Prelude to a Dream

by TheRealShadowFoot

First published

ShadowFoot is not a normal Pony, but as far as Canterlot's concerned, he is. These are the chronicles of his life between arriving in Equestria and being appointed personal guard to Prince Shooting Star.

Shadow Foot wasn't always Twilight Sparkle's husband and Shooting Star's guardian. Even though he did indeed follow his brother Damian across dimensions, he wasn't always the Pony he is now, nor was he Celestia's first choice as her son's guardian. He went through the same trials of life before he was even appointed to Star's side as his guardian. Subjected to the very same training regimen as Celestia's Honor Guard, and forced to live within Canterlot during Celestia's pregnancy, these are his memories. As Always, comments and criticisms are greatly appreciated.

Prelude to a Dream, part 1

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Flashback I: A Royal Summons

Shadowfoot had just been summoned to the Matriarch’s quarters. It was not necessarily a rare occurrence, but uncommon enough to warrant further speculation.
“Wonder why’d she want me, of all ponies?” he mused aloud. Nodding to a pair of housemares he passed, who then blushed profusely, he knocked gingerly on the Solar Princess’s door.

“Your Majesty, you requested my presence?” he said through the door, daring not to open it in the event she was...indisposed.

“Is that you, young Shadow? Please, come in…” Grunted the Princess, as if she were in pain.

“Majesty?” He nudged the door open, and if he didn’t know better, he’d swear the Princess had a watermelon growing inside her. That was new. He hadn’t seen her since his rebirth into Equestria. he was too busy training to become Celestia’s Honor Guard, far as anypony else knew.

“So, do you remember why you were brought here, Shadow?” Celestia asked, trying to rest upon her massive bed, easily big enough for 8 full grown stallions. Shadow’s mind started to wander, when it was snapped back into place by some unseen force.

“As far as I know, to serve as Guardian for his unborn Highness.”

“Well, yes, but have you gotten used to the pressure my guards have been putting on you? the training?”

“Let’s not forget, human and pony anatomy differ...greatly…” He said, stretching. His trainer, Aegis Sentry, put a real whipping on him after a snarky comment that was overheard in the dining hall.

“I do hope Aegis wasn’t too hard on you. You did sort of deserve it.” The Princess said, chuckling.

“You knew about that? how?” Shadow said, flabbergasted.

“Yes, I hear everything that goes on inside my walls, one way or another.”

“Even when we’re alone?” He asked.

“Yes, and you should be ashamed of yourself.”

“It’s very lonely here.”

“Anyway, moving on. So why do you ask me here, Majesty? You don’t normally request me without some particular reason.”
“In short, I think this little bundle of joy, will be arriving sooner, rather than later.


“I need to know you’re fully ready to accept the mantle of his Guardian. It will be no easy task. Outside of that, you need to be in top physical condition. Once he’s studying with Miss Twilight, You, and she, will be his only form of protection. It’s no easy trip to Ponyville, especially from here.”

“Can’t you just teleport or something? Miss All-Powerful Solar mistress?” Shadow chuckled.

“That takes an immense toll on one’s body. Want a lesson?”

No, I’m good.” Shadow said, shuffling nervously.

“Like I said, it takes an immense toll on one’s body. You have to vaporize every atom of your body and carry them all, to your destination. Then put them back together. I’ve heard stories of amateurs appearing, missing legs, wings, and other...anatomical pieces.”

“But you make it look so easy.”

“It’s not. The only reason unicorns can do it is because of their innate magical properties. But if you were to try it, you’d likely be missing a leg, or more. You don’t have the years of intense training that most unicorns gain within a lifetime.”

“Fair Enough. And I’m guessing, even if you did, you would need time to recharge. At least a small amount of time. I find it hard to lift even the most basic of things.”

“For once, he says something smart, instead of being a smartass.”

“Hey! Some mules may take offence to that.”

“Are you a mule? no. Though I wonder sometimes…”

“Hey, not cool!”

