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Not Your Forte

Chapter 1


Octavia triple checked her cello’s strings, making sure they were all in tune for the hundredth time that evening.  Some ponies cope with nerves by practicing, or reading something, or listening to music.  Octavia had chosen to cope with them using liberal doses of paranoia and a mirror.  She once again straightened her bow tie and ran a hoof through her mane.  

What are you worrying about? You’re the best musician in Equestria.  And it was true; ever since her graduation from the Academie de Musique, she had been the most frequently booked musician in Canterlot.  Not only that, but all of her performances had been critically acclaimed.  Except for the travesty that was the Grand Galloping Gala, of course.  To be fair, though, that wasn’t her fault.  She groaned as she remembered a certain pink Earth pony and rubbed her face with a hoof.  Octavia couldn’t believe that she had been coerced into playing something so pedestrian as the "Pony Polkie."

Upon hearing the polite applause that signaled the opening of the curtains, she took a moment to compose herself before slowly walking out into the middle of the stage.   My stage, she told herself.  She had performed at the Sphere countless times, but tonight was the first time she was playing solo.  Oh wow, a full house... no sweat, Octavia.  Just like you practiced.  She  inclined her head towards her audience, took a calming breath, and began.


“So, where d'yall reckon Twilight's got to?” 

        “Well, um, you see ... actually...”

        “‘Got to?’ Why, Applejack, isn't it obvious? The poor dear has almost certainly been-

        “-shut up in her stupid library!  I don’t get it, what's so interesting about reading stuffy books when you've got somepony like ME around to hang with?”

        “Well, actually... she got a....”

        “Ooh! Ooh! Maybe there was this big mean monster book that went RAAAWWWRRR and ate Spike and then tried to get out into Ponyville so Twilight had to fight it and turn it back into a normal Mr. McNiceybook and rescue Spike!

        The four other ponies in Rarity's boutique all stopped talking and looked at Pinkie Pie with expressions ranging from confusion to defeated acceptance of the fact that the pink Earth pony just didn't use the same system of logic as everypony else.  When she was absolutely sure that Pinkie Pie was finished talking, Rarity shrugged and continued where they had left off.

        “Well, anyway, I called you all here so that we can all go over to the library and have an intervention.  I swear, if that pony reads any more, she’s going to turn into a book.”

“Yeah! ‘Queen of the Eggheads: A Biography!’  … What?”

Rarity was looking at Rainbow Dash out of the corner of her eye, a small smile playing at her lips.

“You okay there lil’ missy?  It ain’t like she’s ne’er called Twi an egghead before.”

“No, no, my dear; I was just surprised she knew the definition and proper usage of the word ‘Biography!’ Now come along, everyone! Let’s go find Twilight.”

Rarity trotted out of the Boutique and towards the Ponyville library.  Rainbow Dash watched her go with her mouth hanging open, and Applejack chuckled as she trotted past the pegasus and out the door.  

“You gotta admit, partner, she got you good.  Now come on, lets go see Twi’.”  

Rainbow scowled and started after the others, muttering something about revenge under her breath as she took flight.  

        “Well, um.... actually, you see... she ... girls? Girls!”



        Okay, when I saw that mare in the front row break down and start sobbing in the second movement, I knew I was doing well.  But this...! Octavia had never received a standing ovation before.  Well, her performance groups had, but never her personally.  She blinked several times, unsure of how to react to the torrent of noise cascading over her.  She shifted her weight a few times before eventually deciding on a slight bow and a small smile as she exited the stage.  

        Somehow, she was able to contain herself until she got home.  After her cello was placed in its spot next to her bed, Octavia stood on her hind legs, took a bow to no-one in particular and flopped backwards onto her bed, laughing the whole time.  That performance would easily cement her place as the best musician of her generation.  Eat your horns out, unicorns.  Content with that knowledge, Octavia drifted off into a well-earned slumber.  


        “Twilight! Open this door at once! Its very unladylike to keep one’s friends waiting for so long!”

