Knock knock knock.
A young grey filly with a long black mane knocked on the pearl white door, a large cello gripped tightly in her right hoof. After a short while the door flung open, revealing a young filly with a white coat and a mane that was a mix of bright and dark blue.
"Is this room 35-A"? the grey filly asked nervously.
"Yep! You must be my new roommate! I'm Vinyl Scratch!" The white pony stuck out her hoof.
"My name's Octavia." Octavia shook the white pony's hoof.
"Great! Come on in!" Vinyl stepped aside, allowing Octavia into the room. "I can already tell we're going to be the best of friends!"
Octavia examined the room she stood in. It was a simple dorm with two beds, each on the opposite side of the room. The washroom was near the main door and a desk sat beside each of the two beds. The right of the room had already been populated with various objects such as headphones and speakers while the left side of the room was empty and pristine.
"Well it certainly is... simple." Octavia remarked.
"Yeah well, we could spice it up if we want to! We're gonna be here for three years!" Vinyl said, leaping up onto the bed on the right of the room.
Octavia trotted slowly towards the left side of the room, laying down her saddlebags onto the bed and letting her cello lay against the wall near the desk.
"So... Octavia, right?" Vinyl asked, staring at the ceiling above.
"Yes, that is my name." Octavia reached into her saddlebags, pulling out a small photograph of her with her family and placing it onto her desk.
"Octavia's such a mouthful. How about I call you...Octy!" Vinyl smiled as she said the word. "Yeah! Octy! That fits perfectly!"
Octavia gave a disgusted look, hoping Vinyl would turn her attention away from the ceiling to notice it. After a few seconds, she finally realized Vinyl wasn't going to divert her gaze.
"I'd prefer if you called me Octavia. No offence." Octavia reached into her saddlebag once more, this time pulling out an inkwell and several pieces of paper.
"I could always call you Tavi." Vinyl finally turned her head to stare at Octavia, who had an even more disgusted look sprawled on her face. "Octy it is then." Vinyl turned her attention back to the ceiling.
Octavia sighed as she laid a bow onto the desk.
This is going to be three long years.
Octavia trotted towards her room. She was dressed in a black uniformed shirt with a black bow at its collar, the standard uniform for every mare in the Canterlot Music Academy. She carried a saddlebag on her left and her precious cello, in its signature jet black case, on her right. A long day of training had left her exhausted. She only wanted to get back to her dorm to get a good rest for another day, but as she approached her room, she could already hear the faint sounds of techno music resonating through the hallway. Octavia closed her eyes and took a deep breath before trotting closer to her room.
Standing outside her room, the volume of the music would cause anypony to remark that it was 'loud'. However, Octavia knew it would only get louder, and when she pushed open the door, the music intensified three fold. She released another unheard sigh before stepping in and making her way towards Vinyl's table.
Vinyl's table was in a complete mess, with papers randomly strewn about and various CDs hidden under the mountain of sheet music and pens. However, what was the most prominent items on her table were two huge speakers, connected to her music player, the source of the deafening music. Vinyl lay on her bed, her eyes closed as she bobbed her head back and forth with the beat of the song.
Octavia walked towards the speakers and unplugged them from the music player, silencing the ear-piercing music and causing Vinyl to sit up from her bed.
"Hey! I was listening to that!" Vinyl angrily shouted. Octavia didn't respond, instead moving to her side of the room and laying her saddlebag on the desk and her cello against the wall.
Vinyl's anger slowly started to fade as the silence dragged on.
"Octy, you okay?" Vinyl asked but Octavia didn't answer as she stepped out of her uniform before laying on her bed., her face facing towards the white wall.
"Seriously Octy, I'm worried. We usually have an argument before you go to bed." Vinyl was growing more concerned. "What's wrong?"
"I'm fine, Vinyl dear." Octavia answered without hesitation.
Vinyl shrugged before laying down on the bed herself and turning to face the wall.
"Whatever you say, Octy. Night." Vinyl reached for the light switch, clicking it off and drenching the room in darkness.
Neither mare spoke for the next few seconds before Octavia's voice broke the silence.
"Vinyl, could you please call me Octavia?"
"I'll only call you Octavia when I'm either angry with you or really happy with you." Vinyl said with a smirk, even though she knew Octavia couldn't see it in the darkness.
"Why can't you just call me Octavia all the time?" Octavia asked, a little bit of anger in her voice.
"What fun would that be?" Vinyl answered with the same answer she had been giving for the past few weeks.
