

"No problem, Miss Octavia. Big Sis is awesome like that." Apple Bloom said proudly.

"I'm Sweetie Belle, Rarity's little sister. Big Sister really likes your music, so she was shocked to see you earlier. She wanted me to apologize for her fainting like that." The unicorn said. "Is it true you're having a baby?" She asked, her eyes lighting up.

"Yes it is, Sweetie Belle. I will be a mother by this time next year." Octavia smiled.

"I wonder what the baby will be like? Maybe a filly? I hope it is! Maybe we can play together." Sweetie Belle chattered in excitement.

"You know, if you ever need a baby-sitter, you can always call us! We can teach it tricks and stunts and a bunch of other cool stuff! Oh, I'm Scootaloo by the way." The orange pegasus grinned.

"Well, it is wonderful to meet you all. I trust you will all behave for Mrs. Cake?" Octavia said.

"Yep! We want this party to be the best one ever! Hopefully it'll get us our cutie marks!" Sweetie Belle said.

Scootaloo then took a better look at Vinyl, and her eyes grew to the size of saucers. "OHMYGOSH! You're DJ PON-3! Dash talks about you ALL THE TIME! I'm Dash's biggest fan, and she's your biggest fan, so that makes me your second-biggest fan!" She squealed.

Vinyl chuckled. "Well, lookie here. Another fan, Octy. Of my music. Not yours." She gloated.

"Nopony likes a gloater, Vinyl." Octavia said.

"M-Maybe I can get a musical cutie-mark! No wait, I want a cutie mark like Dash's..." Scootaloo said to herself, suddenly becoming confused as to who to follow.

"Why are you so eager to get-" Octavia caught motion out of the corner of her eye. She looked up to see Mrs. Cake gesturing "cut-it-out" with her hoof with a wide-eyed expression.

"-get-get started with your work with Mrs. Cake? Why not go find somepony else who needs help in the meantime? Perhaps you can get your cutie marks that way." Octavia suggested.

"That's not a bad idea, Miss Octavia. We'll be back, Mrs. Cake!" Apple Bloom said, the three rushing back out the door.

Octavia let out an explosive sigh. "That was exhausting."

Twilight nodded. "Tell me about it."

Vinyl laughed. "I hope our kid comes out like them." Vinyl received a well-deserved smack to the back of the head from Octavia.

"Sorry about the delay girls, here's your meal. Free of charge." Mrs. Cake winked at Octavia.

"Thank you Mrs. Cake. You are too kind." Octavia said with a smile. The three ate their food quickly, enjoying every bite.

"Alright. Let's head over to Lyra's and get this taken care of." Twilight said, not willing to let this pass. "I don't like seeing friends fight, and Celestia help me if I'm just gonna stand by and not do anything." She said.

"If you insist, Twilight...I do not see what this will accomplish." Octavia muttered.

"C'mon, Octy. It'll be fine. I'm sure she's not the three-headed, moronic pig-demon you've called her so many times at home." Vinyl said.

"...I can not believe you just repeated that." Octavia said flatly.

"ONWARD AND FORWARD, MY DEAR PONIES!" Vinyl said, hurrying out the door.

Twilight blinked in surprise, Octavia shaking her head. "You see what I put up with? Why I ever ended up with her, will forever elude me..." She said, trotting out the door.

Twilight chuckled somewhat. She followed Octavia out, shut the door behind them, and began to make their way towards Lyra's home.

Chapter Eighteen

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Octavia stared at Lyra's front door, going over what she was going to say in her mind several times.

"Go ahead and knock, Octavia. I'm sure she won't bite." Twilight urged.

"I would not put it past her..." Octavia responded, raising an eyebrow. She raised a hoof to knock, but set it down again, nervous about what would transpire.

"C'mon Octy! The sooner you get it over with, the better you'll feel!" Vinyl urged. "I'll even treat you to out afterward. That sound fair?"

"...Vinyl, for the fifth time, you HAVE NO money." Octavia said, staring at Vinyl.

"Sure I do! I-uh-just need to borrow it." Vinyl then turned to Twilight. "Can I borrow twenty bits?"

Octavia shook her head and sighed. Now or never, Octavia. You can do this! She gathered whatever courage she could find and knocked on the door. She heard a yelp of surprise and the sound of objects falling to the ground. The three stared at the door, listening to what suddenly sounded like a tornado in their house, until a voice finally answered them.

"One second!" it said, the voice immediately followed by the sound of rustling objects. A few moments later, the door opened and revealed a very much disheveled and out-of-breath Bonbon.

"Oh, hello Octavia. Is-is there something I can do for you?" she panted, finding it odd that Octavia would actively seek out their home.

"Yes, hello Bonbon. Is Lyra in? I want to have a word with her." Octavia responded. I just want to get his over with as soon as possible, and move on with my life. "It is rather important."

"I see. I hope she didn't cause you anymore trouble. I honestly don't see the point in her fighting with you." Bonbon admitted, taking a step back. "Please, come in," she said.

"Well, I intend to get to the bottom of that very topic." Octavia said, both Twilight and Vinyl following her in to Bonbon's home. "Thank you for letting us come into your home under such short notice. Lyra is very lucky to have somepony like you in her life."

"Thank you, Octavia." Bonbon blushed. "I'm quite relieved that Lyra won't be stressing herself over this anymore. Every time she sees you it turns into a verbal Octavia-bashing session, and I've grown very tired of it," she said. "Just wait here, I'll go get Lyra." Bonbon then hurried off upstairs.

Octavia, Twilight and Vinyl all took seats in the living room, chatting quietly amongst themselves when Bonbon returned with Lyra, who was protesting all the way down the stairs.

"I still don't understand what you mean, Bonbon! Who's here to-" Lyra stopped short when she locked eyes with Octavia, her expression going from one of confusion to one of disdain. "What are you doing here?" she said in a vitriolic tone.

"We're here to fix this, Lyra." Twilight spoke, standing up. "We're going to stop this fighting between you and Octavia. We all feel that this needs to be done," she insisted. "Now come down here and let's get you back to being friends!" Lyra reluctantly agreed, and trotted down the stairs with Bonbon behind her, in case she tried to bolt. "Vinyl, go stand at the door." Twilight ordered.

"Gotcha, boss lady." Vinyl complied, standing at the door. "Hey Bonbon, got anything to eat?"

"You just ate, Vinyl! How can you POSSIBLY be hungry?!" Octavia yelled, unable to comprehend. "You are on a ROLL today, Vinyl."

"Octy, we've gone over this before. I have a sexy figure that is so awesome I don't NEED to watch what I eat, and the only roll I'm interested in is a jelly roll." she said, licking her lips.

"...If you're not careful I will be rolling you out the door in a carpet." Octavia warned, giving her a stern look. Vinyl fell silent, allowing Twilight to continue.

"Alright, Lyra, sit across from Octavia." she ordered. Lyra did as she was told, and glared at Octavia, who returned it with equal intensity. "Okay, according to what Octavia has told me, she believes that you deliberately pranked her back at the Winter Moon Festival by switching her sheet music. Lyra, how do you feel about this?"

"Wha-I DID NO SUCH THING!" Lyra yelled, angry at the accusation. "Do you honestly think I'd go out of my way to mess with my OWN performance? Are you really that empty-headed?" she spat.

"Not as empty-headed as YOU WILL BE!" Octavia bit back, practically lunging out of her seat. Vinyl was ready to jump just in case that was what it came to.

"GIRLS! GIRLS! Calm down for a second!" Twilight yelled, raising a hoof in each mare's direction. "Lyra, tell me YOUR side of this story."

Lyra settled herself back in her seat, calming herself momentarily. "All I remember, was when the song came to a grinding halt, Octavia running off stage, and the concert coming to an abrupt end. Afterward, I was talking to my old friend about how much it reminded me of another incident when I was younger."

"THAT IS A LIE AND YOU KNOW IT!" Octavia yelled, furious that Lyra would deliberately try to lie her way out of this. "I overheard what you said. You said you 'had never been more embarrassed to be performing next to another pony in your life' and that it was ALL a prank! How would you know if you were not the one who did it!?" she accused, shaking from anger.

"Were you not listening? I said I was talking about an incident that happened to an old band-mate of mine before that performance. Her name was Note Sheet. Her cutie mark was a musical note?"

"I remember no such pony! Quit making things up to make me look like the culprit!" Octavia yelled.

"Just shut up and listen for a second!" Lyra yelled in return. Octavia fell silent, but gave a small grunt of dissatisfaction as she sat back in her seat. Lyra then continued. "She had gone and written out her own note sheet for the performance, and somepony switched them out right before we performed. She got really confused, and ended up ruining the performance. I was actually talking to Note Sheet because she was in the audience, and we were joking about how it happened to her. Ugh, try not jumping to conclusions next time!" Lyra responded forcefully, sitting back in her seat.

Octavia sat in silence, taking in all she had heard. "...I cannot say I do not feel bad for jumping to conclusions, but by the same token, you could have been up-front with me and told me that you had had nothing to do with it. That way, my anger would not have been misguided all this time and I would not have intentionally stepped on your tail all those years ago," she said.

"That was YOU who stomped on my tail?! I had to buy a new lyre as WELL as pay for damages!" Lyra yelled, angry at the revelation.

"Yes, that was me...I look back at it now and see it was a very foalish thing for me to do," Octavia said softly, looking away.

Lyra simply stared at Octavia, unsure of what to do next. "...Well...I suppose it's also my fault for not figuring out why you hated me so much. I should have tried to fix it, instead of making it worse," she said, averting her eyes to Bonbon, who was positively beaming.

"I'm proud of you girls. You were able to get to the bottom of this without going at each other's throats." Twilight said, relieved. "Why don't you try giving each other a hug?" Twilight suggested. She blinked in surprise when both Lyra and Octavia looked at her with dead-pan expressions.

"I don't think I'm ready for that just yet," Lyra said.

"Agreed...even though we have figured out the situation, there is still a lot of damage that needs to be undone...but I am not above a hoof-shake," Octavia suggested, extending her hoof. Lyra eyed it carefully, then smirked.

"Fair enough," Lyra said, returning the hoof-shake.

"I guess that counts," Twilight giggled.

"Yeah, looked like Octy was gonna leap over the table and pummel Lyra until it stopped being funny. Not gonna lie, I kinda wanted to see Octy go Incredible Bullk." Vinyl laughed. "OCTY SMASH PUNY LYRE! OCTY BEST MUSICIAN THERE IS!" She yelled.

"...I am so embarrassed...please Celestia, smite me where I stand..." Octavia muttered as she face-hoofed. Bonbon simply laughed as Lyra stifled a giggle. "Lyra...if you are not busy this Pie is throwing a party for me, and I would be happy if you attended." she said, hoping Lyra would accept.

"A party? For what?" Lyra asked, surprised.

"I am...having a baby." Octavia blushed.

"Oh..." Lyra responded softly. "Congratulations, Octavia. I hope your baby is born healthy." she said.

"Thank you Lyra, that means a lot." Octavia smiled.

"As for attending...I'll see if I can clear up my schedule." Lyra smirked. Bonbon smiled and trotted over to her, hugging her tightly around the neck.

"D'awww, how cute. Anywho, isn't it getting close to party time?" Vinyl reminded. "Pinkie mentioned something about showing up around four, and it's just about two."

"Oh wow, I have to go get ready!" Twilight said, surprised. "I'll see you girls at the party." She got up and headed for the door. "Octavia, Vinyl, you're welcome to get ready at my place."

"Thank you, Twilight." Octavia said, getting up from her seat. She trotted over to Lyra, and held out a hoof. "So...are we in agreement?"

"Agreement about what?" Lyra asked, raising an eyebrow.

"That we have put this behind us...for now at least," Octavia said with a small smile.

After a few tense moments, Lyra smiled. "Yeah, that works." Bonbon was forced to wipe her eyes, both Vinyl and Twilight smiling at the scene.

"Well, we'll see you later at the party! Don't be late!" Vinyl said to them, opening the door. Octavia and Twilight left Lyra and Bonbon in their living room and shut the door. "I'm very proud of you, Octy." she said as they walked towards the library.

"How so?" Octavia asked, slightly confused.

"Well, I didn't expect you two to actually come to some sort of an agreement like that. It was pretty cool." Vinyl winked.

Octavia blushed, and simply nudged Vinyl's shoulder with a hoof. "Well, I was not going to be unreasonable. I was going to get this fixed, one way or another."

"Well ya did good, Octy." Vinyl said softly, nuzzling Octavia slightly.

Twilight opened the door to the library, the three entering and shutting the door, beginning to prepare for the party.

Chapter Nineteen

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"Hmm...what do you think of this dress, Octavia?" Twilight asked, laying out a dress on her bed.

"Is that one of Rarity's works? I can easily tell by the stitch-work. As pretty as it is, I do not know if this party is casual or not." Octavia responded.

"Knowing Pinkie, this party is gonna be WILD!" Vinyl said eagerly. "It's gonna be great! She's a party-monster, and she's AMAZING at what she does. I remember the last time I went to one of her parties, I woke up in a ditch with a lampshade on my head and a tattoo on my flank next to my cutie mark. You can't see it 'cause the fur grew back...but I bet you're interested now, aren't ya, Octy?" Vinyl laughed.

"I-I have no interest in such things." Octavia blushed, looking away.

"Nice try, but I can read your face better than Twi over here can read a book." she chuckled, giving Octavia a wink.

"If you say that I think about it, I don't have anything to wear..." Octavia said. "You and I seem to be of similar physique, Twilight. Would it be alright if I borrowed one of your dresses?" Suddenly, they all heard a knock at the door.

"Trixie, would you please answer the door?" Twilight asked.

"Ugh...if Trixie must." She trotted downstairs and to the door, opening it. "What do you want from Trixie?"

Twilight face-hoofed. "Trixie!"

"Oh, right. Um, how can Trixie help you?" she said through gritted teeth, feigning politeness. If only Trixie did not care so much about not having Twilight mad at her... she thought.

"Good afternoon, Trixie. Do you know if Octavia is still here? I have something for her." The voice said. Twilight immediately recognized it as Rarity's.

"Rarity?" Twilight called out. "Come upstairs! We're all getting ready for Pinkie's party!" she said.

"Ah, excellent! I'll be there in just a moment!" Rarity responded, carefully pulling a dress case up the stairs into Twilight's bedroom. She entered the room and set the case down on the bed next to Twilight's dress. "I just wanted to sincerely apologize for fainting earlier, Octavia. It's not everyday that one of Canterlot's elite tells me that she is a fan of my work, much less when I am a fan of her own work," she said bashfully.

"Sweetie Belle told me. What an adorable little thing she is, as well as her friends. The only thing is their energy. How are you able to handle it?" she asked, looking for pointers. "I have no clue as to how I will be able to deal with it when my foal is born," Octavia said, "and believe me, I am no elite. Just because I have played for the Princess does not make me an elite by any standard. Vinyl taught me that."

"Huh? What about me?" Vinyl looked up from the book she was reading, having picked it up off of one of Twilight's many shelves out of boredom. When no one responded, she went back to her book. "Wow this is good...never woulda guessed a book on friendship would be so interesting..."

"Well, in terms of dealing with children, all you need is love, and a boatload of patience," she laughed. "But I digress! I have a gift for you, Octavia. Seeing as you the mare of honor at this evening's bash, I took it upon myself to craft a dress that is both fashionable, and functional for the foaling mare." Rarity opened the locks on the case, and swung the lid open. The design itself was simple but very elegant. It was a sleek black dress that had frills around the neck and near the hooves, but had had a beautiful pink bowtie right at the collar- just as Octavia was known to wear.

"It has elastic around the waist, that way it will stretch once the foal starts to grow, and it won't stretch the dress. This is my way of saying: Congratulations, Octavia. The dress is yours." Rarity winked.

Octavia was absolutely taken with the dress. She examined it every detail of it, and could not find one thing she did not like about it. "Rarity...I...I have no words to express how grateful I am. I will gladly pay for whatever it took to make this-" Octavia started, but was silenced when Rarity raised a hoof.

"Absolutely not, dear. You will do no such thing, as this is a gift. I wanted you to look beautiful for your bash tonight, but I also wanted to make sure that you do not feel uncomfortable or have to worry about a tight dress hindering the baby's growth. The Element of Generosity does not expect anything in return- she simply gives because it is her wont." she said with a soft smile.

Octavia wiped her eyes, touched by Rarity's kind gesture. "I...I can not begin to tell you how grateful I am for all of you being so kind to me. It is only getting more and more painful when I think back to us leaving tomorrow."

"Well then we'll just have to make this bash one for the history books, won't we?" Rarity smiled.

"One thing's for sure, Octavia." Twilight spoke up. "You and Vinyl are always welcome here."

"I see that...thank you." Octavia smiled.


The group had left for the Ponyville Auditorium for the party, Octavia walking up front with Vinyl, being followed by Twilight, Rarity, Spike and Trixie.

"You look good, Octy. Sexy, even." Vinyl grinned.

"I am unsure whether to take that as a compliment, or take it as you trying to sweet-talk me." she responded.

"Rarity sure knows how to work a needle, I'll give her that much. You two are pretty alike, you know, with all the fancy-schmancy, snooty stuff you two talk about." Vinyl commented.

"It is not fancy-schmancy and snooty, it is civilized and high-brow conversation- something you would do well to learn." Octavia stated.

"Hey! My eyebrows are high enough, thank you very much." Vinyl retorted, to which Octavia face-hoofed.

Spike ran his claws through the spines on his head, pushing them back as he placed his top-hat back on his head. "I look good. Maybe Rarity'll finally notice me. What do you think Trixie?" Trixie raised an eyebrow, looking him over.

"While Trixie believes chivalry is dead and that you are still quite young, Trixie still feels you should give it a shot. Trixie never gave up on Twilight, therefore you have no right to give up. If Rarity is the object of your affections, pursue her."

"Wow Trixie...that was actually a really nice thing to say."

"Do not get used to it." Trixie warned.

Twilight and Rarity were talking about different things, when Twilight brought up Spike. "The suit you made looks great on him. He's convinced he's Casanova."

"Well he looks like a dashing young gentlecolt in that suit, and of course Octavia looks absolutely magnificent in the dress I made her. I may consider making a maternity line..." she pondered. "Celestia knows that that will definitely be a hit in cities like Fillydelphia and Manehattan."

They met up with Rainbow Dash, Fluttershy and Applejack at the door. "Hey, y'all! Ah'm glad y'all remembered to make it on time." Applejack said. She took one look at Octavia, and whistled. "Hoowee, Octavia. Ya look downright spectacular in that dress."

Octavia blushed. "Thank you, Applejack."

Fluttershy walked up to her, giving her a soft smile. "This is absolutely I ask where you got it?"

"Rarity made it for me, Fluttershy. She gave it to me as a gift for my party." Octavia said.

"How nice. I'm sorry I don't have a gift for you myself, but I'll think of something for next time I see you." Fluttershy said softly.

Rainbow Dash made her way over to Vinyl. "I am SOOO excited! Are you doing the music tonight!?"

"Nope, no idea who's doing the music, and heck YES this party's gonna be awesome! Let's do this thing!" Vinyl yelled.

The group entered the auditorium and looked on in awe at the scenery. The entire auditorium had been decorated with pink and blue streamers, balloons, the works. Tables were scattered everywhere with seats for everyone, as well as large tables lined with pastries and party favors the likes of which had only been seen at a party that was at the level of the Grand Galloping Gala. A giant square area sat empty in front of the stage, set to be the dance floor. Giant red curtains blocked the stage from view, but hoofsteps could be heard coming from behind the curtains amongst the bustling crowd.

"This is incredible...Pinkie really IS good at throwing parties." Octavia said. A moment later, a giant spotlight blinked on, immediately placing itself over Octavia.

"FILLIES AND GENTLECOLTS! WELCOME TO THE FIRST EVER PINKIE PIE BABY BASH! I NOW PRESENT TO YOU THE MOM OF HONOR, OCTAVIAAAAA!" Pinkie's voice blasted through the massive speakers set up around the ceiling. The audience gave Octavia a standing ovation, cheering her on and wishing her well. Octavia blushed and tried to hide behind Vinyl, who refused to let her leave the spotlight.

"NOW, ARE YOU ALL READY TO ROOOOOCK!?" Pinkie yelled, having suddenly appeared on stage with a red bandanna over her head. The curtains opened, and the entire crowd gasped as they revealed who was on stage.

A stallion with a long, jet black mane and facial fur stood on stage, a heavy scowl on his face. A unicorn with a long blond mane sat behind the drumkit, another with an even longer black mane on lead guitar, another with a shaved mane working the bass, and another sitting at a piano. Within seconds, the dance floor had been completely flooded, the band's fans clamoring and yelling in excitement.

Vinyl's eyes were wider than Octavia had ever seen, Rainbow Dash practically screaming in excitement. "IS-IS-IS THAT ANDREW W NEIGH!?"

"YES, OH MY CELESTIA!" They squealed in unison.

"I grew up rocking out to his music! He's one of my FAVORITE rock artists!" Vinyl yelled.

"ME TOO! THIS IS SO AWESOME!" Rainbow Dash yelled in return.


Suddenly, the sounds of an energetic guitar riff backed by a simple drum-beat exploded through the speakers, the crowd going absolutely WILD as the song began to play. Vinyl lost all control and began to sway her head back and forth as they played. She grabbed Octavia by the hoof and dragged her to the dance floor, pushing past a white unicorn and his blue companion.

You work all night! (All night!)
And when you work you don't feel all right!
And when!
When things stop feeling all right! (All right!)
And everything is all right!

'Cos we will never listen to your rules! (NO!)
We will never do as others do! (NO!)
Know what we want and we get it from you!
Do what we like and we like what we DO!

Octavia found something strange. Even though this was DEFINITELY not her style of music, she found herself tapping her hoof in rhythm with the drums, bobbing her head slightly.

So LET'S GET A PARTY GOING! (let's get a party going!)
Now it's time to party and we'll PARTY HARD! (PARTY HARD!)
Let's get a party going! (let's get a party going!)
When it's time to party we will always PARTY HARD!

Octavia finally made the decision to cut loose. She let herself go, and began dancing with Vinyl, hopping back and forth as the music blared, Andrew W Neigh singing his life away as Pinkie danced on the piano, much to the pianist's enjoyment. Pinkie then joined Andrew on the mic, singing along with him.

All right!
You fight that fight!
And when you're fightin' you feel all right!
But when!
When things stop feeling all right! (All right!)
And everything is all right!

'Cos we will never listen to your rules! (NO!)
We will never do as others do! (NO!)
Know what we want and we get it from you!
Do what we like and we like what we DO!

The crowd watched Pinkie take a ladder all the way up to the top of the stage, hanging over the rafters. "Uh, what is Pinkie doing?!" Vinyl yelled over the music.

"I have no idea! I just hope she's being careful!" Octavia yelled back. Right as the chorus kicked in, Pinkie jumped into the waiting hooves of the crowd, crowd-surfing as Andrew continued to sing.

So LET'S GET A PARTY GOING! (let's get a party going!)
Now it's time to party and we'll PARTY HARD! (PARTY HARD!)
Let's get a party going! (let's get a party going!)
When it's time to party we will always PARTY HARD!

The crowd exploded into a roar of cheers, Octavia and Vinyl doing the same. The entire town of Ponyville partied long into Luna's night, and early into Celestia's morning.

Chapter Twenty

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The night came and went, and beautiful memories were made. Octavia had never felt more welcomed in her life- which made leaving the following morning that much harder. The pair sat on the bed they had shared for the last two nights, thinking about the future.

"...It is going to be very difficult saying goodbye." Octavia murmured, breaking the silence.

"'s gonna be tough. This place is great, and it feels like we just got here and we're leaving, you know?" Vinyl returned.

"I understand completely, Vinyl...we have made such wonderful friends while we were here, it is very painful to just up and leave..." she sighed, unable to shake the heavy weight on her heart. That is, until an idea blossomed in her head.

"Unless..." Octavia shot out of bed, heading for the door.

"Where ya going Octy?" Vinyl asked, following her out.

"The Mayor's office...I have a couple questions to ask her." she smiled, scolding herself internally for not having come up with this solution earlier.


"Okay Miss Philharmonica, just sign along this line here and it's all yours." The mayor instructed. Octavia did as she was told, setting the pen down with a smile.

"Alright! Everything's been taken care of. I'll expect a payment later on?"

"Absolutely, Miss Mayor. Thank you for everything." Octavia said, shaking her hoof. She stood up and exited the mayor's office, finding Vinyl sitting in the waiting area near the receptionist's desk reading a magazine. Vinyl looked up as she heard Octavia approach.

"Everything go alright?" she asked.

"Swimmingly, Vinyl." Octavia smiled, walking out of City Hall with Vinyl at her side.

"So what did you want to talk to the mayor about?" Vinyl asked, having been kept in the dark the entire way.

"Oh, nothing too major...only we are now official citizens of Ponyville." Octavia said, dropping the bomb.

It took a moment to sink in, but when it did, the reaction was explosive. "WHAT?! OCTY-" Vinyl yelled in surprise.

"Now, before you go and yell at me for making a rash decision without consulting you, think of the positives. One, it would equal out the distance between our parents, our foal's grandparents; that way, neither set feels left out. Two, the atmosphere here is PERFECT for a growing foal- there is no worry of violence or anything of the sort. Three, do you really want to leave all the friends we have made here behind? I cannot bring myself to do such a thing, and-" Octavia was silenced when Vinyl pressed her muzzle against her own, stopping both her speech and thought processes.

"...Octy, I'm not mad. I'm just unbelievably happy we're doing this." Vinyl smiled. "This place IS perfect for our kid, and I'd rather live here than in Canterlot. Can't do anything in that place..." she muttered.

"Vinyl, peeing in a public park and claiming to the Guard that you "could not hold it anymore" does not fall under the category of anything." she remarked.

"Hey, it was stop in a park, or go as I walked. Their choice." Vinyl said indignantly.

"Anyway...I cannot wait to share the news. We will go back to Canterlot to gather our things, then move into our new home." Octavia said cheerily, a small bounce in her trot.

"Sounds good! We'll tell the landlord we're moving out, throw the keys in his dumb face, maybe kick him in the gut a few times, and make a break for it." she giggled maliciously. When she garnered no response, she turned to face Octavia, who had an expression that read: "And yet you wonder why you have been arrested." Vinyl raised and eyebrow, and turned away. "Whatever. I still think the idiot deserves it." she muttered under her breath. "Probably still mad at me for blowing out that wall..."

"We can talk about this later, Vinyl. Remember we have to meet with Twilight and the others for lunch before we leave." she reminded, beginning to make her way towards a small diner near Sugarcube Corner.

"Oh, right!"

The pair arrived at the diner, where the rest of the group had just sat down to eat. Twilight waved them over, and they took their seats at the round table, sitting next to Applejack and Rarity.

"Soooo?! Did you enjoy the super-duper-huge party I threw last night!? I had a BLAST! That had to be the bestest Pinkie Pie Party EVER!" Pinkie yelled, throwing her hooves in the air.

"You know it, Pinkie! How'd you manage to get Andrew W Neigh to show up?" Vinyl asked.

"Oh, it was easy! I said I'd pay him in food, and he was more than happy to do it!" Pinkie grinned.

"I must say, Octavia. You looked absolutely smashing in that dress I made for you, last night. It even withstood the constant movement of the crowd around you without ripping or tearing. I am definitely investing in this maternity line, and you'll be happy to know you were the one who inspired it." Rarity winked.

"All Ah know, is Andrew W Neigh can rock! Ah thought his head was gonna pop clean off he was head-bangin' so hard. Ah may look into buyin' a couple a' his records." Applejack commented.

"It was...nice...loud, but nice." Fluttershy said softly.

"I still can't believe I got to go up and shake Andrew's hoof! He has to be my FAVORITE artist-" Rainbow Dash stopped mid-sentence when she received a scowl from Vinyl. "-I mean, aside from YOU, of course." she chuckled sheepishly.

"Relax, Dash. I'm just messin' with ya." Vinyl laughed as Rainbow Dash blushed in embarrassment.

"Yeah...ya got me." Dash laughed, scratching the back of her head with a hoof.

"It's been great having you two in town the couple days." Twilight said with a smile. "Any idea when you'll be back?"

"How funny of you to mention that, it turns out, we just came from City Hall- we're now officially residents of Ponyville!" Octavia was positively beaming as she relayed the news. "Vinyl and I came to the conclusion that we've really fallen in love with this town, and would prefer to have our baby grow up here." A moment later, other patrons of the diner turned their heads at the sound of loud screaming and cheering at the news.

"Oh this is WONDERFUL, dear! I can continue to use you as a model for my new clothing line!" Rarity exclaimed, stars in her eyes.

"I can help keep your kid in shape." Dash said, puffing out her chest. "I'm called the "Best Young Flier" for a reason." She then turned to Vinyl. "Maybe I can be your roadie! Oh WOW that'd be awesome!"

"You're telling me! Best Flier in Equestria, with the Best DJ in Equestria? We'd be UNSTOPPABLE!" Vinyl yelled, shooting a hoof in the air in a dramatic pose.

"Um...if you want...maybe I can teach the baby how to take care of animals..." Fluttershy offered.

"If'n ya'll ever need anythin', don't hesitate to stop by Sweet Apple Acres. Ah'd be more than happy ta help ya out." Applejack said.

"I'll be more than happy to help teach it how to read. Celestia knows I've got enough books to last out the end of the world." Twilight giggled.

"Thank you so much everyone, you have no idea what this means to us." Octavia smiled.

The waiter came and took their orders, the group eating and laughing together before they separated. They paid for their meals, and made their way towards the main road.

"Take care you two." Twilight said sadly.

"We'll be back soon enough, I promise." Octavia said, feeling her heart aching at having to leave her new friends behind.

"C'mon Octy...I'm not good with goodbyes..." Vinyl said, turning away from the group.

"You're not leaving until I've said my piece!" another voice called out To everyone's surprise, Lyra and Bonbon trotted up to them.

"We heard the bought the house next to ours." Lyra said, her expression stoic.

"I'm absolutely overjoyed that you two have made the decision to live in Ponyville...I can't wait to see what your baby looks like." She giggled. She then trotted up to Vinyl. "Take care, Vinyl. You take care of Octavia, you hear me?" Bonbon said, giving her a hug.

"Yeah, we'll be back soon." Vinyl said, her voice cracking slightly.

Lyra looked at Octavia and sighed. "So we're neighbors now...a few days ago, I would have tried to set fire to the house you're moving into at the first chance I got, but now?" Lyra chuckled softly. "All I have to say is...stay safe, alright?" she smiled, leaning over and hugging Octavia. "Welcome to the family, neighbor."

Bonbon squeaked and began to cry, touched by the scene.

Octavia felt tears well in her eyes as she returned the embrace. "I will Lyra...thank you."

With heavy hearts, the pair entered the carriage. The group waved them off, and they set off for Hoovington.

Chapter Twenty-One

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Octavia and Vinyl watched Ponyville shrink out of view as the carriage moved onward.

"It really is sad to be leaving...but it only makes me that much happier to know we will be living there from now on." Octavia said, smiling through the sadness.

"Yeah, tell me about it. It was really nice of Lyra to come out and see you off." Vinyl said. "That was really classy of her."

"That was probably the nicest thing Lyra has ever done to me..." Octavia said softly. "I still feel guilty over everything that happened between us..." Octavia murmured, bowing her head slightly.

"Hey, hey, it's over now, right? No need to keep beating yourself up over it." Vinyl said, giving her a gentle nuzzle. "You were convinced that Lyra had messed you up that night, and you weren't gonna make nice with somepony like that. I probably woulda roughed her up, but that's me. You showed you've got class by keeping it to insults."

"I...suppose you are right, Vinyl. I just feel like I could have saved both her and myself many stressful nights trying to outdo one another...but then again, the fighting has done nothing but make us strive harder towards our goal of becoming great in a sense we NEEDED the fight." Octavia reasoned, making sense of it.

"You see? No need to worry yourself over it, okay?" Vinyl said, snuggling up against her.

"You are being awfully affectionate all of a sudden, Vinyl...what are you getting at?"

"Oh, nothing really." Vinyl said in a suggestive tone. When Octavia caught on, she turned a bright shade of red.

"No! No, no, NO! Absolutely not! Not in a carriage being towed by two stallions! Are you CRAZY!?"

"Hi, I'm Vinyl Scratch. Have we met?" Vinyl smirked, raising a hoof.

"I swear you are a stallion in the body of a mare." Octavia sighed.

"You sure don't mind that in bed." Vinyl returned.

"TH-THAT IS IRRELEVANT AT THIS POINT!" Octavia scolded, her face even redder than ever.

"You get really cute when you get angry." Vinyl said.

"I'm going to hit you." Octavia warned.

"Ooh yes, just like that- you know I like it rough." Vinyl said in mock pleasure.

"Rrrrgh! Vinyl! Octavia growled.

"Rawr~" Vinyl returned.

The two stallions pulling the carriage looked at each other, and cursed the fact that they could not stop to look.

"The answer is no, Vinyl. Not happening for you."

"'re no fun." Vinyl pouted.

"I am very sorry, but "doing the deed" in public is not my definition of fun." Octavia said. "That is all I will say on the matter."

After a few moments of silence passed, Vinyl spoke up again. "Are we there yet?"

"Vinyl, we have only been traveling for a half-hour!" Octavia said forcefully.

"Are we there yeeeet?!"

Octavia face-hoofed hard enough it left a small mark on her forehead. "NO, VINYL! NO WE ARE NOT!"

Vinyl simply stared at Octavia. "You coulda just said need to yell..." It was at that point that Octavia grew so angry so quickly, it manifested itself in yet another very violent twitch.

"Uh...what was that?" Vinyl asked.

"Oh, just my body's way of preventing me from strangling you."

"D'aww, you're cute when you threaten me."

"...Can we please talk about something else before I end up a single parent?" Octavia warned.

" never did get around to telling me what YOUR parents were like." Vinyl said. Octavia blinked in surprise. Vinyl was absolutely correct. Vinyl had recounted the story of her own parents, so it was only fair that Octavia do the same.

"Well, I suppose I can tell you a bit about them." She cleared her throat, and continued. "Well, my father was born in Scoltland to rather humble beginnings..."


A young stallion by the name of Kester hopped off the carriage, taking his first breath of city air. "Well A'll be...the fine ol' city o' Birminghoof! Maybe A'll finally begin ta' kick off ma' career as a harpist!" he said excitedly in a thick Scoltish accent. He shook a bit of his fiery red mane out of his face, his bright violet eyes taking in everything they could. "A' mean, it's only a' matter o' time before A'm famous...A' am the best in the world at what A' do," he smirked, flexing the muscles just under his harp cutie mark, surrounded by a sea of gold fur.

The sights were incredible. Birminghoof was a bustling city filled with life, much unlike the Hayland Islands, which was merely a pinprick on the map of Scoltland. Kester trotted quickly to the back of the carriage, and lugged the massive harp case off of it and onto his back. Being somepony who helped on his family's farm, he had the body strength to carry it.

"Huh...A' wonder where A'm supposed ta' go first..." He pulled his map of Birminghoof out of his saddlebag, and held it open. "...Says A'm supposed ta' go to...the 'Birminghoof Hippodrome'...what the buck is a "hippo dome"? He questioned out loud. When he looked up, a mare had covered her son's ears at the apparent curse-word. "Ah, sorry. It slipped out." A'd better watch ma' language...A'm not on the farm anymore. A' got ta' be more civilized. he thought as the mare gave him a dirty look.

Kester continued trotting down the sidewalk, carriages speeding past him as other ponies trotted to and fro to their destinations, busy with their daily lives. He couldn't help but look around him, completely oblivious to the fact that he was knocking other ponies over with the massive harp-case on his back. "A' like this place!" he grinned, unaware of the fact that several ponies looked ready to jump him. After what seemed like trotting for miles, he found the place he was slated to go. He entered the massive building, and climbed the steps, the harp-case rocking back and forth precariously as he did. He pushed open the doors to the sound of a mare yelling.

"Ugh! Get OFF of my stage! That was the WORST performance I have heard in all my days as the Premier Conductor for the Birminghoof Hippodrome! Out of my sight!" she yelled, the pony on stage scurrying off in embarrassment.

"Woah...she sounds like quite tha' prize..." he said to himself as he walked. As he neared the stage, he turned to look at her, and felt his heart stop. This mare, as harsh as she was, was a total knock-out. A coat as grey as slate, a mane as black as night, but eyes greener than the grass back home in the Hayland Islands.

"Name please?" she demanded.


"Oh, wonderful...another rube with half a brain." She clapped her hooves together forcefully to bring him back to reality. "NAME, PLEASE!"

He blinked a few times, regaining his wits. "The name's Kester Malt...and yer' gorgeous. How may A' address ya?" he said in a mock suave voice.

The mare face-hoofed so hard he was sure she had cracked her skull. "You may call me Miss Philharmonica."

"Uh...are ya' alright there, lass?" he asked, moving toward her a bit.

"...If you are not on-stage in the next THIRTY SECONDS I swear you will regret it." she growled threateningly from behind her hoof. Not one to push his luck, he did as he was told.

"Kester Malt, eh?" She said, restating his name. "You work with alcohol?"

"Yes, actually. Ma' father's farm grows the barley malt tha's used in Jura's whiskey." he said, setting up his harp.

"Interesting. I enjoy a glass of Jura now and again."

"Maybe If A' impress ya with ma' harp, ye'll let me take ya' out for a glass."

"Very bold, Mister Malt. Very bold..." What a rube. "...but I decline."

"What? Are ya scared, Miss Philharmonica?" he grinned.

The mare blushed, and scowled at him. "...You know what? Fine. If- and ONLY if- you impress me, I MIGHT just let you take me out for a glass of Jura. I may even tell you my first name...but I will warn you- I have been doing this job for fifteen years. I am not easy to impress," she smirked. This idiot has no chance.

"A' think A' can change the tone of yer voice in just a moment." he winked, sitting at his harp.

He began to play slowly, his hooves gently raking the edges of the strings, the notes spreading out fluidly and beautifully. The notes danced in unison with one another, giving it a light and airy melody, but somehow sounding a bit melancholy underneath it all. Miss Philharmonica's face turned from a confident smirk, to a look of pure shock. The stallion could not only play, he could play well.

The imagery in her head was that she was in a beautiful forest grove near a lake. The water was placid, sparkling in the sunlight. Suddenly, tiny points of light began to circle her and dance around her, the music overcoming her completely.

"...Miss Philharmonica, are ya alright?" A voice called out to her. When she came back to reality, she found Kester standing in front of her, a concerned expression on his face.

"Uh...was A' tha' bad? A' didn't mean ta' make ya cry." he chuckled.

"Cry? Wha...?" She brought her hoof up to her face, and sure enough, the music had moved her to the point she was shedding tears. She cleaned her face, and returned to her usual countenance. "Well, I must say that was a moving performance, Mister Malt."

"Does tha' mean A' impressed ya?" He asked, already knowing the answer.

I can NOT believe this rube made me cry with his music... "Yes...yes you did."

"So? When do we meet?" he asked, going back on-stage to pack up his harp.

"Well, I have nothing to do now, seeing as you were the last audition for today, so..."

"Great. Just give me a minute ta' pack up and we'll get goin'." he said, struggling to get the case closed.

"By the way..." she added.

"Hm?" He turned to look back at her.

"Madeline. My name is Madeline." she smirked.

Chapter Twenty-Two

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"So tell me wha' it's like livin' in such a big city like this." Kester questioned as they made their way towards Madeline's favorite bar. She pondered the question for a few minutes, then answered.

"Well, it definitely has ups and downs. While it does have some conveniences that have become necessary in my daily life, there are many problems with this city. Crime, violence, the average things that happen in a big city. One just needs to be more careful when living in the city," she explained.

"A' see...must be tough at times. Well, A' got ta' say- A' like it here. It may not be nearly as peaceful as tha' farm back home, but this is definitely tha' way ta' live," he chuckled as they trotted down one of Birminghoof's many sidewalks. It was when Kester nearly knocked over a stallion wearing a suit that she asked him a question.

"Are you sure you are okay carrying that harp on your back?"

"Wha', me? A'm fine. A'm a workhorse, A've got muscles and looks ta' match," he grinned.

"Riiiight, sure...whatever you say, Kester." Madeline patronized as she raised an eyebrow.

"Wha', don't believe me? A' can do one-hoof push-ups with this thin' on ma' back," he announced, proud of himself.

"I will believe THAT when I see it," Madeline joked, not expecting anything to come from it. Unfortunately, something DID come from it. She looked around in shock when she saw him politely asking other ponies to step out of the way. Once the sidewalk was cleared, albeit surrounded by bystanders, he put himself in the push-up position, using only one hoof.

"Prepare ta' be impressed yet again lass," he grinned.

"ONE!" He did a perfect repetition, showing no signs of struggling.

"That was just one. I am STILL not impressed."


"Uh...still not impressed..." she said, losing that bravado she had from before.

"WHA'S WRONG?! THREE! NOT WHAT YE'- FOUR! -EXPECTED?" He yelled as he went along, the crowd clamoring at his performance.

"Stop this RIGHT this instant! You are gathering UNWANTED ATTENTION!" She scolded under her breath, trying to get him to stop.


Madeline watched as the growing number of ponies slowly began to circle them, and sighed explosively. "FINE! I AM IMPRESSED WITH YOUR ABILITY, NOW GET UP OFF THE SIDEWALK!"

Kester, now very much pleased he was able to get her to admit she was impressed for the second time, did as he was told. "Thank ye all fer' watchin', but ma' real ability's the harp, so come out an' see me at a concert," he said, grinning like an idiot and waving at all the onlookers.

"...How this half-wit EVER managed to move me emotionally, I will never understand..." Madeline said under her breath, blushing from embarrassment. "Shall we get going before you decide to throw a circus?!"

"There's a circus in town?!" Kester asked, his eyes lighting up. The only response he got was Madeline's left eye twitching.

"...So about that drink." Madeline said, her voice light and cheery.

"Oh right! Let's get to it then." Kester grinned, letting her lead the way. "Once tha' is done, we can go find tha' circus ye mentioned!"

"THERE IS NO CIRCUS!" Madeline yelled.

"But I thought ye said-" Kester started, somewhat confused.

"Enough, about the circus..." Madeline said, cutting that end of the conversation short. "Tell me more about your harp. When did you discover that it was your special talent?" she asked, continuing their walk to her favorite pub.

"Well, A' was but a wee colt when ma' father introduced me ta' music. He would always talk abou' how he woulda' loved to play for crowds and how he woulda' loved ta' perform, but his callin' in life was the barley fields. A've never seen a happier stallion than ma' father as he worked," he sighed as he thought back. "Wha' about you Maddy? What's yer' special talent?"

Madeline blinked at being addressed in such an informal way. "I would prefer you call me Madeline...and I am surprised you did not recognize the bass clef I have as a cutie mark."

"A true gentle-colt does not place his eyes where they are not meant to be. Tha's what ma' father always told me," he responded.

Well that is quite the surprise. He actually DOES have gentle-coltly qualities about him, she thought. "Well, yes. It is a bass clef. I love classical music, and am a conductor at the Hippodrome. I will be honest with you, I never expected you to play the harp so masterfully, and without magic no less."

Kester chuckled. "A' don't need magic to play the harp. As a colt, ma' father told me this: 'True music comes from tha' heart, not the horn. It comes from deep within ya', and if ya' truly love what you play, the music will find its way.' Ever since then, A've never stopped playin' ma' harp fer nothin', even if they tell me A' can't," he said, grinning from ear to ear.

"Well, you certainly proved yourself earlier. You definitely know how to play." Madeline said as they finally came up on the pub. "Here we are, The Trough." She announced. Kester immediately moved up to the door and held it open for her. "Fillies first," he winked.

As she trotted past, she found herself blushing. Why am I blushing!? He maybe a gentle-colt, and he may be rather handsome...and have decent moral fiber as well as muscle fiber... She caught herself drifting. He is STILL a country colt!

"So, shall we get a table?" he asked as he trotted up to her. "Oi, ye look flushed. Are ya' alright?" he asked, a bit concerned.

"I-I am fine, Kester. Just find a table." she said, moving towards the bar. She trotted up to the barcolt.

"Evenin', Miss Madeline. What can I get ya?"

"Evening, Spritz. Two Jura's, one on the rocks, the other straight." she ordered.

"Two?" He then looked over at the stallion whose harp-case was propped against the wall. "O-ho, he your date, then?"

Madeline blushed. "He is NOT my date. He won a bet."

"A bet to take you out on a date?" Spritz grinned as he retrieved the two bottles of Jura and poured them out into glasses.

"Well, well, well, look wha' we 'ave 'ere." A familiar, and very much unwanted voice said from behind her.

Oh Celestia, not again... Madeline groaned internally. "What do you want, Blake?"

A stallion with a dark brown mane, blue coat yellow eyes and a mask with a split expression stood next to her. "Ya keep tellin' me ya don't want to see me, but ya' keep comin' back. I think yer' just playin 'ard to get."

"Believe me, Blake. I am so far out of your reach it would take you three lifetimes to come close."

"So there IS a number." he chuckled.

"Get out of here, Blake. No one wants you here"

"Not without my mare!" he said, forcefully grabbing her by the foreleg.


"Why don't ya just shut up and let it 'appen!?" He yelled, back-hoofing her across the side of the head. The moment she yelped out in pain, Kester was on them in a flash.

"Oi, Suzie!"

Blake looked up just in time to see a huge, gold hoof collide with his muzzle, sending him spinning to the ground. Kester towered over him, placing a hoof on the side of his face and gradually applying more and more pressure, Blake squirming and begging for mercy. Kester leaned low and stared him square in the eye.

"...Nopony, and A' mean NOPONY, EVER hits a mare in front a' me! Much less a mare like Maddy! Now either ye' apologize, or A'm goin' ta' pop open tha' empty skull a' yer's like a watermelon! A've got the strength, it'll be easy." He said, slowly applying more pressure.


Kester backed off, Blake immediately taking to his hooves and dashing out of the pub.

"AN' DON'T LET ME CATCH YA' HERE AGAIN!" Kester yelled after him. Several of the other pub-goers cheered and applauded his chivalrous act, to which he ignored. Madeline couldn't believe what she had just seen. Not only had he beaten up the one idiot who wouldn't take no for an answer, he did it for her.

" saved me." Madeline murmured softly.

"Nevermind tha', Maddy. Are ya alright? Did he hit ya hard?" he asked, genuinely concerned.

"Yes...I am quite alright..." she said with a smile, blushing wildly. "...and no, he just grazed the side of my head."

"Wha' a relief. A' woulda' never forgiven him or ma'self if somethin' had happened to ya."

"Nicely done, chap. Drink's are on me for gettin' rid of the nuisance." Spritz said, pleased with the display. "Maddy."

Madeline simply stared at Kester as he drank his Jura. He defended me...without even giving it second thought...I've never had anyone do something so noble for me...what does he think of me? she wondered. "...Do you have anywhere to stay?"

"Actually, no. A' don't. A' was goin' ta' rent an apartment." Kester answered honestly, finishing his drink. "Aaah, nothin' like a cup o' the good stuff." He grinned.

"Well...if you can stay at my apartment for a few days...until you find somewhere of your own, that is." she offered softly, blushing redder than his mane. "It is the least I could do after what you just did for me..."

"Well, ain't tha' the kindest thing. A'd love ta' take ye up on yer offer." he smiled. "Also, don't worry about wha' A' did for ye. A' was not goin' ta' let ya get hurt. Not fer nothin'." he winked, to which she smiled.

She finished her drink, and the two left the pub, making their way back to her apartment.

Chapter Twenty-Three

View Online

Kester stared up at the massive condominium, squinting to see the top.

"Incredible...amazin' ta' see how far ponykind has come in terms a' construction and technology." he said, awed by the sheer size of the structure.

"I hear talk that we will soon be able to broadcast our images through devices known as "televisions." Madeline said as they entered the building.


"I am not entirely sure myself...seems very strange to me, to be perfectly honest." Madeline said as they walked towards the elevators.

"Somethin' just doesn't seem natural abou' it if ye ask me. Projectin' yer image? Nope, sounds like voodoo ta' me, and A' want NO part o' somethin' like tha'," he said with a snort.

Madeline laughed. "Right? Something like that not needing magic seems unusual to begin with." The elevator door opened. It was then that they realized that it was most likely going to need another elevator to get the harp upstairs.

"Maddy, you go ahead and take this one, A'll wait until it comes back down. A've always wanted ta' ride one o' these things." he grinned, eager to try one of the new commodities of city life.

"You are so easily impressed." Madeline chuckled as she shook her head. "Be sure to stop on the twentieth floor. My room number is 2045," she said as the door closed. As the elevator went up, she returned to her thoughts. I can't shake this feeling...I...I can't stop thinking about what he did for me...

The imagery in her head flashed back to the feeling of fear she had when Blake hit her, but quickly faded away to feelings of relief and safety as Kester came to her rescue. In that one instance, he was her hero. I really see him that way? Wait a I INTERESTED in him?! She rubbed her temple with her left hoof. Ugh, mother always told me I had this issue- I'm attracted to the "stallion in shining armor"...and unfortunately, he fits the bill quite nicely...

"Um, miss...are you going to get off?" A voice said, forcefully yanking her from her thoughts. When she looked up, several ponies were waiting to get in and head downstairs, but Madeline had stopped dead right on the step.

"Oh, I am so sorry!" she apologized, hurrying off to her room to prepare for her guest.

Downstairs, Kester was patiently waiting for the elevator, pawing at the ground slightly. "Maddy's a nice lass...A' wonder what she thinks o' me?" he wondered aloud, curious. "Eh, prolly' still too soon ta' tell. A' did embarrass her a bit on the way ta' the pub...but A' did beat tha' one moron senseless. Wha's the world comin' ta' these days, a stallion hittin' a mare? Disgusting!" he spat. "If ma' father ever caught ME actin' tha' way towards a mare, he'd skin me alive, and tha's the truth!" He then pondered something. "Maybe his own father didn't love him enough..." Kester shrugged. "Not ma' problem."

The elevator door opened at long last, and several ponies exited. He scooted himself into the elevator and dragged his harp case in behind him. "Now...what floor did she say she was on?" Kester wondered. "Eh, A'm sure A'll get there eventually." He ran his hooves down the button panel, hitting all forty of them. "There. Now it'll stop at every floor until A' find Maddy."

~An Hour Later~

"Where is he?! I told him my room was on the twentieth floor!" Madeline grumbled, walking across the living room of her apartment to the door. She swung it open, and found Kester right about to knock.

"Oh thank Celestia A' finally found ye. A've been all over this blasted buildin' tryin' ta' find yer room." Kester said, the frustration in his eyes quickly leaving. "Did ye know "Madeline" is actually a common name here? A'm pretty sure A' upset a good number o' stallions when A' mentioned their wives or marefriends by name..." he laughed.

Oh yes...Kester is a SPECIAL one, alright... "Just come in before you cause any MORE chaos," she sighed as she moved out of the way so he could enter.

Kester was very much impressed with her apartment. While it wasn't huge, it was more than enough to accomodate the both of them. The living room had a couch and a fireplace, as well as a huge window that revealed the Birminghoof skyline, which was illuminated by the many lights of the city against the early evening sky.

"What a beautiful sight...A shame ye can't see the stars though. Too many lights from the city blockin' them out." Kester sighed. "Back home, A' spent many a night just starin' up at the night sky, wonderin' what lay beyond."

"That is quite profound of you, Kester. You have not ceased to impress me today." Madeline said with a small smile as she put tea out for the two of them. "Here, some tea."

"Thank ye' kindly, Maddy." He moved over to her and drank his tea. "This is pretty good. A'm not much of a tea-drinker ma'self, but A' wouldn't mind havin' more o' this."

I can't believe I'm asking this... "Um...Kester...if I may ask, why did you save me? Aside from the fact that you are a gentle-colt?"

"Well tha's simple, Maddy. Yer' important ta' me, and A' take care o' wha's important ta' me," he said, giving that toothy grin of his.

Madeline blushed wildly at his statement. "W-Well...I am very much grateful to you, Kester...I do not know what I would have done if you had not come to save me."

It was then that Kester noticed that she was shaking slightly. "Oi...are ya alright, Maddy? Wha's the matter?" He trotted over to her, and noticed that her bright green eyes were swimming with tears. "Oh, don't need ta' cry..." he said softly, pulling her into an embrace. Madeline felt herself be pulled into Kester's forelegs, and let herself go. She began to cry, burying her face in his neck. He closed his eyes, unable to watch her cry, his heart aching at her pain.

"I was so scared...what if he had hurt me...or worse? What if you were not there to save me?" she whimpered, clinging to him.

"A' know, Maddy...A' completely understand, but ye don't need ta' worry anymore...A'll protect ye." he soothed, holding her tightly. "Go ahead and let out whatever it is yer' feelin','ll feel better," he smiled. "A'm right here for ye'."

Maddy did just that, letting out all the anxiety and emotion from the event. After a short while, Maddy was calm enough to talk again. Every time I turn around, he keeps building an even better image of himself...he's quickly becoming my stallion in shining armor... she thought, letting out a raspy sigh."Thank you, have no idea how much I appreciate this..."

"Maddy, it was no trouble at all. Why don't ye try gettin' some rest? It's been a long day for ye'. A'll sleep on the couch." he said, leading her to her bedroom.

"Thank you Kester...have a good night," she said softly, turning and entering her room. She climbed into bed, and laid down. Unfortunately, she was still far too worked up to think of sleeping.

Maybe...just maybe...I'll give him a shot...but that can wait until morning. Why can't I settle?! she grumbled, tossing and turning to try and get comfortable, her mind too active to allow herself to relax. She then sat up in bed. Ugh...I guess I'll just go back outside and- Her thoughts were cut off as the sound of music filled her ears. The notes were soft and light- she immediately recognized it as the harp.

A' can hear the poor thing tossin' and turnin' from here...hopefully this lullaby will help. A' know it helped me, Kester thought as he played. The lullaby was slow and peaceful, the notes ringing out and fading away just in time for the next note to take its place. His hooves danced expertly across the strings, plucking out each note perfectly. He closed his eyes as he felt waves of nostalgia sweeping over him, memories of his mother humming the melody to him when he was little.

Madeline laid back down and let the music fill her mind, her eyes fluttering closed. She began to imagine a beautiful meadow, covered in an endless sea of flowers. She sat in the middle of it, enjoying the gentle warmth of the sun above her, a soft breeze wrapping around her comfortingly. She turned her head, and smiled as she saw Kester take a seat next to her, smiling with her as they enjoyed their surroundings.

Within moments, Madeline was fast asleep, a few stray tears streaking down her muzzle, past the peaceful smile that adorned her face.

Chapter Twenty-Four

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The following morning was anything but peaceful.

Madeline woke up slowly, feeling her joints popping and muscles slowly coming to life as she began to move. She sat up in bed, her vision blurry. She looked around a bit, searching for her glasses. She put them on, and immediately her vision was clear. She brought a hoof to her face, and could still feel the moisture from her tears. She looked at her pillow to find a dark spot where she laid her head.

Did I really cry that much? Thanks to Kester, I slept very soundly...I should do something nice for him. Breakfast, maybe? She got out of bed and opened her bedroom door to the sound of snoring. She trotted over to where Kester was sleeping, his snoring sounding like a saw going through wood. He was asleep on his back, his legs splayed out in every which direction, his mouth hanging open.

My goodness, Kester...sleep with your mouth open like that and- Madeline's thoughts ground to a deafening halt as her eyes traveled south. His waist had a blanket over it, but not by much. To put it simply, he was flying his flag at full mast.

Madeline turned such a deep shade of red a tomato would have looked pale. If there was ever a single shred of doubt in her mind about Kester's masculinity, the sight before her completely erased it from existence. Suddenly, the snoring stopped and soft mumbling took its place.

"...Ooh yes, tha's the stuff...yer pretty good a' this, Maddy..." he guffawed, a stupid grin spreading over his face as he began to snore again. Whatever he was dreaming, was immediately cut short as it suddenly began to rain hooves.

"YOU PERVERT! I CAN NOT BELIEVE YOU ARE DREAMING OF ME DOING SOMETHING SO- SO INDECENT!" Madeline shrieked, smacking him in the face to wake him up.

"Oi-OI-OI-OI!" He yelled, shielding his face. "Wha's this all about?! Wha'd I do!?" He protested.

"PUT THAT AWAY!" She yelled, pointing at his waist while blushing intensely. Kester looked down, and understood.

"A' am SO sorry ye had ta' see tha'! It's one o' the downsides ta' bein' male- ye don't decide when ye've got four legs or five." He chuckled sheepishly, rolling over onto his front.


"Woah, woah, woah! So your mom didn't do anything?" Vinyl interrupted.

"V-Vinyl! Why in Equestria do you think my mother would do something like that!?" Octavia protested.

"Well think about it. She's single, she's young, and apparently she's got this studly gentle-colt stallion that's ready and rarin' to go. I'm just surprised nothing happened."

"Vinyl, even if something DID happen, I would not tell you." Octavia sighed.

"Why not?" Vinyl asked.

"Because no." Octavia huffed.

"You're no fun."

"Your idea of fun is my idea of brain damage."

"Hey, that's not true! I just know how to have a good time." Vinyl said, puffing her chest out.

"You also don't know the meaning of public decency." Octavia said, raising an eyebrow.

"You're just mad that I tried to make this trip more interesting than story-time." Vinyl smirked.

"Interesting?! Doing the deed in a carriage being pulled by stallions IN PUBLIC is not what I call INTERESTING!" Octavia yelled. "Think of it like this, Vinyl: How would you have felt if I would have asked about YOUR parent's sex life?"

Vinyl pondered this for a second, remaining silent. "...I think a part of me just died..." she muttered, turning a sickly shade of green.

"...And so the apple fell from the tree." Octavia said.

"Yeah, I get more questions on that topic." Vinyl mumbled, feeling sick to her stomach.

"Well, to wrap things up, he apologized for that, and their day went on like normal." Octavia said.

"I can already tell I'm gonna like your dad. He thinks like I do." Vinyl grinned, giving the same stupid grin that Octavia's father was famous for.

"Well, about that- Papa has always been very protective me. I was born premature, you see-" Octavia stopped when she heard Vinyl snickering. "What is so funny?"

"Y-You still call him "PAPA!?" Vinyl nearly fell over from the laughing fit, clutching her gut.

"That is not funny, Vinyl! I can call my father by any name I choose!" Octavia blushed, embarrassed to no end. "Ugh, this is what I get for telling you anything." Vinyl stopped laughing, and sat next to Octavia.

"Hey, hey, no need to get like that. I just thought it was funny is all. I'm sowwy~" Vinyl said, her lower lip quivering as she gave Octavia the cutest expression she could muster. It worked in reverse- Octavia's face scrunched up slightly as she began to laugh uncontrollably.

"Oh-Oh that is simply HYSTERICAL!" she yelled, tears streaming out of her eyes as she laughed.

"I was trying to be cute." Vinyl said flatly.

"I KNOW!" Octavia howled, laughing uncontrollably. A few minutes later, the carriage came to a stop.

"We have arrived in Hoofington." One of the stallions announced. Octavia immediately returned to her seat, looking out the window. Waves of nostalgia washed over her as she looked upon her hometown, a smile playing across her face.

"Welcome home, Octy." Vinyl said, patting her on the back.

The two exited the carriage, and took in the sights. The town was small, but not quite as small as Ponyville. Old-fashioned buildings lined the cobblestone streets, lamps lining the walkways. Ponies milled about the town, conversing with one another like it was something one simply did- very different from the uptight and high-class area of Echelon Gardens.

"Huh, I kinda like this place. Very homey." Vinyl said as they walked. "So you gonna lead us to your house?"

"Yes, but there is somewhere I would like to stop by first- my old music teacher. It has been years since I last saw her, and I would like to share the news with her." Octavia said.

"Whatever helps you sleep at night...aside from me, of course." Vinyl said suggestively, to which Octavia sighed. As they walked, Octavia could not stop smiling- this was where she grew up. This was where she lived as a foal. This was her home. They came up on a small home on the corner of the block they were on, trotting up to the front door. Octavia knocked, and the sound of shuffling approached, the door opening. In the doorway stood an elderly mare with a parchment yellow coat, a long silver mane and bright blue eyes.

"May I help you?" she asked softly.

"Miss Baton, it is so good to see you again!" Octavia smiled. The elderly mare stared at Octavia for a brief moment, and smiled.

"Octavia? Is that really you? Oh, look at you! You've grown to be so beautiful in the years you've been gone." she complimented. "Please, call me Twirl. I'm not your teacher anymore, you know," she laughed.

"Thank you, Miss Bato- er, Twirl. It is so good to see you are doing well. I am in town to visit my parents, so I decided I would stop by and say hello." Octavia said cheerily. Vinyl nudged Octavia slightly, clearing her throat.

"Ah, yes. Twirl, I would like to introduce you to my marefriend, Vinyl." Octavia said, stepping aside.

"Nice to meet you, Vinyl. Come in, come in!" The mare said, moving aside so the two could enter her home. The home was small, but very cozy. Vinyl and Octavia sat on the sofa across from the teacher, who sat in her rocking chair. "So tell me Octavia. What brings you to town?"

Octavia blushed. "Well...I am here to visit my parents and deliver them some news...I am having a baby," she smiled.

"Oh my goodness! Congratulations, Octavia. Oh it's been so long since I've had something to celebrate about. When are you due?" she asked.

"Next September." Octavia beamed.

"Oh, I am so excited! I'm sure your mother will be absolutely delighted with the news." Twirl said, smiling in return.

"Wait, you're not gonna question how? I mean, it's not like I'm a colt, so-" Vinyl stopped when Twirl raised a hoof.

"Where there's love, there's a way," the elder mare winked.

"Good enough for me." Vinyl smiled, wrapping a foreleg around Octavia's, to which Octavia blushed.

"Well isn't that just precious...Octavia, you have no idea how much this means to me. It has been quite some time since I've had anything to be happy about."

"That reminds me, is your husband around? I would like to tell him the news as well," she smiled.

Twirl sighed heavily. She reached over and grabbed a picture of herself with her husband, her heart aching. "Sway passed away about a year ago, dear."

Octavia's heart sank. "Oh no...I am so sorry, Twirl...I had no idea..."

"It is quite alright, dear. He was very ill, so it was his time to go." She wiped a tear from her eye. "He is at peace though, and through that I am able to carry on," she smiled. "That's why I was so excited to hear you were having a baby. It gives me something hopeful and beautiful to turn my focus to."

Octavia felt her heart seize up. Here she was, sitting in her teacher's living room, giving the old mare a reason to be happy. More and more Octavia began to see what a blessing it was to be the one nurturing the little life within her.

"I am so glad, Twirl. I am very much pleased that the news has helped you." Octavia said, smiling through happy tears. Vinyl leaned against her, offering support.

"You will never really know, Octavia," the mare smiled. "Well, I must be going. I have some groceries to do before it gets dark. It was wonderful seeing you again, Octavia. Be sure to stop by before you leave."

"Of course, Twirl." Octavia got up, and hugged her old teacher, who returned the embrace.

Octavia and Vinyl left Twirl in her home, walking down the streets in the direction of Octavia's home. Vinyl looked over when she heard Octavia sniffling, seeing her shedding tears.

"Hey, hey, what's the matter, Octy? He was sick. It's not like you could have done anything." Vinyl said comfortingly.

"No, no...that is not made me so happy that our baby is able to bring others so much joy." Octavia turned to face Vinyl, and gave her a soft kiss. "Thank you..."

Vinyl blushed, and simply smiled. "...You're welcome."

The two continued to walk towards Octavia's home closer than ever, their tails intertwined with one another.

Chapter Twenty-Five

View Online

The pair continued their walk towards Octavia's home, watching other ponies walk past. What Vinyl found strange, was that Octavia was greeted by every pony that passed them by. After the tenth greeting, Vinyl spoke up.

"Who DON'T you know in this town, Octy? Maybe we shoulda sent mail in advance to have a parade set up," she joked.

"This is a fairly small town as you have clearly seen, so it is not surprising that everypony remembers me. That and I would send letters back to my parents after a successful performance. I like to keep them in the loop. That is probably why the last few ponies told me that they were fans of my work."

"Eh. My music isn't something my parents would wanna listen to, so I don't really think they'd care all that much." Vinyl said flatly.

Octavia frowned. "Vinyl, you give them too little credit. You saw how happy they were to see you, and how emotional a departure we had. Is it not time to let go of the grudge you hold?"

"I guess...I still think your parents are way cooler than mine." Vinyl responded, to which Octavia shook her head.

"You are such a child, Vinyl."

"But you love me anyway, don't ya?"

Octavia remained silent.

"Octy? Octy! Hey, that's not funny!" Vinyl yelled as Octavia continued on without her. The two neared the edge of town where a small house sat on a large area of land, a farm stretching out behind it.

"Well, here we are. This is where I grew up." Octavia said, trotting up to the wooden gate. She simply stood there, taking in the sight of her old home.

"Well? What're you waiting for?" Vinyl said, pushing past her and trotting up the stone trail.

"Oh, right." Octavia said, coming out of her trance and following Vinyl.

"Nice little place. I can already tell I like it." Vinyl said.

"You mean you would much rather prefer this little home over that castle of a mansion back in Echelon Gardens?"

"When it brings your family closer, yeah." Vinyl said. Octavia stopped mid-trot. She hadn't once thought that even though her parents cared for her very much, the monumental requisites of high-society life and maintaining the income could have stretched them very thin.

"I am sorry, Vinyl...I never thought of that."

"It's fine. I know you didn't mean-"

"Octavia?" A feminine voice said from behind them. Octavia immediately recognized it, and wheeled around. When she looked up, her mother was standing in the doorway to her home. Vinyl's jaw dropped when she saw the resemblance.

"Wow...I see where you get your looks from..." Vinyl said, in awe. Octavia didn't respond as she quickly rushed up the steps and threw herself at her mother, the two locking in a tight embrace.

"Oh, Octavia! It's so good to see you again! I've missed you so much!" Madeline said, crying her heart out, relishing in the feeling of her daughter's embrace.

"Me too, too..." Octavia whispered, shedding her own tears as she felt waves of comfort and relief wash over her. Vinyl watched the scene intently, forced to wipe a tear from her eye.

"Not gonna cry...not gonna cry..." she said to herself.

Madeline took a step back and began to examine her daughter. "How are you feeling? Have you been eating well? Have you been resting properly? I know how busy you get. I don't want you overworking yourself!" she doted, letting her motherly instincts take over.

"Mother, I am fine! You do not have to worry." Octavia blushed at all the attention. She could hear Vinyl snickering in the background. Vinyl will pay DEARLY for laughing at me... she grumbled internally.

"Look at you,'ve grown so much. You have become such a beautiful, responsible mare, and all on your own." Madeline praised, planting a small kiss on her forehead. "I am so proud of you."

"Thank you, Mother..." Octavia smiled, gently nuzzling her in return for the kiss.

After a few minutes, Madeline noticed Vinyl. "Oh, I am sorry, may I ask who you are?"

"Oh, I'm Octy's ma-" Vinyl was cut short as Octavia rushed up to her and practically forced her hoof down her throat.

"She is just a friend, Mother. I will be just a moment. Would you please tell Papa I am home?" Octavia smiled, doing a terrible job of trying to act normal.

"Of course, dear." Madeline said, a bit confused and somewhat suspicious. She is DEFINITELY hiding something from me...

"Vinyl, please do not mention anything about us being a couple- at least not yet!" Octavia said, looking somewhat panicked.

"What? Why?" Vinyl questioned. A moment later, it dawned on her. "They don't know, do they!? We've been dating for over seven months, and you STILL haven't told them!?" she yelled, visibly upset and quite hurt.

"Vinyl, I apologize and I mean that wholeheartedly! I just wanted to tell them myself, honest!" she claimed. Vinyl searched her eyes for even the slightest sign that she might be lying, but couldn't find anything.

"Fine...they're gonna find out anyway." Vinyl said, still not happy with the idea.

"Thank you, Vinyl...I will definitely make it up to you." Octavia leaned forward and whispered in her ear. "Definitely..." She then turned and winked, running her tail up her neck and off her tail as she headed into her house.

Octy, you have NO idea what you've got coming... Vinyl grinned, following her inside. From the moment Vinyl set hoof in Octavia's home, she felt right at home. It was small, but still seemed spacey enough to move comfortably. Pictures covered the walls of the living room, the smells of scented candles gently wafting through the house. "I love this place...I kinda wish I'd grown up here..." she said to herself as she examined all the pictures.

One picture she found of Octavia made her smile: It was a picture of Octavia's father giving her a bath as a foal, but she was putting up quite the struggle. Her father was laughing as Octavia planted a hoof on his cheek, fighting to stay out of the water. "Adorable..." she said softly.

"Aye, she was." A male voice said from behind her, Vinyl nearly hitting the ceiling from jumping in surprise. Kester watched her sail upward, and laughed when she came back down. "Sorry, lass. A' didn't mean ta' scare ye," he said. When she turned to face him, she realized just how big a stallion he was. He stood nearly a foot taller than her, and everywhere she looked at him was brimming with muscle.

"Uh...hi." Vinyl squeaked.

"A pleasure ta' meet ye, lass. A'm Kester, Octavia's father. Yer the friend Maddy mentioned, right?" he asked, extending a giant gold hoof for her to shake.

"Uh...yeah, I am..." she swallowed, timidly extending a hoof.

"No need ta' be scared o' me, lass. A' don't bite." he said, giving a diffusing grin, Vinyl letting out a breath she didn't realize she was holding. "So how long have ye been friends with 'er?" he asked.

"Oh, um...I'd say around close to a year or so." Vinyl said, relaxing somewhat.

