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 was 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." The grey filly 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 frien-"
Vinyl slowly opened her eyes. The bright sunlight shone through her window and bathed her whole body, ensuring any further efforts of sleep would be rendered useless. She lazily pushed herself off the couch, rubbing her eyes before entering her bathroom.
"Dang, I look like crap!" Vinyl said sleepily to the messy, blue-maned mare staring back at her through the mirror. She levitated a toothbrush covered in a generous amount of toothpaste to her mouth. After a short brushing she pulled the it out of her mouth before leaning over her filled sink, spitting out the foam that had formed at her mouth.
Next, she sunk her head deep into the water that had filled the sink. Pulling her head back up to the mirror, she saw her wide smile, her fully opened eyes and her beautiful mixed-blue mane drooping from all the water. Vinyl started shaking her head furiously as water splashed all over the bathroom floor. Looking back up, she saw that her mane was now unkempt, messy and upright.
"Just how I like it!" Vinyl winked to her reflection before slipping on her purple shades which sat on the table next to her door and exiting her small home.
Vinyl leaned over to the basket of carrots in front of her, her eyes scanning each individual piece. It had become second nature for her to do the same thing every day. It was a pattern she had no reason to break out of. She would go to the market, get some groceries and if she had a party to attend to, she would play at the party. If not, she would treat herself to an early dinner before heading out for the nightlife.
"Wonder if Pinkie'll have another surprise party today." Vinyl muttered to herself. "It's not like I got anything better to do till tonight."
She picked up a small carrot in her mouth and placed it on the counter two steps away, tossing two bits towards the owner and slipping the carrot back into her saddlebag.
"Man, life here's so boring in the morning." the DJ complained to herself.
"Perhaps I can bring your life an octave higher."
That voice. Vinyl thought the voice was just her imagination running wild. She hadn't heard that voice in years, ever since she was a filly. She spun around and sure enough, in front of her stood the grey coated pony she knew. At first, she simply stood with her mouth agape. She didn't know if it was just a dream or an illusion. Vinyl lifted up her specs, revealing her hypnotizing bright-magenta eyes, to make sure it wasn't just a trick of the light.
"O-Octy!?" Vinyl shouted with a huge smile on her face.
"Ugh, Vinyl dear. I thought I'd told you never to call me th-" Octavia was immediately cut short by the sudden hug from the white coated mare. Vinyl spun her in circles, her smile turning into a huge grin.
"Octy Octy Octy! Oh man it's been so long!" Vinyl happily shouted.
"Yes." Octavia could barely speak at how tight the excited mare was hugging her. "If-you-would-please-let go-of me. You-know-how-much-I hate-hugs."
Vinyl suddenly realized the effort she was using to grasp her dear friend, pushing her away as her cheeks turned a light shade of red.
"Sorry Octy. I'm just, surprised!" Vinyl admitted for a lack of a better word to use.
"You always did get excited over the smallest things, Vinyl. Even when we were fillies." Octavia said with a small smile on her face before which was promptly answered by a small chuckle from her friend.
"Yeah yeah, you can trash me all you want later. So what brings you to Ponyville?" Vinyl asked.
"Well, I'm actually living here for now. I moved in two days ago."
"Huh? I don't get you, Octy. I thought Canterlot was your dream city!" Vinyl inquired, perplexed.
"Well it is. I mean, it was. I just thought a quieter lifestyle would suit me, that's all." Octavia calmly explained.
"Hmm that's strange." Vinyl's mind wandered away "It's not like Pinkie Pie to throw a welcome party without inviting me." She continued thinking out loud. "So how was your welcome party?"
"Welcome, party?" Octavia's eyebrows arched together, a look of confusion on her face.
"Yeah you know, the one Pinkie Pie throws for every new pony in Ponyville!"
"Pinkie Pie? I'm sorry Vinyl, I think I've lost track of what you're saying."
"Whoa, whoa whoa whoa whoa whoa. Are you telling me that Pinkie Pie hasn't thrown you one of her parties yet?" Vinyl asked, her eyes opening wide.
"I'm afraid not. Was I supposed to get an invitation?" Octavia asked, oblivious to the panicking mare in front of her.
"Oh no. Pinkie's gonna flip when she hears about this!" Vinyl turned towards the direction of Sugercube Corner. "Hey Octy, we'll catch up some other time okay? I gotta…prepare some stuff for you."
"Very well. I do have some pieces I would like to practice. And would you mind not calling me Octy? I'd much prefer Octavia."
"Bye Octy!" Vinyl dashed off, not even acknowledging what the black-maned pony had just said. Octavia sighed before continuing her walk through the market place.
Octavia burst through the white door, startling Vinyl, who was sitting at her desk, before running to her bed and burying her face in her hooves.
"Umm, Octy? You alright?" The white filly leaned over to her sobbing friend. "You didn't put your bow in the oven again did you?"
"No!" Octavia shouted through her hooves that covered her face. "They didn't have the right to say such things!"