“I’m sorry. This is the first time I’ve ever had a child. I didn’t know it was possible, but…”

“More to the point, we’re increasing your training scale. You need to be able to defend him when he can’t defend himself. you’ve been here 6 months already, and you still can’t lift the very blade we gave you without immense effort, as much as the truth hurts. And if you truly are committed to his protection, you need to complete the Honor Guard Ceremony, which won’t happen until Aegis believes you deserve the title. I have no power in that respect.

“I understand, Your Highness.” Shadow said, assuming the tone he reserved for pledging his name and heart to anything and anyone.

“I humbly accept the mantle you have bestowed upon me. On my honor, I will protect the young Prince until I die trying.”

“So mote it be.” A shining gold badge appeared on a pendant in front of the Stallion, and looped itself around his neck.

“From this day forth, you are my son’s Guardian and Protector. Accept this badge proudly, and wear it as such. Provided you pass the trials before you, you will be officially inducted into the Honor Guard.

“Thank you, Your Majesty.”

“Now go. Resume your training. Besides, I don’t think you want to be in the room if I start having this kid. Also, I’ve been eating weird things lately.”

“‘nuff said.” And Shadow turned, fearing whatever the Solar Matriarch’s diet may have been doing to her body. At least she warned Him.

After the door safely closed, Celestia spoke up.

“How long were you listening, Aegis?”

“Long enough. Why?” a voice like gravel on Iron rumbled from a dark corner of Her Majesty’s quarters.

“I should have stripped of your title, for eavesdropping.”

“As you wish, Your Majesty.”

“However, I trust your judgment, and as such, I trust you’ll do the right thing when it comes to him?”

“Why him? He’s the most hopeless Unicorn that ever walked your fair lands.”

“Have you ever made note of his mark?

“No, not really. Lots of ponies have a set of scales as their mark. I don’t see what you’re getting at.”

“Yes, many of them do. Silver, Brass, Bronze, Black, Red. But Gold, is a one in a million color. Literally, one in a million ponies end up with gold as their cutie mark, without some sort of magical aid.”

“And we both know it’s taboo to change one’s cutie mark color, not to mention it would take skill to rival that of you and your kin. Which he doesn’t have.”


Aegis Sentry was quiet on that note. The Solar Matriarch cleared her throat.

“You really are dense sometimes. But I forgive you. That color, gold, means he’s one of the purest, most righteous souls of this world. He will never let any harm come to my son, or anyone he cares about, without it killing him in some way, shape, or form. He's also got a fierce and tenacious nature. He won’t give up anything he sets his mind and heart to. Not Easily. The last Pony with a set of Golden Scales helped to defend, explore, and map all of known equestria.”

“So what? The rest of my guards are already trained twice as well as he. Even Shining Armour shows great promise. I may even lose my position as Captain to him, given enough time.”

“Let’s just say, I have a good feeling about him. Can you trust that at least? After all, it’s still up to you whether he makes the cut or not.”

“As you wish.” Aegis sniffed involuntarily, and was assaulted with a menagerie of smells ranging from rice and beans, to vanilla ice cream.

“Majesty? Did you…”

“Maybe. do you really wanna know.?

“Nope. I’m good.” Stifling a retch, Aegis regained himself. “Why’d you warn him?”

“Cause he’s cute. Twilight’s gonna have a hard time not falling in love with him. I am.”

“Wait what? that hopeless freakshow? you?”

“No, he’s not the father, but He could so get it if he were like me.”

“You mean an alicorn?”

“Yeah. Now perhaps you best go before the second one hits you.”

“Oh dear.” Aegis beat a hasty retreat, not noticing Celestia chuckling behind him.

“I think he’ll be an amazing guardian. What do you think, little one?” Celestia said, rubbing her swollen stomach. A kick signaled her unborn’s approval.

“Even if he completes Aegis’s challenges, He will be only an honor guard if you like him as well.”

Celestia smiled contentedly, and drifted off into a heavy slumber. She might as well enjoy it while she could.

Flashback II: A warrior’s day.

Shadow grunted as another heavy blow crashed upon his already bruised ribs. Aegis was far from going easy on him. The tip of the practice blade almost found a home in his neck.

“Stand, colt, or die laying down.” Aegis growled at him. Aegis didn’t like being the cruel trainer he was, but only the best ever made his ranks, and needless to say, Shadow was far from it.