"Well tha's nice. Are ye two datin'?" he asked bluntly, to which Vinyl felt a chill run up her spine.

"H-How did you find out!?" Vinyl asked, frantic.

"Ye just told me," he laughed.

Vinyl face-hoofed. "Octy's gonna kill me..."

"Don't worry about 'er. A'll deal with 'er when the time comes," he winked. Vinyl gave a wry grin, and nodded.

"Well played, sir. Well played...wait, you don't have a problem with it?" she asked.

"Well, A' can't say A' understand, and A' know it's all the rage with ye kids nowadays, but hey. If ma' baby is happy, A'm long as ye keep her happy, understood?" Kester said, raising an eyebrow.

"No need to worry. I got this," she grinned.

"Tha's what I like to hear."


Octavia sat in the dining room, watching Madeline work in the kitchen, chatting about life.

"So Octavia, how long have you known Vinyl?" Madeline asked as she set out several cups of tea.

"Around a year. Why do you ask?" Octavia said.

"Oh, how nice. I would imagine you two are close." Madeline continued, pressing for information. "Tell me a little bit about her."

"Well, she is crude, loud, and very boorish...but she has a good heart, genuinely cares for others, and is a loyal friend," she smiled.

"I then why were you so eager to shush her earlier?" Madeline said, turning and facing her. "I'm your mother, there's nothing you can hide from me."

Octavia blushed, and sighed. "...She...she's my marefriend..." Madeline chuckled and brushed a bit of her daughter's hair out of her face.

"Did you think I would be upset? I'm glad you were able to find somepony special...even if the description reminds me of your father." Madeline said. At that moment, both Kester and Vinyl walked in, laughing about a joke he had just told her.

"Ahhh, that was a good one! Octy was telling me before about how your wife walked in on you with your gear on display!" Madeline turned a bright shade of red.

"YOU TOLD VINYL THAT STORY!?" Madeline said, covering her face with her hooves. "How embarrassing!"

"I did not tell her anything other than that! I would never repeat that!" Octavia pleaded.

"Wha', all it ended up being was a quickie. Wha's wrong with tha'?" Kester said, raising an eyebrow. A moment later, Madeline was bearing down on him faster than he could respond.

"I CAN NOT BELIEVE YOU REPEATED THAT! I THOUGHT WE SWORE WE WOULD NEVER TALK ABOUT THAT!" Madeline yelled. Vinyl laughed, Octavia blushing wildly.

"So you WERE hiding something good!" Vinyl yelled, half-laughing.

"They never told me that part!" Octavia yelled back, completely embarrassed. "LOOK! Papa, Mother, Vinyl and I have an announcement to make..." she yelled, grabbing their attention. Vinyl took a seat next to Octavia, Kester and Maddy sitting across from them. Octavia wrapped a foreleg around Vinyl's for support. "Mother...Papa...Vinyl and I have been dating for the past six months...and..." She took a deep breath, and dropped the bomb.

"We are having a baby."

Chapter ???

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"This thing on? Ugh, I can never tell..."

[Sounds of fiddling with equipment.]

"I think this ought to do it..."


"Hey, it's me again, just doing another audio log for all my faithful listeners. You know, I gotta admit. Of all the holidays I celebrate, the Fall-Weather Feast has to be one of my favorites...that is, until my moms try to decide what they want me to wear. Ugh, it's the same thing every year. One puts something on me, the other yells, and it goes on and on until I have to step in and stop them. I'm willing to bet it's gonna be the same thing again this year. Hopefully they'll be able to agree on something for me to wear for once. I'm tired of them dressing me up to look like a-"

[The sounds of a loud crash drown out any other noise, followed by yelling.]

"VINYL! You did NOT just knock over the special Fall Weather Feast salad I spent the LAST THREE DAYS PREPARING!"

"I said I was sorry! B-Besides, you can just make another one, right?


"Heheh, okay Octy, let's not do anything rash here...l-let's just put the knife down-

"Another one...ANOTHER ONE!?"

"Uh oh, I'd better run downstairs before I end up with only one mom! Gotta go until next time!"




"MOM, NO!"




Author's Note

To all of my readers: Thank you all so much for your endless love and support throughout the writing process of Two's Company, Three's a Crowd. Have an amazing Happy Thanksgiving, and may your own Fall-Weather Feast be one of merriment and joy. Tomorrow, the story continues!

PS: To anyone confused about how I worded this, Two's Company is NOT NEARLY finished! I meant to say that the regular scheduled programming continues tomorrow!

PSS: I wanted to wish the most special of Thanksgivings to my friends in the FimFic IRC (ScyStorm, BillyColt, DJMidli, DashXColt, Libri, FireSoul, lam, and any others I might not have mentioned! I love you guys all so much, and thank you for being the rock in which I support myself on!)

With much Love,


Chapter Twenty-Six

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The silence in the house was profound. The four simply stared at one another, unsure of what to say or do first. Vinyl looked at Octavia who, while she looked than she had ever seen in their time together. Kester's jaw was hanging slack off his head, and Madeline carried a similar expression. That is, until Madeline fainted.

"MOTHER!" Octavia yelled, practically leaping over the table.

"MADDY!" Kester quickly reached over and caught her before she hit the ground.

"WOAH!" Vinyl said, rushing over to help him.

"Vinyl, help me take Maddy over ta' the couch in tha' livin' room...Octavia, you an' I are goin' ta' have a talk." Kester said firmly as Vinyl helped him take his unconscious wife. Octavia sat in stunned silence, her mind having completely shut down from the shock of her mother keeling over. Kester and Vinyl laid Madeline out on the couch with a cover over her, letting her rest.

"I'll go get her some water." Vinyl said. She hurried back into the kitchen, and found herself alone. "Octy?" She noticed the kitchen door wide open, and began to panic. "KESTER! Octy's gone!"

"What?!" Kester barged into the kitchen to find the same scene that Vinyl did. He took a few steps out the door, and looked off into the distance, seeing a figure running into the nearby forest. "...Stay here with Maddy. A'll go get Octavia." He then charged off, the ground shaking slightly as the stallion raced after his daughter. A' know exactly where she's headed. She used ta' do this many times as a child...

Octavia rushed through the brush, following the path she always took when she wanted to be alone. She pushed through the foliage, heading over rocks and tree-roots, until she finally found it: A small clearing with several thick tree roots she would sit on and simply take in the sounds of the forest until she calmed down. If there was ever a time she needed it, it was now.

I have not seen Papa that angry in a long time... She thought back to the look on her father's face at that moment, and felt warm tears stinging at her cheeks. Why does this always happen? Why is this so difficult? She questioned, lowering her head into her forelegs as her emotions got the better of her.

"Octavia?! Octavia, A' know yer here! Please, A'm not mad at ye!" Kester yelled as he searched through the bush. He then stood quietly as he heard the sounds of gentle crying in the distance. He closed in on the source of the sound, and finally found Octavia, laying on a large tree-root, crying to herself. "Thank goodness yer okay, scared me half ta' death!" he said as he trotted up to her. "Now now, my little one...don' cry...A'm not mad at ye..." he said, wrapping his forelegs around her as he softly ran a hoof comfortingly up and down her back.

"I-Is Mother okay? Please tell me she is alright..." Octavia pleaded.

"A' course she is. It'll take a lo' more than tha' to bring yer mother down...and A'm sorry if A' scared ye. A' was just frightened for yer mother. She's the love o' my life, and A' don't know what A'd do without 'er...without both o' ye for tha' matter." He leaned over and gave Octavia a comforting kiss on the top of her head.

"You looked so felt like I did something horrible to her...I-I-" Octavia could not continue as she broke down in her father's forelegs.

"It's alright, don't need ta' worry...there's no way anythin' ye do could ever make us dislike ye' or anythin' o' the sort..." He then lifted Octavia's face to his, staring into the violet eyes that he had given her. "A' remember the day ye were born and ye opened yer eyes for the first time...A' knew then that I was in love. Ma' own little baby filly...Ma' own little 'Tavi," he smiled, gently planting a kiss on her forehead. Octavia smiled, leaning her head against her father's neck, feeling her worries drift away with the tears. "Come, let's go home..."

As the two walked, Octavia began to think. "Why did Mother pass out? I understand that it is big news, but to pass out so suddenly was alarming...has she been well?"

Kester sighed as he dug up the painful memory. "Well, A' can guarantee this: she is the happiest mare in the land right now. Yer' givin' her a grandchild, a new addition to the she could not give herself."

"What do you mean?" Octavia asked, confused.

"Shortly after ye moved out, we felt tha' the house was a lil' too quiet, and made the decision ta' hav' another foal...unfortunately, things didn't go quite as we'd hoped. If A' remember correctly, the doctor said it was an 'ectopic pregnancy', and when tha' happens, the baby doesn't grow where it should. They had ta' operate to remove it, an' she recovered fine...but the damage had already been done." He then let out a heavy sigh. "...Yer mother can't have children anymore, Octavia. The bad pregnancy left her sterile."

"What?" Octavia whispered in disbelief.

"It's the truth, dear...believe me, A' wish it wasn't. It was very difficult for awhile, but she is much better now. She still has you, and she's about ta' get a grandchild ta' boot," he grinned as he nudged Octavia slightly, who smiled. Once they re-entered the house, they found Madeline sitting up and chatting with Vinyl. They both looked up, and before Madeline could say anything, Vinyl quite literally launched herself at Octavia.

“OCTY! Are you crazy?! What were you THINKING rushing off into the forest like that!? What if you had gotten attacked by some crazy bear-tiger thing!? What about the baby, huh!?” Vinyl yelled. She was so upset that she placed one hoof on Octavia’s forehead, and brought the other down forcefully on top of it.

“OW! Vinyl, what was that for?!” Octavia yelped, backing up a bit.

“Because I was WORRIED about you and you freaked me out, that’s what!” Vinyl yelled. To Octavia’s ultimate surprise, tears were dripping off her chin.

“Vinyl…are you crying?” Octavia asked softly.

"N-No! Shut up!" Vinyl said, turning away to wipe her face.

"Vinyl..." Octavia said with a soft smile. "It is alright to cry, you know...I will not think any less of you."

"Crying? Who's crying?" Vinyl said, having wiped her eyes clean. "Pssh, crying. Totally not my thing."

Octavia smiled, trotting up to her and giving her a kiss on the cheek, blushing all the while. "Thank you for worrying about me..."

"Why wouldn't I worry about you, Octy? I do love you after all." Vinyl said with a blush.

"I know...and I love you as well." Octavia winked.

"Well isn't this just precious?" Kester said, somewhat ruining the moment. "Kinda reminds ye o' us, don't it Maddy?"

"In more ways than one." She then saw Vinyl grin at the same time Kester did, seeing an almost mirror image. "And there it is." Octavia then trotted up to her mother, and looked her in the eyes.

"I am sorry about making you faint...I hope you are not upset with me..." Octavia said, staring at her hooves.

"Octavia, do you really think I'm that petty? That I would hate my own daughter for having a child with the pony she loves? You give me far too little credit, dear." Madeline chuckled. "I could not be happier for you, dear. Have you two made decisions on a foaling shower?"

"Oh! That reminds me- Vinyl's mother Marianna wanted you to send her a letter so the two of you could coordinate over the foaling shower. She lives in Echelon Gardens." Octavia said.

"Echelon Gardens?! Just what kind of family do you come from, Vinyl?" Madeline asked, completely shocked that a mare with such a modern appearance would come from a high-class family.

"Well, she is the daughter of Rolando know who he is...I used to talk about him all the time as a filly..." Octavia blushed.

"S-Staccato!? I've met him a few times when he performed at the Hippodrome- he is a FANTASTIC violinist! How interesting! I remember the last time he and I spoke his wife had just gotten pregnant with his child, and I was a few months along with you. What an amazing coincidence that you two would end up together."

"Life sure is crazy." Vinyl said, running a hoof on the back of her head.

"It sure is...Vincenza." Octavia snickered.

"URGH! I HAAAAATE THAT NAME! Why do you do this to me, Octy?!" Vinyl said, dragging her hooves down her face in disgust.

"Vincenza? Why that's a darling name. I don't see why you would be so against it." Madeline said, to which Octavia agreed.

"Well, for one, when you're as tomcoltish as myself, Vincenza can easily lead down the road to Vincent. So no, I am Vinyl and I will not respond if you call me Vincenza."

"But Vincenza, ye won't respond even if there's pie?" Kester said from the kitchen. Vinyl suddenly began to drool as an eye twitched.

"Okay...maybe just this once." She then dashed off into the kitchen to partake. Octavia and Madeline simply laughed at how easy it was to manipulate her.

"Come, let's go join her." Madeline said.

The two left the living room and entered the kitchen, taking seats around the table and eating together as a family.

Chapter Twenty-Seven

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The four sat around the kitchen table, having already finished their snack, trading stories.

"' tha' was when Octavia tried to kick her way outta ma' grip, all because she didn't want ta' mess up the special braid her mother made for 'er." Kester chuckled. "A' was the one who had the strength ta' bathe Octavia. She definitely inherited ma' strength." Kester said proudly.

"Oh yeah, definitely..." Vinyl said. Even though Octavia was mild-mannered and composed, that belied the fact that she had a seriously strong right hoof. I could still take her. Working in a bar for a living will give you that kind of ability...Bar-fu? Yeah, I like that. Vinyl grinned at the thought.

"Vinyl, what are you smiling about?" Octavia asked.

"Huh? I was smiling?" Vinyl asked in return.

"Papa, she was smiling was she not?" Octavia said, turning to her father.

"Hm? A'm sorry. A' wasn't payin' attention." Kester said truthfully.

Madeline and Octavia face-hoofed in unison. "Unbelievable..."Octavia then turned to Madeline . "You really know how to pick them, Mother."

"You are no different, dear. Like mother, like daughter." Madeline said.

"Aw, come now Maddie. Ye know ye can't resist this." Kester said, raising a foreleg and kissing the massive muscle that made up his foreleg.

"I can and I will for the sake of my intellect and my sanity." Madeline retorted.

"Can ye resist this?" Kester asked. He threw his head back, the shower of fiery red hair cascading down his neck, his violet eyes boring into Madeline's own green eyes.

"S-Stop it Kester...this isn't funny!" Madeline said, blushing somewhat.

"Tha's not what ye said last night..." he grinned, beginning to close the distance.

"K-KESTER! N-Not in front of the children!" Madeline said, blushing wildly.

"Oh, come now Maddie...they're old enough ta' handle it. We're not elderly ye know..." He said, bringing his face mere inches away from Madeline's. Unfortunately, Kester's little act worked, leaving Madeline a stuttering mess as her chair fell backward.

"Wow. He is GOOD!" Vinyl said, very much impressed.

"You try that on me and I promise the result will be VERY different."

"Is that so?" Vinyl said, shifting her mane in such a way it hid one of her red eyes, the other peering out at her, half-closed in a sensual manner.

"Vinyl, stop it!" Octavia warned, blushing brightly.

"But I thought you said you could handle it..." Vinyl said, pushing her face closer.

"I am w-warning you!" Octavia threatened, her heart racing as Vinyl neared. Suddenly, she stopped short.

"I knew I could get you fired up." Vinyl grinned, satisfied with her performance.

"Easy peasy." Kester laughed. As if the same thought ran through their minds, both Madeline and Octavia retaliated. Octavia lightly whipped Vinyl's rump with her tail, causing her to yelp in surprise. Unfortunately for Kester, he received a hoof to the underside of his jaw. "Totally worth it," he chuckled as he rubbed his jaw.

"What was that for!?" Vinyl asked, rubbing the spot where Octavia whipped her.

"You know how much I hate it when you get me worked up and end up not following through..." Octavia mumbled, shifting uncomfortably in her seat. A wry grin began to spread across Vinyl's face as it dawned on her just how worked up Octavia was.

"So it DID work." Vinyl said.

"I-I said no such thing." Octavia said, looking away in a poor attempt at hiding her blush.

"You don't have to." Vinyl grinned. "I can see the look in your eyes and the way you've shifted. I'm not dumb, Octavia." Vinyl then got up from her seat and walked over to Octavia's parents, who were in the middle of a heated argument over being so explicit in front of the "children."

"Kester, that was WILDLY inappropriate!" Madeline scolded.

"Oh, come on now Maddie, ye know ye liked it." Kester smirked.

"Wh-while that may be true, there is a time and place for everything." Madeline returned, blushing.

"Hey, is there a room we can use for the night? Octavia mentioned to me earlier that she was kind of tired and frankly, I could use a nap." Vinyl said, lying through her teeth.

"Well, ye can always use Octavia's old room. It's a guest room now, but it should still be pretty comfy." Kester offered.

"Perfect! C'mon Octy. Let's go get some rest." Vinyl said, making her way down the hallway. Octavia followed a few moments later.

"Good night. I will see you both in the morning." Octavia said as she trotted past.

"Good night, Octavia. We love you!" Madeline called after her.

"Love you too." Octavia said as she entered her room.

"HAVE FUN!" Kester yelled, to which Madeline planted a hoof in his side.

"KESTER!" Madeline reprimanded, looking at him like he had just grown a second head.

"Wha!? They're terrible at hidin' things from us, so might as well get used ta' it, right?" Kester said, taking a step away from Madeline, who was still not happy. "Ye still got a nasty kick...ow..." He cringed as he tried to walk back to the kitchen, taking care not to hit the sore spot.

~A Little While Later~

Octavia lay next to Vinyl, recovering from the eventful "nap" they had decided to take. Octavia shifted slightly, leaning against Vinyl to get comfortable. "Well...that was interesting to say the least." Octavia said softly.

"Interesting? You were going crazy. You had to bite down on your mane just to keep yourself quiet. I knew from the first day I met you that you'd be a freak in bed." Vinyl chuckled.

"Shut up! That is nothing to be proud of!" Octavia blushed, embarrassed by her remark.

"I'm proud of you. You actually did stay quiet. I was afraid it was gonna be a repeat like at my place-" Vinyl stopped short when she heard something. "Hey, you hear that?"

"Hear what?" Octavia asked, curious. She listened for a moment, and heard what sounded like wood creaking. "I...I think that is the sound of wood moving...but I am having difficulty placing the source..." Suddenly, the creaking got a little louder, and got a little faster. A shocking realization came to them both as Octavia and Vinyl looked at each other.

"You don't think...?" Vinyl started.

"I am not going there, Vinyl." Octavia finished.

"Octy, it's obvious that-"

"Vinyl!" Octavia warned.

"How can you NOT admit that they're-"

"Don't. You. Dare." Octavia growled.

"-shacking up in the room next to us?"

Octavia let out a loud groan as Vinyl finished her sentence. "...Why does this always happen to me?"

"Hey, be quiet. It might sound like we're going at it along with them." Vinyl said, shushing her.

"Vinyl! How could you THINK that!?" Octavia said.

"Look, let's just talk about something else, alright? Something to ignore the activity next door." Vinyl offered.

"Fair enough...what would you like to talk about?" Octavia said, settling down again.

"I was wondering...which season do you prefer, spring or summer and why?" Octavia pondered this question, having never really thought about it before. While her favorite season was winter, she had never thought much about the others.

"Hmm...I believe I would have to say spring. It immediately follows winter- which is my favorite season- and shows the blooming of beautiful new life as the snow melts away. The world literally springs up from its slumber under the snows and cold of winter. What about you?" Octavia said, asking the same question.

"Yeah, spring is nice. It's not too cold and it's not too hot, and it's kinda rainy. I love a good rainy day to just laze around inside. Nothing better." Vinyl said.

"Why such a profound question, Vinyl?"

"Oh, I was just wondering which season you'd like to get married in." Vinyl said bluntly. These words stunned Octavia into silence. She had no words for what she had just heard.

"So what do you think, Octy? A spring wedding or a summer wedding?" Vinyl asked. When she saw the look on Octavia's face, she face-hoofed. "I'm an idiot! I should have asked you if you wanna marry me first before planning on when. Sorry about that, Octy. I've kinda never done this before, so..." Vinyl then shifted to face Octavia so that she was looking her straight in the eye.

" and I have been through quite the ride together since we started dating. We've been all over the country, we're having a baby, and we've laughed, cried and yelled at one another...but that doesn't change how I feel, or the fact that I want to spend my life with you." Vinyl said honestly, blushing all the while. "Octavia...will you marry me?" Vinyl asked.

The proposal came so suddenly that all Octavia could think to do was cry. She began to sob uncontrollably, completely overwhelmed by her lover's proposal. "Uh, you could have just said no..." Vinyl said, chuckling sheepishly. Without warning, Octavia wrapped her forelegs around Vinyl and pulled her into a passionate kiss. After a few moments, Octavia cleared her head enough to respond.

"Of course I will, you idiot..."

Chapter Twenty-Eight

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Octavia tossed and turned, unable to sleep. She looked over at Vinyl, and felt jealousy seep into her as Vinyl snored loudly.

How is it possible she is able to sleep so easily after dropping a proposal like that? My mind is so active right now I couldn't sleep if they drugged me! Octavia sat up in bed and trotted over the window. The sun was beginning to peek out over the horizon. Great, I lost an entire night's worth of sleep... She reached into one of the old cabinets she had when she was living there, pulling a coat from it and slipping it on.

She made her way quietly down the hallways of her home and exited out onto the back porch. She smiled widely at the sight before her: the fields were covered in white, the first snow of the season having finally fallen, snow slowly falling in the peaceful silence of her father's fields. "What a beautiful sight to wake up to..." Octavia said to herself quietly, taking a seat in one of the chairs that sat on the porch.

"Aye, this is tha' season A' live for."

Octavia turned her head to see her father sitting in one of the other chairs. "Papa? What are you doing up so early?"

"A' do this every day, Octavia. Nothin' nicer than watchin' the world come to life every mornin', especially in the winter season. Celestia's sun reflects beautifully off o' the" He pointed out back towards the fields. Sure enough, as the morning sun began to rise, light began to glint off of each individual snowflake, creating a cascade of filtered light over the fields. Octavia sat in awed silence, the only sounds being her and her father's breathing, and the distant chirps of birds calling out from their nests.

"How beautiful..." Octavia murmured.

"Ye know, Octavia...A' have ta' admit. A' am extremely proud of ye." Kester said.

"What do you mean, Papa?" Octavia asked.

"Well, A'm proud o' the fact tha' ye've managed ta' come this far, and managed ta' muster up enough courage ta' stare down both sets o' parents and tell 'em yer havin' a baby. Takes guts, and fer tha' A'm proud," he smiled, leaning over and stroking her shoulder. "...But A' will warn ye." His expression became serious. "Yer mother an' ma'self maybe acceptin' of yer relationship with Vinyl, but tha' doesn't mean tha' everypony else will. Yer goin' ta' get a lot o' looks from now on, and not all o' them'll be kind. There are goin' ta' be times where it's goin' ta get rough, but A'm confident ye two will be able ta' overcome whatever's thrown at ye."

"We just want you to know that no matter what happens, you will always have this home to return to. This home will always be a refuge for you." Madeline said as she came up from behind Kester, wrapping her forelegs around his neck and resting her head against his. "We are a family, and family takes care of their own." Madeline winked.

"Thank you...both of you. You have no idea what this means to me. Especially now that-" Octavia was cut off by the sound of loud yawning as Vinyl trotted out to join the rest of them. Her mane was even more messy than usual, making it look like she had had a cattle prod taken to her.

"Why aren't you in beeeeed? It's so eeeearly. Come back to beeeeeeed." Vinyl whined as she trotted up to Octavia and practically threw herself against her, almost falling back to sleep where she stood.

"I was about to tell them the good news, Vinyl." Octavia said, trying to push Vinyl off of her. "My goodness, Vinyl you need to lay off the sweets!"

"You really wanna go there? You had three danishes back in Ponyville, and you're calling ME fat." Vinyl retorted, looking at Octavia with a deadpan expression.

"Says the one who, after eating an ENTIRE stack of pancakes, went after MORE food at Bonbon's house." Octavia returned with a smirk.

"Hey, when you've got looks like mine, you can eat whatever you want." Vinyl huffed.

"Well you look like your tail got stuck in an outlet."

"A sexy outlet."

"That doesn't even make sense!"

"Doesn't it, Octavia? Doesn't it?"

"You are clearly still half asleep. You are just babbling whatever comes to mind- oh wait, how is that different from how you are normally?" Octavia laughed, proud of herself.

"You were babbling random things last night- wait, how's that any different from every other time we- GACK!" Vinyl was stopped short as Octavia's hooves latched onto her throat like a vicegrip.

"You did NOT just say that in front of my parents!" Octavia yelled. Suddenly, she heard snickering. She looked up to see both her mother AND father laughing to themselves at the display before them.

"Ain't it a wonder how much they remind us o' when we were datin', love?" Kester chuckled.

"Absolutely. Only I won every argument." Madeline said with a raised eyebrow and a smirk.

"Ye may have won tha' arguments, but A' dominated tha' bedroom." Kester laughed. He felt Madeline's hooves trying to crush his neck like Octavia was doing to Vinyl, but simply chuckled. "Ma' neck's too thick for ye' ta'-" Kester felt himself go airborne for a moment as Madeline tackled him into the snow, beating on him with her hooves.

"STOP SAYING THOSE THINGS! Do you have ANY IDEA how EMBARRASSING THAT IS?!" Madeline yelled, blushing wildly in embarrassment as she rained hooves down on him. Kester didn't respond- he was laughing too hard.

"Hey, that kinda looks like fun!" Vinyl said, rushing out into the snow. "Come on, Octy! You gotta come join me!"

"That is quite alright, Vinyl. I am perfectly content sitting here-" She was stopped when a snowball hit her square in the face. When she wiped it off, she saw Vinyl winding up to throw another one.

"...YOU ARE GOING DOWN!" Octavia yelled, diving into the snow and returning fire. After a quick exchange of snowballs, Octavia threw one that tagged Vinyl right in the face.

"OW! That one had a rock in it!" Vinyl yelled, clutching her face. Fearing that she had actually hurt Vinyl, Octavia rushed up to her to see if she was okay.

"I'm so sorry, Vinyl! Are you al-" Octavia's mouth was suddenly filled with snow as Vinyl pegged her at point-blank with a snowball. She spit out what she could, and frowned. "That was a dirty trick, Vinyl!"

"All's fair in love and war, and I don't see any love here!" Vinyl said, winding up for another throw. Before the snowball left her hoof, Octavia pushed her down into the snow, pinning her where she lay. "What was that for?!" Without warning, Octavia leaned down and kissed Vinyl, feeling her breath as well as her blush warm her down to her very bones.

"We have news to deliver, remember?" Octavia said with a smile.

"Oh, right!" Vinyl quickly squirmed out from under Octavia, the two walking back towards the house. Octavia found her parents sitting near the fireplace, leaning against one another. "Mother, Papa, we have more news."

"What else could you possibly have to tell us that is more exciting than the baby?" Madeline questioned.

"" Octavia blushed, having a hard time finding the right words.

"We're getting hitched!" Vinyl said cheerily.

"...Subtle, Vinyl. Real subtle." Octavia said, looking at Vinyl like she was about to lay her out.

"Oh, this IS wonderful news! When are you planning on the wedding?" Madeline asked.

"The spring, Mother. It was Vinyl's idea. She asked me what season I liked the most, and she used my answer as an opportunity to propose." Octavia blushed as Vinyl beamed.

"She's a smart lass. A' remember when A' proposed ta' Maddie. It was pretty romantic, don't ye think?" Kester said, reminiscing with a smile.

"If by 'romantic' you mean 'absolutely mortifying', then yes. Yes it was." Madeline said, remembering every moment of it.

"It was not mortifyin'! A' had ta' build up tons o' courage just ta' do wha' A' did!"

"You knocked over the karaoke singer, stole his microphone, and screamed 'MADDIE! MARRY ME, MADDIE!' over and over until I said yes."

"A' still don' see why tha's so bad."

"You got us kicked out of the restaurant. I LIKED that restaurant."

"It wasn't all tha' great." Kester grunted, remembering back to the day. "The waiters were rude, the food took forever ta' get served, an' tha' portions would've let a mouse starve!"

"Either way, while it was not exactly romantic, it was memorable." Madeline said, leaning against him. "I guess that counts."

"You are right about that." Octavia said, nuzzling Vinyl affectionately.

"Anywho, let's jus' sit around the fire an' get warmed up. Sound good?" Kester offered, scooting over slightly to make room.

"Sounds good to me!" Vinyl said, taking a seat in front of the fireplace. Vinyl looked at Octavia, patting the ground next to her with a hoof. Octavia smiled and took a seat next to her. This time, it was Vinyl's turn to lean against Octavia, who looked surprised.

"What? I think I'm allowed to do this every now and again." Vinyl grinned.

"I suppose I can allow it...every now and again." Octavia smiled.

The two couples sat in front of the fire, warming each other's hearts not with the flames burning before them, but with each other's presence.

Chapter Twenty-Nine

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"Octavia, would you be a dear and run down to the market for me?" Madeline asked, trotting up to her. It was around lunch-time, and Madeline was short on ingredients for her famous Winter Stew. "I would ask your father but he's busy cleaning the snow off the fields so he can till them."

"Of course, Mother. What do you need?" Octavia asked, moving over to the kitchen table. She retrieved a parchment and pen to write down a list.

"Okay. I need an onion or two, around six or seven carrots, some garlic cloves, tomatoes, rosemary, clam broth and parsley."

Octavia finished writing, and set the pen down. "Anything else, Mother?"

"Not off the top of my head." Madeline then hoofed her a small pouch full of bits. "This should be more than enough. Just head on down to the grocery store on the far end of town, dear. Thank you!" Madeline said, giving Octavia a small kiss on the forehead. "Be careful, that area is not quite as forward and welcoming as this side of town."

"No need to worry, Mother. I will be back shortly. Vinyl, come along. I could use your help."

"Huh? Where're we going?" Vinyl asked as they headed out the front door.

"To the grocery store. Mother needs a few ingredients for her Stew."

"Ooh, that sounds great! When will it be ready?" Vinyl asked.

"Vinyl, she has not started it. We're going to the grocery store to get the ingredients."

"Well what are we waiting for!? Get your flank in gear so I- mean, we can eat your mom's delicious cooking!" Vinyl said.

"Right, right." Octavia said, catching up to her. The two walked close to one another across town, crossing over into Southern Hoofington. They continued chatting about different things until Vinyl stopped.

" you feel like somepony's watching us?" Vinyl asked, an eyebrow raised. She looked around, and saw a pair of mares staring daggers at them. "What're you looking at?" Vinyl called out. They remained silent, and simply cantered away. "That's what I thought..." she growled.

"Forget them, Vinyl. We have things to do." Octavia said, pulling Vinyl along with her. As they continued walking, the stares only got progressively worse- to the point that Octavia was feeling extremely uncomfortable, and Vinyl was only getting angrier.

"What the hay is going on here!? What's with all the looks!?" Vinyl yelled.

"Something tells me we are not very well-liked right now..." Octavia said, anxiety coursing through her. "I would like to get this taken care of as quickly as possible," she said as they entered the grocery store. Thankfully, the other ponies were more concerned about their errands to notice Octavia and Vinyl, and they were able to retrieve their groceries without much difficulty. As they stood in line, Vinyl heard something that pushed her over the edge.

"Why don't we just get in this line? It's so much shorter..." A young colt asked his mother.

"Absolutely not. I'm not letting you anywhere near those filly-foolers." The mother responded bitterly.

"WHAT DID YOU CALL US!?" Vinyl yelled, furious. Octavia was forced to restrain her from savagely beating the mother where she stood. The mother grabbed her child and hurried off.

"Vinyl CALM DOWN! Just forget about it!" she urged, holding her back.

"YEAH! You'd BETTER RUN!" Vinyl yelled after her. A few moments later, the manager trotted up to them.

"Fillies, please pay for your groceries and leave. You are upsetting the customers and I do not tolerate disturbances in my store." The manager ordered.

"What the BUCK is WRONG with you ponies?!" Vinyl yelled as Octavia continued to restrain her. Octavia threw the bag of bits in front of the cashier, and dragged Vinyl out of the store, the bag of groceries held between her teeth. To their horror, there was a small gathering of ponies, all of them standing in a threatening semi-circle. One stallion trotted out from the group, facing Octavia and Vinyl.

"We don' take kindly to y'all kinda folk in this here part a' town. Freaks is what you is, two ponies of the same gender together just ain't normal. Git out before it gets ugly," the stallion growled as he took another step forward. Vinyl broke free of Octavia's grip, and trotted up until their faces were inches away from one another.

"Here's what me and my marefriend think of ' your part of town', buddy." She wheeled around, and planted both of her rear hooves into his chest, sending him reeling back into the crowd."Call Octy a freak again, and I'll make sure your heart comes out of your rump." Octavia watched in horror as he slowly got back on his hooves, panting heavily.

"Take care of 'em...teach them a lesson they'll never forget," he wheezed, holding his chest. Octavia's eyes widened at what she heard.

"Vinyl, we need to leave. NOW!" Octavia urged as the crowd began to close in.

"Uh...probably not a bad idea!" Vinyl and Octavia darted off through the gap in the crowd, the other ponies following them in hot pursuit. They were forced to rush through back alleys and side streets to avoid the crowd, dodging rocks and even glass that other ponies were throwing at them. They found themselves backed into a dead-end alley, the crowd bearing down on them.

"...Oh no...oh no oh no oh no..." Octavia repeated, feeling herself press up against the wall behind her.

"I think...we're in trouble," Vinyl said, fearing for her and Octavia's safety. She then did the one thing that came to mind- she stood in front of Octavia, shielding her from whatever may come. I gotta protect Octy...I gotta protect my kid! Just as the crowd was about to close in, the stallion from before soared past them, crashing into the wall and sliding down it, unconscious.

"GET AWAY FROM THEM!" A voice roared from behind the crowd in a thick Scoltish accent. Kester began to force his way through the crowd, pushing his way towards his daughter. "Ye ponies make me SICK, attackin' two defenseless mares just 'cause o' their preferences! Wha' are ye, ponies or ANIMALS!?" Kester roared, startling a few of the ponies nearest him. He stared down the manager of the grocery store, who was near the front. "A' thought ye were better than tha'. A' have no interest in dealin' with somepony so prejudiced against ma' family. Ye just lost a produce provider," he growled, a look of disgust and disappointment on his face. The manager took a few steps back, and hung his head in shame. "Come along, girls...let's go home."

Kester, Octavia and Vinyl all left together, Octavia sticking close to Kester. "How did you know where to find us?" Octavia asked, somewhat shaken by the events they only narrowly escaped.

"Yer mother tol' me where ye went. A shame tha' only grocery store is in this part o' town. Are ye alright, Octavia?" Kester asked, wanting to make sure his daughter was safe.

"Only because of you, Papa..." Octavia said, moving closer to him.

"Yeah, thanks Kester. You really saved our hides."

"It's like A' said, girls. Family protects their own," he said with a wink.

"About the grocery store...are you sure cutting ties with the store is alright? What about the money you were getting from the store?" Octavia asked, feeling both worried and guilty that it might have been her fault that her parents were now in financial stress.

"No need ta' worry, dear. A' have other sources o' income A' can fall back on," he said. "Do you understand what A' meant, though? About how not everypony'll be pleased with yer choice o' bein' with Vinyl. Ye saw tha' they were goin' ta' get violent even. A' feel somewha' responsible for not stoppin' ye before ye left ta' get the groceries." Kester sighed.

"It is not your fault, had no idea. We should have been more careful." Octavia said. "You would have been proud of Vinyl, though...the stallion you knocked out called us freaks, and Vinyl kicked him in the chest for it," she smiled.

"I wasn't about to let that idiot talk down about you. You did the same for me when my dad flipped out, so I figured I'd return the favor." Vinyl gave her a smile and a wink.

"Vinyl, A' don' think A' can be any more proud of ye than A' am right now. Ye defended ma' daughter's honor withou' a second thought, and when A' found ye, ye were standin' in front of her, ready ta' protect her. A' can't thank ye enough." Kester said, patting her on the back.

"It was nothing..." Vinyl blushed, smiling bashfully. "I just did what I felt I had to do- protect my marefriend and protect my kid," she shrugged.

"An' tha's why A'm very' exceedingly grateful." Kester said.

The trio returned to the house, Madeline waiting for them at the front door. "Oh thank goodness you're alright!" Madeline said, rushing up to Octavia and Vinyl, checking them for injuries. "Oh dear, you're bleeding!" Madeline exclaimed, finding a long but shallow cut on the side of Vinyl's neck, previously hidden by her mane.

"What? I am?" Vinyl asked. "I didn't even notice." Madeline hurried back into the house, and retrieved a first aid kit. Within a few minutes, the wound was disinfected and bandaged.

"Thanks, Madeline." Vinyl smiled.

"No, thank you for keeping Octavia safe." Madeline smiled, hugging Vinyl. "We're so lucky she found somepony like you."

"Aww, thanks." Vinyl grinned, returning the embrace. Once done, Madeline clapped her hooves together.

"So! Who's hungry? I made a few other snacks while waiting for you two to come home. Let's get inside and just put this all behind us with some good food." Madeline said, following them in. They moved into the kitchen, and Vinyl sat at the table, eagerly awaiting whatever dish might be set out in front of her.

"Vinyl, shut your mouth or flies will be your main course." Octavia said.

"Hungryhungryhungryhungry!" Vinyl said, dragging her hooves down her face, to which Octavia face-hoofed. A few moments later, Madeline brought out several bowls of her soup, setting them down.

"Enjoy. It's not my Winter Stew, but it's just as good." Madeline smiled, taking her seat at the table.

"Aw, I'm not really one for soup." Vinyl said, somewhat disappointed.

"You have never tried my mother's soup." Octavia said with a smirk.

Vinyl dug into her bowl of soup, and set her spoon down. "Madeline, this is the best soup I've ever had. I love you." Octavia couldn't help but laugh out loud at Vinyl's sudden change of heart.

The four of them sat around the table, laughing and talking as they ate their soup, closer to one another than ever.

Chapter Thirty

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Octavia woke up with a start, and sighed. Yet again, she could not sleep, her mind far too active over what had occurred. She could not shake the image of so many other ponies looking ready to kill. She shifted in bed, staring at the ceiling. Every time she shut her eyes, she could see them bearing down on her and Vinyl, and her eyes would immediately open once more. Maybe fresh air will help...

She grabbed a scarf from her drawer, and quietly exited her bedroom, leaving Vinyl asleep in bed. She silently trotted down the hallway back to her living room, hearing her father's loud snoring seeping out from under their bedroom door. How Mother has been able to sleep through that is beyond me... Octavia thought as she opened the front door, shutting it quietly. If there was ever a time of night she enjoyed, it was this one- a cold, clear, winter night. Luna's moon was in the shape of a crescent this evening, and the wind cooled her fur to just the temperature she loved. She reveled in the peace and quiet that the night brought her, watching the stars twinkle in the distance.

"Octy?" A soft voice said from behind her. Octavia turned around, seeing Vinyl standing in the doorway, rubbing an eye. "Can't sleep again?" She made her way down the steps, meeting Octavia at the front gate.

"After what happened earlier, I am surprised you were able to sleep as much as you did." Octavia pushed the gate open, letting Vinyl exit first, the two simply walking down the lamp-lit sidewalks together.

"Well, what happened happened, Octy. You can't let it get to you. It's not like we'll EVER have a reason to go back to that part of town." Vinyl reasoned with a yawn.

"You are probably right, Vinyl...I just cannot help but worry for us now...for our foal above all else. We were very lucky in this case that my father showed up when he did..." Octavia said softly, staring at the pavement as she walked. "I never realized just how dangerous this world can be for ponies like us." Vinyl shifted closer to her and gave her a reassuring nuzzle.

"Don't worry about it. We'll be fine. They accepted us in Canterlot, and they accepted us in Ponyville, and we're going to be living there from now on. We'll be fine. Our baby will be'll see." Vinyl winked, giving Octavia a kiss on the cheek. "...So, what do you wanna name it?" Vinyl asked, surprising Octavia.

"What do you mean?" Octavia returned, a bit confused.

"Well, we need to name our kid, right? What do you want to name it?" Vinyl asked again, racking her brains for possibilities.

"Hmm...I like the name Melody, if it is a filly."

"I like Roxie. Melody sounds boring." Vinyl said bluntly.

"Roxie is the name of a hoodlum, the likes of which my child will not be." Octavia huffed. "What about Sonata? Short, sweet, and flowing." Octavia suggested.

"Hmm...Sonny for short. We gotta keep that in mind." Vinyl said. "What if it's a colt?"

"Legato." Octavia said simply. "Smooth and connected." She blinked when she heard Vinyl gag.

"Ugh, those fancy-schmancy names are gonna get them beat up in school. Why not Riff? I could definitely go with Riff- or maybe Drop!" Vinyl grinned.

"Absolutely not, Vinyl! I will not name my child after what you yell at one of those 'sets' of yours!" Octavia protested. When she looked up at Vinyl, she noticed that Vinyl was shivering slightly. "Come here, are going to catch a cold." Octavia then reached down, unfurled the scarf somewhat, and threw it around Vinyl's neck, the two sharing the same scarf as they walked.

"Thanks Octy...that helps." Vinyl smiled, enjoying the closeness the scarf brought.

"Of course. I daresay I would not be able to handle you being sick again." Octavia muttered, shuddering at the thought. "I was about ready to smother you in your sleep."

"I said I was sorry, Octy. I was used to getting special treatment when I got sick growing up, so when we started dating, I kinda wanted that special treatment again..." Vinyl said.

"How did you manage when you were living alone?" Octavia asked, curious.

"I just rode it out until I felt better." Vinyl said, shifting herself a little closer to Octavia as they walked.

"Well, I can understand that, but that still does not explain why you needed me next to you every waking moment."

"It's what my mom used to do when I was sick...she would lay with me and just take care of me until I felt better. I give me that same kind of comfort, Octy. I know I can count on you if I'm out of commission." Vinyl blushed, looking at her through a curtain of electric blue hair.

"Of course you can, Vinyl." Octavia said softly, leaning against her. "Oh, I remember this area!" Octavia said, looking around, noticing they were now in the more upper-class area of the neighborhood. She then remembered something with a smile. "...There is somewhere I would like to show you."

"Um, okay. Lead the way." Vinyl said, following Octavia to her destination. They hurried down several streets and around several different buildings, until they finally arrived at the spot. Vinyl was taken aback by the beauty of the area: it was a grand fountain that was surrounded by anywhere from thirty to fourty street-lamps, the light shining off the rippling water and casting flickering lights around the surrounding buildings.

"Wow, this is beautiful Octy." Vinyl said, impressed.

"That is not all." Octavia said, nodding her head towards the fountain. "Wait here." She slipped out of the scarf, and hurried over to where a group of musicians were getting ready to pack up for the evening. "Wait, wait! I have only one request."

"I'm sorry, but it's getting late and we're tired. Come back tomorrow." One of the violinists responded curtly.

"...Absolutely, miss. We would be more than happy to play for you." The leader said, trotting out from the middle of the group. "Is there anything in particular you would like us to play?" The elderly stallion sat at his piano, ready to play. "Anyone who is not ready to play in the next thirty seconds will be fired." He said with a smile. The other musicians scrambled to set up their instruments, ready to perform on his command.

"Anything is fine really, I have no preference." Octavia said. "Thank you so much. I will be sure to pay you tomorrow." The pianist raised a hoof.

"There is no need for that. I know who you are and I am close friends with your father," he smiled. "Go on. Go to her."

Octavia blushed, and did as she was told. She hurried back to Vinyl, quickly putting the scarf back on. "Come with me." She lead Vinyl back over to where the ensemble was, and raised a hoof. "Would you like to dance with me?"

"Uh, dance? What kind?" Vinyl asked, confused.

"Well, maybe a waltz?" Octavia suggested.

"My mom taught me how to do that as a filly...I may be rusty, seeing as I haven't really done it in years." Vinyl said, mimicking Octavia as they both took the proper pose. "Just this once, alright? You're lucky nopony else is watching." Vinyl blushed.

"That is perfectly fine, Vinyl." Octavia said. The pianist took this as a cue and began to play. First came the tinkling of piano keys, slow and graceful, leading into the basic three-beat measure of the waltz. Octavia and Vinyl danced, slowly twirling in the soft light of the street-lamps, the music beginning to grow more robust as the strings accompanied the piano.

As they danced, they simply looked into one another's eyes. Octavia peered into Vinyl's ruby irises, feeling herself becoming mesmerized by their luminosity. Even in the low light they seemed to glow. She had never quite found them to be so beautiful as they were at that moment, illuminated in soft lamp light as they gracefully spun. These are the eyes that I will see every day for the rest of my life. Octavia blushed brightly as it sank in. I don't want to see any others...

Vinyl stared back into Octavia's violet eyes, her heart racing as their bodies moved in synchronous motion with the rhythm of the piece. For the first time since she had met Octavia, she was actually enjoying the slow, beautiful piano intertwining and creating a perfect harmony with the strings. I don't think I'll ever forget this night... Vinyl felt her eyelids stop halfway down her eyes as she stared lovingly into Octavia's. Octy really is the pony I'm meant to be with...

Just as the crescendo began to build, they danced closer and closer to one another, reveling in the feeling of the other's touch and warmth, the scarf still binding them together. They let go of their respective hoof-positions, bringing their faces closer and closer, until they met in a passionate kiss, Octavia wrapping her forelegs around Vinyl's neck, Vinyl's forelegs wrapped around Octavia's waist. The pianist smiled at the endearing sight. After a few moments, the kiss was broken, the pair simply looking into each other's eyes, nuzzling a few times.

"'ll never really know how much I love you..." Vinyl whispered.

"Nor will you understand..." Octavia responded, kissing Vinyl once more. The piece finished on another crescendo, and the pair tapped their hooves against the ground in applause.

"Thank you so much for performing for us. Your music was absolutely beautiful." Octavia said.

"Yeah, it was. I actually might be developing a taste for this stuff." Vinyl chuckled.

"It was our pleasure, fillies. Have a splendid evening." The pianist said, taking a bow. "Come everypony. We are done for the evening." The pianist said, throwing a tarp over his piano and locking the bolts that held it in place on the ground. The other musicians collected their instruments, and headed home.

Octavia and Vinyl began to make their way back to the house, their tails intertwined as they walked, the scarf pulling their heads closer to one another.

"Thank you for dancing with me, Vinyl...I feel so much better now." Octavia said softly, nuzzling Vinyl affectionately.

"Anything to help you out, Octy." Vinyl smiled, appreciating the nuzzle. "Maybe you'll sleep better tonight."

"I think so, too."

"How did you know to go to that spot? It seemed pretty out of the way." Vinyl asked.

"Well, my father used to take me there all the time when he would do errands. He would talk to his friends, and I would watch the performers play," she said."I grew up listening to their music. That is why classical music has such a hold on me. It is part of my upbringing." Octavia explained.

Vinyl thought about it, and smirked. "I guess I can live with that...I may not think it's cool, but it's fine."

"Oh, shut up." Octavia blushed.

After about twenty minutes of walking, the two returned to Octavia's home. They made their way back into Octavia's bedroom, climbing into bed together. The two mares snuggled up against one another, simply listening to the sound of the other's breathing as they fell asleep. When Octavia closed her eyes, she no longer saw the image of the angry ponies. She smiled unconsciously as she continued to dance with Vinyl.

Chapter Thirty-One

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"Are you sure you don't need anything else?" Madeline asked, filling up Octavia's saddlebags with whatever she could think of that she might need.

"I am positive, Mother. We have everything we need." Octavia sighed, allowing her mother to dote a little more before they left.

"Don't forget the letter I wrote. It's crucial that Marianna and I communicate over this. You also need to deliver the news of the wedding to them so that they can begin to make arrangements as well." Madeline instructed.

"Yes Mother. I know what to do." Octavia smiled. "No need to worry so much."

"It's wha' we do, dear. Soon enough, ye'll understand." Kester winked. "Vinyl, A'm trustin' ma' daughter to ye. Ye've proved capable o' protectin' her thus far. Keep up the good work," he smiled, nudging her shoulder with a hoof.

"You got it, Kester. She's just as important to me as she is to you, so you don't have worry." Vinyl grinned, taking her place at Octavia's side.

"Take care, Mother. We will send mail once we are settled into our new home." Octavia said, moving over and giving her mother a hug.

"Be safe." Madeline said softly, returning the embrace. Kester scooped Vinyl into a bone-crushing hug, setting her down a moment later when he heard her breathing stop.

"Sorry abou' tha'. Sometimes A' don' know ma' own strength." Kester chuckled.

"I think one of my ribs is broken..." Vinyl coughed, her breathing slowly returning to normal. Kester then trotted over to Octavia, smiling proudly. Octavia threw her forelegs around her father's neck, hugging him tightly.

"A'm so proud of ye, just don' know," Kester whispered softly, giving Octavia a small kiss on the side of her head.

"Thank you, Papa." Octavia replied softly.

"Remember what A' tol' ye. Stay safe, and stay out o' trouble." Kester said. "Yer mother an' A' will be by ta' visit soon."

"Of course, Papa. We would be more than happy to have you." Octavia smiled as they made their way to the front door. She and Vinyl exited the house, heading down the steps to where the carriage was waiting. Kester and Madeline stood out on the front step, watching as they entered the carriage.

"Ma' little 'Tavi's all grown up." Kester said, feeling his chest tighten as he bit his lip. He took a few deep breaths, and smiled. A few tears escaped, but the giant, proud smile he had on his face belied the fact that every memory of Octavia's fillyhood was rushing through his mind. Madeline leaned against him for support, shedding a few tears of her own. The carriage departed from Hoofington, making its way towards Ponyville once more.

"So Octy, what kind of wedding do you think you want?" Vinyl asked.

"Hmm...I was thinking something more traditional. In a church or chapel of some sort, roses and other flowers decorating the aisles, a soft classical piece playing in the background as we walk up the aisle..." Octavia said dreamily, recounting what she had envisioned for her perfect wedding. She looked over at Vinyl, and raised an eyebrow when Vinyl looked completely nonplussed.

"Okay, now that we're done talking about how your GRANDMA'S wedding, let's talk current day." Vinyl said bluntly.

"What, like you have something better in mind?" Octavia asked.

"I was just gonna let Pinkie take care of it." Vinyl said, leaning back against the carriage. Octavia's jaw dropped, remembering how wild the party back in Ponyville was.

"ABSOLUTELY NOT!" Octavia yelled. "She can plan the reception, but NOT the actual ceremony!"

"Woah, woah! No need to get so mad, Octy. It was just a suggestion." Vinyl said, raising her hooves.

"I'll have to talk to Rarity about a wedding dress...I wonder how much it will cost to have her make one. She gave me the dress to the party, so I will not take no for an answer if she tries to gift me the wedding dress as well."

"I guess I'm wearing a suit then, or am I wearing a dress too?" Vinyl wondered.

"I would prefer a dress, but whatever you feel most comfortable in." Octavia responded, retrieving a notepad and a pen from her saddlebag and jotting down her thoughts.

"You don't wanna give me that option, Octy." Vinyl smirked, her mind running rampant with possible wedding attire.

"What do you mean, Vinyl? This is our wedding we are speaking about here. I have been dreaming of my wedding since I was a filly, and I will not allow you to ruin it- even if you are the pony I am getting married to!" Octavia growled, staring directly at Vinyl.

"I was just gonna say I was coming au naturale, but now that you mention it..." Vinyl smirked mischievously, rubbing her chin with a hoof as the possibilities surged through her mind.

"Vinyl, I swear to Celestia if you ruin this for me-" Octavia was silenced as Vinyl placed a hoof to her mouth.

"Oh no, not ruin. Make better," she grinned, removing her hoof from Octavia's mouth.

"Somehow, I think that your definition of 'better' is more along the lines of 'natural disaster', Vinyl."

"Yeah, but it'll be an awesome disaster."

"No disaster is 'awesome', Vinyl!" Octavia said forcefully.

"Not until I get done with it."

"Ugh, you are incorrigible!"

"Incorrigible, or unstoppable?" Vinyl raised an eyebrow.

"Those words have NOTHING in common!" Octavia yelled, in awe at how she could take two words that had such different meanings as similar.

"Oh, you'll see,'ll see." Vinyl nodded with a smirk. Octavia shook her head, unable to comprehend what was going on behind those ruby red eyes. "That reminds me, who's gonna do the music?"

"I was thinking that our fathers could perform together." Octavia said. She blinked in surprise when Vinyl shifted forward in her seat.

"Trust me, Octy. Bad idea." Vinyl said.

"Why is that a bad idea? A harp and a violin compliment one another beautifully." Octavia reasoned, unable to see the issue.

"Sure, the instruments are good together, but what about the ponies USING the instruments? As much as I argue and fight with my dad, I don't wanna see your dad take him down because he made a snooty comment." Vinyl said, leaning back in her seat.

"My father is not the pony to let that kind of thing get to him. You have nothing to worry about." Octavia said, waving it off with a hoof.

"If you say so...I know how my dad can get, but if this is what you want, then go ahead." Vinyl said. "Don't say I didn't warn you, though..."

"I heard from Twilight that there are a trio of mares that can do floral arrangements, so I will go speak to them myself. Vinyl, I need you to go talk to Rainbow Dash and tell her to make sure that the weather is clear that day. I also need you to talk to Fluttershy to see if she can get some doves..."

"You're really putting some thought into it, aren't you?" Vinyl said, impressed.

"I want this to be perfect,'s my wedding day, and I want it to be special. It's the day that will make what we have permanent..." Octavia said with a blush. Vinyl blinked, blushing as well, smiling softly.

"'re right Octy. I guess I should be taking this a little more seriously." Vinyl said, scratching the back of her head with a hoof.

"Well, to be honest, I would have found it strange of you not to find a way to make it more 'crazy' or more 'awesome' as you put it." Octavia admitted. A small bout of silence passed between them as Octavia continued to write down more ideas that came to her, when Vinyl spoke up again.

"Hmmm...I guess I wouldn't mind wearing a dress...just this once." Vinyl blushed. Octavia practically flew out of her seat, pulling Vinyl into a crushing embrace.

"Thank you so much Vinyl! You have no idea how much this means to me..." Octavia said as she hugged her tightly.

"Yeah, that's why I'm doing it." Vinyl chuckled, returning the embrace.

"Okay, so that makes two dresses, taking care of the weather...oh, catering! I will definitely talk to Mrs. Cake about that, and perhaps Applejack. If her apple syrup is any indication, the mare knows her way around the kitchen." Octavia said, excitedly jotting down more things to do while in town. Vinyl chuckled to herself, watching Octavia go about her planning.

"You're pretty cute when you get all excited." Vinyl said, to which Octavia blushed.

"Do not get used to it...this is a special occasion, so I am handling it with a special type of care."

"Right, right." Vinyl smirked, leaning back to take a nap. "Wake me up when we get there."

"Mhm..." Octavia said, concentrating on her list of things to do.

The carriage continued on its way to Ponyville, Celestia's sun shining brightly in the mid-morning sky.

Chapter Thirty-Two

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Octavia nudged Vinyl awake. "Vinyl, wake up. We are almost in Ponyville." Vinyl raised her head from between her forelegs, blinking a few times to get her eyes readjusted to the light.

"Hmm? We almost there?" Vinyl murmured, rubbing an eye as she sat up. She stretched, feeling her joints pop and her muscles slowly coming to life. She looked out the window, and noticed that it was practically sunset. "Yeesh, how long have I been asleep?"

"A few hours now. We will begin preparing the house in the morning. When we get into town we will see who has space for us to stay until we can get our own house situated enough for us to sleep in."

"Sounds good...wanna split up and see who we can stay with? We can get it done faster that way." Vinyl suggested, shifting in her seat to prevent herself from getting comfortable again.

"That works. I will go talk to Rarity, Twilight and Fluttershy, and you can go see Applejack, Pinkie and Rainbow Dash- wait, now that I think of it, she lives in a cloud home, does she not?" Octavia questioned.

"I think so. I think she lives just outside of Cloudsdale." Vinyl said, remembering Rainbow Dash mentioning something along those lines.

"That settles that, I suppose." Octavia said. The carriage came to a stop near the center of town.

"We have arrived in Ponyville, Madam Staccato." One stallion said from outside.

"Yeah, we know, and for the tenth time please- call me Vinyl," she insisted as the two stepped out of the carriage.

"My apologies, Madam Staccato," the stallion bowed out of apology. Vinyl shook her head and turned to Octavia.

"So, we meet back here in an hour or so?" Octavia suggested.

"Sounds good to me. See you in a bit." Vinyl said. The two shared a quick kiss and parted ways for the time being.

Octavia made her way to the Carousel Boutique, thankful the lights were still on. She knocked on the front door and waited for a response.

"Coomiiiing~! A sing-song voice said from within. A few moments later, Rarity opened the door, and blinked in surprise. "Oh my goodness, Octavia! How wonderful to see you again!" Rarity said, throwing her forelegs around Octavia in a hug.

"Yes, it is great to see you too, Rarity." Octavia said, patting her on the back.

"Come in, come in! My home is your home." Rarity said, allowing Octavia to enter. The main area of the Boutique was as neat as she remembered, mannequins dressed up with new outfits Rarity had been working on lining the windows. Rarity lead her into the kitchen, where she used her magic to bring over a pot of tea and a few cups, pouring some out for Octavia and herself. "So what can I help you with, dear? How went the visit with your parents?" Rarity asked, sipping her tea.

"Oh, it was wonderful. Mother was very happy to see me, and of course Papa was being himself. I did have a bit of a close call with the lower-rungs of society a day or so ago, but I am fine and I would imagine the baby is fine," she answered.

"Whatever do you mean, dear?" Rarity asked, confused. Octavia went on to explain the incident in Southern Hoofington and how lucky they were that Kester had come looking for them. Rarity looked like she had just been slapped in the face.

"How appalling! To think ponies of this day and age are still so backwards on matters of love and courtship. Simply deplorable, and I am so sorry you had to experience that, Octavia. You do not have to worry about such things here in Ponyville," she reassured. "Your father sounds like quite the stallion, though. Where is he from?"

"He was born in Scoltland." Octavia answered. "He met my mother in Birminghoof, and have been together ever since."

"Ahh, a true story of l'amour. A simple country-colt making his way through the big city, meeting a high-society mare and falling in love. You must regale me of that story some time, dear." Rarity giggled. "One would say I am a sucker for romance stories and the like."

"Oh, I would love to." Octavia laughed, taking a sip of her tea. "This is delicious. Is this chamomile?"

"It's my own specialty. Chamomile with a tiny dash of mint and honey." Rarity said. "You never did answer my question, though. Is there anything I can help you with?"

"Well, as you know Vinyl and I bought a home here in Ponyville, but I can almost guarantee it is not ready to be used just yet. I was wondering if it would be alright for us to stay the night." Rarity sighed, dejected.

"Believe me, Octavia I would love to have you and Vinyl over, but it's my turn to take care of Sweetie and the Crusaders. I had just gotten done putting them to bed when you arrived. Celestia knows I could use rest after I take care of them," she said under breath.

"Also, I need one other thing from you..." Octavia said with a blush.

"Well, what is it, dear?" Rarity asked, curious to know why she was blushing.

"I...need a wedding dress." Octavia said meekly.


Vinyl was halfway to Sweet Apple Acres when she heard a scream in the distance, coming from town. "What the hay was THAT?"


"Oh Celestia THANK YOU for this opportunity! I have been DREAMING of the opportunity to create a wedding dress, and here it trots right in my front door- oh! This is simply WONDERFUL!" Rarity squealed in delight. "When is it? Where will it be held? What designs did you have in mind?" Rarity asked, a notepad and pen flying out of the nearest drawer and coming to rest in front of her.

"Um, well...I was willing to let you create it the way you wish. I do not have anything in particular in mind. I have complete faith in you that it will be perfect." Octavia smiled.

"F-Full c-creative r-reign?" Rarity stammered, her eyes brimming with tears of joy. "Octavia, I will make you the most BEAUTIFUL dress Equestria has EVER SEEN!" Rarity declared, slamming a hoof on the table.

"I look forward to whatever you have in mind. Oh, that reminds me- I need two of them. One for myself and one for Vinyl." Octavia mentioned, having forgotten to request Vinyl's dress as well.


Vinyl looked back as she heard yet another scream. "Okay, seriously- what IS that!?"


"Oh my...oh. I don't think my heart could take another surprise...Octavia, I promise you this- as long as my lungs still draw breath, I will put all of my effort into crafting the most exquisite wedding set any-pony has ever seen. I am staking my CAREER on this!"

"I really appreciate this, Rarity. How much are you going to charge for them? Do you accept checks?" Octavia said, reaching into her saddlebag.

"Octavia, if you pull out that checkbook I will throw you out on your rump. This is your WEDDING we are dealing with here, and I have to give you a gift."

"Oh, no, no, Rarity! I cannot allow you to do this again!" Octavia insisted.

"Octavia, I mean it. As your friend, these dresses are my gift to you. I will not hear another word on the matter. Now go, I have work to do." Rarity said, getting up from her seat and beginning to force Octavia out the door.

"E-Excuse me?" Octavia stuttered as she found herself being forcefully removed from the Boutique.

"I need you to leave. I have a lot of work to do and you have to find somewhere to stay. I will see you in the morning, dear."

Octavia found herself back outside as the door to the Boutique slammed shut. "Well, Rarity is out of the question...Perhaps Twilight will have room for us." She began to make her way towards the Library. I wonder if Vinyl has had any luck...

Vinyl made her way up to the main house at Sweet Apple Acres, and knocked on the front door. A few moments later, an elderly green mare leaning on a walker answered the door. She squinted at Vinyl, trying to figure out who she was. She saw the white coat, and recognized it immediately.

"M-Macintosh! That 'Rarity' filly's here to see ya!" The mare yelled back into the house.

"Granny, that ain't Rarity, and Mac's been in Appleloosa fer three days," another voice said.

"Geh, what's with all y'all young fillies, dyin' yer hair ter look like cotton candy an' lightnin'! Back in MY day, that kinda behavior would git ya a beatin' sumthin' fierce!" The elderly mare shuffled off, mumbling to herself as she went.

"Howdy, Vinyl." Applejack said, trotting up from behind the elderly mare. "Sorry 'bout that. Granny's vision just ain't what it was back in her day."

"It's fine, Applejack. Mind if I come in?"

"Sure thing, Vinyl. Come on in." Applejack said, taking a step back to allow Vinyl to enter. She looked around, felt like she had just walked into a saloon. The wooden walls and simple furniture made Vinyl feel right at home.

"I like this place. Real cozy."

"Well that's mighty kind of ya, Vinyl. So what can Ah do ya fer?" Applejack asked.

"Well, first thing's first. Do you have any room for me and Octy to stay? Our house isn't quite ready yet."

"That might not be a good idea, Vinyl. Granny's kinda old-fashioned, if ya get what Ah mean. Ah don't need her gettin' all riled up 'cause she found two mares sharin' a bed and what-not. Believe me, Ah'd like ta let ya stay, but Ah gotta make sure Granny don't keel over."

"Yeah, I get you. Also, I was wondering...would you guys be willing to cater for a wedding?"

"A weddin'? Well shee-yoot! Who's gettin' hitched?"

"That'd be me." Vinyl chuckled sheepishly.

"Well ain't that somethin'! Congratulations, Vinyl! Ah'd be more'n happy t' cater for yer weddin'. So are ya just lookin' fer deserts or anythin' in particular?"

"Yeah, mostly. We'll probably go to one of the other restaurants to get the actual meals, but Octy and I had you and Sugarcube Corner in mind for deserts and stuff."

"Well thank ya kindly fer keepin' us in mind. We've got an entire orchard's worth in terms a' options. Just get back to me on what y'all would like, and Ah'll get right to buckin'." Applejack winked.

"Thanks, AJ. You're one cool pony." Vinyl said, nudging her shoulder with a hoof.

"Think nothin' of it, Vinyl. We're all friends, and we do what we can ter make ya feel welcomed, 'specially 'cause yer one'a us now."

"Yup!" Vinyl said as she walked back outside.

"Remember what Ah said. Ah need that order filled out so Ah can get ta work. Have a good one!" Applejack said.

"Yep, you too!" Vinyl responded as she left. "Well, we've got the deserts and stuff taken care of, I wonder how it went at Rarity's," she said to herself.

The two mares continued with their errands, trying to get everything solved before nightfall so the following day could be focused on preparing their new home.

Chapter Thirty-Three

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Octavia found herself in the center of town, by the fountain that marked it. I think I need to sit down...I am feeling a bit winded. She made her way to the nearest bench and sat on it, taking some time to gather herself. She took a moment to take in the scenery, the cool winter breeze sweeping through her mane and coat, cooling her nicely. She sighed happily, enjoying her surroundings when she heard the sounds of a familiar instrument. Is that a lyre? Octavia looked around and found a certain unicorn, doing a small performance for a tiny crowd of maybe seven or eight other ponies. "I never knew Lyra did street she ailing that much financially?" Octavia simply sat back as she listened.

Lyra swayed to the simple rhythm of the piece she was playing, her eyes closed as she envisioned a scene. A meadow under the moonlit sky, the moon casting beautiful rays of pale white light upon the area. The wind sang its melody as it brushed by, the grass and the trees swaying as if bowing in reverence at its beauty. Lyra hoped that maybe today, the crowd would be more generous.

Octavia was swept away by Lyra's playing. I always knew she was good, but I never even fathomed she was at this level. She deserves so much more than that small crowd... Octavia opened her eyes and looked around. One of the nearby flower carts was about to close. She quickly hurried over. "Miss, I would like to make a quick purchase before you close." The mare running the cart sighed, unable to deny a customer.

"What would you like to buy, Miss?" she smiled.

"One bouquet of roses, please." Octavia requested.

"That will be eight bits, please," she said in return. Octavia reached into her saddlebag and retrieved the pouch her mother had left in the right pocket. She placed the eight bits on the cart, and received the bouquet.

"These are magnificent. They are perfect."

"I am so glad you like them. Have a good evening!"

"Same to you," Octavia said as she made her way over to the small group. Lyra finished her piece, and gave a bow. She heard the gentle tapping of hooves...but nothing else. She felt her heart sink as the confidence she had built up came crashing down- until she heard the sound of leaves rustling. She opened her eyes, and saw a gorgeous bouquet of roses laying at her hooves. She looked up and saw Octavia smiling warmly.

"I hope you like them. That was a beautiful piece, and when a musician performs a beautiful piece, the performer should be awarded with roses." Octavia said.

Lyra felt her heart hitch, her eyes brimming with tears. Never in her life did she imagine that her dream would be fulfilled, even if on such a minor scale, by a pony she once considered her mortal enemy and her greatest rival.

"Octavia, I...I don't know what to say...I..." Lyra stammered, completely overwhelmed by Octavia's gesture. She lifted the bouquet of roses to her nose, taking in their soft scent. "They're absolutely beautiful."

"I am so glad, Lyra. Come, you and I should talk for a little while. I am a bit ahead of schedule, so I can spend a little time."

"Of course. Just let me pack up my things and take these roses home. I will be right back!" Lyra said, giddily running off to put her roses in water.

Octavia smiled, proud of herself. I did a good thing today. Once Lyra returned, they began to walk around the fountain, circling over and over as they talked.

"How long have you been doing street performances? With your level of skill I would have imagined you would have a much bigger following." Octavia asked.

"Well, I do have a small following, but I make my real money through my concert performances, as you know. Unfortunately, my performance ability seems to only be truly appreciated in Canterlot, which I will admit, was one reason I didn't like you- you had the life I wanted. You are an incredibly talented performer, and you don't even need magic. I've even been compared to you, such as 'She doesn't need magic, you should be better than her- you actually HAVE magic' and 'The fact that she is so much better than you without the use of magic goes to show that you've already hit your peak,' amongst other very wounding comments..."

"I am so sorry, Lyra...I had no idea." Something then came to mind. " would you like to become the accompanying lyre to our harpist? I am certain that Harpo would not mind." Octavia suggested.

"Octavia...are you...are you offering me a position in your ensemble?" Lyra asked, completely stunned by the sudden offer.

"Did I stutter?" Octavia smirked, to which Lyra smiled.

"I'd be honored, Octavia." Lyra replied. "Look at us, being so friendly to one another after fighting for so really was petty, thinking back on it."

"Indeed...which is why I also want to make this request of you, and you have every right to deny it, judging by the fact that I am sure there are things you still have not forgiven me over." Octavia said, building her courage.

"What request?" Lyra asked, stopping to listen closely.

"I am getting married, Lyra. Vinyl and I are engaged..." Octavia said. She swallowed hard, and took the plunge. "I was curious if you would be willing to be my mare of honor..."

Lyra blinked, completely shocked by Octavia's sudden request. "I-I-I-" Lyra stuttered.

"You have every right to say no, Lyra. I do not want you to feel pressured." Octavia said, raising a hoof.

Lyra blushed heavily. "Octavia...that's a spot reserved only for your closest you really see me that way?"

Octavia blushed slightly, rubbing the side of her head. "Well, I have known you for a long time, and while it was not on the best terms, I would like to think that that is behind us and that we are close enough to consider us yes, I would like it if you would be my mare of honor."

Lyra smiled. "I'm very touched that you think of me that way, Octavia. I'd be happy to. Oh, and congratulations on your engagement," she grinned. The two shared a quick embrace.

"Thank you, Lyra. It really does mean a lot to me. I hate to end this so quickly, but I need to go visit Twilight. We are looking for a place to stay until our home is ready, and there are a few things I need to request of her."

"Oh, alright. If she doesn't have room, Bonbon and I will gladly lend you our guest room." Lyra said as Octavia headed off.

"I will definitely keep that in mind." Octavia smiled. That went over swimmingly...what a relief. I'm grateful Lyra was so willing. Maybe Bonbon will be willing to do the same for Vinyl... She arrived at the Library, and knocked a few times. The door opened, and Octavia was forced to look down when she saw nopony there.