Octavia rolled her eyes, not wanting to respond to the mare across the room as she tried her best to get some sleep.
"Night, Octy!" Vinyl shouted once more and as she expected, there was no response. "There's our argument." She whispered to herself, finally able to rest in the fact that Octavia was truly okay.
"Octy! Come on!" Vinyl yelled as she galloped down the hallway at full speed with Octavia a short distance behind her. "We're gonna be late!"
"Coming!" Octavia shouted back. Suddenly, Vinyl heard a scream. Turning around, she saw that Octavia had tripped, her face on the floor and everypony along the hallway staring at her.
Without a second thought, she rushed over to Octavia's side.
"Octy! Are you okay!?" Octavia couldn't respond with words, her loud cries and weeps obstructing any attempt to communicate with Vinyl. "I'll take that as a no. Where are you hurt?"
Covering her face with her two front-hooves, Octavia lifted her back-left hoof to show a small wound, blood flowing down from it and staining her grey coat.
Vinyl lowered herself to allow Octavia to climb up on her. Darting her eyes around the nearby area, she caught sight of a staircase at the other end of the hallway. Walking towards it, she could hear Octavia's sobs turn into soft whimpers and feel her tears dripping onto her coat. Upon reaching the flight of stairs, she lowered herself once again as Octavia climbed off from Vinyl's back and onto one of the stairs.
"Now stay here, I'm gonna get some things to help you."
Octavia replied with a soft nod as Vinyl rushed back down to the hallway. A few minutes later, Vinyl returned with a first-aid box gripped tightly in her mouth. Placing it beside Octavia, she quickly opened it and took out a bandage and a small bottle labeled 'Disinfectant'. Vinyl ripped the bandage in two, drenching both pieces in the brown liquid found in the bottle.
"Okay, Octy. This is gonna hurt for just a second, but it's for your own good." Vinyl assured her before placing the two bandages onto Octavia's wound in an X formation, causing her to let out a short but loud yell, her tears returning to her eyes.
"And...all done!" Octavia lifted her hooves to wipe the tears from her eyes. "Don't worry, Octy. It's just a scratch. You'll be okay in no time!" Vinyl looked up to the crying mare, giving her a warm smile before lowering herself towards her. "Now come on, I'll explain why we're late. No more running." Octavia gave a small laugh as she climbed onto Vinyl's back, wiping the last of her tears as Vinyl trotted down the hallway towards their class.
Octavia made her way to the main doors of the concert hall, her body completely void of energy after the intense few hours of continuous practise.
'I wonder if Vinyl's angry at me. Maybe I shouldn't have told her I would end an hour earlier then I usually do.' Octavia released a tiresome sigh before pushing open the doors. As she turned her gaze upwards, what she saw dropped her jaw and rooted her to the ground in shock.
Vinyl was laying on the steps in front of her, her eyes closed shut and a loud snore emitting from her. She was also dressed in the Canterlot Music Academy's official uniform, except that her tie was noticeably missing and to her left sat her saddlebags. Octavia didn't know how to react. After a few moments, she trotted up to Vinyl and started shaking her awake.
"Vinyl, dear. Please wake up."
"H-Huh? W-Where am I?" Vinyl spoke in a dazed manner. As she regained her bearings and her vision on Octavia focused, she talked once more. "I-I fell asleep, didn't I?" Vinyl brought her hoof to her forehead. "Man, if I'm ever gonna become a DJ, I need to work on my endurance at night."
"What in Equestria are you doing here at such a late hour?"
"Umm...waiting for you, Octy."
Upon hearing the answer, Octavia's cheeks immediately glowed a bright red.
"Y-You waited... for me?"
"Well, yeah! I couldn't let you go back to our dorm alone at this time of night can I?" Vinyl responded with a grin, pushing herself off the steps and lifting the saddlebags onto her back. "Come on, we'll talk as we walk."
Octavia and Vinyl trotted beside each other as they made their way back to their room.
"You hungry, Octy?"
"No, I am quite all right." Octavia lied, not wanting to trouble her friend any longer.
"Come on! Don't tell me you still aren't hungry after that period of practise!" Vinyl's horn glowed a pale blue as she levitated a red apple in front of Octy. "Here! Take my apple!"
Octavia was taken aback by the generosity of her friend. She reached her hoof out to grasp the red fruit before taking a bite out of it as they entered the building which held their dormitories.
"Speaking of training, hows it going?"