“Kill me or stop jabbering!” Shadow hollered, a surge of strength rippling through his core. Even though he couldn't control magic externally, he could make use of it within himself. As opposed to that of most unicorns, who manipulated the world outside of them, this little "trick" as he called it, didn't give him incredible strength, speed, or stamina, but it did allow him to fight to his very collapse.

“So, the colt lives…” Aegis rained another of flurry of blows towards Shadow’s soft parts, and Shadow was barely able to do more than dance around.

“Are you a showpony or a warrior, colt?!?” Aegis yelled, and sensing Aegis’ last-second defense drop, Shadow took advantage of it, sending his form crashing into Aegis like a freight train.

A grunt affirmated Shadow had made contact, and he felt immensely proud of himself.

“NEVER LET YOUR GUARD DOWN!” a pair of hooves came crashing down on Shadow’s skull, rattling his teeth and making stars pop in front of his eyes. The world went black, and he collapsed.

About fifteen minutes later, Shadow had awoken in the infirmary wing, Aegis’s final words echoing in his head.

“That sneaky jerk...using a rock to crush my skull…”

“No, it wasn’t a rock. He just hits hard. I saw it.” Said the nurse to Shadow’s left. Her voice was light and sweet, but authoritative. As if she could never be wrong in anything she said. “If you can’t handle punishment like that, you’ll never make honor guard.”

“And how do you know so much?” Shadow grunted, still irritated.

“Because I took the same training you are.” The nurse flashed him a grin, revealing the brand of two scimitars crossing the globe of the sun.

“They brand us? why? I thought that was cruel and unusual punishment in this place.”

“It’s to symbolize the pain of losing in battle. When we fight, we remember the pain of the training and the brand, and never want to feel it again.”

“Jeez. Talk about doom and gloom. But wait, if you’re an honor guard, why are you here? as a nurse no less?”

“Personal healers of the Princesses and their honor guards. Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes.”

Searching his brain for what sounded remarkably like Latin, Shadow translated it mentally. “Who watches the Watchmen.”

“ Close. 'They who watch the Watchponies.' You are versed in Ancient Equestrian?” The nurse asked.

“Kinda. but that makes no sense. Not to me at least.”

“You’re about as dumb as a rock, my friend. It simply means we watch over the honor guard and keep them healthy so they can keep the rest of us safe.”

“Now it makes sense..” And he did feel like an idiot. He blamed it on the possible concussion.

“Anyway, this was a lovely chat, Miss, but I have to go put my hooves to flank.” Shadow got up and realized his body wouldn't let him.

“Miss, why can’t I move?” Shadow asked, alarmed but somehow, unsurprised.

“It’s the pain medication that just came down from Canterlot. Because you were training without being properly rested or hospitalized, your body suffered massive trauma. Even if you weren't feeling it before, or ignoring it, you would definitely be feeling it, and probably wishing to die. So we lashed you to the bed, dosed you, and here we are, pretty as a peach.”

“This would be kinky in another world.”

“What world?”

“Nothing, nothing. Just the meds talking.” Shadow momentarily forgot that he was, for all intents and purposes, an alien.

“So here I am, lashed to a bed, with a pretty young nurse beside me. Is there any chance this is going where I think its going?”

“No, it’s not. and never will.” The nurse said flatly.

“Not even a little peck on the cheek for this wounded warrior?”

“I could stab you repeatedly, if that’s your thing.”

“That escalated quickly.”

“I’m not the type. Also, it’s forbidden for honor guards to show any interest in other guards, to avoid preferential treatment.”

“But I’m not an Honor Guard yet.” Shadow was trying desperately, but failing. He was just too stubborn to give up.

“Mr. Shadow, I’m going to take my leave now.”

Then he started singing.

“Baby, please don’t gooooo!”

The nurse blushed profusely, and left, slamming the door behind her.

“Stallions.” She groaned, moving on to her next patient. She could always tease him while he was hospitalised. She’d enjoy that, and so would he, probably. But her honor code came before any stallion. That didn’t mean she couldn’t enjoy herself.

“Mares.” Shadow grunted. Then he realized he was starving.

“Damn it to hell.”