        The five friends waited outside the library for Twilight to throw open the door, her mane disheveled and bags under her eyes, and berate them for interrupting her studies. Rarity continued yelling and pounding on the door, while Applejack started twirling her lasso, waiting for their friend to appear.  Pinkie Pie occupied her time with bouncing and watching Rainbow Dash, who was struggling to understand why everypony had shot down her brilliant plan, subtly titled "Operation: Breakdoor."  Pinkie’s eyes suddenly widened and shifted from Rainbow Dash to the library, and she gasped so loudly that Rarity stopped mid-tirade and looked over her shoulder at the pony-shaped ball of energy that was Pinkie Pie.


        “She's not in there!! She's... gone!”


        As far as her friends knew, Pinkie had not looked into, been inside of, listened at the door of, touched, talked to, licked, thrown a party for, or even been near the library at all in the last few days.  It was a sign of how long they had known her that the other four ponies did not question her knowledge of Twilight's whereabouts and also accepted her conclusion as being completely true.  

        “Actually, everypony... I know where Twilight is.”

        Rainbow Dash let out a poorly concealed groan as Rarity wheeled completely around, her eyes boring into Fluttershy, who up until now had been carefully positioning herself as far away from the door as possible.  

        “Well if you knew that, dear, then why didn't you TELL US?

        Fluttershy kicked her hoof at something or other on the ground, her hair falling over her face as she looked away from her companions.  “Well, um, Twilight got this letter fro... ”

Fluttershy squeaked and dove into a nearby bush as a rumbling sound in the distance made the others look back towards the center of town.  


“No. No! NO!  Those are the Academy's special collection!”

        Applejack chuckled as she trotted towards the source of the commotion, beckoning for her friends to follow her.  

        “That’ll be Twi’, all right.  C’mon, let’s go see what she’s fussin’ about.”


         Twilight Sparkle was nervous.  No, not nervous.  What was that word.... frantic? No... She thought about it for a moment and then decided that she was panicking.  As soon she had read the letter from Princess Celestia, Twilight had started to feel a little queasy.  This had developed over time through such stages as denial, confidence, worry, emotional breakdown, confidence again, nervousness, and had finally reached the stage where Twilight didn't trust herself to eat anything larger than a cupcake within a 12 hour period.  


        The large assortment of books on musical theory that had just fallen off of her cart wasn't helping her emotional state.  


        “Oh no, oh no, I don’t have time for this! Spike! SPIIIIKE!”

        There was a surprised yelp as a cloud of dust billowed up from behind the cart.  Spike brushed off his scales and yawned as he walked over to Twilight.  

        “You know, Twilight, you could just come wake me up like a normal pony next time.”

        “No time! Spike, I need you to take this and this and these and this one and ooh I’ll need that one and these and...”

        As she spoke, Twilight levitated books into a pile next to Spike of all the absolutely essential volumes she would need for her research.  When she had finished, there was a pile next to Spike that was more than five times his height.  

        “Good! Now, I need you to read those out loud to me while I fix this wheel.  Please start with the Encyclopedia of Musical Instruments, Volume 1.”

        Spike looked the pile of books up and down and slowly shook his head as he moved to help Twilight reattach the wheel of the cart.  

        “Uh...Twilight? You need to relax.  Its just some music lessons, you'll be fine!”

        “What? Twilight's taking MUSIC LESSONS?! Bahahahahahahahahaha!”

        Twilight dropped the wheel and shot a scathing look at Rainbow Dash, who had arrived a few seconds before her other friends.  Applejack, seeing the look on Twilight’s face, quickly took over the wheel-repair, and she and Rarity soon started to argue about what kind of wood to use and whether or not the nails they had matched the nails on the other wheel (and if they should even care).  Twilight looked around and, finding the book closest to her, immediately grabbed it and started reading.

        “Uh, Twilight.  Hey! Twilight!  TWILIGHT!”

        Seemingly oblivious to Rainbow Dash's attempts to contact her, Twilight was flipping pages so hard Rainbow worried that she might end up ripping the book in half.  She looked over at Applejack and Rarity, intending to ask what they thought of Twilight's odd behavior.  However, upon seeing the very heavy hammer that Applejack was lifting and the large can of nails Rarity was organizing, she thought better of that idea and instead turned to Fluttershy.  

