(Starring Lyra Heartstrings and Blues Noteworthy)
In the prosperous Kingdom of Equestria, there is one thing that is most certain: music is everything to the gentle ponies of the land. From the old hymns of the ancient Imperium, to the bard songs of Medieval Equestria; from soft classical symphonies, to the loud beats of the infant techno scene, music had always been a part of the ordinary pony's life. A wise pony once said, "Without music, life would be a mistake."
For generation upon generation, it has been guiding force in the development of their culture and has been ingrained in the hearts and minds of the citizens of the prosperous country. It has turned enemies into friends. It has replaced chaos and suffering with peace and prosperity and it has turned hate into love.
This is a tale of two ponies and how the glorious sounds of music brought them together. It takes place in a small town; not too far from the high towers of Canterlot. Its name, you may know, is Ponyville.
It was a normal day in the small town, as was any other day in the countryside, if somewhat hotter than normal for this particular time of the year. The frigid winds of the winter had been replace by the blooming of the spring and finally, by the heat of the summer. It was no longer a day of staying inside besides a warm fireplace, drinking hot chocolate and eating treats. Rather, it was a day of frolicking and taking in the rays of Celestia's majestic sun.
As it was, many of the town's inhabitants were outside relaxing or playing in nature's home. It was almost impossible to find a pony staying inside rather than enjoying the great outdoors. Even the town's resident librarian, who would rather stay in her home and pour over ancient tomes rather than breathing fresh air, could not resist the pull of the warm season. In short, it seemed that the entirety of Ponyville was out amusing themselves in the park at the outskirts of town.
There was one pony in particular who was known throughout the town. She was a unicorn with a turquoise coat that seemed to look like the color of mint leaves grown near the bustling city of Trottingham. Emblazoned on each of her flanks was a figure of a golden lyre, a majestic instrument that was known for producing such scintillating sounds. Speaking of lyres, said instrument was on her back, held there by a leather strap. She trotted along the dirt path, whistling a gentle tune while admiring the scenery around her.
Her name was Lyra Heartstrings; lyre player and somewhat of a cake enthusiast. Out of all the ponies of Ponyville, she was the most different of all. You see, she was not actually a native of the town, not even of the Inner Provinces themselves. She was, in fact, from the great port of Preece, located far south of her current residence. She had moved here a few years ago during a wake of poverty that had been caused by an infestation of sea serpents blocking trade. Lyra only had nothing but her lyre and the bits she could carry in her leather purse, determined to find a way to raise money for her family back home. It took her months to finally find a home and employment, (with a lot of help from her new found friend Bon-Bon.)
Lyra had a certain routine every Sunday afternoon. She would wake up and eat a breakfast of milk and pancakes; a meal she had to get used to after arriving in her new home. After a shower, she took her lyre and made her way to the public park just outside Ponyville.
There, she would sit on a bench and play her instrument all day long; not really for the other ponies in the park, but rather for herself. She would play folk songs from her homeland that her grandfather had passed down to her while she was growing up. Sometimes, she played songs from other parts of the Kingdom and perhaps beyond. Usually, one or two ponies would stop and listen to her playing, sometimes even offering her a few bits. She took the tips with a smile, thanking them for their kindness.
When the sky began to darken, she would stop flicking the strings of her lyre and head back home. She would serve herself a plate her special milopita, a traditional Preek cake made from apples, a plentiful commodity thanks to the nearby apple orchard. Then, she would take a shower and go to bed, ready for the next day.
Today was no different. She had finally made her way to her usual spot; a bench that was perfectly situated under a shady oak tree that provided just the right amount of protection from the heat of the sun. She took a seat and unhooked the lyre from the strap. After plucking a few of the strings with her magic to make sure everything was in order, she began playing the sweet music of her land. The first song she played was an epitaph written sometime during ancient times when Preece was an independent city state before become part of the kingdom. It was a dedication to the dead wife of somepony known only as "Hoofkilos". The first notes were an entrancing dance of calming melodies that could calm even the most violent of dragons. She continued playing the same notes for a few seconds taking in the beautiful sounds coming from the strings. Satisfied, she parted her lips, closed her eyes, and, in a gentle voice, began to sing:
Hoson zês, phainou,
mêden holôs su lupou;
pros oligon esti to zên,
to telos ho chronos apaitei.