Flashback III: The Tease of a Breeze

About a week later. Shadow was released from his linen prison, swearing his nurse had a thing for him. However, no matter how hard he tried, she wasn't having any of it. He was considering having himself hospitalized again, when a familiar voice echoed across the courtyard.

“Shadow! hey, over here!” yelled a pony with similar pattern to his.

A tall, graceful mare stepped out of the shadows of the ash trees, placing a book in her saddlebags and trotting up to him.

“There he is, Mr. Wonder Stallion. First recruit to ever be accepted into the honor guard boot camp without a practical exam. They treating you alright?” Evening Breeze asked, chuckling. Her coat was a bluish color, almost the same hue as new ice, and below the fall or her mane, emerald green eyes stared out from a kind face. They shared the same stripes, but hers were a different color than his own.

“Ah, Breeze. So good to see you again.” He said, hugging her. “And how’s life in the nursery?”

“Taxing, as ever. It seems there’s new arrivals every few minutes. We need more staff. You wouldn't happen to be able to put in a good word for us with her Highness Sunbutt, would you?

They both laughed loudly at this. “She hears things. We better be careful.” Shadow said, still chuckling.

“Since I've been ordered to rest for the day, would you mind taking a trip to the kitchens with me?” Shadow asked her. While they certainly were unique, Breeze never really asked why Shadow couldn't use magic as well as the others. Maybe she was being nice, or genuinely didn't care. But she was a good pony and he enjoyed her company.

“Come to think of it, I haven’t had lunch yet either. A trip to the kitchens sounds good. Lead on.”

While they made their journey, They talked about all manner of things, from local politicians, to the movements of other nations, to the new arrivals in the library.

Finally, they sat down to a hearty lunch of tomato sandwiches, lemonade, and fresh cookies that had just popped out of the ovens. Letting loose a loud belch, Evening Breeze sighed contentedly as Shadow finished up his plate, and reclined lazily on the cushions below him.

“Lord above, I love a mare who can belch like a stallion.” Shadow said, laughing.

“And what’s stopping you from loving me, Wonder Stallion?” Breeze asked, piling up the plates of glasses on the table.

“Hon, We've been over this. Close friends since I arrived here, and my situation is complicated.”

“Maybe so, but what if you don’t make the Honor Guard? Will you give it a chance?” She asked, almost pleading.

“I will. But I've still got lots of training to undertake before I can officially be inducted into the fold that is the most prestigious military group on this side of the planet. It’s not easy. After my last training day, I was hospitalized for a week!”

“You've always been a big baby. Suck it up, Wonder Stallion. The Princesses may need you one of these days. Will you be ready?”

“I hope so. But let’s not worry about that. How about a trot around the courts?”

“Sounds about right. I need to keep up my girlish figure.” Breeze laughed.

“Me too.” They got up and left, making their way to the court wing, where all manner of politician and nobleman were milling about. Some were writing up their requests, others debating the safety of the borders, and yet others lazing about on the gloriously comfy benches and cushions scattered about.

“You’d figure they’d have something better to do.” Breeze mentioned as they passed a trio of farm ponies napping in a corner, one grumbling loudly about his cabbages.

“Farmers are usually seen last, as more pressing matters seem to show up. Like Border Patrols for example.”

“Wonder Pony and Political Scholar? When did you get so talented?”

“I read. A lot. Best way to know a country is to learn it.”

“And what about your home country? what were you back then?”

Shadow nearly choked. Digging deep into his human memories, he fished for a legitimate answer.

“I was raised by earth ponies. My parents were farmers.”

“And what happened to them?”

“I don’t really know. I went off to study abroad, came back home, and the farm was empty. When I hadn't received any letters or parcels after a month, I got suspicious. I did some research, and the farm was sold. I’m guessing they were probably deported or something. I could never find a solid answer.”

“I’m so sorry! I didn't know.”

“It’s fine. Life moves on. I bartered passage here, and came under the watchful eye of the Princesses. I must be doing something right, because they offered me a position in the Honor Guard. Met you about a week later and here we are.”

“Anyway, it’s about time I get back. My shift starts soon and Madam Mahogany won’t be pleased if I’m late again.” Evening Breeze nuzzled Shadow a little too affectionately, waved, and trotted off towards her Nursery.

