The familiar voices echoed throughout Princess Celestia's castle as the regal cellist Octavia exchanged a verbal battle with the disc-jockey Vinyl Scratch. The Grand Galloping Gala had just ended, and upon Vinyl's self-proclaimed 'fashionably late arrival', the two rivaling musicians had once again sparked up a pointless debate.
"You just couldn't possibly understand the true beauty of classical music!" Octavia exclaimed.
"You just refuse to let some good music rock your eardrums for once in your stuffy, miserable life!" Vinyl yelled in reply.
"Why, you obnoxious little party freak! You wouldn't know a good tune if it beat your flank halfway across Equestria!"
"And you call your slow, weak songs 'good'? Ol' Granny Smith in Ponyville knows my kinda music's way better than yours, and she's half deaf!"
Octavia immediately pointed her bow at Vinyl, glaring angrily at her.
"You've no right to be here, Vinyl Scratch. You're a simple party unicorn. Even if you did learn what real music was, you don't have enough class to perform for the princess, anyway."
Vinyl returned her piercing glare, unable to respond.
"What's the matter, dear? Parasprite got your tongue?"
The techno-loving unicorn merely about faced and darted out of the ballroom. Octavia couldn't help herself but laugh at this sight.
"Oh, dear, it looks like I've hurt her feelings! What a shame, really. Then again, it's nopony's loss but her own!"
Vinyl Scratch just kept running, despite the fact that she had arrived at the Gala via chariot. She would run for however long she had to in order to escape that horrible place and that obnoxious rival of hers. She ran and ran for hours, which to her, felt like days at the time. She finally arrived at her house, which rested between Ponyville and Canterlot, violently attempting to shove a key into the lock. After five failed attempts, she finally succeeded and entered her home, angrily flicking her head back, launching her goggles onto a hat rack next to the door, which she proceeded to buck shut.
After what had just occurred at the Gala, Vinyl wanted nothing more than to wash away her pain and suffering, so she immediately set off for the bathroom, pulling a towel from a nearby closet and heading in, once again slamming the door shut with a swift kick from her rear legs.
"Stupid Octavia," she muttered, starting up the water. "Totally ignorant...unbelievable. Won't even listen to a single song by Deadhor5 or Colts Noize...I should just march right into her fancy little Canterlot mansion and strap a pair of headphones to her head...she wouldn't have a choice then, that little stuffy perfectionist..."
Her hateful rant was drowned out by the crash of the water on the shower floor. It was mere moments before she herself even forgot what it was she was ranting about as the warmth of the water formed soothing steam, which quickly filled the room, fogging up the large mirror overlooking the sink in seconds.
"Now that, I needed," Vinyl said with a relaxed sigh, shutting down the shower. She carefully stepped out onto the rug, not caring at this point if it got wet or not. Her horn glowed and she pulled the towel over herself, spending several minutes getting completely dry. She used her magic once again to pull a blue robe with records and music notes across it onto herself, slipping it on carefully.
Upon exiting the bathroom and letting the steam flow out into her living room, Vinyl Scratch was met with a slow knock upon the door.
"Who could be here at this time of night?" she asked herself out loud. "Pinkie? Nah, she was hanging with her friends at the donut place back in Canterlot...besides, that knocking would've been a lot faster."
She made her way to the door before realizing she could have very well opened it with her magic. With a quick flash, the lock on the door deactivated.
"It's open!" she exclaimed, though not with her usual party vigor.
The door opened up and, to Scratch's surprise, in walked Pinkie Pie, her fluffed hair slightly tattered, parts of her body bruised and her dress wrinkled up.
"Heya, Scratchie!" Pinkie exclaimed, slightly lacking her usual enthusiasm. "Mind if I come in?"
Though all she wanted to do at that point was rest, Vinyl Scratch thought that maybe Pinkie's company might make her feel better. It had, after all, been quite some time since they'd seen each other.
"Sure thing, Pinkie," she said. "Come on in. Take a load off your hooves."
Pinkie Pie entered the house and made herself comfortable, sitting down on a bean bag chair in Vinyl's living room.
"So, what brings my favorite party girl here tonight?"
Pinkie was hopping around in the chair in her usual ecstatic manner, just as Vinyl met her. During the early start of her career, not long after she'd gotten her cutie mark, Vinyl had met Pinkie outside a nightclub in Manehatten. The two became great friends and the life of any party they hit in the city for almost two weeks, and they kept in contact via written letters.