Whenever she sang like this, Lyra felt as if she was in a different reality; A dimension where music and singing ruled over every living thing. It felt as if her immortal soul had left its earthly home and had finally freed itself of all the shackles of reality. As she flew around in this blissful heaven, she failed to discern the sound of hoofsteps making their way towards her.
"Now that's what I call a groovy sound!" a gravelly voice called out. Lyra jumped, completely taken aback by the sudden noise. Her eyes fell upon the one who brought her out of her daze. He was a stallion, light blue with a mane of a darker shade. On his flank was a cutie mark of two quavers, one smaller than the other. His bright brown eyes stared into her amber ones, a smile playing on his muzzle.
He let out a low chuckle; "I didn't scare you, did I?"
"Ochi; no," she replied in her lightly accented voice, "but you did surprise me."
"Ah, my sincerest apologies," he returned, "I have this bad habit of sneaking up on ponies."
She giggled a bit; "entáxei, it's okay," she said, "I am rather easy to sneak up on; especially when I am playing my music."
He smiled; "Gotta be honest with you, that's a really tight sound ya got there." He idly scuffed a hoof against the ground, "Hoofkilos, if I'm not mistaken."
"Why, yes," she said, rather surprised that somepony had correctly guessed the composer behind the piece, "how did you..?"
"I've been 'round the block; so to speak," he interrupted her, looking off to the side, "heard a lot of music from different provinces of the Kingdom. Name's Blues, by the way; Blues Noteworthy." He held out a hoof towards her in a friendly manner.
She respectfully returned the gesture, gently shaking his hoof. "Lyra," she returned, "Lyra Heartstrings, at you service."
After a few moments, his eyes sparkled with recognition. "Lyra Heartstrings? As in that groovy young mare that played that gig at the tavern last weekend, Lyra Heartstrings?"
Lyra pondered over what he said for a moment, trying to remember that certain "gig", as he put it. She did remember that the tavern keeper had been told of her skill with the lyre and he had asked her to put on a performance last Saturday night. It was indeed a fantastic performance on her part; even the inebriated ponies couldn't help but sway in time with the rhythm. She had been paid well, an honest day's work.
"Hmmm, why yes, the very same," she finally answered. His face suddenly lit up in a bright smile.
"Well isn't this a kick in the head," he exclaimed, "I was at that gig, right in the back row. Here I am, talking one of the grooviest musicians I've had the pleasure in hearing.
"You…you really mean that?" she asked.
"Of course!" he replied, "as a musician, I've heard plenty of tunes and yours certainly takes the cake."
At that last word, her mind conjured up images of the delicious pastry, covered with creamy frosting and topped with strawberries. Her tongue seemed to glaze over with saliva at the thought of taking a bite of such a heavenly dessert. Thankfully, she remembered that she was in a conversation and it would have been rude for her to start daydreaming of cake while she was talking with somepony, so she quickly stored those thoughts in her brain for another day.
"You are a musician too?" she asked, a bit astounded that there was another connoisseur of the lyrical arts in Ponyville. Now, Lyra was really interested in knowing more about this strange colt that appeared out of the blue, as they said in Manehattan.
"Yep," Blues answered, "I'm a bit of a Jazz master; but, I think you're pretty good on the lyre as well. It's so simple; yet, it lulls you into a sense of serenity and moves you with its succulent rhythms. First time I heard it, it felt as if all my bad vibes just packed up and left forever. Nothing else could ever do that."
The turquoise unicorn was rather taken aback by Blues' rather poetic speech. Then again, most of the musicians she had met throughout her life did have a bit of emotion in their way of speaking. Even so, she had never heard anypony talk about her music the way he did, even if they seemed to enjoy it immensly; it made her heart swell a bit with pride because of such high praise.