Vinyl let out a small sigh. "Octy, you can't let them get to you like this! Those bullies couldn't tell good music from bad music if it kicked them out a window." She comforted the whimpering filly before pulling her upright, staring the gray filly straight in her eyes with her hooves on Octavia's shoulders. "Come on; I made a cup of your favorite hot chocolate on your desk." Octavia wiped the tears off her eyes and looked at Vinyl with a small smile. "Triple chocolate marshmallow delight made specially for the amazingly talented Octavia." Vinyl continued talking as the gray filly giggled silently to herself.
"T-Thank you, Vinyl dear. Words cannot express how grateful I am to have you as my friend."
Octavia let the music of her cello consume her. She swung her head with each pass of her bow on her cello strings, her black mane flowing as she moved her head. Her eyes were closed as her right hoof continued to guide the bow seamlessly through the strings.
"Octy?" Octavia didn't hear the voice that was calling out to her. She was in her own world, one she could escape to when everything else had fallen apart.
"Octy!" Octavia could hear a faint murmur but almost immediately passed it off as her imagination. She continued to let her bow dance on the cello.
"Octavia!" The gray pony finally snapped out of her trance. Her eyes flew open, scanning her surroundings. She had forgotten where she was. Throwing gazes around, she saw that she was sitting on a park bench. Hills, flowers and a pond not too far off jolted her memory. However, there was something that troubled her. The sun had been high up in the middle of the sky when she started her practice and now it had been replaced with a shining white ball among several shimmering stars.
"Oh my! What time is it?" Octavia asked in shock.
"It's 6pm, Octy. How long you've been here?" Vinyl questioned.
"I'm not sure. I first sat here while the sun was still out." Octavia explained, her mind still trying to comprehend how much time had passed compared to what seemed like minutes to her.
"Well whatever; that's not important. Come on! Let's go back to your place."
"My place? Why? Is there a problem?"
"What? No! Just go back to your place." Vinyl bit her lip, trying her best not to tell Octavia what was really happening.
"Very well." Octavia agreed, lifting her cello into its case. "I trust that this isn't some sort of prank? You had to have grown out of those childish plays." She said, causing Vinyl to let out a chuckle.
"Nah, no pranks at your place. I promise!"
"Very well." Octavia lifted her cello case and turned to her friend. "Let's get going."
As they began walking, Vinyl was the first to make sure the journey wouldn't be drenched in awkward silence.
"So, what made you come to Ponyville?"
"Didn't I tell you already, Vinyl? I just wanted a quieter lifestyle." Octavia responded as they turned a corner.
"I mean, that's it? It doesn't seem like you to just wanna come to this village and leave behind your dream job." Vinyl pointed out.
"And what would my dream job be?" Octavia interrogated with a serious tone.
"Huh? Octy I didn't mean it like that. I meant-" Vinyl stuttered, afraid she had just offended her friend but Octavia merely giggled softly to herself.
"You really haven't changed have you, Vinyl? Getting worked up over such minor trifles." The blue-maned mare punched Octavia's shoulder lightly upon hearing her words, a large smile on her face as they passed the Ponyville Library.
"I'm just shocked that you would abandon your career like that. Last I heard, you were the cellist for the Grand Galloping Gala!" Vinyl praised the grey mare, whose cheeks had started to blush a light red.
"I guess I just got tired of the constant barrage of events I had to play at. It was just too strenuous for me." Octavia explained as they passed by Carousel Boutique. "But enough of me. What have you been up to?"
"Well, I work as a DJ as you'd probably have guessed. I DJ at various clubs at night, come back early in the morning and crash till the afternoon everyday. Its how I earn enough cash to stay off the streets." Vinyl joked but Octavia looked on in worry.
"Oh dear. That sounds like a dreadful job. Every night?" Octavia asked, concerned.
"Every night. Hey, it ain't all that bad. I love what I'm doing and every now and again, Pinkie'll call me up to DJ for some random party she's throwing." Vinyl clarified.
"Ah yes. You mentioned this 'Pinkie Pie' earlier today. She seems to be quite popular in Ponyville." The two mares turned at Sugercube corner.
"Yeah, she's kinda wacky but she's really fun." They stopped outside a small home with a bright yellow roof. "Well, here you are!"
"Thank you for walking me home Vin-" Octavia stopped her sentence, realizing something out of place. "Vinyl, I never told you where I lived. How did you know this was my house?"
Vinyl brought her hoof up to her mane, ruffling it. "Well-I-umm-just go in Octavia."
"Vinyl dear, what are you hiding from me?"
"Just go in Octy! I promise you'll like it!" Vinyl desperately tried to convince her bowtie-wearing friend. Octavia cautiously opened her door, not knowing what to expect. As soon as she took a first step in, her house lights instantly turned on as a loud shout echoed through the room.
"Surprise!" The hundred or so ponies which stood in Octavia's living room shouted in unison.