The pink earth pony settled down and finally spoke.
"Well, after Twilight and the others started heading home, I went back to the Gala to see if there were any extra party decorations left!"
"And?" Vinyl asked.
"Well, on the way back, I ran into a whole group of ponies that put their own party together because they couldn't get into the Gala! There were streamers and balloons and everything! It was my kinda party!"
"Sounds like a blast," Vinyl chuckled. "But how does that lead you here?"
"Well, I heard shouting from the Gala, and it sounded like you and Octavia. Then I saw you running down to your house, and my Pinkie Sense went off!"
"Yeah! Achey hoof and shakey body means a friend is hurt and needs help."
Vinyl sighed. She didn't want to have to go any further into this tonight, but she knew it was going to be impossible to dodge questions from Pinkie Pie.
"I don't get it," Pinkie continued, "why don't you and Octavia get along? You're both music-loving ponies."
"Well, Tavi's always been more of a follower of classical music, and I've always had more of a thing for techno and trance beats. I guess you could say that she's a bit of a sour note, while I'm a bit of a sharp."
Having had Vinyl's musical reference soar right over her head, she proceeded to speak with an inquisitive expression. "Hey, I noticed you called her 'Tavi.' I think I've only heard that one time before. Actually, it was you that said it! Now that I think about it, you're the only one who's ever called her 'Tavi'! I've always wondered about that, but I never really bothered to ask..."
With Pinkie's words, Vinyl had realized she'd slipped up and uttered Octavia's familiar nickname without even thinking. There was no going back now. She had to keep talking.
"Guess I can't really avoid it," she said, catching Pinkie's attention mid-rant. "Might as well tell you the whole story from the beginning."
Pinkie assumed a more comfortable position in the bean bag chair as Vinyl herself took a seat on a blue and white one next to her.
"It started when I was much younger...we'd met at a play Rarity had put together costumes for."
"Wait a minute," Pinkie quickly interrupts. "Why were you at Rarity's play?"
"We're cousins, of course," Vinyl answered. "She never told you?"
"I knew it!" she suddenly exclaimed, jumping up and down excitedly. "I knew you two were related when I saw you at the fashion show! I knew it, I knew it!"
Vinyl chuckled. "Calm down, Pinks. You're gonna hurt yourself."
Pinkie immediately quieted herself and sat still.
"Now, I was just there watching," Vinyl continued, "but I just so happened to see one very pretty pony only a few seats away from me...She definitely presented herself as the type who cares a lot about her appearance...she was a lot like Rarity, though probably not nearly as OCD about how she looked."
Pinkie quickly placed a hoof before her own mouth, stopping a giggle fit from disrupting the story.
"To anyone else, she'd have seemed like an ordinary old pony girl...but not me. Though her color may be gray on gray, I saw her majestic purple eyes look on at the play and...I didn't know what I felt at the time. It wasn't until later I figured out that I was crushing on her, big time."
-FLASHBACK: Rarity's Play-
A young Vinyl Scratch sat watching the play, bewildered by the mystifying jeweled costumes her cousin had put together. However, in the corner of her eye, she saw the gray earth pony known as Octavia sitting nearby, watching the performance with her beautiful lavender gaze, and Vinyl's heart skipped a beat.
After the performance, Vinyl began making her way over to her, but her sudden nerves got the best of her, confusing her long enough for Octavia to vanish deep into the crowd. She frowned, disappointed in herself, but disregarded the whole event, believing it was not meant to be.
-YEARS LATER: Equestria's School for the Musically Gifted-
Vinyl had been accepted into Equestria's most prestigious music academy for ponies who had obtained their cutie marks in musical skill. She would have to take a series of classes that would be completely unrelated to her talents as a disc jockey, but being who she was, she wouldn't let that stop her.
In addition to taking these classes, she had to take up an instrument of classical variety. Of all instruments she knew of, the one that she almost instinctively chose was the cello. At the time, she could not remember why it was she selected it, but it felt right to her somehow. After obtaining her instrument, she made her way to her first class: Classical Studies.
Upon arriving in the classroom, she noticed many different ponies, some she'd seen before, some she had not, but one that stood out among the rest: a gray earth pony with lavender eyes. However, her attention was quickly brought to the fairly large black colt standing in the doorway. He had a long white mane and tail, a piano-pattern bag over his back, and his cutie mark was a white flat note. Vinyl made her way to an empty seat as the black pony made his way to the desk in the front of the room.