"Oh, you're back! How was your trip, Octavia?" Spike asked, opening the door for her to enter.

"It was interesting to say the least, Spike. I appreciate you asking, though. You are turning out to be the fine gentlecolt."

"Heh, yeah. I am, aren't I?" Spike grinned, always appreciating a good ego-stroking.

"Is Twilight home?" Octavia asked.

"Yeah, she's just upstairs. Be sure to knock though. She was doing a bit of studying, so she didn't want any distractions," he advised.

"I will only be just a minute." Octavia said, heading up the stairs. She went to knock on the door, when she felt it open slightly. She peeked inside, seeing Twilight fast asleep at her desk. Octavia blinked in surprise when she saw Trixie appear from the edge of her view, draping a comforter over Twilight so she could rest comfortably without being disturbed from her slumber. She smiled when she saw Trixie lean over and give Twilight a gentle kiss on the side of her head, brushing a bit of her mane out of her face. Octavia immediately backed up when Trixie began to make her way towards the door. Unfortunately, she wasn't quick enough.

"Trixie demands you explain to her your presence here!"

Oh, right. The illeism. "I just wanted to speak to Twilight. I did not intend to peek in on you two. What you did was very sweet, though." Octavia smiled, to which Trixie blushed heavily.

"The only pony that will ever get treatment like that from The Kind and Loving Trixie is Twilight Sparkle. As you saw, Twilight is asleep. Perhaps there is something Trixie can help you with?"

"Would Twilight have an extra room for Vinyl and I to stay in for a few nights?" This immediately set off Trixie's penchant for being over-protective of Twilight.

"Perhaps something else?" Trixie asked, unamused.

"Can you conjure fireworks?" Octavia asked simply.

"Fireworks? Bah! Such a feat is water under the bridge for a showmare the caliber of The Great and Powerful Trixie! What kind of event is it for?"

"A wedding."



Trixie blinked. "Yours? Oh, right- the unicorn with the lightning mane. Well, Trixie is content that you two have decided to take the big step." As well as jealous. Trixie has not yet mustered the courage to propose... "Trixie will talk to Twilight in the morning about a fireworks performance."

"Oh, thank you so much, Trixie! I am confident in your abilities."

"As you should be."

Octavia headed back downstairs, finding Spike getting ready for bed. "So was Twilight able to help you out?"

"Twilight is fast asleep. Trixie was very helpful, though." Octavia said, making her way towards the front door.

"Trixie? Helpful? Are you sure we're talking about the same pony here?"

"She has a silver mane and an azure coat, no?" Octavia asked, turning to face him.

"Yeah?" Spike returned.

"Then we are talking about the same pony." Octavia giggled, shaking her head slightly.

"If you say so." Spike said, climbing up the stairs. "I still don't believe you, though.

"Have a good night, Spike."

"Same to you, Octavia." Spike said, waving her off.

Octavia shut the door behind her, hearing the door lock a moment later. "Hm. I guess if Fluttershy and Pinkie do not have space, I will definitely take Lyra up on her offer," she said to herself.

Octavia then began to make her way towards Fluttershy's cottage, pleased with the progress she had made so far.

Chapter Thirty-Four

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"I wonder how things are going with Octy..." Vinyl wondered out loud as she made her way towards Sugarcube Corner. She followed the main road, taking care to keep an eye out for the confectionery. I could REALLY go for some of those pancakes right about now... She sighed happily, imagining the delicious meal of apple-syrup covered pancakes sitting in front of her as she walked. Several other ponies stared at her curiously as she passed them by, a blissful and dreamy expression on her face- that is, until she bumped into Octavia.

"Hey, watch where you're-" Vinyl started, opening her eyes. "Octy? I'm so sorry, are you alright!?" She quickly moved over to Octavia, helping her back up.

"I am fine, Vinyl...but how many times have we discussed that you really need to pay attention to where you are walking?" Octavia reprimanded.

"I know, I know but...pancakes..." she murmured dejectedly.

"What?" Octavia asked, confused. Vinyl blushed slightly out of embarrassment.

"N-nothing. How'd it go with Rarity and Twilight?" Vinyl asked, curious.

"Well, it went very well with Rarity. She has opted to create our dresses from scratch...and refuses to let me pay for it."

"Oh, okay." Vinyl responded.

"Okay? That is all you have to say? You are not upset that, yet again, Rarity is doing us a favor and expecting nothing in return?" Octavia protested. "She already crafted the beautiful party dress for me, and now she is going as far as making our wedding dresses, and-" Octavia was about to continue when Vinyl held her jaw closed with a hoof.

"If that's what she really wants to do, then I say let her. I mean, friends do for friends without asking for anything back, right?" Vinyl reasoned. Octavia thought about it for a moment, and sighed.

"I know...I just feel like I am imposing on her, and I feel that her work deserves reimbursement."

"Well I'm sure you can get her a new purse some other time." Vinyl said, patting her on the back.

"A new purse? What are you talking about? I never said-" Octavia stopped for a moment as she retraced her thoughts, and face-hoofed. "Vinyl, I said 'reimbursed'. It means 'to pay back.'"

" you're gonna pay her back by buying her a new purse? That's nice of you, Octy." Vinyl grinned.

"Vinyl, I- nevermind..." Octavia sighed, giving up. She knew all she would be doing was wasting her breath. "As for Twilight, she and Trixie will take care of the fireworks and pyrotechnics."

"What about a place to stay?" Vinyl asked.

"Trixie said there was no space, and Rarity said that she was taking care of Sweetie Belle and her friends...which is peculiar. She screamed her heart out when I made the requests for the dresses-"

"So THAT'S what that was! I heard it all the way out near Sweet Apple Acres." Vinyl said, cutting Octavia off. Octavia stared at her for a moment, waiting until Vinyl realized how impolite she had been. "Oh. Sorry, Octy. Go on."

"Thank you. She said she had just put Sweetie Belle, Apple Bloom and Scootaloo to bed...I am surprised she did not wake them."

"Heh, if I know those fillies, just 'cause she put them to bed doesn't mean they stayed there. Kinda reminds me of myself when I was a filly. I kinda hope that our kid-" Vinyl was suddenly silenced when Octavia practically rammed her hoof down her throat.

"You will NOT jinx this! Understood?!" Octavia growled threateningly, to which Vinyl nodded.

"So, where do we go now? I was gonna go check on Pinkie," Vinyl said as she turned in the direction of Sugarcube Corner.

"Well, we still need to speak to Fluttershy about the doves. We will head to her cottage, and then head to Sugarcube Corner. I am still in the process of preparing myself mentally for dealing with Pinkie."

"Yeah, I get you. Pinkie can be a hoof-full at times, but she's got a good heart. I'm just sure she's not quite right in the head." Vinyl chuckled.

"That sounds strangely familiar...where have I heard that before?" Octavia said sarcastically, looking directly at Vinyl.

"Hm? What're you looking at me for? Do I have something on my face?" Vinyl asked.

"No, Vinyl. No you do not." Octavia said flatly. The two continued on their way towards Fluttershy's cottage, finding the tiny home with smoke floating out of the chimney. Octavia knocked on the door and waited for a response.

"Fluttershy? Fluttershy, are you home?" Octavia called out. The only response they got was a faint whimper coming from within. "It is me, Octavia! I'm here with Vinyl, Fluttershy!" After a few moments of silence, the door opened only enough for a single eye to peer out at them.

"H-Hello again, Octavia...I'm sorry for not answering sooner. I don't usually get visitors at this hour..." Fluttershy said softly, opening the door.

"We are sorry for disturbing you, Fluttershy. Would you mind if we came in?" Octavia asked.

"Of course not...please come in- that is...if you don't mind." Fluttershy said, backing away to let them in.

"Thank you, Fluttershy." Octavia said as the two entered.

"Hi Fluttershy, how ya doing?" Vinyl asked.

"Um...I'm doing okay, I guess..." she responded timidly. The three sat in the living room, facing one another. "...Um, what can I help you with, Octavia?"

"Well, Vinyl and I have made the decision to make our relationship official...we have decided to get married." Octavia blushed, Vinyl grinning from ear to ear.

"Oh my, that's wonderful news. Is there anything at all that I can do to help?" Fluttershy asked.

"We were wondering if you would be able to have a flock of doves chirp the "Wedding Canter" as Vinyl and I exit the chapel?"

"What a lovely idea, Octavia. Do you want it to just be doves? I can also find mockingbirds, sparrows, and nightingales to sing with the doves...that is, if you want to." Fluttershy suggested.

"That would be lovely! Whatever you think is best, Fluttershy. You are the expert." Octavia smiled, to which Fluttershy blushed heavily at the compliment.

"Th-thank you, Octavia. Is there anything else I can help you with?"

"Do you have space for us to sleep for a couple of days? Our house isn't ready yet." Vinyl asked.

"Oh, I'm so sorry Vinyl...I would love to let you stay, but my only extra room is being used by Applebloom, Sweetie Belle and Scootaloo. It was my turn to take care of them tonight." Octavia frowned heavily at this, something not quite adding up.

"I am very sorry to say this, Fluttershy...but that does not make sense. I was just at Rarity's, and she said she had just put the girls to sleep," she remarked. Fluttershy looked shocked.

"Well, that can't be right...I was certain that-" Fluttershy's eyes widened. "Oh no..." she murmured, just barely above a whisper. Suddenly, Fluttershy took to her hooves, rushing past them and up her stairs.

"Fluttershy?! What's the matter?" Octavia called after her, the two following close behind her. Fluttershy threw the guest room door open, and gasped when she saw the fillies were nowhere to be found, and saw the one window in the bedroom open.

"Oh no...oh no oh no oh no..." Fluttershy whimpered, sinking down to the ground, on the verge of tears. "I can't believe I let them escape again..."

"Don't worry, Fluttershy. We'll go find them, right Octy?" Vinyl said.

"Of course we are- wait what?!" Octavia said, looking at Vinyl incredulously. Vinyl nodded her head in Fluttershy's direction, gesturing to her to say something that would calm the frightened pegasus down.

"O-Of course we are, Fluttershy. No need to worry, alright? We will be back with the fillies, and they will all be safe and sound." Octavia said, reassuring her.

"Th-thank you, Octavia...I just don't know what I'd do if they got hurt on my watch..." Fluttershy sniffled.

"We'll find them in no time. Let's go Octy!" Vinyl said, heading down the stairs.

"Right." Octavia said, following suit.

The two dashed out of the house, heading down the dirt path that lead back to town. "Be careful!" Fluttershy called out after them.

"Where to first, Octy?" Vinyl asked as they galloped as quickly as their legs would take them.

"Rarity's." Octavia said.

*~The Boutique~*

"Well that just can't be right! They told me that Fluttershy couldn't take care of them because she had an emergency with a bear." Rarity said, sounding like she had just been accused of murder.

"We understand that, Rarity. They probably tricked you so they would not get in trouble." Octavia said, panting slightly.

"Can we come in and check to see if they're still here?" Vinyl asked.

"O-Of course! I'm positive they're all sound asleep, though. I don't see why they wouldn't be..." Rarity said, a thought coming to mind. "Wait, earlier...when you requested your dresses, I screamed in excitement. I found it strange that they didn't wake up, but I shrugged it off, thinking they were too tired."

"You didn't think to check?" Vinyl asked.

" I don't suppose I did...oh dear." Rarity said softly. The three rushed upstairs, and found the same scene that they saw at Fluttershy's- an empty bed and an open window.

"Oh dear, Sweetie Belle!" Rarity panicked, fearing for her sister. Octavia patted Rarity on the back reassuringly.

"No need to worry. I am certain she is, if I were a filly their age, and I wanted to go and have an exciting adventure late at night...where would I go?" Octavia thought out loud. The three thought about it, and all reached the same conclusion.

"Pinkie's!" The three said in unison. They all dashed out of the Boutique, making a beeline for Sugarcube Corner. Within minutes the three were at Sugarcube Corner's front step. They looked up at the second floor, seeing what looked like the barrel of a cannon sticking out of a window.

"That's not how ya do it, Scoots! Yer supposed ta' load the black-powder in first, then the confetti! Here, Ah'll do it!" One voice said.

"No way! I said I was gonna load the confetti!" Scootaloo responded.

"When do I get a turn?" Sweetie Belle whined, wanting to join in on the fun. The three noticed Pinkie sitting outside Sugarcube Corner, her hooves raised as if she was trying to get an angle.

"Pinkie Pie! What do you think you're doing!?" Rarity yelled. "Sweetie Belle, come down here this INSTANT!"

"Oh, hiya Rarity!" Pinkie smiled giddily. She turned to look who else was with her, and the smile only grew. "OCTY! SCRATCHIE!" she yelled, immediately pouncing them into a hug. "It's SOOO good to see you again! Did your trip go good? I bet it did! I knew you'd be back soon! The Pinkie Sense NEVER fails!" Pinkie said, pleased with herself.

"Pinkie, what is going on in that skull of yours!? That's a CANNON! Why are you letting three YOUNG FILLIES operate that thing!?" Vinyl said, unable to believe that Pinkie could be THIS crazy. Pinkie giggled in response.

"It's not a real cannon, silly filly! It's my new Party Cannon, for partying on the go! The girls wanted to give it a test run and see if they can get their pyro-party-technics cutie marks!" Pinkie then turned towards Sugarcube Corner. "OKAY GIRLS! GO FOR IT!" Pinkie yelled. The girls loaded what confetti they could into the barrel, and waited.

"Uh, what now?" Applebloom asked.

"Aren't we supposed to pull a string?" Scootaloo said.

"Wait, you mean this one?" Sweetie Belle asked.

"SWEETIE BELLE! WAI-" They were drowned out by the deafening roar of the cannon going off as a blast of confetti catapulted the fillies out of the window and into each of the mares standing outside. Unfortunately, that was not the end of it. Burning bits of confetti flitted about inside of the room, setting the curtains on fire, which quickly grew into a roaring inferno. Mr. and Mrs. Cake quickly rushed outside to find the source of the noise.

"What in Equestria was that!?" Mr. Cake yelled. The two turned and looked upward, Mrs. Cake screaming in shock. "MY HOUSE!" Mr. Cake yelled. This was too much for the poor stallion to handle, passing out from the sight of his home burning. The three fillies climbed off of their saviors, covered in soot and confetti. Their jaws dropped at the sight before them, and all swallowed together.

"Uh oh..." They all said together. The three tried to look to Pinkie for some sort of salvation, but she was mysteriously nowhere to be found.

Vinyl then looked at Octavia. "Lyra and Bonbon's?"

"Lyra and Bonbon's." Octavia replied quietly. Mrs. Cake continued to panic, Rarity doing her best to try and calm her down. Within minutes, firefighter unicorns were on the scene, using magic to suspend barrels of water over the fire, dumping their contents on the burning building. To make matters worse, the cannon fell through the heavily-damaged floor and into the main lobby, embedding itself in the floor.

"A cannon? Really?!" One firefighter unicorn questioned, unable to comprehend why ANYPONY would try something so stupid. Once the fire was put out and the Crusaders escorted back to Sweet Apple Acres by an absolutely furious Applejack and Rarity, Octavia and Vinyl began to make their way towards Lyra and Bonbon's. After a period of silence, Vinyl spoke up.

"Not gonna lie...that was pretty awesome." Vinyl chuckled.

"Oh, shut up." Octavia muttered as she planted a hoof in Vinyl's side.

Chapter Thirty-Five

View Online

The smell of burnt wood and pastries still filled the air as Octavia and Vinyl made their way towards Lyra and Bonbon's home. They saw the firefighter carriage speed past them, headed back to the fire station. "I gotta say, they got there pretty quickly. If they took any longer than they did, the fire woulda spread." Vinyl said as they walked. At this point, many other ponies had come out of their homes, having both heard the explosion and smelled the fire. A group of them were making their way towards Sugarcube Corner to inspect the damage and check on the Cakes, others merely milling about as they tried to figure out what exactly happened. They eventually bumped into Lyra and Bonbon, who had come out of their home after hearing the commotion.

"Octavia, Vinyl! Did you hear about what happened? There was an explosion at Sugarcube Corner and it caught fire and nearly burned to the ground! Oh, I hope nopony was hurt..." Bonbon said, clearly shaken by the events. Lyra was standing close to her, comforting her.

"Nopony was hurt, thankfully. At least, not that we saw." Octavia said.

"What do you mean that 'you saw?' Were you there?" Lyra asked, Bonbon immediately turning her attention to Octavia.

"I would prefer if we talked about this inside...I do not want anypony getting wrong ideas..." Octavia said, looking rather nervous.

"Right." Lyra said. Lyra and Bonbon lead them back towards their house, the four entering and quickly shutting the door. Once in the light, they noticed just how disheveled both Octavia and Vinyl looked.

"My goodness! You two are covered in ash and..." Bonbon squinted. " that confetti?"

"Well, you see..." Octavia went on to explain the incident at Sugarcube Corner, all the way from discovering that the fillies were missing from Fluttershy's cottage, all the way up to where they stood at that very moment. "Thankfully, nopony was hurt. The girls are under the care of Applejack and Rarity, Pinkie is nowhere to be found, and Mr. Cake passed out from the shock, but was coming to as we left."

"A party cannon? That Pinkie Pie is something else..." Lyra sighed, trotting over to her couch and taking a seat. "I'm just glad the fillies are alright. What in Equestria were they thinking, though? Trying out a cannon, and Pinkie! Why would she EVER think that letting a trio of school-aged fillies operate a CANNON would be acceptable?!"

"Well, having known Pinkie for as long as I have, she probably didn't mean any harm. She just wanted to have fun and let the girls have a little fun as well," Vinyl shrugged.

"There are limits for everything, Vinyl...while Pinkie may not have meant any harm, it could have been very ugly. Thank Celestia it did not escalate from there," Octavia reasoned. "That aside, would you mind if I used your shower? I need to get all this soot off of me...Vinyl can go in after me."

"Of course, Octavia. Also, have you found a place to stay?" Bonbon asked.

"In fact, we have not. Would it be alright if we stayed here?" Octavia asked in return, trying not to dirty anything with the soot still clinging to her coat.

"Absolutely! While you take your baths Lyra and I will go prepare the guest room. Feel free to stay as long as you like. I'm afraid you might stay a little longer than you previously thought, seeing as most of the repair ponies will now be working on Sugarcube Corner," Bonbon said.

"Well, if it helps expedite the repair process, we will be more than happy to help in any way we can, right Vinyl?" Octavia suggested.

"Yeah, sure." Vinyl said. "Hey Octy, why don't we just get in the bath together? It'll be faster that way."

Octavia turned to Lyra and Bonbon. "Would it be alright? I do not want to make you feel uncomfortable in your own home."

Lyra looked at Bonbon, who didn't seem to mind. "Go right ahead, we don't mind. The bathtub is a little small, though."

"We'll be fine, Lyra. Our bathroom in our apartment in Canterlot is pretty small, so we've managed. Where can we get towels?" Vinyl asked.

"Up the stairs and in the closet on the right side of the bathroom door," Lyra pointed out. Vinyl went over to the closet and retrieved two towels for her and Octavia to use.

"We'll be out in a little bit." Vinyl said as the two slipped into the bathroom and shut the door. With that taken care of, Lyra and Bonbon made their way down the hallway and began to prepare the guest bedroom.

Octavia got the water started, Vinyl removing her goggles and setting them on the bathroom sink. Octavia did the same with her bow tie, setting it next to Vinyl's goggles. The pair entered the tub, and sighed in unison as they felt the warm water seep through their coat. "Hey Octy, want me to wash your back?"

"That would be very nice of you, Vinyl." Octavia shifted as best she could in the tub, trying to get her back to Vinyl. "Wow, this tub IS pretty small-" Octavia said as she struggled to turn.

"Here, let me help you." Vinyl leaned forward to put her hooves on Octavia's back to help her get adjusted, but slipped forward and nearly forced Octavia out of the bath, causing her to yelp in surprise.


Lyra and Bonbon looked at one another, having heard the yelp. They listened for any other sounds, and went back to their task when they were met with silence.


"Vinyl, be careful! You almost pushed me out!" Octavia reprimanded.

"Sorry Octy! I lost my balance," Vinyl apologized. "Need help getting back in place?"

"Yes, I do." Octavia reached a hoof out to Vinyl, but in turn lost her balance and fell face-first into Vinyl's chest, causing her to yell in surprise.


Lyra and Bonbon looked up once more, their eyes wide. "You don't think...?" Lyra started.

"They couldn't be..." Bonbon finished.


"Octy, that hurt! Maybe you should practice what you preach!" Vinyl said, rubbing her chest.

"Sorry, Vinyl...I was just trying to reach out to you for help," Octavia said.

"Well, now that we're not falling all over each other, let's actually take a bath," Vinyl suggested. She used her magic to levitate a bottle of soap over to them. She squeezed it, but nothing came out. "C'mon you stupid bottle!" She grunted with frustration as she repeatedly tried to get the soap out.


Lyra and Bonbon blushed as they heard the repeated grunts, their eyes wide.

"They are!" They whispered in unison. They quickly rushed out of the room and stood near the bathroom door, leaning in to listen.

"Do you hear anything?" Bonbon asked.

"Shh, shh! One of them is talking!" Lyra said, hushing her.


"Vinyl, you are going to make a mess, give it here!" Octavia said, frustrated. She reached over and began to fight with Vinyl over trying to get the soap out, until Vinyl used her magic to force it out, causing the bottle to explode and cover their faces in soap, the two screaming in pain as it got in their eyes.

"OH CELESTIA!" Octavia screamed.

Vinyl was completely incoherent, yelling loudly as she desperately tried to get the soap out of her eyes.


Lyra was speechless as she listened to the commotion within, Bonbon blushing like mad. "They're so bold! I would never think of such intimacy in another pony's home!"

"Tell me about it! I never would have guessed Octavia and Vinyl were so...liberal with their bedroom activities!" Lyra whispered in return.


Octavia and Vinyl tried to wash their eyes out, but the overly soapy water did nothing to help. They made the attempt to dunk their heads under the water, which resulted in them knocking their heads together, causing them to yell in pain yet again and sink under the water momentarily.

Lyra and Bonbon continued leaning forward until they were hitting the door. They expected resistance, and to their shock, there was none- apparently Vinyl had forgotten to close the door all the way. Lyra and Bonbon collapsed in a heap onto the middle of the bathroom floor, Octavia and Vinyl panting slightly as they had only resurfaced a moment before. They all looked at one another, the only one not blushing from embarrassment being Vinyl. Vinyl gave a bashful grin, chuckling sheepishly.

"Uh...wanna join?" Vinyl asked. The only response she got was Octavia's hoof upside her head.

Chapter Thirty-Six

View Online

The four mares sat in the living room, staring off in different directions, save for Vinyl. Octavia couldn't bear to look Lyra or Bonbon in the face, the other two looking away in embarrassment for being caught listening in. The silence between them was palpable. Vinyl simply sat there, staring off into space, until she eventually grew frustrated with no pony talking.

"Ugh, come on! What happened happened. It's not like we were actually DOING anything. It was just a giant misunderstanding!" Vinyl yelled, annoyed. "The only question I have is why you two were listening," Vinyl said as she turned to face Lyra and Bonbon. "I'm fairly sure you two were a little more interested in watching than listening, am I right?"

Lyra and Bonbon both turned a bright shade of red at Vinyl's comment. "N-NO! Of course not! What you two do with one another is private and personal between you two, and...we're sorry for eavesdropping," Bonbon said softly.

"Honestly, I can't blame ya. I mean, who wouldn't wanna-" Vinyl started, but was cut short when Octavia slapped her hoof over Vinyl's mouth.

"You are not finishing that sentence. Not while I am still able to draw breath." Octavia said, staring at Vinyl out of the corners of her eyes. "Putting what Vinyl said aside, I do apologize if we created an...awkward situation for you."

"Oh, it's quite alright. I did tell you that the tub was a little too small," Lyra chuckled. "You said you got soap in your eyes? Which soap did you try to use?"

"The one in the green bottle." Vinyl said, rather displeased with the painful result.

"Bonbon, I thought you said you threw that out!" Lyra said, turning to Bonbon.

"Hehe...well...I guess I forgot..." Bonbon blushed, embarrassed. "Well, I recently bought Fleur De Lis' newest shampoo product. I tried it when I was on vacation in Canterlot not too long ago, and I haven't used another brand since. We have a few bottles here if you decide to take another bath."

"Fleur De Lis? I have met her a few times before. Her and her husband Fancy Pants approached me after a concert one day to praise me. She is quite grounded, and the few times we spoke she was very nice," Octavia said.

"Was she that pink mare that looked like she hadn't eaten in a month?" Vinyl asked rather bluntly.

"Vinyl! I am certain Fleur works very hard to maintain her figure. Just because you were blessed with a splendid figure does not mean the rest of us were," Octavia said.

"Heh, I am pretty sexy," Vinyl grinned, running a hoof along her side, to which Octavia face-hoofed.

"Do you see what I put up with?" Octavia sighed, shaking her head. Lyra and Bonbon merely laughed.

"She is definitely a special mare, I will give you that," Lyra said. "Well, it is getting pretty late. Bonbon and I will be turning in for the night, you are welcome to do the same. We had just finished preparing your room know," she blushed. "Have a good night," she said as they both got up and headed up the stairs.

"Right...well, it has been a crazy day. Come along, Vinyl..." Octavia said, getting up from her seat and trotting up the stairs behind Lyra and Bonbon. Vinyl quickly followed, the two pairs splitting off into rooms across from one another. Vinyl and Octavia stared at the bed before them.

"It's kinda small," Vinyl said.

"Well, beggars cannot be choosers," Octavia said, climbing into bed. Vinyl climbed in after her, trying to find space.

"Uh, you think you could scoot over a bit?"

"Any more and I will be on the floor, Vinyl..." Octavia responded, unwilling to budge.

"I don't have any space- move over!" Vinyl said, planting two hooves on Octavia's back and pushing.


Lyra and Bonbon had just settled into bed and were reading a book together when they heard a yelp and a resounding thud coming from the room across from theirs. They both stopped for a moment, but chose to ignore it.


"V-Vinyl! I cannot believe you pushed me out of bed!" Octavia said, very much upset.

"Well, you wouldn't move, so I moved you," Vinyl said, sticking her tongue out at Octavia.

"..." Octavia merely glared at Vinyl.


Both Lyra and Bonbon looked up when they heard yet another yell coming from the other room, trying not to let their minds wander. "Just ignore it, Bonbon...I'm sure it's nothing," Lyra said.

"R-Right...of course..." Bonbon said softly, laying back down.


Vinyl climbed back up off the ground, staring at Octavia.

"You moved me, so I moved you in return," Octavia smirked, sticking her tongue out cutely.

"LOOK! Let's just try to get comfortable and get some rest, alright?" Vinyl said softly, trying not to yell as she climbed back up into bed.

"Fair enough," Octavia said, laying back down, trying to adjust herself so that Vinyl would get a fair share of bed space.


Lyra and Bonbon sighed with relief when the sounds stopped. "You see? They were probably just trying to get-"

"Vinyl, stop that! That hurts!"

"I'm trying Octy, but you're not giving me much to work with!"

"-comfortable?" Lyra said, her eyes wide at what they had just heard.

"I-It's just another misunderstanding, Lyra. Just ignore it," Bonbon said, a giant blush across her face.


"Vinyl, please! Your hoof is digging into my back!" Octavia whispered, wincing slightly from the pain.

"Octy, I can't move much! You're just gonna have to deal with it!"

"Ugh!" Octavia shifted again, accidentally kicking Vinyl in the flank.


Lyra and Bonbon were about to settle back down when they heard Vinyl's yelp.

"Octy, you know I'm sensitive there!"

"Well maybe if you had spread out a bit more it could have been avoided, right?"

"Just shut up and move!"

Lyra and Bonbon looked at one another, trying to think of ANY possible explanation for it, but came up short every time. Lyra saw Bonbon begin to make her way to the door, and Lyra pulled her back. "We are NOT going to investigate! We are not going to get caught doing that again!"

"But Lyraaa..." Bonbon whined, her curiosity overcoming her better judgment.


Vinyl rubbed at her aching flank, very much upset with Octavia. "That really hurt, you know!"

"I am very sorry Vinyl, but I am doing the best I can without falling out myself," Octavia responded.

"You're not doing good enough! Just move OVER!" Vinyl said, trying to push Octavia over some.


Lyra was doing her absolute best to hold Bonbon back from going to see, when the two of them froze.


The sound was immediately followed up by the two of them screaming in unison. Lyra and Bonbon were nearly tripping over one another to try and get out the door first. "LET-ME-THROUGH!" Lyra yelled.

"AFTER-ME!" Bonbon said, the two desperate to get to the door to find out what was really going on. To their horror, they were stuck. They continued to force themselves through the door-frame until eventually the constant, forced forward motion caused them to fly out of the door-frame and slam into the guest bedroom's door, knocking it off its hinges. When the dust settled, Lyra and Bonbon looked up to find Octavia on top of Vinyl, pinning her to the floor with the comforter draped over the two of them. The two were panting heavily from fighting one another for space, blinking in shock at Lyra and Bonbon's second sudden appearance.

"Um...this is EXACTLY what it looks like," Vinyl said.

"NO IT IS NOT!" Octavia yelled, immediately stepping off of Vinyl. "Do you listen to yourself when you speak!?"

"I fade in and out," Vinyl responded flatly.

"Oh, Lyra...what's wrong with us?" Bonbon said, burying her face in her hooves to hide the embarrassed blush.

"Uh...yeah...about all this...let's just forget this happened," Lyra suggested.

"Sounds good to me," Octavia said.

"Absolutely," Bonbon murmured.

"I dunno, I thought it was pretty funny." Yet again, this remark was met with a hoof to the back of the head. "You're getting good at that, Octy...ouch..." Vinyl rubbed the spot where she hit her.

"I have had practice," Octavia said sternly.

"On what, cinder blocks!?" Vinyl asked.

"Well, your head is about as thick, so yes," Octavia said.

"Ugh. I'm gonna go sleep downstairs. I'll be on the couch," Vinyl said, gathering a set of the sheets and a pillow from the bed. She walked over to Octavia, and kissed her good night, which caused her to stammer and made Lyra and Bonbon blush. "Night, Octy~" Vinyl winked as she left.

Octavia simply sat there, completely dumbfounded by Vinyl's deliberate attempt at trying to upset her. Her face took on such a deep tinge of red, Lyra and Bonbon began to wonder if a blood vessel in her face had burst.

"Um, Octavia...are you alright?" Bonbon asked.

"Fine. Just fine," Octavia said quietly.

"We'll leave you be for now...good night..." Lyra said, the two scrambling out of the guest room as quickly as they could. Once they were gone, Octavia grabbed the nearest pillow and began to scream into it as loud as she could. Vinyl could hear this from downstairs, and grinned from ear to ear as she settled down to sleep.

"Totally worth it."

Chapter Thirty-Seven

View Online

Vinyl woke up in the middle of the night to the sound of her own rumbling stomach. Fooooood... She lifted herself up, stretching a bit as she stepped off of the couch. She felt her stomach rumble again, and made her way towards the kitchen, looking for anything to sate the hunger within her. She found herself in front of the refrigerator, throwing it open and beginning to raid it for anything edible. She grinned widely when she saw a large sliver of chocolate cake sitting on one of the shelves. "They won't miss it...I'll be doing Lyra and Bonbon a favor," she said to herself as she slid the plate out of the fridge. She went to shut the door, and forcibly restrained herself from yelling in surprise when she saw Bonbon standing on the other side of it.

"There's enough there for two of us," Bonbon said cheerily.

"Oh...right," Vinyl chuckled nervously. The two mares walked over to the dining room table, Vinyl setting the plate down at its center. Bonbon retrieved two forks and set one down in front of Vinyl.

"So what are you doing up, Vinyl?" Bonbon asked as she picked up her fork, taking a small chunk out of the cake.

"Ugh, my stomach woke me up. We never got to eat dinner, what with the craziness at Sugarcube Corner and all." Suddenly, a horrifying thought crept into her mind. "No more pancakes! Augh!" she groaned as her head dropped to the table. "I think I'm gonna cry..." Vinyl said softly. Bonbon merely giggled.

"If you want pancakes, I can make you some. We'll have to wait until tomorrow morning though," Bonbon said as she took another bite of the cake. "I will say I'll miss Mrs. Cake's chocolate cake...what a tragedy."

Vinyl raised her head, and used her magic to levitate the fork, take a scoop of the cake, and bring it to her mouth. Vinyl's face scrunched up for a moment as the wall of flavor slammed through her, her face then suddenly going slack. "...Okay. Tomorrow, we fix Sugarcube Corner come hay or high water. Cake this good must NEVER be kept away from the masses!" Bonbon simply watched as the fork continued to float near her head.

"You unicorns and your magic," she chuckled. "How would you live without your horns?"

"Honestly, I'm not really sure how you regular earth ponies manage without them," Vinyl said. It was only after Bonbon raised an eyebrow did she realize that what she said would have been offensive if taken in the wrong context. "I-I mean, I'm sure you're perfectly able to do normal stuff! Horns aren't a necessity," Vinyl chuckled sheepishly. "...Sorry." Bonbon shook her head and laughed.

"It's fine, I wasn't offended. I know Lyra uses her magic for almost everything, and ever since that one time when she caught the hornpox and she couldn't use her horn, she was more helpless than a baby bunny. She was so cute..." Bonbon blushed, bringing her hooves to one side of her face. Vinyl coughed a little bit, surprised by how cute could act.

"Well, as a unicorn, I can vouch- hornpox sucks. Your horn becomes painfully sensitive, it feels like your head catches fire every time you try to use magic, and it drains you of all your energy. Just ask Octy about the last time I got the hornpox the next time you get the chance," Vinyl said as she took another piece of cake.

"Now that we're on the topic, what's it like living with Octavia?" Bonbon asked, curious.

"Oh, it's a riot. Octy's really easy to get riled up, so I actually go out of my way to get her as mad as possible," Vinyl grinned, to which Bonbon frowned, somewhat confused.

"What's the point in getting her angry though? I mean, why bother?" Bonbon asked.

"'Cause I can, duh!" Vinyl said with a small laugh.


Octavia slept soundly, but felt a small pang of anger seep into her unconscious mind. "Must...strangle...Vinyl..." she murmured as she rolled over, getting comfortable and falling silent once more.


"Aside from that, Octy's really a sweet filly. She's got a good heart and she's really smart. She also puts on this really cute face when she gets angry- that is, until she hits me," Vinyl said with a thoughtful smile. Vinyl looked at Bonbon, and saw a knowing smile on her face. "What's that smile for?"

"To think all those months ago when you and I were sitting in that balcony, watching Octavia and Lyra audition for Hoofz Zimmer, you were 'so not into mares,'" Bonbon said with a laugh as she mimicked her. Vinyl blushed hotly as the memory resurfaced.

"W-Well, things change...I guess I was already in love with her, I just...didn't know it yet," Vinyl admitted, rubbing one of her arms with a hoof.

"Well I'm very happy for you two. You make a very sweet couple," Bonbon said as she took another bite of cake. Vinyl took this as the perfect opportunity to spin the conversation back on Bonbon.

"So, what's it like living with Lyra? I mean, before a week ago, all Octy would say about Lyra is how she was a 'crass, untalented nincompoop that didn't know music from her rump' or something like that," Vinyl said nonchalantly.

"Well...that is quite the colorful insult, even if it was warranted at times,,," Bonbon chuckled softly. "Well, Lyra is indeed a special mare. She's needy, she's a dreamer, she's a bit lazy...but she has a beautiful dream, and she has such a wonderful talent as well as a beautiful heart. I don't know what I'd do without her..." Bonbon said, blushing hotly as she placed a hoof to each cheek.

"What's her dream?" Vinyl asked, curious. Bonbon smiled as she set her hoofs down on the table.

"One day, she hopes that her music will inspire ponies so deeply, they'll throw flowers at her hooves. Lyra told me about what Octavia did for her earlier after she finished performing. She couldn't even finish telling me what had happened she was crying so hard...I've never seen her so happy," Bonbon said, remembering the scene vividly. "It meant all that much more that it was Octavia who had given her the roses...and not just one, a whole bouquet. In music, to throw a bouquet of roses is the ultimate sign of appreciation and love for a piece, and for Lyra to receive such a huge gesture from somepony she thought hated her, was a little overwhelming for her."

Vinyl smiled wide. "That's my Octy..." she said with a light blush, proud of Octavia's gesture of kindness.

"Lyra also told me about what Octavia requested of her...what an unbelievably sweet gesture of her to ask Lyra to be her mare of honor. I'm so happy that you and Octavia have made the decision to get married like us."

"Heheh, about was wondering if maybe you...well...maybe wanted to 'complete the set?'" Vinyl asked, blushing wildly. Jeez this is hard!

"What do you mean?" Bonbon asked. "Are you alright? You're pretty flushed..."

"I-I'm fine. What I'm trying to ask is...well..." C'mon! Just say it already! "...How would to be MY mare of honor?" Vinyl asked, hiding her huge blush behind her electric-blue mane as she tapped her hooves together shyly.

Bonbon blinked a few times, completely taken aback. "Wh-what?"

"Well...I mean, you were the one who opened my eyes as to how I felt about I kinda owe you one...and you're like, my best friend aside from what do you say?" Vinyl asked. "Will you do this for me?"

Bonbon clapped her hooves to her mouth as tears immediately began to flow down her face. She couldn't find the right words, so she simply nodded. Vinyl gave a massive sigh of relief. Mission accomplished...

Bonbon got up from her seat and trotted over to Vinyl, giving her a hug. "Thank you so much, Vinyl. You don't know what an honor this've given me so much comfort in the knowledge that I'll always have you as a friend," Bonbon sniffled.

"'ve always got me as a friend, Bonbon..." Vinyl said as she patted Bonbon on the back. Bonbon let go, and returned to her seat.

"I'm sorry, I didn't mean to get so's just all very exciting," Bonbon smiled.

"Tell me about it...I'm actually kinda nervous. I mean...will I be a good partner for Octy? Will I be a good mom to our kid?" Vinyl asked as the worry became evident on her face.

"Vinyl, I'm sure you are worrying over nothing...I think you and Octavia are perfect for one another, and I am even more certain that you will be a wonderful mother. You're laid-back, you're energetic, and you're fun! Your child will adore you both," Bonbon reasoned. "Of that I'm certain."

Vinyl smiled as she felt her worries disappear. "Thanks Bonnie...I needed to hear that."

"Anytime, Vinyl- wait, did you just call me 'Bonnie?'" Bonbon blinked, a bit confused.

"Well yeah, I give all the ponies close to me nicknames, so I figured I'd call you Bonnie. You're okay with that, right?"

"Oh, of course! That makes you and Lyra that call me that, and I'm perfectly fine with it," Bonbon said.

"Cool," Vinyl said with a grin. She then yawned, feeling exhaustion starting to creep up on her once more. "Starting to feel sleepy again. Why not continue this conversation over those pancakes you promised?"

"Sure thing, Vinyl. Have a good night," Bonbon said as she got up from her seat and headed back upstairs.

"Night, Bonnie." Vinyl responded as she put the empty cake-plate in the sink. That was some awesome cake...I really hope Sugarcube Corner opens up again... She made her way back over to the couch and flopped on it. I kinda wish I was in bed with Octy... she thought, sleep overcoming her a few moments later.

Bonbon climbed back into bed with Lyra, doing her best not to wake her up. "...Everything alright, Bonnie?" Lyra mumbled, half-asleep.

"Everything's fine, Lyra. Go back to sleep," Bonbon said.

" you," Lyra said softly as she rolled over to face Bonbon.

"Love you, too..." Bonbon responded, the two sharing a gentle kiss as they snuggled into one another, quietly falling back to sleep.

Chapter Thirty-Eight

View Online

Vinyl sat up quickly, the smell of maple syrup and fresh pancakes wafting over from the kitchen. When she opened her eyes, she saw Bonbon standing in front of the stove, working the griddle as she cooked. Lyra sat at the dining room table, sipping her morning coffee as she watched Bonbon cook.

"You're making your special pancakes...what's the occasion?" Lyra asked, curious to know.

"I'm in a great mood, Lyra. Vinyl and I had a wonderful conversation late last night, isn't that right Vinyl?" Bonbon said, having noticed Vinyl had woken up without looking over.

"How does she do that?" Vinyl asked.

"Sometimes I wonder who exactly uses magic..." Lyra said with a small smirk, taking another sip of her coffee. "What'd you two talk about?"

"Oh, you, the universe, everything," Bonbon said as she flipped one of the pancakes.

"That smells amazing, Bonnie. How long 'til they're ready?" Vinyl asked as she got up and joined Lyra at the table. Lyra looked visibly surprised.

"Bonnie? I thought I was the only one who could call you that," Lyra said, looking at Bonbon.

"Well, do you mind that Vinyl calls me that?" Bonbon asked.

"I'll stop if it bugs you, Lyra."

"Hm, I guess I don't mind. I'll just have to get used to you calling her that," Lyra said as she took another sip of her coffee. She looked up, and saw a half-asleep Octavia slowly making her way down the stairs. "Well, look who decided to rise with the sun!" Lyra chuckled. Octavia didn't respond. She simply made her way down the stairs, took the seat next to Vinyl, and leaned against her, still looking for the comfort that her pillow had been giving her only moments before. Vinyl blushed slightly, Lyra smirking and Bonbon smiling warmly.

"How cute~" Bonbon said as she turned back to the stove to attend to the food she was cooking.

"Morning, Octy. Sleep good?" Vinyl asked as she draped a foreleg around her.

"Mmm, I slept alright...admittedly I was a bit lonely sleeping by myself last night..." Octavia mumbled with a yawn.

" was a little weird sleeping alone," Vinyl admitted, leaning her head against Octavia's.

"You two really are such a cute couple," Lyra commented with a smile. "Believe me I know what it's like to sleep without your significant other. It was all I could do to get myself to fall asleep when Bonbon went away to Canterlot before. I just...couldn't get comfortable."

"Same thing on my end. I kept trying to get that feeling that you have when your love is sleeping next to you...and I just couldn't find it. I had never wanted to go home so badly." Bonbon said as she reminisced.

"It was tough...but we got through it. The night Bonbon came home was the first full night of sleep I got since she had left," Lyra said.

"How long was she gone?" Octavia asked.

"About a week and a half," Lyra said. "I slept like a baby that night though," she smiled.

"Food's ready!" Bonbon said, laying the freshly done pancakes onto a platter, picking it up and setting it on the table. She passed out the plates. "Go ahead and dig in! I hope you like them."

Vinyl took a small bite of the pancake, and immediately stopped. " the syrup IN the pancakes!?" she asked, unable to believe what she was tasting.

"It's my own special recipe. Do you like it?" Bonbon asked.

Vinyl sniffled slightly. "...This is so good it's making me tear up..."

"Oh, be quiet. You are so melodramatic," Octavia said with a smirk.

"You try them! Until you have tried Bonbon's amazing, drug-filled pancakes, you have NO right to call me melodramatic, my dear Octy!" Vinyl yelled, raising a hoof.

"Vinyl, they don't use drugs..." Bonbon said with a confused smile.

"Oh, I know. It's just my brain's way of making sense why they're so good," Vinyl said. She then turned to Octavia. "Go ahead, try them." Octavia did as she was told, and took a bite out of her food. Her eyes widened in surprise.

"Bonbon, these are delectable. I cannot say I have ever had pancakes this good, aside from the ones at Sugarcube Corner," Octavia said.

"Vinyl kept mentioning that during out conversation last night. Did Mrs. Cake try out a new recipe?" Bonbon asked.

"It wasn't a recipe, more like Pinkie stole Applejack's prototype apple syrup and put it on the pancakes...what I'd give to have those again..." Vinyl said sadly.

"Apple syrup? That sounds delicious. Any idea on when Applejack is going to market it?" Lyra asked. "I'd love to try it out."

"Well, when we tried it, she said it was still not finished, so I can guess it will be a while yet," Octavia said. She then glanced at the clock on the wall near the refrigerator. "Oh, we need to hurry if we want to take part in Sugarcube Corner's clean-up."

The four quickly finished their meals and exited the house. They arrived at Sugarcube Corner within a few minutes, ponies already milling about as they tried to help with the clean-up. Octavia and Vinyl split off from Lyra and Bonbon, going to see how the Cakes were doing.

"Good morning, Mr. and Mrs. Cake. What can we do to help?" Octavia asked.

"Oh no, Octavia. I would feel awful forcing you to help," Mr. Cake said.

"What kind of ponies would we be if we asked a pregnant mare to help us out?"

"No need to worry. I feel partly responsible for not trying to stop the girls, and I can still do some things as long as it doesn't require heavy lifting.

"Well...I suppose you can help sweep some of the rubble out," Mr. Cake said. "You can help Big Macintosh with your magic. He's going to be moving a lot of the broken concrete out of the building.

"You got it, Mr. Cake!" Vinyl said with a quick salute.

"I am sorry I cannot help you more..." Octavia said softly.

"It's quite alright, Octavia. It means so much that you're willing to help at all...thank you." The Cakes smiled in unison.

Octavia made her way through the collapsed wall of the first floor, surveying just how badly damaged it was. The cannon had been removed, but the deep crater it had caused had not yet been cleaned out. "I guess I will begin here," Octavia said to herself. She moved past a white unicorn that was using his magic to lift a broken chair and table, a blue earth pony following him with a wheelbarrow full of chunks of concrete and wood, struggling somewhat from the weight of the wheelbarrow.

"Do you need any help?" Octavia asked as she moved up to him.

"O-oh, no thank you miss...I'm doing just fine."

"Come along, Scroll! There's still so much work to be done!" His unicorn friend called out to him.

"Coming, White! Sorry to be so curt...I have to get back to work," He smiled, going back to dragging the wheelbarrow. Octavia shrugged and grabbed a broom, beginning to work.

Vinyl immediately recognized Applejack and made her way over to her. "Heya Applejack! Have you seen this guy named Big Macintosh I'm supposed to be helping?"

"Howdy, Vinyl. Big Mac's mah brother, he's that big feller over there," Applejack pointed. Vinyl turned to look, and her jaw dropped slightly as the red, muscular stallion pulled a huge garbage cart with the yoke around his neck.

"Afternoon," Big Mac said in a thick Southern accent. "Just lift the rubble and put it in the cart."

"Sure thing, Big Macintosh!" Vinyl said.

"Big Mac'll do fine, thanks."

"Okay, Big Mac!" Vinyl quickly made her way over to the pile of rubble, and used her magic to lift what rubble she could manage into his cart. "This okay?"


"Cool," Vinyl said as she continued to work. After about an hours worth of work, Applejack, Vinyl and Big Macintosh all sat down for a quick break. "Hey, isn't that your grandma over there?" Vinyl pointed out.

"Eeyup. She's makin' sure the fillies clean-up their mess," Big Mac said.

"Boy howdy I haven't seen Granny Smith so mad since Ah was a filly mahself," Applejack said. "Ah swear Ah thought the barn was gonna come down." Vinyl turned to watch, seeing the elderly mare sitting in her rocking chair, watching the Crusaders work.

"This was just an accident!" Scootaloo groaned as she swept.

"Big Sister is still mad at me...she actually told Applebloom's grandma to discipline me how she wanted..." Sweetie Belle said as she used what magic she could muster to move things out of the way.

"Ah don't think Ah've ever seen Granny get that mad at me..." Applebloom sighed as she bucked off broken pieces of wood.

"Ah hear a LOTTA talkin', but Ah don't see NEARLY enough workin'!" An elderly voice said forcefully. All three girls froze in place. "DON'T MAKE ME GIT UP FROM MAH ROCKIN' CHAIR!" The three fillies sped up their pace.

"Y-Yes Granny!" The three said in unison.

"What's wrong with y'all fillies terday!? If'n Ah acted outta line like that when Ah was a filly, Ah woulda gotten the spankin' of a lifetime! Ah didn't raise no delinquents, and Ah sure as hay ain't lettin' mah granchild be friends with no delinquents, so Ah'm gonna fix the lotta ya! If'n yer granpappy wer' still around, y'all would be wishin' y'all wer' dealin' with ME!" Granny Smith yelled from her seat.

"Nothin' like a grandma's fury ter scare ya straight, ain't that right Mac?" Applejack said.

"E-eyup..." Big Mac said with a small stutter and a shiver.

"Yeesh...she MUST be tough if she's got Mac shaking," Vinyl commented.

"Bad memories..." Big Mac said, shaking his head slightly.

"Big Mac was a might bit rebellious when he was a colt. Granny would come down on him harder than a boulder durin' an avalanche," Applejack said. "When she was still able, her yells made the walls shake. Ponies were made a' tough stuff back then.

"Yeah...grandmas are the one thing you just DON'T mess with..." Vinyl said, remembering back to her own grandmother's special brand of discipline, rubbing her flank unconsciously from the painful memories.

"Well, time ta git back to work," Applejack said, standing up. The other two followed suit, and rejoined the effort to rebuild Sugarcube Corner.

Chapter Thirty-Nine

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Octavia took a seat, somewhat exhausted from the work. "Wow...I never knew I was lacking so much energy...well, it does make sense after all..." She said with a small smile, bringing a hoof to her belly, noticing it was a little heavier than before. It was then that a distant memory suddenly rushed to the surface. "Oh no...oh no oh no oh no!" She quickly hurried up off her seat and moved as quickly as she could to find Vinyl. In her rush, she nearly knocked over Twilight who, with the assistance of Trixie, was helping move a large section of wall out of the way.

"Oh goodness, I am so sorry, Twilight!"

"It's alright Octavia," Twilight said with a smile. "Is everything alright? You look like you've just seen a ghost."

"I need to find Vinyl right away," Octavia said. "It's really important..."

"Oh, well let's go find her!" Twilight said, Trixie giving a small grunt of disapproval. The two unicorns moved the broken section of wall out of the way, and the three set off to find Vinyl.

"Trixie doesn't quite see the point of all this..." Trixie started, but immediately changed her tone when Twilight raised an eyebrow. "...but if Twilight Sparkle deems it necessary, then Trixie shall not object," she said with a haughty tone, blushing all the while.

"You know, you're really bad at hiding your emotions," Twilight laughed.

"Trixie is not! Trixie is just trying to be more compassionate and kind to other ponies as Twilight wishes," Trixie said as she made a futile attempt at hiding her blush behind her silver mane. Twilight giggled at this, Octavia shaking her head with a smile.

"Almost reminds me of when I first met Vinyl. I could not STAND her; she was loud, crass, over-active and crude...but, over time I learned to look past it and saw her real personality. If Trixie is willing to go this far to change herself...she must really care about you Twilight," Octavia said with a smile. Twilight blushed hotly at her words.

"Yeah...I know," she said, moving a little closer to Trixie, who smirked slightly. The three found Vinyl talking to Applejack as they took a break.

"Howdy, Octavia, how're ya feelin'?" Applejack asked.

"I am doing alright, Applejack. Thank you for asking...would you mind if I spoke to Vinyl for a moment?"

"Sure thing," Applejack said, taking a step back.

"What's up Octy?" Vinyl asked. She then read the nervous look in her eyes, frowning slightly. "What's the matter?"

"Vinyl, I completely forgot we had an appointment with Doctor Haysworth today! He wanted to see me today to check on the growth of the baby," Octavia said with a sigh. Vinyl face-hoofed.

"I can't believe we forgot about that! There's no way we'll get back to Canterlot in time for-" Twilight interrupted by clearing her throat.

"Sorry about that, but you don't really need to worry. Nurse Redheart's clinic is open today, so you can go see her if you need anything," Twilight suggested.

"You're right! Come Vinyl, if we hurry we might be able to make it in time! Twilight, would you mind leading the way?" Octavia asked.

"Sure. C'mon Trixie," Twilight said.

"You are welcome to come too Applejack," Octavia offered.

"Naw, Ah'm alright. Ah'm sure Mac still needs mah help. Y'all go on without me. Ah'm gonna git back to work," Applejack said. They said their goodbyes and began to make their way towards Ponyville Clinic. After about a ten minute walk, they made their way through the doors and Octavia went up to the receptionist.

"Yes, hello. Is Nurse Redheart in?" Octavia asked.

"Yes she is, may I ask for your name?" The receptionist asked in return, taking a pad and pencil.

"Octavia Philharmonica. I have an appointment scheduled for today for prenatal examinations," Octavia said.

"Alright Miss Philharmonica, just have a seat in the lobby and we'll call you when she can see you, and congratulations!" The receptionist said, handing her a slip of paper with a number on it.

"Thank you, that is very kind of you," Octavia smiled, taking the slip and returning to the waiting area. Octavia and Vinyl sat across from Twilight and Trixie as they waited.

"You really are not obligated to stay..." Octavia said. "I will not be upset if you need to leave."

"It's fine, Octavia. This would be a major learning experience for me, and I'm not one to turn down something as educational as this," Twilight said.

"Trixie is only going along for the ride," she said flatly, to which she received a small nudge from Twilight. "...but Trixie is grateful you are being courteous to her and Twilight."

"So tell me Octavia, how far along are you, if you don't mind me asking?" Twilight asked.

"Oh, not at all. I would say I am around a month in. I have noticed that I lack the energy I used to have, and I can feel my belly getting heavier."

"How interesting. It seems your exhibiting all the normal signs of a pregnancy, putting aside the unnatural conception of the foal..." Twilight said, her eyes shining at the possibilities of everything she could learn from this. "What about the gender?"

Vinyl and Octavia looked at one another. "Uh, we don't know yet," Vinyl said.

"Is there a way to determine it before the foal is born?" Octavia asked.

"Well, I read recently in the newest issue of Popular Magics that a new spell was created that allows you to see a two-dimensional image of a foal in utero."

"That is absolutely correct, Twilight," Nurse Redheart said as she walked up. "It requires a unicorn to perform the procedure. What happens is the magic permeates the skin, and creates an imprinted image of the foal in the magical field. What happens then is the unicorn draws the magic back out, and displays the image on a nearby wall for the parents to see, somewhat like a projector used in classrooms. It just so happens that we just recently hired a technician as part of our staff, so if you would like he can perform the procedure for you."

"There is nothing potentially dangerous in this, is there?" Octavia asked.

"Absolutely not," Nurse Redheart reassured. "All it does is make an imprint and that's it."

"Hm...well, I suppose that would be alright...I am kind of excited," Octavia smiled. Vinyl was grinning from ear to ear.

"I'm actually gonna see my kid! Ha!" Vinyl said, excited.

"We'll get to that after the examination. Come along, Octavia," Redheart said as Octavia got up from her seat, following the nurse into the examination room.

"So, tell me about you two. When are you two gonna get hitched?" Vinyl asked with a small smirk. Both Twilight and Trixie froze in their seats, their faces turning a deep shade of red at the sudden question. "I can see you two haven't even thought about it. You might wanna start on that- you're cute together," Vinyl said. These two are so easy...

"I-uh-well..." Twilight stuttered.

"Trixie...well...she..." Trixie stuttered as well.

"What, you don't wanna spend the rest of your days together, waking up in bed together, taking baths together.." Vinyl then leaned forward. "...Having steamy moments together?" Vinyl said, raising an eyebrow. The two couldn't even speak from the mental images now surging through their minds. This continued for a good half hour before Nurse Redheart appeared.

"She's done with her examination, and it went very well. Everything is where it should be. If you want to see the ultrasound, now's the time," Nurse Redheart said. The three mares got up from their seats and followed the nurse into the examination room, Octavia laying on the table in the center, soft music playing through the tiny speakers in the ceiling. Vinyl took her place next to Octavia, Twilight and Trixie standing nearby. The door opened and a gray unicorn entered, his deep blue mane offsetting his bright green eyes.

"Alright, Miss Octavia. My name is Ray and I'll be doing your ultrasound today," he said in a kind voice. "I want you to just lay still and I'll do all the work." He then took his place on the other side of her. He focused what magic he could into the tip of his horn, and touched it to Octavia's belly.

Octavia could feel the warm waves of magic sweeping through her, startling her somewhat. Vinyl instinctively moved closer to Octavia, nuzzling her slightly to keep her calm. "It's alright...I'm right here, Octy..." she whispered, placing a hoof on her shoulder. After a few minutes, the unicorn smiled.

"Are you two ready to see your baby?" Octavia and Vinyl nodded, eager to see. The unicorn took a step back, and used his magic to bring the image to life on the wall in front of them: it showed a tiny foal, smaller than they had ever seen, curled up in the fetal position as it slept. Vinyl and Octavia stood in stunned silence as their eyes took in the first sight of their child. It was then that Octavia felt her heart swell- she had fallen head over hooves for the image of her child. She couldn't help but shed a few tears at the sight, pulling herself closer to Vinyl.

"That's...our kid...our baby..." Vinyl whispered, unable to take her eyes off the image, feeling tears threatening to spill down her face, regardless of the smile playing across her face.

"Yes, Vinyl...our baby," Octavia whispered in return. Twilight and Trixie watched quietly, Twilight smiling brightly at the beautiful sight. She leaned her head into Trixie's neck, Trixie smiling warmly as her tail twisted itself around Twilight's.

"I'll leave you four alone..." Nurse Redheart said softly. She quietly slipped out of the room, shutting the door behind her.

Chapter Forty

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The four mares left the clinic, talking amongst themselves about what they had seen.

"What an amazing learning think magic has advanced medicine so far is simply incredible," Twilight said as she walked beside Trixie.

"Trixie must admit that she was impressed as well. Trixie has never seen magic used in such a way," Trixie added with a small smirk. "Trixie can only wonder how pleased the mothers are."

"You've got no idea Trix," Vinyl said. "I would you feel looking at your kid for the first time?"

"'Trix?' Trixie has never been addressed in such a way..." Trixie said, unsure of how to handle the new nickname.

"Well, forget about that for now. Just think about what I said- imagine your kid with Twilight," Vinyl blurted out loud.

"Vinyl! Stop embarrassing them! You do not know what Trixie and Twilight have planned," Octavia said. She was absolutely right- Trixie and Twilight looked at one another for a brief moment, blushing hotly. Trixie began to imagine what their child would look like: she imagined a small foal with bright lavender eyes, a blue coat, and a silver mane with a bright pink stripe. Trixie found her heart racing at the mental image of her child.

"Trixie...uh...Trixie gets what you mean..." she said softly. Twilight was a stuttering, blushing mess, Vinyl's question having turned her mind upside down.

"U-Uh...w-well..." Twilight stammered.

"Relax Twi, I was just kidding," Vinyl chuckled. "You two are almost as easy to rile up as Octy over here."

"I am not easy to 'rile up' as you say, Vinyl. I take your comments in stride," Octavia said, raising her chin slightly.

"In stride? I've got the scars on the back of my head to prove otherwise," Vinyl said.

"Oh, I am certain that was not me. I am also certain they dropped you on your head as a child," Octavia said with a smirk.

"Hey, that only happened once!" Vinyl returned. "It was an accident, and I only fell two hooves!"

"Two hooves or two yards?" Octavia asked. "Judging by the way you think, I am willing to bet the latter."

"That's mean, Octy. You're mean. Why are you so mean to me?"

"I am not mean, I am simply stating the truth," Octavia said with a small smile.

"Well, if I was dropped on my head, you were born with a stick in your rump!" Vinyl accused, causing Octavia to blush in embarrassment. Trixie snickered slightly, Twilight looking away while trying to hide her laughter.

"I was NOT born with a stick in my rump! You are such a child!" Octavia said, her face a deep red.

"I may act like a kid, but that doesn't change the fact you were born with a stick in your rump," Vinyl said with a small laugh.

"Then you wonder why I hit you," Octavia said.

"A-HA! So you admit it!" Vinyl said, pointing an accusing hoof at her. She then turned to Twilight and Trixie. "You see how she abuses me? Not only was she born with a stick in her rump, but every now and again she takes it out and hits me with it!" At this point, Twilight was laughing outwardly, Trixie restraining her laughter as best she could.

"Vinyl..." Octavia growled.

"Oh, please Miss Octavia, don't hit me anymore!" Vinyl said, pretending to shake in fear. Octavia suddenly smiled, which Twilight found very strange.

"Octavia...are you alright?" Twilight asked.

"Oh...fine. Vinyl, would you come here for a moment?" Octavia asked sweetly.

"Sure thing!" Vinyl said, following Octavia out of their line of sight. Both Trixie and Twilight winced when they heard the familiar sound of hoof hitting skull. A few moments later, Octavia and Vinyl returned, Octavia's expression having returned to normal, Vinyl rubbing the back of her head. "...One day, you're gonna take my head clean off," Vinyl muttered.

"I wonder if I should take up martial arts...what do you think Vinyl?" Octavia asked, raising an eyebrow.

" thanks...I like my head where it is," Vinyl said.

"Then don't test me," Octavia said in a threatening tone. "As much as we would love to spend the rest of the afternoon with you, we really need to get to our new house and begin the preparations for the move."

"It's fine, Octavia. Trixie and I really should get back to the clean-up. We'll see you later!" Twilight said as Trixie followed her.

"Take care," Octavia called after them. The two made their way back towards Lyra's house, stopping in front of the house next door.

"So this is the place, eh?" Vinyl said, looking up at it. The house was narrow, but tall. It had two stories, and several windows around the front.

"The mayor said it had three bedrooms- one on the first floor and two on the second floor. What we can do is take the first floor room, and once the baby is born the baby will stay in our room. Once it is old enough, it can take one of the rooms upstairs and the other room will be a guest room," Octavia explained.

"Sounds good to me," Vinyl said as she waited for Octavia to open the door. Once Octavia got the door open, they both entered. The house was in much better condition than expected- the wood floors looked like they had been laid down recently, and the scent of fresh paint lingered slightly. "This is pretty nice..."

"I must say I am impressed. We will have to repaint, however. I am not fond of such dark colors for a house like this- it needs brighter colors," Octavia said. She began to walk around the living room area, getting a feel for the space. "I think the sofa will go table here..." Octavia mumbled as she moved. Vinyl simply watched, bored out of her mind.

"You know, I think the clean-up is more fun than this," Vinyl said flatly.

"Vinyl, this isn't supposed to be fun, this is important! We also need to create the music room- in essence, where I keep my instruments and where you keep your mixing equipment," Octavia reminded.

"Wow, you're right! I'll get right on that!" Vinyl rushed up the stairs, and across the hall. She found the two bedroom doors, and opened them both. "Not gonna lie...I'm a little creeped out being alone up here..." she mumbled to herself. She walked through each of the rooms, examining them closely. She tapped her hooves on the ground a few times, checking for proper acoustics. "...Yeah. This one will work," she said as she exited the room closest to the staircase. As she made her way down the hallway towards the stairs, she stepped on a loose floor board, creating a hollow thump that echoed behind her.

Octavia looked up as she heard Vinyl let out a screech, rocketing down the stairs like a bolt of white and blue lightning, cowering and shaking behind her. "Vinyl, what has gotten into you?!"

"...That scared the buck outta me..." Vinyl mumbled.

"What in Equestria could have possibly scared you up there?" Octavia asked.

"I dunno...I heard a noise from behind me, and I was the only one up there...this place had better not be haunted..."

"Haunted, Vinyl? Really? The mare who stared down a stallion ready to KILL her because she is dating another mare, and she is afraid of ghosts!?" Octavia said, unable to believe what she was hearing. "...You truly are a special one, Vinyl..."

"Hey, don't come crying to me when the ghosts get you- oh wait, you won't be able to because you'll be DEAD!" Vinyl yelled, still quite shaken.

"If it makes you feel better, we will prepare the upstairs together, alright?" Octavia offered.

"I wasn't gonna do it without you anyway, so that just makes my life easier," Vinyl said with a sigh. As they headed up the stairs, Vinyl stopped halfway up.

"What now, Vinyl?" Octavia asked.

"Just gimme a minute," Vinyl said. She took a deep breath, and stepped back up onto the second floor, standing next to Octavia.

"See, there is nothing to be afraid of. This house is not haunted, and your irrational fear of the supernatural is rather endearing," Octavia said.

"...Can we just get this over with please?" Vinyl said, feeling rather uncomfortable. They began to make their way towards the bedrooms, and Vinyl stepped on the same wooden plank that was loose, causing the loud thud once more. Before Octavia could look up, Vinyl had vanished from sight, hiding behind her.

"Vinyl, relax! Do you know what caused that noise?"

"...What?" Vinyl looked around nervously, paying attention to Octavia. Octavia raised her hoof and brought it down on the loose plank. Vinyl watched as it slowly raised up and fell back down, creating the same noise that had startled her before. "Oh...well, I knew that! I was just messing with you Octy," Vinyl said, boosting herself up with false bravado.

"Right, of course," Octavia said, letting Vinyl have her moment. Octavia quietly lifted the plank that was loose and brushed Vinyl's tail underneath it, letting the plank fall on top of it, causing it to pull on her tail.

"GAAAH! OCTY HELP ME THE FLOOR'S GOT ME!" Vinyl yelled, every trace of the previous bravado having vanished. She managed to free her tail, and looked over at Octavia, who was banging her hoof on a nearby wall as she nearly laughed herself silly.

"Oh, oh you should have seen the look on your face, Vinyl...absolutely priceless!" Octavia laughed, having enjoyed that moment of it.

"This is totally you getting revenge for what happened earlier, isn't it?" Vinyl asked flatly.

"Absolutely," Octavia said, wiping away a few tears. "That aside, we have work to do."

The two then continued about their duties, making sure that the house was fit and ready for use. The pair found the house very much to their liking (and very much not-haunted), beginning to make long-term plans as well.

Chapter Forty-One

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"Well, that should about cover it," Octavia said with a satisfied sigh. Each and every spot that she felt was an appropriate place for furniture had been marked with an "X" made out of duct-tape.

"Uh, completely emptied the roll of tape. There are marks everywhere," Vinyl said as she looked around. "Where are WE gonna fit?"

"Vinyl, we will have space, do not worry," Octavia said as she took one last look around. "What a lovely little home we have here, Vinyl..." she said as she made her way over to Vinyl, gently nuzzling her.

"Yeah, I've really grown to like this place," Vinyl smiled, returning the nuzzle. "You're being strangely affectionate."

Octavia simply shrugged. "I just felt like being affectionate, is you have a problem with that?" she questioned.

"No be honest, I think it'd be great if you did it more often," Vinyl said.

"Hmm...maybe. If I feel like it," she winked. Octavia began to make her way towards the front door and ran her tail down Vinyl's back, sending a small chill up her spine. "Well? Are you coming? We have done all we needed to do here for today."

"Uh...yeah..." Vinyl said, "Right behind you..." Vinyl said with a small blush as they left the house. When they stepped outside, they discovered that the sun had already set, and most of the shops in the market were closed for the evening. "Wow...we were in there for a lot longer than I thought."

"Well, we probably would have finished sooner if you were not absolutely terrified of the second floor for the first hour and a half we were there," Octavia said.

"How was I supposed to know it was just a loose board?" Vinyl asked defensively.

"It is called 'looking down,' Vinyl. You should try it sometime," Octavia snickered. Vinyl then began to move her head around Octavia's rear, even going as far as lifting her tail slightly. "VINYL! What is the MATTER with you!?" Octavia yelled, embarrassed as she immediately recoiled and covered herself.

"Oh, just checking to see how far the stick in your rump goes," Vinyl said, sticking her tongue out at Octavia as she walked past. "It's so far in I can't even see it anymore," she chuckled.

"Oh, ha ha, Vinyl. Very funny," Octavia said, feigning laughter. "I wonder when that filly I saw in the house will be back..."

Vinyl froze in her tracks. "...W-What filly?"

"You mean I was the only one who saw her?" Octavia asked, a surprised expression on her face.

"Octy, quit it..." Vinyl said, feeling a cold chill run up her spine.

"It was very peculiar...she had white fur and big blue eyes, a short, blond mane. She said, 'Wait here, I'll bring more friends.' She walked around a corner, and when I went to follow her she was gone..." Octavia said, recounting her 'tale'.

"...Octy...seriously...stop it..."

"I am simply stating what I saw, Vinyl..." Octavia said, turning to leave, hiding her smile. Alright, I'm done messing with her for today. Vinyl quickly approached Octavia, moving as close to her as possible, her eyes wide and fearful. "No need to worry, Vinyl..." Octavia started. "...I am sure she was friendly." At this point, Vinyl gave an uneasy groan, and Octavia simply smirked. Okay...NOW I'm done... The two entered Bonbon and Lyra's home, finding the two sitting on the couch, reading two separate books.

"Oh, hello girls," Lyra said as she looked up from her book. "Everything go okay next door?"

"..." Vinyl simply walked past them. "...I'm going to go take a bath..." Once she was out of earshot, Octavia began to laugh.

"What's so funny, Octavia?" Bonbon asked, curious.

"Well, Vinyl was dead-set on proving to Twilight and Trixie that I was born with a stick in my rump, so I decided to get back at her by telling her I saw a ghost in the house as we were preparing it," Octavia said as she took a seat in one of the chairs.

"Vinyl's afraid of ghosts?" Lyra asked, somewhat stunned. "Somepony like her? Wow...kind of unexpected."

"You have no right to talk, Lyra. I remember the one time you saw a mouse in here you were practically hanging from the chandelier in fear," Bonbon laughed, to which Lyra blushed.

"Bonbon! I thought you said you would keep that a secret!" Lyra said in protest.

"Oh, come on, Lyra. I thought you were so cute the way you hid behind me until I swept the mouse out of the house," Bonbon said as she gave Lyra a quick peck on the cheek.

"See? Bonbon understands. It is simply a harmless trick," Octavia said. "I think I might join Vinyl on the couch tonight, though..." Octavia then blushed. "...I do not feel comfortable sleeping alone..."

"Aww, how sweet," Bonbon said. "Well, whatever you feel most comfortable doing, Octavia." Bonbon then thought of something. "Oh, I'm such a foal! Why didn't I think of this sooner? Lyra, get up for a minute."