Octavia stood, rooted to the ground, her eyes scanning the balloons, cake, confetti and the large banner which hung from her ceiling which read 'Welcome to Ponyville!'
"Surprise!" Another stray voice called out from the back of the room. Throwing her gaze to its source, she saw a pink mare with a puffy mane and a large smile plastered on her face. "Aw shoot! Again!"
Vinyl walked up to her startled friend who casually turned to her.
"Vinyl. There are ponies in my house." Vinyl grinned, trying to hold in her laughter at her friend's casual reaction.
"Well yeah. It ain't a party without ponies!"
"A party? For who? What is the occasion?" Octavia asked, perplexed
"Its for you Octy! It's a party to welcome you to Ponyville!" Vinyl explained as the ponies stared on at the two mares at the doorway.
"But I've already been in Ponyville for two days!" Octavia was even more puzzled.
"Well, yeah. About that-" Vinyl tried to explain herself but was cut off by the pink mare who bounced happily in front of Octavia.
"That's my fault! I'm sorry! I've been so busy trying to fill out the large order of cupcakes in Sugercube Corner that I totally forgot to throw a party for you!" the pink mare continued talking without taking a breath. "I mean I thought I could handle all the cupcakes but I was completely wrong! Do you know what it's like to make two hundred and fifty cupcakes a day? A lot of work! And not to mention the frosting, the toppings, the flavor, the cleaning, the-"
What an odd mare, Octavia thought to herself as she stared at Pinkie jumping and blabbering on the spot in front of her. She smells of…cotton candy? Her mind wandered away as Pinkie continued.
"Alright, Pinkie, Ah think she gets it." An orange pony from the crowd shouted out, stopping the barrage of words the puffy-maned pony had started.
"Applejack's right. Enough talk. Let's party!" A cyan Pegasus with a six colored mane yelled to the crowd, causing music to start blasting through speakers attached throughout Octavia's room. Pinkie bounced back to the buffet table, helping herself to the treats which laid on it.
"Sorry if that surprise scared you, Octy. It's just something we do to all new ponies in Ponyville." Vinyl said as she led her uncomfortable looking friend through the crowd.
"It's quite alright. I was more afraid of that pink pony which smelled of cotton candy. After what I saw her do at the Grand Galloping Gala, I fear for the safety of these ponies."
"You saw Pinkie Pie at the Gala? So you do know her! That's radical!" Vinyl joyfully shouted over the music.
"Well, I wouldn't say 'know'. She and her friends completely ruined the Gala and destroyed the entire ballroom." Octavia calmly remarked as a lavender colored pony stopped in front of them.
"Hi there! My name's Twilight Sparkle! Nice to meet you!" The purple pony shot her hoof out in front of Octavia.
"I remember you. You were one of Pinkie's friends that ruined the gala." Twilight's eyes flew open, her cheeks turning a shade of bright red.
"Well-umm-you see-" Twilight hesitantly tried to explain.
"And I remember that mare over there," Octavia continued, paying no attention to the embarrassed Twilight Sparkle as she pointed towards a yellow pony with a light pink mane. The pony had shrunk herself down into a corner of the room, not joining the party with the other ponies. "She burst into the room with all the wildlife found in the garden." Twilight's cheeks grew hotter as they glowed bright red. Vinyl saw the changes in Twilight and quickly grabbed her wandering friend.
"Octy! Shh. Let's not bring up old news okay? This is your party! Relax a little! Stop being so uptight!" Vinyl tried to coax Octavia.
"Very well then, Twilight Sparkle. I am Octavia, former professional cellist of Cantelot." Octavia stuck out her hoof towards the flushing purple mare, who extended her own hoof and shook it.
"Listen, Octavia, I'm really really sorry about what happened at the Gala. It wasn't supposed to go the way it did." Twilight's face showed the guilt she was feeling.
"Oh don't worry about that. It was quite interesting playing the Pony pokey while a pink mare sang in front of an audience. Although I didn't particularly like it when she grabbed me and randomly slid my hoof over the-"
"Okay! That's enough!" Vinyl interrupted.
"I was just going to remark about how she slid my bow randomly over the cello strings." If Twilight thought her cheeks were red before, she was almost certain they would stain now.
"Octy! Why don't you just enjoy the party?" Vinyl was getting flustered at Octavia's obliviousness. "I'm gonna go to my booth and get some real music going. Not enough basses being dropped!" Vinyl rushed off towards the huge glimmering booth at the back of the house, leaving Octavia standing next to Twilight.
"So what does one do at a party such as this?" Octavia asked as she watched the ponies in front of her dance wildly.
"Well, we kinda just have fun." Twilight wasn't sure how to answer that question. "You mean you've never been to a party before?"
"Well, not these kinds, I can assure you. The parties I attend feature a formal dress code, classical music and are usually held in huge ballrooms. Not in a person's house." Twilight laughed softly to herself, her horn glowing a bright aura of purple as she levitated a book to Octavia.
"Here. When I first came into Ponyville, I didn't know what to do at Pinkie's parties either. This book helped me, maybe you should borrow it first."