"Good morning, class," he said. "My name is Flat Key. As I do have a brother of the same surname as me, you may all call me Professor Flat. I would like to formally welcome you all to Classical Studies, where we will be taking a look back into the origin of the classical style, from W. Amadeus Coltzart all the way to classical musicians of today, such as Fredrick Horshoepin and a student in this very room, Miss Octavia."
All eyes turned to Octavia with scattered conversation and small applause. The gray earth pony blushed. "Oh, come now, professor, I'm not as good as the great Fredrick Horshoepin."
"Oh, but you're very close, Miss Octavia," Flat stated. "In fact, if you wouldn't mind, would you play us a little something before the end of class?"
"I would be glad to," Octavia said, her face almost completely red.
"Now, let us begin," Flat said, pulling a textbook out of his bag. "Open your texts to the first chapter."
Throughout the class, Vinyl Scratch started to become more and more noticeably disinterested, and Flat took notice. Nearing the end of the lesson, he spoke to her directly.
"Miss Scratch, is something wrong? You didn't seem to be very attentive to the lesson, nor were you taking any notes."
"Nah, nothing's wrong," she replied bluntly, "but this stuff just ain't my style. It's boring."
Scattered laughter popped up across the classroom, followed by one angry, glaring Octavia rising out of her desk and confronting Vinyl at hers.
"That's some big talk coming from a party pony. I don't suppose you could play anything these masters did in their time?"
"Why would I even want to?" she simply replied. "Like I said, it's boring."
"All you seem to care about is that dreadful 'techno' you call music!" she exclaimed angrily, surprising everypony in the room. Octavia's glare intensified, but she quickly averted her gaze to the professor. "Professor Flat, if you would not mind, I would like to keep my promise now."
Flat Key looked at the clock and noticed the time. "Ah, yes, of course, Miss Octavia. The front of the room is now your stage."
Octavia pulled her cello case forward, Vinyl now realizing why it was she'd instinctively chosen the same instrument: she had remembered it from one of Octavia's concerts that Rarity had designed for. Octavia opened the case and carefully pulled her flawless instrument out. She set it up and assumed her playing position.
"This is an original piece of mine...I hope you enjoy it."
Octavia began slowly, but her soft, calming tune became a fast-paced, majestic medley of sound, filling the eyes of everypony in the room with tears of overwhelming joy. Hidden behind her black-rimmed violet shades, Vinyl Scratch herself had been brought to tears as well.
'What is this?' the party mare asked herself in thought. 'This feeling...this music...why am I...enjoying it? This stuff...isn't anything like I'd heard it was...'
"That was absolutely marvelous!" Flat exclaimed at the conclusion of Octavia's performance. "Brava, my dear! Brava!"
Octavia took a bow as the room filled with applause. Vinyl was left speechless at her desk.
"That will conclude our class for the day, everypony. Re-read today's chapter, because we will be reviewing tomorrow. Especially you, Miss Scratch."
As the students exited the classroom, thoughts filled Vinyl's mind. Finally, she made a decision and approached Octavia, who was among the last to leave after putting her cello away.
Octavia turned around. "Oh, it's you. What do you want?"
Her statement was drowned out by the passing crowds and her own lack of volume.
"You're going to have to speak up," Octavia said smugly.
"I want you to..."
Her words were drowned out again.
"I still can't here you," Octavia said, sounding more and more arrogant.
Again, the noise covered up her words.
"For Celestia's sake, Vinyl Scratch, speak-"
"Teach me to play like you!"
Though the noise continued throughout the academy halls, the two had both heard what Vinyl had said.
"...I beg your pardon?"
"I...I want to play like you did in there."
"You said that classical music was boring," Octavia said with an irritated glare.
"I know, and I'm sorry...but when you played in there...that was just something, like, otherworldly. It was on a totally different level than anything I play at parties or listen to myself."
Octavia grinned. "Are you admitting that my music is better than yours?"
"That isn't what I said," Vinyl stated, fuming slightly. "I said it was on a different level...my stuff's good for party folk. But that...that was like, calming and invigorating at the same time. I would do anything to play like that."
"Would you be willing to give up personal time to practice?"
"Yes. Anything at all. I'll even cancel all my gigs for the next year."
Octavia, somewhat shocked at the party unicorn's statement, gave a simple smile. "Excellent. Meet me back here in six hours. The room will be empty, and we can begin then."