"It's going...fine." Octavia swallowed the bite she had taken.
"With how much effort you've been putting into your pieces, you're sure to win the Canterlot Young Musician competition for sure!" Vinyl said as they trotted up several flights of stairs.
"I really do hope my training pays off." Octavia took another bite of the apple.
"It will, Octy! You're a shoo-in to win for sure!"
Octavia took the last bite of the apple, tossing it into a nearby trash bin as they walked down the familiar hallway to their room.
"Can you believe it's been almost a year since we met? Time flies so fast!"
"Yes. It is quite shocking that so much time has passed. It only seems like yesterday when-"
"-I met you." Both mares said simultaneously. They both giggled slightly as they stood outside the door which had the words '35-A' engraved on it.
Vinyl pushed open the door with one hoof and stood aside. "For the fair maiden known as Octavia."
Octavia didn't enter. Instead, she stared, surprised at Vinyl.
"W-What is it? Did I do something wrong?" Vinyl started to worry.
"N-No. It's-It's just-you called me by my real name!" Octavia explained.
"Yeah, well, don't get used to it, Octy. Now go on in!"
Octavia quickly raced into the room with Vinyl following suit, closing the door behind her.
I wonder where Octy is. She did say she was gonna meet me for lunch, Vinyl thought to herself as she made her way down the hallway towards the cafeteria.
"Please give me my money back!" The pleads caught the attention of Vinyl, who swore she recognized the voice.
"Octy?" Vinyl muttered under her breath as she started to run down the hallway, the cries of the mare increasing in volume. "Octy! Octy, I'm coming!"
Turning a corner, she saw Octavia on her knees. In front of her stood three large stallions. One was a unicorn with a spiky blue mane and brown coat. Another was a pegasus with a curly grey mane and green coat, and in between the two of them stood the largest pony, an earth pony with a long, straight red mane and a black coat. All three were laughing at the small filly who knelt in front of them.
"Please! That's my lunch money! I need it!" Octavia pleaded.
"Keep begging and maybe we'll return the money to ya." The earth pony said with a maniacal grin.
Vinyl stared at every other pony in the hallway as they simply stood and watched, none of them daring to help. Marching forward, rage filled Vinyl's heart and soon, she screamed as loud as she could.
"Hey! Dumb, dumber and dumbest! What'd you think you're doing to Octy!?" The other ponies in the hallway gasped as the three stallion's laughter ceased, turning all their attention towards Vinyl. Octavia, too, stared at Vinyl with tear-filled eyes.
"And who do you think you are?"
"My name's Vinyl Scratch. I would ask for your names but I couldn't care less. So give my friend back her lunch money, or I'll make sure you'll use to money to pay for your hospital bills."
The three stallions stared at Vinyl with angered gazes as she stood in between them and Octavia, her magenta eyes unwavering as she stared back at them.
"I'll give you three seconds to apologize before me and my boys here teach you a lesson." The earth pony threatened. "One...Two..."
"Three." Vinyl finished the sentence. Immediately, the earth pony lunged at her but Vinyl was ready, dodging him and landing a blow on his back. The unicorn tried to attack but Vinyl repeated the movement, sending him tumbling to the floor. The pegasus flew upwards and landed a forceful blow onto Vinyl's face, sending her tumbling to the hard floor below.
"Vinyl!" Octavia yelled and tried to run over but the earth pony stopped her cold in her tracks, pushing her further away.
"She's ours." The earth pony said through clenched teeth.
Vinyl pushed herself off the floor just in time to see the stallion push Octavia away.
"No one touches her!" Vinyl shouted angrily, lunging forward at the earth pony to try to land a blow with her right hoof. However, her efforts were stopped as he gripped Vinyl's hoof and tossed her towards the pegasus effortlessly, who caught her and locked her two hooves together, giving the earth pony full reign to do whatever he pleased.
"Now let's teach you some manners." He spoke, lifting his front hoof and landing a forceful blow on Vinyl's stomach, causing her to scream in pain. He followed it with another punch to her face, just above her eyebrow. Immediately, a large bruise formed and the earth pony continued his barrage of blows all around her body, resulting in more wounds and soon, blood had started to flow.
Octavia barely managed to stand on her hooves, which were still shaking tremendously. Glancing upwards, she saw Vinyl getting ruthlessly beaten on, bringing back the tears she thought she had cried dry. She ran up to the stallions, bringing her hooves up and using all her strength to try to pull the pony who was beating Vinyl away.