"Um...alright," Lyra said, doing as she was told. Lyra took a few steps back as Bonbon moved over to the side of the couch and pressed a button. She removed the cushions from the couch, and pulled out what appeared to be a bed with a folding mattress from within the depths of the couch. "Oh yeah! I totally forgot we bought a couch with a retractable bed. See, this is why I keep you around," Lyra joked.

"Keep me around? Honey, you WANT me around," Bonbon winked.

"Yeah, you're right," Lyra said as she trotted up to Bonbon and gave her a peck on the cheek.

"I'm going upstairs for the night. Have a good night Octavia," Bonbon said. "...I'll be waiting, Lyra." She flicked her tail slightly as she disappeared from view. Lyra stared at the empty spot where she was standing before, and then looked at Octavia.

"Go," Octavia laughed.

"Thankyouthankyouthankyouuuu!" Lyra said, rushing off upstairs.

Octavia climbed onto the bed, grabbing the sheet that was folded up in the center of the bed and laying it out, grabbing a few of the cushions for pillows. A little while later Vinyl headed back downstairs, and blinked in surprise when she saw Octavia laying in bed, waiting for her.

"Enjoy your bath?" Octavia asked as she looked up at Vinyl.

"Uh, yeah...that shampoo Lyra and Bonnie talked about is awesome! My mane feels like it's made of silk!" Vinyl headed into bed, laying down next to Octavia. "Go on, feel!"

Octavia then surprised Vinyl by nuzzling her instead of using her hoof. "They were not kidding. That really is good...I may start using it myself."

"Octy...why are you being so sweet with me all of a sudden?" Vinyl asked, raising an eyebrow. "Who are you and what have you done with Octy?"

Octavia laughed. "Vinyl, I assure you that nopony else has taken my place," she said as she leaned in and shared a gentle kiss with Vinyl. "Now, we need to get to sleep...Good night, Vinyl."

"Night Octy..." Vinyl said, laying down with a smile. The two snuggled into bed together, quickly falling asleep.


Several hours later, Vinyl rolled over and discovered there was a lack of a body. She opened her eyes and looked around in the darkness, and saw the front door cracked slightly. She slid out of bed and made her way to the front door, and opened it. She found Octavia sitting on the bench on their front step, just looking out at the night sky. " alright?"

Octavia looked over at her, and smiled softly. "I am sorry I woke you, need to worry. I am alright." Vinyl made her way over to Octavia and took a seat next to her, watching her as she stared out at the moon.

"Something on your mind?" Vinyl asked. Octavia sighed, and gave a warm smile.

"I am simply reminiscing about all the times you and I have had together...the trip to Echelon Gardens...the trip to Hoofington...the first time coming to Ponyville, the party, all the different memories we have made along the way since we found out I was having a is incredible to think back to the terribly sheltered life I lived before I met you..." Octavia then looked over at Vinyl, her violet eyes looking at her lovingly as they twinkled in the moonlight. "...If not for you, I would not be moving forward to what I am coming to understand will be the most exciting part of my life...and it is all because of you, Vinyl..." Octavia then leaned into Vinyl's shoulder. "Thank you," she said in a soft tone.

Vinyl blushed at Octavia's words. "Octy...I knew from the moment I met you that you were special. Yeah, you were snooty. Yeah, you had an attitude. Yeah, you were stuck up...but you know what? I know that that's not REALLY you. That was the 'you' that you created, to survive in a place like Canterlot, where everypony expects the best out of you," Vinyl said. "Me? Nah...I don't care about all that stuff. I just want to live my life the way I want..." Vinyl then focused her vision on Octavia. "...I don't wanna live my life any other way than the way we are now- traveling all over the place, meeting new ponies...and with you next to me," Vinyl said with a warm smile. "Especially after today...I mean, we got to see our kid, Octy...our baby..." Vinyl blushed as she brought a gentle hoof to Octavia's belly. "I discovered something today, Octy..."

"What did you discover, Vinyl?" Octavia asked as she placed her own hoof over Vinyl's.

"...After seeing our baby for the first time...I discovered that, well...I think I'm ready to be a mom," Vinyl said softly. "I was excited before...but now? I'm counting down the minutes until our baby arrives." Octavia felt tears well up in her eyes. She had never heard Vinyl say sweeter words. The fact that Vinyl had come to such a profound conclusion on her own eased her heart in ways she previously thought impossible.

"Vinyl, you have no idea how happy it makes me to hear you say that...I have been so worried about how I am going to handle being a mother, about if I will be taking care of the baby right, and-" Vinyl cut her off by bringing her other hoof to Octavia's mouth.

"Don't worry...we'll get through it. You'll always have me," Vinyl said with a smile. Octavia pushed past Vinyl's hoof, pressing her muzzle to Vinyl's, completely swept away by Vinyl's words. After several breathless moments, they separated, and Octavia wiped her face clean of tears.

"I know...and that is why I love you so much," Octavia said as she leaned her head against Vinyl's neck, closing her eyes.

"I love you too, Octy..." Vinyl said softly, closing her eyes as well. The two sat together on the front porch, enjoying every moment of being in each other's grasp as Luna's moon bathed them in its beautiful white light.

Chapter Forty-Two

View Online

Vinyl woke up at the crack of dawn, quickly slipping out of bed without disturbing Octavia. Bonbon had done the same with Lyra, quickly going into one of the drawers and retrieving a scarf from within. The two met downstairs, and quietly slipped out the front door into the early morning light.

"This is going to be so much fun, Vinyl! What do you have in mind to get Octavia for the Winter Moon Holiday?"

"Yeah, I've got something in mind, but it's a bit of a secret...what about you, Bonbon?"

"Well, Lyra had mentioned to me that her lyre was old and coming apart, so I've been slowly saving my bits so I can buy her a new one," Bonbon smiled.

"I'm sure Lyra will go nuts over it," Vinyl said. "My gift is a little smaller, and will cost a lot of bits...but I think it'll be worth it," she added. She then turned to Bonbon with a blush. "Bonnie...would you mind helping me pick out an engagement earring for Octy?"

"An engagement earring!?" Bonbon exclaimed. "I-I've never been asked that before! Didn't you already propose, though?"

"Well, the thing when I proposed to Octy, I just said it and that was it. I felt like something was missing, so...I wanna give her an engagement earring to go with it. I'm also going to re-propose...if I can even do that..." Vinyl said with a light blush.

"Aww, Vinyl! You are just adorable! Of course I'll help you- on one condition. I could use your musical expertise on picking out a lyre. I'm not exactly learned in that area," Bonbon said, chuckling sheepishly.

"Sure thing, Bonnie! We'll take care of it no problem," Vinyl said, fanning a hoof at Bonbon. "Let's get moving, we're burning daylight," she said. The two then began to make her way towards the only instrument store in town- Chord Progression. The two entered the store, and marveled at the sight: instruments lined the walls, sound equipment as well as mixing equipment on display as far as the eye could see.

"Can I help you?" A male voice said as a brown stallion with green eyes and a guitar cutie mark made his way out from behind a rack of guitars.

"Hello Bluegrass, how are you doing this morning?"

"Oh, hey there Miss Bonbon. What can I get for you today?" He asked with a smile.

"No need to worry about me. I have my friend here to help me," Bonbon said as she gestured to Vinyl, who gave a wave.

"Hiya!" Vinyl said.

"I know you! You're that DJ-PON3 filly that's been getting crazy popularity at your sets! It's pretty cool to have you in my store," Bluegrass said with a twinge of excitement.

"No sweat, Bluegrass. Where do you keep your lyres?"

"In the back near the harps," Bluegrass pointed. "You need anything just let me know, alright?" The two mares nodded in acknowledgement, and made their way towards the back of the shop. They found the wall they were looking for, looking at the many different sizes and shapes of lyres Bluegrass had available.

"Okay, now. What do you know about the lyre that Lyra uses?"

"Well, I know it's similar to that shape," Bonbon said, pointing at one in particular that was identical to Lyra's.

"That it?"

"...Yeah..." Bonbon said, dejected. Vinyl patted her on the back.

"No need to get down! Let's take a look. Now, judging by what I've heard of Lyra's playing, she focuses more on plucking than actual strumming, so we're going to want one that resonates better when you pluck at it," Vinyl said as she used her magic to move one of the lyres down to their level. She plucked a few strings with the tip of her hoof, and shook her head. "This one's strings ring too much. Let's try another."


After trying nearly every lyre on the wall, Vinyl sighed. "Looks like we're out of options...I mean, there's one left, but it's exactly like Lyra's old one..." she said. She looked at Bonbon, who was staring intently at the little lyre.

"Vinyl, bring that one down..." Bonbon asked.

"Sure," Vinyl brought the lyre down from the wall. "I dunno what difference this will make, but-" She plucked the string, and found that it sounded exactly like Lyra's old one. "...You knew, didn't you?"

Bonbon gave a small smile. "I knew it would sound just like it," she said as she inspected each facet of it. "It's the exact same model as Lyra's...I'm buying this."

"Alright, let's take it up to Bluegrass." The two made their way up to the front counter, where Bluegrass was reading a magazine on current musicians and artists.

"Find what you were looking for, Miss Bonbon?" Bluegrass asked.

"Found exactly what I was looking for," Bonbon said with a smile as she placed the lyre on the counter. "How much do I owe you, Bluegrass?"

Bluegrass punched the ID tag number into the register, and the ticker on the front of the register stopped. "That'll be three hundred bits." Bonbon's smile quickly disappeared. "...I didn't save up enough...I've only got two hundred..." Vinyl looked at Bonbon, who looked close to tears.

"Hey Bluegrass, do you get customers often?" Vinyl asked.

"Not as often as I would like, but I manage. Why do you ask?"

"You give Bonbon a discount, and I'll give you a name-drop at my next set. I'll tell them all about how you give great service, quality instruments, and you're willing to talk discounts. All you gotta do is accept what Bonbon has on her right now. That sound fair?" Vinyl said.

Bluegrass thought about it, and no matter how many times he did, the prospect of losing a hundred bits to earn thousands more through Vinyl was too good an offer to pass up. "You've got yourself a deal," Bluegrass said with a smile. Bonbon's smile returned almost instantaneously, unbelievably grateful for Vinyl's act of kindness. She paid for the lyre, had it wrapped, and the two left the store. To Vinyl's surprise, Bonbon locked her in a tight embrace.

"Thank you so much, have no idea how grateful I am for what you did..." Bonbon said with a sniffle.

"No problem, Bonnie. It's what friends do," Vinyl grinned. "So which way is the nearest jewelry store?"

"It's right nearby. Rarity recommended it to me one time and it has an incredible selection. It's not cheap, you have the bits to buy what you have in mind?" Bonbon asked.

"Yeah, actually. I'm going to use the bits I earned at my last gig," Vinyl said as they walked.

"How much did you earn?"

"Around three thousand bits," Vinyl said simply.

"Th-three thousand?! That could take care of us for a month!" Bonbon said, bringing a hoof to her mouth in shock.

"Yeah well, I did this stallion that owned a club a favor by filling in for another DJ that got sick, so I did his set and mine, so I got paid for both," Vinyl grinned. The two of them entered the jewelry store, a strikingly beautiful mare with a long, deep red mane, bright blue eyes and three differently shaped gemstones for a cutie mark stood near the back, polishing the display cases.

"Good morning, ladies and welcome to the Brilliant Cut Jewelry Boutique. I am Rosette Cut, the store's owner and operator. How may I assist you this morning?" she asked in a smooth voice as she made her way over to them.

"I'm looking for an engagement earring," Vinyl said.

"Oh, how unique! A stallion sending the love of his life to pick out her own engagement earring, how wonderful!"

"Uh, actually...I'm buying it for my marefriend," Vinyl interrupted. Rosette stopped short, looking at her with wide eyes.

"I am SO sorry! I did not mean to offend you. Please, have a look around. If you need anything of me, do not hesitate to ask," she said cheerily, moving away from them to continue cleaning cases. Vinyl looked through the different cases, which sported necklaces, broaches, chokers, and bracelets with prices that were nothing to sneeze at. She and Bonbon made their way over to the section with the engagement earrings, and began to carefully examine each one.

"Hmm...none of these are what I picture Octavia to wear. They're all huge and covered with other stones. I wanted to get her something a little simpler, that way the stone makes HER more beautiful, not the other way around," Vinyl said thoughtfully.

"I agree. Octavia seems like the type of mare that wears something simple but elegant. I see her wearing something like this," Bonbon said, pointing at one particular earring. It was a trilliant cut ruby that had two diamonds on each side with a silver band.

"Hmm. It's pretty, but not the right color..." Vinyl said, looking through the rest.


The two spent two hours mulling over what they felt would be best, until Vinyl happened across one that was somewhat near the back.

"Rosette, do you mind if I see one of these earrings?" Vinyl asked.

"Absolutely! Just give me one moment," she said. She moved behind the case, and using a special key she slid the glass aside, pulling out the earring and setting the case in front of Vinyl. "Is this the one?"

Vinyl looked at it closely. It was a very simple earring- a brilliant cut amethyst that had a small ring of diamonds around the central gemstone, with a white gold band.

"Yeah, this is it..." Vinyl said. "Bonnie, come look at this." Bonbon made her way over to Vinyl, and gasped.

"Oh, Vinyl it's lovely...Octavia will love it," Bonbon smiled.

"I'll take this one. How much?" Vinyl asked.

"This one is actually on sale for twelve hundred bits," Rosette said. "Normally it would be around twenty-one hundred, but it was overlooked by many of the patrons so I marked it down. I myself love this earring, and I am sure that your marefriend will be overjoyed when you present her with this," Rosette smiled. Vinyl reached into her saddlebags and retrieved a pouch from within.

"Twelve hundred and fifty bits. Keep the change," Vinyl winked as she set the pouch down.

"Thank you so much, Miss Vinyl! Would you like it gift-wrapped?" Rosette asked.

"Yes please," Vinyl said. A few moments later, Rosette reappeared with the gift.

"Is there anything else I can help you out with?" she asked.

"No thanks, you've helped us enough. Have a good one!" Vinyl said as she exited the store with Bonbon.

"Same to you," she returned as she went back to her work. Vinyl and Bonbon walked about town, which was already very lively as the sun hung overhead. Vinyl felt her stomach rumble- it was right around lunchtime. "Hey Bonnie, wanna go get some lunch? My treat!"

"I'd love to," Bonbon said. The two made their way to a nearby restaurant, sitting and eating lunch together, closer to one another as friends than ever. Octavia and Vinyl's time in Ponyville quickly came to an end, and they bid their friends goodbye as they left to Canterlot to prepare for their third trip to Ponyville, where they would come to stay.

Chapter Forty-Three

View Online

~Two Weeks Later~

"Are you sure everything is packed?" Octavia asked, making certain that nothing had been forgotten.

"Yes, Octy! That's the fourth time you've asked!" Vinyl said, bringing a hoof to her face.

"I am just making sure, Vinyl. I do not want to leave anything behind," Octavia said.

"Well, I've looked in every room of the apartment, and there is nothing that isn't boxed or bagged," Vinyl said with a sigh.

"Then I believe we are ready to leave. The moving company is not slated to arrive until tomorrow night, and the motel room we rented out will not be ready until later this evening," Octavia said as she took a seat on a small stool that she had set out during the packing. "We have plenty of free time this evening, what would you like to do?" Vinyl looked at Octavia and giggled a bit.

"You know, your baby bump is getting bigger and bigger. It's starting to get obvious," Vinyl pointed out, to which Octavia blushed.

"It is not like I have a choice, Vinyl...and I fully intend to work off whatever weight I gain from this," Octavia said.

"It won't be long before I'm gonna have to start rolling you around," Vinyl said while stifling a laugh.

"...You are so lucky I am not a unicorn..." Octavia growled.

"Why's that?" Vinyl asked.

"If I were, you would be embedded in the ceiling after the comment you just made," Octavia said.

"While that doesn't sound like much fun, I can understand that I'd totally deserve it," Vinyl laughed. "Anywho, as for how we're gonna spend tonight...I'm not really sure," she said, bringing a hoof to her chin. "Hmmm..." An idea then came to Vinyl. "We could go back to that bar- you know, the one where we met."

"Ugh, Fillyfool's, really? You know I hate that place," Octavia groaned.

"C'mon Octy! For old time's sake," Vinyl said, doing her best to persuade her. Vinyl had an idea in mind- as much as she knew Octavia did not like Fillyfool's, she was going to make it memorable. She thought back to the amethyst engagement earring she bought with Bonbon two weeks before with a small smile. Yeah, it may not be super romantic, but it'll definitely be memorable. "What do you say, Octy? For me?" Vinyl said, forcing her lower lip to quiver. Octavia watched for a few seconds, and sighed.

"Fine, we will go to Fillyfool's. Aside from the fact it is where I met you, I fail to see any other reason as to why you would want to go back," Octavia said.

"It'll be fun, you'll see," Vinyl smiled. The two made their way towards the front door, exiting and shutting it behind them. They then began to walk down the streets of Canterlot, taking in what would be their last viewing of the upper-class city until they next visited Vinyl's parents. "I gotta admit, I will miss this place. I had some awesome gigs here," Vinyl said as they walked.

"Agreed. Some of my most memorable concerts were at the Canterlot Opera House. I will never forget the first opera I peformed in. I received an award not too long after for "Best Solo Celloist" during the performance, seeing as it had a section where the actors were completely silent and I had to improvise a solo that fit the mood. I was nervous beyond belief," Octavia said as she reminisced.

"So THAT'S what that trophy was for," Vinyl said. "Nicely done, Octy. At the time I probably wouldn't have wanted to go see it, but now? Maybe," Vinyl winked.

"Vinyl, I remember that opera distinctly- you would not last five minutes," Octavia laughed.

"Pssh, shows what you know, Octy. Before I met you I tried to go to a play once, just to see what all the buzz was about, and I only slept through half of it," Vinyl said proudly.

"Oh, bravo Vinyl, that is truly an accomplishment," Octavia said sarcastically, raising an eyebrow.

"Yeah, tell me about it-" Vinyl stopped mid-sentence. "Was that really necessary?"

"Take it how you like," Octavia smirked.

After twenty minutes of walking, they arrived at Fillyfool's. "This place hasn't changed a bit!" Vinyl said. "I remember the night I met you the crowd was going nuts! They ate up my music like they hadn't been fed in months," she chuckled. She looked the place over, but missed one crucial poster- the act for the night. Vinyl pushed the door open, and the two made their way past the crowd of ponies that usually cluttered the bar. They found a table, and began to chat when the section of the bar they were in went dark. Suddenly, a very familiar song to Vinyl began to play. She looked up, her eyes wide. "No..."

The lights over the tape decks were dark, but one pony stood alone in front of it- a unicorn stallion, his back turned to the crowd. As the song slowly began to build, he started to tap his hoof to the beat.

"...You gotta be kidding me..." Vinyl said, a shocked and somewhat dumbfounded expression across her face.

"Something the matter, Vinyl?" Octavia said as she turned her head to look at whatever Vinyl was looking at.

The music continued to build, until eventually the unicorn stallion flipped around as the wall of bass rocked the bar. He had a spiky black mane, black shades, a blue-gray coat, a black shirt with a tie, and three stars for a cutie mark. His horn began to glow, and he began to speak. Octavia was amazed that the bass did not drown out his voice, but she reasoned that he was using his magic to project his voice.

"It's the rise of the vulture!
I'm feeling the panic!
All those who are nervous,
With loss of dynamic!
If your pride's been poisoned,
If your heart is sour,
Hear the sound of the war drums-"

The music stopped for a brief second as the synth lead took over.


The dance-floor exploded as lights began to strobe in sync with the heavy bass and the synth lead, another pony working the tape decks. She herself got lost in the music while she worked, her bright orange mane with dark red streaks hiding her face as she rocked back and forth. The MC repeated the line two more times, the crowd dancing their lives away.

"It's the rise of the vulture!
Gonna keep on climbing!
No chance of escape,
No use in hiding!
Into the eye of the storm,
With the silver lining!
To the point where it breaks-"

Another very brief pause hit the bar, the crowd waiting patiently.


The song exploded once more, the MC throwing his hooves in the air, taking in the energy he was receiving from his fans. He took a few moments to survey the crowd, and at the corner of his eye he caught a familiar color: electric-blue. He focused on the sight, and lowered his glasses, his bright yellow eyes peering back at Vinyl. He gave a small grin and a nod of the head, and returned to his work as another build-up reached its crescendo.


He continued to pump up the crowd by raising his hooves over and over, grinning like a madcolt the entire time. "C'MON! LET ME HEAR YOU!" He yelled, the crowd roaring their approval in response. The song eventually came to an end, and the crowd stomped their hooves wildly in praise.

"Thank you, thank you! You've been a smashing audience! Let's give a round of applause to my lovely assistant working the decks, POLY RHYTHM!" The crowd yelled their approval as the mare took a few bows and waved to the audience. "This is MC W1SH, SIGNING OFF! GOOD NIGHT!" He yelled, throwing a hoof in the air, to which the crowd responded in kind. The lights went back to normal, and before he left the stage, he took one last look at Vinyl, and smirked. He made his way off-stage.

"That was strange...he looked right at you, Vinyl. Do you know him?" Octavia asked.

"In ways I really don't want to remember..." Vinyl groaned.

"What do you mean?" Octavia asked.

"Octy, I REALLY don't wanna get into this..." Vinyl pleaded.

"Well I do. If it keys me in to a piece of your past, I would like to know about it," Octavia said as she leaned into Vinyl.

"...Do I really have to?" Vinyl asked dejectedly.

"Come now, Vinyl. It cannot be that bad," Octavia said. Vinyl looked at her and sighed.

"Alright, if you really wanna know, then I'll tell you," Vinyl started. She took a moment to gather her thoughts and continued. "His real name is Neon Lights, and he used to be my partner way back in the day. I used to DJ for him, and he would emcee. Things were going great until...well..."

"Until what, Vinyl?" Octavia asked, curious to know more. Vinyl then gave another sigh.

"Until we started going out...he's kind of my ex," Vinyl said sheepishly.

Chapter Forty-Four

View Online

"Your WHAT?!" Octavia yelled in surprise, blinking in disbelief at what Vinyl had just revealed.

"Yep, he's my ex," Vinyl said flatly.

"I must admit this is rather surprising...I always figured you were...well, you," Octavia said, to which Vinyl raised an eyebrow.

"I really don't wanna be here right now. I regret my decision to come here," Vinyl muttered.

"Vinyl? Is that you?" A voice said. They looked up, and Vinyl groaned in displeasure as the unicorn MC made his way over to their table. "I can't believe it! Look at you- you haven't changed a bit!" he grinned.

"No, I guess I haven't. What do you need, Neon?" Vinyl asked.

"Vinyl! No need to be rude to him," Octavia said, nudging her shoulder slightly. Vinyl sighed slightly, refocusing on Neon.

"Sorry for the rudeness, but who are you?" Neon asked, looking at Octavia with a smile.

"Oh, I am sorry. My name is Octavia- I am Vinyl's fiancee," Octavia said with a smile.

"Your fiancee? Geez Vinyl, was I that bad of a coltfriend?" Neon chuckled sheepishly.

"Let me think about that for a second- YES," Vinyl growled, two which Octavia nudged her again. Vinyl looked up and saw that Neon looked rather hurt by her comment, and sighed. "Sorry, Neon. I'm sure you get why I'm not being very friendly," Vinyl said.

"Believe me, I understand...we did call it off on a very sour note, but I'm glad I found you. I'd like to put the break up behind us, and maybe continue on being friends..." Neon said with a bashful smile.

"...You're joking, right? You expect me to just up and forgive you for completely neglecting the fact that I was your marefriend and went off with a crowd of other mares? Fat chance buddy," Vinyl said, narrowing her eyes. Neon sighed and took a seat at the table.

"In retrospect I realize that was a really cruddy thing to do, and I apologize for it. I got caught up in the moment, and I was blind to what really mattered..." Neon said. "Even if you say no, do you mind if I just hang here with you two before you leave for the night?"

"...I guess that's alright, but I've got my eye on you, Neon. No funny business," Vinyl said, narrowing her eyes even further.

"You got it Vinyl," he grinned. He then turned to Octavia. "You look kinda familiar, you know that? I'm pretty sure I've seen that pretty face of yours somewhere before," Neon said as he gave a charming smile. Octavia blushed slightly at the compliment.

"Well, I perform as the lead cellist for the Canterlot Orchestra, so if you have ever been to a play here in Canterlot I am certain you have heard me play," Octavia said.

"Yeah, that would explain it. I've seen a couple of plays here and there- my marefriend Poly really likes them, so I kinda get dragged along- and I thought I saw you heading the string section. I gotta say, you're very good," Neon chuckled. "Would you ladies like anything to drink? My treat!"

"A free drink on your money? Count me in," Vinyl said.

"Oh, no thank you Neon. I am pregnant after all, so alcohol is off limits for the time being," Octavia said.

"You're pregnant? Congrats!" Neon said with a smile. The smile then contorted into a confused frown. " is that possible? Aren't you engaged to Vinyl? Who is the father?"

"Yes, explain the situation without revealing anything personal, Vinyl is. I am sure you can put two and two together," Octavia said with a blush. Neon thought about it for a moment, and smirked.

"That's pretty awesome. I didn't think that was possible," Neon said. "Good on you, Vinyl."

"Thanks I guess," Vinyl said flatly.

"Hang on, I'll go get the drinks for myself and Vinyl," Neon said as he got up and went over to the bar.

"Vinyl, you could really do with being nicer to him! He is a charming young colt and he is obviously making the attempt to be friends with you!" Octavia chastised.

"Octy, you don't know him like I do. Something isn't right about all this...I can feel it," Vinyl said.

"You are probably just over-reacting," Octavia said, brushing off her warning. A few moments later, Neon returned with a beer bottle and a shot glass for himself.

"Alright, how about we toast to a new friendship?" Neon grinned.

"I think that would be splendid, right Vinyl?" Octavia said with a smile, nudging her for a third time.

"Fine," Vinyl sighed, raising her beer. Neon raised his shot glass, and Octavia raised her glass of water.

"To friendship," Neon started.

"To friendship," Vinyl and Octavia said in unison as they tapped their drinks together. Vinyl downed her beer in one go, Neon tossing back the shot of liquor.

"So tell me Octavia, how far along are you?" Neon asked, curious to know.

"A month and two weeks," Octavia said with a smile.

"That's great! Any idea on the gender or a name?"

"Nothing yet, we have decided it is going to be a surprise for us as much as the rest of the family," Octavia said.

"Well I gotta say I'm happy for you two. You make a cute couple," he smiled.

"Thank you very much, Neon. Vinyl and I both appreciate your words of kindness, right?" Octavia said, looking over at Vinyl, whose expression was akin to a statue's.

"Uh-huh," Vinyl said simply.

"Pay no attention to her, she is just being mopey," Octavia chuckled.

"Believe me, I know THAT face well, I can't begin to tell you how many times I would try to get her to do something with me, only to get that as an answer,"

"Forcing me to go visit your parents who CLEARLY hated me, just to be chased out with a kitchen knife by your MOTHER was not my idea of a 'romantic getaway,' Neon!" Vinyl yelled.

"You still remember that, huh?" Neon said, scratching the back of his head. "How else was I gonna get you to go? I had to lie or I woulda never gotten you out of the apartment!"

"Whatever," Vinyl said. "I'm gonna go get another drink..."

~Several Hours Later~

Octavia and Neon talked long into the evening hours, ponies slowly drifting out of Fillyfool's to make the trek back home. Vinyl on the other hoof, had spent the entire evening drinking, Neon having offered to pay for whatever she decided to buy.

"...and that was when I gave her the necklace and asked her out. Vinyl cried like somepony had just taken away her favorite record. She just cried and cried and cried, until she eventually said yes, and then cried some more," Neon said, looking back on the memory fondly.

"How sweet. I must say it is very interesting to learn about how Vinyl was before she met me," Octavia said. She then heard the sound of breaking glass, and looked up to find a very-much-inebriated Vinyl trying to make her way back to the table. She looked at the beer bottle she had dropped, and sighed.

"Darnit...gotta go get 'nother one..." Vinyl said, turning to go back to the bar. She stopped short when Octavia made her way over and turned her around.

"Vinyl, how many beers have you had?" Octavia asked.

"Shicks 'r sheven...oh...uh...I know" Vinyl asked, unsure of the answer herself. Octavia sighed as she led her back to the table.

"You have had far too much to drink. Neon, would you mind watching her while I go to the restroom? I need to get her to bed," Octavia said as she got up.

"Sure thing, Octavia. We'll be here when you get back," Neon said.

"Thank you," Octavia said as she began to make her way to the bar's bathroom. She pushed the door open and entered one of the stalls. I can't say I have ever seen Vinyl so against something before...maybe it wasn't a good idea to let Neon so close to her. Then again, Vinyl does tend to over-react on some things. Octavia exited the stall and moved over to the bathroom sink, washing her hooves. Nevertheless, maybe I'll treat her out somewhere nice tomorrow to make up for it. Octavia dried her hooves and left the bathroom, humming to herself with a smile. That is, until she opened her eyes to a sight that would completely turn her world upside-down: the sight of Vinyl furiously kissing Neon, whose expression was wide-eyed and confused.

"VINYL!? What are you doing!?" Octavia yelled as she forcibly pulled Vinyl off of Neon.

"O-Octavia, I am SO sorry for what you just saw! I-I was just sitting here, minding my own business when Vinyl's head kinda hung low and she was mumbling to herself. I leaned over to see if she was okay, a-and she said something about still having feelings for me and- and she just forced herself on me!" Neon explained. Octavia could not believe what she was hearing. She turned her head to face Vinyl, and spoke in a very soft voice.

" this true?" Octavia asked.

"Huhwha?" Vinyl said, looking over at the source of her name being called. She looked up at Octavia and gave her huge, goofy smile. "Oh hi Octy! I was jus' wonderin' where ya went! Didya enjoy the kiss?" she smirked. This was where the lines of communication fell apart. To Vinyl, she was simply asking Octavia if she enjoyed the kiss she gave her, thoroughly convinced that it was Octavia that she had kissed. To Octavia however, Vinyl had just said the unthinkable: she had just asked her if she enjoyed watching Vinyl kiss her ex. The world suddenly stopped spinning when Vinyl felt a huge stinging sensation on her left cheek, seeing the blur of Octavia's hoof rush past her vision. The force of the impact almost immediately sobered her up. " hit me..." Vinyl murmured in disbelief.

"It is VERY MUCH clear that you still have feelings for him, despite what you told me! Seeing as that is the case, I will do you a favor- WE ARE DONE, VINYL! HE IS ALL YOURS!" Octavia roared as tears streamed down her cheeks. She then turned and rushed away from the table, making a beeline for the door.

"OCTY, WAIT! OCTY!" Vinyl yelled after her, still very much confused on what exactly had transpired. "Octy..." Vinyl whimpered as tears threatened to spill over. She looked over at Neon, who looked strangely content...smug, even.

"Neon...what happened?" Vinyl asked.

"What happened? Oh, that's an easy one. I just framed you," Neon said with a satisfied smirk. "It was easy, really. You can't stand to be around me, so I played on that. I offer to pay for drinks, you immediately take me up on it- you always were easy to please. You get drunk off your rump, and Octavia decides to call it a night. Octavia gets up to go to the bathroom, and I force you into a kiss. I gotta say,'re still a great kisser. Once Octavia caught us, all I had to do was act innocent and make it look like your drunk, sorry rump got over-emotional at seeing your long-lost ex," he explained. "Consider this payback for dumping me over a simple mistake..." he growled. "Now you know how I felt when you dumped me back then...hurts, don't it?"

Before he could say anything else, Vinyl's hoof slammed into the side of his face, sending him tumbling to the floor. A moment later, Vinyl was on-top of him, her hooves around his neck. "I KNEW YOU WERE JUST A LYING SACK OF DIRT ALL ALONG!" she yelled. "I swear to Celestia, if I can't get Octy back, I WILL track you down, and I WILL END YOU!" She grabbed him by the collar, and threw him against the ground again, leaping off him and rushing out the door after Octavia.

Neon picked himself up off the floor, rubbing his aching jaw. He felt something moving around in his mouth, and spit it out into his hoof: he blinked in surprise when he saw a bloody tooth. He then noticed that other patrons were staring at him. "WHAT!?" he yelled, causing the others to turn away. He straightened himself out, and froze when he saw Poly standing in front of him.

"So, I saw you making out with that other unicorn chick. What the BUCK was THAT about?!" She yelled, absolutely livid that he would do something so low.

"Y-You saw that?" He chuckled nervously, "B-Babe, it wasn't what it-"

"Save it for someone who gives a buck, Neon. I'm done with you," she said as she trotted past him, leaving him stunned and frozen.

"Oh, by the way..." she started. She raised her right-rear leg, revealing a hoof with a polished-iron shoe, reared it back, and planted it SQUARE between his rear legs. Neon immediately toppled over like a sack of bricks, unable to make any kind of sound other than small squeaks.

"Bucking jerk..." she muttered, leaving Neon in a crumpled heap on the bar floor.

Chapter Forty-Five

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Vinyl charged out of the bar, knocking over a few other ponies that were standing near the door. She frantically looked around for any sign of Octavia, desperate to rectify the situation. "OCTY!" she yelled, hoping that her calls would be heard. Sadly, no response came. "I have to find her...if I were Octy, where would I go?" she asked herself, wracking her still somewhat-inebriated mind for any possible answer. "Ugh...I can't believe I let myself go like this..." she muttered to herself as she brought a hoof to her head. "No time to gripe. I gotta find her!" Vinyl then raced off into the night, her legs carrying her as fast as they could.


Octavia wandered aimlessly, the scene replaying over and over in her mind. Her stomach turned every time it restarted, her heart breaking at Neon's words. Her eyes stung from crying, her cheeks soaked in tears. Why? Why did this happen? She played the scene over again in her mind. How could I let this happen? Was I not good enough? She could feel a fresh wave of tears beginning to build in her eyes. How could she do this to me...even though she told me she loved me? Octavia continued to walk down the empty street, crying to herself softly.


Vinyl burst into the room of the motel they had rented, and found it empty. She checked behind every door, and came up short. "...Octy...where are you?" Vinyl asked softly to no pony in particular. She then shook her head violently. "No, I have to find her! She's wandering the streets alone at night...I don't even wanna think about something happening to her..." Vinyl said to herself, rushing back outside and slamming the door shut behind her. As she galloped, her vision lead her astray and she slipped, cutting her left foreleg right at the fetlock joint on a broken cobblestone. She shakily raised herself back up, moving as quickly as she could on her injured leg. Don't worry Octy...I'll fix this...


Octavia made her way over to a park bench, climbing onto it and laying down, her head between her forelegs. She closed her eyes tightly, trying to hold back the tears. She tried to erase the image from her mind, but to no avail. No matter how hard she tried, the scene plagued her still. What made her heart ache the most, was the expression on Vinyl's face after she hit her. There were many times where Octavia had hit her over a childish remark or a witty response, but it was never meant with an intention to hurt her. The look in Vinyl's eyes was one she could not bear to see: it was an expression of confusion and pain. Stop looking at me like that...please... No matter what she did, she couldn't shake the image. Vinyl...why did you do this to me?


Vinyl continued her search, checking everywhere she could think of. She ignored the pain of the cut on her foreleg, pushing herself to move faster. She heard thunder rumbling far above, her sense of urgency doubling as tiny droplets of rain began to fall slowly. "I gotta...find her quickly..." Vinyl panted, leaning up against a lamp-post as she tried to catch her breath. "I'm...running out of options..." Vinyl said to herself, fearing that she would not be able to find her. Vinyl slumped down to the base of the lamp-post, feeling tears welling in her eyes when she heard the sound of sobbing in the distance. "I know that voice..." Vinyl said, pushing herself to her hooves and making her way towards the source.


Octavia shook her head, opening her eyes once more as she felt tiny raindrops beginning to fall. She sniffled slightly as she began to trot away from the park bench. She looked up as she heard the sound of racing hooves against the wet cobblestones nearing her. Please, just go away...I just want to be alone...


Octavia looked up in disbelief, seeing a panting, disheveled and injured Vinyl standing at the entrance to the pathway, staring at her. Octavia narrowed her eyes. "What do you want?"

"Octy, listen to me, please! What you saw wasn't true! I didn't willingly kiss Neon!

"THAT IS A LIE! I KNOW WHAT I SAW!" Octavia yelled. "I am no foal, Vinyl! DO NOT TRY TO CHANGE THE STORY!"

"Octy, please- just listen! Neon forced himself on me! He LIED to you!" Vinyl said, doing whatever she could to try and save herself.

"Oh, is that so? Is that why you looked like you were having the TIME OF YOUR LIFE!?" Octavia shrieked, feeling burning tears beginning to run down her face as the rain slowly got more intense.

"Octy, you have to believe me! I wouldn't do this to you!" Vinyl said, limping her way over to Octavia. She closed the distance, and reached out to place a hoof on her shoulder, and winced in pain when Octavia smacked it away.

"DO NOT TOUCH ME!" Octavia yelled, recoiling away from Vinyl. "Let me ask you this, Vinyl- what would possess you to ask me if I enjoyed it?"

"Enjoyed what?" Vinyl said, confused.

"Quit playing dumb, Vinyl!" Octavia accused. "You know FULL WELL what you said to me!" she yelled, turning away from Vinyl. "How could you asked me if I enjoyed watching you kiss Neon?"

Vinyl looked at her like she had been hit with a bat. "WHAT!? Octy, I would NEVER ask you that! I HATE Neon!"

"Well you have a very unique way of showing it!" Octavia said, narrowing her eyes. "Why would you let this happen?"

"Octy, I was drunk- I still kind of am!" Vinyl said. It was then that she realized that she probably should not have mentioned that.

"Oh, is that so?! So how do I know that this ENTIRE 'apology' is not a farce just like the rest?" Octavia accused.

"Octy, please...I didn't mean for this to happen..." Vinyl said, feeling her own heart breaking.

"Vinyl, enough...I have heard enough...I need time alone..." Octavia said, turning to leave.

"Please, Octy...don't do this..." Vinyl begged. "I'm sorry...I'm so sorry..." Although it pained her greatly, Octavia remained silent for a few moments.

"...Try talking to me again tomorrow...I cannot get a hold of myself right now...if what you say is the truth, I want to hear it when I am more calm...and you are not drunk..." Octavia said softly as she turned to leave. "Be sure to get your hoof looked are hurt..."

"I DON'T CARE ABOUT THAT, OCTY!" Vinyl yelled, causing Octavia to stop dead in her tracks. "What I care about is YOU! I made a mistake...I get that! I just want you to see that. I didn't do this because I wanted to or because I figured it'd be fun! Neon FORCED himself on me, and he told me so! He told me the whole thing!" Vinyl said. Octavia merely stood in place, listening silently to Vinyl's words as the rain fell around them. "He hated the fact that I broke up with him all those years ago, and he used you against me! He let me buy all those drinks so I'd be too drunk to fight back when he forced himself on me..." Vinyl said, pleading her case. "He used you against me, Octy. He knew that this would happen!"

Octavia stared at Vinyl, her heart wanting to believe every word that came out of Vinyl's mouth, but something kept nagging at her in the back of her mind. "...Then why did you ask me if I enjoyed it?"

"I asked you if you enjoyed it because I thought I was kissing YOU!" Vinyl said, to which Octavia scowled.

"You mistook me for your ex...and you thought that I would be OKAY WITH THAT?!" Octavia yelled, her eyes burning with pain and anger. "Why in Equestria would I be okay with that!? Why would ANYPONY be okay with that!?"

"I...I'm sorry, have to believe me when I tell you I didn't mean it..." Vinyl pleaded.

"...It is like I said...I am far too upset with you and myself to accept your apology right now..." Octavia sighed bitterly.

"...Why are you upset at yourself?" Vinyl asked, raising her head slightly.

"I am upset at myself because...I allowed it to happen. If I had been there or maybe done something to prevent it, we would not be in this situation as it is right now..." Octavia sighed. "Please, Vinyl...come apologize to me again tomorrow..." It was at this point that Vinyl realized she was not going anywhere. She simply got up, looked at Octavia, and trotted away, the rain continuing to fall as they separated. When Vinyl arrived back at the motel, she felt her heart ache when Octavia was not there waiting for her. She climbed into bed, and began to cry, wishing that Octavia were there with her.

Octavia had instead chosen to stay at their old apartment, retrieving the mattress for their bed and throwing a pillow and cushion on it and laid down. It was then that the profound sadness and loneliness hit her all at once, and she buried her face in her hooves, sobbing loudly.

That night, neither one of them slept soundly.

Chapter Forty-Six

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The following day arrived far too quickly. Octavia spent most of the day deep in thought, mulling over what Vinyl had said to her the night before. She was far calmer than she was before, but her heart still ached. She seemed like she was telling the truth...perhaps I acted far too rashly... She sighed softly, trying to make sense of it all. It was then that she accidentally bumped into another pony walking the other way.

"Oh...very sorry about-" Octavia stopped short when she looked up and saw the same mare that had been working with Neon the night before. "...You, you are Neon's marefriend, right?"

"Ugh, I was his marefriend," she muttered, looking very much upset at Neon being brought up.

"You saw what happened?" Octavia asked.

"Saw the whole thing, and I stuck around long enough for the truth, too. Turns out Neon forced himself on your marefriend to get back at her for breaking up with him a while back," Poly said with a sigh. "So, I broke up with him and gave him a little parting gift. Jerk deserved worse, but I try to be nice...hey, you alright?"

Octavia stood in stunned silence. "...So it was true..."

"Look, I...uh...I gotta get going. I'll see you around..." Poly said as she turned to leave. Before she could take another step, she found herself caught in a hug with Octavia. "Uh, you okay?"

"I just wanted to say thank you..." Octavia said softly.

"What for?"

"For putting that idiot in his place, even if he has something worse coming for him if I find him," Octavia said.

"I'd like to think when you find him," she chuckled.

"Well, if you will excuse me, I have to find somepony," Octavia said, hurrying off to set things right.

"'re welcome?" Poly said as she watched Octavia disappear from view. "Ponies in this town are weird..." she said to herself as she walked off.


After spending two hours searching about town for Vinyl, she felt herself growing more and more worried when every avenue turned up empty. "...I need to find her...where else would she be?" Octavia asked herself. "...Maybe she went back to the bar...I also need to check there for my saddlebags."

Octavia returned to the bar, looking to retrieve her saddlebags which she had left behind when she galloped off in tears. To her ultimate shock, the music she heard playing was strangely familiar. She looked up to see Vinyl standing behind a mixing set, but her expression was stoic, very unusual for the extroverted DJ.

"Hey everypony, thanks a ton for coming out to support me! This next track goes out to somepony very special and close to my heart...somepony that I hurt very badly...and I just want her to know...I'm sorry.” She pressed play, and went to work.

Octavia merely sat and listened, the song vastly different in comparison to what Vinyl had done in the past. It was much slower, and there was very little to it- only distorted voices, piano notes and a very simple drumbeat. She could hear them saying something, but couldn’t quite make it out. She listened to the track, the voices repeating their message over and over, until eventually she started to understand what it was saying...and it was saying it to her.

Please tell my lover I'm down on my knees, And I really really miss you, Oh, I love you (You, you, you) All I love, all my love. (All my love)

The words coming together in one beautiful message of love and sorrow struck Octavia harder than anything she had ever felt. It was taking every last ounce of resistance for her not to burst into tears, even if they were already dripping off her chin. The audience slowly swayed back and forth, some couples leaning against one another as the song played.

Oh, Vinyl...I have been so could I ever have thought you meant it?

She opened her eyes to look at Vinyl, and brought a hoof to her mouth to stifle a whimper when she saw her. Even though Vinyl’s expression was as solid as stone...she was crying. Vinyl, crying. Never once in the entire time they had ever been together did she see Vinyl shed a single tear over anything, but now that Octavia was gone, she was laying her soul bare for all to see. She could feel the raw emotion Vinyl was pouring out to her audience as the distorted voice suddenly became very familiar. It was Vinyl’s own voice, and it spoke one line that would spark a change. In a very broken and almost forlorn tone, it said:


Octavia took to her hooves at full-tilt, making a beeline straight for the backstage entrance.

I need to see her...

She dashed past the bouncer blocking the entrance to the backstage, ignoring his futile attempts at getting her to stop.

I need to be with her...

She darted around all the equipment and workers, sending a few tumbling back into the wall as she pushed her way through them.


She finally made it to where the curtains were, and yanked Vinyl back through them, the song still playing even without its DJ. Octavia forced Vinyl into a passionate kiss, embracing her like if she let go, Vinyl would disappear. She broke the kiss, and began to sob, her heart aching from both the happiness of feeling her in her grip once more, and the pain from the separation still lingering within.

“I-I’m sorry-I’m sorry, Vinyl-please-please forgive meee...” She whimpered, burying her face in Vinyl’s neck. “I’m sorry...I’m sorry...” She repeated, unable to think of or say anything else.

Vinyl could no longer resist. She began to cry loudly as she gently stroked her lover’s mane, thanking Celestia that Octavia had come back to her. “N-No...d-don’t be sorry...I was the idiot...I let it happen...” Vinyl choked out through sobs. “I-I promise this will never happen again...I promise I promise I promise!” she repeated, holding Octavia closer to her as they cried together..

“Please, d-don’t ever leave me again...” Vinyl whimpered as she held Octavia close. Octavia returned the embrace tightly, holding onto her like the moment she let go would be the last she would ever hold Vinyl.

“I’ll never let go, Vinyl...I promise...” She sniffled, focusing her hearing on the sound of Vinyl’s heartbeat. It was beating quickly, but it had a rhythm that soothed her. She let the tears continue to run, simply listening to her lover’s heart.

I will never let long as you still love me... Octavia thought.

“I’ll always love you, Octy...” Vinyl murmured. Octavia blinked, shocked that she would receive such a direct answer to her thoughts. Smiling warmly, she leaned up and kissed Vinyl softly as the tears finally slowed and their hearts began to heal. After taking a little while to moment to relax and calm down, Vinyl smiled. "Hey...come with me for a second," she said as she took Octavia by the hoof. She lead her out onto the show-floor behind her tape deck, and turned to the crowd. "Thanks so much for coming out everypony! I just want to introduce you all that somepony special I mentioned before. Fillies and gentlecolts, this is my marefriend Octavia! She's the lead cello player for her ensemble that performs at the Canterlot Opera House- swing by and go see her! SHE'S AWESOME!" The crowd cheered in response as Octavia smiled, waving in return. "Alright, now that I've got the intros out of the way, I've got something to do. Just bear with me for a few minutes!" she said.

Vinyl reached into a slot in her tape deck, and retrieved a small black box with a bright red bow, and held it in front of Octavia. She used her magic to unwrap the gift and reveal the beautiful amethyst engagement earring within.

"Octavia...will you marry me?" Vinyl asked, her voice echoing through the microphone.

The entire bar fell silent, as they waited with eager anticipation for Octavia's response. Octavia brought a hoof to her mouth in complete shock and awe, tears of joy making their way down her face. Unable to respond, she simply nodded her head, eliciting a massive roar of applause and cheers from the bar-goers and audience members alike. Vinyl gave a grand smile, placing the little box back in her console, the two sharing another embrace. "Thank you all so much for being here with me tonight! As a special treat, here's a teaser for on of my unreleased tracks! ENJOY!" She then moved over to one of the other DJ's. "Cover this track and I'll split a bit of the pay with you. That sound good to you?"

"Deal!" The pegasus said, moving past her to take control of the tape deck and pressed play on the track. Vinyl quickly grabbed Octavia, and lead her back downstairs as the song began to play. "C'mon! Dance with me!" Vinyl laughed. Octavia hesitated for a minute, then gave in as the beat started to kick in, the two enjoying themselves for the first time since the incident.

They shared a quick, passionate kiss, and danced late into the night.

Chapter Forty-Seven

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Octavia and Vinyl left the bar together, the other bar-goers wishing them all the best in the future. They walked so closely to one another it was a wonder that they hadn't tripped over each others hooves. Vinyl was smiling from ear to ear, content in the fact that her words had reached Octavia. She gently snaked her tail around Octavia's, whose tail responded in kind.

"I'm sorry for reacting so badly, Vinyl...I still haven't quite forgiven myself for it," Octavia said softly as she looked at Vinyl.

"It's fine Octy," Vinyl smiled. "I really should have seen things from your end. I can't even begin to imagine what it looked like," Vinyl said. "Ugh...I'm still trying to get his disgusting taste out of my mouth," she gagged.

Octavia giggled slightly. "I can understand why you broke up with him before," she said. "He had no idea what he had, and he let it go," Octavia smiled.

"Aww, Octy...that's so nice of you to say," Vinyl said with a small blush.

"Believe me...I made that mistake once, and I learn from my mistakes," Octavia said as she shared a gentle kiss with Vinyl. "Do you still have the key to the motel? I am thoroughly exhausted," she said with a yawn.

"Same here...last night wasn't exactly easy for me," Vinyl said as she thought back.

"I understand completely..." Octavia said, doing the same. "I just want to get a good night's sleep..." she said as she leaned into Vinyl again. "...and put this all behind us."

"Yeah...sounds good," Vinyl said, planting a kiss on her cheek. The two made their way back to the motel, Vinyl retrieving the key from her saddlebags and opening the door. Octavia entered first, looking around with a mix of shock and sadness. The room was completely untouched, save for the bed. This indicated that Vinyl had not even bothered to get out of bed the entire day until her surprise set.


"Octy, it's alright...I'm better now, trust me." Vinyl then walked past her, grabbing a towel. "I'm gonna take a quick shower. Be out in a minute!" Vinyl said as she shut the door behind her. Octavia then took a few moments to readjust a few things as well as unpack her saddlebags for the night. Once done, she slipped into bed and quietly waited. After a little while, Vinyl emerged from the bathroom, having dried off. She found Octavia waiting for her, and smiled as she climbed into bed. Octavia immediately moved up against Vinyl, showering her with kisses and the affection she felt she owed her. Their hearts began to race as they moved closer and closer to one another, the warmth between them slowly growing with the passionate fires between them. They broke the kiss, simply staring into each others eyes as they held each other, gentle nuzzles leading into yet another fiery kiss, the two forced to stop again for breath.

"Well? What are you waiting for?" Octavia asked in a sensual voice, a sultry expression gracing her face.

"Who said anything about waiting?" Vinyl smirked in response. Octavia then felt Vinyl's tail began to shift position and smiled.

"Never one to wait for the green flag," Octavia said softly.

"I wait for no pony...except a certain cellist," Vinyl returned. The two shared yet another kiss as they disappeared beneath the covers.


Octavia slowly opened her eyes, feeling better rested than she had in days. She rolled over to face Vinyl, who was soundly asleep, snoring her life away. Octavia chuckled a little as she leaned forward and planted a kiss on her cheek. She got out of bed and made her way into the shower. She exited shortly thereafter, drying her mane as she gently nudged Vinyl awake. "Vinyl, wake up. We need to get moving, the movers should be arriving soon," Octavia said. Vinyl sat up and looked around, confused and still somewhat asleep.

"...How long until they get here?" Vinyl asked as she climbed out of bed.

"Four hours," Octavia said as she made her way over to the mirror and began to brush her mane.

"...You woke me up four hours early, why?" Vinyl asked, flopping back down in bed.

"Because I want to make final preparations as well as make one last pass in terms of checking the apartment for anything we might have forgotten before we make the move," Octavia explained. Vinyl groaned in response.

"Octy, I told you, we aren't forgetting anything!" Vinyl whined.

"And I believe you, but I want to make sure anyway," Octavia said.

"Urgh, fine." Vinyl then got out of bed and went to the bathroom to brush her teeth. Once they had gathered all their things, they left the motel and returned the key to the concierge at the front desk. As they walked, they moved past a store that Vinyl had passed by all the time as a filly- a pet shop.

"Oh my gosh...Octy, we HAVE to get a pet!" Vinyl squealed.

"Vinyl, there are PLENTY of animals back in Ponyville that you can adopt," Octavia said, raising an eyebrow.

"C'mon, Octy! It'll be something reeeeeally cool, and it'll act as a reminder of our time here in Canterlot. Pleeeeease, Octy?" Vinyl begged, puffing out her lower lip in an attempt to act cute.

"That has never worked on me before, why do you expect it to work now?" Octavia asked with a small chuckle.

"Because you love me and you want me to be happy?" Vinyl answered for her.

"While that is true, yes, I still do not understand why you are so insistent on this..." Octavia said. "...but I suppose there is no harm in a pet."

"YESYESYESYESYES! Thank you, Octy! You're the best!" Vinyl squealed with delight, giving Octavia a huge kiss on the cheek.

"I am aware, now go on and get your pet," Octavia said with a small smile. Vinyl made her way into the store and began to peruse the selection. The store owner, a mare with a maroon colored coat, bright orange eyes and a black mane with a paw print for a cutie mark made her way over to Vinyl.

"Welcome to Perfect Pony Pets! Is there anything I can help you with?"

"Yeah, actually. I'm looking for a pet that doesn't require much maintenance, is easy-going, and is as cool as I am," Vinyl grinned.

"Well, our reptiles are towards the back if you wanna look over there," the mare offered.

"Reptiles?! COOL!" Vinyl said as she hurriedly made her way over. She examined all the different cages, not quite pleased with everything. She then saw one particular cage, and smiled.


Vinyl exited the pet-store, extremely pleased with her purchase. "Oh this is so cool! I love it!" Vinyl grinned.

"That was quick. So what did you-" Octavia turned to face Vinyl, but instead of seeing the face of a pony, she was nose-to-nose with a big, green iguana.


Twilight was muzzle-deep in one of her favorite books when she looked up, having heard something strange. "Spike, did you hear that?"

"Hear what, Twilight?" Spike said, carefully balancing a stack of books on his head as he tried to put them back on the shelf.

"It sounded like...a scream..." Twilight said, confused.

"A scream? You've been reading too many horror novels, Twiliiiiight!" Spike yelled as he lost his balance, falling off the ladder and ending up underneath all the books he had been balancing.

"Hmm...maybe I have..." Twilight said. She thought about it for a moment, and went back to reading her book.


"VINYL, GET THAT THING OUT OF MY FACE!" Octavia yelled, absolutely terrified by the lizard now perched on Vinyl's head.

"He has a name, you know! His name is Unts, and he is my pet. I shall love him forever," Vinyl giggled as Unts readjusted his position on her head.

"Take him back! Take him back RIGHT THIS INSTANT!" Octavia yelled, afraid to go near Vinyl.

"Oh, come on, Octy! He's not gonna attack you! Isn't that right, Unts? Who's a good iguana? You are! Yes you are!" Vinyl cooed as she scratched his back with a hoof, to which Unts gave a small smile. "Besides, they've got a no-refund, no-return policy. He's ours for good! Now come over here and meet Unts!"

Octavia edged her way over to Vinyl, gingerly reaching a hoof to stroke the spines on his head. "N-Nice to meet you, Unts..." she stuttered, gently brushing back the spines. Unts shifted slightly and made a slight groaning noise as the sac under his jaw began to fill with air. Octavia recoiled immediately, expecting it to spit acid or something else equally dangerous, and blushed in embarrassment when he snorted slightly and laid back down. Vinyl started laughing, causing Unts to move back a bit so he would not fall off her head. "Stop laughing at me! It is not that funny!"

"Oh, oh my stomach! Octy, you are adorable!" Vinyl laughed. "Ahh, that made my day. Let's go get ready to make the move." As they walked, Vinyl tried to get Unts to attack and eat flies, but he would simply sit lazily on her head.

"C'mon Unts! Just do it once!" Vinyl pleaded.

"What are you doing, Vinyl?" Octavia asked.

"I'm trying to get Unts to attack something," Vinyl explained. "C'mon, Unts! Sick 'em! Sick 'em, boy!"

"Vinyl, I am certain that addressing an iguana like a dog will not yield results..."

"It'll work, Octy. You'll see!" Vinyl said, trying once more.

"You really do have quite the twisted mind, Vinyl..." Octavia muttered.

"Twisted, or brilliant?" Vinyl grinned.

"I would say 'brilliantly twisted'," Octavia remarked.

"Well, well, well. Look what we have here," a voice said. The two mares turned around, and both scowled heavily as Neon approached them. "So I guess it's safe to say my little plan failed. Makes no difference to me, really. I got what I wanted- and that was to see you suffer, Vinyl."

Vinyl then smirked. "You know what? You're right, Neon. I did do a pretty horrible thing. I shouldn't have broken up with you over something so dumb, and to make up for it, I got you something."

"Is that so? Well, what is it?" Neon asked, raising an eyebrow.

"Octy, would you do the honors?" Vinyl smiled.

"Absolutely. Unts, sick 'em," Octavia ordered. To Neon's horror and both Octavia and Vinyl's surprise, Unts reared back and LEAPT off of Vinyl's head, launching himself at Neon's face as he began to scratch and bite at him.

"Wow! He actually listened! That must mean he likes you Octy," Vinyl grinned.

"How sweet...I must say I am beginning to like him. How much was he?" Octavia asked.

"Two-hundred bits," Vinyl said. "Why?"

"Best two-hundred bits we have ever spent," Octavia laughed, her and Vinyl watching as Unts played havoc on Neon's face. After a little while, Neon finally forced Unts off of him, and scampered off. Unts made his way over to Octavia and clambered onto her back, perching himself on her head between her ears.

"Awww, he likes you, Octy." Vinyl smiled.

"Well, he certainly was a good boy, so he is more than welcome up here...though it may take some getting used to..."

The two then continued back to their old apartment, laughing the entire way.

Chapter Forty-Eight

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Vinyl and Octavia sat on the front porch of their apartment, watching other ponies pass by as they waited for the mover's to arrive. "Today's the day," Vinyl said.

"It sure is, Vinyl...I find it so hard to believe how much our lives have changed in the last month and a half," Octavia said. "To think that on top of the baby, we now have a pet in our family." She then looked over at Vinyl, who had Unts slung over her shoulder, the iguana dead asleep.

"Unts really is the coolest pet. It was awesome watching him maul Neon like that. I don't think I've ever seen him run away so fast," Vinyl laughed.

"Too true...he deserved everything he got, and I still do not think he has gotten ALL that he deserves," Octavia said. "Ah well, his former marefriend already did to him what I would like to do."

"What'd she do?" Vinyl asked, turning her head to face Octavia.

"To put it simply Vinyl, he received a hoof that had an iron shoe in his 'family jewels,'" Octavia said.

"Oooh, sounds like something I wish I could've been there to see," Vinyl said, wincing slightly. "How'd you find out about that?"

"Well, before I arrived at the bar before we made up, I bumped into her. She told me the whole story, as well as her 'parting gift' to him," Octavia chuckled.

"I REALLY wish I coulda been there to see that," Vinyl said sadly. "I would've made sure he coughed up his 'family jewels' as well as roughing him up a bit."

"Now, now Vinyl. I do not need my child growing up with a parent in jail. You got me into this, so the only option you have is to see through being a parent until the end," Octavia smiled.

"When do I start?" Vinyl grinned.

"In about nine months," Octavia said.

"Not soon enough," Vinyl said, leaning in and giving Octavia a small kiss. To their surprise, Unts had woken up from his nap and crawled up Vinyl's side, made his way over to her head, and used her head as a springboard to hop on Octavia's. "Ha, I think somepony's a little jealous," Vinyl laughed.

"...This will definitely take some getting used to..." Octavia shuddered as Unts got comfortable, taking his usual spot between her ears. He let out a satisfied grunt, and fell back to sleep.

"Octy, you have no idea how cute you two look. I gotta admit, I'm a bit jealous," Vinyl laughed.

"Well, as much as I like Unts, I still have a fear of reptiles. I can only hope Gummy is as friendly as Unts..." Octavia said with a shudder as she thought back to the site of Gummy latched onto Pinkie's mane.

"I can totally see Gummy and Unts starting a bromance," Vinyl said.

"A 'bromance?' What in Equestria is a 'bromance?'" Octavia asked, confused. She jumped slightly when she felt Unts tail brush the back of her neck.

"A bromance is kinda like a really close friendship between two guys, but it's not like a relationship like the one you and I have," Vinyl explained. Octavia merely stared at her, still trying to make sense of it.

"I...suppose that makes sense..." Octavia said, giving up.

"You know Octy, you never did tell me why you have such a huge fear of reptiles," Vinyl said, curious to know.

"It happened when I was a filly. My father was busy tilling our barley fields, and I was just playing in the grass not too far from him. I remember hearing a noise, then I got up to follow it. When I found it, it was a snake. At the time, I had no idea that it could bite me or hurt me, so I started poking and prodding it...until it bit me on the ankle. I remember feeling its teeth going into my skin, and I could feel the poison flowing into me. I immediately began to feel weak, and my head felt like it was spinning. My vision went blurry, and it was hard to breathe..." Octavia explained as Vinyl listened intently. "...the next thing I knew I was waking up in the hospital, my mother and father sitting on both ends of the bed. The doctor told me what had happened, and that snake bites can be fatal. Ever since then, I have had a fear of reptiles," Octavia finished.

"Wow, Octy...I just gained a lot of respect for you," Vinyl said.

"Why is that, Vinyl? I do not see how being afraid of reptiles is worthy of garnering respect," Octavia asked.

"Well, you got bit by a snake and you survived. That's pretty awesome Octy," Vinyl grinned.

"I suppose. The only current exception to the rule would be Unts, seeing as he has shown no signs of wanting to hurt fact, I find him rather cute. You know, once you get past the spines and the scales..." Octavia said, looking up.

"Yes, he is a cutie, isn't that right Unts?" Vinyl said as she gently rubbed his forehead with a hoof. Their conversation was cut short when the moving carriage pulled up outside their apartment, a pair of burly stallions moving around from the front to find the girls.

"Are you two the ones moving to Ponyville?" The taller one asked.

"Yes we are, our possessions are ready to be moved," Octavia said.

"Good. C'mon, Heave. We've got work to do!" he yelled as he moved past Octavia and Vinyl.

"Comin', boss!" The other stallion said, following close behind. Octavia and Vinyl watched the two stallions carefully move their furniture out the front door and onto the carriage. A few moments later, the land-lord pony walked up to them, smoking a cigarette.

"Sorry to see you two go. As much trouble as you two caused, it definitely kept the place interestin'," he said as he stood in front of them. "You two got the key?"

"Oh, yes of course," Octavia said. She fished through her saddlebags and retrieved the key, hoofing it over to the land-lord. "It has been a pleasure living here, sir. Take care, and give your wife my regards," Octavia said with a smile.

"Sure thing," the stallion responded. Vinyl simply stared at him, unamused.

"I still think you're a jerk," Vinyl said flatly.

"I still think you're a nuisance," he responded just as flatly.

"Good, then we're on the same page," Vinyl said.

"I'm so glad," he growled.

"Alright! That should be everything! You two did a good job packing up your stuff!" The lead mover said.

"Come along Vinyl, we must be going-" What Octavia saw next shocked her. Vinyl turned to leave, but at the last second, whipped a rear hoof back and planted it right on the land-lord's knee, causing him to topple over.

"Augh! My knee! YOU LITTLE- AGH!" He yelled.

"V-VINYL! What was-?" Octavia started.

"Octy, just shut up and move before he gets back up!" Vinyl said as she hurried past, Octavia doing the same. The two hopped into the carriage, and watched the apartment complex shrink away as the land-lord got back up, cursing and yelling obscenities at them.

"Vinyl, why in EQUESTRIA did you do that!?" Octavia asked.

"He was being a jerk, and that was for all the times he milked tickets out of you. I know how tough it is to make money through sales, and free tickets really hurt your business, so I gave him a 'freebie' from me," Vinyl winked.

Octavia simply stared at Vinyl, and sighed. "You truly are a special one, Vinyl..."

"But you love me anyway," Vinyl grinned as she leaned up against Octavia.

"Yes, yes...I suppose I do..." Octavia chuckled as the two shared a kiss. Yet again, Unts found his way between them, gently scratching Octavia's ear for attention. "Unts, stop that! That tickles!" she laughed.

"Aww, he wants your attention, Octy. Well go on, give him some loooove~" Vinyl said, making pretend kissy-faces.

"Oh, be quiet!" Octavia said with a blush as she reached up to pick up Unts off her head. She then held him in a foreleg, and began to scratch his belly. Unts gave a small smile and one of his legs began to twitch involuntarily. "How cute..."

"Do you have any idea how cute you two look, Octy?" Vinyl laughed. "I think this is the start of a beautiful friendship."

"Maybe so, Vinyl...maybe so," Octavia smiled as Unts climbed his way back up onto Octavia's head, satisfied with the attention he had received.

They then stared out the window of the carriage, watching as Canterlot shrunk in the distance.

Chapter Forty-Nine

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The carriage moved quickly and smoothly, Vinyl napping as Octavia read a book to pass the time. Unts was snoozing peacefully on Octavia's head, tuckered out from assaulting Vinyl's ex. Octavia looked up when she felt him shift slightly and get comfortable, then remaining still. I must say, I think I just might have grown used to this... she smirked slightly as she reached up and patted him gently. Vinyl then gave a loud yawn as she sat up and stretched.

"Any idea how much longer until we get to Ponyville?" Vinyl asked.

"We are still a good ways away, Vinyl. I would say another good hour or so," Octavia said as she read.

"Octy, how can you read with the carriage rocking back and forth like that? Doesn't it make you dizzy?" It wasn't until Vinyl pointed it out that Octavia suddenly became aware of how much the carriage was moving, and felt her stomach turn slightly as she focused on the text. She shut the book, and sighed.

"Thank you for that Vinyl," Octavia said.

"No problem, Octy. The last thing I want to see is you yakking all over the floor 'cause you're trying to read," Vinyl said. "Glad to be of some service to you," she grinned.

"I was doing just fine until you brought it up," Octavia said.

"What book are you reading, anyway?" Vinyl asked, curious.

"It is titled 'Dancing Flames and Shifting Shadows,' it is a mystery novel that has to deal with romance, betrayal, and murder..." Octavia explained.

"Ooh, sounds cool. What's it about?" Vinyl asked.

"Well, it starts with three kingdoms that are constantly having diplomatic problems-" Octavia started, but stopped short when she saw the blank expression on Vinyl's face. "What?"

"You had me, and you lost me," Vinyl said.

"Vinyl, it would not kill you to read a book every now and again. It is good for you- it keeps your mind from rotting," Octavia said. "Then again, you cannot regrow what you have already lost..." she smirked.

"Ain't that the truth- wait a second..." Vinyl said, narrowing her eyes as Octavia laughed. "That wasn't very nice!"

Octavia managed to calm herself down enough to speak again. "You are right, Vinyl. I am was just far too easy," Octavia admitted. "Besides, that was for scaring me with Unts earlier."

"Oh, c'mon Octy. It's easy to see that you like Unts, and Unts has already claimed his territory on your head," Vinyl chuckled.

"Yes, well...he certainly earned it," Octavia smiled. "You know, now that I think about it, Neon sure went through a lot of trouble to cause as much chaos as he did between us...I remember you saying you broke up with him because he went off with a group of other mares and stallions instead of you, but-"

"It was on my birthday, Octy. He ditched me on my birthday..." Vinyl sighed bitterly.

"Oh...I see. I can understand why. That is something you just do not do," Octavia said. "I am so sorry he put you through that...and I am even more sorry that I believed his words over yours...I truly was foalish," Octavia said softly. She let her head hang low as she felt tears stinging at her eyelids. She blinked in surprise when she felt Vinyl move up closer to her, raised her head with a hoof and shared a soft kiss with her.

"Octy, listen to's okay. I'm just glad you realized that Neon was lying to you. I'm pretty sure I didn't do a great job of defending myself or you. If anything, I'm the one who's sorry," Vinyl said. "Don't cry anymore, okay? Your eyes are much prettier when you smile," she winked. Octavia wiped her eyes with a hoof, and gave a small smile. "See? That's the Octy I know."

"Thank you, Vinyl...I just feel like I did something horrible to you...and on top of it all, I hit you..." Octavia said. "I have no idea what came over was the look on your face when you asked me if I 'enjoyed' you had just something I should have been proud of..." Octavia explained. "What hurt me even more though, was the way you looked at me afterwards..." Octavia shook the image out of her mind. "I do not want to think about it..."

"Well, I gotta admit, it was shocking. One minute I'm sitting there all loopy and happy, and the next my face felt like I was on fire, and you're looking like you're ready to tear my head off. What REALLY got to me was the fact that you were crying, and it seemed like it was my fault...if there's anything I don't ever want to do to you Octy, it's make you cry," Vinyl said as she nuzzled Octavia. Octavia merely smiled, and returned the nuzzle. "Hey Octy, can I ask you something?"

"Sure, Vinyl. What is on your mind?" Octavia asked.

"Well...I wasn't really sure how to ask this, but I figured I might as well just ask..." Vinyl said as she fidgeted a bit. "Um...I was wondering if maybe you'd be into the idea of doing a collab project?"

"A collaborative effort? Really?" Octavia asked, surprised. "I would have never guessed you would be interested in including my work with yours. What brought this on?"

"Well, I've been keeping an eye on what's popular in music nowadays, and with dubtrot and house really picking up steam, I've noticed that to keep it fresh, other artists have started bringing in piano and guitar tracks into their mixes, so I was wondering if you'd be cool with using your cello for one of my mixes," Vinyl asked. "I think you're not nearly as popular as you deserve to be, and I figured I would help you out with that," she smiled with a small blush.

"Vinyl, that is one of the sweetest things I have heard you say...I would love to collaborate with you," Octavia smiled as she snuggled into Vinyl.

"Great...we'll work on that after we get set up in Ponyville. Sound good?" Vinyl asked.