"Nopony has ever talked about my music that way," she said, "not even my greatest of friends.
"Pssh," Blues nickered, "they don't know what they're talking 'bout." He took a seat next Lyra, who blushed at his sudden boldness. "In fact," he added, "I was wondering if you could do this fly stallion here a small favor."
She raised an eyebrow; interested at what this new stallion wanted from her. Never had a pony come to her asking for any favors, unless it was somepony hiring her for a performance. However, Blues, a stranger, had come up to her this fine morning and did what nopony had ever done. Granted, it was possible that he was merely building up to a job offer, but he seemed to delay that. Lyra, being educated in Preek courtesy, decided to humor him. "And what would that favor be?" she said.
"Well, if it's not too much trouble, I was wondering if we could put our sounds together, my sax with your lyre," he offered.
It took Lyra a moment to figure out what he was asking. When she figured out what he was referring to, she was completely surprised at the offer. "You want to perform a duet? With me?" she asked.
He chucked; "Of course!" he exclaimed, "why wouldn't I? Think 'bout it, your sweet melodies with my mean brass; we'd be extremely groovy! Hay, we could be even groovier than Octavia and DJ-PON3 combined!"
She mulled over his request. She had never preformed a duet with anypony other than her grandfather before. Granted, with any other pony, she would politely refuse, citing that she preferred going her own way. However, he did ask nicely and he did say such wonderful things about her lyre playing. What could go wrong?, she thought to herself.
"Well, what do ya say? Deal or no deal?" he asked again, bringing Lyra out of her thoughts.
She did not really know what to say. "I'll have to think about it, Mr. Noteworthy." She answered.
He smiled and nodded; "Alright, I'm okay with that. Take as much time as you need to think about it." The rest of the day had involved the two of them conversing over their tastes in music. When they finished, they noticed that it was already becoming dark. It appeared that they had both completely lost all track of time and had spent nearly the entire afternoon conversing with each other.
"Phew, would you look at that," Blues commented whilst look at the sun slowly moving towards the horizon, "we've been chewing the cheese for a while now; it's getting pretty dark."
Lyra was a bit lost on his figure of speech, but she agreed with him. "Nai, I should get back home before Luna raises the moon."
"Mind if I escort you there?" Blues asked, "I mean, if you want; just tryin' to be a gentlestallion." As he spoke, Lyra couldn't help but notice a slight, near invisible shade of red creeping onto his face. He's blushing, she thought to herself, is he nervous?, could it be that he…ochi, that can't be possible. Then again, he is rather sweet.
"Entaxei, I don't mind at all," she said with a gentle smile. As if by magic, Blues' nervousness seemed to melt away and was replaced by a look of utter satisfaction.
"Excellent!" he exclaimed, almost about to jump with joy. He managed to compose himself and reduce his beaming smile into a slight grin. "I mean, good," he repeated, this time much more calmly. Lyra couldn't help but giggle at the stallion's excitement.
"Well then," said Lyra, tying the lyre around her neck, "shall we be off?"
"Lead the way, m'lady," he replied with a polite bow, extending a hoof in the direction of Ponyville. They began walking the path to the town with Lyra at the head and Blues besides her. As they walked, Lyra couldn't help but to keep glancing at the blue stallion. Here she was, originally only going to play with her lyre by herself, walking with a complete stranger who just so happened to be a musician like her. Back in Preece, anypony who offered to "escort" you home probably had bad intentions in mind; REALLY bad intentions usually. Luckily, she didn't have to worry about such things anymore since moving to Ponyville.
But this one was different; he came to her, unannounced and unexpected, just to praise her music. Never had a pony simply walked up to her like that, always reserving any praises to simple cheers and then going off to mind his or her own business. Not only that, but Blues had said that her music was way better than his own; something that she hadn't heard often. To top it all off, he had even asked her to perform a duet with him; now that was a new one for her.