" 'What to do at your first party.'" Octavia read as she grasped the book, flipping it to the first few pages. "Step One. Make new friends."
"Here, I can help with that." Twilight said as she pulled the butter-colored mare, who was trying to make herself as small as she could over in a secluded corner, towards the bow-tie wearing pony. "Octavia. Meet Fluttershy."
"It's good to meet you Fluttershy. My name is Octavia." The grey earth pony stuck her hoof out to the yellow mare but the yellow mare silently lowered her head, slowly backing away from Octavia.
"Come on Fluttershy. She's nice. It's not like you to hide at one of Pinkie's parties." Twilight used her muzzle to coax Fluttershy. Slowly, she stuck her hoof out towards Octavia.
"I'm-I'm just scared that you'd be angry after what we did at the Gala," Fluttershy meekly spoke. "I'm not the same pony you saw there! Honest! I-I was just... angry."
"Do not trouble yourself." Octavia pulled Fluttershy upright. "Let us begin anew." She said, smiling warmly at the yellow Pegasus.
"O-Okay," Fluttershy replied as they walked towards the buffet table. Twilight stood in the crowd as she watched the two mares walk away, a satisfied grin on her face.
"Oh Twilight, is there any problem a book can't solve?" She remarked softly to herself before melting into the crowd.
"So then I told her that I'll be right back but I never did return!'" Laughter resonated through the room, mixing with the loud, electronic music. Octavia and Fluttershy were sitting in a small corner in her room, their hooves each gripping their own small glass of fruit punch Pinkie made.
"Y-you're really funny Octavia." Fluttershy said in her usual shy voice which was barely audible with the loud music that surrounded them. Octavia stared down into the cup grasped in her hooves; the dark pink liquid reflected her very own face as she was still recovering from her loud laughter.
"How do you know Miss Scratch?" Fluttershy asked.
"Vinyl? She and I were roommates at the Cantelot Music Academy. We lived together for three years before we graduated. Then we went our separate ways," Octavia couldn't take her eyes off the pony staring back at her in the cup; her smile had started to vanish with that question.
"Oh, you must be really happy to have met her here." The yellow pony asked as she took a small sip from her glass cup. "You've never had a party before?"
"I'm afraid not. I always figured these events were merely a waste of time, such as making friends."
"You didn't have any friends?" Fluttershy asked, hoping to confirm what she had just heard.
"Besides Vinyl? I'm afraid not."
"I'm sorry." Fluttershy diverted her eyes away from Octavia.
"Why are you apologizing?"
"I can't imagine what it must be like to go through life without any friends."
Octavia continued gazing at the pony reflected in the punch. "Yeah," Suddenly, her eyes started to widen and her breath started to become shallow as her whole body started trembling.
She finally realized how wrong she had been.
She released her grasp on the glass cup in her hoof, letting it shatter on the wooden floor and spilling the drink it held all over the floor.
As soon as the sharp sound of glass shattering reached Vinyl's ears, she ceased the music and unknowingly turned all the attention of all the ponies in the room to the trembling Octavia. When Vinyl's gaze rested on the source of the piercing sound, her heart sank. "Octy?" Vinyl whispered under her shallow breaths.
"Oc-Octavia!? Are you okay!?" Fluttershy yelled out in shock. She approached the grey mare but was met with a harsh push.
"Go away." Octavia's soft, stern voice commanded as she pushed the shy mare to the floor. Vinyl didn't believe what she had just witnessed. As if on instinct she jumped off her booth and started pushing herself through the crowd.
Fluttershy sat on the floor, tears welling up inside her. Twilight and the rest of her friends immediately rushed over to attend to the pegasus.
"Are you hurt?" Twilight asked worriedly.
"N-no." Fluttershy replied as she looked up at Octavia. Octavia stood up from her chair, her back hooves trembling immensely as she tried her best to stand. She brought her forehooves up to her face, covering them from the hundred of pairs of eyes that were on her. Vinyl finally managed to squeeze her way through the crowd and started running up towards her friend, her heart beating quickly.
"Octy! Hey, you alright?" Vinyl slipped her hoof over Octavia's shoulder, half expecting her to push it away but she allowed the white mare's hoof to comfort her.
"Get out," Octavia softly chanted. Vinyl couldn't make out what she was muttering so she leaned closer but, without warning, Octavia screamed at the top of her lungs. "Everypony get out!"
At first, no pony dared to either move or talk. The only sounds that resonated through the room were the sobs coming from Octavia. Vinyl leaned over to the crying mare, throwing her tinted purple glasses on the table beside them. Looking up, she saw that all the attention was on the two of them, she started to speak.
"I'm really sorry everypony but I think I'm gonna have to cut this party short. Please exit through the door as quickly as you can. I'm really sorry guys." Vinyl shouted through the crowd. The ponies didn't question her, quickly trotting out of the door as they were told. All of them left, except for Twilight and her friends who walked up to the whimpering Octavia being comforted by Vinyl.