        “Hey, Fluttershy! Why is Twilight being more … well … Twilight-ey than usual?”


        “Well, you see... Twilight got this letter from-”

        Fluttershy's comment, it seemed, was destined to go unfinished.  As soon as she started talking there was a loud yell of “HOORAY!” and Twilight was being tackle-hugged by Pinkie Pie and several other ponies.  


        “TWILIGHT! Oh I'm SO glad that we found you-”


        “-so I decided to have a We Found Twilight Sparkle-”


        “-Party! We've got balloons and streamers and apples and cupcakes and pin the tail on the pony and MUSIC!”


        Upon hearing the word “Music,” Twilight screamed and ran out of the town square towards the safe haven of her library.  Pinkie Pie watched Twilight go with a confused expression on her face.  Twilight had always liked her parties...


        My Faithful Student Twilight,

        I am delighted to announce that the School for Gifted Unicorns has entered into an exciting new partnership with the Academie de Musique in Canterlot.  In addition to being able to access their rather extensive library of musical texts and recordings, the Chairmare and I have decided that, as a celebration of our new partnership, our best students should tutor each other in their fields of expertise.  Since your partner is an Earth pony, you will not be able to teach her magic, but I know you will have many other subjects to share with her.  And you, Twilight Sparkle, will be taught music by none other than the prodigy of the Academie...”

        “...TWILIGHT SPARKLE?!”

        Octavia read the two words with a mixture of revulsion and disbelief.  She was supposed to enter into a partnership with a UNICORN? And not just any unicorn, but one whose special talent was MAGIC?  She groaned.  Unicorn musicians were the worst.  Always assuming they were more talented than she was because of their stupid horns.  She could only IMAGINE what this “Twilight Sparkle” would be like.  Insufferably rude and pompous like the rest, she was sure.  Especially since her special talent was magic itself.  

She quickly re-read the first half of the letter.  Of all the hoof-brained schemes in the world, this was the definitely the stupidest Octavia had heard.  Suddenly, the three-in-one mane brush / refrigerator / bathtub she had seen some crazy pony trying to sell earlier sounded sensible.  She couldn’t decide which idea she hated more: having to teach her delicate craft to some sort of magic prodigy or having to take time away from her quiet, simple lifestyle to study… what was it again?  Octavia scanned the letter more closely.  Great, Twilight got to pick what she studied.  Why couldn’t Octavia do that?  It would be much less frustrating to teach this unicorn a couple of songs on the recorder and send her on her way.  


        As she resumed her cooking, Octavia tried to imagine what “Celestia's prized pupil” would be like.  A reader, certainly, knee-deep in books and scrolls and other such nonsense.  The only printed material Octavia ever bothered with was sheet music, but usually she could just play a song from memory after hearing it, so sheet music wasn’t really necessary.  In the absence of books and sheet music, she had filled most of her shelf space with her rather impressive collection of classical music.  

        With a resigned sigh, and wondering why in Equestria the Chairmare thought she would be okay with teaching music to some bookworm unicorn in the first place, Octavia turned her attention back to the letter.

        '... In addition, Celestia and I have agreed that you will take it in turns to live with each other, so that you each get a sense of the other's atmosphere and the method in which they conduct their work.  We have decided that you, Octavia, shall be the first host.  Miss Sparkle will be arriving at your residence next Thursday, just in time for lunch.  Please make her feel at home, and set aside any materials she may need for your lessons.  


                                                                                Chairmare Staccato



        Twilight looked at the clock for the hundredth time that evening and shook herself awake, turning yet another page in Beethooven- A Biography.  Of all the subjects that she had taken while at Celestia’s school, she had never regretted skipping over Musical History and Theory.  Until now.... There’s no way I can get all this reading done by tomorrow! Twilight shot another anxious glance at the intimidating mound of books she hadn’t yet managed to get through.  As much as she wanted to grab another off of the pile, tomorrow was Thursday, and she would need her sleep if she was going to be up early enough to catch her carriage to Canterlot.  Well, I think I read enough for the first few lessons; I’ll just have to work extra hard to keep up.