Shadow grumbled to himself. “You better stop playing games, or you’re likely to burn every bridge you ever make.” he said to himself, and went towards his quarters. The evening was fast approaching, and Shadow needed to get to his apartment and see if it was wrecked or not. He hadn't been home in over a week, and he was missing his bed.

And just as he thought, his apartment was wrecked. Take-Out containers littered the table, some with leftovers still in them, well, at least what might have been leftovers. The kitchens were good to him, but you just couldn't beat a greasy burger, vegan as they were. The sound of flies buzzing around greeted Shadow’s ears, and so, did the smell of decay assault his nostrils. The evening was still young, so Shadow decided to tidy up.

Opening the windows wide open, he started pouring half-filled soda and tea cups down the drain outside, and gathered up all the empty things, stuffing them into a huge trash bag. He began regretting asking the staff to stay out of his room. He doubted it would look like it did otherwise. But it was his home, or at least what served as one, and he was content.

He lit a lamp, and began poring over one of the many books he had borrowed from the library. he hit a switch, and a prototype radio he’d built began playing one of the records he had come across in his travels. Thankfully, he enjoyed classical music, and was quite smitten with a young cellist named Octavia Philharmonica. Should he ever meet her, he’d be ecstatic.

As he read and listened, Shadow finally felt a bit of an attachment to the land he now called home. Sure, he was a stranger, but at least he was getting into the swing of things. Little did he know, he’d eventually come to love his new world and those in it.


Flashback IV: The Cellist

Finally, on the rare occasion Shadow was out of the ever watchful gaze of a nurse or Aegis Sentry, he enjoyed wandering among the populace. While he stood out, he really had nothing to hide, and had, in fact, “acquired” tickets for a local musical exhibition that was being held at the Concert Hall in downtown Canterlot.

While he didn't recognize, or particularly care about the other performances, the one that caught his eye was that of the one and only Octavia Philharmonica, a well known local musician who had played at the Gala, and several charity benefits supporting music education. He had made it to almost all of these shows, and wasn't about to miss this one.

Thankfully, he’d arrived early enough to secure a front-row seat, and now, even ponies were crowding the aisles, eager to hear and feel the splendorous musical echoes of the wonderfully designed Concert Hall. Towering pillars of alternating marble and granite supported the huge structure above, which was embellished with what appeared to be solid brass ornamentation of ponies, forest creatures, and greenery.

Add that to the plush, luxurious red carpet, trimmed with bronze-colored embroidery, and the brilliant, almost midnight blue upholstery on the chairs, and the solid mahogany structure that supported said chairs, the place just exuded a feel of sophistication and grace. Never in a million years did he ever think he’d end up here, much less hearing such wondrous performances.

While the performances were all top notch, Shadow held his breath the moment the final curtain rose, for the one act he’d been waiting for all night. A magically amplified voice echoed through the stands.

“Ladies and Gentlecolts, please give a warm welcome to Miss Octavia Philharmonica. She has just returned from a tour abroad, and wishes you all to listen to and enjoy her song. Please be seated, be quiet, and fade into the dreamland she weaves for you.”