"Hey, Vinyl? Is she alright?" Applejack asked.
"Do you need us to stay?" Twilight offered.
"No. Please just leave us alone. I'm really sorry about this, girls." Vinyl apologized.
"It's quite alright, darling." Rarity assured the worried mare.
"And Fluttershy. I'm sorry for what happened." Vinyl continued her apologies.
"It-It's fine Miss Scratch." Fluttershy wiped a stray tear that had fallen from her eye.
"If you need anything, you know where to find us." Rainbow offered as they trotted towards the main door.
"Hey, Octy. It's fine now okay? They're all gone. Don't worry." Vinyl brought Octavia closer to her chest as the sobs became heavier and heavier. Octavia grasped onto Vinyl tightly, not wanting to let go.
Vinyl moved Octavia to her couch. She wasn't sure how long it had been since Octavia had started crying. Vinyl didn't dare move after she sat down on the couch, merely letting Octavia grasp her as tight as she wanted. Slowly, she started to calm down. Her sobs grew softer as the tears slowly stopped.
"Feeling better, Octy?" Vinyl finally asked, the first time she spoke since she moved to the couch.
"N-Not really," The black-maned pony sniffed, "but t-thank you, Vinyl."
"Hold on. I know what'll cheer you right up." Vinyl lept off the couch. "Don't run away, okay Octy? I'll be right back." Octavia replied with a nod as Vinyl ran off into the kitchen.
A minute or so later, Vinyl emerged with a cup in her hoof. Steam could clearly be seen rising from the top of the blue mug.
"Ta-da!" Vinyl walked up to Octavia, who was still wiping the tears off from her face. When Octavia caught the scent of the liquid in the cup, a shocked look overcame her face. As she grasped the mug, the familiar smell left her at a loss for words.
"H-How did, you-you still remember!?" Octavia's stuttered.
"Well obviously." Vinyl joked, sitting back down beside her friend. "Triple chocolate marshmallow delight! Your favorite!"
Octavia couldn't help but smile at what Vinyl had just said. She stared directly into the mug, a laugh escaping from her lips.
"I can't believe you remember."
"Hey, it's pretty hard to forget you know?" Vinyl argued with a friendly smile. "That's the only bucking thing you would drink while you stayed up late for your studies at the academy. For three years!" Octavia's smile turned into a grin as her soft laugh turned into chuckles.
"How did you put up with me as your roommate?" Octavia asked, staring down at the hot brown liquid in her hooves.
"Hay if I know. I've been asking myself that question since we met." Vinyl casually remarked as she laid back on the couch, her forehooves on her belly. Octavia continued laughing.
"Thank you Vinyl." Octavia turned to Vinyl, a sincere smile on her face. A smile Vinyl had never seen before.
"Hey, no problem." Again there was silence for a short while as Octavia turned back down to the cup she grasped."Mind telling me what that was all about?"
"I'd really rather not." Octavia lifted the mug to her lips, tasting the nostalgic drink she had forgotten about for years.
"Come on! You don't have to be scared. I'm here for you, Octy." Vinyl said reassuringly.
Octavia took a deep breath in. "Promise me you won't tell anypony?"
Vinyl sighed before reciting the chant everypony in Ponyville knew. "Cross my heart and hope to fly, stick a cupcake in my eye." She chanted while doing the appropriate actions. Octavia merely stared at her with a confused grin on her face, quickly breaking into heavy laughter.
"What? What'd I do wrong?" Vinyl inquired, baffled at the grey mare's loud laughter.
"W-What in Canterlot were you doing?" Octavia barely managed to ask.
"Huh? Oh right! You don't know!" Vinyl slapped her hoof on to her forehead, now laughing along with her friend at her apparent mistake. After recovering from their laughter, Vinyl tried to explain. "That was a Pinkie promise. It's the greatest kind of promise you could make. Breaking it is unforgivable."
"Oh is that so? Well then I guess I should confess all my secrets now." Octavia joked sarcastically.
"Sarcasm? Octy using sarcasm? Who are you and what have you done to my best friend?" Both mares erupted into laughter once more. The sad atmosphere had all but vanished.
"Octy, you can tell me anything." Vinyl shifted up so that she was right next to the grey mare. "I'll be here for you, no matter what happens." Octavia didn't respond, replying only with a small smile as a tear rolled down her cheek.
"I just realized something."
"What'd you realize?"
"That I'd been going about it all wrong." Octavia glanced at Vinyl, who had a perplexed look sprawled on her face. Octavia gave a short, soft laugh before continuing. "I guess I should tell you about my past."
"When I was a filly, I lived with my parents in Manehatten. We were a very close family, even through all the hardships we had. We weren't rich; we barely had enough money to support ourselves."
"Octavia! Dinner is ready!" a white coated mare shouted.
"Coming!" A high-pitched reply echoed through the small house. Soon, a young grey coated filly appeared, jumping up on the small wooden chair next to a tiny square table. A white mare sat across from Octavia and a black coated stallion sat beside her. The filly looked on the plate with a smile.