        Octavia finished her practice just as the clock struck midnight.  She carefully set her cello in its case and went into the kitchen to clean up after her dinner.  Octavia had spent her valuable evening carefully constructing a classical music lesson for Twilight the following day.  Still grumbling about how SHE had to provide the unicorn with equipment, she set aside one of her spare violins for Twilight’s use.  

At least I won’t have to spend all day listening to her racket.  Just a few hours and then I can go back to composing my piece.  She had been working on it for some time now, but it was just missing something, and Octavia couldn’t quite lay a hoof on it.  I just don’t get it! I’ve tried everything I can think of... There must be SOMEthing that will give it that edge it needs... She sighed.  She would just have to work on it in the morning.  Twilight Sparkle wasn’t due until around lunchtime; if she woke up early enough she could easily get a few bars done before her arrival.  

        Twilight closed her book and started making her way towards the stairs, trying to fight her rising sense of dread.  At least I know enough that I’ll know what I’m talking about when Octavia asks me about famous musicians and musical terms... At least, I hope it’s enough... Oh, Princess, why in Equestria did you pick me for this? 



        Spike woke up the following morning, stretched and, being careful not to wake Twilight, went downstairs to tidy up after her study session the night before.  Oh geez. You can barely tell that this is a table with these books all over it. He rolled his eyes as he picked up the volumes and carefully piled them with all of the others from the Academie’s collection.  She’s bitten off more than she could chew this time...

        Spike finished cleaning up the library a little earlier than usual; it was just after 10 in the morning.  He yawned, rubbing his eyes as he went into the kitchen to see if he had any turquoise left for breakfast.  He had just found some and started eating when he was interrupted by a loud knock at the door.  Now, who could that be?  The library is closed today because Twilight is … OH HORSEAPPLES! Spike sprinted from the kitchen and threw open the door to see a white pegasus on the step, with a small carriage waiting out in the road.  He looked down at Spike with hard eyes before speaking.  

        “I’m here to pick up a Miss Twilight Sparkle and bring her to Canterlot.”

        Spike put on as big a smile as he could manage and kicked the ground at his feet as the pegasus’ eyes held his gaze.  

        “Oh, uh, yes! She’s... uhhhmm...  just upstairs getting ready! We’re running a little late this morning.  Give us just a second!”

        The pegasus jumped as the small purple dragon slammed the door in his face and he heard running footsteps from inside.  Getting ready.  Haven’t heard that one before.  He rolled his eyes and went back to his carriage to undo the bag fastenings before sitting in the back, waiting for his passenger to finish “getting ready."  Just as he sat down, he heard the sound of raised voices from inside.  He closed his eyes and leaned back on the carriage, chuckling to himself.  A few minutes later, he heard the unmistakable sound of somepony who was late running across the library.  He stood up just in time to see a purple unicorn charge out the front door, with her bag hovering just a few inches behind her.  


        “Oh my gosh, I’m so sorry! We aren’t running too late, are we?”

        He smiled as he helped her fasten her bag down in the back of the carriage.  

        “Not at all, Miss, we should be just ten minutes or so behind schedule.  Are you ready to depart?”  

        The unicorn’s eyes narrowed and started moving back and forth.  He could almost see her mental checklist floating above her head.  Then, a few seconds later, her eyes shot open and she took off again.  

        “One second!”

        There’s always something.  Always... Dear Celestia!


        The unicorn emerged from the door levitating what looked like a large, square footrest.  Closer inspection revealed it to be what had to be the largest book ever printed.  He gulped as he heaved it onto the carriage and fastened it down.  This is a bit more weight than I was expecting...


        In the midst of the hustle and bustle that was Canterlot’s morning market, Vinyl stopped to browse at one of the many music stores she frequented.  She had a big gig in coming up next week, and her client had made one of the oddest requests that Vinyl had ever received.  I didn’t even know the Pony Polkie WAS a single album.  And I know albums.  

As she searched, a record near the back of the store caught her eye.  She blew the dust off of it and read "Friedrich Clopain- Concerto."  Beaming at her good fortune, she bounced up to the front of the shop and set it on the counter.  The shopkeeper’s eyes widened as she approached and flicked from Vinyl’s hair, to the record, to her overjoyed expression, and back up to her hair.  