Octavia walked off, merging with the crowd until Vinyl could no longer distinguish her from the other ponies. She smiled a bit, but realized she'd be late for her next class if she continued standing around, and she made her way into the flowing crowd as well.
Six hours and three classes later, Vinyl made a mad gallop for the Classical Studies classroom, holding her cello case carefully levitating at her side, her horn lit up with magic. Octavia stood there, waiting patiently. Vinyl stopped right before her, catching her breath.
"I know, I'm a couple of minutes late, I'm sorry, but I got caught up in the crowds and everything, and the last professor really took a liking to me and-"
Octavia placed her hoof to Vinyl's mouth, causing the unicorn to stop talking and also flush a bit.
"Do not worry about it," Octavia said, her face turning a shade of red itself. "Now, let's head inside and close the door so we have nothing to bother us while we practice."
Octavia pulled her hoof away and made her way inside. Vinyl followed, and with a quick flash of her horn, the door carefully shut behind them.
"Prepare your instrument."
Vinyl nodded and carefully levitated her cello from its case, placing it upright and trying to assume the same playing form Octavia had six hours earlier, failing miserably with the bow almost slipping out of her hoof.
"No, no, that's all wrong," Octavia scolded, heading over to Vinyl. "Depending whether you're right hoofed or left, you hold the bow with your dominant hoof and the neck of the cello with the other."
"I got 'em in the right hands...it's just confusing, that's all."
Vinyl suddenly felt Octavia's hooves on hers, moving them to the right positions on the instrument. Her face flushed completely red, but she looked away to avoid showing it.
"Now," Octavia said, letting go and stepping back, "try to play something. Anything."
Vinyl simply pulled the bow across the instrument, and a sour note caused the two musical ponies to cringe.
"Something tells me that was wrong," Vinyl chuckled.
Octavia glared, but remembering Vinyl was still new to the instrument, she couldn't help but give a small giggle herself. "Only slightly. You need to press your hoof onto one of the strings on the neck. Then, play that string and only that string. A basic scale is all we'll be working on for now, anyway. Just try to keep to the string closest to your dominant hoof."
Vinyl nodded again and gave it another try, this time producing a near-flawless C note.
"Very good," Octavia commended, "but it will take more work to get that and the rest of the scale sounding perfect."
"So it's gotta be perfect?"
"You wanted to learn how to play, did you not?" she inquired.
"Yeah, but not perfectly."
"There is no other way to play this instrument except perfectly!" Octavia exclaimed. "Perfectly or badly are your only choices."
Vinyl wanted to press the matter more, but she disregarded it and just continued her practice.
"I assume you know at least the basics of any instrument in terms of the scale."
"Of course," Vinyl stated proudly. "Moving my hoof along the neck string will change the note I play."
Vinyl played a full scale from C to B, forming a few partially sour notes the first time. She tried again, this time creating no sour notes, but no perfect ones either. The third and fourth times held scattered perfect notes and several off-key. Time and time again, she tried to master the scale. This trial carried on for almost ten minutes, and when Octavia was just about to give up hope, the sound she'd been waiting, but not expecting, to hear rang out.
"...Vinyl, do that again."
Vinyl nodded and played once again, executing a perfect scale from C to B.
"...You've done it. You've actually done it! You have successfully played a perfect scale on the cello!"
Without even thinking, Octavia quickly pulled Vinyl into a near-bone-crushing hug, which Vinyl instinctively returned. The two realized the awkward position they'd entered and quickly pulled away, hiding flushed expressions from one another.
"Well," Octavia said, her color returning to normal, "I think that's all we have time for today. You did well. Same time tomorrow?"
Vinyl simply nodded, still thinking about what had just transpired between the two of them.
"I...I have a late class tonight, so...I suppose I will see you tomorrow, yes?"
"Right," Vinyl said, finally managing to break back to reality. "Tomorrow."
Vinyl's horn glowed, energy surging around the doorknob, turning it and pulling it open. Octavia stepped out and Vinyl followed, shutting the door behind herself. The two went their separate ways, both still thinking about their awkward embrace.
Vinyl made her way to Rarity's boutique, where she was staying for the time being.
"Thanks for letting me crash here until my dorm's ready, Rare," Vinyl said, calling her cousin by the nickname she'd created for her.
"It's no trouble at all, dear cousin," Rarity replied, manipulating a piece of fabric around a mannequin with her magic. "Though your fashion sense is somewhat...lacking...you've always been so kind as to lend your musical services to me at a discount, so I owe you."