"There sure is a lot of food today! What's the occasion?" Octavia asked, staring at the small plate in front of her which barely held a couple of bundles of hay.
"There is no occasion my daughter." The stallion replied. "We just thought you deserved a treat for being such a good filly." When Octavia glanced over at her parents plates, her smile quickly vanished.
"What about you two? Your plates have so little hay!" Octavia's worry was only met with soft laughter from the stallion and the mare.
"No worries my dear, this is more than enough for us." The mare assured the young filly. Octavia knew they were lying but decided to press no further as her eyes darted back down to her plate. She slowly picked up a few strands and chewed, silence surrounding the small table in the middle of the empty house.
"And then one day, as if fate had a plan for them, they both caught a disease while they were working and ended up in the hospital. Needless to say I was at a loss for what to do."
Octavia stood outside the ward, her eyes focused through the window on the stallion and mare lying on the bed. Another stallion, dressed in a white coat and wearing glasses, was talking to the two ponies in bed as they listened intently. Only muffled, inaudible speeches reached the filly's ear. As the stallion in the coat continued to speak, the two ponies' faces changed from one of light smiles to one of pure fear.
When the doctor finally stopped speaking, the mare and the stallion turned to each other and saw both of their faces equally twisted in horror. Suddenly, they turned to the filly watching them from the window, their expressions froze her in place. Octavia couldn't move any of her hooves, their faces forced tears to her eyelids even though she didn't hear a word the doctor had said. Turning towards the hallway, she started to run. Hoping to get as far away as she could from that room which held the only two ponies she knew.
Vinyl listened intently to Octavia, who seemed lost in her own world as she continued her tale. "I had never felt so helpless in my life. Watching the two ponies that cared for you sit there, their life draining away with each passing day. One day, they told me what they wanted me to do."
"We want you to be happy, my dear Octavia." her mother told her.
"We have given you both of our life savings to do whatever it is you wish to do." her father said as he laid beside the mare. Octavia looked on to the two sickly ponies in despair.
"All we want you to do is to keep smiling and make us proud!" the mare added. Octavia sat on the floor, silent. Her black mane falling over her tearing eyes.
"And not long after, they passed." Octavia gulped, her gaze unmoving from the mug.
"Octy, I'm so sorry. I didn't-"
"I wandered the streets every night with no goal, no dream, no aim and nopony to turn to."
She continued, oblivious to Vinyl's interruption.
Octavia's eyes were fixated on the pavement passing beneath her hooves. Heavy rain fell on her mane and coat, drenching them completely and causing her mane to fall flat. However, she seemed unfazed, wandering aimlessly down the same street she had been trotting down for almost a month.
"I wandered the streets every night with no goal, no dream, no aim and nopony to turn to. I had actually considered taking my own life away just so I could be with them again, but their wish stayed clear in my mind. It was that memory that kept me living. I had begun to live day by day. I would wake up in the morning, unsure of where to go, what to do. I was a filly thrown into the world without any sense of purpose. Until one day, I heard this wonderful sound."
The beautiful, enchanting melody resonated from inside a shop Octavia had passed many times while wandering the streets. She had never thrown a second glance at the shop as it lacked any signs or notices. Its windows were always boarded up, preventing anypony from seeing inside it. Octavia had always thought that the shop was uninhabited and ignored it. Now, however, the alluring music had drawn her into a trance. Her eyes glazed over; no more were they half opened and filled with sadness as she pushed open the old, creaky door.
When the door swung open slowly, the music got significantly louder. Octavia took her first steps in, feeling as if she was being pulled by an invisible rope. The shop was almost completely empty, save for a few cardboard boxes strewn around randomly throughout the small room. Octavia's eyes automatically found themselves drawn towards the source of the music. Towards the back of the room stood a stallion gripping a large, brown instrument in his left hoof and a long bow in his other.
The stallion's coat was a very light shade of yellow and his mane was short and pearl white. His face and body featured several wrinkles, showing his old age to the young filly approaching him slowly. As she got closer, Octavia could see the stallion had his eyes shut tight as he moved the bow seamlessly through the strings, constructing the grand theme which hypnotized the grey maned pony.
"I couldn't comprehend the music which was being forged from that wooden object he was grasping."
Octavia saw the elderly pony open his eyes and focused on her. Her wide, innocent gaze was focused on the instrument the stallion grasped. The stallion smiled warmly towards the drenched filly but her mouth didn't change from its emotionless state. Octavia watched as the stallion sat the instrument against a wall before going into the back room and appearing with a tall stool in his hoof. Sitting the stool down exactly where he stood before, he lifted her up. It was a strange feeling for Octavia. For some reason, she didn't feel threatened by the pony that was gripping her. In fact, she felt safe with him.