        “Not your usual choice of music, if I may say so, Miss Scratch!”


        “Yeah, well.  I have to play frisbee with something, don’t I?”

Vinyl giggled at the shopkeeper’s confusion and paid for the record, still smiling as she trotted out the door.  ‘Tavi will love this! I’ll drop by her place later and give it to her.  As long as she doesn’t try to get me to listen to it... Vinyl groaned and closed her saddlebag over the record.  Maybe this wasn’t such a good idea.


        Octavia glanced at the clock again as she finalized her lesson plan for the day and checked Twilight’s violin to make sure it was out of tune.  First lesson: tuning an instrument.  Although I bet this unicorn won’t be able to tell the difference...  She allowed herself a small smile as she went into the kitchen to make them some sandwiches for lunch.  It was a little early yet, but it was always better to be ready early than running late.

        When she had finished with her lunch preparations, Octavia went to her shelves and started looking for something to listen to.  She eventually decided on one of her favorites: Beethooven’s Third.  She started the record and softly hummed the opening bars to herself.  She continued to hum as she retrieved her cello from its case and started playing along with the orchestra, quickly losing herself in the music.  

Halfway through the second movement, she was brought out of her reverie by a knock at the door.  Octavia looked at the clock as she set down her bow and gasped.  Its almost one o’clock!  I wonder why she’s so late!

        Octavia opened the door to find a very distressed looking purple unicorn, a small suitcase, and a storage box.  The unicorn smiled at her.  

        “Good afternoon! My name is Twilight Sparkle.  I’m so sorry I’m late, I didn’t get up on time and then the carriage pegasus fainted just outside of Canterlot, so I had to get him to the hospital, and then-”  

        Octavia shook her head and smiled back at Twilight.  

        “Its no trouble at all, I was practicing anyway.  Please come in. Help yourself to some lunch.”

        Twilight trotted into the loft and Octavia picked up her suitcase, deciding to leave the box until... No.  Wait.  Hang on.  

        Was that a book?

        I know why she was so late.

        Octavia’s eyes felt like they were trying to escape her head.  In front of her was the largest book she had ever seen. So large, in fact, that it could probably fit her inside if it didn’t have its pages.  

        “Umm... Twilight? What exactly is this?”

        Twilight smiled when she heard her name and trotted over to see what Octavia was looking at.  

        “Oh! That’s my very own personal copy of A Compendium of Musical Study.  I’ve been using it for reference!”

        Octavia narrowed her eyes and looked over at Twilight.  "...reference?”

        “Oh yes! I’ve already reviewed many of the important terms and figures from the history of music.  Just last night I was reading about Beethooven and-”

        “Wait.  Terms and figures?”

        Twilight beamed and looked over at Octavia.  “Yup!”

        She seems impressed that I know so much! I’m so glad I made a good first impression!

        ...This is going to be the single most excruciating experience of my life.

Not Your Forte

Second Movement

Still smiling, Twilight retreated once again into the loft, and Octavia turned her gaze back to the tower of paper outside her door, thinking about how best to move it in.  She briefly fantasized about simply closing the door and then seeing how long it took Twilight to notice that the forest she had brought with her was still outside.  

        “Twilight? Could you come here for a moment, please?”

        Twilight set down the sandwich she had just taken from her plate and cast a quizzical look at her host.  Seeing that Octavia’s back was turned, she shrugged and made her way back over to the door.  

        “Yes? What is it, Octavi- Oh.”

        Octavia unsuccessfully tried to stifle a giggle and then went into the kitchen to start eating her lunch, looking on as Twilight sat in the door and tried to figure out how best to get the book through it.  It was just a few inches wider than the door, and was tall enough that turning it on its side wasn’t going to make matters any easier.  Octavia continued to watch the unicorn as she ate, curious as to what solution she would come up with.  

        Twilight was not having a good day.  Between waking up late and that carriage pegasus dropping out of the sky, nothing had gone quite right for her so far.  She tried unsuccessfully to maneuver the book through the door a few times before she lost her patience and released her magic’s hold on the volume.  In the absence of anypony to blame for her troubles, Twilight gave the door the look she usually kept in reserve for ponies who interrupted her when she was studying.