On the way to her house, they struck up a conversation about their favorite musicians and their favorite musical pieces as a way to break the silence. As they talked, Lyra felt something stir inside of her. She couldn't figure out what it was; an undigested piece of hay, perhaps? Maybe it was another one of those horrid muffins that had made her sick five months ago?
Skata, what in the Goddess' is wrong with me, she cursed herself. She had never felt something like this.
"…And that's why I prefer Beethoofen over Marezart," said Blues; immediately snapping Lyra out of her conflicted thoughts, "hey, you all right?"
Finally back in reality, she gave him a small grin. "Yes, sorry about that," she assured him, "oh look, we're here."
They arrived before a simple two-story wooden house. It was rather plain looking, which suited Lyra. She had never been a fan of extremely ornate homes such as the ones that lined the richer districts of her hometown. The house itself reflected the unicorn's personality; laid back and simple.
Lyra opened the door with her magic; as she stepped inside, she turned to Blues. "Thank you Blues," she said with an affectionate smile, "it was an absolute pleasure meeting you."
"Pleasure's all mine," he replied with a smile of his own, "it's nice to find other musicians in Equestria, especially here in Ponyville. Well, guess I'll be going."
"Wait." The blue stallion turned towards the mare. "I've made my decision, I will perform a duet with you."
A large, bright smile formed on his muzzle. "Really?!" he asked incredulously. Lyra answered the question with a nod. "Awesome! It'll be great, I promise you, in the name of Jazz."
Lyra giggled. "Well, I guess I should take your word for it. When and where shall we meet?"
Blues took a moment to think about the exact date and location. "How 'bout next Saturday at the park, where we met."
"Very well then, Saturday it is. Goodnight, Mr. Noteworthy."
"Goodnight, Ms. Heartstrings." He turned and trotted off to his own home. She closed the door, finally taking in the comforts of her house. The turquoise mare untied the strap that tied the lyre around her neck with her magic. She levitated the stringed instrument atop a special stand that resided on the mantelpiece above her fireplace. Usually, this was the time of the day where she would make the milopita, but she didn't feel the need for it. For some reason, her usually voracious appetite for baked sweets seemed to have disappeared completely.
Instead, that strange feeling that she felt on the way to her home was churning inside of her at full force. What was happening to her? Why was this happening? How did it come to be? These questions ran through her brain, blocking out any other thoughts she may have been having. Was she sick? Was she coming down with a new type of disease?
Could it have been… No, she had only just met him. She didn't believe in that sort of thing
Lyra decided to pour herself a cup of fresh Maredridian tea; hoping that it might calm her nerves down. She filled the iron kettle she kept in the kitchen cupboard with water and set in on the oven to boil. When the tell-tale whistle of water going past boiling point filled the kitchen, she levitated the kettle and poured the hot water into a small teacup with the tea bag in it. As she did this, a small yawn escaped her throat.
She brought the cup to her lips and reveled in the rejuvenating warmth of the liquid as it traveled down her throat. It tasted both bitter and sweet, a combination that was not unpleasant to her taste buds. The unicorn walked out of the kitchen, teacup levitating close beside her, and made her way to a small table near the corner of the room. On the top, there was a calendar with an ink pot and quill at the side. Placing the cup gently on the table, she dipped the quill into the thick ink and marked her duet with Blues in the Saturday square. As she marked the date, she took notice of another event on Wednesday: Lunch with Bon-Bon, it said.
An idea popped into Lyra's head. I'll ask Bon-Bon about my predicament. Perhaps she knows what is happening to me, she thought to herself. Indeed, her earth pony friend had helped her many times in the past; hopefully, this would not be different. Finishing her tea, she levitated the cup all the way to the sink, deciding to wash it tomorrow.
After taking a shower and brushing her teeth, as her friend Colgate recommended, (or rather, forced her under pain of death), she entered her small bedroom and lay down on the soft mattress, pulling the covers over her with her magic. As her head hit the feather pillow, she closed her eyes and fell asleep. For once, her dreams were not of music or cakes, but of the strange blue stallion.