"Sounds wonderful," Octavia replied with a smile.

Sometime later, the carriage pulled into town, stopping just outside their house. Vinyl and Octavia exited the carriage, the two movers beginning to unload the furniture off the cart behind them. "Just open up the house and we'll put the stuff where you want it," the lead stallion said.

"Sure thing," Vinyl responded. They made their way over to the door, Octavia retrieving the key and unlocking it. They entered the house and flipped on the lights.

"SURPRISE!" A group of voices yelled, causing both Octavia and Vinyl to jump. Unts was startled so badly he fell off of Octavia's head.

"What- what is all this!?" Octavia asked as she looked around. The entire first floor had been decorated with streamers, a banner saying "WELCOME HOME" hanging over the staircase. In the dining area stood Lyra, Bonbon, Twilight, Trixie, Spike, Pinkie Pie, Applejack, Fluttershy, Rainbow Dash and Rarity, all wearing party hats.

"We knew today would be the day that you were moving in, and I was afraid you were gonna be sad because you moved away, but then I thought 'They're moving into town!' and that's when I decided to throw you a HOUSE-WARMING PARTY!" Pinkie said in one breath.

"We all came together and got y'all a little somethin' from all of us," Applejack said as she pulled a large, gift-wrapped object on wheels.

"We had it shipped all the way from Fillydelphia," Rarity said. "I made sure that only the best woodwork would suffice," she smiled.

"We hope you like it...I think it's absolutely lovely..." Fluttershy said with a demure smile.

"Yeah, nothing cooler than sleeping in style, right?" Rainbow Dash grinned.

"This is our special way of saying that you're one of us now," Twilight smiled. Lyra and Bonbon then made their way over to Octavia and Vinyl.

"Bonbon and I made the final decision on it. We really hope it's to your liking," Lyra said as she moved over to the gift. She pulled on the bow, and the gift-wrapping fell away, revealing a magnificent, wooden crib, complete with hoof-carved musical notes as well as a mobile that hung above it.

Octavia choked back tears, absolutely touched by the gesture her friends had made. Vinyl was grinning from ear to ear. "We absolutely love it!" They said in unison. The group then began the festivities as the two movers began their work, moving stuff back and forth throughout the new house. Once they were done, Vinyl paid the movers.

"Thanks for everything, guys!" Vinyl said.

"No problem. Congrats, by the way. Good luck to ya- as a dad, kids are something else," the lead stallion said as they lead the cart away.

Vinyl then shut the door, and returned to the festivities. Octavia and Vinyl laughed and partied long into the night, surrounded by the love of their friends and the comfort of their new home.

Chapter Fifty

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Octavia shifted slightly in bed, rolling over to shield her eyes from the light peeking in through the window. The party went into the wee hours of the morning, the other mares deciding to head home close to two. Octavia and Vinyl showed them out, thanked them all for the gift and for the party, and went to bed. Octavia gingerly opened her eyes, and smiled when she saw the ruby red eyes of her lover staring back softly. "Morning, sleepy head," Vinyl said softly.

"Good morning, Vinyl...did you sleep well?" Octavia asked just as softly.

"Like a rock. I haven't gotten that comfortable in's nice to sleep in our bed again," Vinyl smiled.

"Agreed," Octavia smirked, leaning in and sharing a gentle, yet passionate kiss with her. "We have truly gained some wonderful friends in our travels."

"No doubt about that, Octy...I still can't believe they got us that crib. Saves us tons of trouble," Vinyl said as she wrapped her forelegs around Octavia.

"It is absolutely darling. The little musical notes could not have been more perfect," Octavia smiled.

"It really is cute," Vinyl grinned. "I can't wait until our kid gets to use it."

"Soon enough, Vinyl. Soon enough..." Octavia whispered as both she and Vinyl placed a gentle hoof on her belly.

"Y'know, I've been thinking...what kind of instrument do you think it'll play?" Vinyl wondered out loud.

"Vinyl, you need to take into account that our child's special talent may not revolve around music," Octavia said. "It is entirely possible that our child will not be involved with music in any way."

"I get that, and I'm okay with that. I was just curious what instrument they might play if they took up a hobby or something," Vinyl said.

"Hm. I think it would be wonderful if I were able to teach my child to play the cello..." Octavia stopped short when she heard Vinyl snort with laughter. "What is so funny?"

"Octy, I can handle one cellist in the family, but two? Not happening," Vinyl said. "Maybe an electric guitar! That'd be wicked awesome! I can see it now- our kid, rocking out with a band on stage in front of thousands of clamoring fans!" Vinyl gushed, stars in her eyes.

"No," Octavia said flatly.

"'No?' What do you mean, 'no?' That would be AWESOME!" Vinyl expressed. "Oh, oh! It'd be even cooler if my kid would be willing to spin a set with me, or maybe even emcee for me! Gah, this is only making me that much more excited!" Vinyl said, literally shaking with excitement.

"It is official. Vinyl, you are out of your mind," Octavia said.

"Why do you say that, Octy?" Vinyl asked.

"You are out of your mind if you think for even a MINUTE that I will let my child do something so out of control!" Octavia said sternly.

"Oh, look! There it is again!" Vinyl said, looking at Octavia's lower half.

"What? What is?" Octavia asked, somewhat startled.

"Oh, never-mind. It's just the stick in your rump," Vinyl smirked, to which Octavia's expression fell flat.

"Was that really necessary?" Octavia asked.

"Absolutely," Vinyl snickered. She immediately stopped when Octavia began to make her way to the edge of bed. "Hey, where you going? I'm sorry, Octy!" Vinyl said, unable to keep a straight face.

"Well, I do not intend to stay in bed all day," Octavia said. "As good as your figure is, you are going to gain weight quickly if you do nothing but lay in bed all day."

"While you are right and wrong, I do feel like getting out of bed," Vinyl said, pretending to get out of bed of her own volition. She made her way over to the mirror where Octavia was brushing her mane, and simply shook her head, her electric-blue mane almost snapping into place. Octavia looked over at her and shook her head.

"I will never understand how you are able to do takes me a good ten minutes to get my mane under control," Octavia said.

"Personally, I think bed-mane Octy is best Octy," Vinyl winked, gently whipping Octavia right on her left treble clef cutie mark as she walked out of the room, causing Octavia to yelp and jump in surprise.

"Vinyl!" When she looked back in the mirror, all the work she had just done had been completely undone. " I have to start over," Octavia grumbled. Once done, she made her way downstairs and found Vinyl staring out the window. "Vinyl, what are you-"

"Octy, you gotta come see this!" Vinyl said, waving her over. Octavia took her place next to Vinyl, and gasped when she looked outside. The entire town had been completely blanketed in snow, the only thing not of the color white being the small puffs of black smoke exiting several of the chimneys.

"What a beautiful would make sense why it is so cold this morning," Octavia said. "One moment." She then made her way into the hall closet, and retrieved a sweater, slipping it on and immediately reveling in the comforting warmth it provided. "I love the cold weather, but too much of it is excessive I believe," Octavia said. When Vinyl turned around, she blinked in surprise.

"Where'd you get the sweater?" Vinyl asked. Wow she looks cute...

"Oh, this old thing? I received it as a gift from my mother about a year or so ago for Hearth's Warming. Do you like it?" Octavia asked, laying on the couch sideways with her forelegs tucked under her torso.

" looks good on you," Vinyl stammered slightly, looking away with a small blush.

" eyes are a little uncooperative has been a while," Octavia mumbled to herself as she moved over to the buffet near the dining room table. She opened a drawer, and retrieved a little case, flipping it open. She slipped on their contents and turned to face Vinyl. "Much better," Octavia said with a smile. Vinyl's jaw hung slack as she saw a different side to Octavia that she had never seen before- a nerdy, glasses-and-sweater-wearing, strangely sexy Octavia.

"Wuh- where did the glasses come from?" Vinyl asked.

"Oh these? Every now and again I have a bit of trouble seeing, so my optometrist prescribed these for when I wake up with blurry vision," Octavia said. "Something tells me you approve," Octavia chuckled.

"What makes you say that?" Vinyl asked.

"Well, for one you are blushing, and two you still have not picked up your jaw," Octavia snickered behind a hoof. Vinyl blushed even brighter when she saw the cute display.

"Hey know what you haven't done in a while?" Vinyl said as she took a seat next to her.

"What would that be?" Octavia asked in return.

"I think I'd like another private concert. I've seen regular Octy play, but I wanna see the new, sexy Octy play," Vinyl smirked.

" has been some time since I have practiced. Fair enough, I will put on a private performance just for you," Octavia smiled. She moved over to the far wall and retrieved her cello, wheeling the case next to the sofa. She sat back down, and opened the case. She gingerly pulled out her cello, and sighed as the familiar scent of the burnished spruce and maple wood filled her nostrils. She removed her bow, enjoying the feeling of the worn wood in the crook of her ankle. "It has been too long, my dear friend," Octavia smiled fondly as she gently ran a hoof up and down the neck. "I apologize if I am a little rusty. Falling out of practice will do that to you," Octavia said as she readied herself to play.

"Yep, I know the feeling, Octy. I'm sure you'll be fine, though. You are Canterlot's finest after all," Vinyl winked. Octavia smiled and began to play. Vinyl watched intently as the bow danced across the strings, the notes swirling and building slowly into pure, harmonic bliss. Vinyl then shifted her focus to Octavia. She watched as she gracefully swayed back and forth, her violet eyes hidden by her eyelids as she played. She felt herself completely captivated by the beauty of Octavia's playing, but more-so by the beauty of Octavia herself.

Her delicate features- gently illuminated by the soft, morning light. Her gorgeous, raven mane- cascading ever-so-gently down her back. Her slate gray coat- kept trim and neat, and more plush than anything she had ever felt in her life. The light violet cutie mark that graced her flank- curving gracefully within itself, much like the beautiful music that rose from her cello. Vinyl felt her heart racing as she watched- every time Vinyl listened to Octavia's playing, it was like she was falling in love with her all over again. There was no other cello she would rather hear, and no other cellist she would ever love like Octavia. Octavia pulled the final chords out, ending on a major note and sighed. "Truly a beautiful piece..." Octavia smiled.

"Not nearly as beautiful as you are," Vinyl said as she looked at Octavia lovingly. Octavia blushed hotly, and laid her cello back in its case. She moved over to Vinyl, and shared another gentle, yet deeply passionate kiss. After what seemed like forever, the two broke the kiss, breathing in much needed air.

"You know what today feels like, Octy?" Vinyl said as she rose up from the couch and made her way over to the fireplace, which already had logs that the girls had brought in the night before.

"What, Vinyl?" Octavia asked as she watched Vinyl use her magic to light the logs, a comforting warmth permeating the living room area. Vinyl then returned to her spot on the couch, and snuggled up against Octavia.

"A do-nothing day...a day where it's just you and me," Vinyl smiled.

"That sounds lovely..." Octavia said as she kissed Vinyl on the cheek.

The two then simply sat on the couch as they reveled in not only the heat of the fireplace, but of one another's presence.

Chapter Fifty-One

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As time passed, Vinyl and Octavia simply wandered around their new home, rearranging things for better appearances as well as functionality. They also began to unpack their things, placing photographs and other belongings on the tops of the furniture.

"This house is made of wood, so it should give us some good acoustics. Your cello sounded awesome, Octy. I can't WAIT until I set up my surround sound!" Vinyl grinned mischievously.

"Vinyl...I put a good amount of money down on this house, and we start making payments next month. While I understand that it is part of your career and it is a necessary part of your lifestyle, you are NOT going to destroy this house," Octavia said forcefully.

"Yeah, yeah. I got it Octy," Vinyl snickered as she set down a piece of furniture, the gray field of magic around it dispersing. As they continued their work, they both stopped when they heard a knock at their front door. "Octy, could you get that?" Vinyl asked as she used her magic to move a few boxes aside.

"I wonder who that could be..." Octavia wondered aloud as she made her way over to the door. She pulled it open, and blinked in surprise when she saw Lyra and Bonbon standing outside, bundled up to keep warm.

"Hi Octavia," Bonbon said cheerily.

"Mind if we come in?" Lyra asked.

"Absolutely not, Lyra! It must be frigid out there, please come in!" Octavia said, backing away so the two could enter. "We had just begun unpacking and shifting the furniture around. Did you two make it home alright? You looked like you had had quite a bit to drink, Lyra."

Lyra blushed hotly with embarrassment. "Oh, we made it home fine. I was just enjoying myself is all," Lyra chuckled.

"You weren't enjoying yourself throughout the night, though. I swear at one point it sounded like you were going to lose a lung," Bonbon said. "You're lucky I'm a light sleeper."

"Yeah, I am..." Lyra smiled as she gave Bonbon a kiss on the cheek. "Hey, do you need help unpacking? We don't really have anything else to do for today. I can't exactly perform in weather that cold, and Bonbon decided to take the day off," Lyra offered.

"That'd be great. We've got tons of stuff that we need to take out of these boxes, so you and Bonbon can start there," Vinyl said, using her magic to levitate several boxes over to them. They quickly got to work, retrieving photographs, electronic equipment, and many other personal items from the boxes, setting them around the living room as Octavia returned them to their rightful places. The four worked quietly until Bonbon came across a bottle of alcohol containing what looked like a caustic green substance.

"'Pan-Equestrian Gargle Blaster'...I wonder if it's any good," Bonbon said. Both Octavia and Vinyl's ears perked at the familiar name, and immediately wheeled around to face Bonbon.

"Bonnie, trust me...that stuff will knock you on your rump," Vinyl said. "It's vicious stuff. Picture every drink you've ever had, take all the alcohol out of it, and put it in that bottle."

"I...don't normally drink. It's not really my thing," Bonbon said. "I mean I enjoy a glass of wine every now and again, but nothing serious..."

"Even WORSE. For a newbie, that will literally knock you out for a good few hours," Vinyl explained.

"She could not be more right if she tried. If you value your sanity and your health, you will simply leave the Gargle Blaster alone," Octavia warned. "Just to get an idea, read through the disclaimers." Bonbon did just that, and her face grew pale as she read through them.

"Oh my..." she said softly, quickly setting down the bottle as if it had suddenly become too hot to hold. Lyra picked up the bottle and began to read the disclaimers as well, her mouth hanging open slightly as she read.

"Yikes, that's intense..." Lyra said. "I'd like to try a LITTLE bit sometime...but I still need some time to recover from last night," Lyra chuckled, rubbing the side of her head.

"I gotta say, last night's party was fun. Who knew Trixie could sing like that?" Bonbon laughed.

"I kinda had a feeling. I figured, 'Put a couple shots in her and she'll start belting out those high notes.' That was something else," Vinyl smirked. "I thought Dash was gonna laugh her wings off."

"Pinkie truly is something else," Octavia added. "That filly can dance. I had no idea a pony could bend that way," she said as she thought back. "Twilight on the other hoof..." The four remained silent as they all thought back to Twilight making what might be called an attempt at dancing.

"...Let's not go there," Lyra said.

"Agreed," Octavia answered.

"Sounds good," Bonbon said.

"Poor filly can't dance to save her life," Vinyl said, shaking her head. "Either way, I had a blast. Even Fluttershy looked like she was having a good time."

"She is such a sweetheart. You know she was a supermodel for a short while," Bonbon said.

"You know, it is quite funny that you mention that. I remember going to one of Photo Finish's exhibitions and I think I saw some of her photographs of Fluttershy. She does have the makings for a model," Octavia said.

"I can understand why she quit, though. Somepony of her personality type just could not handle the limelight for so long," Bonbon said as she pulled more belongings out of a box.

"Well, it is as plain as day that her true calling is her love for animals, so I am very proud of her for making the decision to leave the fashion world- I have known mares that have done some horrible things to themselves for the 'sake of fashion." I admit I do worry about Rarity because of that," Octavia expressed.

"Oh, you don't have to worry about her. She knows her stuff, believe me. I've gone to her for every outfit I needed for a performance, and she could not be happier working with fabric and sewing needles," Lyra said. She was about to continue when they heard another knock on the door. "Oh, I'll get it," Lyra said as she got up. She went over to the door, and swallowed when she saw a gold stallion standing just outside, a mare that looked almost like Octavia standing next to him.

"See, A' tol' ye this wasn't the house, Maddie! That's clearly no' Octavia," Kester said as he pointed at Lyra.

"That's because that is somepony else, Kester! We are at the right house!" Madeline said.

"Then why is there somepony else standin' where Octavia should be standin'?" Kester asked. "It just doesn't make sense, Maddie!"

Kester, this is the address she sent us! Why would she purposely give us the wrong address, it makes no sense!" Madeline said.

"Um...are you two looking for Octavia, because this IS her house..." Lyra said.

"Really? Then who're you?" Kester asked as he and Madeline made their way over.

"I'm Lyra, one of Octavia's friends-" Lyra was suddenly bumped out of the way as Octavia rushed to the door. "Mother? Papa!? What are you two doing here?"

"We figured we'd come by an' visit ye in yer' new little lovenest," Kester grinned, which elicited a deep blush out of Octavia and a face-hoof from Madeline.

"Can we please just come inside before your father goes on about how he dealt with worse weather than this growing up?" Madeline asked as Kester wound up for another telling.

"Ah, this weather ain't nothin'. A' had ta' deal with near zero temperatures and almost NO food for three months a' a time, and yet here A' am!" Kester said, puffing his chest out proudly.

"Yes yes, Kester. You're a model stallion now GET INSIDE!" Madeline yelled. Kester entered, and shut the door behind him.

"Well, look a' this little home ye've built for yerself,'s very comfy!" Kester grinned as he shook off a bit of snow. Madeline sat in front of the fireplace, trying to warm herself up. Before Octavia could ask why they had shown up so unexpectedly, there was another knock at the door. Kester turned around and answered, and blinked in confusion when he saw a mare that looked strangely like Vinyl, only her mane was a deep royal blue.

"Oh, I told you we should have asked directions, Rolando!" Marianna sighed.

"For the tenth time, Marianna- we are in the right place! This was the address we received in the letter," Rolando said as he made his way over. "This is the home of Octavia and Vincenza, correct?" he asked.

"Who wants ta' know?" Kester asked in return, raising an eyebrow. Vinyl immediately recognized the other voices and brought her hooves to her face.

"Oh no...Celestia kill me now..." Vinyl muttered.

"Who is at the door, Kester?" Madeline asked as she made her way over. She took one look at Marianna, and instantly recognized her. "You must be Marianna, Vinyl's mother! Oh, it is wonderful to finally meet you!"

Marianna then smiled. "It is a pleasure to meet you as well, Madeline. May I come in?"

"Absolutely! It is actually bearable in here," Madeline said as Marianna entered, leaving the two stallions staring at one another.

"So you are Kester, Octavia's father?" Rolando asked.

"Aye...and ye' are Rolando, Vinyl's father?" Kester asked in return.

"I am," Rolando answered. A few tense moments passed, and Kester grinned.

"It's great ta' meet ye', Roly! Come on in!" Kester said, grabbing his hoof and shaking it violently.

"Th-thank you..." Rolando said, looking rather shaken and confused.

Bonbon leaned over to Vinyl, a little concerned. "Vinyl, are you alright? What's the matter?"

"Oh,'s just that today is about to get weirder than you can possibly imagine. Bonnie, if you wanna back out of my mare of honor thing, it's fine. I won't hold it against you," Vinyl said.

"Of course I won't, Vinyl. What makes you think I would?" Bonbon asked, confused.

"'ll see," Vinyl said.

The door then shut once more, the snow falling and cold wind blowing harder than ever.

Chapter Fifty-Two

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All eight ponies sat in the living room, talking to one another. The tension was clear between the fathers, but mothers were doing their best to keep the mood light. Every now and again Marianna and Madeline would exchange worried glances when Rolando would shift uncomfortably, a dead-pan expression adorning his face, or Kester would begin to chuckle under his breath, a devilish grin lighting up his violet eyes.

"Octavia, which way is your restroom? I need to go freshen up," she said with a subtle hint of urgency. She cast a glance at Marianna as she said this, who nodded in acknowledgement.

"Actually, that sounds wonderful. I think I will join you Madeline," Marianna said.

"Down the hall and to the left, Mother. The bathroom is spacious enough for both of you to use the mirror," Octavia said.

"Thank you, dear. We'll be just a moment," Madeline said. As each mother passed their daughter, they both said the same thing.

"Keep an eye on your father until we get back," they said. Both Vinyl and Octavia nodded in unison. The two mares made their way down the hall, entered the bathroom, and shut the door.

"What do you suppose we do, Madeline? Our husbands look like they are about to go at each other's throats!" Marianna said anxiously.

"I'm not so worried about my husband so much as I am yours...I know what Kester is capable of, and it isn't pretty. We need to find a way to break the tension," Madeline said, bringing a hoof to her chin.

"It does not help that Rolando is sitting there like a rock with eyes! The last thing I want is fighting between our families..." Marianna said sadly.

"Believe me, I feel the same Marianna," Madeline said with a sigh. She then began to dwell on what Marianna had said. "...Wait, maybe we can play on that! We have the power to bring our husbands to their knees- the power of guilt."

Marianna then began to smile. "Madeline, you are a genius! I could kiss you, that is so brilliant! So then what we will do, is try to push our husbands to make nice, and when they refuse to budge, we hit them where it hurts," she giggled. "Oh this will be fun!"

"Marianna, I see us being very close," Madeline smiled.

"As do I Madeline," Marianna smiled in return.

"Shall we?" Madeline asked, as she opened the door.

"Absolutely," Marianna said as she moved past her.

Back in the living room, the space between Kester and Rolando had effectively become a war-zone. The tension was thick enough to have difficulty cutting with a butcher knife.

"Are...they going to say anything to each other?" Lyra asked quietly.

"If I know my father, he is sizing Rolando up...he is waiting for Rolando to make his move," Octavia sighed.

"My dad is doing the same. All he needs is Kester to do something 'uncouth' or 'boorish' and Dad will be all over him," Vinyl said. Bonbon looked confused.

"But I thought they were really nice..." Bonbon said, remembering to how Octavia and Vinyl spoke about them. It suddenly dawned on Bonbon- they were talking about each other's fathers. "Oh dear...this could be bad..."

"Tell me about it," Octavia and Vinyl said in unison.

"Yeesh...thankfully our parents were pretty accepting of our relationship..." Lyra said, the tension between the two stallions sending a chill up her spine.

"It's not that, Lyra. It has nothing to do with our relationship- it's accepting each other that they're having a problem with," Vinyl said. "My dad's too stuffy and stuck up to see Kester's a really good guy."

"My father is being too stubborn and childish to see that Rolando is not out to make him look bad for being more proper than he is," Octavia said. She let out a tiny sigh of relief when the two mothers returned and took their seats next to their husbands. Marianna made the first move.

"Rolando, please. Stop being so stubborn and try making acquaintances with Kester!" Marianna pleaded.

"It's no fault a' yers tha' Roly was born with a stick 'n his rump!" Kester chided with a smirk. Rolando flushed with embarrassment at the rude remark, and shot a glare in return.

"Kester!" Madeline yelled. "That was completely unnecessary!"

"Wha'? We all know it's true!" Kester said defiantly. Vinyl could not resist suppressing a snort of laughter, to which Octavia nudged her.

"Now is NOT the time for this, Vinyl..." Octavia whispered.

"What? It's funny..." Vinyl said.

"Oh, you would know- seeing as you were probably born with a stick in your brain," Rolando fired back, eliciting a shocked gasp out of Marianna.

"Rolando! That was directly offensive!" Marianna scolded, Rolando ultimately ignoring it as Kester began to laugh.

"Not bad, Roly. Not bad at all," Kester said with a smirk. "Oh, A'm sorry, A' forgot A' was dealin' with a stallion tha's soft in the head, an' ye' know wha' they say- 'soft in the head, soft in bed', but A'm sure ye know all abou' tha'," he chuckled. Rolando looked about ready to leap the entire distance of the living room and shove all four of his hooves right up Kester's rump.

"KESTER!" Madeline yelled, embarrassed to no end. "Rolando, I am SO sorry for Kester's behavior!" Kester raised a foreleg.

"No apologies, Maddie. A' want ta' see wha' Fancy Kilt is goin' ta' do abou' it," Kester said.

"If I am 'soft in the head' as you say...then surely you are brain-dead," Rolando replied cooly. Marianna brought her hooves to her face, making every attempt to hide her shame.

"Kester...please do not take anything he says seriously, he is-" Rolando then cleared his throat loudly.

"Marianna, he knows full well what he is doing. He is more than prepared for my wit. Of that I am sure," Rolando said, staring Kester straight in the eyes. The other four simply watched in awe as the mudslinging match continued, the comments slowly getting worse and worse. It got to the point where the two were on the verge of attacking one another directly. Marianna and Madeline then decided now would be the best time to enact their plan. Marianna then began to cry, to which Rolando immediately shifted focus.

"Marianna, dear...what is the matter? Are you alright?" Rolando asked, placing a hoof on her back. Marianna immediately shrugged him off.

"Take your hoof OFF of me!" she yelled, choking back sobs. "How could you be so cruel to ponies who will become our family?! I should have expected this out of you!" Marianna yelled as she cried.

"M-Marianna..." Rolando said, every last ounce of his ego crushed into nothing by his wife's tears.

"Y'see? The bloody idiot made 'er cry. A' knew A' was right about him," Kester said, looking at Madeline. He recoiled slightly when he saw that Madeline was absolutely livid.

"Oh, and how are you any different? You were doing the EXACT SAME THING he was!" Madeline yelled, causing Kester to swallow his ego to attend to his now-furious wife.

"Maddie, A' was only jus'-" Kester started.

"Just what, Kester!? Taunting the soon to be father-in-law to our daughter?! Was it not you who always harped on the fact that 'family is everything, and anypony who turns their back or talks down on family is lower than the dirt he walks on'!? Well guess what, Kester- THEY ARE FAMILY NOW," Madeline punctuated with an air of finality. Kester looked like he had just seen his home burn down. Remorse filled his eyes, the true scope of his childishness now coming to light.

Rolando then looked over at Kester, who looked back. "What say you to taking a walk, Kester?"

"Aye, tha' sounds like a good idea..." Kester said, getting up from his seat. The two stallions got up, and exited the house. The moment the door shut, both mares went back to normal, shocking the remaining four.

"Wha- how!? Mom, how'd you do that?!" Vinyl asked, in complete awe.

"Oh Vinyl, it comes with experience. You know how your father can get, so I developed a mechanism to get him back under control," Marianna giggled.

"Mother...that was incredible...I have NEVER seen you talk Papa down that way," Octavia said, completely impressed.

"Just like Marianna said, it comes with experience," Madeline winked.

"That was nothing short of inspiring..." Lyra said, awed by the performance.

"They could be actresses," Bonbon said.

A moment later, there was a knock at the door. When Octavia answered, she blinked in surprise. Standing in the doorway was a Royal Guard, dressed in full armor with layers of warm clothing beneath.

"Good evening. Would you be able to spare a moment?" The pegasus said, his piercing blue eyes standing out amongst a sea of white fur and snow.

"Absolutely. How may I help you, officer?" Octavia asked, the other mares making their way to the door.

"I'm not really on duty at the moment, so you can call me Aquilinus. No need to worry, fillies. You're not in trouble, I'm just delivering a message," the stallion said jovially. "I just have a question- do these stallions belong to you?" he said as he took a few steps back, showing two other guards standing next to Rolando and Kester, who were very much confused. Marianna and Madeline sighed as one.

"What did they do?" They said in unison.

Aquilinus laughed. "Nothing at all. They just can't be outside right now. I'm under orders to make sure that all Ponyville citizens and visitors stay indoors until the blizzard subsides," he explained. Kester and Rolando made their way past him, and re-entered the house.

"How long until it passes?" Octavia asked, Vinyl standing next to her. The others retreated back into the house, so they didn't hear what else was said.

"Oh, just a day or two. Shouldn't be all that bad. Well, I have to get moving. Stay safe!" Aquilinus said as he moved away from the house, followed closely by the two other guards. Octavia and Vinyl remained silent, processing what he had just said. They looked at one another, and sighed.

"We are in for the ride of a lifetime..." Octavia said.

"You have no idea..." Vinyl muttered.

The two then shut the door, bracing themselves for whatever may come in their home-turned-prison.

Chapter ??? Pt. 2

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"Okay...I think I've finally got the hang of this thing..."


"Hey, it's me again...doing a REALLY quick update, seeing as I'm not supposed to be awake right now. It's really late, and Hearth's Warming is tomorrow. Mom said that I had to go to bed early, but my other Mom just argued with her over how I'm not a baby anymore- which she's right- but I was forced to go to bed anyway. How in Equestria does Mom expect me to sleep tonight, when I know Jolly Tidings is gonna show up and leave me presents? I mean, put yourself in my horseshoes- would YOU be able to sleep knowing you're gonna get presents, and catch Tidings in the fur? C'mon, who do you think you're dealing with? I'm not some little-"

[The sounds of movement are heard downstairs.]

"I think that's him! I'm gonna go investigate!"

[The sound of gentle hoofsteps are heard, as well as the sound of a door opening and closing, and hooves going down a flight of stairs.]


"Okay everypony, this is it! This is the part where I finally manage to catch Jolly Tidings in the act of leaving presents! Here goes nothing..."

[There is silence for a moment, then the sound of rushing hooves.]


"Wha-!? NO!"

[There is a loud yell, followed by the sound of a muffled impact. After a few moments of silence, the sound of a loud crash as well as the sound of glass breaking can be heard.]

"A-HA! I got you...MOM!? Uh-oh..."

[The sound of galloping hooves are heard.]

"Octy! Is everything alright-"

"Every year! Why does this happen EVERY YEAR!? I spent A WEEK putting this tree together!"

"You two knocked the tree over again!? Octy, I told you not to wear that red scarf that makes you look like Jolly Tidings, but noooo, why should anypony listen to me? You know why this happens!"


"Uh...Octy, what are you doing with that butter knife?"




"Oh, horseapples. Gotta go everypony! Happy Hearth's Warming!"


[The sound of scrambling hooves and yelling can be heard.]




Author's Note

Thank you all so much for making Two's Company, Three's a Crowd for what it is today. I want to wish all my friends and readers a Happy Hearth's Warming. May your day be filled with love, joy, and good food! Stick around, the Kester and Rolando standoff continues tomorrow. There's not much left until we see the end of Octavia and Vinyl's journey...

...But the story is far from over. ~<3 As my Hearth's Warming gift to you all, I am now formally announcing that yes, there will be a sequel!

All of my love,


Chapter Fifty-Three

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Octavia and Vinyl quickly made their way over to Lyra and Bonbon, desperate to tell them the news. They were going to be in for quite a ride, and the last thing they needed was to be unaware and unprepared. They each took their mare of honor aside, and spoke to them in private.

"Did you have anything planned for the next couple of days, Lyra?" Octavia asked, fidgeting somewhat. This won't end well, I can FEEL it... Lyra pondered this for a moment.

"Well, I was planning on having a small performance at the fountain as I usually do, but my day-to-day usually consists of helping Bonnie at the candy shop. Why?" Lyra asked, more concerned than confused.

"...To put it simply, Lyra...we are snowed in. A Royal Guardscolt came by a few moments ago and informed us of the blizzard, and we are not allowed to leave until it has passed," Octavia said with a sigh. Lyra looked shocked, unsure of how to handle the news.

"How long are we going to be here?" Lyra asked.

"...Two or so days, so the rest of this one, tomorrow, and the day after..." Octavia said, waiting for Lyra's reaction. Here it comes... Lyra let out an explosive sigh, running a hoof down her face.

"For the love of Celestia...well, I guess that there's nothing that can be done, at least not now. Did he explain why there was a blizzard?" Lyra asked, trying to make sense of the situation.

"I think he mentioned a malfunction at the weather factory. Something about a mailmare accidentally dropping a package on one of the storm cloud generators when it was set to 'snow', or something along those lines," Octavia said, trying to think back. "To put it simply, the storm is far too strong for the Weather Patrol to handle it, so we are waiting it out."

"But I live next door..." Lyra started, but fell silent when Octavia shook her head.

"My father and Rolando took four steps outside and were IMMEDIATELY caught by the Royal Guard. Besides, I would prefer if you stayed here with us. We need some sort of respite from our families..." Octavia said as she looked back at the two older couples sitting in the living room, talking to their respective spouses.

"I do get that...I remember the one time my parents visited us when we were at Bonbon's parents' home for Hearth's Warming. It was..." Lyra trailed off, feeling a chill run up her spine. "...not a fun experience."

"Then you understand why I need you here. If my father tries to get Rolando to 'loosen up', somepony needs to be able to help me," Octavia said.

"Help you with what?" Lyra asked, confused.

"Help restraining my mother from killing him, of course. Who do you think has the ability to restrain him?" Octavia said with a raised eyebrow.

"I'll be honest, Octavia...I kinda wanna see that," Lyra chuckled. "To see a mare your size lunge at such a huge stallion and bring him down..."

"Believe me, Lyra- if it came to that, you would not want to be here," Octavia said flatly.


Vinyl pulled Bonbon aside, leading her away from the group. "Okay Bonnie, I've got some good news and some bad news. The good news is, is that we're going to be spending more time together," Vinyl said.

"What's the bad news?" Bonbon asked, somewhat concerned.

"...The bad news, is that we're going to be spending more time together...with them," Vinyl said, pointing at her parents. "We're also trapped. We can't leave the house."

"What!? Why not!?" Bonbon said, shocked. Vinyl immediately shushed her so the others would not be alarmed.

"We're stuck in a blizzard. The Royal Guard came by and said we're stuck in here for two days...with them," Vinyl sighed. "This is gonna be a nightmare, I can already see it...Dad's gonna say something, Kester's gonna make him part of the ceiling, I'm gonna laugh, Mom is gonna freak out, Maddie's gonna try to strangle Kester...huh...maybe that wouldn't be so bad..." Vinyl said, Bonbon staring at her like she was crazy.

"Vinyl, why would you want to see your dad get floored by your father-in-law?" Bonbon asked.

"'Cause it would be funny, why else?" Vinyl asked in return.

"But-I mean-why-" Bonbon stammered, and then it all made sense. This must be one of those moments that Octavia mentioned... She then sighed. "Nevermind."

"Anyway, that's the situation, and we're stuck in the middle. All I can say, is I'm sorry for anything that happens, and if you don't wanna be my friend anymore when it's all over and done with, I'll understand," Vinyl said.

"Vinyl, relax. I'm sure you're worrying over nothing," Bonbon said as she fanned a hoof at her.

"You don't know my parents," Vinyl said, looking Bonbon straight in the eyes as she spoke. The four mares returned to the group, prepared for whatever may come.

"Is everything alright, girls?" Madeline asked.

"Just fine, mother. We just wanted to talk to our friends is all," Octavia said." Oh, that reminds me, these are going to be our mares of honor. Mother, this is Lyra Heartstrings. She and I have performed many times together, and is our neighbor," Octavia said. Lyra moved over to Madeline, and shook hooves with her. "She is also married to Bonbon, Mother."

"It's nice to meet you Mrs. Philharmonica," Lyra said.

"It's wonderful to meet you as well, Lyra. Octavia mentioned you in her last letter to me, and she spoke very highly of you," Madeline smiled.

"So ye're her mare o' honor, eh?" Kester said, looking her up and down.

"Yes I am," Lyra said resolutely.

"Aye, A' like this lass, she's made o' tough stuff," Kester chuckled. "Ye'll make a' fine mare o' honor," he winked.

Vinyl then decided it was time to do the same with Bonbon. She made her way over to her parents with Bonbon following close behind.

"Mom, Dad, this is Bonbon. She's my mare of honor. She's a really good friend of mine, and she was the one who helped me get together with Octy," Vinyl said, introducing her. "Oh, and she's married to Lyra."

"Oh, how lovely it is to meet you, Bonbon. Thank you so much for guiding Vincenza through what I am sure was not an easy time for her," Marianna said. Vinyl let out an audible groan when she heard her full name.

"Um, who?" Bonbon asked, confused. Marianna frowned, confused as well.

"Vincenza. Octavia's fiancee'. My daughter," Marianna chuckled. It then dawned on her that 'Vincenza' was Vinyl's real name, and did her best to stifle a laugh.

"Oh...I see...well, you're quite welcome. I was just helping a friend out," Bonbon said, her chin quivering slightly as she resisted the urge to laugh. Vinyl simply face-hoofed.

"Well, you certainly picked a lovely mare for your mare of honor Vincenza," Rolando said. "Tell me, dear. What do you do for a living?" he asked, curious.

"Well, as my name implies, I work with candies, and other sweets. My craft is my passion, as they say," Bonbon said.

"Believe me, I understand. The violin is my calling in life, and I could not love the instrument anymore than I already do," he smirked. "I am quite pleased with your choice, Vincenza."

"...Please, for the love of Celestia and all that is holy, stop calling me that!" Vinyl said.

"Oh, it's not so bad...Vincenza," Bonbon said, snickering to herself. Octavia then took the center of the room, and cleared her throat, preparing to drop the bomb.

"Well, now that introductions have been made, I have a bit of bad news..." Octavia said. The two sets of parents then leaned in, intent on hearing what Octavia had to say. Vinyl took a step back, waiting for the imminent outburst.

"When the Royal Guard stopped by earlier, one of the soldiers informed me of something we all need to be aware of- we are currently in the middle of a blizzard. While it is nothing threatening to those who remain indoors, that is precisely where we must stay- indoors," Octavia said.

"What're ye' sayin', Octavia?" Kester asked.

"You don't mean..." Madeline said.

"...We are effectively snowed in for the next two days," Octavia said. She could have sworn she heard the bomb whistling, and the loud explosion as it dropped. Marianna and Madeline looked as though they had just been told the world was coming to an end. Even though they were no longer fighting, Kester and Rolando simply glared at one another. To say they were acquaintances was saying too much- to say they were friends was a flat-out lie. "Now, there are more than enough rooms for all of us, so please, feel free to use whatever room you like," Octavia finished. Kester let out a small grunt of disapproval, and got up.

"A' need a drink..." he said as he moved past them and made his way into the kitchen.

Marianna immediately rounded on Rolando. "Rolando, I swear if you cause anymore trouble for Vincenza, there WILL be consequences!"

"Marianna, I will not start trouble, but I will also not allow a question to go unanswered..." he said simply.

"Don't worry, Marianna. I will do my best to keep Kester under control..." she then looked to the girls for support on that endeavor, who all nodded, even if they felt a bit unsure as to how they would be able to restrain or stop a stallion of Kester's size. Octavia then moved into the kitchen to check on her father, and stared in horror as he threw away a bottle. A familiar bottle. A familiar bottle that once held green liquid.

"Heeey, Tavi'! Why're there five o' ye?" Kester asked, somewhat confused as he hiccupped.

"...Celestia, kill me now..." Octavia said to herself. "Papa, stay right here, okay? Do not go anywhere!"

"Sure thin', Tavi'...A'll just stare a' the pretty dragon on the ceilin'," Kester said as he sat down and stared blankly at the empty ceiling. Octavia quickly rushed out of the kitchen and found Vinyl.

"Vinyl, we have a MAJOR issue!" Octavia said, almost frantic.

"Woah, calm down, Octy! What happened?" Vinyl asked.

"...Papa finished the bottle," Octavia said.

"Bottle of what, Octy?" Vinyl asked, confused.

"...The Gargle Blaster..." Octavia said. Vinyl's eyes widened as her blood ran cold.

"Celestia help us..." Vinyl said softly.

Chapter Fifty-Four

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Octavia tried to keep herself calm, as Vinyl tried to think of a plan. "Okay, so let's get an idea of the situation: we've got both our families, and your dad is so drunk he's seeing things, and we're trapped here for the next two days," Vinyl said. She thought about it for a few more moments, and shrugged. "We're bucked."

"Vinyl, we have to think of something! Letting my father go back out there could be disastrous!" Octavia said, as she paced back and forth. "Okay...okay...everything will be just fine..." she said to herself in a desperate attempt to calm down. Lyra and Bonbon made their way over, Lyra having noticed that Octavia had taken a while to check up on her father.

"Is everything alright?" Bonbon asked.

"What's going on?" Lyra added.

"Yeah, remember how I said I had bad news, Bonnie? Those bad news just became 'the worst possible news ever,'" Vinyl said as she racked her brains for a possible solution.

"What happened? Is Kester alright?" Bonbon asked.

"Oh, he's fine...great, even. Remember that drink you found earlier? The one we told you to avoid?" Vinyl reminded. Bonbon's eyes widened.

"...He didn't..." Bonbon whispered.

"Yup. The whooole bottle," Vinyl said with a sigh. "The guy's currently sitting on the kitchen floor, staring at a 'dragon' on the ceiling."

"I'm just surprised that he's even conscious," Lyra said. "That stuff seemed like it would be enough to get the Princess tipsy."

"I never told you what my father does for a living, did I?" Octavia asked.

"What does he do?" Lyra asked, curious.

"He grows barley. For whiskey. He has been around alcohol all his life, so this just goes to show you the potency of that drink. If it can get him drunk, it can most likely kill a small animal," Octavia said.

"I'm gonna go check on Kester...I think I just heard something," Vinyl said, getting up from her seat and making her way over to the kitchen. She peeked in, and her jaw dropped. "Octy..."

"What, Vinyl? What's the matter?" Octavia asked, pushing her way past Vinyl. She blinked in horror when she saw what Vinyl did.

"He's gone..." Vinyl said. "How is it possible for a stallion his size to just disappear like that?!"

"This happened once before when I was little...oh Celestia, this will not end well..." Octavia said, moving back out. "I need to alert my mother. She will know what to do. Vinyl, Bonbon, Lyra, I need you all to search the remainder of the house for him."

"Got it," Vinyl said.

"I'm on it," Lyra added.

"No problem," Bonbon finished.

The four then separated, Octavia making her way over to her mother, the others making their way down the hall and up the stairs. They made it to the top, and found the doors to the three rooms. "Hey, that one is open..." Vinyl said. The three cautiously made their way into the room, which was at this point only dimly lit by what little sunlight filtered through the massive snowfall.

"What's that on the bed?" Bonbon asked, pointing a hoof at it. There was a large, pony-shaped lump on the bed.

"He might've just gone to sleep...maybe we should just leave him..." Lyra suggested.

"We gotta make sure Lyra," Vinyl said as she cautiously moved next to the bed. " goes nothing..." She then used her magic to grip an end of the bed-covers, and yanked them off. They all blinked in confusion when they saw it was just a mass of pillows, shaped like a pony.

"I guess he's not here..." Bonbon said.

"Oh, now A' wouldn't say tha'..." A voice said as the closet door creaked open, a massive figure looming over them.


"Mother, I am very sorry for interrupting your conversation, but there is something I need to tell you...urgently," Octavia said.

"Oh, of course, Octavia. Do excuse me," Madeline smiled.

"No worries, Madeline. Take your time, we have nowhere else to go," Marianna giggled. She then turned to Rolando and began a conversation with him as Octavia and Madeline stepped aside.

"What's the matter, dear? You look frightened," Madeline said as she brought a hoof to Octavia's cheek.

"Well, we have a major issue. Papa got a hold of one of our bottles of liquor..." Octavia started.

"Oh, well, that isn't much of an issue, you know your father's tolerance is-" Madeline stopped short when Octavia shook her head.

"Mother, he drank liquor that has a disclaimer almost the length of the bottle itself. It has a list of side effects ranging from 'liver problems' to 'type-two diabetes,'" Octavia said. "Papa is drunk, and he's missing!" Octavia finished, Madeline turning as pale as a ghost at the news.

"Oh my...we need to find him before he causes even more trouble!" Madeline said urgently, the two making their way back to the living room. "Marianna, Rolando, I just want to say that whatever happens, I like you both and I am glad you are becoming part of our family, and I hope that this does not change anything between us," Madeline said. Marianna looked stunned, Rolando sharing the expression, though his was more of confusion.

"I do not understand..." Rolando said.

"What is the matter, Madeline? You look as though you have seen a ghost..." Marianna said.

"...My daughter just informed me that my drunk. He is also missing. He is still in the house, but Celestia knows where he could be hiding," Madeline said. Marianna instinctively clung to Rolando, who looked a bit nervous. Suddenly, the four ponies downstairs all jumped when they heard three screams and a loud crash upstairs. They all rushed upstairs, and gathered in what was now a cramped hallway, staring in shock at the sight of Kester sticking through the bedroom wall, completely out cold.

"What- what in Equestria happened here?!" Octavia asked.

"Oh my..." Marianna squeaked, Rolando completely speechless.

"Well, that takes care of that..." Madeline said, completely nonplussed. Vinyl, Lyra and Bonbon all made their way out of the room, inspecting the damage.

"We...found him?" Vinyl smiled bashfully.

"What did you do!? Why is my father sticking out of a wall!?" Octavia yelled, unable to make even the slightest bit of sense out of what she was seeing.

"Octy, just calm down...there's a perfectly good story behind this," Vinyl said. "We came in here looking for Kester, and we thought we saw him laying in bed. When we checked the bed, he wasn't there. Then he jumped out of the closet, trying to grab one of us! We all got so freaked out that my magic and Lyra's magic went crazy," she explained.

"So you put him through a wall!?" Octavia yelled, checking to see that her father was still alive. Thankfully, he was still breathing, just knocked out.

"Hey, we couldn't help it, Octy! He surprised the hay out of us!" Vinyl pleaded.

"Is it just me or is it a tad cramped in here...?" Rolando mumbled, pulling on his collar a bit.

"I'm really sorry, Octavia. I'll help pay for the damage to the wall and..." Lyra then looked at Kester. "...the damage to your dad..." she chuckled sheepishly.

"Girls, don't worry. I will pay for this. Believe me, this was the best thing that could have happened. At the very least he is unconscious and won't be trying this again," Madeline said. "Come on, let's pull him out." The three unicorns used their magic to remove Kester from the wall, leaving a huge, gaping hole behind. They levitated him into another room, laid him in bed, and shut the door.

"Well, now that that's taken care of, why don't I make us some tea?" Madeline offered.

"That would be lovely Madeline," Marianna smiled. The other girls nodded in agreement, following close behind as they made their way down the stairs. Rolando stood at the top, as if paralyzed. In his mind, he could swear that the stairs were twisting and turning, the walls contracting and relaxing around him. He could feel his heart beginning to race, his hooves going cold, and sweat beginning to trickle down his brow.

Calm down, got over this years ago... He then tentatively placed a hoof on one of the steps, and quickly hurried down them, feeling as if the stairs were suddenly trying to squeeze him.

"...Perhaps not..." he said to himself as he moved back out into the living room. He took a seat, and swallowed hard.

The room looked considerably smaller.

Chapter Fifty-Five

View Online

(A/N: I am SO, SO sorry for the late update and the lack of information as to why! I assure you I am fine, and have just been busy preparing for the new school year as well as relaxing during the Christmas/New Years break. I'm sorry for leaving you all hanging for so long, so without further adieu, I give you Chapter Fifty-Five!)


Rolando sat in the living room, trying to make sense of what he was seeing. Everything seemed much more constricted, much smaller than before. He could feel his heart beating like a drum in his head, sweat threatening to drip off his chin. are not in danger...remember what the therapist told you: Wide, open spaces...

"Wide, open spaces...wide, open spaces..." he repeated to himself as he shut his eyes, desperately trying to get his phobia under control.

"Dear, are you alright?" A voice said, pulling him from his concentration. When he opened his eyes, he nearly jumped out of his skin. Marianna's face had become heavily distorted, her muzzle longer than it should be, her eyes almost bulbous, her nostrils deep pits of endless darkness.

"I...uh..." he stuttered, unable to think of what to say.

"You look ill, are you sure you are okay?" Marianna asked as she took a seat next to him, placing a concerned hoof on his shoulder. Rolando closed his eyes and shook his head slightly, and sighed with relief when Marianna looked as beautiful as the day he had met her.

"Yes, love...I am fine," Rolando said, sharing a quick kiss with her. "...Never better..." he said softly as he looked away, wiping sweat off his forehead.

"What a relief. You looked like you had seen a ghost," Marianna chuckled, grabbing him by the hoof. "Come, we should go sit with the girls," she said as she tried to pull him off the no avail. " have to get up..."

" legs will not respond..." he said softly, his voice trembling slightly as he tried to will his legs to work, but received nothing but tremors in response. "I cannot move my legs..."

"What is wrong, Rolando? What is happening to you?" Marianna asked seriously, looking him in the eyes, very much concerned for his well-being. Rolando recoiled slightly, his pupils shrinking to the size of pinpricks. "...Oh no...I thought you were over this...oh dear, oh dear, oh dear!"

"Mom, what's going on?" Vinyl asked, looking over as Marianna began to tear through her saddlebags, desperately looking for something. "What's wrong with Dad?" she asked again. Marianna looked up for a moment, her eyes showing fear and deep concern.

"Vincenza...I believe your father is having a relapse..." Marianna said in an urgent tone. Vinyl's eyes widened as she swallowed hard.

"I thought he got over that..." Vinyl said softly, trying to think of what to do next.

"Vincenza, I need you to keep your father calm while I look for his medicine..." she said as she frantically dug through her saddlebags, desperately searching for the small pill bottle she carried with her in case a "relapse" ever occurred. To her horror, it was nowhere to be found. "Oh no...oh no oh no oh no..." she said, her searching becoming much more urgent. She tipped the saddlebags over, emptying their contents onto the floor, and staring in shock when she discovered the pill bottle was not among them. "...I must have gotten rid of them after he stopped having the relapses..."

Vinyl felt a chill run up her spine. "...You mean we're all stuck here, and Dad is losing it?!" She then sighed as she tried to think of something to do about the situation, keeping an eye on her father out of the corner of her eye. "...I'll go. Nurse Redheart's clinic has still got to be open- I mean, the blizzard is only starting to kick in, right? If I hurry, I should make it before the worst of the blizzard hits, and Dad'll be back to whatever he thinks is normal," Vinyl reasoned. Octavia swooped in faster than Vinyl could start a new sentence.

"Vinyl, are you out of your MIND!? If you set one HOOF outside, the Royal Guard will arrest you for going against orders! What about the cold? The blizzard may not be in full effect, but it is getting into gear," Octavia said, a look of deep concern in her eyes. "As much as I want Rolando to get better, you cannot just go out there and try to fix things all yourself!"

"Octy, trust me...I can do this," Vinyl said, reassuring her with a nuzzle. "I'll be back soon- besides, I can use my magic to keep myself warm. We unicorns are good for somethings," she winked as she slipped on a scarf. Octavia stared at Vinyl, and sighed, blushing slightly.

"You had better come back safe..." Octavia said softly. Vinyl smiled, and shared a soft kiss with her.

"Duh, who do you think you're talking to?" Vinyl chuckled as she made her way to the door. "Octy...please help my Mom keep my Dad under control while I'm gone. Lyra, Bonnie, please help Octy. She's gonna need it," she said.

"I will do my best, Vinyl..." Octavia said.

"Sure thing, Vinyl. We've got this," Lyra grinned.

"You can count on me Vinyl," Bonbon winked.

"Great...I'll try to get back as soon as I can Mom," Vinyl said. "So what, just standard anti-anxiety medication?"

Marianna continued to dig through her saddlebags when she came across an old prescription that had never been filled out. "Oh dear...that must have been why there were no pills...take this to Nurse Redheart and have her fill it out as soon as possible. Vincenza, please stay safe..." Marianna said, trotting up to her daughter to not only give her the prescription but embrace her tightly. "I would never forgive myself if you got hurt..."

"Don't worry, Mom...I'll be fine, you'll see..." Vinyl smiled, returning the hug. "Good luck Mom."

"Thank you, dear...I will most certainly need it," Marianna said, giving Vinyl a kiss on the forehead. Vinyl then turned to leave, opening the door. A massive surge of cold air burst forth into the room, the temperature dropping almost immediately. Rolando turned to face the door, seeing it wide open.

"Outside...I need out...I NEED OUT!" he yelled, immediately trying to make a break for the door. Marianna stood in his way, Lyra using her magic to hold his legs together as Bonbon held onto his tail, Octavia hurrying Vinyl out.

"Hurry back...please..." Octavia said, sharing one last kiss with Vinyl before shutting the door. Vinyl turned, and began to make her way to the Ponyville General Clinic.


Marianna had managed to subdue Rolando momentarily, using her magic to ease the tension in his mind like the doctor had shown her. "This is only a temporary fix...until he has his medication, he will not calm down..." she explained.

"Why in Equestria is he acting like this? I would have never taken Rolando for a claustrophobic," Octavia said, confused. "I can only wonder what caused something like this- especially to this degree..."

Marianna sighed, keeping partial concentration on the spell. "Lyra, come here for a moment, please." Lyra did as she was told and made her way over to the older couple.

"Yes, Marianna? What do you need?" Lyra asked, willing to help in whatever way she could.

"I am going to teach you how to use the spell. I can feel myself running out of perform the spell, you must envision the mind of the pony you are affecting, and transfer any calm thoughts you can come up with to the receiver. Can you do that while I recover?" Marianna requested.

"Of course, have a rest," Lyra said. She did as Marianna told her, and focused her magic around Rolando's head, and began to transmit one thought that truly soothed her- her dream of being showered with roses at a performance. Rolando, being a fellow musician, felt the affects as well. His body relaxed slightly, his breathing becoming more regulated and even.

Marianna took a few moments to recoup, and sighed. "As it turns out, Rolando had a horribly traumatizing experience when he was just a colt. I learned this from his father, seeing as he was too afraid of reliving the memory to tell me himself," Marianna explained. "The story is not a pretty one, and I can understand why the poor dear goes through this."

"What happened to him?" Octavia asked, Bonbon nodding in agreement as she helped Lyra by dabbing her head with a cloth to prevent sweat from getting in her eyes.

"As far as I can remember, his grandfather told me that one day when Rolando was sitting on a performance that Ostinato, his grandfather had just finished, he decided to help the other performers put their instruments away. He tried to help move the cello into its case, but fell in behind it and was squeezed into the case. The case was made of a different material than it is nowadays, so it drowned out any attempt at trying to call for help. Thankfully there was a crack in the side of the case that allowed him to breathe. It was only until the cellist arrived home two hours later, opened the case and retrieved his cello did he find a very scared, very confused and very much upset Rolando," Marianna explained.

Octavia's heart sank as she looked over at her future father-in-law. It pained her to see somepony she had always looked up to, in such a fragile and compromised state. "You poor thing..." Octavia said softly. "I can only wonder what-" she stopped dead as she thought back to what might have caused it. She remembered standing next to Rolando in the upstairs hallway as they surveyed the scene of Kester being put through a wall, and remembered him mentioning about the hallway being cramped. "...He did mention it. He mentioned it when we were upstairs. He said he felt the hallway was 'crowded,'" Octavia finished.

Unbeknownst to them, Rolando had been listening to everything that was being said...and it was affecting him. The soothing images that Lyra had been feeding him no longer calmed him as the repressed memories of the experience from his childhood rushed to the surface.

"Uh oh...he's rejecting the images! We have a problem!" Lyra said as she was forced to begin to hold Rolando down, Bonbon assisting her. Rolando began to fight against them, desperately trying to force Lyra and Bonbon off of him.

"Octavia, stay back! I cannot risk you getting hurt in this situation, go stand near the door!" Marianna yelled. She then stood up, cracking her neck slightly. "I will handle this..."


Vinyl felt the frigid winds cooling her down to her bones. She slipped her trademark goggles up from her neck onto her eyes, blinking in surprise at the view around her: the entirety of Ponyville looked as though it were blanketed in white to the point nothing else was visible. The fountain had frozen over, the buildings obscured by the thick snow still falling. Vinyl used her magic to keep herself warm, and began to make her way towards the clinic. She heard the sounds of wings flapping over head, and immediately ducked into a small snowpile, peeking out. She saw two pegasus stallions, dressed from head-to-hoof in the winter armor for the Royal Guard, scouting the area.

"Too close...I gotta go more stealthy this time..." She looked around for whatever she might have been able to use, and grinned when she saw something useful. She made her way over to an old, used cardboard box, with a huge logo that read "ORANGE" on the side. She threw some snow on the top, and wormed her way underneath it, looking out the slot cut in the box for a pony to place a hoof to lift it. "This'll do nicely."

She began making her way forward towards the clinic once more, moving slowly and carefully. As she rounded a corner, she heard the sound of snow being crushed under hooves, and stopped dead in her tracks. Two Royal Guardscolts made their way past the box, one of them eyeing it suspiciously.

"Hey...was that box there before?" one stallion asked.

"What, did you think it just got up and moved by itself? The cold must've frozen over your brain," the other stallion responded. "That, or too many video games."

"Shut up, idiot. Just forget I asked," the first stallion said, continuing to walk without him.

"Sure, sure...just be on the look-out for killer mailboxes!" The first stallion shot the second a dirty look, which was answered by laughing. The two unicorns continued their argument as they cantered away, leaving Vinyl alone once more.

"Idiots...didn't even bother checking..." Vinyl chuckled to herself as she resumed her trek. After twenty minutes of walking, she arrived at the front door to the clinic. She lifted the box up and off, and entered the clinic. Nurse Redheart was quietly reading a book, thankful for the snow day.

"Hey Nurse Redheart," Vinyl said cheerily, causing the nurse to jump.

"O-Oh...hello Vinyl. I'm surprised to see you out here, aren't you supposed to be at home?" she asked.

"I would be, but we've got a bit of a problem...see, my dad's claustrophobic, and he's having a bit of a freak-out back at home. Do you think you could get this filled out so I can take it to him?" Vinyl requested, using her magic to send the prescription over to the nurse.

"Oh, this is simple. Just give me five minutes." The nurse then got up, and disappeared into the back end of the clinic. Vinyl waited patiently, and after five minutes, Nurse Redheart reappeared with a small baggie in her mouth. She set it down on the counter, and pushed it towards Vinyl. "Make sure he takes this with water and food. These pills will tear a pony up if they're taken on an empty stomach," she advised.

"Sure thing, Nurse. Thanks again!" Vinyl said as she turned to leave.

"Take care, and stay safe!" Nurse Redheart said, returning to her book. Vinyl exited the clinic, and donned her disguise once more. She made her way past the guards, standing still when she needed to. She was forced to intensify the heating magic around her when a particularly strong blast of cold wind hit her.

"Looks like the storm is getting worse...gotta pick up the pace..." Once the house was in sight, she ditched the box and made a break for the door...which was wide open. "What the-?" Vinyl stepped inside, and her jaw dropped at the sight. Marianna was crying softly, Octavia comforting her as Bonbon iced a sore on Lyra's shoulder. "What happened here?!"

"Y-Your father...he..." Marianna choked out, unable to speak properly. Octavia looked at Vinyl, her expression one of sadness.

"Rolando snapped...he threw Lyra and Bonbon off of him, and knocked Marianna out of the way...he threw open the door, and charged off into the blizzard," Octavia said softly, feeling tears well in her eyes. Vinyl turned to face the outside once more, and saw hoof-prints about the same size as Rolando's leading away from the house.

The winds kicked up, howling louder than ever as the clouds continued to lay their icy, white blanket over the town.

Chapter Fifty-Six

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Vinyl was completely speechless. The idea that her father had just up and charged off without a care for his own safety or concern for anypony else was too much to bear. She fell back on her haunches, simply staring out into the distance.

"Vinyl, please! We have to go back inside! The storm is getting worse!" Octavia said loudly over the howling winds.

"Forget about me! I'm going to go bring Dad back!" Vinyl said without a second thought. She took to her hooves, and was about to take a step back outward when she felt Octavia's forelegs wrap themselves tightly around her chest. "Octy! What are you-!?"

"Absolutely not! I refuse to let you go out there alone!" Octavia yelled in return. At this point, Vinyl was beginning to struggle against Octavia's grip. Octavia dug her rear hooves into the floor as best she could, fighting to prevent Vinyl from disappearing like her father.

"OCTY, LET ME GO!" Vinyl yelled at the top of her lungs, trying to shake her off, but no matter how much she shook herself or pulled herself forward, Octavia would not budge.

"NO! I WILL NOT LET GO OF YOU, VINYL!" Octavia responded in kind, using what strength she could muster to yank Vinyl back into the house, and forced the door shut. Vinyl took a few steps back, glaring daggers at Octavia.

"Why did you stop me!? I have to go save my Dad!" Vinyl yelled, more upset with Octavia than she had ever been since they met.

"Vinyl, you charging out there without a plan to rescue your father will get you killed! I know you have the propensity to do crazy things, but this is just reckless!" Octavia yelled in return. "Use your head, Vinyl! What you were about to do could have gotten you AND your father killed if you screwed up!"

"So that's it! You EXPECTED me to screw up!" Vinyl yelled, her vision blurring out at the edges until all she could see was Octavia. "You know what, just shut up and get out of my way! I'm going to save my Dad whether you like it or not!" she demanded, a cold glare in Vinyl's eyes. To her shock, Octavia took a seat in front of the door.

"If you want to go through this door, you will have to go through me," Octavia said softly. "...But I know you won't. You love me too much to hurt hurt our baby. Just calm down, Vinyl...listen to yourself. You're being irrational...I understand you're scared- we all are...but you cannot act rashly in this kind of a situation. My ultimatum still stands." Octavia said, trying to reason with her. Octavia swallowed hard when she saw Vinyl's horn suddenly pointed at her, a soft glow beginning to surround it.

Lyra, Bonbon, Marianna and Madeline all watched the scene carefully, ready to act should Vinyl do anything rash. Octavia let out a small, internal sigh of relief when she took another look at Vinyl- the poor mare was shaking, be it from anger or sadness. The coldness in her eyes had vanished, replaced with a look of fear and sadness. Tears dripped off her cheeks, collecting at her hooves. Octavia gingerly took to her hooves, and made her way over to Vinyl, cradling her head in her forelegs.

"Everything is going to be alright, Vinyl...please, do not worry...he will be okay..." Octavia whispered.

Vinyl finally relented, beginning to cry loudly into Octavia's chest, stamping her hooves in pure frustration. It broke Octavia's heart to see Vinyl so upset, her own tears running silently down her face. Madeline and Marianna were comforting one another, Lyra and Bonbon both relieved and saddened by the turn of events. Octavia gently ran a hoof through Vinyl's mane and down her back, doing what little she could to calm her down. Lyra and Bonbon quietly made their way over to Vinyl and Octavia, and joined in on the embrace. Vinyl needed them now more than ever.

"It will be okay, Vinyl...please, there is no need for tears..." Octavia soothed as she held Vinyl tightly. "He will be okay, I am sure of it..."

"We'll do whatever it takes to find him, Vinyl...we promise," Lyra assured. "I bet he found somewhere else to stay...even somepony like him realized that it was too cold to be outside- or maybe the Royal Guard picked him up!" Bonbon nodded in agreement.

"Lyra, you're a genius!" Bonbon giggled, kissing her on the cheek, causing Lyra to flush brightly. "They may be bringing him back here as we speak!" Bonbon said, trying to lift spirits as best she could. Marianna gave a soft smile, silently thanking Bonbon for not only helping Vinyl, but helping her as well.

"Come, Marianna...let's go into the kitchen and have fresh tea..." Madeline said, helping Marianna up to her hooves and leading her away from the group. Vinyl continued to cry, albeit having calmed down a great deal.

"He's- he's my Dad, Octy...I know I fight with him a lot, and I know he and I don't get along..." Vinyl sniffled, wiping her face as best she could. "...but he's still my Dad, Octy...I still love him..." Vinyl coughed, trying to get herself back under control.

"I know, Vinyl...believe me, do I understand that sentiment. While I may not show it, and while I may not always appreciate the way my father handles things..." Octavia started, blushing softly. "...He has always been my hero. He has always been a symbol of strength and courage for me. I can only imagine how I would be in your position...inconsolable, most likely." Octavia then shifted so that she and Vinyl were now sitting on the floor, Vinyl flanked by Lyra and Bonbon. "I remember one time when I was just a little filly that I got into an argument with my father. He had to go see his family in Scoltland under urgent matters, and I wanted to go with him. He told me I was a little too young, and that I needed to stay with Mother. I remember getting so upset at him that I yelled at him- I told him that I hated him and that if he really loved me, he would take me with him."

Lyra, Vinyl and Bonbon all blinked in surprise. "Well? What happened next?" Lyra asked.

"...I will never forget this as long as I live. He simply turned his back on me and left. He did not say a word to me, and shut the door behind him. I instantly became panicked, having realized what I had said. I began to cry and scream, begging him to come back, yelling that I was sorry. Mother said that it crushed her to see me like that, but it had to be done- I had to learn one way or another that parents do things for a reason...and the reason my father left was one I would not understand until much later," Octavia said. She stopped for a moment to dig up the memory, as well as taking a moment to catch her breath. "...As it turns out, one of Papa's uncles had passed away unexpectedly- one Papa was very close with. I remember when Mother told me the news, I cried. I felt like a horrible daughter for speaking that way to him, so I did the only thing I could think to do- I waited. I waited near the door every day for the entire week he was gone. I would eat my meals, practice the cello, read my books- I would do it all near the door. I wanted to be the first pony Papa saw when he came back, just so I could say I was sorry."

"What about when he came back?" Bonbon asked.

"Well, Papa arrived late at night, and I was asleep on the couch. I knew that he was coming home that night, and Mother let me stay up late to try and see him, but I was still little and did not have the energy to last that long. I still remember hearing the door opening and closing, the sound of hoofsteps, and a heavy weight resting on the couch next to me. What proved to me that it was him, was when I felt him kiss me on the forehead- Papa always did that when he tucked me in. I immediately woke up, and threw myself at him. I cried, and cried, and cried, saying I was sorry over and over until I could barely breathe. I do not remember ever crying as hard as I did that night...but it was all worth it. I had my father back, and I knew he loved me," Octavia finished, wiping her eyes as she reminisced. "The point of my story, that your father will come back, and he will come back in one piece," Octavia smiled, giving Vinyl a comforting nuzzle.

Vinyl sniffled, having paid attention to the whole story. "'re right Octy...I'm just being dumb..." Vinyl raised a foreleg and wiped her eyes.

"No, you are not. You are being a daughter- a daughter that loves her father very much," Octavia smiled warmly. Lyra couldn't help but chuckle.

"Jeeze, you two have such interesting childhoods. My parents were boring- no crazy adventures, no wild stories, nothing. Kinda makes me feel like I missed out," Lyra joked, to which Bonbon agreed.

"Tell me about it. My parents were in the candy-making business as well, and honestly, the only interesting story I can remember was when my dad fell into the tub of pixie dust," Bonbon giggled, remembering the sight of her father covered in lime-green powder.

"...Bonnie, your dad did that almost every other week," Lyra said, cocking an eyebrow. "Your dad has no sense of balance."

"Ever since that accident with the taffy, my dad hasn't really ever gotten his balance back," Bonbon chuckled sheepishly. "Mom feels she can't take her eyes off him for a second." Vinyl chuckled slightly, already feeling better.

"Thanks guys...I really do feel better now," Vinyl smiled. "I'm really lucky to have you all in my life-" she then shared a soft kiss with Octavia. "-especially you," she winked. Octavia blushed and smiled bashfully, Lyra and Bonbon enjoying the cute scene.

"Well, what would you be with out me, Vinyl?" Octavia giggled, pulling Vinyl closer to her.

"Awesome, but that goes for me in general..." Vinyl grinned.

"Oh are definitely feeling better," Octavia said, shaking her head slightly.

"You know what I could go for? A group hug," Vinyl suggested.

"I'm good with that!" Lyra said.

"Me too!" Bonbon giggled.

"Wait, what now?" Octavia asked. Unfortunately, her question went unanswered as she was dragged into a hug between the four of them.


Madeline and Marianna listened in on Octavia's story, Madeline remembering the night vividly. "That was not an easy night...but Octavia had to learn that harsh words lead to harsh consequences," Madeline said.

"I could never restrain myself from comforting Vinyl if she was upset, even if it was over something trivial. I could not bear to let my child cry," Marianna said, gently running the edge of her hoof along the rim of her teacup. "It goes to show with Octavia- she is a lovely, up-standing young mare who was raised properly...I can only hope I did the same with Vincenza..." Madeline reached over and placed a hoof on Marianna's shoulder.

"You did an excellent job with Vinyl. She's loud, she's rambunctious, she's energetic...she is the balance that Octavia needs in her life. Honestly, I have never seen Octavia happier," Madeline said. "She never dated much when she lived at home. It was a rare sight to see Octavia with a colt, and when she would bring him home, she rarely showed any signs of affection or...actually liking the colt. It made me wonder why she even brought them home in the first place..."

"Perhaps she was just getting a feel for her sexuality. It is very possible that because of traditional societal values, she believed that she HAD to be with a stallion, regardless of whether or not she actually cared for them. Personally, I think Vinyl and Octavia being together is wonderful. They offset each other beautifully," Marianna said, taking a sip from her tea.

"Agreed...I just wished Octavia would have come to me and talked to me about this..." Madeline sighed.

"It makes no difference now, Madeline. They are happy, and we should be as well," Marianna smiled, albeit weakly.

"You're right, Marianna...I just wish there was some simple solution to finding Rolando...I mean, I'm willing to bet he is safe. It is only a matter of bringing him back that is an issue," Madeline said. As if on cue, the sound of heavy hoofsteps made their way down the stairs, and a new voice made itself known.

"Wha!? Roly's gone missin'!? A'm goin' ta' get his happy flank back 'ere a'fore ye' miss 'em!"

"Oh sweet Celestia...Kester's awake..." Madeline sighed.

"He cannot be serious...the storm is too-" Suddenly, an idea dawned on Marianna. "Wait...did you not say that Kester was bragging about how he was able to handle blizzards harsher than this back in Scoltland?"

"Yes, but I don't see what you-" It then dawned on Madeline. "Marianna, you are one brilliant mare," Madeline smiled. The two mothers rushed out to the group, finding Kester still some-what inebriated, but more coherent than drunk.