Seriously, how was anypony supposed to move anything through that small of a gap?!  Even Pinkie Pie’s door was wider than this, and she never used it!  Pinkie Pie always went through the... Through the...!  Twilight, suddenly inspired, whipped around and looked into the room, a solution starting to take shape in her mind.  

        Octavia started to worry when Twilight levitated the book and charged out the door and down the hall.  She could faintly make out the sound of the unicorn’s hooves as she got to the stairs and started descending.  Octavia walked cautiously to the door and stuck her head out into the hallway, but there was no sign of her guest.

        I have a very bad feeling about this...


        Vinyl’s day wasn’t going much better than Twilight’s.  She had visited six other music stores since she had found that record for Octavia, and she hadn’t found that stupid record in any of them.  Eventually, Vinyl had decided it would be less frustrating to just give up for now and head to Octavia’s a little earlier than she had planned. Taking a moment to make sure the record was still safe in her saddlebag, she reached out for the front door with her magic.

        She jumped as the door slammed open, gasping as she saw a huge object flying towards her.  Her eyes widened and she turned to flee from her impending doom.  

        I’m not going to make it!

        Octavia felt the reverberations of the impact from up on the third floor.  She groaned and ran to the window, throwing it open to look down onto the street below, and she couldn’t help but laugh at the sight that greeted her when she looked down at the entrance to the building.

Twilight couldn’t believe it.  What had she done?  Why couldn’t something just go RIGHT for a change?  She breathed a sigh of relief when the unicorn she had almost flattened with her book slowly rose to her hooves.  

“I’m so sorry! I didn’t realize you were there!”

She looked back towards the entrance to the building and used her magic to free the book, which was wedged between the two sides of the door frame.  After a few seconds of careful maneuvering, a lot of grumbling about the width of doors and something about incompetent building inspectors, the book finally came to a rest next to Twilight and she turned her attention back to the white unicorn, who was recovering her sunglasses from the spot where they had fallen.  

“Hey, Vinyl! Are you alright?!”

Vinyl started at the sound of her name and looked up to where she could see Octavia perched on her windowsill, her forelegs curled around it as she called down to her friend.  

“Yeah,” Vinyl yelled back.  “Just barely!”

Twilight couldn’t believe it.  Not only had she almost killed some random pony with a book, but that same random pony happened to be friends with Octavia!  So much for a good first impression... She sighed and hung her head.  Could this day get any worse?


        Pinkie Pie dropped the tray of cupcakes she was about to put into the oven when she came to a sudden, existence-shattering revelation.  Her eyes slowly widened as she considered all of the implications of the thing which she had just realized.  Leaving the tray on the floor, she charged out of Sugarcube Corner and sought out the only being in Equestria who could restore normality to her suddenly uncertain world.  


        When the book had successfully been levitated through Octavia’s window, Vinyl and Twilight went into the building and started to make their way upstairs.  As they rounded the corner onto the landing of the second floor, Vinyl finally broke the awkward silence that had settled between the two ponies.  

        “Excuse me, but … Do I know you?”

        Twilight looked over at her companion and thought for a moment before answering.

        “I don’t think so... But you DO look familiar...”

        The two unicorns stopped walking and turned to face one another, each of them trying to place the other’s face.  After a little while, Vinyl shrugged and gestured up the stairs, motioning for Twilight to follow her.  

        “It’ll come to me eventually.  C’mon- Let’s get going!”

        Twilight slowly shook her head and followed the strange unicorn back up to Octavia’s apartment.  

        Octavia was waiting at the door for the two ponies when they arrived.  Vinyl ambled through the door as if she owned the place and gave a huge bow to Octavia, who just shook her head and grinned at her best friend.  Twilight decided that while Octavia was distracted with Vinyl would be an excellent time to review what she had read the night before, so she sat down in the corner with a mountain of scrolls and took hold of her books with her magic.  

        Vinyl set her saddlebags down by the door and looked over at Octavia, who was watching Twilight’s remaining books float across the room and pile themselves up in front of the unicorn, obscuring her from view.  Unable to pass up the opportunity, Vinyl sprang into action and threw her saddlebag at Octavia with her magic.  