"I trusted him. I did. I still do not understand why up to this day. Regardless, when I was finally seated, he,"
The stallion lifted Octavia's left hoof, positioning it around the instrument's neck. He then lifted her right hoof, placing the bow on it and gripping it shut. The stallion proceeded to lift her right hoof on the string on the instrument before stepping away, his gaze locked onto the filly.
"When I slid the bow over the string for the first time,"
Octavia looked down at the tools she held in her hooves before nervously sliding the bow over one of the strings for the first time, causing a note to resonate throughout the store.
"…something took over me."
Her eyes were closed shut, her body swaying with each pass of the bow and her hooves guided by a force she couldn't understand. Her mind had been lost to the melody that was being released with each pull of the bow, not even thinking of where her hooves should be next on the instrument. Octavia just knew. Her mind had been washed away from all the worries that had plagued her. All of her thoughts had emptied out into the world she didn't think existed anymore. As she continued playing, a large, sincere smile started to stretch across her face, tears forming at the edges of her eyes.
"I had never cried tears of joy before that moment. I never imagined I ever would. When I played that cello, time seemed to fall apart, for when I opened my eyes, the stallion had vanished. The cardboard boxes were gone and the only remnant of the event that had just unfolded was the instrument I gripped in my hoof. I was alone again yet I felt surprisingly calm. However, peace and purpose was not all I had earned that day-"
Octavia leapt off the tall stool, her left hoof holding tightly onto the neck of the cello. As she fell to the floor, the bow slipped out from under her right hoof. When her hooves touched the hard wooden floorboards, she turned her head around to pick up the bow when she noticed something she never had before. There, on her flank, was a large pink treble clef. Octavia's mouth quickly grew into a huge grin. She had earned her cutie mark! Biting tightly onto the bow, she dragged the heavy instrument out of the door and into the sunny streets outside.
"When I left that store, I was changed. I had not only earned my cutie mark, I had earned a purpose in life, one which I had lacked since my parents passed. However, I still wish that I could thank that old stallion for rescuing me. I had been saving my parent's money for the right moment and this was it!"
Octavia pulled the flyer off the notice board.
Do you love music?
Do you dream of becoming a popular musician?
Then come to Canterlot and join the Canterlot Music Academy today!
"And that's where I met you, Vinyl." Octavia lifted the mug to her lips once more, taking another sip of the soothing hot chocolate before lowering it back down onto her lap. "When I was at the academy, I only wanted to make my parents proud. I studied hard, made all the effort to be the top student in class."
"And you did! You were the top student in our year!" Vinyl remarked.
"Yes, and I got a successful career in a band to play at the most prestigious events in Cantelot. However, in doing so, I had forgotten the very reason my parents wanted me to keep living."
"We want you to be happy, my dear Octavia."
"All we want you to do is to keep smiling and make us proud!"
Octavia shot up from her bed, cold sweat dripping down from her forehead as she tried to catch her breath with large gasps of air. Her bright purple eyes scanned her surroundings. Noticing the familiar blue walls of her room, her eyes slowly went back to the blanket covering her two backhooves as she tried to gather her thoughts.
After a minute of silence, cries started to resonate through the walls of her room and warm tears started to flow down her cheeks. Bringing her backhooves up to her chest, she hugged them tightly with her forehooves. The cries soon turned into loud sobs and the tears started to flow like a waterfall as the grey mare dug her face deep into her lap.
"The thought of disappointment clouded my memory of what exactly they wanted me to be. Happy. And I wasn't. Sure I was famous to an extent, playing at the most formal and popular events in Equestria, but I wasn't happy, not in the slightest. It took me years to realize that and after I did, I left Cantelot and came to Ponyville. Hoping to start with a clean slate, to truly be happy."
"So that's the real reason you came to Ponyville." Vinyl eyes widened at the revelation.
"Yes. However, when I arrived, I was once again lost on what to do and where to go. I felt like a filly, lost on the streets of Manehatten again. Except this time, I had my cello to remind me of my purpose in life. Ironically, it took a shy yellow mare to see what made me happy." Octavia took another sip from her cup.
"Making friends. When Fluttershy and I were laughing a few hours ago, I realized how joyful I was. The only other time I felt the same was when I first played my cello in that empty store. It made me realize how much of my life I had wasted, trying to do my parents proud when all I had to do was accept the people that cared for me and not push them away. Like you, Vinyl." Vinyl stared blankly at Octavia, confused on why she would say something like that.
""After we graduated from the academy, I acted as if," Octavia gulped, "as if I never met you, even though you treated me as such a good, no, more than a friend."
"Woo-hoo! Congrats guys!" Vinyl shouted out, dressed in a black robe with a large square cap on her head. "We did it! We survived three years of academy hell!" She continued to shout to the small group of ponies in front of her. "Ain't that right Octy?" Her smile quickly started to disappear when she noticed the earth pony was missing from the group. "Octy?" Vinyl turned her attention to the ponies that were busy chattering away with smiles on their faces.
"Hey guys. You've seen Octy?" Vinyl asked with her huge magenta eyes.