At this, Shadow was finally able to breathe, and he closed his eyes, hearing each deep tone throughout his body, the very sound vibrating within his diaphragm and heart. This, he thought to himself, is what true artistry was. Each saw of the bow reverberated within his mind, and painted this picture:

~~~ It’s a wonderful spring day. You find yourself walking through an untouched forest, squirrels and chipmunks scampering about, harvesting meals for they and their kin. A bird call, high and cheerful, echoes somewhere near you. Another bird responds, adding to the already symphonic melody of pure wilderness. In the distance you hear water, and you smell pine needles crunching underfoot. they seem to be leading you towards the water noise, and you follow, drifting, in a dream state, almost.

The waters bubble and swish around the creek bed. You see tiny fish, possibly minnows or shiners swimming around, nipping and whatever seems to be food. it makes a soft popping noise, similar to many and yet unique in its own way. Grasshoppers and Locusts hum and chirp in near synchronicity, weaving a backdrop of tone and pitch. You follow the creek bed, into a meadow.

Within this meadow, deer graze peacefully, unaware of your presence. Their foals play and scamper, something similar to tag. The wind begins to whistle, then howl, and all the creatures scamper off, retreating to their respective burrows and holds. A light rain begins, to fall, but slowly turns into a downpour. The wind still bites at your face, ushering you into a nearby cave.

Here, in Mother Earth’s underbelly, you hear rain, heavy on the rocks around you, but you are not afraid. In fact you are calm, quiet, and enjoying the furious, primal beauty that is in front of you. You nod off, and wake, later, when the sun is just beginning to set.

The world smells fresh, new, and clean. You step out cautiously, and the meadow slowly comes to life, the same as you. Birds sing, creatures scamper and chatter, and you look up at the sky. Before your eyes is an amazing vista of Sky Fire. Purples, oranges, reds, and all colors in between striated the clouds, as if someone took a huge multicolored paintbrush and dragged it across the sky before you. As the sun sets, the World goes quiet, and you sleep again.

Shadow had not fallen asleep, but was rather engrossed in the performance, and he didn't realize it was over until the thunderous applause (which sounded oddly like rain), had ceased, and the Concert Hall began to empty, ponies chattering about their approval.

He realized he had a bit of the munchies, and made his way downtown to a hole in the wall coffee shop where he often went when he needed to get away. As he sat in his typical window seat, the sounds of Bossa Nova music greeted him. As he enjoyed his coffee and banana-nut muffin, a voice greeted him. It was soft, yet refined, like vocal silk draped across his ears.

“Huh what?” Shadow said, swallowing the bit of muffin he was chewing.

“May I sit here?” Shadow looked up and the visage of a lifetime greeted him. She was carrying herself with grace and dignity. Her blackish mane fell about her face, and her charcoal coat seemed to shimmer with life. He suddenly felt very grungy.

“Miss Octavia?” Shadow whispered, his voice not daring to go any louder for fear of scaring her off.

“Shh! I left my cello behind for that very reason. I’m really not a fan of fame and paparazzi.” She chuckled.

“It would be my honor, Miss” Shadow said, still not quite believing what he was seeing.

“No need to be so formal. We aren't at one of those snooty parties where you have to eat the cheese with toothpicks. My name is Octavia. Most normal ponies call me Octy or Tavi.”

“Was she really this approachable?” Shadow thought to himself, suddenly realizing his jaw seemed to have temporarily dislocated.

“Your music is….beyond words, Miss...I mean, Tavi.”

“Really? How do you figure?” She chuckled, and it was sweet and warm, like fresh cake or cookies.

“Your performances, I've been to every single one I could manage to get to. This one, tonight, I felt as if I was literally teleported to an innocent, untamed world. There was creatures, and rain, and...”

Her hoof waved in front of him. “You talk too much. You’ll get me caught. Let’s just sit back and enjoy the sights.”

“As you wish.”

“So, you are an interesting pony, Mr…?

“ShadowFoot. Most ponies call me Shadow.”

“Shadow, then. How is it you enjoy my music so much?”

“I enjoy all music. Yours is spectacular. It reminds me a lot of what i used to listen to at home.

“And where is home If I may ask?”

“Nowhere, really. Nowhere important, anyway. I’m new to this land and its customs.”

“So what is your homeland? Where is it?”

“A place called Johnson City. Long Story.”

“We've got nothing but time.”

“I’m a huge fan, Miss Octavia, but I’d rather not discuss it.” He couldn't bring himself to lie to this mare like he did most other ponies.