“Hey, ‘Tavi! Catch!”  

        Octavia jumped and barely dodged the missile, turning to give Vinyl a taunting look before the bag arced back around and smacked her in the back of the head.  

Dumb magic.

Vinyl started laughing and Octavia did her best to keep a serious expression on her face, but she couldn’t help but crack a smile at the exasperated sounds that came from the depths of Castle Twilight at the noise.  

        “Open it open it open it! I got you something!”

Vinyl beamed as Octavia opened the bag and drew out the record.  When she read the title her eyes got almost as wide as they had when she had seen Twilight’s “luggage”.  

        “Where did you find it?! Clopain is my FAVORITE!”

        At this, Twilight’s head peeked out from inside her rapidly expanding book fortress, an excited expression on her face.  

        “Ooh! Clopain! I read about him! Can we study him first?!”

        Vinyl cocked her head to the side and looked a question at Octavia.  

        “Oh, right! How very rude of me.  Vinyl Scratch, this is Twilight Sparkle.  She’s an exchange student from Celestia’s School.”

        Vinyl's smile returned and she bobbed her head in Twilight’s direction, and suddenly Twilight remembered where she had seen the white unicorn.  

        “Oh! Now I remember!  You DJed for my friend Rarity when she put on a fashion show in Ponyville!”

        Vinyl’s eyes rolled up as she tried to recall the event.  

        “Oh yeah, I remember that gig! That was when I was still an up-and-coming!  Wasn't that the one where all the models wore those ridiculously over-the-top dresses?”

        Twilight hadn’t recalled that particular detail when she had mentioned it.  She could feel herself reddening as she remembered the dress she had been wearing, and she tried to slowly retreat behind her books before Vinyl could put two and two together.  

        “Wait a second... You were that one in the star outfit!”

        Too late.  

        Octavia could only stand by and look on in confusion as Twilight vanished into her stronghold and Vinyl rolled back and forth on the floor, howling with mirth.  She decided to let the white unicorn settle down somewhat before finally helping her back to her hooves.

        “Anyway Vinyl, whats up? I thought you had gigs every Thursday night.”

        Vinyl finished wiping the tears from her eyes and barely managed to calm down enough to answer.  

        “Yup! I just stopped in to drop that off and see if you wanted to come with! But if you two are busy...”

        Vinyl gave Octavia a huge wink, causing the earth pony to flush almost as red as Twilight had.  Unfortunately, before she could offer a rebuttal, Twilight’s head poked back over the top of her wall.

        “Well, we were supposed to have a lesson today, and we’ve already lost a lot of time...”

        The smile that almost permanently adorned Vinyl’s face grew wider when she realized that Twilight had failed to get her joke.

        “Uh-huh.  Figures.  Going for the naive, bookwormy-types now, eh ‘Tavi?”

        Octavia groaned and Vinyl’s laughter once again filled the loft.  Twilight cocked her head to the side and gave Vinyl a confused look, which did nothing to stop her incessant laughter.  


        Spike watched the last pony leave the Ponyville Library with a sense of relief.  It had been a busy day, and he was exhausted.  He closed and locked the front door before heading upstairs to begin preparations for one of his signature bubble baths.  The dragon retrieved a towel and some bubble bath, humming a merry tune as he skipped down the stairs back to the main level of the library.  


        Just as he opened the door to the basement, he cocked his head towards a funny shuffling sound that was coming from outside the library.  Setting down his effects, he cautiously approached and opened the front door.  After a few moments, he shrugged and closed the door again before descending the stairs into the basement of the library.  


        Vinyl was excited.  After several hours, about a dozen nervous breakdowns, and a half written letter to Celestia, Twilight had agreed to postpone the beginning of her lessons with Octavia to accompany Vinyl to her gig.  It had been awhile since anypony she didn’t know had attended one of her sets, and she loved having an excuse to go all-out.  She ushered Octavia and Twilight out of the apartment and busied herself cavorting around behind them while Octavia led the way to the venue.  

        Twilight was depressed.  Even though she had tried to talk sense into the white unicorn, Vinyl was just so happy.  All the time.  Now she knew how Fluttershy had felt when she had had a nervous breakdown after trying to teach Pinkie Pie the finer points of 'Sshh'.