Vinyl seemed to drift off slightly, and Rarity noticed it.
"Dear, are you all right? You seem to be lost in thought."
Vinyl shook her head, shaking herself out of her partial dream state. "Nah, I'm all right...just got something on my mind at the moment."
"Ooh, a bit of gossip?" Rarity inquired, eyes lit up in excitement. "Do tell~"
"It's not really gossip," Vinyl said. "It's kinda about me and-"
She stopped herself short, but felt she may have let too much slip out.
"Oh, you and some lucky stallion? Now I simply must know!"
"Oh, really, Vinyl," Rarity said, "are you seriously worried that I'd tell anypony? Not a chance! Your secret is safe with me."
Rarity performed a familiar series of motions with her hooves that Vinyl had recognized as a Pinkie Pie Swear.
"All right...well...there's this mare named Octavia, and-"
"Wait a minute," Rarity interrupted. "Did you say Octavia? And mare?"
Vinyl flushed once again, obviously embarrassed by the whole ordeal.
"Oh, I think that's simply wonderful, Vinyl!" Rarity exclaimed. "I never really saw you as the type that preferred mares, but who am I to judge? You're in love!"
"Well, see, here's the thing..."
"Say no more, I think I know what you're about to tell me," Rarity interrupted once again. "You don't know if she feels the same."
"Y-yeah," Vinyl stuttered.
"Well, why don't you ask her?"
"Are you crazy?" Vinyl inquired, caught off guard by the very idea. "How am I supposed to just ask her if she feels the same way I do? That's just...that'd be like...how would you feel if a mare you just met went up to you and said she loved you?"
"Well," Rarity said, "I suppose that would be a tad bit awkward...do you see Octavia a lot?"
"We're both in the same Classical Studies class, and she's teaching me how to play the cello."
"Then get to know her better!" she exclaimed. "Invite her to lunch or something of the sort! Become her friend first and see if you truly do like her as much as you do!"
"I...guess that could work...but I'm pretty sure she already kinda hates me..."
"Oh? And why is that?" Rarity asked.
"Well, you know I'm a party pony...and she's into classical stuff. We were opposite enough to begin with, and then I went and called classical music boring where everypony in the class could hear me say it."
"Well, you know how the saying goes, dear Vinyl," Rarity said with a smile, pulling more fabric over the mannequin. "Opposites attract!"
Vinyl chuckled. "Guess so...I suppose I can try and make friends with her...I mean, I'd rather not have the pony teaching me to play the cello as my enemy."
"That's the spirit!" Rarity exclaimed, as she pulled on the fabric one final time, setting it in place around the mannequin. "Well, that will be it for the day..."
Vinyl finally took notice to the dozens of outfits strewn across the room on mannequin after mannequin.
"Looks like you've been busy lately, Rare," Vinyl said with a chuckle.
"I've been commissioned by Princess Celestia herself to design outfits for this year's Gala! I've finally finished the main setting, now all I need to do is sew them together in all the right places, and I can ship them out to Canterlot immediately!"
"Art of the dress, eh, cuz?"
"Indeed," Rarity stated. "I've got my system, and I will not stray from it!"
"As long as you never try to put me in one of those things ever again," Vinyl said bluntly.
Rarity pouted a bit. "Oh, come now, Vinyl. You can honestly tell me you're pleased with the way you present yourself to everyone?"
"I'm not trying to be pretty," Vinyl replied. "I'm a small-time disc-jockey. I gotta look cool for the part. Dresses just don't do it."
"I suppose," Rarity mused, somewhat disappointed in yet again another failure to convert Vinyl into a fashionable mare. "Well, it is rather late. Perhaps we should retire now."
Vinyl nodded. "Yeah. Night, Rare."
"Good night, Vinyl."
The two unicorns made their way to bed, both filled with anticipation for the next day: Rarity's completion of the dresses ordered for the Gala, and Vinyl Scratch's attempt to make friends with Octavia.
The next morning in Canterlot, Vinyl made her way to her Classical Studies class, where, to everypony's surprise, she was attentive, taking notes down and even answering questions, albeit mostly incorrectly. Professor Flat had played a musical sample, and upon switching it off, he turned back to his class.
"Now, that was a famous composer's fifth symphony. Can anypony tell me who that composer was?"
Vinyl held her hoof up.
"Ah, Miss Scratch. Quite active today, I see, and doing much better, I must add. What is your answer?"
"Why, yes, it is!" Flat exclaimed. "Very well done, Miss Scratch!"