When Wednesday came at last, Lyra had prepared herself to meet with her phili, her best friend. She remembered to bring a leather pouch filled with the bits she had been paid from her last "gig"; adamant about paying lunch this time instead of allowing Bon-Bon to use her hard earned money to pay for Lyra's cake affinity. In fact, she did owe Bon-Bon a lot for her efforts; she had helped Lyra get used to the town after her emigration from Preece. It made her feel bad to ask for more help, considering all that Bon-Bon had done for her, but at this point, she did not know any other pony that she trusted.
As she walked down the main road, she glanced at the other ponies that were outside. All of them had a smile on their faces, something that Lyra admired. Despite the town going through every misfortune imaginable, including those damned cake eating parasprites, everypony seemed to be in good spirits.
As she neared the café that she and Bon-Bon frequented, she saw the cream colored earth pony waving at her from their usual table. She waved back, smiling as she did so. Her walk soon became a full gallop as she neared the small eatery. When she finally got there, Bon-Bon embraced the turquoise unicorn in a tight hug. Lyra gave her friend a traditional kiss on each of her cheeks; a gesture that showed care to another.
"Yia-Sou, Lyra," greeted Bon-Bon in a heavily accented Preek.
"Yia-Sou, Bon-Bon," replied Lyra, "I see you've been practicing your Preek. I'm impressed." For a year, Lyra had been educating Bon-Bon on the subtleties of Preek language. The cream mare had been curious about Lyra's home tongue and had asked her to teach her.
Bon-Bon smiled at the compliment. "Your Common's not so bad either," she returned, "your accent's not as noticeable as the day you came here."
Lyra giggled; "Well, I have you to thank for that," she said lovingly, "anyways, let's eat." When the waiter, a posh and rather uptight stallion with a small dark moustache on his muzzle, came to take their orders, each ordered their usual meals; for Lyra, a simple cake with vanilla frosting, and for Bon-Bon, garden salad with a hint of rosemary on top.
As they ate, they engaged in a bit of small talk. Bon-Bon began talking about her job managing the candy store that she owned. She had inherited the store from her aunt who retired to a small cottage on the Southern Coast. So far, business had been going swell, working in close conjunction with the owners of Sugarcube Corner. She also talked about her relationship with one of the workers at Sweet Apple Acres; Caramel, if Lyra remembered correctly.
"Anyway," said Bon-Bon, finally finishing her stories, "enough about me; how was your weekend?" Lyra told her about what happened at the park that day; her arriving there and playing her lyre, Blues' sudden appearance, his compliments on her music, his request for a duet. In the end, she began explaining the strange feelings she had been experiencing ever since that day.
The tan mare listened intently to the unicorn's recollection of the events, a smile slowly pulling her mouth back. This did not go unnoticed by the unicorn; "Bon-Bon, why are you smiling like that?" she asked, raising an eyebrow in suspicion. But, as soon as she asked that question, Bon-Bon leapt up and wrapped her friend in a rather constricting hug, which garnered a few curious looks from the other patrons. "Gah," exclaimed Lyra, feeling almost all of her breath being squeezed out of her, "what has gotten into you?!"
Bon-Bon released her from that vice grip, but the smile never left her face. "Oh finally!" she shouted, attracting even more attention to the two, "you've finally found a certain special somepony! Oh this is so great!" The force of the hug was starting to crush the air out of Lyra. "When can I meet him? Maybe we should have a double date! Me and Caramel with you and that new stallion!" She began bouncing up and down in pure joy.
"Bon-Bon," said Lyra, trying to stop her friend's tirade, but she kept going.
"Oh this is so exciting! I'm so happy for you!" she continued.
"Bon-Bon," Lyra interjected, but to no avail.
"I was so worried that you would remain alone forever. Glad to see that's not case. I can't wait to meet this new stud, I…"
"BON-BON!" Lyra shouted, finally silencing her friend, "there's nothing going on between us."