        In the end, Twilight had found it much less frustrating to just give in and go to Vinyl’s gig with her.  She grabbed her saddlebags and quickly shoved in 3 or 4 books before she followed Octavia and Vinyl out of the apartment.  

        At least while we walk I can get in that studying I didn’t quite finish last night...


        Octavia was the calmest of the three ponies as they made their way through the hustle and bustle of Canterlot towards the club where Vinyl played her gigs.  She enjoyed walking around Canterlot after nightfall, when the lanterns sparkled along the roadways and the Princess’ stars graced the sky with their presence.  

        None of them had spoken much during their journey- Octavia was busy stargazing, Twilight reading, and Vinyl trotting along between them, humming in time with their steps.  They were about halfway to their destination when a voice called out from behind them.  

        “Oh, there you are, Arial! I hoped we would find you here!”

        Vinyl jumped, Octavia giggled, and Twilight turned the page.  Vinyl and Octavia turned around to see Vinyl's parents and her little sister standing just a few paces behind them, having just emerged from a nearby clothing store.  

        “Hi Sis! Hi Octavia! Hi Twilight!”

        Twilight looked up from her book at the sound of her name and smiled at the small white unicorn that was addressing her.

        “Oh, hello Sweetie Belle!”

        Vinyl bent down to give Sweetie Belle a hug before she shot an exasperated look at her parents.  

        “C'mon guys, you know I don't like to be called that anymore. Call me Vinyl, please!”

        Vinyl's father shrugged and nodded at Octavia before he continued.  

        “We stopped by to see ya on our way back from pickin' up Sweetie Belle from her sister's place.  You all busy tonight?”

        Vinyl opened her mouth to respond but was cut off by Twilight's sudden gasp of realization.  



        Spike finished attaching the hose onto the faucet in the bathtub and started unrolling it as he went down into the basement.  Letting the other end dangle into his huge tub, he ran back upstairs and turned the hot water on, stopping on his way back down to grab his towel and bubble bath.  He had just dumped the soap into the water so that it could start bubbling when he heard what sounded like the front door being battered down by a crazed warpony.  

        He sprinted upstairs and ran to the door, only to find it closed and unchanged from how it had been when he had checked it before.  He nervously turned the handle and opened it, expecting to see a huge crowd of zombie ponies outside ready to eat his...


        He shrugged, closed and locked the door once more, and went back downstairs.  

        “HI SPIKE!”

        If he had jumped any higher, there would have been a dragon shaped hole in the ceiling.  Sitting in the tub on top of a huge mountain of bubbles was none other than Pinkie Pie, who was looking at him with those huge Pinkie Pie eyes that you could just never get used to.

        “Uhm... Hi, Pinkie Pie...”

        She giggled and slid down the side of her bubble mountain, entering the water with a graceful swan-dive before resurfacing on the other side of the tub.  

        “So I was in Sugarcube Corner making cupcakes and then I realized I didn't know something and that something is REALLY important and then I thought 'Who would know the something I have to know?' and I thought about it and decided that it was YOU! So here I am and I want to know if you know what I need to know!”

        Spike had given up a long time before she had finished talking.  

        “So... What is it that you don't know?”

        Pinkie Pie giggled again.  

        “Well if I knew that then I would know it, now wouldn't I? You're silly, Spike.”

        Spike heaved a sigh and carefully thought about his next question before asking it.  

        “Okay... So, what do you need from me?”

        “I need to know...”


        “What day...”


        “...Twilight comes home!”

        Spike groaned.  

        “Thats IT?! You broke in here just to ask me what day Twilight was coming home?!”

        Pinkie Pie bobbed her head and was about to launch into a very long, detailed, and nonsensical explanation as to why she needed to know this so badly, but Spike was quicker this time and was able to speak first.  

        “She gets home next Friday.”

        “Thanks Spike!”

        Pinkie hopped out of the bath and started up the stairs.  Spike heard her trot out of the library and then climbed into his pool, sinking down into the water and breathing a sigh of relief.  

        Well, that's Pinkie Pie for you...