Vinyl blushed slightly, embarrassed by the recognition and somewhat shocked that she was actually right. In the midst of her surprised state, she almost missed the bell that signified the end of the class.
"Ah, that will be it for today, everypony. Remember to continue reading the text! You will need to know it for our first test at the end of the week!"
The class left the room, all except Vinyl Scratch, who had still been in a slight daze, and Octavia, who stood waiting at the doorway for Vinyl.
"Well, that was certainly different than yesterday," Octavia said with a grin as Vinyl approached. "Took an interest in the classics fairly quickly, I see."
"I owe that all to you, Octavia," Vinyl stated. "If it wasn't for you playing for everypony yesterday, there's no way I would have gotten into this stuff. It's actually pretty cool."
"I'm glad you think-"
"Stop it! Give it back right now!"
The shouting from the hall cut their conversation off, and the two rushed out to see a turquoise unicorn rushing back and forth between a red unicorn with a series of twisted spirals as his cutie mark and blue unicorn with a three-ring rippling mark, who were violently throwing the young mare's instrument, a lyre matching her cutie mark, back and forth between their horns.
"Give me back my lyre!" she exclaimed.
"Not a chance! Right, Reverb?" the red unicorn inquired jokingly.
"No way we're giving it back, Distort!" the blue unicorn replied, raising the lyre high into the air, almost up to the ceiling. "This is way too fun! I could keep this up all-"
All of a sudden, the two unicorns found themselves knocked to the ground, the lyre falling into the grasp of a light blue magic aura. Octavia and Vinyl stood before the turquoise pony as the two bullies stood up, glaring at them.
"Who do you think you are, stopping our fun?" Distort inquired angrily.
"It didn't look like fun for everypony involved," Vinyl said, glaring back. Despite her glasses, the two unicorns could feel her intense stare. They knew those violet shades and that angry expression well enough. The red unicorn smirked as he stumbled to his feet, his friend following suit.
"Let's get out of here, Reverb," Distort scoffed.
The red and blue unicorns stormed off as Vinyl lowered the instrument to the ground, passing it off to the turquoise unicorn via magic.
"Thank you both. I thought they would destroy my beautiful instrument."
"It was the least we could do," Octavia said. "Obnoxious ponies like that shouldn't even be allowed here. What is your name, dear?"
"It's Lyra. Lyra Heartstrings."
"Well, Lyra," Vinyl said with a smile, "you ever run into trouble with those two again, just come to us. The name's Vinyl Scratch."
"Octavia," the gray earth pony stated proudly. "We'll make sure those obnoxious colts give you no more trouble the next time they try to harm you or your instrument."
"Thank you very much," Lyra said with a nod, placing her lyre into the case around her neck and trotted off.
"I knew those two colts," Vinyl said. "Reverb Azura and Distort Crimsonius. A pair of rich bullies. They'd gotten their cutie marks before I did back when I was a filly, and all they could do was brag about it, followed by throwing me head first into a sandbox, calling me 'Sandscratch' as I coughed up dust and gravel."
"That's just pointlessly cruel," said Octavia with genuine concern. "And nopony did anything to help you?"
"Well, there was my cousin, Rarity. She's a year older than me. She brought those two straight to the principal on more than one occasion."
"They continued, even after being reprimanded?"
"Yeah...but it's no big deal, really..."
Vinyl looked up at a clock nearby, suddenly realizing the time.
"We should hurry. We're gonna be late for class."
Octavia nodded. "Right. Six hours?"
"Six hours," Vinyl replied with a nod.
The two went their separate ways once again, and sure enough, six hours later, they were in front of the music room again.
"Shall we?" Octavia asked.
Vinyl nodded and opened the door with her magic, and the two went inside. Vinyl instinctively levitated her cello from its case and into position.
"Now, yesterday, you learned the basic scale...today, I'd like you to play the scale up and back down again. Simple enough."
Vinyl began to play, successfully executing the scale on its way up, but having a difficult time playing it on the way down.
"I figured that would happen," Octavia stated bluntly. "The scale is simple going up once you've done it a few times over, but going back down is a different story, at least with a string instrument."
"I just need to keep working at it," Vinyl said, beginning the scale again.
Vinyl continued the scale, slowly starting to grasp the correct form in which to execute the scale, forwards and backwards. Bit by bit, she was getting it, and to Octavia's shock, she found herself unsurprised.
"You're a fast learner, Vinyl," Octavia said with a smile. "I must admit, I am quite impressed with your progress."