"Papa, you cannot be serious!" Octavia protested.

"'Tavi, A've faced worse storms in ma' backyard in Scoltland than this wee li'l thin'! A'll be fine!" Kester said, shaking his head as he struggled slightly to maintain his balance.

"Papa, you are clearly still drunk! You need to go back to bed!" Octavia said, making an attempt to lead him back upstairs, but Kester would not budge.

"'Tavi, Vinyl, yer' baby is goin' ta' grow up with two grandpas as long as A'm still breathin'. He's goin' ta' be ma' brother-in-law, and family protects family!" Kester said, making his way to the door. Madeline hurriedly threw a scarf around his neck, tying it tightly.

"Please, come back safely..." Madeline said.

"A' will, dear...don' worry," Kester smiled, sharing a quick kiss with her.

"Thank you so much, have no idea what this means to me," Marianna said, pulling Kester into a tight embrace.

"Think nothin' o' it," Kester smiled. "A'll be back!" He opened the door, and the entire room was forced to instantly huddle together as a deep chill entered, Kester standing resolute.

"Eh, it's just a' wee bit nippy," he shrugged. As he turned to shut the door, he cast a small wink in Octavia's direction, and shut the door. Octavia felt like her heart was bursting at the seams. She could not be more proud of her father than in that moment.

My hero...please come back safely... She thought to herself. The group then sat in the living room and waited.

Don' worry, Roly! A'm a comin'! Kester thought to himself. He then began his trek into the blizzard, the world having seemingly frozen over around him.

Chapter Fifty-Seven

View Online

Kester surveyed his surroundings, taking in what he saw. The entire town looked as though time had stopped- completely covered in white and motionless save for the falling snow. He took a deep breath, feeling the frigid air sting his lungs a bit, but it didn't phase him- he was used to this. He then began his search for Rolando. "...If A' were Roly, where would A' go?" He looked around, trying to get an idea. He then looked down at the snow, trying to look for anything resembling hoof prints in the snow. He examined them carefully, and noticed one set was larger than the rest, but not quite as large as his. "These must be Roly's. A' just got ta' follow 'em before the snow covers 'em up."

He made his way off the porch of Octavia's house, and began to walk. He refrained from running so as not to gain the attention of the Royal Guardcolts that were circling the area. He moved quickly but quietly, following the trail. It almost pained him to see the quiet little town so devoid of life. There was one thing he attributed to this situation that he never had back in Scoltland- he had never felt more alone. The only thing that he could hear was the sound of the howling wind, his own hoof-steps and his own breathing. Not a single soul was around to hear him walk by. He looked on at the fountain as he passed it, motionless as if frozen in time. The stones that made the roads were buried beneath thick sheets of snow, hidden from view. "A' got ta' keep movin'...Roly won't stand a chance in this weather..." Kester said to himself, pressing forth.

He made his way to the edge of town, where he was forced to stop as a few Royal Guardcolts rounded a corner. Kester leapt behind cover, keeping his breathing as quiet as possible until they passed. He heard the two talking, so he decided to listen in.

"Jeeze, this storm's only getting worse...any idea when they'll get the Weather Factory back under control?" One stallion asked the other.

"I dunno...thank Celestia she gave us this armor that uses magic to generate heat. I'm pretty sure we would have frozen by now otherwise," the other stallion responded.

"I feel awful for the poor residents of this town. We can't really do much for them but make sure they don't leave their homes," the first stallion said.

"Tell me about it...I just came out from patrolling around Sweet Apple Acres. I don't think I've ever been more afraid of something happening to me. The place was like it was deserted. I kept thinking something was gonna sneak up on me."

The second stallion looked puzzled. "Why were you all the way out at the Acres? I thought the Apple Family hunkered down long before the storm hit."

"Well, we got a report that a stallion was seen wandering around the area-"

That must'a been Roly! Kester then focused his hearing more intently on the two guards.

"-so I was sent over to look. I didn't see anything...and I can only hope that what they saw was the storm playing tricks on them. Unless he's a unicorn that can use his magic to heat himself up...there's no way he's gonna survive this."

"Poor guy...I hope he makes it out alright. Anyway, we better get moving. We've stood in place too long," the second stallion reminded.

"Oh yeah. These things generate heat based on our movement, right?" the first stallion asked.

"That's what the General said. Let's get going before we freeze to death," the other said. The two Guardcolts left the area, Kester coming out of his hiding spot.

"Don't worry, Roly...A'm comin'. Just hang in there a lil' longer..." Kester said, trudging on through the frigid winds.


The six mares sat in the living room, waiting patiently for the stallions to return. Octavia comforted Vinyl, stroking her foreleg with a hoof as Madeline sat with Marianna, a foreleg across her shoulders. Lyra and Bonbon sat silently, leaning against one another as they all quietly waited. They could hear the wind screaming past the windows like a demon reveling in the chaos outside, the fireplace crackling as it generated warmth.

"The fire's starting to go out...I'll go get another log," Lyra said. She got up and pushed a fresh log into the fireplace, using her magic to conjure a spark that lit it. A fresh wave of warmth swept over the room, the mares shifting to get more comfortable.

"...Please let them come back okay..." Marianna said softly, on the verge of tears.

"Don't worry Marianna...Kester will not give up until he finds can count on that," Madeline said, doing her best to reassure her. Kester...please stay safe...don't do anything crazy out there... She thought to herself as she stared at the front door. Vinyl leaned her head into Octavia's neck, trying to keep herself calm. She closed her eyes, a single tear escaping as she hoped for her father's safe return.

"Everything will be fine, Vinyl. I promise...Papa and Rolando will come back safe and sound. You'll see..." Octavia said softly, pulling Vinyl closer to her. Vinyl then looked up when she felt something skitter past her leg. Unts had finally woken up from his sleep, and had crawled up onto Vinyl's back and sat on her shoulder. He could sense her pain, and was doing whatever he could to ease it.

"Hey, Unts..." Vinyl smiled weakly, giving him a kiss on the top of his head. "Thanks for being an awesome pet..." Unts looked at Vinyl, and plopped down on her shoulder, snuggling up against her neck. Octavia smiled, but it quickly faded when she looked at the front door.

Come back safe, Papa...



The cold only grew more and more bitter, but still Kester marched on. "A'm not abou' ta' let some lil' storm get in tha' way of ma' family! No way, no how!" He gave a small smirk, and pressed forward. After several minutes of walking, he found himself near the edge of town. He saw what appeared to be a fork in the road, with a sign at its center. Kester made his way over to it, and brushed snow off one of the two signs.

"'Sweet Apple Acres'...tha's where A'm headed," he said to himself as he read the sign. He then took the path, and gave a small sigh when he saw what exactly the guard meant. The farm was devoid of any signs of life, the hundreds of apple trees swaying at the mercy of the fierce winds. The farmhouse, barn, and all the livestock had been locked up to keep out the cold. Kester then began to make his way through the area, looking for any sign of Rolando. He swept past the barn, circled around the farmhouse a few times, and checked around all the livestock houses, coming up empty-hooved. "Damn...Roly's not makin' this easy..." He then noticed a fresh set of prints leading away back towards town, and felt a small sigh of relief when he noticed they were around the same size as Rolando's. He began to follow the trail, breaking out into a full gallop, leaving Sweet Apple Acres. He came back to the fork, and went down the other path. As he did, he knocked off the remaining bit of snow on the sign, the words reading:


Kester continued galloping at full tilt, his breath growing slightly short as the cold air stung his lungs. He followed the trail until it eventually stopped dead. "Wha' is this possible? The stallion didn't just disappear," he said to himself as he looked around. It was at that point that he realized that he was nowhere near town. "Where in Equestria am A'? A' didn't know there were forests in Ponyville...what an odd lil' town." He continued making his way through the forest. "ROLY! ROLY CAN YE' HEAR ME, BOYO!? ARE YE' OUT THERE!?" he yelled, hoping for a response. His heart sank slightly when the only sound he received was the wind rushing past his ears. "ROLY! ANSWER ME, BOYO!"


Kester's ears perked up at the sound of another voice- one very similar to that of Rolando's.

"A' hear ye' boyo! Just stay where ye' are! A'll come ta' you!" Kester called out. He quickly hurried towards where Rolando's voice was coming from, and felt his blood beginning to boil when he found Rolando, backed into a corner, staring down a bear with a thick black coat. "Nopony attacks MA' FAMILY!" he yelled as he galloped into a full charge, barreling into the bear and knocking him clean over. The bear let out a loud roar as it toppled over. Kester then hurried over to Rolando, who looked very much afraid, confused, and cold.

"Ye alright, boyo? C'mon, let's get ye' out of here..." Kester said.

"Thank you, Kester- LOOK OUT!" Rolando yelled. Kester wheeled around, but didn't quite evade in time. He grit his teeth as he felt the bear's claws cut into the skin on his left foreleg at the shoulder, his left foreleg going slightly numb from the pain as well as warm as blood began to seep out of the wound. "Gaah! Sweet Celestia that hurts!" Kester said, reeling back slightly. He examined his wound quickly, and let out a deep growl. "Oh, yer goin' ta' get it now! COME ON! LET'S THROW DOWN!" he yelled, pawing the ground with a hoof and letting out a deep snort. The bear let out a deafening roar and charged at Kester. Rolando sat nearby, watching as Kester fought the bear.

"Unbelievable...Kester truly is a beast of a stallion..." Rolando murmured softly as he watched in awe- Kester was matching the bear blow for blow. Every time the bear swiped, Kester responded with a buck or an attempt to grapple with it. He landed a few hits on the bear's midsection, only to receive a hit to the face with the back of the bear's paw, leaving a solid welt on his cheek. "...I need to help him! He came all this way out to save me, I need to get him out of this!"

Kester was beginning to slow down- the effects of the wound as well as the cold were beginning to set in. A' don't know how much more o' this A' can take... he thought as he continued to fight the bear. The bear looked as though it was about to land a blow, when a pair of forelegs wrapped themselves tightly around the bear's throat.

"NOW KESTER! BUCK IT IN THE CHEST!" Rolando yelled, using what strength he could still muster to hold the bear back.

"Heh...good on ye, boyo!" Kester turned his back on the bear, and reared back his hindlegs. Rolando then realized just how muscular Kester was- his hindlegs looked like giant steel springs ready to be let loose on their unfortunate target. Kester then bucked backward as hard as he could, both hooves landing square in its chest. The force of impact was so great Rolando felt the shock rush through his body. The impact was followed by a sickening crack as the bear's ribcage shattered under the force. Rolando let go and circled around to Kester as the bear reeled. The bear coughed up blood a few times, then fell prone.

"Nicely done, Kester...thank you for coming out here to rescue me," Rolando said, panting heavily.

"Roly, ye're family. A'll put ma' life on the line any day o' the week fer let's get home," Kester chuckled as he and Rolando limped back towards Ponyville. Rolando gave a warm smile at this. "Stick close to me so ye can stay warm. A've got enough heat fer both o' us," he gave a goofy grin as he pointed at his belly. Rolando snickered, shaking his head.

"Thank you, Kester...I apologize for the way I acted with you earlier," Rolando said.

"Well tha's mighty big o' ye, Roly. A'm sorry fer pushin' yer buttons," Kester chuckled, nudging Rolando's shoulder.

The two walked in silence for some time, until Rolando spoke up.

"I bet I can spoil our grandchildren better than you can..." Rolando said with a smirk, raising an eyebrow. Kester, not one to pass up a challenge, grinned in return.

"Ye're on."


"Do you think we should inform the Royal Guard?" Lyra suggested.

"I don't think that would be a good idea, Lyra...we're not supposed to be out of the house. If they find out that they've been out all this time, they could get arrested," Bonbon pointed out.

"Better than leaving them to freeze," Octavia said.

"True..." Bonbon said, trying to think of something else.

"I still think we should go out there and look for them. Lyra and I are unicorns, after all. We can use our magic to keep each other warm," Vinyl said optimistically.

"And if we are caught? What then? Are you going to use your magic on a Royal Guard?" Octavia said.

Vinyl thought about it, and sighed. " I'm not..."

"We need to think of something that will not get us caught or get our father's in trouble..." Octavia said. There was a knock at the door, and all six mares looked at the door. Vinyl and Octavia immediately rushed for the door, and swung it open. They stared in awe when Kester and Rolando walked in, covered in snow.

"Whoo! Tha' just might be the craziest storm A've ever been in. Wha' about you, Roly?" Kester asked.

"No doubt about that Kester," Rolando chuckled. He then looked up at his wife, who made her way over to him.

" it really you?" Marianna asked, in utter disbelief that Kester had actually brought her husband home safe and sound. Rolando placed a hoof on her cheek as tears began to flow down her face. Marianna placed her own hoof on-top of his, grateful for the feeling of his touch.

"Yes dear, it's me...I am alive and well, all because of Kester," he said as he turned to Kester, who nodded. "...I am so sorry I frightened you," Rolando said softly. He then heard the sound of sniffling that didn't come from his wife. He turned his head, and gave a warm smile when he saw Vinyl sitting next to him, leaning into his side. Rolando brought his foreleg around her, and pulled both Marianna and Vinyl into an embrace as they came apart in his grip. "I am so sorry I did this to you. I love you both so much..." he said softly.

Kester nodded proudly, watching the endearing sight of a family being reunited. "Tha's the way, Roly." Madeline quickly made her way over to Kester, examining his wounds.

"What happened to you!?" Madeline said as she examined the wound on his shoulder.

"A' fought a bear," Kester said flatly. "No need ta' worry. It's only a flesh wound."

"You what!?" Madeline yelled in disbelief.

"Papa! Are you out of your mind?!" Octavia scolded. "What if you had gotten hurt even worse than you are!? What if-if-" Octavia couldn't find the rest of her sentence as her emotions came out all at once, literally falling apart as Kester scooped her into a hug.

"There, there 'Tavi...Papa's okay," Kester chuckled as he held her tight. He then looked over at Madeline, who was so angry and relieved that she too found herself emotional. Kester opened his right foreleg, and Madeline practically threw herself at Kester, holding him tightly.

"Don't you EVER do something like that again! I-I couldn't bear it if..." Madeline choked out, completely overwhelmed.

"It's okay, Maddie...A'm fine, Roly's fine...we're all goin' ta' be fine..." Kester said as he held both his daughter and his wife tightly. Lyra and Bonbon found themselves getting teary as well.

"When this is you maybe wanna go on a trip to see our parents?" Lyra suggested as she wiped her eyes.

"Absolutely...I miss them so much right now it hurts," Bonbon responded, blinking the tears out of her eyes.

With Rolando home and safe, both families could finally begin to heal and grow together as one.

Chapter Fifty-Eight

View Online

{Author's Note: I am INCREDIBLY sorry about the lack of updates! The last couple of weeks have been out of control, what with getting into a car accident (don't worry, I'm fine!) and dealing with the insurance company, keeping up with school, filial responsibilities and most importantly, keeping the fillyfriend happy. I promise I'll try to be better about the updates from now on, or at least drop a note every now and again if the updates take longer than expected. Anywho, on with the story!}


"...and tha's pretty much how it happened," Kester said with a proud smile on his face, Madeline busily tending to the wound he received in the midst of saving Rolando's life.

"Again Kester, I cannot thank you enough for rescuing me. I daresay I would not have survived much longer out there...the cold was already starting to get to me. Also, very impressive work on the bear. I am willing to bet you have been in your fair share of fights growing up," Rolando stated, Marianna giving him a once-over for any injuries while the first-aid kit was still in use.

"Ye got tha' right, boyo. A've put down many a stallion in ma' day," Kester chuckled. When he saw the look on Rolando's face, he then realized what he had said came out completely wrong. "Wha'? S'not like A' killed 'em. A' just roughed 'em up a bit," he said. When he saw Rolando relax, he snickered. "Well...there was one..."

"Kester!" Madeline scolded, gently smacking Kester's shoulder, accidentally hitting the wound she had just finished patching up, causing him to yelp in shock. "Oh dear, I'm so sorry! I didn't mean to hit you there, it was just a-"

"A reflex, A' know...ouch..." Kester said, gritting his teeth to fight off the pain.

"Kester, I cannot thank you enough for saving my husband. You are a stallion of your word," Marianna smiled, giving him a gentle hug as to not aggravate the wound.

"Think nothin' of it, Marianna. He's family, and family protects family. It's an adage ma' father passed down ta' me, and one A've instilled in ma' child and will continue to pass down through ma' family," Kester grinned.

"You could not be more right, Papa. I am so glad you are safe..." Octavia said, making her way over to Kester and nuzzling him just under his chin. Vinyl made her way over to her own father and hugged him tightly, Rolando smiling warmly.

"Kester, I just want to apologize for the way I acted before. It was completely unwarranted and extremely immature of me," Rolando said, bowing his head slightly. "If you could find it in your heart to forgive me, I would be most grateful." Rolando's eyes opened in shock when he felt Kester wrap his forelegs around his neck in a quick hug.

"Quit bringin' it up, ye big baby. A' already forgave ye. Heck, we're practically brothers a' this point, wouldn't ye say? A' wouldn't have gone ta' save ye if A' didn't," Kester winked. Rolando was so touched by Kester's words that he himself gave Kester a hug, eliciting a hearty chuckle and a pat on the back.

Octavia sat next to Vinyl, watching the two stallions with smiles on their faces. "What a relief," Octavia said.

"Tell me about it. I was afraid Dad was gonna mess everything up, but he seems to be doing alright," Vinyl said. "In fact, we may be seeing the birth of a brand new bromance." Vinyl frowned when she saw the look on Octavia's face. "What?"

"A 'bromance'? What in Equestria is a 'bromance'?" Octavia asked. Vinyl shook her head slightly, laughing to herself.

"Nothing, Octy. Don't worry about it," Vinyl said.

"What? What is so funny?" Octavia asked.

"I just find it adorable how out of touch you are with the rest of society," Vinyl said. She knew this was one of Octavia's biggest pet peeves, so she simply waited for the inevitable outburst. As if on cue, Octavia began to rant.

"Vinyl, I have said this a million times over- I am NOT out of touch! I do not need to know slang terms to keep up with the comings and goings of today!" Octavia said sternly, embarrassed at Vinyl's comment and herself for not knowing what it meant. Lyra and Bonbon simply laughed at Octavia's outburst.

"Geeze, Vinyl. You can get Octavia going in ways nopony else can," Bonbon commented.

"You got her fired up in a matter of seconds! It's pretty awesome to watch," Lyra added.

"Here's the best part- I can do that, in more ways than one..." Vinyl winked. This caused all three of the other mares to stop dead in their tracks, blushing at her comment. "Thank you, thank you. I'll be here for good."

"Vinyl! Why would you say something like that?!" Octavia hissed, absolutely mortified.

"That's easy, Octy- 'cause I can," Vinyl winked, turning Octavia's blush of embarrassment into a flush of anger.

Marianna and Madeline watched their children interact, laughing to themselves. "Octavia's always been so easy to get riled up. No wonder Vinyl does what she does," Madeline commented.

"I am just curious as to how Vinyl got so explicit. I mean, she used to speak in such a lady-like tone, and when she would sing, oh! How I used to love listening to her sing-" Marianna said. Suddenly, she felt several sets of eyes on her. The angriest set belonged to Vinyl.

"MOM!" Vinyl said in complete shock.

"Sing? You sing? Since when?" Octavia asked, stunned by this sudden revelation.

"Aw, horse-feathers..." Vinyl sighed. "Cat's out of the bag now...yes, Octy. I sing. I've been able to sing since I was's actually..." Vinyl then blushed a very bright red.

"Actually what?" Octavia asked, curious to know more.

"How I..." Vinyl mumbled.

"How you...?" Octavia continued.

"Oh that is quite enough, Vincenza," Marianna sighed. She then turned to Octavia. "She earned her cutie mark through singing, dear." Octavia was absolutely speechless. This was a part of Vinyl's life that she never knew about- much less believed it to exist. "I will never forget the day she sang at the Echelon Gardens Conservatory of Music for her first recital. Her voice simply resonated with so much grandeur and life...why, if I am not mistaken, the conductor had to dab at his eyes a few times," Marianna said thoughtfully.

"Such a wonderful day that was..." Rolando said fondly.

"Ooh, now isn't this interestin'? When were ye goin' ta tell us ye can sing, Vinyl?" Kester asked, intrigued.

Madeline then asked the one question Vinyl had been hoping would never come up. "Would it be possible for you to sing for us? I would love to hear it," she smiled. Lyra and Bonbon mimicked the feelings of everypony else present, to the point where Vinyl caved.

"Fine! Fine. I'll sing for you guys- but I can't sing without instruments. Let's just go upstairs to the music room and we'll figure it out from there," Vinyl said.

"Just give me one moment, dear. I need to grab my violin," Rolando said. He made his way over to his luggage, and retrieved his violin case.

The group then made their way up the stairs, Rolando taking the lead as not to have a repeat episode of claustrophobia, and lead the way to the music room. It was sizeable enough to carry the equipment and fit several ponies in as well. Vinyl stood in the center of the room, Octavia making her way over to her cello, retrieving it from the case. Rolando opened his case, and took a seat on a nearby stool. Marianna sat on the keyboard, turning it on.

"What song will you be singing, dear?" Marianna asked. "I need to know what to play."

"The one I sang for the recital, Mom," Vinyl said, taking a deep breath and exhaling.

"Relax, dear. You're with family. We are not the judging eyes of an audience," Madeline said as she took her spot next to Kester.

"Aye, no need ta get nervous," Kester said with a wink. Vinyl felt some of the anxiety melt away, but it had still been many years since she had last sung, so she was uncertain if her voice was still good. Lyra and Bonbon took a seat next to Madeline and Kester, eager to hear her sing.

"What do I play, Rolando?" Octavia asked.

"Just follow my lead. I know you are exceptionally good at playing by ear, so this should be a simple task," Rolando said as he laid his bow across the violin.

Marianna began to play, playing in the upper octaves of the keyboard. Rolando slowly began to follow suit, playing a slow melody with Octavia backing him up several octaves below. Before she began to sing, Vinyl gathered magic in her horn, and cast it about the room, coating the room in a deep darkness; however, tiny pinpricks of light began to dance around the room like stars. Then, she began to sing.

"I'm living in nature
I touch, I feel, I cry,
Knowing that you have gone so, so, far away,
Surrounded in silence,
Believe, Forgive...
Time is running out to make it better,
I hear you call-
I reach out to where you are,
I hear your voice...
The words come from deep inside of me-
I fly, this sky, in darkness,
Light the world with hope and belief,
I fly, to you,
All my feelings here, the garden (oh) of love,
We're together,
I'm here for you...

The only two ponies present who did not have thoroughly stunned expressions on their faces were Marianna and Rolando. Vinyl's voice was as smooth as silk, and as clear as a bell. This was not the voice of somepony who had talent, this was the voice of somepony who had a gift. She had all the qualities of an exceptional singer: a strong voice, great breath-control, perfect pitch, and exceptional range. At this point Vinyl had gotten back into her rhythm. She broke her solid stare from the wall behind the two couples, and began to show more emotion as she sang, turning more towards Octavia as she did.

"I was standing in brightness...
I saw you,
And felt, you smile,
Believing you and I are always forever,
Connecting our vision, voice sighs in peace...
Singing colors are reaching out to us,
Clear our minds, we are inseparable,
Clear our eyes, nothings real until I touch you-
I fly, this sky, in darkness,
Light the world with hope and belief-
I fly, to you,
All my feelings here, the garden (oh) of love,
We're together-
I'm here for you..."

As Vinyl sang, Kester and Madeline scooted closer to one another, the emotion of the scene getting the better of them, the two sharing a quick kiss as they listened. Lyra and Bonbon had moved closer to one another as well, leaning on one another. Octavia was blushing uncontrollably, unable to contain her glee at hearing Vinyl's beautiful voice. As the song came to a close, Vinyl made her way over to Octavia and gave her an affectionate nuzzle and a wink. "I hope you enjoyed it. It'll be a long time before you hear me sing again," Vinyl said.

"But why? You were graced with such a beautiful gift..." Octavia said, puzzled by Vinyl's thinking.

"I mean, I really enjoy singing, it feels great...but it's not what I want to do with my life. I enjoy the music I create with my hoofs, not with my throat. It's kinda hard to explain," Vinyl said. "I'm sorry if I disappoint you with my choice." Vinyl blinked in surprise when Octavia wrapped her forelegs around her neck.

"Vinyl, you may be stubborn, pig-headed, obnoxious, loud, rambunctious, overly-energetic, overly-explicit, and just all-around irritating at times..." Octavia said, listing a not-so-surprisingly long list of negative qualities about Vinyl, to which she simply laughed.

"Yeah, that's me," Vinyl said.

"...But I will always love you, and nothing you do will disappoint me enough to stop that," Octavia said with a wink, hugging her closer. Vinyl smiled wide, returning the embrace.

"Me too, too..." Vinyl said.


Some time later, with the other residents having gone to bed, Octavia and Vinyl sat in bed, conversing about the events of the previous days.

"What a wild ride this has been...our parents met, my dad flipped out, your dad fought a bear, and somehow I ended up singing. It's almost like our lives are being poked at by some crazy pony..." Vinyl said.

"A crazy pony? Really? I never would have taken you for a conspiracy theorist," Octavia said as she flipped the page of the book she was reading.

"No no, think about it. What if there's some crazy pony out there, pulling strings that make us dance like puppets, commanding us to dance and act to his will?" Vinyl said, standing on the bed in an awkward pose. Octavia simply raised an eyebrow, and sighed.

"If you keep standing like that you are going to fall over, and we cannot leave the house to take you to the hospital," Octavia said, returning to her book.

"Yeah...yeah, maybe you're right," Vinyl said, dropping the subject. She then looked at the ceiling, her eyes narrowed. "...I'm watching you..." She whispered under her breath. Vinyl then felt a sharp nudge, catching her in the side. "OW! Why'd you nudge me Octy? You know I'm sensitive there!" she said, rubbing her belly.

"What are you talking about? I did no such thing!" Octavia said, defending herself. "I would never hit you without due reason."

"Then what was..." Vinyl then looked down, noticing where exactly she had gotten hit.

"...Could it have been...?" Octavia said, following her gaze. She immediately rolled over onto her side, Vinyl staring at Octavia's belly for any signs of movement.

Vinyl gently laid her hoof on Octavia's abdomen, feeling for any kind of movement or motion. "Huh...strange," Vinyl said. "I could have sworn-" Vinyl's sentence completely dropped off when something occurred- something so momentous and beautiful that Vinyl would never forget for the rest of her life. In that instant, she felt something press back against her hoof- an extraordinarily tiny hoof, one so small that it fit in the pad of her own. Vinyl was so taken aback and left so utterly speechless by the tiny link she had just made with her baby, that the only thing that came to mind was to cry. She cried into Octavia's shoulder, hugging her tightly. Octavia simply held her, moved by the touching moment as well.

Please hurry along, little one... Octavia thought. We can hardly wait anymore...

Chapter Fifty-Nine

View Online

Octavia was the first to rise the following morning. She quietly slipped out of bed, making sure not to disturb Vinyl, who was busy snoring so loudly she found it amazing she hadn’t woken herself up. She stretched her limbs, giving a small yawn. She felt slightly heavier than the night previous, her belly much more rounded. She smiled warmly as she remembered back to the beautiful interaction between Vinyl and their unborn foal. I should probably head over to Nurse Redheart and let her know what happened... she thought.

Vinyl, having suddenly sensed the lack of a presence next to her, immediately sat up in bed, her mane looking as if she’d stuck her hoof in an electrical socket as usual. She looked around the room, and saw Octavia quietly brushing her mane as she usually did in the morning. “Hey Octy,” Vinyl said with a yawn.

“Good morning, Vinyl. Did you sleep well?”

“Yeah, I slept okay.” Vinyl rubbed her eyes, and took a closer look at Octavia. “...Hey Octy?”

“Yes, Vinyl?”

“When did you get fat?”

The silence that followed that statement was electrifying. Vinyl then realized that what she had just said, had struck a nerve that she never knew existed.

“Excuse me?” Octavia replied.

“I said, ‘When did you get fat?’”

“Vinyl, I would like to see you carry a foal and not gain some weight.”

“Yeah,but yesterday you looked normal-fat. Now you look big-fat.”

At this point Octavia’s blood-pressure was reaching unhealthy levels. She had half a mind to leap over the bed and strangle her where she sat. The only thing preventing her was the genuine look of concern on Vinyl’s face. She took a deep breath and continued.

“Well, I did notice that when I stood up, I felt heavier than last night. Thank you for bringing to my attention the fact that not only is it something I feel, it’s something that can be obviously seen,” Octavia said with a bit of anger in her tone. She raised an eyebrow when Vinyl began to snicker.

“What? What is so funny?” Octavia asked.

“Pfft- you- you-” Vinyl started, unable to control her laughter. “Y-You look like a bowling ball with legs...” It was at that point that Vinyl’s howling laughter turned into howling terror as Octavia leapt out of her spot on the bed, her forelegs outstretched in an attempt to wring Vinyl’s throat until her head popped off like a bottlecap. Vinyl, sensing that her life was in imminent danger, bolted from the bed as quickly as she could.

“HELP! HELP! I’m being attacked by a pregnant meteor!” Vinyl yelled, half-laughing as she made a beeline for the door.

“VINYL! GET BACK HERE THIS INSTANT!” Octavia yelled, charging after her...and stopping short after a few feet, panting for breath.

Vinyl stood idly by as she waited for Octavia to give chase, but frowned in concern when Octavia simpy stood there, leaning against the hoof-rest of the bed, panting heavily. She slowly trotted over to Octavia, putting a hoof on her foreleg. “Octy, are you okay?”

Octavia slowly raised her head, a malicious grin stretching her face as her free foreleg suddenly snaked its way around Vinyl’s frame.

“Oh...I'm fine...” she said in a cold whisper.


The remaining residents of the house, who were all gathered in the living room chatting quietly, all looked upstairs when they heard a scream of pure terror.

“That sounded like Vinyl...” Bonbon said. Lyra rolled her eyes.

“I can only imagine what she did this time,” she said with a small laugh.

“Oh dear, I hope they aren’t rough-housing. They need to be careful,” Marianna said.

Rolando placed a reassuring hoof on her shoulder.“I am certain that whatever Vincenza is screaming about, she clearly did something to deserve it,” he said.

“A’ won’t lie, Vinyl sure knows how ta’ get ponies up and going in the mornin’,” Kester said with a hearty laugh.

“I’m sure Octavia’s feeling a little edgy right now, so it probably doesn’t help that anything Vinyl says or does just might end up costing her dearly...” Madeline commented. A few moments later, the sound of hoofs on stairs could be heard as Octavia, smiling from ear to ear as a morose and repentant Vinyl followed, rubbing a nasty lump on the side of her head.

“Good morning!” Octavia said cheerily, to which Vinyl’s mouth hung open in shock at Octavia’s sudden mood-flip.

Kester took one look at Vinyl, and began to laugh.

“What is so funny, Papa?” Octavia asked.

“ called her ‘fat’, didn’t ye?” Kester asked. Madeline gasped in shock and smacked Kester on the foreleg, accidentally hitting wound he had received from the fight with the bear.

“YEOWCH!” Kester said as he jumped back.

“Oh dear, I'm so sorry! I didn’t mean to hit you there!” Madeline said, making her way over to Kester.

“ did you know?” Vinyl asked, surprised that he had hit it dead-on.

“Heh...what makes ye think A’ haven’t made tha’ face maself?” he grinned, wincing slightly from the pain.

“Ohh, did that ever make me angry! You men have no idea what it’s like to carry a child, much less one that weighs almost as much as you do!” Madeline said.

“But I’m not a guy...” Vinyl said.

“Thankfully, I was never so crude,” Rolando said.

“Yes, but you did pass out when I gave birth,” Marianna said. “I still haven’t quite forgiven you for that...”

“Dearest, you know I did not do it on purpose!” Rolando pleaded.

“I know but it was still a momentous occasion and you missed it!” Marianna said with a huff, folding her forelegs.

“At least your husband didn’t turn it into a sporting event!” Madeline said with a growl.

“So A’ invited family to see Tavi’ comin’ into the world! A’ still don’t see the issue,” Kester said.

“They could have waited outside like normal ponies instead of crowding around the doctor and watching me like I was a Fall-Weather Feast meal put on display!!” Madeline yelled, blushing in embarassment.

“You did WHAT?!” Octavia said in utter shock. That was all it took for Vinyl, Lyra and Bonbon to begin laughing like it was no-pony’s business.

“Look, are ye’ still mad that ma’ cousin started makin’ sound effects? He apologized a hun’red times!” Kester said.

“The last thing I needed to imagine as my baby was being born was her coming out to the sound of a slide whistle!” Madeline said, her face buried in her hooves.

“‘FlooooooOOOP!’” Kester repeated, laughing to himself. “A won’ lie- tha’ was pretty- YEOWCH!” he yelled again as Madeline dug her hoof into the bandaged wound for a few seconds. Octavia, Marianna and Rolando all stood in shocked silence as raucous laughter filled the room.

“While that is assuredly embarrassing, it is not much better when the doctor has to make sure your husband is alive while trying to pass a horned cannon-ball through a tube the size of a straw,” Marianna said.

“...Which is exactly why I passed out...the mental image was too much, and the next thing I knew I was waking up to the doctor shaking his head and complaining about how ‘stallions are such wimps these days,’” Rolando said sheepishly.

“Putting all this aside, I have excellent news!" Octavia said with a smile, shaking off the embarrassed blush as all the ponies present focused their attention on her.

"Wha's the news, 'Tavi?" Kester asked.

"Yes dear, what is it?" Madeline asked as well. Vinyl had a general idea as to what she was going to say, so she stood up and took her place at Octavia's side.

"Well...last night, something amazing happened. We were laying in bed, and the baby kicked!" Octavia said with glee. Both mothers as well as Lyra and Bonbon immediately stood up, their faces having lit up with giant smiles. Within moments the other mares were ontop of Octavia, looking for an opportunity to feel the baby kick. Octavia took a seat on the ground and rolled over on her side as each mare took a turn.

Madeline and Marianna took their turn together, and felt their hearts hitch in their chests when they felt the baby respond to their hooves.

"This is our grandchild..." Madeline said, breathless.

"Yes, yes it is," Marianna said, feeling herself becoming emotional.

"I was planning on going to the clinic today to let Nurse Redheart know. I also need to let her know that I've gained weight as Vinyl as so kindly pointed out," Octavia said.

"C'mon Octy, you know I don't say it to be mean. I say it 'cause it's true," Vinyl grinned.

"...I suppose I will let that one slide," Octavia said with a small smile.

"Can we come with you? I haven't exactly been feeling all that great myself actually," Bonbon said, putting a hoof to her stomach.

"Better safe than sorry, you know? Her family as a long list of hereditary illnesses, and we'd rather make sure she's just got a tummy-ache than it be anything worse," Lyra said.

"Of course, you're more than welcome to come along," Octavia said.

"I'm just glad we're getting out of the house. I don't think I can take another day cooped up in here!" Vinyl said. She then helped Octavia up off the ground, and the four mares set out for Ponyville Clinic. They stepped outside, and stared in awe at what they saw before them. The sun was finally out, and a good portion of the heavy snow had been cleared away, but the town was still covered in a thick blanket, and the sunlight gleaming off the snow and ice cast beautiful colors on every surface. They all took a moment to appreciate the sights, and went about their way.


Octavia and Vinyl waited in the viewing room when Nurse Redheart entered, holding Octavia's file. "Hello Octavia, how are you feeling today?"

"Funny you should ask that, Nurse. I feel that I am a bit heavier than I was last night, and Vinyl- as well as the remainder of my family- feel that I have gotten bigger as well," Octavia explained.

"Oh, and we felt the baby kick," Vinyl said.

"Oh my, how wonderful! I'm so happy for you two. As for your weight, just step on the scale and we'll get an idea as to how much you've gained since you were here last," the nurse said. Octavia did as she was told, and Nurse Redheart jotted down the number. She compared it with her notes from the last visit, and blinked in surprise.

"How odd..."

"What's wrong?" Vinyl asked.

"Well, according to my documents, Octavia's gained over thirty pounds...and you two were here last week. It's unprecedented to gain so much weight so quickly, but given how unnatural this pregnancy is..." Nurse Redheart said, her sentence trailing off. "...Would you mind if I examined you, Octavia?"

"No, not at all," Octavia said, climbing up onto the examination table with assistance from Vinyl. Nurse Redheart retrieved a stethoscope, placing the plugs in her ears. She gently placed the other end of the stethoscope on Octavia's belly, listening closely. Her eyes widened when she heard something odd.

"Oh my..."

"What's wrong? Is she going to be okay? She's not gonna explode is she?! Oh horse-apples, she's going to blow up! I knew it the moment that I saw Octy this morning!" Vinyl said in a false-panic.

"Shut up!" Octavia said, smacking her upside the head.

"Okay, I won't lie. I earned that one," Vinyl chuckled, rubbing her head.

"...It would seem the ultrasound was inaccurate," Nurse Redheart said. This caused both Octavia and Vinyl to frown in confusion.

"What do you mean?" Octavia asked.

" only showed the image from one side. It wasn't the full picture," Nurse Redheart said. "To put it simply might want to invest in two cribs, not just one..."

"Y-You mean..." Vinyl stammered, her goggles falling off her head along with her jaw.

"Yes, Vinyl... When I listened in on the baby with the stethoscopes, I heard three separate heartbeats, not just two," Nurse Redheart said. She then smiled. "Octavia's having twins." The next sound was a small squeak from Octavia, and a loud thud as Vinyl keeled over in shock. "Not again!"

Octavia was completely dumbfounded. The word 'twins' was still ringing loudly in her mind. Vinyl hadn't blessed her with one foal, but two. All she could do was numbly bring her hooves to each side of her belly, and as if on cue, she felt a hoof press back on each side. It was then that it all hit her at once- the feeling of overwhelming, beautiful, endless love as yet another foal filled a spot in her heart, a grand smile lining her face.

Vinyl came to a few minutes later, still unable to process what she had been told. She remembered hearing the word 'twins", but that caused her brain to shut down so she figured she wouldn't think about that... until she did, and it made her smile. It made her smile wider than she had ever smiled in her entire life, more than when she and Octavia had gotten together, than when she found out she was having a baby, all of it. She was the happiest she had ever been in her life. She opened her eyes, seeing Nurse Redheart standing over her as well as another assistant.

"Helloooooo, Nurse!" Vinyl said, still somewhat loopy.

"Hello, Vinyl. How are you feeling?" Nurse Redheart asked.

"I'm having twins!" Vinyl giggled, her eyes spinning in their sockets.

"Yes, yes you are Vinyl," Nurse Redheart smiled, helping her to her hooves. From a room over, they heard a loud scream followed by sobbing. Octavia and Vinyl immediately recognized the voices as Lyra and Bonbon's. Vinyl snapped back to reality, Octavia moving as quickly as she could to see what was wrong. They entered the viewing room to find Lyra and Bonbon sobbing into each other's shoulders as the nurse who was doing the examination was completely backed up against the wall in sheer shock. Vinyl and Octavia quickly made their way over to them.

"What happened?" Octavia asked, concerned.

"Bonnie, is everything okay? What's the matter?" Vinyl asked. Bonbon looked up, a smile wider than she had ever seen Bonbon have since she had met her. She touched her head to Lyra's as tears flowed freely from the both of them.

"I'm pregnant... We've been trying for so long and it finally happened..." Bonbon said softly. Vinyl and Octavia screamed in delight, embracing Lyra and Bonbon tightly as they all celebrated her wonderful news.

"This is so wonderful, Bonbon! I cannot begin to express how happy I am for you!" Octavia said.

"This is so awesome! I can't believe it!" Vinyl cheered, unable to contain her happiness.

"So what about you two? How'd the examination go?" Lyra asked as she wiped her face, Bonbon still leaning against her. Vinyl and Octavia looked at one another and smiled, soft blushes appearing on their faces.

"We're having twins," Vinyl announced, her voice cracking slightly from all the emotion. Lyra and Bonbon's expressions lit up even brighter than before, and yet again they shared another bout of hugs as they all counted their blessings. Octavia, Vinyl, Lyra and Bonbon all had a similar thought run through their minds.

This is the happiest day of my life...

Chapter Sixty

View Online

Octavia, Vinyl, Bonbon and Lyra all left the clinic happier than they could last remember, talking amongst themselves and beginning to make plans for the now much-larger group of foals on the way.

"So I was thinking, maybe we should have the Crusaders foal-sit," Vinyl suggested. The response she received from Bonbon and Octavia was a death-glare so potent it would have made any pony lesser than Kester himself turn into a puddle of fear. "...Okay, then... Maybe not..."

"Vinyl, I love you to death, but that has to be one of the most ridiculous ideas I have ever heard leave your mouth," Octavia said. "You saw what those girls are capable of. Do you sincerely believe that leaving our foals with them will end well?"

"Hey, you never know. They'll be a little older by then, and maybe they'll have learned that blowing things up, while really, really fun, isn't exactly the safest playground activity," Vinyl commented.

"Yeah, and Princess Luna will swoop down from the sky and hoof-deliver me roses she picked from the surface of the moon," Lyra joked, causing Bonbon to snicker.

"Alright, alright! I get it," Vinyl said. "I was just trying to be helpful, geeze..."

Bonbon made her way over to Vinyl, giving her a small nudge. "We know you're trying to be helpful, but the girls just aren't mature enough yet to foal-sit. Maybe when they're older, but definitely not now," Bonbon reasoned. Vinyl thought about it, and finally acquiesced.

"Yeah, you're right, Bonnie." An idea suddenly came to mind, Vinyl face-hoofing slightly. "Duh, why didn't I think of this before!?"

"What do you have in mind, Vinyl?" Octavia asked.

"Well, the Crusaders are out of the question, and Pinkie-"

"You cannot be serious," Octavia said, staring right through her.

"I was gonna say that Pinkie was out too," Vinyl said. "Calm down, Octy! I SAID CALM DOWN!"

"But I-"




Lyra and Bonbon watched in amazement as Vinyl's actions seemingly flipped a switch in Octavia's mind, her emotions flying off the handle whenever Vinyl made even the slightest remark or comment.

"Vinyl, I swear to Celestia if you tell me to calm down one more time..." Octavia said, on the verge of losing her cool.

"What are you talking about? I wasn't doing anything," Vinyl said, feigning mock-innocence. Octavia felt something in her mind shatter like glass, and the next thing she knew she was chasing down Vinyl, the only thought running through her mind being 'STRANGLE.' To Vinyl's amazement, she had gotten Octavia so unbelievably angry that Octavia was actually gaining on her.

"Uh, girls?! Little help please!" Vinyl yelled as she pushed herself as hard as she could to run from the pregnant steam-roller nipping at her hooves.

"Should we help her?" Bonbon asked, watching the spectacle unfolding before them.

Lyra thought about it for a moment, then laughed. "Nah, let's see what happens."

Suddenly, Octavia stopped running. Vinyl looked back, panting heavily, curious as to why she stopped.

"Hey Octy, you alright?"

"Oh, I am fine, Vinyl... Are you?"

Vinyl could feel the chill coming from Octavia, her voice chilling her to the bone.

"Um, Octy...? Are you okay...?"

"Again, I am fine, are you? In fact, why not come over here? I would like to see if you are okay," Octavia asked in a voice more frightening than Vinyl had ever heard escape her mouth.

"N-No, that's okay... I'm fine over here," Vinyl said, visibly trembling. Octavia raised her head, and Vinyl gasped at what she saw. Octavia wore the most chilling smile that Vinyl had ever seen in her life, her eyes dead-locked on Vinyl.

"Just wait until we get home..." Octavia said, the smile only getting wider. Vinyl then began to make her way over to Lyra and Bonbon, making a wide circle around Octavia. To her utter terror, no matter where she went, Octavia's smile followed her. She finally reached Lyra and Bonbon, swallowing hard and hiding between them.

"W-Would it be alright if I stayed w-with y-you two?" Vinyl asked, shaking. "I-I think I broke Octy..."

"Of course, Vinyl... You're more than welcome to stay with us..." Bonbon said, turning her head to face Vinyl.

"Please, stay with us as long as you want..." Lyra added, turning to face Vinyl as well. To her ultimate horror, the two other mares were wearing the same terrifying smile that adorned Octavia's face.

"G-Guys, wh-what's wrong with your faces?!" Vinyl asked.

"Oh, nothing is wrong with us, Vinyl... the better question is, what is the matter with you?" The three mares asked in unison.

"I believe it is time we fixed Vinyl... She isn't smiling," Octavia said.

"I agree," Lyra added.

"Me too," Bonbon finished.

The three mares then began to close in on Vinyl, surrounding her. They all pounced her at once, Vinyl letting out a scream to the high heavens.


Vinyl shot awake, sitting up in bed, the screaming she had been doing in the dream carrying over in reality. Octavia woke up with such a start she reflexively jammed a hoof down Vinyl's throat to shut her up.

"Vinyl! What is the matter with you?!" Octavia yelled over Vinyl.

"GRRGRGRGRHRHGHRGRH!" Vinyl yelled, her voice muffled by Octavia's hoof. She removed her hoof from Vinyl's mouth, shaking her hoof of saliva. Vinyl, still very much scared of whatever she saw in her dream, continued to babble incoherently until Octavia grabbed a hold of her and shook her a good bit.

"Vinyl, calm down!" Octavia said forcefully.

"I- but- what- face- smile- Octy- FIX!" Vinyl babbled, her eyes dilating and contracting rapidly. It got to the point that Octavia was forced to slap her to bring her back to reality. Vinyl blinked a few times, rubbing her cheek.

"Thanks, Octy... I needed that," Vinyl said, shaking her head slightly.

"Vinyl, I thought you said the nightmares had stopped," Octavia said, concerned.

Vinyl sighed heavily. "I thought they'd stopped, too... I'm just, I dunno... scared, I guess."

"Scared? Of what?" Octavia asked, frowning slightly.

"Well, I mean... the wedding's tomorrow, Octy. What if I screw up or do something stupid? Families never forget that kind of thing!" Vinyl said. Octavia sighed with relief. This was not a new topic. As the big day grew closer, Vinyl had expressed concerns about it, showing that she had a fear of ruining what Octavia had previously said was 'a day she had been planning since she was a filly.'

"Vinyl, remember what I told you the last time we talked about this- just be yourself and everything will be fine. I will make sure that you do not do anything out of line, and I am certain you will know how to behave in that kind of a setting," Octavia said with a reassuring smile. "We need to get back to sleep. We have a lot to work to do later today. We need to make sure everything is prepared for tomorrow."

"Okay... Hey, Octy?" Vinyl said.

"Yes, Vinyl?" Octavia responded.

"I love you. Thanks," Vinyl said with a small smile.

"You are more than welcome, and I love you, too." Octavia shared a small kiss with Vinyl, and the two laid back down and slept through what remained of the night-time hours, Celestia's sun slowly coming into view over the horizon.


Octavia and Vinyl left their house, their first destination being the Carousel Boutique to check on the dresses. Rarity had put many weeks worth of pain-staking effort to make the dresses just to their specifications, Octavia's in particular being finicky as her baby-bump grew more and more each passing day. They arrived at the Boutique, both of them frowning slightly when they noticed a sign on the door stating 'CLOSED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE.'

"Rarity, are you home?" Octavia called out as she knocked on the door.

"Rares? C'mon out! We know you're in there!" Vinyl yelled, banging on the door.

"Vinyl, that is no way of-" Octavia's sentence fell short as the door slowly creaked open, a deep blue eye peering out from the darkness within. "Rarity?" The door opened, and from behind it appeared an exhausted, disheveled and sleep-depraved Rarity, her glasses barely hanging off her nose, her mane a tangled mess. "My word, Rarity! What happened to you?"

"Oh, hello Octavia," Rarity said, stifling a yawn. "Dreadfully sorry for not answering the door sooner, I've been hard at work putting the finishing touches on the dresses... I haven't slept in two days-"

"Are they done?!" Vinyl said, her eyes brimming with glee.

"Vinyl, Rarity has gone through an exorbitant amount of effort to put these dresses together, and the first thing you say to her is 'are they ready?' Really, Vinyl. I know your mother taught you better..." Octavia scolded, turning to face Rarity. "Rarity, I cannot thank you enough for working on the dresses for us... are they ready?" she asked, a small smile on her face.

"Oh, like you're any better- oof!" Vinyl grunted as Octavia stuck a leg in her side, quickly removing it to keep her balance.

Rarity let out a small giggle at this, yawning immediately after. "You'll be very happy to know that yes, they are done. Come in and I'll show you," Rarity said. Octavia and Vinyl followed Rarity into the Boutique, following her up the stairs and into Rarity's personal studio. She made her way over to two mannequins that were covered in a velvet-colored tarp. "Fillies, I present to you, the two newest pieces to the Merry Matrimony collection!" Rarity gently pulled off the tarp, and there stood the dresses, in all their glory. Octavia and Vinyl's jaws dropped, completely and utterly stunned by the sight.

Octavia moved towards her dress, sitting in front of it. The fabric was pure white, almost giving off an otherworldly glow as it stood in the low-light. There were bright violet frills that lined the dress as well as a beautiful violet bow on the back. The veil was what held her attention the most. The veil was short, tailored exactly to Octavia's specifications, save for one thing. Added onto the veil as Rarity's personal touch was an onyx quaver, representative of Vinyl's cutie mark.

Vinyl made her way over to her dress as well, examining it closely. The basic color of the dress was the same as Octavia's, a pristine white, lined with red fabric that matched her eyes. Two beautiful sleeves covered the mannequin's forelegs, a gorgeous white bow sitting on the right side of its head. Again, as Rarity's personal touch, an amethyst treble clef hung on the left side, matching Octavia's onyx quaver.

"Well girls? What do you think?" Rarity asked, already knowing the answer.

"I... There are are no words, Rarity..." Octavia murmured.

"Wow, just... Wow," Vinyl said.

"Well, I'm so glad you love them. I feel terrible for asking this, but would it be alright if you left for now? I need my rest," Rarity said, stifling yet another yawn.

"Oh, yes of course! You have done more than necessary for us, and for that we are endlessly thankful," Octavia said. "Are you certain I cannot compensate you somehow?"

"Don't even think about it. Remember, this is my gift to the two of you on your happy day. Now go, you have other things to do, do you not?" Rarity said.

"Yes, actually. Come along, Vinyl."

"Gotcha. Thanks again, Rares!" Vinyl said cheerily as they left. The door to the Boutique shut behind them, and they made their way to Fluttershy's cottage.


Octavia and Vinyl arrived fairly quickly, Vinyl knocking on the door. "Hey, Flutters! You there?" Vinyl was met with the sound of startled movement and a small yelp of surprise. The door opened, and Fluttershy peeked out of the doorway.

"Hello, Fluttershy. How are you doing this morning?"

The door then opened, Fluttershy smiling softly. "Oh, hello Octavia. I just got done feeding the doves and practicing with the songbirds. Um, you can come in if you'd like..." she offered.

"Thank you, Fluttershy. Would it be alright if we saw the doves?"

"Oh, of course. It is your wedding after all," Fluttershy said. She lead them inside, and all around the cottage sat beautiful snow-white doves, nestling and resting for their big day.

"Oh, how lovely!" Octavia said, unable to contain her happiness. "You have done a wonderful job, Fluttershy."

Fluttershy blushed demurely at the compliment. "Oh dear, Vinyl please be careful! The songbirds are very easily startled!"

"I know, I know. I'll be careful," Vinyl said, waving her off as she examined the songbirds carefully. "Well aren't you a cutie?" she said as she gently stroked the wing of a blue-jay, who was happy to receive the attention.

"Fluttershy, would it be too much to ask for a demonstration?" Octavia asked.

"Oh, not at all!" Fluttershy said. "Come, little ones. Time to practice!" The song-birds all gathered around Fluttershy, who counted them off. Octavia felt her heart swell as the birds all sang a beautiful rendition of a classical piece that she enjoyed very deeply. Even Vinyl was impressed, intently listening as each bird sang its piece smoothly and masterfully. The piece ended, and Octavia could not help but clap her hooves in praise.

"Oh, Fluttershy, that was absolutely magnificent. An excellent choice of music, as well. I would have never guessed you listened to Pachaybell's 'Canon in D Major," Octavia said.

"Oh yes, I love classical music. I find it very soothing to go to sleep to," Fluttershy smiled.

"Yeah, I know the feeling. I mean, when I want to sleep, I just listen to Octy playing her cello and it knocks me out for hours," Vinyl said.

"Oh hush, you know you enjoy my cello-playing," Octavia said.

"Yeah, it's good when I need a nap."

"It does not put you to sleep!" Octavia protested.

Vinyl paused for a moment, then continued. "Yeah, you're right. It knocks me out," she laughed. She would have continued if the angry look that Octavia had on her face had not reminded her of the dream she had had only hours before.

"Vinyl, I-"

"You're right, Octy. Sorry," Vinyl said. Octavia's jaw dropped. Fluttershy was unsure of what to say or do, so she simply shrunk into the next room, tending to the birds.

"Vinyl- you- you just-"

"Let's just go, okay?" Vinyl said, shaking slightly.

"Um, alright...?" Octavia said, somewhat confused. She decided not to pursue it. "Thank you again, Fluttershy!" When she received no response, the two left, heading for Sweet Apple Acres.


As they arrived at the main house for Sweet Apple Acres, they found Applebloom outside, trying to buck a small apple-tree. "C'mon now, fall off!" she yelled in frustration.

"Let me help you there, kiddo." Vinyl made her way over to the tree, and gave it one solid buck, all the apples falling off in one go.

"Thanks, Miss Vinyl! I know one day I'll be able ta do it like Applejack or Big Macintosh, just... not today, I guess," she said.

"I don't doubt that for a second. Is AJ home?"

"Yeah, but she's working hard getting all the food ready fer tomorrow, so she wanted me to tell ya that she don't wanna be bugged right now," Applebloom said.

"Oh, alright then. I trust Applejack's ability, so I have nothing to worry about. Thank you, Applebloom," Octavia said with a smile.

"It wasn't any trouble, Miss Octavia. I can't wait for tomorrow! I bet yer gonna look so beautiful in yer wedding dress. I hope I get to wear one some day," Applebloom said.

"I am one-hundred percent certain that one day you will meet a lovely young colt-" Octavia stopped when Vinyl cleared her throat audibly. "-or a wonderful young mare that will sweep you off your hooves, and then you will be able to wear a beautiful wedding dress of your own," Octavia said.

"Y' think so!?" Applebloom said, her eyes lighting up with pure delight.

"I know so," Octavia winked. "We will see you later, Applebloom. Say hello to Applejack for me."

"Will do, Miss Octavia!" Applebloom said, heading back inside, skipping as she giggled happily.

"Y'know Octy, you're going to be an amazing mom," Vinyl smiled.

"That does not mean you get to skimp out," Octavia smirked.

"You kidding? I wouldn't miss that for anything," Vinyl said, kissing Octavia on the cheek, eliciting a small blush from her. The two then made their way back into town, trying to find Rainbow Dash.


After searching for a good few hours for Rainbow Dash and finding no trace of her, they decided it would be best to seek out the remaining two ponies they needed to speak to.

"Chances are Dash is napping somewhere up in Cloudsdale," Vinyl said.

"You are more than likely right, Vinyl. In that case, I will head to Sugarcube Corner to talk to Pinkie Pie. Go to the library and see how the preparations for the magical fireworks are coming along," Octavia instructed.

"Gotcha, see you in a bit!" Vinyl said, heading off towards the library. Vinyl quickly made her way through town and arrived at the library, knocking on the door. A loud bang answered her, knocking Vinyl back on her rump.

"What in Equestria was that?!" Vinyl yelled in surprise. The door creaked open, black smoke coming out in thick clouds. Twilight stumbled out, coughing heavily as Trixie picked herself up off the floor, Spike rubbing his head after being catapulted into a book-case.

"Twilight, are you alright?" Trixie said, hurrying over to her.

"I-I'm fine Trixie," Twilight said, shaking her head. "I managed to put up a small magical wall in front of me when the firework went off," she explained.

"Oh thank goodness! You need to be more careful, especially with..." Trixie said, trailing off.

"I know, I know, it was just a misfire Trixie, I'm alright," Twilight said. "...Thanks for being worried though," she said, nuzzling Trixie affectionately.

"Why wouldn't I be worried?" Trixie said softly. Vinyl couldn't believe what she was seeing. 'The Great and Powerful' Trixie, acting normal? Something was definitely amiss.

"...Maybe that explosion actually did hurt me somehow," Vinyl said, looking herself over.

"Oh, Vinyl! Are you alright!?" Twilight asked, helping her up. "I'm so sorry, we had no idea you were there! Are you hurt?"

"I'm not sure... Trixie's acting nice, is that any indication?" Vinyl asked.

Twilight giggled, leaning against Trixie. "No, Vinyl. She actually is being nicer now. She and I had a big fight a while back, and it got pretty ugly."

"I did a lot of soul-searching after that fight. Twilight meant way too much to me to let how I was acting mess up our relationship, and I decided that night that I was going to fix myself. I'll be honest, I'm a lot happier now. Being smug and uppity's a lot of work, and frankly, I'm tired of it," Trixie said, resting her head on Twilight's.

"Yeah, we need all the energy we can get for what's coming," Twilight smiled.

"We sure do," Trixie said.

"Wait... Don't tell me..." Vinyl said, narrowing her eyes.

"Yup, we're just like you guys!" Trixie said.

"I'm having a baby," Twilight said with a huge smile. Vinyl shot off her hooves and pulled the two of them into a hug.

"Oh sweet Celestia I'm so happy for you two!" Vinyl said. "This is going to be awesome! All our kids are gonna grow up together and go on awesome adventures! I can't wait!"

"Neither can we," Trixie laughed. "How about we stop practicing for now? I think we're close enough that it'll go over really well tomorrow."

"Yeah, you're probably right," Twilight said. "I'm feeling tired anyway. I don't want to strain myself."

"So the fireworks are done?" Vinyl asked.

"As done as they're gonna be. We promise you'll like them, though. Congrats on the big day, by the way!" Trixie smiled.

"Thanks! Either way, I gotta go catch up to Octy. She's over at SugarCube Corner. Later!"

"Bye!" Twilight and Trixie said together, making an attempt at shutting the door to the Library. "Looks like we need to fix this..." Trixie said.

"Yeah... We've got time though," Twilight said with a smile.

"Yup, we sure do," Trixie responded.


Octavia arrived at SugarCube Corner, finding Pinkie sitting at the counter, finishing loading up the last set of confetti and streamers into the Party Cannon. "Octy! So good to see you! Are you super-duper excited for the big day tomorrow? I know I am! This is going to be the first 'Super-Duper Pinkie Pie Wedding Reception Party!' and it's going to be AMAZING!" Pinkie said, practically overflowing with excitement as she usually did.

"Oh yes, I can barely contain myself," Octavia said, recoiling slightly.

"We only have one teensy-weensy, teeny-tiny, itty-bitty problem, though..." Pinkie said with a small frown.

"What would that be?" Octavia asked.

"The DJ sent me a letter saying that he was sick and he can't make it, and I got it today! Poor guy said he had the pony pox and he was feeling super-icky, so he didn't want to get anyone else sick like him," Pinkie explained.

"What?! Oh dear, we need a DJ to play music throughout the reception! Vinyl will be too busy with guests to do it, and seeing as you are the coordinator, I cannot possibly ask you to do both at once! Oh, what are we to do?" Octavia said, beginning to panic.

"...I'll do it," a voice said from behind her.

Octavia wheeled around, her eyes locking onto the source of the voice. Her heart overflowed with a deep, bitter anger as images and voices from a time where it seemed her life was falling apart filled her mind. She wanted nothing more than to completely destroy what sat before her, her hatred coming to a peak.


Chapter Sixty-One

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The air in the room had suddenly become so tense that it could be cut with a knife. Octavia stared at Neon with such heavy intensity it was a wonder the stallion hadn't burst into flames. As oblivious as the pink party-pony could be at times, even she could easily read this situation. She quickly and quietly made her exit, leaving the two ponies by themselves.

"Oh good, she left. That means I will not have any witnesses for what I am about to do," Octavia snarled.

"Octavia, I-" Neon started. He would have continued, if the pregnant mare had not suddenly closed the distance, a hoof to his throat.

"I should end your pathetic existence where you stand, you selfish, heartless monster!" Octavia yelled, a small film of tears appearing along her eyelids. To her shock, Neon did not object or fight.

"...Go right ahead," Neon said simply.

"...What do you mean by that?!" Octavia asked, very much confused by the very uncharacteristic introversion the stallion was now showing. In fact, something about him didn't seem right at all. His mane was unkempt, his face covered in a darker shade of fur than the usual light blue, and massive bags outlined the undersides of his eyes.

"Don't you see, Octavia? Since that night, my life has completely gone down the drain," he said. "I'm no longer allowed to perform at the bar where we had our 'incident', Poly left me, and it only got worse from there..." he said. Octavia backed off for a moment.

"Speak. I had better hear nothing but the truth," Octavia warned, her voice threatening enough to send even the most hardened Royal Guardscolts scurrying off in terror. Neon straightened himself out as best he could, clearing his throat.

"Well... after Poly and I went our separate ways-"

"I am certain you mean, 'she left me because she caught me cheating on her'," Octavia corrected, vitriol all but apparent in her voice.

"...Right," Neon said. "After... that happened, I tried to work things out on my own. No big deal, I've survived on my own before, I can do it again... or so I thought," he said. "Turns out that Poly went around and told every bar and club about the stunt I pulled back there, and I've pretty much been blacklisted from every club, restaurant, bar, and dance hall in Canterlot. They see me as a liability and somepony who will cause them more damage than bring in bits," he said. "I broke her heart... and she was the one who was supposed to keep me from going crazy after Vinyl left me... I was convinced- wholly and truly convinced that I was going to spend the rest of my life with her," Neon chuckled, a fresh wave of tears making its way to the surface. "Then... something happened. The fire faded, the magic died... and the next thing I knew, she was leaving me. I was so hurt that... that I only thought of hurting her as badly as she did me... and I did," he finished, shaking his head. "I didn't just hurt Vinyl... I hurt Poly too... and boy did she hurt me bad," he said, making a noise halfway between a laugh and a sob.

"Serves you right for what you did," Octavia said bitterly. Neon then continued.

"It didn't end there... not only did I get blacklisted in Canterlot, but now I can't get work anywhere!" he said, half-laughing. "I... I can't believe how utterly stupid I was," Neon said, looking at his hooves. "It wasn't until I woke up one night in a gutter, bleeding out of pretty much every hole in my head with no where to turn that I realized something. I'm a scumbag. I'm a low-down, dirty piece of garbage that quite frankly, doesn't even deserve to be in the same room as you right now. What I did that night, was something nopony should ever do. I'm not here to apologize, because I know you won't forgive me. I'm not deserving of such a luxury... but I do want to start back on the right path," he said, staring Octavia straight in the eye as he said this. "I'm not asking you to believe me, or to forgive me... I just want this chance. I want this chance to do right by not just me... just saying I'm looking for redemption would be selfish. I'm doing this for Vinyl. I've done nothing but screw her over since the day I met her," he said. "I've been a horrible coltfriend, I've been a horrible partner... and I've been a horrible pony overall for what I've done..." Octavia blinked in surprise as a new sound filled the room- tears hitting the tile beneath them. She looked over at Neon, noticing his form had shrunken significantly... and tears were running down his face. While the stallion had done nothing to rectify what he had done, and she still held a great deal of anger for him, she had been raised differently.

If ye see another pony hurtin', do yer bes' ta comfort 'em... ya never know- they may become yer bes' ally in a time o' need,, Octavia thought, remembering one of her father's many life lessons. Octavia made a tentative step towards him, but froze as he began to speak again.

"I thought I was over her..." Neon said, looking up and away from Octavia, not bothering to conceal his tears. "I sincerely thought I had moved on, and that I would be perfectly okay to see her with somepony new, not to- to do what I did!" he exclaimed. "I couldn't handle it... I couldn't handle seeing her with another pony. When I saw how happy you two were together, something inside me- something told me, to destroy it. 'If I couldn't have it, neither could she,' I thought. 'It isn't fair, why does she get to have the life I wanted!?'" he yelled. He then looked at Octavia. "...and Poly, I- I can't- I can't stop thinking about her! I- I hurt her bad, Octavia, I can't believe I hurt her like this... what was I thinking!?" he asked himself as the tears continued to flow, the question hanging in silence for a few moments.

"You really love this mare, do you not?" Octavia asked.

"I do... I can honestly say I do, and I threw it away over a petty grudge, only to end up with nothing!" Neon said, trying desperately to stem the flow of tears, but nothing worked. "She was the one... she was the mare I was destined to be with, not Vinyl... I was too blind to see it, and now it may be too late..." His soul had been laid bare, and it was at Octavia's discretion to tread lightly... or crush him completely.

"It is never too late," Octavia said softly. "If she truly means that much to you, then I am certain you will find a way to make this right, no matter the cost... just as you are doing right now with me," she said.

Neon was speechless. After all that had happened, after everything he had done, Octavia had still found it within the kindness of her heart to offer words of encouragement to the stallion. He simply hung his head, covering his face with his hooves as he wept. After a short while, he wiped his face and spoke. "I... I'm so sorry, Octavia... I genuinely and truly am. I can understand if you never forgive me for this, and to be honest, I know I wouldn't forgive me... but please, give me this chance. Give me this chance to do at least one thing right by Vinyl..." Neon asked, sinking to his knees. "Please... I'm begging you for this, Octavia, I've used what little money I had left to get here to do this," he said. Octavia felt a pang of sympathy for him... one she never expected to have.

"How... how do you intend to get home?" Octavia asked.

"Home? Hah!" he laughed bitterly. "After what I did? Do you really think I could go back to the apartment I shared with Poly? I can't even think about her without wanting to shrivel up and die! I don't have a home!"

... He's homeless... the poor stallion lost his home because of all this, Octavia thought, unable to even fathom not having somewhere to come home to everyday. No job, no marefriend, no home... as bad as what he did was, nopony deserves this.

He then took a deep breath to calm himself, and began again. "... It's Vinyl's and your wedding day tomorrow, it's a momentous, extremely special day for you two. I want to support her through this! I want to help you give her the day I never could... and as for Poly, I'm going to go find her, and even if she doesn't take me back, I'm going to tell her everything I told you today... but I wanted to do this first," he said. "Please... give me this chance..."

Octavia sat in silence, pondering her decision. Neon's heart pounded in his chest, the tension once again becoming palpable. After about five minutes, Octavia opened her mouth to speak. "...Fine. You can be the DJ tomorrow night..." The wave of relief that washed over Neon almost overwhelmed him.

"U-Understood, Octavia... I promise you won't regret this. I swear my life on it," he said. "...and please, don't tell Vinyl I was here. I... don't want to upset her..."

Octavia nodded curtly, and Neon quickly scampered out of Sugarcube Corner. Octavia let out a heavy sigh, still absorbing everything she had just heard. He would not have made so much effort to come here with what little bits he had left if he did not mean it, she thought. I can only hope that you stick to what you have told me, Neon...

"...Why didn't you tell me Neon showed up?" A voice said softly from right nearby, abruptly interrupting her thoughts. Octavia looked around, and felt a chill run up her spine when she found Vinyl sitting on the ground near the entrance to Sugarcube Corner, tears running off her cheeks and into the dirt beneath her.

"Vinyl, I... I had no idea you were right outside," Octavia said, immediately taking a seat next to Vinyl. She wrapped a foreleg around her, pulling her into a close embrace. "How much did you hear?"

"All of it... every last word that came out of his stupid mouth!" Vinyl yelled, her emotions having been thrown for a massive loop. "I want to believe him, but I- I just-" she let out an exasperated grunt, burying her face in her hooves. "WHY DO I FEEL SORRY FOR HIM!?" she yelled, unable to comprehend what she was feeling.

"I... I do not have an answer Vinyl, I just cannot believe how far he has fallen because of this," Octavia said, gently carressing Vinyl's shoulder with a hoof to calm her down.

"I can't help but feel like this is somehow my fault! I- I knew he had dated mares that treated him like trash before me, and- and I promised him that I wouldn't do that to him... I didn't think it would turn out like this," Vinyl said, burying her face in Octavia's neck.

"Vinyl? Is everything alright?" Bonbon asked, appearing from behind the open door to Sugarcube Corner, Lyra right behind her with grocery bags. They immediately set their things down and closed in on Vinyl.

"What happened? Is she okay, Octavia?" Lyra asked, very much concerned.

"Physically, she is fine... emotionally, not so much," Octavia explained as she continued to comfort Vinyl.

"We saw a stallion running down the street a few minutes ago... do you know him?" Bonbon asked.

"Y-Yeah, I do..." Vinyl said.

The four mares sat in Vinyl and Octavia's living room, Vinyl sipping a cup of hot cocoa that Octavia had made her to calm her down.

"Wow... that's quite the story, Vinyl..." Lyra said, trying to take it all in.

"Well, it must mean something that he came all this way riding on all he had left in the hopes that you'd give him a chance," Bonbon reasoned.

"I did give him the chance. I can only hope that he meant what he said and that he intends to keep his word," Octavia said, positioning herself so that Vinyl could lean against her. She felt a small twinge of pain, but brushed it off.

"I just wanted to be friends with him... not for this to happen," Vinyl said softly. "He was such a great pony... and I did exactly what I promised I wouldn't..."

"You shouldn't beat yourself up about this, Vinyl. You had no idea this would happen," Lyra reasoned. Octavia shifted again, feeling a bit more pain, but thought nothing of it.