“Fair enough. So how do you normally take your coffee?”

“Depends on how I feel. Usually, semisweet and dark. One spoon of sugar, and just a few drops of sweet cream. Gives it a very rustic feel without being too heavy.

“You sound like a professional.”

“No, I just drink way too much for my own good.” Shadow chuckled, finally over being starstruck. He wondered if this were considered a date.

“How about you?”

“Light and Sweet. three spoons of sugar, 3 ounces of creamer, and just a drop of milk chocolate powder.”

“Sounds good. So, what brings you to a hole in the wall like this?” Shadow asked, sipping slowly.

“My friend, Vinyl scratch, showed me this place. She’ll drink their entire supply before she’s had enough.” Octavia chuckled.

“That can’t be healthy. But it’s good craftsmanship.”

“Indeed. She’s almost always hyper and yelling. She’s a musician too, but her tastes are significantly less refined than ours.”

“I’ll try anything once.”

“In that case, would you like to meet her sometime?”

He nearly spat out his coffee. That was...surprising.
Coughing slightly, he regained his bearings, noticing that ever so warm chuckle again.

“Like when? tonight?”

“It’s possible. She may still be at the club.”

“Club, as in, Night Club?”

“Yes. What else would I mean?”

Shadow didn't know Nightclubs existed here, but hell, he never thought he’d meet Octavia either.

“Yeah. OK. Let me just…” He said reaching about for his wallet.

“Too slow. Let’s go.” Octavia paid the bill in full, and led him away from the coffee house to a Nightclub a few blocks away.

Flashback V: The DJ

Shadow couldn't believe what he was hearing. Dubstep, Electronica, House. It was all here and he never knew. He seriously had to visit downtown more often.

Tavi led him up to the bar, where they were waved into the VIP lounge. Here, the music was more subdued, but it was dark and comfortable, lit only by a few scattered electric lamps.

“I’m sure she knows we’re here by now. Let’s get comfortable. I’m not a fan of the music, but this room is rather eloquent in a street savvy way.” Octavia said, making herself comfy on one of the chairs. Shadow stood there awkwardly. It was really all he could do.

Not only had he met his biggest crush in the pony world, he was here, in a club, with her, and about to meet her DJ friend. Something told him he wouldn't forget this night. Ever. He for once wasn't even focused on getting tail, so to speak. He was just happy that electronica and stuff existed.

“So, how long has this place been open?”

“Months. It took Vinyl forever to save up and renovate the place, but she did it. I’m really proud of her.”

“Wait, your friend owns this place?”

“Yes. I mean, she still has to pay for the rental equipment and loans, but in about 10 years, she’ll own this place and everything in it.
“That’s just….Wow.”

“I told you I was proud of her, and for good reason.”

The door was being knocked on, and Tavi strolled over to open it. There stood an off white Unicorn with an electric blue mane, and perched upon her head were a pair of purple sunglasses. The one and only Vinyl Scratch.

“Tavi! You made it!” Vinyl shouted, squeezing her longtime friend and colleague with strength to rival that of a grown stallion.

“Well, of course I did. Nopony told you I’d gotten back?”

“No. I've been too busy keeping this place going. It’s not easy, But I wouldn't have it any other way.”

“Glad to hear. Hey, where’s your friend?”

“Oh, you saw me come with him? You don’t miss much.”

“The bouncers don’t. And he isn't exactly one that blends in.”

Vinyl approached the red stallion, extending her hoof in greeting. Shadow blinked and couldn't quite figure out what to do next.

“Hey, I’m Vinyl. What’s your name, stripedude?”

“Uh, Shadowfoot. Shadow for short.”

“No disrespect bro, but I like Stripedude better. That’s your name whenever you're here. Any friend of Tavi’s is a friend of mine. Enjoy the facilities. I better go make my rounds. Bye guys.”

“Later, Vinyl!” Tavi hollered, before the door shut.

“So, that was...interesting? Stripedude, eh?” Shadow chuckled nervously. Apparently that was normal.

“She does that to everypony. It’s how she keeps track of the good, the bad, and the stupid.”

“And this music is all hers?”

“Yep. All of her own...concoctions.”

“I've been missing out.”

“Well, Shadow, you’re obviously welcome to stay if you like, But if you have obligations for the morning, you may go home at your leisure.”

“OK. Thank you. It was wonderful meeting both of you, but I really should go.”

“Kids? Wife?”

“No, not yet. Honor Guard training.”

“As in…?”


“Impressive. You really are a stallion of merit. I hope to see you again sometime. I’m sure Vinyl would, as well.”

“T’would be my honor.” Shadow bowed then left, still not believing his luck. He’d definitely have something to write home about. If he had a home. But not even that could dampen his spirits. He trotted along, visions from that night’s concert swimming in his head.