"Umm, no Vin. Can't say I have." A brown pony replied. Vinyl tossed the hat on her head away, rushing towards the only place Octavia could be at.
The blue-maned pony charged down the hallway, stopping in front of a white door with a small metal plate etched with the letters '35-A'. Bursting through the door, she felt her knees grow weak as her eyes saw what was once Octavia's bed and desk, now cleaned and empty as if nopony had ever been there.
"Octy…" Vinyl mumbled to herself, a tear flowing down her cheek.
"After we graduated from the academy, I acted as if I never met you, even though you were my friend. I figured friends only acted as a nuisance and a colossal waste of time and, as such; I'd chosen to go through my life without any, trying to forget that I met you as soon as I could. It was a selfish and short-sighted choice and I am truly sorry for what I did." A long pause ensued as neither of the two mares dared to mutter a word. Taking in a deep breath, Octavia finally asked, "Will you forgive me Vinyl?"
"I-Of course! I mean, I didn't know you had-I-" Vinyl could not find any suitable words to describe her feelings.
"I cried because I knew that my parents must have been watching down on me the whole time in disgust, seeing me do what I thought they wanted me to do and not what I, myself, wanted." Octavia took one more sip of her drink, emptying the cup. Standing up and sitting the empty mug on the table a short distance away, she sat back down and turned to the stunned Vinyl. "That's all I can tell you, for that is all that I know."
"I'm-I-I didn't," Vinyl stuttered, trying to hold back her tears.
"Now what about you Vinyl? What is your life story?" Octavia asked, slipping to the back of her couch.
"Well, there's not much to tell really. I got kicked out of my house when I was a filly, worked some odd jobs before earning my cutie mark when I first DJ-ed and then enrolling myself into the Canterlot Music Academy. After graduating, I came here and have been here ever since." Vinyl said nonchalantly.
"Why did you get kicked out of your home?"
"Let's just say I wasn't exactly the 'obedient' type to my rich, snobbish parents. They wanted me to be a classical musician like them but that didn't go with me. So they kicked me out, called me a disappointment and some other stuff I don't really remember, not that I care."
"And you never look back and wondered what your parents think of you now?"
"Nope." Vinyl said without hesitation. "I'm doing what I love and love what I'm doing. They might be my parents but if they can't accept that then that's just too bad." Vinyl shrugged.
"I am so jealous of you, my friend." Octavia smiled.
"You? Jealous of me?" Vinyl asked in surprise.
"Why, yes. I'm jealous that you are willing to do what you feel is right for yourself and not what is right for others."
"Ironic isn't it? Because I'm jealous of you." Vinyl admitted with a smirk. "Jealous that you had a family that loved you, a family that only wanted you to be happy regardless of your choice." Octavia was left speechless at Vinyl's comment. "I'm sure they're smiling on you now, wherever they may be." Octavia couldn't hold it in anymore, the tears she had desperately tried to hold back while she told the story had begun to flow, crossing paths with her crooked smile. Vinyl inched her way next to Octavia, clinging on to her in a tight hug.
"I miss them. I miss them so much." The words pierced Vinyl's heart as she too, started to let tears fall. Something she had not done in a long while.
"Feeling better?" Vinyl asked the now-quiet pony lying on her shoulder.
"Yes, much better." Octavia replied.
"Don't you worry, okay? I'm gonna be here through the night."
"Huh?" Octavia lifted her head off from Vinyl's shoulder. "A-are you sure? I only have one bed."
"Then I'll crash on the couch." Vinyl quickly rebutted
"That's unacceptable! How can I sleep on a bed while my dear friend sleeps on a couch!?"
"Relax Octy. The couch is like my second bed. I can't tell you how many times I've passed out on the couch while working on my mixes."
"What about your job? I thought you had events at places you had to attend to tonight."
"Well, yeah, but they have back-up DJs, they always do. I'm sure they'll understand."
"Isn't that your only source of income? How will you support yourself if-"
"It's just one night. I won't go bust just because I miss a few gigs." Vinyl reassured the nervous mare.
"You-you don't have to do this Vinyl."
"Well, maybe I don't have to. But I want to." Vinyl answered with a warm smile. "Plus, I have to help you clean up this mess you call a house." She gestured with her hoof at the broken glass, confetti and cakes strewn all over the small home.
'T-thank you Vinyl dear, words cannot express how grateful I am to have you as my friend." Octavia rested her head on Vinyl's shoulder once again.
Vinyl let her head fall onto Octavia's. The grey mare could feel Vinyl's smile as she spoke. "I really meant it when I said-"
"I'll always be here for you Octy. Don't forget that." There was only silence as Vinyl lifted her hoof to wipe the stray tears on Octavia's face. "Now go, before your hot chocolate turns into cold chocolate." Vinyl joked as she used her head to point towards the wooden desk at the other end of the room. Octavia happily bounced off her bed, towards the desk which held the cup filled with her favorite drink. A smile on the faces of the two friends, each of their lives raised an octave higher.