"I mean, if he got bitter because you wanted to end it with him, that's all on him, right? If I wanted to break up with my colt-friend because we weren't connecting or things were just fizzling, then I think that if he goes nuts after that it really isn't my fault," Bonbon said. Octavia shifted again, this time pushing Vinyl off her.

"Octy, what's up? You keep shifting," Vinyl pointed out.

"I am not sure... I keep getting pains, and they keep- ugh!" Octavia groaned, feeling a powerful pain shoot through her abdomen. "V-Vinyl... something is happening..."

"What? What's the matter?" Vinyl said, immediately sitting up. "What are you feeling?"

Another powerful pain shot through her abdomen, forcing tears out of Octavia's eyes. "I... I think the foals are coming..."

Chapter Sixty-Two

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"Just hang in there, Octy! Just remember your breathing exercises!" Vinyl urged, doing her best to coach her now in-labor marefriend as she, Bonbon and Lyra did their best to flag down a carriage. Once they had gotten the attention of a carriage, Lyra and Vinyl helped levitate Octavia into it.

"Where to, miss?" the carriage puller asked Bonbon.

"Ponyville General, now! We have a mare in labor!" she said, throwing a small sack of bits at the stallion. "GO! GO! GO!"

"Gotcha!" the stallion said, tucking the sack of bits into his satchel and charging off as quickly as his legs would take him.

"DEAR CELESTIA WHY DOES THIS HURT SO MUCH!?" Octavia screamed, feeling as though her lower half was being forced to squeeze out her innards along with her foals.

"Just hang in there, Octy! You're going to be o-" Vinyl would have finished her sentence, had it suddenly felt like her hoof had been caught by an iron vice-grip set to "powderize".

"A'LL BE OKAY WHEN YE' GET MA' FOALS OUTTA ME!" Octavia roared, her Scoltish accent coming out in full force. For the first time in her entire life, Vinyl had been stunned into complete and utter silence, Lyra staring in awe at what had just occurred.

"...Octy? You have an accent!? That is amazing! I can't believe-" Vinyl stopped dead when Octavia shot her a glare so potent it could have destroyed the sun. "...I'll be quiet now..."

"That's probably for the best..." Lyra said. "Don't worry, Octavia, we'll get you to the hospital in time," she said.

"It hurts... it hurts so much..." Octavia whimpered, gritting her teeth and gripping Vinyl's hoof as hard as she could as another painful contraction squeezed her abdomen. Vinyl's jaw hung open in a silent scream as Octavia's surprisingly withering strength about crushed her hoof.

"I... I may need a hoof-doctor after this..." Vinyl said softly, making an attempt at trying to cradle her now-assuredly broken hoof, yet she could not pull away. To her ultimate horror, Octavia turned her head to face Vinyl.

"...Oh no... ye' were the one who did this ta' me! Ye're going t' TAKE YER PUNISHMENT!" Octavia said, letting out a pained yell as another contraction hit her, causing her to reflexively crush Vinyl's hoof.

"...Yes, Octy..." Vinyl said, both out of genuine concern for Octavia, and out of sheer agony and fear Octavia would cause her even more pain.

"C'mon, pick up the pace!" Bonbon urged. The stallion looked over his shoulder, his already-heavy breathing becoming more and more painful with each moment.

"I'm going as fast as I can!" the stallion yelled, pushing himself as hard as he could to get to their destination. Once they had finally arrived at the hospital, Bonbon immediately leapt out of the carriage and kicked open the hospital doors with a swift buck.

"We need a gourney- now! We have a mare going into labor!" Bonbon yelled. A nurse who had just finished wheeling out a patient nearby immediately rushed over to grab an empty gourney that had just been cleaned and refitted for use.

"Where is she?"

"Alright, I need you to give me the specifics. When did she go into labor?" the nurse asked. He peered over Octavia's charts, flicking part of his red mane out of his golden eyes.

"Well, she went into labor about an hour ago," Vinyl said. "You said your name was... Chord?"

"'Chordae', ma'am," he said with a small smile. "Well, we've given her a sedative, and she's resting. You also said the contractions were coming in how far apart?" he asked.

"I would say one every couple of seconds at its worst, but it slowed down to maybe once every few minutes," Vinyl said.

"Hmm... seems like a false alarm, but I'll talk to the doctor about maybe keeping her over-night," Chordae said.

Vinyl's blood ran cold. "What do you mean? We can't stay overnight!"

Chordae raised an eyebrow. "What could possibly be more important than ensuring the safety of your marefriend and your foals?"

"Our wedding."

A profound silence filled the room as Chordae looked at Vinyl, then back at Octavia, and gave a small sigh. "I'll try and see what I can do, but I can make no guarantees," he said as walked out of the room. Lyra and Bonbon made their way over to Vinyl, who had fallen silent as she pondered the possible outcome.

"We'd have to postpone our wedding..." Vinyl said softly, tears filling her eyes.

"Hey, don't think like that..." Bonbon said, hugging her around her shoulders.

"Yeah, you never know- the doctor may release her early..." Lyra added.

"We'll just have to see what the doctor says," Vinyl said, wiping her eyes. "If he wants us to stay, then we'll stay. I'm not going to put my foals at risk for a simple ceremony."

"That's very mature of you, Vinyl. You're already thinking like a mom," Bonbon said with a wink.

"I'd better go let both sets of parents know Octavia's in the hospital," Vinyl said. "Would you mind staying here with her? Let her know where I went if she wakes up before I get back," she said.

"Sure thing," Bonbon said.

With that taken care of, Vinyl exited the hospital room. She made her way down to the nurse's station looking for Chordae. The stallion made his way out of another room and set down his clipboard. He then noticed Vinyl, making his way over to her from behind the counter. "Can I help you with something?"

"Yeah, I need to borrow some paper and a quill," Vinyl said.

"Oh, sure." Chordae reached over and placed a quill, ink and paper for Vinyl to use. "Let me know if Miss Octavia needs anything," he said as he moved off to assist another patient.

"Sure, thanks," Vinyl said. She then quickly got to work writing both messages, and sent them off via her magic.

"Ah, what a lovely, peaceful afternoon..." Rolando said as he sat at the balcony of the hotel room he had rented for the week for Marianna and himself. He made his way over to the kitchen area, and poured himself a cup of hot tea. He was about to sit down to drink it when Marianna barged in with all the force of a hurricane, sending the scalding hot cup of tea directly into Rolando's lap. "YEOW!" he yelped as he patted his legs and thighs to try and dissipate the heat.

"Rolando, we need to leave- now!" Marianna said, bustling past him to retrieve a scarf and a jacket.

"May I ask why and the reason for such urgency?" Rolando said, grabbing a towel to dry himself off.

"I just received a letter from Vincenza, an important one!" she said.

"Saying what, dear?"

"Octavia went into premature labor! We need to leave- now!"

Rolando paused for a moment. "...Surely that cannot be right... at this stage in her pregnancy-" he suddenly felt the words die in his throat when his wife suddenly closed the distance with him, her ruby eyes taking on the color of fire as she peered into the depths of his soul.

"...Are you really going to sit there and ponder an occurrence that should not have happened but so clearly did, instead of rushing to your daughter's side as your grand-foals are born!?" Marianna yelled, her patience thoroughly exhausted. Rolando swallowed hard, feeling himself shrink to a size that would have made a dust mite similar in size to that of Canterlot Castle.

"...No, dear... let's go," he squeaked. He stood up and grabbed his coat, allowed Marianna to leave first, and shut the hotel room behind them.

Madeline was seated in a chair inside their own hotel room. Rolando had been kind enough to pay for their stay in the hotel as well, including whatever amenities they decided to use while they were there. She had been quietly reading a book in peace when a small letter popped into existence before her. "Oh... a letter..." she said as she examined it closely. She unfolded the piece of paper... and charged out of the room at top speed without even finishing it. She made her way through the halls of the hotel and down several flights of stairs before she finally found Kester, seated at the bar, talking and laughing with an old friend.

"Kester- need- leave- now!" Madeline panted, out of breath.

"Wha's th' matter, love? Ye' look like ye've just seen a ghost," Kester said, concerned.

"...Tavia ... in... abor..."

"Wha'? Are ye sayin' 'Octavia's in good favor?' Well A'd hope so, she's a right good little lass," Kester said proudly. Madeline shook her head.

"She... abor... coming..."

"Dear, ye're no' makin' any sense. Ye said she was 'able and coming'?" Kester asked, even more confused. Madeline suddenly grabbed Kester by the ears, dragging him down to eye level.

"No, you dolt! Octavia's in labor!" Madeline said. As somepony had flipped a switch in his mind, Kester's entire expression changed. The next thing Madeline knew she was suddenly on his massive back, the mare able to feel every muscle in his body tensing like steel wire under extreme stress. The stallion took off like a shot and out the front door as fast as his tree-trunk legs would allow him. He put so much strength into his legs he was quite literally tearing up dirt and mulch as he charged past, leaving small gouges out of the ground as he made a beeline for the hospital.


Vinyl made her way back into the hospital room, and sighed. She took a seat next to Octavia, who was still in a deep sleep. "Well, if we have to stay, we have to stay..." she said softly, placing a hoof on her belly. "You three are my biggest priority..." she said softly as she touched her cheek to her belly, giving it a small kiss. She smiled when she received a light kick in response. "You're just like your grandpa..."

"Hello," a voice said. Vinyl, Lyra and Bonbon turned their head to face a stallion that had entered the room. "Good evening, I'm Doctor Haysworth, Octavia's physician." He then took a seat on a stool near the bed, and sighed. "I understand your wedding is tomorrow, but what occurred today should not have happened. I would feel more comfortable if she stayed here tonight. We'll be keeping a very close eye on her throughout the night, and we will try to release her as early tomorrow morning as possible. I'm sorry, but I cannot allow her to have another episode like this and risk harming herself or the foals."

"I understand, Doctor Haysworth," Vinyl said softly.

"Good... I'll be back here in a little while to start doing tests," he said. He then got up and left the room, taking the papers with him. Vinyl felt her heart sink, but hid it to the best of her abilities.

"Looks like we may have to postpone the wedding after all..."

~Ten Chapters Remain~

(blog-post to follow about lateness and stuff!)

Chapter Sixty-Three

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Octavia stirred, shifting slightly. “Mmm... my head...” she mumbled. Vinyl heard this, and spun on her hooves to face her.

“Octy! You’re awake!” Vinyl said, rushing to her side. “How are you feeling? Can I get you anything? Are you uncomfortable?” she said, unintentionally assaulting her marefriend’s ears with a barrage of questions.

“Vinyl, Vinyl, Vinyl, relax! I am... alright...” she said softly, waving a hoof. “The better question is ‘are the foals okay’?”

“The doctor said that they were fine... but they want to keep you overnight,” she said sadly. “They want to make sure that this doesn’t happen again.”

“What? But... the wedding...” Octavia said, feeling her heart sinking into her stomach.

“I know, Octy... I know...” Vinyl said, brushing part of Octy’s mane out of her face.

"Vinyl, I... I apologize, I-" Octavia started, but was quieted by a kiss on the forehead from her lover.

"Octy, there's no need to say you're sorry. I'm perfectly fine- worried like all heck about you, but fine, and it's not like you asked for this to happen, right?" Vinyl said. "You didn't ask for this to happen, right?" she asked in mock seriousness. Octavia merely responded with a deadpan expression, Vinyl smirking. "I'm joking, take it easy..." she said as she helped Octavia get more comfortable.

“Where are Bonbon and Lyra?” Octavia asked, her vision having returned in full, examining the hospital room that they were in.. “I remember them being with us when we got here.”

“They went home, you’ve been out for about an hour now,” Vinyl said, taking a seat beside Octavia’s bed.

“I see... are they okay? I hope this did not scare them,” Octavia said, the realization that Bonbon was almost as new at this just now sinking in. “Poor Bonbon... I hope I did not frighten her,” she said softly.

“She’s fine, as far as I know,” Vinyl said. “She was more concerned about you and the foals more than anything...” Vinyl’s face then turned a light shade of pink as she timidly tapped her hooves together. “She mentioned something about being worried about her godfoals being okay...” This elicited a warm smile from Octavia, who made the effort to sit up. “Octy, don’t push yourself!” she said, jumping to Octavia’s aid.

“Oh, relax! I am not an invalid!” she said firmly.

“Octy, I think you meant ‘you’re not invalid’,” Vinyl corrected.

“No, Vinyl, what I meant was-” Octavia and Vinyl turned their heads when they heard what sounded like a hurricane outside their room. Ponies screaming as they seemingly flew past their door, the sound of instruments being knocked off carts, papers being thrown about, and lots of yelling. Suddenly, the door to their room swung open with so much force it was amazing that the door itself had not come off its hinges. A very concerned, very unstoppable Kester barged in, several security guards and a confused, disheveled Madeline clinging to him.

Where is she?! Where’s ma’ baby?!” he yelled, spinning in circles and stamping his hooves as he frantically looked about the room. It was at that point that Madeline, now thoroughly fed up with him, yanked his ears and forced his head in Octavia’s direction.

“She’s right there, Kester! CALM! DOWN!” Madeline said, yelling in his ear.

“A’ get it, Maddie... no need t’ yell,” he said, recoiling slightly as his eardrum throbbed. The security guards slipped off of him, adjusting themselves. “A’ found her boys, ye can go back to yer’ posts now,” he said with a grin. The security guards shot him dirty looks, then left to assist the others in cleaning up the wreckage the Scoltish monster had left in the wake of his entrance.

“Mama... Papa...? What... what are you doing here? How did...?” Octavia asked, all sorts of confused.

Before they could answer, a heavy wind kicked up inside the hospital ward, and a bright flash followed immediately by a loud bang signalled the arrival of Marianna and Rolando.

“Oh dear, did we make it in time!?” Marianna asked.

“Dear-heart, I daresay it has not happened yet...” Rolando said, pointing to Octavia’s still very large and round stomach, to which Octavia recoiled and turned a bright red, slightly embarrassed about her size.

“Dad, you’re embarrassing her!” Vinyl said, giving him a look.

“I apologize, Octavia. You know I meant no harm by my comment,” Rolando said, dipping his head slightly in apology.

“It is alright... I am just a bit self-conscious, I suppose. I am still unused to being this big,” Octavia said.

“You get used to it,” Marianna and Madeline said in unison.

“So? Wha’s the situation? Are the babies comin’ or no’?” Kester asked.

“Not yet. Octavia had a false alarm... but for her to have a false alarm at this point in her pregnancy isn’t a good thing,” Vinyl explained. She then sighed. “They want her to stay overnight, which means we might end up having to postpone the wedding,” she said.

Marianna made her way over to Vinyl, embracing her. “I am so sorry, Vincenza... think of the bright side- this only allows us more time to plan an even better wedding,” she said. She then took one of Octavia’s hooves in her own. “Your health and the health of your foals comes first and foremost, understood?”

Octavia nodded. “I understand,” she said, still feeling somewhat dejected. Madeline made her way over to the other side of her daughter, gently assisting her into a more comfortable sitting position. “Mama... I...”

“Yes, Octavia? What is it?”

“I... uhm...” she said softly, blushing from embarrassment. “I need to use the restroom, but I am too weak to do it on my own...” she said softly. Madeline smiled, shaking her head slightly.

“Octavia, you are my baby, my pride and joy. You know that you needn’t hesitate in asking me for anything!” Madeline said. Octavia gave a warm smile. “Gentlecolts, I need you both to leave. Octavia needs to use the restroom,” she announced, much to Octavia’s chagrin.

“Anything I can do to help?” Vinyl chimed in, eager to assist.

“Go tell the nurse. The bedpan will need changing afterward,” Madeline instructed. “Marianna, could you help me?”

“Absolutely,” Marianna said as she moved to the other end of the bed, assisting Madeline in moving Octavia.

The two stallions followed Vinyl out, and stood at either side of the door. Kester received a dirty look from just about every pony in the hallway, but he paid them no mind.

“Roly... can A’ be honest with ye’?” Kester said.

“Of course, Kester. What troubles you?” Rolando asked.

“Wha’ just happened... it scared me t’ death... Tavi is the apple o’ ma’ eye, and if anythin’ happened to ‘er-” Kester started, but stopped when Rolando raised a hoof.

“You are talking to a stallion who is also the father to a mare, so yes, I understand exactly how you feel, Kester. Believe me, my heart was in my throat as we left our apartment. Octavia has quickly become like a second daughter to me, so believe me when I say I share your concern,” Rolando said.

“Aye... Vinyl- er, Vincenza-,” Kester said, having a small bit of difficulty pronouncing Vinyl’s real name. “-is the exact same in ma’ book. She’s in ma’ top three most important mares, and A’ owe her so much fer lettin’ us know,” he said. “A’ love ‘er like Maddie had birthed ‘er herself,” he said, giving a trademark goofy grin. The two stallions shared a quick embrace, then returned to standing guard outside Octavia’s room.

“Feel better?” Rolando asked.

“Aye, thanks,” Kester said with a short nod.

Rolando then clapped his front hooves together, remembering something important. “Oh, that reminds me. I wanted to speak to you about something,” he said.

Kester turned to face him. “Wha’ about?”

“Well, Marianna and I have been talking, and we would like to be closer to our grandfoals once they are born, so we have been considering buying a house in Ponyville. Tell me, how are you doing financially?” Rolando asked.

Kester’s brow furrowed a bit as he thought back to how much they had made in barley sales over the last few months, and sighed. “We recently cut contact with a big distributor o’ the barley A’ grow, so the flow o’ bits has been a lil’ tight... why?” he asked.

“Marianna and I feel it would not be fair to our grandfoals that we would be so close, yet you and Madeline be so far away,” he said. “What would you say to us buying you a plot of land in Ponyville so you can move your farm there?” Rolando asked.

Kester was dumbfounded. “Leave Hoofington? To live in Ponyville? A- wha- A can’t let ye do tha’!” he said, shaking his head.

“Nonsense. Ponyville is an agricultural gold-mine. I am certain you have heard of Sweet Apple Acres?” Rolando asked.

“Who hasn’t? Best apples this side o’ Equestria,” Kester said. “A’ can’t let ye’ pay fer all tha’.”

“Kester, you have to understand. I have more money than I know what to do with, and by Celestia it is time I start helping my family with it. What do you say?” he said, extending a hoof.

Kester thought about it for a moment, then smiled, shaking his hoof. “Aye, if ye’ insist.”

“Excellent. We will talk details after all of this has blown over,” Rolando said.

Vinyl stood at the nurse’s station, waiting for the stallion that had helped them earlier to return to his post. It was at that point that Vinyl caught the attention of Doctor Haysworth, and moved over to talk to him.

“Hey, doctor?” Vinyl said, grabbing his attention.

“Yes? Does Octavia need something?” Haysworth asked.

“No- well, yes, she needs a new bedpan, but that’s not why I’m here,” Vinyl asked.

“Alright, I’ll put in the request for one. What else do you need?” he asked.

“Doc... is there any way we can get Octy out of the hospital before tomorrow morning?” she asked, hopeful. The doctor sighed, taking off his glasses.

“I understand that the wedding is important, but there’s a lot more at stake here than missing a ceremony. Octavia was very close to a life-threatening incident, and I want to make sure that this was just a fluke and not something that’s prone to happening again. The answer is still no,” he said firmly.

“You don’t know how long she’s been waiting for this! I’ve done everything I could to make this happen for her, and I mean, I’m the one who put her in this situation to begin with! I... I don’t want to let her down!” Vinyl pleaded. Doctor Haysworth stared at her for a few moments, Vinyl’s heart thumping in her chest as he mulled over what he was about to say.

“...I’ll only allow it on these conditions- I am present throughout the entire thing, if at any point something happens, I will not hesitate to stop the ceremony, and you promise me that you will be the best mother that those foals could have ever asked for,” the doctor said.

“I promise! I promise a million times over!” Vinyl said, hugging the doctor. “Thank you so much!”

“Yeah, yeah, go tell her the news. I’ll have her discharged by sunrise,” Haysworth said as she let him go, the mare tearing down the hallway as fast as her hooves would take her. The doctor gave a small smile, then went back to his charts.

Vinyl arrived at Octavia’s room, frantically knocking on the door to see if she was done.

“One moment,” a voice called from within.

“Vincenza, are you alright? If you shake any more violently, you will take the door off its hinges,” Rolando pointed out.

Kester let out a deep, bellowing laugh. “The filly looks like one o’ them wind-up toys,” he said.

“Big news! Need to get inside! Really big news!” Vinyl said. Once the door opened, the three of them entered, Vinyl practically bouncing to Octavia’s side.

“Vinyl, what has gotten into you?” she asked.

“I did it!” Vinyl announced. “I was able to talk Doctor Haysworth into letting you go at sunrise so you can get ready!”

“You mean...?” Octavia said, her face lighting up in the brightest smile her parents had ever seen.

“Yeah... we’re getting married tomorrow...”

Chapter Sixty-Four

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Vinyl sat in Octavia's hospital room for what seemed like an eternity. It felt as though time just wasn't moving fast enough. To pass the time, she thought back to all the wild adventures the two of them had been through- going back home to meet her parents, making the trip to Hoofington to meet Octavia's parents, the two trips to Ponyville and meeting the ponies that ended up becoming their close friends. She smiled at the memories she had made with Octavia, trying to picture what the future had in store for them, her mind coming back to the wedding, which was now only hours away.

I bet Octy's gonna look killer in her wedding dress, Vinyl thought. She then gave a small sigh, feeling the anxiety creeping up on her.

This isn't just another set... Vinyl thought to herself, staring at her hooves. I'm getting married tomorrow...

She looked at Octavia, who was quietly sleeping in the bed a few feet from her. Her eyes moved slightly south, coming to rest on Octavia's now much larger belly, trying to fathom the appearance of the two foals they were so anxiously expecting.

Maybe one will look like me, Vinyl thought, smiling slightly. It's okay if they end up looking like Octy, though. That means ponies'll be tripping over themselves to get at 'em, she snickered slightly. She then sighed slightly, pulling her chair closer to Octavia's bedside, gently taking one of Octavia's hooves in her own and kissing it.

What would I do without you?

Downstairs, both sets of parents sat around a small table in the cafeteria, discussing the wedding ceremony as well as procedure for when it came time for Octavia to deliver.

"Well, A' think a' least one o' us should be on-call at all times," Kester suggested.

"That's fine, Kester, but it's not like we can be awake at all hours of the day and night," Madeline stated.

"No' with tha' attitude," Kester said, eliciting a look from his wife.

"In all seriousness, perhaps Rolando and I should stay with them for the time being? I can always send post via magic when the time comes," Marianna suggested.

"I am for the idea, so long as we stay in the downstairs bedroom..." Rolando said, placing a hoof to his heart. "I daresay none of us needs to go through another one of my... episodes..." Marianna placed a hoof on her husband's shoulder.

"I am so sorry, darling... I should have been more mindful of your medication," she said softly.

"I do not blame you for a thing, dear. If anything, I should not have to be reminded to take them," Rolando said. "I honestly felt that I was over it," he said thoughtfully. "Perhaps it is time I paid another visit to my therapist..."

"It's all in yer 'ead, Roly! A' remember when A' was just a wee colt A' got stuck in a rotten log for abou'..." Kester started, taking a moment to recall the full contents of his memory. "A' want to say four... five hours?"

"His father had to pull him out by the tail," Madeline giggled. "I remember his father recounting that story and laughing," she said.

"Aye, ma' father was tough, but fair," Kester said. "A stallion with the biggest, goldest heart ye' can imagine!"

"Kester, 'goldest' is not a word," Madeline corrected.

"No' with tha' attitude," Kester repeated.

"Would you stop saying that!? That does not apply to everything!" Madeline said, slightly flustered.

"...No' with tha-" Kester started.

"Don't, you, dare," Madeline warned, her eyes narrowed at her husband. A moment of silence passed, Marianna and Rolando both curious if Kester would be stupid enough to provoke Madeline. As it turns out, he was.

"-Attitude," Kester finished, causing a grey blur to immediately latch its hooves around his tree-trunk like neck in a fruitless attempt to strangle him, causing Kester to burst out laughing.

"Why do you always insist on pushing me!?"

"Why else, love? Because A' can!" Kester laughed. This elicited a burst of strength from Madeline, Kester suddenly feeling the airflow in his throat get significantly reduced. "O-okay, Maddie, y-ye can let go!" The other couple could not help but be entertained by Kester and Madeline.

"They are so darling together," Marianna said, wrapping her foreleg around his.

"Indeed, they are quite charming," Rolando. "A wonderful addition to the family, no?"

"Absolutely!" Marianna beamed. Once the conflict had been settled, they began to coordinate the actual wedding ceremony.

"Okay, so, how are we going to play this out?" Madeline asked, wringing her hooves.

"As far as I am aware, Kester and I will be playing the music throughout the ceremony," Rolando stated. "Are we in agreement?" he asked, looking at Kester.

"O' course! A' wouldn' miss an opportunity to play a' ma' daughter's weddin'," Kester stated, resolute.

"Very good," Madeline said, withdrawing a notepad and a quill from her bag. She immediately began to jot down important points being brought up during the conversation. "So I had an idea, Marianna," Madeline said.

"Oh? Do share," Marianna said. Madeline beckoned her over and whispered the idea she had into Marianna's ear, causing the unicorn to let out an excited giggle. "Oh, that is a simply wonderful idea! I love it!"

"I'm glad," Madeline said. "I think the stallions will appreciated it," she said cryptically, causing both Rolando and Kester to look at Madeline with confused expressions.

"Oh, A' don' like it when Maddie puts on tha' face," Kester said, swallowing slightly. "Wha'ever A' did, A'm sorry," he said.

"What are you apologizing for?" Madeline asked.

"A' dunno! You tell me!" Kester said.

"How can you apologize for something you-" Madeline started. "You know what? It's fine. Apology accepted," she said, trying not to hurt her brain too much in the process. Kester let out a sigh of relief.

"Whoo! Crisis averted, eh?" he said, looking at Rolando, who shook his head, confused. He cast an expression at Madeline, who was signalling him to agree with Kester.

"Uh... yes, agreed," Rolando said, agreeing with the stallion who now had a satisfied expression. "Moving forward, do you have any suggestions on the piece you want to play, Kester?"

"A've got a couple, but A'll let you lead," he said earnestly.

"Fair enough," Rolando said.

"Okay, that takes care of physical instruments. Now, I remember Octavia mentioning she had requested singing doves as well?" Madeline said, jotting down information.

"Yes, she had requested assistance from a mare named Fluttershy," Marianna repeated.


"Vincenza told me her friend Rarity was working on them."

"Excellent. Food?"

The two mares went down the list, confirming everything was in place for the ceremony, the stallions adding their input where needed. After a little while, Rolando stood up.

"I will be back momentarily, I need some fresh air," Rolando said.

"Aye, the air's a might bit stuffy," Kester said, following suit.

The two stallions trotted outside, leaving the mares to their own devices. As they stepped outside, Rolando accidentally almost bumped into a stallion as he chatted with Kester.

"Oh, terribly sorry," Rolando apologized.

"It's quite alright," the stallion responded without looking back at Rolando, who stood there, puzzled.

"Roly, ye' really should be a lil' more careful who ye' bump into. A' don't need ta' rough anypony up a day before ma' baby's weddin'," Kester said with a hearty chuckle. He then noticed Rolando had not moved. "Ye alrigh', Roly?"

"Hm? Oh, yes, sorry... I was just... so certain I recognize that pony, but I cannot remember from where..." he said. He gave it another moment's thought, then focused on other things.

Vinyl had fallen into a deep sleep, leaning against Octavia's bedframe. Octavia slowly came to, feeling the urge to use the restroom. She nudged Vinyl awake.

"Vinyl... Vinyl, wake up," Octavia murmured, still groggy.

"Hm? You okay, Octy?" Vinyl said, waking up with a bit of a start.

"Bathroom..." Octavia mumbled. Vinyl assisted Octavia as best she could, closing the bathroom door behind her. Once Octavia had finished her business, Vinyl helped her clean up and helped her back into bed.

"Thank you, Vinyl," Octavia said, the two sharing a kiss.

Vinyl blushed, "No problem, Octy. You know I've got your back," she said, to which Octavia smiled.

"I know," Octavia replied, turning over and going back to sleep. After a little time passed, there was a gentle knock at the door. Vinyl got up and opened the door, seeing a stallion standing in the door frame.

"Uh... can I help you?"

"Yes, you can. Do you mind if I come in?"

"Do I know you?" Vinyl said, looking at the stallion. He seemed familiar, but for the life of her she couldn't remember from where.

"No, but I know you," the stallion said. Vinyl felt a chill run up her spine.

"Look buddy, you better step off before-" Vinyl started, feeling unsettled by the stallion.

"Relax, no need to get upset," he said, attempting to disarm her. "I am what you would call an 'old family friend'," he said. Vinyl then relaxed.

"Oh, I get it, you must be one of my dad's friends. He probably told everypony about the baby already. Are you looking for him?" Vinyl asked.

"Yes," the stallion answered.

"He's downstairs in the cafeteria," Vinyl said.

"Could you take me to him?" he asked. Vinyl took a look at Octavia, seeing that she was still sound asleep.

"I guess," she said. The two ponies walked to the elevator, hitting the button to take them to the cafeteria floor. "What's your name, anyway?"

"Allegretto," the stallion said as the doors shut.

Rolando and Kester had since returned to the cafeteria, rejoining their wives. They were in mid-discussion about the bridal entrance when Vinyl approached.

"Hey guys," Vinyl said.

"Oh, hello Vincenza," Marianna said with a small smile, to which Vinyl gave a groan.


"I apologize," Marianna said, clearing her throat. "Hello, Vinyl," she said with a small giggle.

"Hello dear," Rolando said. "How is Octavia?"

"Oh, fine, she's sleeping. Hey, I think a friend of yours is looking for you," Vinyl said, looking at her father.

"A friend of mine?" Rolando said, puzzled. "Here?"

"Yeah, it's that guy,," she said, pointing at the stallion who had followed Vinyl out of the elevator.

"Did he say what his name was?" Rolando asked, standing up to get a better look at the stallion.

"Yeah, he said his name was-" Vinyl said, her voice fading into oblivion as Rolando finally realized who he was looking at. The stallion that stood before him was tall, gaunt, had piercing gold eyes, a dark mahogany coat, a greying mane and on his flank stood the golden pipes of an organ. Images and memories, painful memories flashed through his mind, memories he thought he had laid to rest decades ago rushing to the surface as his blood ran cold.

"-Allegretto," Vinyl said, the name reverberating endlessly in Rolando's mind.

"Hello... brother," Allegretto said.

Chapter Sixty Five

View Online

Rolando couldn't believe his eyes. The pony standing before him may as well have been an apparition, as he would have more likely believed that than believe his brother of all ponies had made his abrupt return to the world as Rolando knew it.

"You... you can't be real... We thought you were dead..." Rolando murmured, breathless. Marianna was stunned into silence- she had heard the stories from Rolando's mother and brief mentions of a pony named 'Allegretto' from her husband, but she never truly expected to meet her supposedly long-lost brother-in-law.

"Oh, I am very much real, brother," Allegretto said, his sharp golden eyes boring into his brother. Kester, now carefully watching the situation, looked over at Rolando, who was shaking.

"Roly... ye alrigh'?" Kester asked, tentatively stepping up to Rolando. It was then that Kester was forced to whip a massive foreleg around Rolando's chest, using a good portion of his strength to restrain the now unhealthily irate Rolando.

"How dare you show yourself in front of me after all you have done?! You should have STAYED DEAD!" Rolando roared, his face contorted with rage. Allegretto, seemingly unphased, merely blinked.

"Woah!" Vinyl said, jumping back at her father's outburst.

"Vincenza, come over here, now," Marianna ordered. Vinyl did as she was told. She knew that when her mother used that tone, it was better not to question it.

"I'm going to go check on Octavia..." Madeline said, hurriedly excusing herself.

"Let me go, Kester!" Rolando ordered.

"No' happenin', Roly. A'm not bailin' ma' baby's soon-ta'-be father-in-law outta jail the night a'fore her weddin'," Kester retorted. "If the two o' ye are goin' ta' have an argument, then let's take it outside!" Kester said. Allegretto acknowledged him, and the three stallions made their way outdoors. Vinyl simply stared at them, unsure of what to say or do.

"Mom... what the heck was that?" Vinyl asked, turning to her mother, who sighed heavily.

"Vincenza... your father and I have always tried as parents to be as open and honest with you in all matters, but... in this matter, there is much you do not know," Marianna said. "We hoped we would never have to tell you, but now it seems there is no choice. Before I tell you anything, you have to swear to me not to repeat what I tell you to Octavia. The last thing she needs right now is undue stress."

"Yeah, I promise," Vinyl said.

"Good, now get comfortable. This is going to be a long one," Marianna said.

The three stallions stood apart from each other, Rolando and Allegretto staring each other down as Kester stood between them in the case of an altercation.

"Alrigh', A' want this done as clean as possible- A' promise the both o' ye' that neither o' ye want me ta' get involved," Kester warned.

"Kester... I can only hope you forgive me for the things you may hear me say," Rolando snarled, his vision almost blurring at the edges as he retrained his focus on his brother.

"You cannot possibly say anything more hurtful than Ostinato did all those years ago," Allegretto mused. Kester was then forced to step in, holding Rolando back once more.

"Don't you dare speak my father's name!" Rolando roared.

"Your father? I daresay we both came from the same loins, dear brother," Allegretto retorted.

"Shut your foul mouth! As far as I am concerned you are no brother of mine!"

"My, my, how delightful," Allegretto said sardonically. "How pleasing it truly is to hear that from the favorite child."

"Come off it! You were always the apple of Father's eye, you know that better than anypony!"

"Is that what you believe? Is that what they lead you to believe?" Allegretto sighed. "Oh Rolando, how misguided you are..."

"What do you mean? Father would never lie!" Rolando exclaimed.

"It is precisely that line of thought that tells me you know nothing," Allegretto spat.

"What nonsense could you possibly tell me to believe otherwise?" Rolando questioned. Allegretto then sat on the ground, clearing his throat.

"Did you ever once consider why I just 'up and left'? Did Ostinato ever tell you why, aside from what I almost assuredly was that 'I had decided to forsake my family on a fool's errand and all he ever wanted was to support me'? Oh, I am almost certain that he sold that better than Celestia's finest actors on Bridleway- or perhaps he never gave a reason, just saying that I was no longer a part of the family. Did you even once wonder why?" Allegretto questioned.

"I questioned it every day, but Father never gave me an answer. Mother was never the same after you left," Rolando said. Seeing that Rolando had sufficiently calmed down, Kester cautiously released Rolando from his grip, returning to his spot between them, though remaining at the ready in case he needed to jump in again.

"I did not leave of my own volition, Rolando," Allegretto said. He then stood up, revealing his flank and cutie mark- bright, brass colored organ pipes standing in a neat row. "I was forced out."

"Lies! Father would never do that!" Rolando barked.

"Oh? Is that so? Then surely the last thirty-five years of my life never happened then," Allegretto said sarcastically. "Do not be an idiot, Rolando. I know you are far more intelligent than that."

"How... why? What would give Father cause to disown you?" Rolando questioned.

"Think about it. You know very well how much Ostinato valued his craft- it was all he ever spoke about when we were children. He wanted to pass down the craft to me, much like his father before him, and his father's father before him. The violin has been in our family for generations, and 'as certainly as the sun rises a Staccato colt will play the violin!'" Allegretto quoted bitterly, Rolando wincing slightly at what he was hearing. Rolando opened his mouth to speak, but could not find a retort. Allegretto was one hundred percent correct.

"While I have yet to believe a word of what you are saying, I still fail to see the reason why he would simply remove you from our family," Rolando said.

"Then allow me to educate you. When I was 'blessed' with this cutie mark and that my true passion for the pipe organ came to light, it was as if I had crushed his very soul, extinguishing any hope of furthering the family craft... but I assure you, he would not let that be the end of it. Oh, he did not! The simple fact that his first son would choose to be an organist as opposed to a violinist was simply sacrilege in his eyes!" Allegretto then paused. "It was then that I knew any fatherly love he had for me had died. It seemed as though Ostinato simply gave up on me. He didn't care about my endeavours, my dreams, my future..." He then looked Rolando squarely in the eyes. "Then you came along. With another colt in the family, he instead focused all his energy into molding a successor worthy of the Staccato last name," Allegretto said. "You had become the heir to the family talent, and I the stain on the family tapestry. This went on for years, but Mother always down-played it, always going out of her way to make it seem smaller than it truly was, until one day I had enough. He and I got into yet another argument, as was the norm, and I spoke ill of his craft- I told him that I hoped he would rot away like the wood of his violin, and he cursed the day I was born, calling it a blight upon the family and that I was no longer his son," he said. "I simply replied that I had known that for years, and turned my back on him."

"Enough! I have heard enough!" Rolando exclaimed.

"A' agree, Rolando," Kester said, stepping in. "A' think he's heard enough fer one night, though, A' gotta ask, did ye only come ta' dig up old wounds?"

Allegretto sighed. "The truth of it... is that I have grown older. In the time I have been gone, I have done much soul-searching and a lot of growing. I am not the hot-headed, brash colt that I was all those years ago... that, and..."

"'And?'" Rolando repeated.

"I am ill, Rolando."

"Ill? With what?"

"The doctors do not know what ails me, and have only been able to treat the symptoms, not the actual ailment. While I still have a great deal of animosity towards Ostinato for what happened between us, I am prepared to bury the hatchet. I had been looking for you for sometime as Ostinato's old home no longer exists, so needless to say I was shocked to bump into you as I arrived at the hospital to receive treatment."

"Well, I daresay you will find that impossible," Rolando said bitterly.

"Impossible? How so, Rolando?" Allegretto asked, raising his head slightly.

"You will find it impossible, unless you intend to make amends with a gravestone," Rolando said with an air of finality. Silence settled between all three stallions, Allegretto sitting in stunned silence.

"They... they died?" Allegretto asked incredulously.

"Yes. Father died fifteen years ago, and Mother shortly thereafter," Rolando said bitterly. "Father went to his grave refusing to acknowledge his firstborn son, and Mother went to hers with a broken heart," he said. "After everything that I have endured, after all the pain and suffering that was brought down on myself and my family, if you think for a moment that I believe even a single word you have said to me, then you are truly worthy of being committed!"

"Rolando, surely you will at least give your brother a chance-"

"Shut up! I have heard enough out of you, and I am only going to warn you once- you stay away from my daughter, you stay away from my family, and you stay away from me, or so help me Luna I will make sure you stay gone this time! " he yelled. Rolando then turned to Kester. "I have had enough excitement for one evening."

"Aye," Kester said, turning away from Allegretto.

Vinyl was shocked. She couldn't believe what she was hearing. "Is... is all that true?"

"Yes, Vincenza, it is," Marianna said sadly. "I heard it from your grandmother. I was the only one she ever confided that to. Please, promise me you will never repeat what I have told you."

"I won't... honestly, I don't know if I believe it myself," Vinyl said.

"I understand... your grandfather meant the world to you, and believe me when I tell you, you meant more than anything to him," Marianna assured.

"I know, I know... it's just... it's crazy," Vinyl said.

"I know it is hard to understand, and I myself do not quite understand it... but it is the truth," Marianna said. "Your grandfather poured so much of himself into you because he regretted what he did, but it was too late to go back on it. He was fully prepared to go to his grave never speaking to your uncle again... until you were born. You came into the world, and he was all eyes for you, and the day you got your cutie mark was one of the two times I ever saw him cry- the first being the day you were born. I know for a fact that not only did he cry out of excitement for you... but out of sadness and regret for how he abandoned his first son, all because his son's passion did not align with his own," she explained. A moment, later Rolando and Kester entered the room, Marianna immediately going to her husband.

"Be gentle, Mari, he's been put through the ringer," Kester advised.

"I... need to rest," Rolando said wearily.

"Vincenza, I will be taking your father back to the apartment for the evening, we will see you bright and early for Octavia's discharge," Marianna said. She gave her daughter a kiss on the cheek and then focused on her husband.

"Vincenza, you stay away from that stallion. I do not want you around him," Rolando warned. Vinyl remained silent, watching them leave. Once they were out of earshot, Vinyl then turned to Kester.

"Is Allegretto still nearby?"

"Aye... what are ye' plannin', lil' filly?" Kester asked, puffing out his chest.

"I'm gonna go talk to him," Vinyl said.

"No' on ma' watch, A' just made nice with yer dad, A' don't wanna screw that up, " Kester said forcefully, looking away from her.

"Please?" Vinyl asked cutely.

"Th' answer is no," Kester said with a snort.

"Pleeeeeease?" Vinyl asked as cutely as she could muster, curling her lower lip as her bright ruby irises expanded to the size of saucers. Kester made the mistake of peering at her out of the corner of his eye and his gigantic, stallion heart melted into a puddle.

"Augh, no' tha' face!" Kester sighed. "Go," he said, shaking his head. He watched Vinyl trot off, sighing. "A' swear, both o' them know how ta' tug on me ol' heartstrings."

Vinyl made her way out into the cool, spring evening, making sure her parents were gone before beginning her search for her uncle. Thankfully, she did not have to look far to find him, the stallion seated on a nearby park bench by himself. She cautiously trotted up to the bench, taking the furthest spot from him.

"Hey..." Vinyl said.

Allegretto did not respond, merely staring off into space.


"Hm? Oh... hello," Allegretto said. "Are you sure you should be near me? Celestia knows your father would have a stroke..."

"Yeah, probably..." Vinyl said. After a moment of silence, she spoke up again. "I didn't know I had an uncle."

"Well... I didn't know I had a niece," Allegretto said. Vinyl then sighed, unable to handle the awkwardness anymore.

"Look, I'll be honest, I don't know how to feel about you. I mean, I'm happy to meet an uncle I've never met, but... when my mom told the story about what happened between you and Grandpa, I almost didn't want to believe it," Vinyl explained.

"Understandable. Ostinato was very kind to those he actually showed the affection to," Allegretto said.

"What I do believe, is that both of you made a really bad mistake," Vinyl said. "You both screwed up, big time, and what sucks is that with Grandpa gone, there's no way to really fix it, at least, not with him anyway."

"I would go as far as saying there is no fixing it with your father, either," Allegretto added.

"You might be right... but if there's one thing I've learned from being with my fiance, it's that everypony deserves a second chance... and that family sticks out for family, no matter how bad the screw up," Vinyl said, Kester's voice ringing in the back of her mind.

"Ah yes, if I heard correctly, you are getting married tomorrow?" Allegretto asked.

"Yeah, I am. I'm nervous as all heck, but I'm excited too," Vinyl said.



"In regards to what you said, it is a comforting thought, but I am willing to venture that you would be wasting your time on somepony like me."

"Well, let me put things in perspective- I'm gonna go ahead and guess you didn't come all this way just to give my dad grief for stuff that happened, right?"

"You are correct," Allegretto said.

"Right, so that means you wanna put all this anger and pain to bed. At least you're trying, and that takes guts," Vinyl said. "I admire guts," she said, gently nudging the older stallion's shoulder.

"How can you speak to me so easily? I was certain your father would have spoken horrible things about me," Allegretto said.

"Up until today, I didn't even know you existed," Vinyl admitted.

"So then I am certain that what you have heard has not exactly painted me in a good light..."

"No, it hasn't, but hey, nopony's perfect. That doesn't mean I forgive you right away though, I do still think you and Grandpa really messed up, but at least you're willing to give it a shot and try to fix things," Vinyl reasoned.

"I have no idea where to begin," Allegretto said. Vinyl thought about it for a moment, then smiled.

"Why not come to the wedding?"

"What? You must me joking! Your father would have me carted out in an instant!" Allegretto protested.

"You let me handle him," Vinyl said. "You can come if you want. If you don't, then I understand. I just wanted to extend the offer. Either way, it's not like it's a private wedding, anypony's allowed to attend," she said.

"Hm... I will give it some thought," Allegretto said.

"Good, now I gotta take off, Octy's probably waiting for me," Vinyl said, getting up from the bench.

"'Octy'?" Allegretto said, raising an eyebrow.

"It's short for Octavia," Vinyl said with a smirk.

"It's cute."

"Isn't it? Anyway, I'll see you tomorrow. If not, then I guess I'll see you around," Vinyl said as she left, leaving Allegretto to the sounds of crickets chirping through the quiet night as well as his thoughts.

Chapter Sixty Six

View Online

Vinyl shifted in her seat, trying to get comfortable. Five more minutes… she thought. She hadn’t slept much after what happened the night previous with Allegretto’s abrupt return into her father’s life and the excitement of the wedding.

Wait.... what time is it? she wondered, her eyes shooting open. She quickly sat up, looking at the clock, which read six o’clock. She blinked her eyes a few times, rubbing them as she trotted over to Octavia’s bed.

Octavia was fast asleep, resting as comfortably on her side as her belly would allow. Vinyl leaned forward, gently brushing a few errant locks of Octavia’s mane out of her face, planting a kiss on her forehead.

“Octy, time to wake up,” Vinyl said softly, gently caressing her foreleg. Octavia shifted, her eyes fluttering open as she took in the sight of her soon-to-be wife leaning over the bedrail.

“Morning…” Octavia said softly.

“Today’s the day,” Vinyl said.

“It is… it really is…” Octavia smiled, slowly sitting up and sharing a kiss with Vinyl. The tender moment was interrupted by the doctor entering the room not a few seconds later, folder and release forms in hoof.

“Morning you two, I hope Octavia’s feeling rested and ready for today?” the doctor asked.

“I am, Doctor. Thank you for all your help,” Octavia said.

“Yeah, thanks Doc,” Vinyl said, expressing her appreciation.

“Very good. Just sign these forms and you’ll be good to go. Your parents were just arriving as I walked in so they should be-” the doctor was interrupted as Kester made his entrance, barging in as usual.

Rise an’ shine, ev’rypony! Ma’ baby’s gettin’ married today!” he exclaimed, a grand smile on his face.

“Papa… please… your voice… it’s too early,” Octavia winced. Vinyl would have responded if not for the ringing in her ears.

“Wha’? A’ can’t be excited for yer weddin’?” Kester questioned.

“That’s not it at all, dear. It’s just that it’s six in the morning and you’re speaking like you’re in a pub,” Madeline said, entering after him, followed close behind Marianna and Rolando.

“Good morning, everypony!” Marianna said cheerily. Rolando gave a heavy yawn, a weary expression adorning his face.

“Dad… are you okay? You look like you didn’t sleep,” Vinyl said.

“I am quite”—Rolando gave a heavy yawn—“Fine,” he said, finishing his sentence. “We shall just say it was from the excitement. My little filly is getting married today after all,” he said with a small smile. Vinyl raised an eyebrow, but chose not to ask any further questions. After everything that had occurred the night previous, the last thing she needed was to cause Octavia any undue stress. The doctor then cleared his throat, grabbing everypony’s attention.

“Now that I have you all present, I’m going to repeat to you what I said to Vinyl last night; the only reason that I am discharging her at this point is on the condition that I am present for the entire event and I have the express directive to stop the event should Octavia show any signs of physical distress. Am I understood?” the doctor stated firmly. The ponies nodded in agreement, and the doctor hoofed over the paperwork to Octavia’s mother. “Just sign the paperwork and I’ll have a wheelchair sent as soon as possible.”

“Very good, thank you,” Madeline said, signing the paperwork and returning them to the doctor.

“Excellent, I’ll see you all at the ceremony,” the doctor said, turning to leave. “Oh, and congratulations you two.”

“Thank you,” Octavia said.

“Thanks!” Vinyl expressed.

The doctor excused himself, Madeline turning to the younger mares.

“Okay, now, where are you two getting ready?” Madeline questioned.

“Rarity offered her Boutique for me,” Octavia said, shifting to get comfortable.

“I’ll be going to Sweet Apple Acres,” Vinyl stated.

“Excellent. I would imagine the others are already up?” Marianna asked.

“I would hope so,” Octavia said.

“Do ye’ need me ta wake up tha’ whole town? A’ll do it and do it with pride,” Kester offered, puffing out his chest.

“While I truly appreciate the gesture Papa, we have only been living here for a short while. I would prefer to keep it that way,” Octavia said. Vinyl then leaned over to Kester, discreetly slipping him the keys to their house.

“This never happened,” Vinyl whispered.

“Aye… A’ knew A’ liked ye’ for a reason,” Kester whispered in return, giving a wink. “A’ think A’m goin’ ta go back to th’ apartment. Gotta get all o’ this lookin’ good,” he said, sweeping a hoof around his face.

“Of course, because Celestia knows you need to find a mare at your daughter’s wedding,” Madeline said, rolling her eyes.

“A’m no’ doin’ it fer anypony but me,” Kester retorted, trying to mimic a fashion model’s expression and failing miserably. “Am A’ doin’ it right?”

“Oh yes, simply splendid,” Madeline lied through her teeth.

“Heh, A’ still go’ it,” Kester said, proud of himself as he trotted out. Madeline watched him go, shaking her head.

“I do ever so love that stallion…” Madeline said with a tired expression. “We will see you at the Boutique later,” she said, trotting over to her daughter and giving her a kiss on the cheek.

“We will see you both later, Vincenza. You said to go to ‘Sweet Apple Acres’?” Marianna asked.

“Yup, that’s the place,” Vinyl said.

“Very good dear. We shall see you then,” Rolando said, giving his daughter a kiss on the forehead, exiting with Marianna in tow. The two mares found themselves alone, each of them giving a sigh.

“I can already tell this is going to be a long day, and it has barely started yet…” Octavia said.

“Yeah… tell me about it,” Vinyl sighed. “It kinda sucks we’re not gonna really be able to see or talk to each other until the ceremony,” she said softly, a small tone of sadness in her voice.

“It does, yes…” Octavia affirmed. Since the two of them had begun living together, they had not been apart from one another for longer than it took to do groceries or run errands, and more often than not they even did that together. Where one was, the other was close by. Even at their performances Vinyl was either asleep in the audience or Octavia covering her ears as she sat behind the turntables. “Well, I know one thing is for sure,” she said.

“What’s that, Octy?”

“I am really excited to see you in your dress…” Octavia said demurely, to which Vinyl couldn’t help but smile.

“Me too, Octy.” The door opened, and a nurse entered with a wheelchair.

“Miss Octavia? We’re ready for you!” the nurse said.

“Excellent,” Octavia said, shifting herself into a position to get out of bed. Vinyl assisted her off the bed and into the wheelchair, wheeling her into the elevator. They rode down to the bottom floor, and exited the hospital. The cool, spring air still carried the remnants of winter’s icy chill but also carried the scent of flowers in bloom. “I love this time of year…” she said softly.

“Yeah…” Vinyl said, the two taking the time to watch as Celestia’s sun begin to peek out over the horizon as they made their way to the Boutique.

The pair arrived at Rarity’s boutique, seeing the lights were already on. They knocked at the door and patiently waited, hearing the sounds of multiple ponies milling about within. A moment later, Rarity emerged, her mane in curlers and face devoid of makeup.

“Good morning you two and congratulations!” Rarity exclaimed with glee.

“Thank you Rarity,” Octavia said graciously.

“Octavia darling, why are you in a wheelchair…?” Rarity asked, eyeing the hospital bracelet around Octavia’s fetlock. “My stars, did you just get released from the hospital!?” she said loudly, causing all movement within the Boutique to stop. A multitude of mares stuck their heads out of the doorway, the likes of which being Lyra, Fluttershy, Twilight and Trixie, all of whom were in the process of getting themselves ready.

“Yeah, it was just a false alarm though,” Vinyl explained. “She started having contractions but they went away pretty quick.”

“That worries me a bit Octavia,” Twilight said, pushing her way to the front. “Are you sure you’re feeling okay enough to go through with the ceremony?”

“Well, I am feeling the slightest bit tired, but I think that is just from all the excitement from yesterday. Aside from that I feel fine,” Octavia explained. “The doctor will also be present so if something goes awry he will be able to tend to me. He only allowed me out of the hospital if he could be present.”

“No need to worry Twilight, she’s a-okay. We don’t need you stressing out either,” Vinyl smirked. “Heck, you’re even starting to show a bit!”

“I am!?” Twilight said, examining herself. Her belly had grown just the slightest bit, virtually undetectable by passing glance.

“Relax, you look fine,” Trixie said, sidling up to Twilight.

“Thank goodness you altered my dress a while back, Rarity…” Twilight said, Trixie’s presence putting her at ease.

“Too true darling,” Rarity affirmed.

“Um… I hate to interrupt but we still need to get ready…” Fluttershy said.

“Yeah, we need to get Octavia showered. Vinyl, you should head over to Applejack’s, Bonbon’s already there.” Lyra said.

“Okay, great. I’ll see you later Octy,” Vinyl said.

“Okay,” Octavia said. The two shared a quick kiss, Vinyl turning and leaving, albeit with a heavy heart.

She’ll be fine… no need to worry, Vinyl thought to herself. She’s surrounded by all of her friends. If something happens, they’ll be able to help her. Just keep it cool.

With Vinyl on her way to Applejack’s, Octavia felt something was missing. She knew that it would only be a few hours before she would see Vinyl again, but her presence was still missed.

“Before we do anything else, let’s get this hospital band off your foreleg,” Rarity said, summoning a pair of scissors over to her with her magic. She quickly and expertly cut the band, tossing it in the trash. “Done,” Rarity chirped.

“Alright Octavia, let’s get you in the shower,” Lyra said. “If you want I can help you,” she offered.

“Thank you Lyra, I appreciate the offer, but I think I will be fine on my own,” Octavia said. “If you could just help me get up I can manage the rest of the way.”

“Okay, sure,” Lyra said. She trotted around behind the wheelchair, holding it in place as Octavia lifted herself out. Slowly but surely Octavia made it to her hooves, feeling her joints popping as they reaccomodated themselves to her weight.

“I apologize if I am moving a little more slowly than expected,” Octavia apologized.

“Oh, think nothing of it darling, we all made sure we took showers prior to you coming over so the shower would be free for you,” Rarity said as she stared into a mirror, applying her trademark eye shadow.

“Do you need help getting into the shower?” Twilight offered.

“I can help too, um… if you need me to…” Fluttershy offered as well. Octavia couldn’t help but smile.

“I really appreciate all the help, everypony. I think I can manage, but it is very relieving to know I have you all to rely on,” Octavia said earnestly.

“Why, of course you do Octavia. We’re all friends here,” Rarity said with a wink. “Now go get showered so we can do your mane.” Octavia obliged, slowly cantering to the bathroom and finding a fresh set of towels and bath-soap ready for her. She slid the shower door open, finding a shower seat already inside, prepared for her. She gave a small smile and turned the water on, grabbing the soap and taking a seat as the heated water washed over her, a soothing warmth seeping into her coat down to her skin.

As she bathed, she allowed her mind to wander, imagining what life would be like beyond that day. She saw herself as an elderly mare, sitting beside Vinyl, the two enjoying each other’s company as the fireplace of their little home crackled in the background. This brought a smile to her face and a feeling of pure happiness in her heart.

She then rinsed off, turning off the water and drying herself off as best she could. She ran her hooves over the curvature of her belly, feeling at peace when she felt the hooves of her children return the touch. She exited the bathroom, returning to the main area where the other mares were waiting. Rarity looked over, letting out a gasp.

“Oh my, Octavia! You look positively radiant! Truly the look of an expectant mother,” Rarity exclaimed.

“Oh… thank you,” Octavia said with a slight blush.

“Come, come, let’s get started on your mane,” Rarity said, ushering Octavia over to the main mirror, sitting her down on the stool in front of it. Rarity ran her hooves through Octavia’s mane. “Your mane is like silk! I’m almost envious,” she giggled.

“Oh, I make sure to take care of it as much as possible… whereas Vinyl tends to just shake her head and it pops into place like rubber,” Octavia said.

“That doesn’t surprise me at all,” Lyra commented. “I’m kinda the same way. I mean sure, I brush it some, but for the most part it just kinda naturally sticks like this. It drives Bonbon nuts,” she laughed.

“So Octavia, is there anything I should expect in the coming months?” Twilight asked as she applied her mascara.

“Well, I would figure there would not be much advice I could give you based on the fact that you would have already studied up on the subject,” Octavia reasoned.

“While that’s true, every pregnancy is different, so I’m trying to account for any variables,” Twilight said.

“I would be happy to help then,” Octavia said. “For one, whatever weight you think you feel you will be gaining, double it. By the end of the day I am ready to remove my hooves by force if need be. I had morning sickness the first month or so but that seems to have gone away…” Twilight absentmindedly began taking notes as she listened to Octavia, a notepad and quill hovering nearby her head, scribbling everything down. Once Octavia had finished, Twilight went over her notes.

“These notes are super helpful,” Twilight said. “Thank you Octavia.”

“Anytime, Twilight.”

“Hey Twi, you think you can shoot me a copy of that? I wanna have it on hoof in case Bonbon needs it,” Lyra asked.

“Sure thing!” Twilight said.

“I’ve always wondered if I would be a good mother…” Fluttershy voiced.

“Why Fluttershy, you’re the most caring and nurturing of all of us, I daresay you’d be a phenomenal mother,” Rarity said.

“You really think so?” Fluttershy asked. The other mares all stopped what they were doing to look at Fluttershy, eyebrows raised. “Oh… okay…” she said, feeling awkward with so many eyes on her.

“Seriously though Fluttershy, I feel as though you would make for an excellent mother. You have already experienced the miracle of birth many times through the animals you tend to, so perhaps sometime in the future it will be your turn,” Octavia said.

“I hadn’t thought of that…” Fluttershy said, turning a slight shade of pink at the thought of having her own foal.

“What about you Rarity? Have you thought about it at all?” Trixie asked.

“What, and ruin this figure? Absolutely not!” Rarity huffed. “...At least, not yet.” She then caught the slightly worried expressions of both Octavia and Twilight. “That- that’s not to say that it will be impossible to fix, just that it will take a great deal of work to fix,” she said, trying her best not to make things worse. To her embarrassment, she failed.

“Gee, thanks Rarity…” Twilight said. Octavia merely hung her head in sadness.

“I think I’ll be quiet now…” Rarity said, going back to her makeup. The mares all continued to chat, doing their manes and readying themselves for the big day. The bridesmares all put on their dresses, assisting Octavia into hers. Once she was fully dressed, they all took a step back to take a look at her, finding themselves stunned into silence.

“You look absolutely beautiful, Octavia…” Lyra said, breathless. Octavia quietly trotted up to the mirror, seeing herself in her dress for the first time. She raised the veil, allowing herself a better view. Rarity had truly outdone herself. She had gotten every nuance of Octavia’s personality down to the last detail.

She raised a hoof, gently touching the amethyst gem that sat on her trademark bow-tie as she eyed the onyx quaver poised neatly beneath her left ear, representative of Vinyl’s cutie mark. The pristine white fabric of the dress seemed to almost glow in the early morning sunlight. The pony in the mirror almost looked like a porcelain doll, mane and tail combed and straightened to perfection, hooves shining a glossy, bright shine.

Octavia could hardly believe she was looking at herself. She felt her eyes well up, but refused to cry and let her makeup get ruined. She would let that happen later. She turned to Rarity, smiling widely.

“It is perfect. I could not have imagined a more beautiful dress,” Octavia said. Rarity dabbed her eyes with a hoofkerchief, thoroughly pleased with herself.

“Thank you darling, but your expression is more of a reward to me,” Rarity said.

“How do I look?” a small voice said from another room. In entered Spike, looking sharp in his brand new tuxedo, tailored specifically to his measurements.

“You look quite dashing Spike,” Octavia said. “A true filly-killer,” she said.

Spike merely grinned, looking himself over. “I do look pretty good…”

“Take it easy Casanova, don’t let it go to your head,” Twilight said. “I need your head in the game, Octavia has a special task for you.”

“I’ve got this,” Spike said coolly, walking over to Octavia. “Congratulations on your wedding, Octavia. You look beautiful.”

“Thank you very much, Spike. That means a lot coming from you,” Octavia said graciously. “Now, as Twilight said, I have something special in mind for you. Are you prepared for this?”

“You can count on me Octavia,” Spike said resolutely.

“Very good. I would like you to be my ring bearer, if you would be willing,” Octavia offered.

“Me? The ring bearer? What an honor! Of course I’ll do it!” Spike said.

“Thank you Spike, that will be a big help,” Octavia said.

“Why me, though?” Spike asked.

“Why not? You are a young, handsome dragon that has been nothing but an upstanding gentlecolt as long as I have known you. I think you deserve it,” Octavia said with a wink. “Rarity, be sure to give Spike the box with my ring as well as his instructions for the ceremony, please.”

“Of course, darling! No need to worry,” Rarity said with a small smile.

I wish Vinyl could see this… Octavia thought, watching the others as they finished getting ready. “Everything is coming together beautifully. I love how elegant your dresses are; the way it filters from white to violet is simply magnificent,” she said. “You never cease to impress, Rarity.”

“Oh stop Octavia, today is your day, not mine! Remember, this is my passion. I thoroughly enjoyed crafting these dresses. I can only imagine how beautiful Vinyl will look in hers,” Rarity said. “I’m also sure you’re dying to see her in it,” she winked. “Sweetie Belle, are you almost ready?”

“I’m ready, Rarity!” a small voice chimed from another room. In entered Sweetie Belle, her mane having been straightened down to her shoulders, just the slightest amount of eyeliner to bring out her olive green eyes. Spike whirled around, taking in the sight of Sweetie Belle. He felt his heart hitch in his chest, suddenly short of breath.

“W-Wow, Sweetie Belle… you look really pretty…” Spike said.

“Oh, um… thanks Spike… you look really nice too,” Sweetie Belle said, blushing at the praise. She looked back at him again. “Oh, your tie is a little crooked…” she said, trotting up to him. She reached forward, adjusting his tie to straighten it, causing Spike to internally short circuit, the scales on his face turning a deep shade of violet. Twilight leaned over to Trixie as the cute scene unfolded.

“I think Rarity just may have been dethroned…” Twilight whispered.

“I think so too,” Trixie giggled.

“You two are absolutely adorable together! I need to take a photo,” Rarity said, retrieving her camera and forcing them to stand together, the two smiling awkwardly as their picture was taken.

“Sweetie Belle, I have an important favor to ask of you,” Octavia said.

“What is it, Miss Octavia?” Sweetie Belle asked, cantering up to her.

“Would you be okay with walking down the aisle with Spike? I want the two of you to deliver my ring to the altar,” Octavia said.

“I’d love to!” Sweetie Belle squeaked happily.

“Thank you so much Sweetie Belle, and I must say you look absolutely darling,” Octavia said.

“Thanks, but you look much more beautiful today,” Sweetie Belle said. “Oh, and congratulations!”

“Thank you,” Octavia said graciously. “Now that everypony is ready, once my parents get here, we will all make our way to the chapel. Oh, and be prepared, my father may be a little… hard to manage,” Octavia said.

“I’m sure we can handle him, how difficult could it be?” Twilight said.

“Clearly you have yet to meet my father…”

“She’s not kidding you guys, I was stuck in their house with her and Vinyl’s parents for two days. They’re a trip let me tell you, especially when they’re all together,” Lyra said.

“Huh… well, I think we’ll be okay,” Trixie said.

“I will say it again; ‘Clearly you have yet to meet my father’.”

Vinyl arrived at Sweet Apple Acres, finding Big Macintosh already outside and hard at work.

“Morning, Mac!”

“Mornin’ Miss Vinyl,” Big Mac said as he pulled the till behind him.

“I thought you were gonna come to the wedding,” Vinyl said.

“Can’t. Gotta till the fields first,” Big Mac said plainly.

“Oh… but you’ll at least come to the reception, right?” Vinyl asked.

“Eeyup, once I’m done,” Big Mac assured.

“Okay, great! See you later then,” Vinyl said, content.

“Eeyup. Congrats,” Big Mac said with a small smile, tipping his head in her direction.

“Thanks,” Vinyl said. “Do I just go in through here or…?”

“Eeyup, right through there.”

“Okay, thanks.”

Vinyl pushed the front door open, seeing her own bridesmaids milling about as they got ready. Pinkie was the first to greet her as both Rainbow Dash and Applejack struggled to get her mane under control.

“Gooood morning, Scratchie! Are you excited?! I’m sure excited ‘cause today’s your wedding day!” Pinkie Pie exclaimed with more energy than Vinyl could comprehend.

“Yeeeah, super excited,” Vinyl said, wincing slightly at the sheer volume and pitch of Pinkie’s voice.

“C’mon Pinkie! Hold, still!” Rainbow Dash said as she tried to help keep Pinkie from moving while Applejack used her strength to move the comb through her mane.

“Jeez Pinkie, when was the last time ya did anything to yer mane?” Applejack asked, straining the comb against Pinkie’s mane, the stress causing it to crack and snap in two. “Consarnit, that’s the third brush you’ve broken!”

“Just forget it Applejack, I don’t think we’ll be able to control it,” Bonbon said, rolling her eyes.

“Leave her be you guys, Pinkie’s fine the way she is,” Vinyl said, to which Pinkie gave a grand smile.

“So, you excited?” Rainbow Dash asked as she ran a brush through her own mane a few times to get any stray strands in order.

“Yeah… nervous too,” Vinyl said. “Bonnie, I’m gonna need your help. I’m no good with makeup stuff.”

“No need to worry Vinyl,” Bonbon said, retrieving a suitcase and sliding it onto the kitchen table. She then opened it, revealing an array of different makeups as well as applicators, impressing the other mares. “How do you think Lyra leaves the house looking so good?” she winked.

“You rock, Bonnie!” Vinyl said, giving her a quick hug.

“I know, now go get ready!”

“Right, which way is your shower, Applejack?”

“Down the hall and to the right, can’t miss it. I just got out myself so the water should still be warm. Once you’re done Bonbon can jump in,” Applejack said.

“Got it!” Vinyl said. She made her way down the hallway, seeing numerous photographs of the Apple family. I can’t wait until our family gets to take photos like these… she thought. I should buy a camera.

She then entered the bathroom, finding a fresh towel. She shut the door behind her, stepping into the shower. She turned on the water, letting it soak into her skin. “Oooh, that feels awesome,” she sighed. She sat down in the shower, allowing the water to hit her for a short while before actually washing up.

Once she finished, she stepped out and dried off, giving a sigh as her mane snapped back into its usual position. I kinda understand how Pinkie feels… She then sniffed the air. Does everything in this house smell like apples? she wondered, giving a small shrug as she exited the bathroom.

She returned to the kitchen, finding that they had finally gotten Pinkie’s mane under control. “Wow, I’m impressed,” Vinyl said.

“Yeah, it wasn’t easy, but we did it,” Rainbow Dash said with a grin.

“Five brushes… five,” Applejack said, shaking her head slightly. “Oh Vinyl, remind me ta get my dress Stetson before we go.”

“Sure thing,” Vinyl said, taking a seat in the kitchen.

“Just sit tight Vinyl, I’ll help you do your mane and makeup once I get out of the shower,” Bonbon said as she made her way to the shower.

“Gotcha,” Vinyl said.

“So, you gonna be DJing the reception or is somepony else gonna be doing it?” Rainbow Dash asked.

“Nah, not today. It’s actually funny that you’re asking that question,” Vinyl said.

“Yeah! I was there when it happened! Octavia came by to visit me and ask me how things were going so then I told her that one of the DJs got sick with the pony pox and then this other pony offered then Octavia got mad and I left,” Pinkie said in one breath.

“She got mad? Why’s that, Vinyl?” Applejack asked.

“Well… it’s a bit of a long story,” Vinyl said.

“We’ve got nowhere to go until we’re ready, might as well spill it,” Dash said with a small shrug.

“Alright, though I gotta warn you all; I don’t want anypony getting angry or trying to get revenge on my behalf, at least not today,” Vinyl said.

“It’d take somethin’ pretty bad ta get us to that point,” Applejack assured.

“You say that now…” Vinyl said. She then began to recount how she originally met Neon, their partnership-turned-relationship, their breakup, his return into her life and the massive amount of chaos he caused. The other mares were left in silence, Dash scowling heavily.

“What a jerk! Ugh, that makes me so mad! I swear if he even thinks about messing today up for you I’ll—” Dash stopped short when Applejack raised a hoof.

“You’ll do nothin’ of the sort, Dash. Firstly, it ain’t yer place or yer business. Secondly, it’s Vinyl’s weddin’ day, ya ain’t gonna screw that up, not if I have anythin’ ta say about it. Lastly, it’s gotta mean somethin’ if he’s decided ta offer his services for the weddin’,” Applejack reasoned.

“But that’s just it! What if he’s trying to mess with them again?” Dash said.

“Octavia already laid down the law with him. We’re giving him one chance. He mucks this up, he’s gonna regret it,” Vinyl said.

“If you’re sure…” Dash said skeptically.

“C’mon Dashie, if Vinyl thinks he’s worth giving another chance then I say give it to him! Besides, he didn’t seem like a bad pony, just a good pony who did a bad thing,” Pinkie said. “We’ve all done some silly things to ponies we care about, even if what he did wasn’t so silly. Everypony deserves a second chance.”

“Alright, fine! I get it, I’ll back off,” Dash said, acquiescing. “I’m still not a hundred percent sold, but I’ll trust your judgment.”

“I getcha, and believe me, I feel the same way. Thanks though Dash, I know you mean well,” Vinyl said. “He’s not a bad dude, at least I don’t remember him being that bad a dude… hopefully he’s actually changed for the better.”

“I guess we’ll find out soon enough,” Applejack said. Bonbon emerged shortly thereafter.

“Okay, let’s get you ready!” Bonbon said, sitting Vinyl in front of the mirror and opening her briefcase. “If there are any other ponies who need my help with makeup, now would be the time to ask!” Rainbow Dash quietly trotted over to the table, taking a seat.

“I, uh… I’m no good with this stuff either,” Rainbow Dash admitted, blushing slightly in embarrassment.