"Really?" Vinyl blushed.
"Really. I mean not to offend, but I honestly did not expect you to grasp the basics so quickly, let alone ask me to teach you to play in the first place. This is all very surprising to me."
"Thanks," Vinyl said, going completely red in the face. "So...I was wondering..."
Octavia looked at her, wondering herself now.
"I was kinda wondering if...maybe, you weren't doing anything later, we could sorta...you know, hang out?"
Octavia couldn't help but blush as well, realizing what this was. She was almost too shocked to speak, but managed to get the words out, albeit through a stutter.
"A-are...Vinyl, are you asking me...w-what I think you are?"
Vinyl nearly went into a panic in her own mind, realizing she just blatantly asked her first-day crush on a date. She quickly calmed herself down and answered clearly.
"I think I am," Vinyl replied, realizing that both she and the gray earth pony had gone completely red in the face. "So, how about it? Wanna go out?"
Thoughts raced through Octavia's mind. How could she have possibly known she felt the same way? It was confusing to her, because Vinyl was so different than her...they were of two completely different classes of musical art. Still, Octavia could not help her attraction to the DJ unicorn. It might have been the mystery of what might be behind her glasses, or it could have just been her exciting life that the classical mare secretly wanted a part in. She finally quelled her thoughts and put forth what she wanted to say.
"Well, you know that I have a class tonight...but if you'd be willing to wait until I'm free afterwards, then...yes."
"Yeah, sure...I'll hang outside your class until you get out. That sound good?"
"Yes," she replied. "It sounds wonderful."
The two left the room and Vinyl followed Octavia, standing outside as the class went on. Vinyl waited for the whole two hours, not moving an inch. So this is what it's like, she thought. This is what it feels like to be in love. Never thought I'd find myself crushing on another mare, though...but there's something about her that just-
Suddenly, two familiar unicorns began walking toward Vinyl aggressively, breaking her from her train of thought.
"Well, well, if it ain't ol' Sandscratch," spoke Reverb.
"We almost didn't recognize you earlier, when you gave us that surprise beat down," added Distort.
"Get lost, you two," Vinyl said, glaring daggers at the two. "I'm not in the mood."
"Oh, you hear that Reverb? Little Sandscratch ain't in the mood for us!"
"I say we force her into a mood, then," Reverb said, his horn glowing with a red aura as Vinyl felt herself slammed against the wall.
"Ooh, just like old times!" Distort exclaimed, his horn glowing a dark blue, sending Vinyl slamming into the ceiling.
The two flung Vinyl Scratch around the hall, laughing loudly and proudly, which attracted the kind of attention they did not want to get.
"You two learned absolutely nothing from the last time, didn't you?!" exclaimed an angry voice from the doorway.
With a sudden white flash, the red and blue unicorns stopped their spells and were suspended in midair with a mystical white aura surrounding them. A white unicorn stepped forward with a black mane and a sharp note as his cutie mark.
"First I hear you harass young Lyra, then you act up in my brother's class, and now this?! Get out of here! This is your last warning! One more incident like this and I will make sure Princess Celestia personally comes before you and kicks your flanks right out of this academy!"
The two unicorns were released from the aura and made a mad gallop down the hall as fast as they could, mixed expressions of fear and hate spread across their faces.
"Are you all right, Vinyl?" asked the white unicorn.
"Yeah, I'll be fine...thanks, Professor Sharp...I didn't know this class was yours."
"This is my last class of the day, actually," Sharp stated. "And why exactly are you still here?"
"Oh, well...I was waiting for Octavia."
Sharp seemed confused at first, but upon noticing the redness in Vinyl's face, he figured it out. Before being swept into his own nostalgic memories of past loves, he caught himself and redirected his attention to Vinyl.
"Well, don't worry. She'll be out in just a minute. I've got to give the homework assignment for tomorrow, and I'll be finished."
One minute later, the class let out, and everypony went their own ways, except for Octavia, who immediately took notice to Vinyl's bruises.
"Oh, my Celestia, what happened to you?!"
"Reverb and Distort," Vinyl said with a weak smile. "They came back for round two. I'll be all right, though. No need to-"
"You need medical attention right away," Octavia said, almost panicking. "And the nurse has left for the day...oh, what do I do?"
Octavia's panic was halted by Vinyl's hoof over her lips.
"Don't worry about it. Really. This is nothing."
"Vinyl...I can see it's hurting you just to hold your hoof up like that."