"Stop! P-Please! You can take my money just stop beating on her! Please!" But the stallion wouldn't hear any of it, pushing Octavia down to the ground again. Landing one final blow on his victim, he then proceeded to toss her right next to Octavia.
"That'll teach you to cross us." He said as they walked down the hallway. Vinyl laid on the ground, blood and wounds adorning her entire body. Her painful coughs only brought out more drops of blood from the edge of her lips.
"Vinyl! Vinyl I'm so sorry! I didn't mean for any of this to happen!" Octavia wailed.
"H-Hey...Octy. No worries alright?" Vinyl said in a weak tone. To Octavia's shock and awe, Vinyl could still manage to stand on her hooves. "At least it wasn't in vain." She turned one hoof over, showing the two silver coins to Octavia.
"It wasn't worth it! This is all my fault!" Tears flowed down Octavia's face like a river.
"It's nothing!" Vinyl pulled Octavia to her hooves. "I used to get into fights anyway! See? What's more important is that you got your lunch money back!"
Octavia raised her head and was completely dumbfounded on how Vinyl could still smile when blood was still flowing from her wounds.
"Come on." Vinyl winced as she tried to take a step but her smile was unwavering. "Let's get something to eat." She lifted her hooves to wipe the tears that were still flowing from Octavia's eyes. Once more, she winced in pain, taking her second step. "Actually, mind if we go to the sick bay first? I kinda need the med-kit."
Octavia let out a long broken laugh while she nodded at the same time.
"Ladies and Gentlecolts, please welcome our third contestant: Octavia Clef!"
Octavia walked onto the stage. Standing in front of the prepared stool, she faced the crowd of thousands of ponies and took a bow. The wave of applause was the cue that she could finally sit down and start the song.
Vinyl sat at the front of the row, dressed in the standard uniform. Her face lit up as she heard the first few beautiful notes resonate throughout the huge concert hall. As Octavia played, she swayed her head back and forth, fully absorbed into the melody that she was composing.
Vinyl's smile could only grow larger as she saw Octavia enjoy playing the wondrous composition. She's sure to win now, she thought to herself.
After Octavia had finished her piece, the crowd erupted into a large round of applause. Vinyl stood up from her seat, shouting at the top of her lungs.
"Woo hoo! You go, Octy! You got this! You got this in the bag!" Vinyl turned around to see every pony, dressed in formal attire and looking angrily at her. "I'll just sit down now." She said, embarrassed as she slumped back down in her chair.
After the performance of all of the contestants, the unicorn announcer took the stage once more. His light blue mane and tail waved in the air as he crossed the stage where all the contestants stood. His horn started to glow a faint red, the same color as his coat, and he levitated a small envelope in front of his eyes.
"Now. Here in front of me are the results for the Canterlot Music Academy's Young Musician Competition." The unicorn opened the letter and pulled out a piece of paper.
Octavia stood in the middle, her eyes closed shut and her hooves trembling immensely.
"And the winner is...."
'Please, please, please...'' She repeated in her mind in an endless chant.
"...Alto Robin! Congratulations!"
Octavia broke at the words and immediately, she could feel her heart breaking. She turned her face away and allowed her long black mane to obstruct her face as she charged down the stage and out of the hall, attracting the attention of the whole hall.
When Octavia passed Vinyl, Vinyl could see the tears that were dripping down onto the carpet as she ran. Without thinking, she stood up and shouted.
"Octy!? Hey! Octy!" As Octavia closed the main doors to the concert hall, her weeps were silenced. Vinyl stood as the center of attention of the whole hall. Without saying another word, she ascended the steps and made an exit, already knowing where Octavia had went to.
"Come on, Octy. You can't stay under there forever." Vinyl sat on Octavia's bed, which had been covered with a large blanket. Near the top of the blanket where the pillow laid, there was a noticeable bulge.
"All my efforts, wasted! I should have never practised!" Octavia cried out.
"Come on out, Octy! Let's talk about this! I can make you your favorite drink!" Vinyl nudged the bump in the blanket as she spoke. "Triple chocolate marshmallow delight! Huh? Huh?" She tempted.
"No! I'm not coming out!"
Vinyl sighed. Lifting up the blanket from the foot of the bed, she climbed in, laying right next to Octavia.
"It must be pretty serious if chocolate isn't going to fix it." Vinyl joked as she created a small light at the end of her horn. "So, now that we can actually see each other. Feeling better?"