“No need to be embarrassed, we’re all friends here,” Bonbon said, patting Rainbow Dash on the shoulder.

“I can help, Dashie! Let me help!” Pinkie offered. “I’m suuuuuuper good with makeup! I do it all the time when I do birthday parties for the little foalsies!”

“Probably not a bad idea Dash, I don’t know how long I’m gonna be working on Vinyl,” Bonbon suggested.

“Well… okay I guess,” Dash said. “You’d better not make me look like a clown!”

“Just trust me Rainbow Dash, I’m gonna make you look good!” Pinkie immediately went to work, slathering makeup on Dash’s face in a flurry of hooves.

“Uh, Pinkie, don’tcha think that—” Applejack started, but was ultimately ignored.

“Aaaaaand done!” Pinkie said, whirling Dash around, whose makeup looked surprisingly immaculate.

“Woah… that’s… actually amazing,” Bonbon said. Pinkie held up the mirror, allowing Dash to get a good look at herself.

“Who’s that hottie in the mirror? Oh wait, it’s me!” Dash said with a small laugh.

“Well ain’t that swell, just feed Dash’s ego more why don’tcha?” Applejack sighed, Bonbon laughing at her passing comment.

“When you look this good, ego ain’t even a thing,” Dash said. Bonbon continued working on Vinyl, finishing up by applying her lipstick.

“Ugh, this stuff tastes weird…” Vinyl said.

“You say that ‘cause you’re not used to wearing it,” Bonbon reasoned.

“You have a point,” Vinyl responded. She looked at herself in the mirror, impressed. Her eyelashes looked lengthy and full, her eyeliner emphasizing the ruby red of her irises. “Wow Bonnie, you did some awesome work here.”

“Glad you think so, ‘cause I’m not done!” Bonbon said, reaching forward and grabbing a hoofful of Vinyl’s mane.

“Woah, woah, be careful noooooooow!” Vinyl yelled as Bonbon forcibly pulled it back and drove a comb through it in one motion. She tied it back and styled it at the end, leaving only a few locks untamed.

“Just one more thing…” Bonbon said, moving over to Vinyl’s side and clipping on the bow as well as the amethyst treble clef under her left ear, representative of Octavia’s cutie mark. “Done!” Bonbon chirped. Vinyl looked at herself in the mirror, stunned by what she was looking at.

“Wow… I look beautiful…” Vinyl said softly. “I mean, I totally expected to look hot, but I never really thought of myself as beautiful,” she said. I wonder how Octy looks in her dress… she thought.

“Okay Applejack, your turn!” Bonbon said.

“Actually Bonbon, I think I can take care of it myself…” Applejack said, raising her hooves.

“You sure?” Bonbon asked. “Pinkie, you think you can help me with Applejack?”

“Yup! Sure thing, Bonbon! We’re gonna make her preeeetty!” Pinkie giggled, the slightest hint of mischief present in her voice.

“Now c’mon y’all, let’s not do anything hasty…!” Applejack said, suddenly finding herself in a corner as the other two mares bore down on her. Without warning, both Pinkie and Bonbon lunged at Applejack, grabbing her and dragging her into the next room, fighting her to get her makeup on. As they struggled, Vinyl found herself alone with Rainbow Dash, who was adjusting her mane in the mirror for peak coolness.

“So, Dash, I got a question for you…” Vinyl said as she began to brush her tail to straighten it.

“Shoot,” Dash said.

“Are your mane colors natural or do you dye your mane to get them?”

“One hundred percent natural, that’s what makes me awesome,” Dash said smugly.

“No kidding, it’s pretty cool,” Vinyl said.

“Y’know, I also gotta say it’s pretty cool being a bridesmare for one of the best DJ’s in Equestria, who also happens to now be my friend,” Dash said.

“Heh, anytime,” Vinyl said, extending a hoof, to which Dash bumped it in return. Bonbon and Pinkie Pie emerged, a very grumpy and very pretty Applejack in tow.

“I coulda done it myself…” Applejack said flatly.

“Oh come on, AJ. If it helps, you look really pretty,” Vinyl said, batting her eyelashes at Applejack. Dash then proceeded to burst into laughter, banging her hoof on the table.

“Yeah yeah, yuck it up,” Applejack said. “Let’s just get dressed already,” she said as she trotted by Rainbow Dash, whipping a rear hoof out and catching her right on the cutie mark.

“Yeowch!” Dash yelped, rubbing her flank while shooting Applejack a glare.

“Hey AJ, can I borrow one of your ties?” Vinyl asked.

“Sure thing Vy,” Applejack said, reaching back to her mane and untying it, causing her mane to cascade down her shoulders in a flowing river of gold. Everypony present stared at her in awe. “See, this is why I don’t do this in front of anypony, it’s the same thing every durned time! You’d think y’all’ve never seen a blonde pony with her mane down!” she sighed, shaking her head.

“You should definitely do it more often; in fact, as official second bride of today’s wedding, I want your mane down until it’s over,” Vinyl said with a smirk.

“Oh, now you have to leave it down,” Bonbon said.

“Fine, if it’ll get y’all off my back about it,” Applejack said as she passed the tie to Vinyl, who used it to tie the end of her tail together to keep it in order.

“Hey AJ, where’s my dress?”

“Upstairs in my room, I went ahead and made sure ta lay it out for ya before ya got here,” Applejack said as she slipped on her dress.

“Okay, cool,” Vinyl said, getting up and heading upstairs. She entered Applejack’s room, finding her dress laid out on the bed. She quietly slipped it on, adjusting her sleeves as well as the shawl around her neck. She put on the necklace that Rarity picked out for her, and turned to the mirror.

She simply sat there, staring at herself and processing what she was seeing. It was then that it caught up to her. I’m a bride. I’m getting married. To the mare I love, she thought, unable to stop smiling. Her vision grew misty, but she immediately cleared away the tears. Bonbon had worked too hard on her makeup for her to mess it up by crying.

She then left Applejack’s room, hearing commotion coming from the room across from her’s. Vinyl pressed her ear up to the door, hearing what sounded like Scootaloo and Apple Bloom.

“Hey girls, you okay in there?” Vinyl asked, the commotion within coming to a halt.

“Uh… I think I need a little help,” Scootaloo said. Vinyl opened the door, finding Apple Bloom struggling to get the zipper on the back of the dress up. The girls looked to Vinyl, stunned by her appearance.

“Wow Miss Vinyl, you look beautiful!” Apple Bloom said.

“Yeah, super beautiful!” Scootaloo added.

“Thanks, I know,” Vinyl said coolly. “Now, how can I help?”

“My dress is stuck,” Scootaloo said. Vinyl took a look and found that a feather had gotten caught in the teeth of the zipper.

“Alright Scoots, there’s a feather stuck back here. I’m gonna have to pull it out, so this may hurt a bit,” Vinyl said.

“This is gonna hurt a lot…” Scootaloo said, anxious.

“It’s gonna be fine, Scoots. I want you to do something for me, okay?” Vinyl asked.

“What’s that?”

“I want you to show me how tough you are!” Vinyl said, furrowing her brow at Scootaloo. Scootaloo’s entire demeanor changed, giving a small snort as she readied herself.

“Okay, I’ll be tough!” Scootaloo said, doing her best to hide the nervousness in her voice.

“You can do it, Scootaloo!” Apple Bloom said, giving her friend whatever moral support she could offer.

“You gonna be tough!?” Vinyl said, readying to pull the feather.

“I’m gonna be tough!” Scootaloo said.

“One, two, three!” Vinyl said, yanking out the feather. Scootaloo gave a yelp of pain, the filly gritting her teeth against it as tears welled up in her eyes. Vinyl immediately kneeled down to her, looking her in the eye. “Hey, you did it! You were super tough!”

“I, I was?” Scootaloo sniffled.

“The toughest, and guess what, now we can pull your dress up, so now you’re tough and good-looking!” Vinyl said as Apple Bloom slid the zipper up into place.

“Thanks Vinyl, you’re almost as cool as Rainbow Dash,” Scootaloo said, giving her a hug.

“I can accept that,” Vinyl said with a smile, returning the hug. “You two look awesome, you’re gonna knock all the colts dead!”

“Why would we do that?” Apple Bloom asked, Scootaloo mirroring her confusion.

Kids, Vinyl thought. “Nevermind. Either way, now that I helped you, I’m gonna need your help.”

“How can we help?” the fillies chimed in together.

“How would you two like to bring my ring up to the altar?” Vinyl asked. Their eyes lit up as they smiled.

“Heck yeah!” Scootaloo said.

“You can count on us Miss Vinyl!” Apple Bloom said.

“Awesome, I knew I could,” Vinyl said, hoof-bumping the fillies. “Alright, now let’s go downstairs and wait for my parents to show up so we can go to the chapel together.”

“Okay!” the fillies said in unison, darting out of the room together, Vinyl in tow. The fillies made their way down the stairs, the other mares expressing their delight at how cute they looked in their dresses. After a few moments, Vinyl spoke up.

“You guys ready for me?” Vinyl asked.

“C’mon down, we wanna see!” Applejack said.

“Yeah, get on with it!” Rainbow Dash exclaimed. With that, Vinyl appeared at the top of the stairs, eliciting sounds of awe from her bridesmares.

“You look so beautiful…” Bonbon said, stunned.

“Thanks, I know,” Vinyl said with a small grin as she made her way down the stairs, basking in the adulation of her friends. Once she made it to the bottom of the stairs, she took a seat. “Right, now all we gotta do is wait for my parents… that’s gonna be fun.”

Kester stared into the mirror, eyeing his bushy red beard closely.

“Jus’ one more lil’ snip…” he said softly, quickly cutting what he seemed to be an errant hair that stuck out.

“Kester, you’ve been in there for almost an hour, I need to bathe!” Madeline said.

“A’m almost done, Maddie! Jus’ give me five more minutes!” Kester said, spotting another hair out of place.

“I’m not waiting any longer! Open the door and I’ll just shower with you in there,” Madeline said, exasperated. The door opened, Madeline pushing past her husband and entering the shower. Kester heard the water kick on, turning and seeing his wife’s shapely silhouette in the shower curtain.

“Are ye’ sure ye’… don’ want me ta join ye’?” Kester asked. Madeline peeked her head out from behind the curtain, staring him down.

“Don’t. Even. Think. About it,” Madeline growled.

“Ach, fine! A’ get it, sheesh…” Kester said, immediately backing off. He went back to his grooming… then cast another gaze at the shower. Maybe just a peek… he thought, quietly moving over to the edge of the shower. He gently grabbed the edge of the curtain, pulling it back slightly. To his horror, Madeline was already expecting him, an expression of pure unbridled fury on her face. Kester quickly shut the curtain. “Nope. A’m… uh… gonna go get dressed…” he said, scrambling out of the bathroom as quickly as his hooves could carry him.

As much as I like the fact that he still finds me so attractive, there is a time and place for everything, Madeline thought with a small smile on her face.

Kester made his way back to the main area, retrieving his bag with his suit in it. He opened it, pulling out his coat as well as another bag within. He slipped on his shirt, buttoning it up, then slipping on his coat. He opened the other bag, retrieving his glengarry and kilt, both of which bore the Malt family crest. He put on the kilt, zipping it up and adjusting the crest to be visible, then adjusting his glengarry. Madeline emerged from the shower and smiled at the sight of Kester in his traditional wear.

“Wearing your family garments?” Madeline asked.

“O’ course! Tavi’s a Malt, and we Malts are a proud Scoltish family. It’d be doin’ both her an’ ma’ family a disservice by no’ wearin’ it,” Kester said, puffing out his chest.

“Right right,” Madeline said, sitting in front of the mirror and beginning to comb her mane in the way she wanted. A moment later, she felt a tap on her shoulder. She looked to her left, finding Kester sitting next to her. He quietly slid his tie onto the countertop in front of her, clearing his throat. “Do you need me to help you put on your tie?”

“Perhaps,” Kester said. Madeline rolled her eyes, unable to stop herself from smiling.

“Come here,” Madeline said, putting down her brush. Kester sat in front of her, Madeline grabbing the tie and sliding it under the collar, tying and adjusting it for him. “Sometimes it is glaringly obvious that under all that fur and muscle, you are just a sweet little country colt, Kester Malt.”

“Aye, but A’m yer favorite country colt,” Kester winked. “Jus’ like ye’ are ma’ favorite city filly,” he said.

“That is very true my love,” Madeline responded sweetly. She gently tugged on his tie, pulling his face downward to share in a quick kiss. Madeline then sighed. “Can you believe our baby is getting married today?”

“Ach, don’ remind me, Maddie… A’m havin’ a hard enough time acceptin’ ma’ lil’ Tavi is… m-ma’ baby is…” Kester said, his voice cracking as he found himself surprisingly short of words. Madeline wordlessly wrapped her forelegs around his neck, the stallion unable to contain his emotions. Images and memories surfaced in his mind, such as the memory of the day Octavia first came into the world and the memory of the day he brought her home from the hospital.

“There there, darling,” Madeline cooed, rubbing his back. “She’ll always be our little filly.”

“A’ know, Maddie…” Kester said, wiping his face and blowing his nose into a tissue. “A’ jus’ cannae believe she’s all grown up…”

“Yes she is, Kester… but at the end of the day, she will always be our daughter, and you will always be her father,” Madeline soothed. “In fact, it’s like we have two daughters now. We’ve both grown to love Vinyl like she was our own.”

“Aye, very true…” Kester said with a small smile. “A’m not worried.”

“Neither am I. I knew from the day that we met her, just seeing the way she looks at Octavia that what they have is real. She is going to be just fine,” Madeline said. “Just… fine…” It was then Kester’s turn to do the comforting as Madeline burst into tears, the stallion scooping her into his chest and letting her cry.

“This is goin’ ta be a tough day…” Kester said. After a few moments, Madeline shook herself out of it.

“Now is not the time for tears! I still have to get dressed,” Madeline said, kissing her husband on the cheek as thanks for comforting her, hurrying off to put on her dress. Kester gave a small sigh as he eyed his harp in its case. He contemplated practicing and getting warmed up, but decided against it.

“Does this look okay?” Madeline said from nearby, Kester turning to look. He about felt his eyes bug out of his head, his throat suddenly going dry as he laid eyes on his wife. She was wearing a slim, yet elegant emerald dress, accentuating her eyes. Kester opened his mouth to speak a few times, but words eluded him. Her mane had been done up in a tight bun, her bangs perfectly even across her forehead, two locks coming down the sides of her face and stopping just past her chin.

“Tha’ dress is dangerous, Maddie!” Kester said. “If we hadn’t jus’ spent over an hour gettin’ ready A’d take ye’ were ye’ stand,” he said huskily, to which Madeline blushed.

“Maybe later, we need to go and get Octavia,” Madeline giggled. With that, the two left their hotel room, heading for the Carousel Boutique.

“Marianna, are you almost ready? We are burning daylight, dear…” Rolando called out. When he received no response, he merely shook his head and trotted over to the mirror. He looked himself over for what seemed like the hundredth time, making sure not a hair or thread stood out of place on his person. He looked over at a small case standing next to his luggage, and smiled.

Vincenza will love that, I am sure… he thought to himself. He took a seat on the bed, opening his wallet. In it, aside from his personal effects, he kept a small photograph tucked away. He slid it out of his wallet, examining it.

It was a photo of Vinyl, sitting in Rolando’s grip, just old enough to be school-aged, with a big smile and shiny new braces. Her wild mane had been controlled, pulled back into a tight ponytail as she beamed at her father. He remembered it as though it were yesterday…


“Come now, Vincenza… Give us a smile,” Rolando said.

“I don’t wanna! They look stupid,” Vincenza said shyly, unappreciative of her mother holding a camera to her face.

“Now darling, why ever would you think that?” Rolando said, sitting in front of her.

“‘Cause the other fillies at school were making fun of me…” Vincenza said sadly, looking downcast. Rolando gently swept her up into his grip, embracing her. “They said my braces made me look dumb…”

“Now let me tell you something about those other fillies,” Rolando said. “They are not Staccatos. They are not my children. You are, and you are the one I care about. You are my daughter, and in my eyes, you are the most beautiful, wonderful and charming little filly I have ever known, and that will never change, braces or not,” Rolando said.

“Really?” Vinyl said, looking up at him with a tender yet hopeful expression.

“Really, and no matter what happens in life, I will always love you,” Rolando said, kissing her on the forehead just above her horn, to which Vinyl smiled brightly.

“I love you too, Daddy…” Vincenza said, hugging him around his neck as Marianna snapped the photo.


Rolando sniffled heavily as he watched the scene play out in his mind, bringing the photograph to his heart. He could still feel her little forelegs wrapped around his neck, her bright smile lighting up the room. He felt Marianna sit beside him, leaning her head on his shoulder.

“My little girl is all grown up…” Rolando said.

“She is… she has grown so much. We could not have expected any more from her. She is strong, independent, kind, and gentle. Octavia has brought out the very best in her,” Marianna said.

“You are absolutely right,” Rolando said as he wiped his face. “She must look stunning in her dress…”

“I cannot express my excitement in seeing her all dressed up!” Marianna chirped, quickly shooting off the bed to prepare her mane. As Marianna readied herself, Rolando retrieved the case from his luggage, and exited the room and out to the balcony. He figured now would be a good time to warm up.

The cool, spring breeze blew gently against his coat as he opened the case, retrieving an antique violin that lay within. He gripped the ancient wood, feeling it creak slightly in his grip, but the quality of its design withstood the test of time, the wood holding strong. It belonged to his father, after all.

He drew his bow, and began to play, drawing his bow and starting with a simple melody and making it steadily more complex, layering more emotion into the piece as he played. Once complete, he gave a satisfied sigh, feeling his wrists were now primed and ready. He slid the violin and bow back into its case, latching it shut and entering the hotel room once more.

“That was a lovely piece Rolando,” Marianna said as she put on her earrings. Marianna was wearing a stunning royal blue dress, her mane done in beautiful ringlet curls that sat at her shoulders. She had applied just the smallest bit of makeup to bring out the features of her face.

“You look magnificent, my dear. Are you sure you are not the bride?” Rolando said with a smirk.

“Oh stop it,” Marianna said demurely, giggling as she blushed softly at the compliment. “You look very handsome. You clean up well, as always.”

“Nothing but the very best for my little girl,” Rolando said.

“Absolutely,” Marianna affirmed. “Now, are we ready to go? I am eager to see my daughter,” she said. Rolando nodded, the two exiting the hotel room and locking the door behind them as they made for Sweet Apple Acres.

Kester and Madeline made their way down the streets of Ponyville, the early rising ponies already out and about. They made their way up to the Boutique’s front door, knocking.

“Coming!” a voice said from within. Rarity opened the door, smiling. “You must be the parents of the bride, come in, come in!” she said.

“Thank you, you must be Rarity. My name is Madeline.”

“Aye, and A’m Kester.”

“A pleasure to meet you both, Madeline and…” Rarity trailed off as she got an eyeful of Octavia’s father. “...Kester…” she said softly. What a hunk!

“Heh, A’ think she likes me Maddie,” Kester said with a smirk.

“Good, maybe she’ll keep you,” Madeline said with a sigh, rolling her eyes. Rarity shook it off, letting them pass.

“Goodness me, I didn’t expect that…” Rarity said to herself as she closed the door behind them.

“Hey there you two,” Lyra said, coming forward.

“There she is, the maid o’ honor!” Kester said, hugging her. “Ye look marvelous Lyra.”

“Oh, thanks,” Lyra said, blushing at the compliment.

“Let me start out by saying that you all look absolutely beautiful,” Madeline said. “Rarity, your dresses are more beautiful in person. I have many clients who have spoken wonders about you, but now I see they simply weren’t doing your work justice.”

“Oh, please Madeline, this is my passion, my raison d’etre, if you will,” Rarity said.

“Aye, an’ we just wanna thank ye all for bein’ such good friends with ‘Tavi. As parents, all we want is fer our baby ta’ grow up happy n’ healthy. A’ can already see you two will find out soon enough,” Kester said, nodding in Twilight and Trixie’s direction. “Alright, now lemme see ma’ ‘Tavi in her dress.”

“Octavia, come on out,” Lyra called out. With that, Octavia quietly made her way into the room. The moment Kester laid eyes on her, it felt as if the entire world stood still. His eyes slowly widened as he drank in the sight of his daughter, layered in snow white cloth, unable to think or breathe. All he saw was the little filly, looking back at him with the violet eyes he gave her who was also at one point no bigger than his foreleg, now a fully grown mare and clad in her wedding dress.

“How do I look?” Octavia asked softly.

Kester tried to speak, but could not. The lump in his throat had grown too large, the stallion resisting the urge to burst into tears. Madeline had to restrain herself from crying as well, instead cantering up to her daughter, and kissing her on the forehead.

“There are no words to express how beautiful you look,” Madeline said softly. Octavia blushed, embracing her. After a moment, Octavia then made her way up to Kester, who was visibly in emotional distress, but refused to open his mouth. His eyes opened when he felt a pair of smaller forelegs wrap around his neck as Octavia embraced him tightly.

Please don’t cry, Papa… I’ll always be your little ‘Tavi,” Octavia whispered in her father’s native tongue. With that, the dam burst. Kester’s mighty Scoltish heart dissolved as he openly burst into tears, wrapping a single foreleg around Octavia’s back.

The touching moment between Octavia and her father had most of the mares sniffling; that is, until Kester reached over and grabbed a swatch of Rarity’s fabric to blow his nose with.

“No, no, not that—” Rarity’s voice was drowned out as Kester blew his nose, the action sounding like a foghorn going off in the center of the room. Once he stopped, Rarity sighed. “I suppose I can always make a new one…”

“A’m sorry, ‘Tavi! Ye jus’ look so beautiful,” Kester explained, as he took a breath to calm himself. “A jus’... saw ye grow up ‘fore ma’ very eyes.”

“I know, Papa,” Octavia said, kissing him on the cheek. “Shall we go to the chapel?”

“Aye,” Kester said, grinning from ear to ear. “Let’s get ma’ baby married!”

Rolando and Marianna made their way down the well-trodden path to Sweet Apple Acres, taking in the sights.

“This is such a lovely little town… it almost makes me regret not moving here when we married,” Marianna commented.

“Our home has been in the family for generations. I wanted to live there and have Vincenza grow up around her grandparents. I daresay my father was not around much when I was growing up, and when he was, he drove me like a mule…” Rolando stated. “I wanted to make sure that did not happen to her like it did to me.”

“I know dear, I was just making an observation. Did Kester take the proposition well?” Marianna asked.

“He did, in fact. He wants to smooth out some of the details, but he said he was willing. Hoofington is quite a stretch away from Ponyville and I would hate to have our grandchildren constantly moving to and from if they decide to visit.”

“Very good,” Marianna said. “We only met them some time ago and they already feel like they are part of the family. I have not had a friend I can confide in like Madeline in ages, and Kester, for all his quirks, has a heart of gold.”

“That he does, dearest. I still feel a bit ashamed of myself for squabbling with him when we were snowed in, and he got hurt because of me when I had my episode,” Rolando said, a tone of regret in his voice.

“I am certain he holds nothing against you. I would even go as far as saying that he feels the way you do about it all,” Marianna reasoned. “I would think that he would not had gone to the lengths he did to bring you back if he did not care for you.”

“Very true,” Rolando said. “It also goes to show how much he loves Vincenza. They have accepted her with open hooves, and we need to make sure we do the same for Octavia. She is more than deserving.”

“Without a doubt dear,” Marianna said. The two approached the main house of Sweet Apple Acres, knocking on the door. There was the sound of scrambling hooves, then silence. Applejack emerged a few moments later.

“Howdy, ‘n welcome to Sweet Apple Acres! Y’all must be Vinyl’s folks,” Applejack said with a grin.

“Yes we are, and erm… ‘howdy’ to you as well,” Marianna said with a smile.

“Good morning,” Rolando said.

“C’mon inside, Vy’s ready n’ rarin’ ta go,” Applejack said, ushering them inside.

“‘Vy’? What a cute nickname!” Marianna chirped.

The couple entered, taking in the rustic appearance of Applejack’s home.

“What a lovely little home you have here, erm... I am sorry, I did not catch your name,” Marianna said.

“Applejack, ma’am,” Applejack said, introducing herself.

“I am Marianna, enchanted to meet you,” Marianna said, doing the same.

“My name is Rolando,” Rolando said courteously. “Is Vincenza ready?” From upstairs, a loud groan was heard.

“‘Vincenza?’” Rainbow Dash repeated. “Oh. Oh. That’s Vinyl’s real name. Oh, that’s just awesome,” she said, holding back laughter. Marianna then spied Bonbon, who was finishing putting on her mascara.

“Bonbon, there you are! Oh, you look absolutely stunning, dear!” Marianna said as she approached her. Bonbon’s face lit up in a smile, standing up and moving over to Marianna, the two sharing a quick embrace.

“Oh, thank you. The two of you look fantastic,” Bonbon said as Rolando greeted her as well.

“Thank you dear,” Rolando said. “Do you know how much longer she will be?”

“She should be ready,” Bonbon said. “Vinyl, come on down, your parents are here!” she shouted up the stairs.

Showtime, Vinyl said, swallowing hard as she came around the corner, appearing at the top of the staircase. As she came down, it was as though time itself had stood still. Both Marianna and Rolando had been stunned into complete and utter silence. Rolando was seeing something completely different from all the others; he was seeing the same little Vinyl from the photograph he kept in his wallet coming down the stairs, all dressed up for her first day of school. Then he saw her grow a little, now dressed for her first vocal recital. Then again, dressed for her high school prom. He saw her grow a little more, wearing her cap and gown at her high school graduation, to now, in her wedding dress.

“So… do I, uh… do I look okay?” Vinyl asked nervously. Rolando took a deep breath, clearing his head. He then smiled.

“There was only one day in your life that you were more beautiful than you are now…” Rolando said. “It was the day that you were born… the day I held you in my hooves for the very first time.”

“Dad…” Vinyl said, absolutely touched by his words. She felt her heart catch in her chest, having to blink tears out of her eyes. “You’re gonna make me ruin my makeup. Bonbon worked hard to make me look this good…” Marianna moved over to Vinyl, embracing her tightly.

“We are both so proud of how far you have come…” Marianna said. “You have grown up to be a strong, independent and kind-hearted mare.”

“Thanks Mom,” Vinyl said with a soft smile.

“You could not have found yourself a better partner to spend your life with, and you could not have found better friends to surround yourself with,” Rolando said. “To reiterate what your mother said, we are so proud of you, and know that no matter what the future may hold, you always have a home, and we will always love you…” he said, kissing her on the cheek. Vinyl threw her forelegs around her father’s neck, unable to hold back the tears.

“I love you too Daddy…” Vinyl said softly, kissing him on the cheek in return.

“That’s, so, sweeeeeeet!” Pinkie exclaimed, bawling at the touching scene unfolding in front of them. It took a few moments to calm her down, Bonbon smiling and rolling her eyes.

“C’mon Pinkie, we still got time. We can redo your makeup, and then I’ll redo Vinyl’s,” Bonbon said with a small laugh. Vinyl chuckled sheepishly.

“Sorry…” Vinyl said.

“Do you really think I’m gonna be mad over you crying because your dad said such a sweet thing to you? What kind of friend do you take me for?” Bonbon said, nudging Vinyl’s shoulder.

“The best kind,” Vinyl winked.

“Now now, fillies, we can all have a good cry during the ceremony later,” Marianna said. “We need to get going so we can get the ceremony under way.”

“Right… let’s do this thing!” Vinyl said with a smirk.

The two wedding parties arrived at the chapel, Octavia’s party arriving through the front and Vinyl’s through the back as to keep tradition of the married party not seeing or interacting before the ceremony. With the brides tucked away in their waiting rooms, the bridesmaids set off to make sure everything was ready for them.

Rarity quickly set off with Pinkie to make sure all the decorations were in place, Fluttershy making her way outside to call to her doves and do one last practice run of their songs. Rainbow Dash quickly made her rounds and cleared the sky of any clouds, making sure not to muss up her mane in the process. Twilight and Trixie went over their spells, making sure they had them all in order. The mares of honor helped out wherever possible, Lyra staying close by to Bonbon in case she needed assistance. That left just the parents, who convened near the chapel entrance.

“Oh my stars Madeline, you look simply marvelous!” Marianna gushed as she embraced her soon to be co-mother in law.

“No more lovely than you do my friend,” Madeline said, returning the embrace. Kester and Rolando approached one another, shaking hooves.

“Ye clean up well Roly,” Kester said with a toothy grin.

“I daresay I could say the same about you. I must say, the glengarry and kilt are a very nice touch. I can definitely appreciate paying homage to family lineage,” Rolando said, looking Kester up and down.

“Well how abou’ tha’?” Kester said, looking to his wife with a confident smirk. “Somepony likes ma’ weddin’ attire,” he said with a toothy grin.

“I never said it looked bad,” Madeline sighed.

“But ye’ were thinkin’ it,” Kester pointed out. Madeline opened her mouth to protest, but elected not to.

Well, hello! You must be the parents of the brides!” Another voice said as another pony trotted up to them. A mare with a wavy white mane and tan coat wearing glasses and a navy blue suit appeared, smiling brightly. “Good morning everypony, my name is Mayor Mare. I am the Mayor of Ponyville and I will be officiating the wedding today.”

“Oh, splendid to meet you Mayor,” Madeline said, bowing her head out of courtesy, to which the others did as well. “Thank you for taking the time to officiate Octavia and Vincenza’s’ wedding.”

“It is my absolute pleasure. Weddings are momentous occasions, bringing together two families in a way that no other bond can. I wouldn’t have missed it for the world,” Mayor Mare smiled warmly. “Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to prepare. See you all in a moment!” she said as she hurried off

“Well Kester, shall we make our way to the altar and get warmed up?” Rolando offered.

“Aye, we’ll see ye’ durin’ the ceremony,” Kester said to the mares, the two stallions taking their instruments further into the chapel. Madeline then turned to Marianna.

“Could you point me to where Vincenza is? I would love to see her before the ceremony starts.”

“Oh, right down the hall, first door on the right,” Marianna said, pointing behind her. “I would imagine Octavia is down that way?”

“She is,” Madeline winked. The two mares parted, making their way towards the rooms that held their daughters.

Marianna arrived at Octavia’s room, gently knocking on the door. “Octavia? It’s Marianna,” she said softly.

“Come in,” Octavia said from the other side of the door.

Marianna opened the door, and what she saw took her breath away. Octavia was seated on a stool, gently brushing her mane as she looked in a mirror. Save for the pregnancy belly, she looked as delicate and beautiful as a porcelain doll.

“Oh, Octavia… you look so beautiful,” Marianna said as she approached her soon to be daughter in law.

“Thank you Marianna,” Octavia said as she rose to greet her.

“No no, please do not get up on my account, I will come to you,” Marianna said as she closed the distance and embraced Octavia. “I had wanted to see you before the ceremony.”

“I appreciate it. I… am quite nervous,” Octavia said, her voice trembling slightly.

“No need to worry, dearest. You are with the ponies who love you…” Marianna then smiled as she took one of Octavia’s hooves into her own. “Rolando and I were speaking about it earlier. We could not be more proud that Vincenza found you. You have influenced her life in so many positive ways that we couldn’t hope to count them. You complete her, and it makes us so happy to see that she completes you, too. She may have her quirks and her faults… but I have never seen her love and cherish another pony so deeply as she does you. We could not be more honoured to be your in-laws, and we are oh so excited to meet the little ones,” Marianna smiled brightly as she gently placed her hooves on Octavia’s belly, feeling her grandchildren return her touch.

Octavia resisted every urge to cry, feeling a few tears escape the corners of her eyes. “Thank you, Marianna. I cannot tell you how much it means to hear that from you. I do not know if he told you… but I idolize Rolando as a musician. He was one of the reasons I took up the cello in the first place.”

“He told me,” Marianna said with a warm smile as she retrieved a hoofkerchief to wipe away Octavia’s tears. “That is what makes this all the more wonderful. The love of our daughter’s life has a blessed gift that she can contribute to this family that will make it flourish and blossom like a meadow of flowers. All the more reason for us to be proud of her… and you,” she said as she embraced Octavia. “Now, no more tears until after the wedding. We love you very much.”

“I love you too,” Octavia squeaked out past the lump in her throat.

“Come, it is time to get you into position,” Marianna smiled as she assisted Octavia to her hooves.

“Okay, Octavia said softly.

Vinyl paced around the room nervously. “This is it… this is it. I’m getting married. Holy heck this is it!” she said to herself.

“No need to be so nervous,” a voice said. Vinyl jumped back, anxiety apparent in her eyes as she eyed Madeline.

“Oh… it’s just you Maddie…” Vinyl breathed.

“How could a mare that looks as beautiful as you do, be so nervous?” Madeline smirked.

“I know, right?! I’m going crazy in here!” Vinyl said.

“Relax, take a deep breath, and focus on me,” Madeline said, putting a hoof on her shoulder. She breathed along with Vinyl, and within moments Vinyl felt her heart settle back to its normal rhythm.

“Thanks,” Vinyl said with a small smile. “I don’t know what I’d do without you and Kester.”

“I should be saying that to you,” Madeline said. “Kester and I don’t know what we’d be doing without you in our daughter’s life.”

“Maddie…” Vinyl said, her eyes widening.

“I want you to know something. Something that only my husband, my doctor, and my daughter know,” Madeline said. “I’m infertile. I can’t have another foal.”

“That… that’s so sad,” Vinyl said, feeling her heart sink.

“I was sad for a while… until you walked in my front door. The bright smile on your face, the eagerness and desire to make my daughter smile, the look of pure, endless love in her eyes every time she looked at you. That’s something above and beyond anything we could have asked for. I realized then that I didn’t need to birth another foal…” Madeline said.

“Maddie, no…” Vinyl said, her chin quivering as tears threatened to escape her eyes. “Stop it… you’re gonna make me cry…”

“Why would I need to birth another foal when I have you?” Madeline said with a small smile. “You’re the best thing that has happened to our little family since Octavia came into the world. I’m going to say something that I don’t ever want you to forget, and you need to promise me you’ll never forget this, okay?”

Vinyl merely nodded, unable to find the right words.

Madeline then wrapped her forelegs around Vinyl’s frame, cradling her in the same way a mother would with her child. “You are as much a daughter to Kester and I as Octavia is. You will always have a home with us. You are family now, and as Kester will tell you, that is something that we hold in very high regard.” That was all it took. Vinyl’s emotions overcame her and she began to cry in Madeline’s embrace, Madeline soothing her much in the way she would Octavia when she was a filly.

“There there,” Madeline cooed.

“I can’t tell you… how good that makes me feel,” Vinyl choked out after a few minutes. Madeline raised Vinyl’s head, quickly grabbing a napkin and dabbing at the corners of Vinyl’s eyes to clean up the running mascara. “I was so scared I’d do something to mess up what you guys thought of me. I’m scared of messing up the wedding and disappointing Octy…”

“Oh, come now Vinyl, it would take something short of a miracle to ruin today, and even then, it would only make it all the more memorable,” Madeline winked. “And don’t ever think that you could change our opinions of you. Again, it would take something very severe to change that, and I don’t think there is a single mean bone in your body.” Vinyl shook her head, affirming Madeline’s words. “Listen… relax, okay? We love you, and Octavia loves you. Don’t forget that.”

“I love you too second Mom,” Vinyl said innocently, which elicited a small laugh from Madeline.

“I could get used to that,” Madeline said. “Now let’s go. Octavia’s waiting for you.”

“Yeah, let’s do this,” Vinyl said, taking a deep breath and walking out the door behind Madeline.

The chapel was now filled to the brim with ponies from both ends of the family. Kester and Madeline’s extended family filled the left side of the chapel, Marianna and Rolando’s filling the right as they eagerly anticipated the arrival of the brides. The bridesmaids all stood in two separate lines at the entrance, waiting for the procession to begin. Madeline and Marianna quickly crossed paths as they made their way to the opposite ends of the chapel where their daughters waited just outside.

“Alrigh’ Roly… let’s get this weddin’ under way,” Kester whispered.

“Indeed,” Rolando said. Mayor Mare made her way up the aisle, taking her spot at the pulpit at the center of the altar. It was then that the remainder of Octavia’s ensemble quietly entered through the back door of the chapel and took their places at their respective instruments beside Kester and Rolando.

“We’re not late, are we?” Frederic asked softly.

“Just in time boyo,” Kester grinned. Harpo nodded, Beauty Brass slipping on her sousaphone as they all readied to play.
“The sheet music is laid out for you,” Rolando said, pointing at the sheet holder sitting atop the keyboard of the piano.

“Excellent,” Frederic said, flipping it to the first page. "For the record, it is an honor to play with you," he said to Rolando. "We are all big fans of your work.

"Good to know. We will touch on that topic later," Rolando said.

Frederic began to play his piece, one member of each bridal party walking up together in pairs and taking their respective spots on the altar. Frederic’s hooves danced masterfully across the ivory keys, setting the tone of a wedding beautifully. Once all of the bridesmaids had found their spots, it came time to introduce the brides.

Frederic completed his piece, Kester and Rolando beginning to play theirs. The doors on both sides of the chapel opened, letting in beautiful rays of sunlight as Madeline and Marianna entered first, followed by their daughters. As the sound of Rolando’s violin filled Vinyl’s ears, she immediately bit down on her lip to keep from crying. She instantly recognized the tone of the violin as the one her beloved grandfather Ostinato had used.

Grandpa… I miss you so much right now it hurts. I wish you could be here… she thought. Suddenly, a gentle breeze swept by her cheek, a familiar presence filling her heart then fading a moment later. Vinyl gave a soft smile. Thank you…

They met in the center, the mothers then gracefully stepping aside and allowing the brides to finally see each other. Vinyl’s jaw almost dropped to the floor as she soaked in Octavia’s beauty. Octavia was likewise stunned, drinking in every last feature and facet of Vinyl’s current appearance.

“You… you look stunning…” Octavia breathed.

“Can… can I just kiss you now?” Vinyl asked, similarly breathless, which drew a small blush from Octavia.

“In a minute,” Octavia winked. Madeline and Marianna shared an embrace at the altar, then sat by their husbands. Octavia and Vinyl made their way up the altar, standing in front of their respective bridal parties.

“Fillies and gentlecolts, I wish you all a wonderful morning. It is a beautiful day in our lovely little town of Ponyville, and today I welcome you all with a smile on my face and a song in my heart. Today, two of our newest residents, Octavia Philharmonica and Vincenza Staccato are to be wed. It is with great pleasure that I am the one officiating the ceremony for you all. What we have here is the prime example that love can take on any form, whether it be a stallion and mare, two stallions, two mares, or anything in between. Love is blind, love is just. It knows no borders, no genders, and no ideals,” Mayor Mare said. “Moving forward from that, I now request the rings be brought to the altar.”

First came Scootaloo and Apple Bloom, happily walking side by side as they jointly carried Vinyl’s ring to the altar, hoofing it over to her, who gently clipped it to Octavia’s left ear.

Spike and Sweetie Belle followed a moment later, eliciting a bright and colorful wave of adulation from the audience; Sweetie Belle had tenderly wrapped a foreleg around Spike’s arm as he carried the ring with his free hand. Spike sported a bright violet blush, Sweetie’s face a bright pink as she smiled sheepishly, narrowing the distance between them ever so slightly as they walked. Once Spike handed the ring to Octavia, she gently reached over and clipped it to Vinyl’s left ear.

With the delivery of the rings concluded, Mayor Mare spoke again, gesturing to Octavia. “Octavia Philharmonica, born to Kester Malt, a humble Scolt from the beautiful countryside of the Hayland Islands in Scoltland and Madeline Philharmonica, a proud and talented musical coordinator from Birminghoof, became a well-known and celebrated cellist from the humble hamlet of Hoofington. She has traversed our great land of Equestria and settled in Canterlot for a time, where she met her fiance.”

Mayor Mare then gestured to Vinyl. “Vincenza Staccato, born to the also well-known and celebrated violinist Rolando Staccato and Marianna Rosada, a similarly accomplished floral artist, also settled in Canterlot, where she met Octavia. This shows that no matter what backgrounds a pony can come from, love can be found in any corner of the world. One would do well to remember that. Without further ado, please allow our brides to share their vows,” Mayor Mare said. “Octavia, you may begin.”

Octavia found herself at a loss for words. The reality of the moment had sunk in, and it was her time to truly pour her heart out for Vinyl and the rest of those watching for all to see. Octavia took a deep breath, and began to speak.

“In the years that we have known each other, you have quietly worked your way into my being. Your quirks, your habits, your energy… all of it. I was hesitant to let such a loud, erratic measure of music into the symphony I call my life, especially when I found out I was pregnant… but I realize now that I needed it. I needed you. You have brought me such happiness in my time with you that I cannot even contend with the idea of you not being by my side. It took me time to accommodate myself to you, but I have grown to love every last part of you. I cannot fathom loving you any less than I do at this moment, nor can I express the limits of my excitement as to what our future holds together,” Octavia said. “I promise to be by your side and to be the best mother to our foals that I could possibly be by supporting them with you at my side as we raise them together. Through richer or poorer, through sickness and in health, until death do us part.”

Vinyl was stunned. She had the basic idea of what she had wanted to say, but Octavia’s words had single-handedly obliterated it from her mind.

“Vincenza, you may say your vows,” Mayor Mare said. Vinyl swallowed hard, then began to speak.

“Well… uh, I had something in mind, but I can’t really compete with that so I’m just gonna adlib it. Octavia, I love you. I love you more than any other pony in the world, and there’s no other pony I’d rather be yelled at by, or get smacked by when I do dumb things, or make smile like you do when I’m with you. You’re the love of my life, and I can’t imagine not waking up to you every morning and sleeping next to you every night. You’re not just the pony I love. You’re my…” Vinyl stopped, finding herself choked up as tears began to course down her cheeks. “You’re my best friend. You’re my confidant. You’re somepony I respect and even look up to at times. You’re my strength, the wind at my back, and the one sane thing in all this crazy. You keep me together. It’s that simple,” she said.

Vinyl then drew a small piece of paper from her dress pocket. “I did do a bit of reading- shocking, I know- when I had the chance and I found something interesting,” she said. She then began to read from the paper she was holding. “‘They say that in ancient times, long before Celestia and Luna were alive, whoever created us originally made us with two heads and eight legs. Because we had so many limbs, they became afraid of us and our strength, so they separated us. They forced us to spend the rest of our lives searching for our other halves,’” Vinyl concluded. She then looked to Octavia with tear filled eyes. “I found my other half. I’m done searching. You’re it. I promise everything you promised and more, and I promise that I’m gonna be the best danged mom those foals could ever have- and not even death’s gonna keep me from you or them, so I hope you know what you’re getting into ‘cause you guys are stuck with me!” Vinyl exclaimed, to which Octavia smiled through her own tears. Vinyl then whipped her head around to look at Mayor Mare. “Can I just kiss her already?!”

Vinyl was met with raucous laughter at her exclamation, the chapel settling down a few moments later. Mayor Mare nodded. “Without further ado, by the power invested in me as the Mayor of Ponyville by Celestia and Luna, Princesses of Equestria, I now pronounce Octavia Philharmonica and Vincenza Staccato officially married! Everypony, please stand to greet your newlywed couple, Octavia and Vincenza Staccato-Philharmonica! The brides may now kiss!” Mayor Mare said proudly as she stamped the seal of Ponyville on their marriage license. Vinyl quickly stepped forward and kissed Octavia, which was eagerly reciprocated. The crowd stood up and expressed their jubilation with uproarious applause. Twilight and Trixie set off their firework magic, small, colorful bursts of light igniting just above them.

Rolando was on the verge of tears, Marianna wiping her face as Madeline leaned on her for support. Kester had been trying his hardest not to cry, but it all came undone as Octavia and Vinyl sealed their marriage with a kiss, the massive stallion bursting into tears and instinctively grabbing the nearest pony to him, who just so happened to be Rolando.

“Muh- muh- muh baby’s married!” Kester sobbed loudly as he squeezed what little tears remained out of Rolando. Rolando attempted to respond, but could not find the strength or the air necessary to make noise beyond a raspy wheeze and breaking bones.

“Kester you’re killing him, let go!” Madeline said, attempting to pry Rolando from his grip before the wedding became a funeral. With that, Kester let go of him, readjusting Rolando’s suit.

“S-sorry there, Roly… A’ jus’ couldn’t hold it in anymore,” Kester said. Rolando merely grinned.

“Believe me I understand. What kind of fathers would we be if we did not cry at our daughter’s wedding?” Rolando said, patting Kester on the shoulder.

Octavia and Vinyl broke the kiss, looking around at their friends and family, smiling all the while. Mayor Mare then spoke once more.

“With our brides now happily married, I hereby conclude this ceremony and present to them their official marriage license, signed and sealed by yours truly. Now we must all look to the future as we happily spend the years to come with these newlyweds here in Ponyville, and eagerly await the arrival of their children into the Ponyville family!” Mayor Mare said as she hoofed over their certificate, which Octavia and Vinyl held up together.

“Hold onto this for a sec Octy,” Vinyl said as she moved away towards the pulpit. She then propped herself up.

“On behalf of Octavia and myself I wanna say thanks to everypony that came out to help us celebrate our wedding. The ceremony may be done, but the real party’s just about to start! We’re gonna have food, music and dancing at the reception hall just next door, and we’re gonna party until the sun comes up! Thanks again!” Vinyl said, taking her spot beside Octavia again, turning to look at her.

“Hey, Octy?”

“Yes Vinyl?”

“We’re actually married… isn’t that crazy?”

“A little… it still has yet to sink in.”

“Well… maybe what I’m about to say next will help it sink in a little better.”

“What would that be?”

“I love you.”

“I love you, too.”

“Can we go party now?”

“We can go party now.”

Vinyl smiled, wrapping a foreleg around Octavia’s as Fluttershy began to lead the doves in a splendid rendition of the Wedding Canter as they made their way down the aisle, the congregation following right behind them.

With the ceremony now behind them, the festivities began. The congregation that had decided to stay and celebrate with the newlyweds filtered into the reception hall. As per tradition, the last ones to arrive would be the couple, so Octavia and Vinyl found themselves waiting outside until their cue was given.

“How are you feeling?” Vinyl asked.

“Fairly well, all things considered. I was nervous getting ready, but aside from that nothing out of the usual,” Octavia said.

“That’s good,” Vinyl said. “Y’know, I kinda like this.”

“What do you mean?”

“Well… dressing up,” Vinyl said with a small blush. “Y’know, getting all pretty and stuff.” When she saw the growing smile on Octavia’s face, she immediately backpedaled. “That doesn’t mean we’ll do it all the time, though!”

“Oh, of course. Far be it from me to make it any less special than it is now,” Octavia grinned.

“Honestly, I feel kinda sexy in this dress…” Vinyl said, her mouth curling into a coy smirk. “You know… we do have a little time…” The moment Octavia’s grin disappeared, Vinyl began to laugh. “I’m kidding… or am I?”

“You had better be.”

“Then I’m not.”

“Then I am going to have to fix that.”

“Ooh, yes, fix me all night, you know I love that!”

“Vinyl, you-!” Octavia felt that little vein in her forehead she had affectionately named after her lover beginning to throb, and took a deep breath. “Not today.”

“C’mon, you don’t think I’m even a little sexy in this dress?” Vinyl said, giving Octavia a sultry wink as she gently shifted the frills of her dress, revealing just the slightest bit of thigh.

“...Perhaps a little…” Octavia said under her breath as she blushed furiously.

“What was that?” Vinyl said, tilting an ear in her direction.

“Nothing I will ever repeat,” Octavia said, raising her chin indignantly. Vinyl merely shook her head as she laughed, trotting up to Octavia.

“See, this is what I meant when I said my vows. This little moment we just had?” Vinyl said as she gently touched her forehead to Octavia’s. “I live for them.”

“I can tell, and truth be told… so do I,” Octavia said softly.

“The fact that we get to do it for the rest of our lives…” Vinyl began.

“...Is the best thing I could have ever asked for,” Octavia finished as they shared another kiss, the moment frozen forever in their minds as time itself seemingly ground to a halt. After what seemed like an eternity, a voice broke the temporal bubble around them.

“As much as I hate to interrupt this sweet little moment, you’re up!” Lyra said, poking her head out the nearby door.

“Awesome. You ready to knock ‘em dead, Octy?” Vinyl asked, standing by her side.

“As ready as I will ever be,” Octavia winked as the two made their way inside.

The congregation stood up, stamping their hooves in applause as Octavia and Vinyl made their way to the elongated table where their parents sat. Once they were seated, the food was brought out.

“Finally! I’m starving,” Vinyl said, hungrily digging into her plate. “Oh wow, this is amazing,” she said.

“Agreed,” Octavia said simply as she dug into her own plate. They talked and laughed with passersby as they ate, accepting many well wishes and congratulations from their guests. Just nearby, Rainbow Dash spied the two eating, and smirked.

“You ready, Pinkie?”

“Suuuure am!”
With that, Rainbow Dash began to tap the edge of her champagne glass against her hoof, causing a gentle clinking of crystal. The other ponies in attendance followed suit, Octavia and Vinyl looking over. As was customary at weddings, when the guests clinked their glasses together, it was a call for the married couple to share a kiss. Vinyl looked around, trying to figure out who had started it. She caught Rainbow Dash’s cheeky grin and smiled. Vinyl then stood up.

“While I’m still gonna kiss my wife, because Rainbow Dash so kindly started it, I think I’d like her to demonstrate for all of us how a real kiss is done,” Vinyl grinned evilly. Rainbow Dash’s face lit up a bright magenta, the pegasus quickly ducking down into her seat, caught completely off-guard. “Maybe next time,” Vinyl added, sitting back down and sharing a kiss with Octavia, feeling thoroughly satisfied as the audience cheered.

“Ya ain’t gonna do that again, are ya Dash?” Applejack grinned.

“Nope…” Rainbow Dash replied.

“Aww, I would have kissed you Dashie!” Pinkie said with a bright smile.

“I appreciate it, but no thanks.”

Once enough time had passed and stomachs had been filled, Lyra and Bonbon made their way up to the small podium with a microphone.

“Thanks everypony for coming out to celebrate Octavia and Vinyl’s wedding. As the mares of honor, we’ve both prepared small speeches to toast our friends on their happy day,” Lyra said. “My name is Lyra Heartstrings, and I am Octavia’s friend and mare of honor. I have known Octavia for many years, and for a lot of them, we didn’t quite see eye to eye, to put it lightly. We got into quite a few arguments, but thankfully, that chapter in our lives has been closed and we’ve buried whatever issues we’ve had in the past. I’m proud to call her my friend, and it was truly an honor to be her mare of honor.”

Lyra took a step back, allowing Bonbon to step forward. “My name is Bonbon Heartstrings, I’m Lyra’s wife and Vinyl’s best friend. I met Vinyl a couple of years ago through Lyra and Octavia’s many, many, many arguments. More often than not it would be us standing on the sidelines and catching up on life while those two,” Bonbon gestured to both Lyra and Octavia, who smiled sheepishly to the laughter of the audience, “tried to skin each other like wild cats. Not pretty. If I could describe Vinyl in two words, it’d be these; loud and proud. She marches to the beat of her own drum and doesn’t care who thinks otherwise. She’s larger than life, and has an even bigger heart. I’ve seen their relationship blossom from friendship to what it is now, and I couldn’t be prouder of them. Congratulations, you two!” Bonbon said as she lead those in attendance in a round of applause. “With the speeches out of the way, it’s time for their first dance as a married couple!”

Octavia and Vinyl stood up, making their way to the dance floor. A familiar light blue unicorn moved over near the dance floor as well, carrying a microphone. Octavia and Vinyl carefully watched him as he prepared, ready for anything.

“Good afternoon everypony, my name is Neon Lights. I worked with Vinyl for a few years as her MC and as her partner. She and I haven’t exactly been on good terms as of late for reasons I won’t get into, but I’m ecstatic to be here to perform the song for her first dance with Octavia on her special day. I would like to personally thank them for the opportunity,” Neon said, bowing his head to Octavia and Vinyl, who nodded in return. “Vinyl and Octavia are special ponies who truly deserve happiness, and I can’t picture them being happy without each other. I know for a fact that these two will go the distance, and they’ll be splendid parents to their children. Without further ado, let’s all draw our attention to the newlyweds as they dance together,” he said.

“Are you ready?”

“Yeah… you’re gonna have to guide me though, I’m kinda rusty,” Vinyl smirked.

“Just follow my lead,” Octavia winked. Neon nodded to the pony working the music, who pressed the play button on the console. Suddenly, the sound of several voices singing in perfect harmony filled the air, the voices sounding remarkably like Neon’s, just in different ranges.

“Is that really Neon singing?” Octavia asked as they slowly twirled on the spot.

“Yeah, he’s really good. He’s just like me. It’s actually how we met. I’ll tell you about it sometime… for now, let’s just enjoy this…” Vinyl said as she held Octavia a little closer.

“Agreed…” Octavia said, her voice barely above a whisper. Neon then picked up the microphone, singing directly into it, his voice sounding as clear and pristine as crystal. His horn lit up slightly, his throat glowing a soft white as he used his magic to adjust his range. Suddenly, Neon hit a surprisingly low octave range, eliciting a small wave of murmurs from the audience.

To the married couple, the entire world had disappeared. It was just them, dancing alone in an empty reception hall. They stared into each other’s eyes, a connection of boundless, enrapturing love being made between them.

In each other’s eyes they saw their future together; a cozy, comfortable home with their children. Their children would grow to be happy and healthy, eventually finding ponies of their own to love. The little foals they brought into the world would one day spread their wings and leave the nest, returning with their own families in tow. Their little family would grow, both in number and in happiness. This was a future that both of them truly desired from one another, and mentally resolved to make it become reality.

“I love you so much…” Vinyl said softly.

“I love you, too… more than you know,” Octavia returned, the two sharing another kiss as they slowly danced.

Neon concluded his song, taking a bow as he received thunderous applause for his performance, Octavia and Vinyl smiling at him. He smiled in return, then took to the microphone again.

“Alright fillies and gentlecolts, with the formalities over and done with, I think it’s time to kick this party into high gear!” Neon said. He loaded a disc into the turntable console and pressed play. “The next event on our list is the removal of the wedding garter!” he called out. Lyra and Bonbon brought out a seat for Octavia, setting it in the center of the dance floor for all to see. Octavia took a seat, Vinyl giving a devilish smile.

“I hope you’re ready, Octy…” Vinyl said.

“Be gentle…” Octavia asked, her eyes wide. Vinyl raised Octavia’s dress, disappearing halfway as she made her way underneath it. “Oh goodness Vinyl, your hooves are freezing!” Octavia exclaimed as Vinyl pressed her hooves on her inner thigh, mentally thanking whichever deity came first for this moment. Vinyl bit down on the garter, Octavia reflexively shifting in her seat and blushing brightly as Vinyl removed it, sliding it off her leg. The crowd yelled their approval.

“Alright! Who’s ready to catch this thing? No magic or wings allowed, we gotta make it fair for everypony!” Vinyl called out as mares and stallions alike prepared to catch it. She turned around and used her magic to fling it into the air. Many jumped up to reach it, but none succeeded as Vinyl had shot it too high and too far.

Spike had made his way to the soda fountain, filling his cup when suddenly something soft landed on his head, blinding him momentarily. “Woah, woah! What is this thing!?” he exclaimed as he pulled it off his head. Suddenly, the little dragon found himself hoisted in the air, stallions and mares alike cheering for him. “What’s going on!? What is happening!?”

“You caught the garter, little guy!” a white unicorn yelled from beneath him.

“What does that even mean!?” Spike responded.

“It means you’re gonna be the next guy to get married!”

“Isn't he a little young for that, White?”

“Oh hush, Scroll!”

Spike’s eyes widened. All of a sudden, finding Rarity became of utmost importance, but she was nowhere to be seen at the moment. Octavia then stood up, holding the bouquet.

“Alright, here we go!” Octavia said as she leaned forward and hurled the bouquet behind her. Not knowing her own strength, it flew past the crowd and landed in the hooves of three ponies. Three young, troublemaking and cutie-mark-seeking ponies. Spike followed the bouquet’s path, hoping against hope that Rarity would catch it, but felt his jaw drop when Sweetie Belle, Apple Bloom and Scootaloo emerged, all holding chunks of the bouquet. They all looked to see who had caught the garter, their faces curling into mischievous smiles as they trained their sights on Spike.

Spike tugged on his collar, swallowing hard. If there had ever been a moment that Spike wished he could crawl back into his egg, it would have been this very moment.

With the formalities concluded, Neon took to DJing the party as he had volunteered, ponies enjoying themselves with drinks and dancing as the hours wore on. Rainbow Dash and Applejack finished chatting with the others, making their way to the dance floor.

“C’mon AJ, let’s dance! It’ll be fun!”

“Alright, alright, keep yer mane tied,” Applejack said reluctantly. As they made their way forward, Rainbow Dash accidentally stepped on the hoof of another pony and almost tripped.

“Hey, watch where you’re…” Rainbow Dash started as she turned to face the one who almost caused her to fall and embarrass herself. The image of a handsome, emerald green pegasus with a turquoise mane peered back at her, a slightly confused expression on his face.

Going…” Dash said softly, finding herself in a spot she hadn’t expected.

“‘Going’? I’m going to the dance floor,” the stallion said. “I don’t suppose you’d like to join me…?” he said smoothly as he extended a hoof.

Oh my gosh, what a hunk! “Uh huh…” Dash said, gingerly placing her hoof in his as she looked at Applejack, an expression of pure incredulity on her face. “Are you seeing this?!” she mouthed.

“I’ll leave y’all alone to yer dancin’,” Applejack winked as she returned to her seat, Rainbow Dash giddily following her new dance partner to the floor.

“The name’s Emerald Sky, by the way,” the stallion said.

“I’m Rainbow Dash,” she responded.

“Nice to meet you Dash! Now, shall we?” he asked.

“Yeah!” Rainbow Dash smiled.

Fluttershy viewed the dance floor from her table, seeing all of her friends enjoying themselves. If only I had the courage to ask somepony to dance... that looks like fun... she thought. She stood up, deciding to get some punch when she accidentally bumped into a light green pegasus who was also facing the dance floor, oblivious to his surroundings as he sipped his drink. “O-Oh, my goodness, I’m so sorry I-”

“It’s alright, no harm done...” the stallion said, turning to face her and freezing when he took a good look at her. She... she’s beautiful... he thought to himself, swallowing hard as he brushed a lock of his black mane out of his face. “Hi...”

“H-hi...” Fluttershy squeaked in response. Oh my goodness he’s so handsome! He must think I’m so impolite!

“I’m... uhh...” he stammered, his brain blowing a fuse as he tried to speak up.

She tried to speak, but her voice was barely above a whisper. The two sat there trying to speak to one another, both failing miserably at it. Finally, the stallion shook his head, ruffling his wings at his sides.

Okay... let’s try this again, he thought. He mustered up his courage, and spoke. “I’m Star Chaser,” he said, introducing himself. “I think you look beautiful.” Way to be creepy, she’s probably gonna run away. Nice going!

Fluttershy’s face lit up to a shade of pink deeper than her mane. “I- I’m Fluttershy...” she said softly. He does!? Oh my goodness I’m going to shake my feathers off! Maybe he’ll even ask me to dance!

“W-would you like to dance?” Star asked nervously, his heart racing in his chest as he offered her a hoof.

“I think I would...” Fluttershy smiled demurely, blushing all the while, gingerly taking his hoof into hers and following him to the dance floor.

Applejack returned to her seat, watching as Rainbow Dash and her newfound dance partner made their way to the dance floor. She took a sip of the champagne and set her glass back down.

“Shoulda let me take care of the drinks, this champagne ain’t ta my likin’,” Applejack murmured to herself.

“What I’d give for a ice-cold mug of hard cider right about now…” a voice said from beside her. She turned to head to look, seeing a rather bored, yet slightly bemused pegasus. He was wearing military dress blues, his golden brown coat standing out against the black of his jacket. On his shoulder sat the Equestrian Royal Crest, as well as a single gold bar signifying his rank. His green eyes blankly stared out at the dance floor, his reddish yellow mane tied neatly behind his head. He looked over, catching Applejack looking at him. “Can I help you, ma’am?”

“Oh, t’wasn’t anythin’ important, just overheard ya wishin’ for some cider,” Applejack said.

“You have no idea. I’m not much of a champagne pony myself,” the stallion replied, shifting his wings slightly.

“Tell me all about it,” Applejack chuckled. “The name’s Applejack,” she said, extending a hoof.

“Second Lieutenant Comet Trail, 105th Battalion, ERAF. A pleasure to meet you,” the stallion said, introducing himself as well as he shook her hoof.

“Likewise. How do ya know the brides?” Applejack asked.

“I know Vinyl’s dad. Met him years back during a concert held for Princess Celestia’s birthday. Nice guy. Vinyl’s a sweetheart. Shame she’s taken,” Comet chuckled.

“Huh, every day’s a school day,” Applejack said, slightly impressed. He’s kinda cute…

“Sure is,” Comet said. He then looked at her again. “Wait a second, I know who you are! You’re the Applejack Apple, proprietor of Sweet Apple Acres!”

“The one ‘n only!” Applejack smiled.

“Wow, I gotta say, I love the fall cider you guys put out every year. You add a pinch of cinnamon and nutmeg to the barrels, right?” Comet said.

“That’s exactly right,” Applejack said, now thoroughly impressed. “You’ve got good taste.”

“I consider myself a bit of a cider connoisseur,” Comet said with a smirk. “Boot camp’ll do that to you.”

“I can imagine…” Applejack said. “Hey, how’s about we get outta here and get some actual cider?”

“Sounds like a plan,” Comet said. The two stood up, leaving the reception hall as Rarity, Twilight and Trixie looked on.

“My my, it seems a few of our friends have been bitten by the lovebug, haven’t they?” Rarity said, giggling slightly.

“Sure seems like it!” Twilight said. “Whatever makes them happy.”

“Agreed,” Trixie said as she sipped on her own champagne.

“I almost wish my own stallion would show up and sweep me off my hooves,” Rarity said with a small laugh, rolling her eyes. She looked around, spying a certain pianist that was known to play with Octavia as part of her ensemble. “Ooh, he seems like a fine specimen. I think I’ll go mingle. Tata darlings,” Rarity winked as she made her way over to the unsuspecting stallion.

“Guess that just leaves you and me,” Twilight said.

“You gonna go find yourself a stallion too?” Trixie said with a small smirk.

“Nah, I think I’m good,” Twilight said, nudging Trixie’s shoulder.

“No, I should get first dibs!”

“Why you? Just ‘cause you caught a slightly bigger piece doesn’t mean anything!”

“It don’t mean nothin’ if we can’t come to an agreement over this!”

Sweetie Belle, Apple Bloom and Scootaloo all sat in a circle, trying to come to an agreement over what was to be done with Spike, who sat nearby, chin in his hand.

"Maybe we can share him!"

"Nope, I ain’t sharin’!"

"Me neither!"

"Uh, girls, I'm right here..." Spike said.

"Shush Spike, let us figure this out!" Sweetie Belle said, to which Spike rolled his eyes.

"Well, can't we just like, split up the time?” Scootaloo suggested. “Maybe I get him on weekends, you can get him Monday and Tuesday, he stays home Wednesday, then Sweetie gets him Thursday and Friday."

"But that means you get him first! I want him first!" Sweetie Belle protested, latching onto Spike.

"That ain’t how this works!" Apple Bloom said.

"I'm not a pet!" Spike exclaimed. It was then that Spike gave an exasperated sigh. Whoever said it was a good thing that girls are fighting over you, either never had it happen or is a total liar, Spike thought to himself as Sweetie Belle quite literally snarled at the others when they approached them.

Allegretto sat alone, enjoying the scenery by himself when he heard a chair get pulled up next to him. He looked over and nearly jumped out of his seat when he saw it was Rolando.

“Oh… hello, brother.”

“Hello Allegretto,” Rolando slurred. The scent of alcohol was apparent on Rolando’s breath. He had been drinking since the reception started, Kester already a few shades to the wind and singing Scoltish shanties with Pinkie Pie at the DJ booth.

“I figured you would be yelling at me by this point,” Allegretto said after a few pregnant moments of silence between them.

“Not today,” Rolando said, taking another sip of his champagne. “It is my daughter’s wedding day. The last thing she needs is her father to ruin it for her. I have also had far too much to drink, which why I am even here talking to you now,” he said as he watched Vinyl, laughing her heart out as she sang along with her father-in-law. “Just keep your mouth shut and try not to ruin this moment.”

“Fair enough,” Allegretto said. A few moments later, Allegretto blinked in shock when he saw Rolando’s hoof extended.

“There is still a lot to make up for… but coming to your niece’s wedding is a start,” Rolando said. Allegretto merely smiled, shaking his brother’s hoof.

“Indeed,” Allegretto said. The two brothers continued to watch the festivities, managing to catch the magnificent sight of Kester drunkenly crashing through a table, sending ponies, food and table settings in every direction, uproarious laughter erupting from the crowd. “I hope he is not hurt…”

“That stallion fought a bear by himself and lived,” Rolando said.


“Seriously,” Rolando finished.

“Well, I suppose I have a lot of catching up to do.”

“Indeed you do.”

As the sun set and the moon rose to take its place, the festivities eventually wore down and ponies began to leave, thoroughly partied out and ready to go home. Twilight and Trixie made their way back to the Library with Spike in tow, the CMC going back to their respective homes as well, but not before vowing that there would be a resolution to their predicament.

Pinkie Pie and Rarity left together, laughing as they went. While neither of them had been “bitten by the lovebug” as Rarity had put it earlier in the evening, she did get acquainted with Frederic, finding him a rather charming stallion. They exchanged information and set up a day for him to come by and have a new suit tailored. Pinkie was content all the same. Completely satisfied the party she had planned had been such a rousing success, she had already begun planning the next.

Applejack and Comet Trail found themselves drinking and chatting at the local bar, talking the night away. Comet courteously escorted her home before taking off back to the hotel room he had rented for the evening. To his surprise, Applejack had stated that their evening together was “refreshing” and at his leisure could come back to call on her again, which he definitely planned on doing.

Fluttershy and Star Chaser spent the evening talking with one another, becoming quick friends. As he escorted her home, Star mentioned his desire to become an artist, and Fluttershy willingly offered her assistance in helping him create art of her animals if he so chose. Star gladly accepted her offer, promising he would contact her soon to set up a day for it. Fluttershy secretly hoped that he would come back to visit her sooner than later once he had dropped her off at her cottage.

Rainbow Dash and Emerald Sky immediately bonded, the two of them finding similar qualities in each other that they had seemingly not found in any other ponies they had met. Their evening ended with Rainbow Dash inviting Emerald back to her cloud home just outside of Ponyville for coffee.While neither of them slept, coffee was not the reason for it. Not even a little bit.

Lyra and Bonbon courteously assisted Marianna and Madeline with leading their drunk and cried-out husbands back to their respective hotel rooms, making sure that they were all settled before heading home themselves. They quickly entered their home and went to bed. No activities were had, except all of them.

This left Octavia and Vinyl alone, chatting and laughing as they made their way home.

“I don’t think I’ve ever seen my dad cut loose like that,” Vinyl said with a laugh. “I could get used to that!”

“We only need one drinker in the family Vinyl. My father is more than enough,” Octavia said, rolling her eyes as she smiled.

“Oh, come on! You gotta admit it was at least a little great,” Vinyl said, leveling her eyebrows at Octavia.

“...Oh, alright, I suppose it was,” Octavia acquiesced. “I can only imagine the bill we will be getting for the table Papa destroyed.”

“Now that was awesome!” Vinyl said. “Kester’s the best.”

“He definitely has his moments,” Octavia said fondly.

“Y’know… today was pretty amazing,” Vinyl said.

“Agreed. I would even venture to say it was perfect,” Octavia said.

“Only ‘cause I got to spend it with you,” Vinyl said with a wink.

“Oh, hush…” Octavia smiled demurely, gently pawing at Vinyl’s shoulder.

“It hasn’t really sunk in for me yet. I mean, we’re married. You’re my wife, and I’m your wife,” Vinyl said.

“Yes, we are. Is that really so hard for you to believe?” Octavia said.

“No no, it’s not that… it’s just…” Vinyl pondered for a moment as she carefully sorted through her vocabulary. “I guess the only word I can think of is awesome.”

“I agree with you there,” Octavia said.

“It doesn’t hurt that I also have the best wife ever,” Vinyl said with a grin.

“Yes, yes you do,” Octavia winked. “As long as you keep that in mind, we will have no issues.”

“And you’d better not forget you’ve got the sexiest wife,” Vinyl said, waggling her eyebrows at Octavia.

“I suppose I can say that,” Octavia said with a cheeky smile.

“You ‘suppose’? That’s a weird way of saying ‘I totally agree with you Vinyl’,” Vinyl said, grinning widely..

“Perhaps, perhaps not. We will never truly know, now will we?” Octavia said cryptically.

“Oh, I’ll know. Maybe not tonight, but definitely tomorrow,” Vinyl purred.

“We shall see,” Octavia returned.

“We shall see indeed,” Vinyl said. The two of them approached their home, Vinyl drawing her key and opening the door. They entered, shutting the door behind them. They made their way upstairs to their bedroom, Vinyl making sure not to step on the squeaky floorboard that had scared her senseless. They then entered their bedroom, shedding the pieces of their dresses and collecting them on the armoire across from the bed. They slipped into bed, cozy under the covers, snuggling up to each other.

“Hey Octy,” Vinyl said.

“Yes Vinyl?” Octavia asked.

“Guess what?”


“I love you.”

Octavia smiled. “I love you too,” she replied. The two shared a gentle kiss, holding each other as a calm, peaceful sleep drifted over them both.