Octavia was right, and Vinyl knew it. When Reverb and Distort had flung her into the wall, they'd done some serious damage to her front right leg, possibly even having broken it. She was wobbling slightly, using only her hind legs to hold herself up.
"R-really," Vinyl stuttered, now using her left foreleg to hold herself up like a crutch. "I'll be all right."
"No, you won't," Octavia stated bluntly. "I'm taking you to get help immediately."
"Look, I appreciate the help, but-"
With no more words, Vinyl felt herself lifted over Octavia's back. She was too weak to struggle, so she did nothing and remained silent.
"Professor," said the gray earth pony, looking back at the unicorn teacher. "Is there anywhere we could take her that she could get medical attention?"
"Unfortunately, the only hospital in Canterlot is exceptionally far away...but the unicorn she's temporarily staying with, her cousin Rarity, lives in Ponyville. That's about a half hour away from here."
"Then that's where I'm going. Professor, if it isn't too much to ask, could you carry mine and Vinyl's instruments? I can take good care of Vinyl."
Sharp Key nodded and the two set off. Moving as carefully as they could so to not cause Vinyl any pain, they arrived at Rarity's boutique within the hour.
"Welcome to my boutiq-"
Rarity looked on in shock at her cousin, lying exhausted, half-conscious and bruised, over Octavia's back. Sharp Key stood behind her, holding the two cellos in their cases with his magic.
"Good heavens, what in Equestria happened?"
Octavia entered, keeping Vinyl as still as possible over her back. Sharp moved the two instruments into the boutique.
"Thank you, professor," Octavia said.
"Will Miss Scratch be all right here?" he asked.
"Yes. I'm certain of it."
"All right, then. Have a good night."
Sharp magically closed the door and set off back to Canterlot. Octavia looked back to Rarity to finally answer.
"Two bullies attacked her while she was waiting for me."
"...It was those two obnoxious unicorns, Reverb and Distort, wasn't it?" Rarity inquired angrily, knowing full well the torment the two had put Vinyl through in her youth.
Octavia explained what she knew of the situation from Professor Sharp's account of it.
"Ruffians, the both of them," Rarity stated bluntly, carefully examining Vinyl's wounded foreleg.
"Well, it isn't broken...one more strike and it would have been...she just needs to stay off her hooves for at least a week."
"This is really going to put a damper on our d-"
Octavia stopped herself, blushing as she realized what she was about to say.
"Lessons. Vinyl's lessons. That is exactly what I was about to say."
"You can't hide it from me, dear," Rarity said with a smile. "I know that look in a pony's eyes when he or she has feelings for somepony."
Octavia merely stood frozen, her face turning a bright red.
"And it makes me glad to discover you felt the same way. After all, Vinyl would never had taken this step should she have chosen not to tell me about her feelings for you."
"Really?" Octavia gasped.
"Indeed," Rarity replied. "And from the sound of things, you two have gotten along quite well, and quite fast."
"I've...never felt anything like it before," Octavia stated. "It's as if...despite how she has just decided to change her outlook on things very recently...I feel as if we..."
Octavia was cut off by a half-conscious groan from Vinyl Scratch.
"Like a fabulous dress," Rarity chuckled. "Now, why don't I help you bring Vinyl up to her bed where she can rest this off?"
Octavia nodded, and with a flash from her horn, Rarity wrapped a gentle white aura around Vinyl's entire body. Octavia carefully made her way up the stairs, Rarity's aura helping her to keep the unicorn steady on her back. Upon arriving at the top of the stairs, Vinyl seemed to move around a bit.
"Work it...makes us stronger..."
Both Octavia and Rarity let out an amused giggle.
"Sleep-quoting her favorite songs again," Rarity said with a nostalgic smile. "She hasn't done that since she was a filly."
"Really, now? That's interesting," Octavia said with an amused grin.
"Oh, you won't tell her I said that, would you?"
"Not at all," she replied. "Since, well...I used to play an invisible cello in my sleep."
"Oh, my, you two are truly perfect for one another," Rarity laughed.
"I guess we really are," Octavia said, flushing only slightly now.
The two made their way to Vinyl's room, carefully lying her down on the bed, making sure to avoid moving her foreleg too much.
"This won't be good," Octavia said. "She'll end up missing class...I wish there was something I could do to help her."
"I'm sure you'll think of something," Rarity noted.
Within a second of Rarity's statement, it came to her. Octavia knew what she could do.