Octavia wiped her tears and rested her head on her hooves. "No. My practise was all for nothing. In the end, my talent was still not enough."
"Aw, come on, Octy! Don't say that!"
"Is it not true?"
"Of course not! You're the most talented pony I've ever seen!"
"Then why is it that I didn't win the competition? All of my efforts, wasted."
Vinyl sighed in response before speaking again. "Okay, Octy. Answer me, honestly. Did you learn anything from the hours and hours of training?"
"Of-Of course!" Octavia looked at Vinyl with a shocked and confused expression.
"And do you think you became a better musician?"
"Without a doubt!" Octavia turned back and rested her head on her hooves again, a depressed expression worn over her. "But I guess I didn't become a good enough musician."
"Octy, I could go down to a factory right now and pay them to mold for you a trophy that looks exactly like the one they've been giving out. But there is nowhere you or I could go to buy the experience you gain from training so hard." Vinyl brought her right hoof over Octavia's body, pulling her closer. "So cheer up, okay? You earned so much experience that a piece of metal wouldn't even be able to justify it."
Octavia wiped the last of her tears away.
"Thank you, Vinyl. You always do know what to say to make me feel better."
"Of course!" Tightening the hug slightly, Vinyl gave a sincere smile to the grey mare as she spoke. The next few words left them both in silence, under the warmth of the blanket.
"It's okay, Octy. Even though you didn't win that music competition, you're still the best musician in my heart."
Octavia held the picture in her hoof, a warm smile on her face as the morning rays of the sun pierced through her window and onto her. Slipping the picture of her gripping tightly the trophy for the 'Young Musicians Competition' into the thick black album which sat on her lap, she lifted her hoof to wipe the one stay tear which had escaped her efforts to hold it back.
As she prepared to ascend the steps of her home to her room, she heard the sound of footsteps and soon caught sight of the familiar white-coated unicorn descending from the floor above.
"Aw pony," Vinyl placed a hoof on her back and stretched it. "I need to get used to that guest bed." Arriving at the first floor, she finally caught sight of Octavia, who gripped the album tightly in her right hoof. "Octy? You're awake?" Vinyl remarked in shock.
"Yes, Vinyl dear."
Vinyl immediately noticed the sleepy tone in which Octavia was talking in. Coupled with the messy mane and black eye-backs, she quickly asked another question.
"Have you been up all night!?"
Octavia nodded as an answer. Before Vinyl could continue her interrogation, Octavia lifted her hooves and gave her friend a huge hug.
"Thank you, Vinyl."
"F-For what?" Vinyl stuttered, baffled.
"For everything. I wouldn't be the mare I am without you." Octavia released her grasp on Vinyl. Giving her one final smile, she ascended the steps towards her room with her precious album gripped tightly in her hoof.
Vinyl spun around, her mind still in a mess.
"Octy!? What's going on!? Would you mind explaining something? Anything!?" But there was no response. Looking down, she spotted a photo that had fallen from Octavia's album. Holding it up to the staircase, she shouted once more.
"Octy! You dropped..." Finally focusing on the photo, her shout lowered into a whisper. "...something." The photo showed Vinyl and Octavia, both in their graduation gowns with Vinyl hugging Octavia tightly, a smile on both of their faces.
"Octavia! We did it!" Vinyl shouted, her mouth extended to a face-wide grin. Both of them stood among the thousands of other ponies, all dressed in the same black robe and square hat. Everypony stood in the main square of the Canterlot Music Academy, which had been set up with thousands of chairs and a huge stage.
"Yes, Vinyl. We did." Octavia responded in her usual calm tone.
Vinyl jumped at the mare and drew her into a huge hug.
"Congratulations, Octy! I'm so happy for you!"
"I'm happy for you too, Vinyl."
The loud sounds of cheering echoed behind them with every other pony throwing their hats up into the air.
"Say cheese!" A pony with a camera in his hooves jumped in front of the two mares. Vinyl gave a tear-filled grin with Octavia giving a small smile of her own. As the hats flew into the air, the cameracolt snapped the picture, forever locking the moment in time.
"Hey, Octy. Stay right here! I'm gonna go check on my other pals!" Vinyl bounced off towards the place where every other pony gathered, leaving Octavia to stand alone. As she stared at the spot Vinyl once stood, she murmured under her breath.
"Yeah...I'll be right here."
Vinyl couldn't help but shed a tear at the precious memories she had forgotten years ago. Staring intensely at the photo, she muttered out the words as if by instinct.