Bon-Bon calmed down, but her smile had been replaced by a rather dejected look. "Oh, sorry she apologized, a bit embarrassed by her earlier behavior, "I made a complete foal of myself."
"Entáxei," assured Lyra, "so what do you think is the cause of these strange emotions?"
Immediately after she said that, the giant smile appeared on Bon-Bon's muzzle yet again. "Why Lyra," she said in a teasing voice, "how can you not know what's wrong with you?"
"What do you mean?" Lyra asked.
Bon-Bon's smile grew even wider than physically possible; "Are you sure?" she teased again.
At this point, the turquoise unicorn was beginning to get annoyed by her friend's vagueness. "Bon-Bon, can you give me a straight answer, parakalo?"
"Well, maybe you might have a thing for him," answered Bon-Bon. Lyra's eyes immediately shot open as if she had stuck her hoof in a pot of boiling tar. She had been living in Ponyville long enough to know what "a thing" meant.
"What do you mean 'a thing'?" Lyra asked incredulously, "how can I have 'a thing' for him? I've only just met him!"
The cream mare's face shrank into a softer smile; "Sometimes," she began, "that's all it takes. How do you think Caramel and I got together?"
"Well, that's different," retorted Lyra.
Bon-Bon raised an eyebrow at the unicorn's comment; "Really? And what makes you think that?"
"Well…it's just that… I mean…" Lyra sighed, unable to explain herself. Bon-Bon noticed her friend's discomfort, so she trotted up to her side and wrapped a foreleg around the distressed mare in an attempt to comfort her. Lyra looked up at her friend's smiling face and returned the gesture with a smile of her own.
"Don't worry about hon. It's like Carrot Top always says: 'you can't grow a garden if you don't plant a few seeds'," Bon-Bon assured in a pitch perfect imitation of their gardener friend's voice. Lyra couldn't help but to chuckle at Bon-Bon's knack at imitating voices of almost everypony in Ponyville; she was surprised that her cutie mark wasn't related to acting.
"Bon-Bon," Lyra smiled affectionately, "sometimes, you're really too optimistic for your own good; things like that don't happen in real life."
Bon-Bon smiled at the compliment and brought the other leg to Lyra's neck, pulling her into a gentle embrace. "Everything's gonna be alright, trust me." she said, "This stuff happens to everypony."
They soon broke away from the hug, not wanting to attract more unwanted attention to them.
"Well then," Lyra sighed, "what do you think I should do?"
Putting her hoof to her chin, Bon-Bon's expression turned thoughtful. Her faced scrunched up in concentration as she lightly tapped her chin. Finally, a sudden splash of inspiration hit her; "I got it," she began, "here's the deal: you and him perform duets for a while, appeal to his interests. Then, once both of you are done, you ask him out to a nice dinner; you know, as 'friends', then you see where it goes."
"Do you really think that will work?" Lyra asked, a bit unconvinced on the plan's chances of success. For as long as she lived, the unicorn had always been a bit practical when it came to many things. Every time Bon-Bon, showed her the newest romance novel she purchased, Lyra would scoff and explain everything that was wrong with the romance in the book, ("It was too rushed", "They have nothing in common", "Thea! That line was absolutely atrocious!" and so on). She wasn't a pessimist or anything like that, but, coming for the Outer Provinces, she hadn't really developed any sort of romantic outlooks, (thankfully, this didn't affect her musical talents). As such, Bon-Bon's idea of getting to know Blues did not seem all too enticing for her.
"Of course!" exclaimed Bon-Bon, "it worked for Sir Colton and Daisy. Hay, it worked for me and Caramel."
Lyra 's brow furrowed; "I am still not convinced," she retorted, "but, the way I see it, you haven't been wrong about most things during the time we've been friends.
The cream earth pony smiled warmly, delighted to hear her friend agree to her plan; "Don't worry," she assured, placing a hoof on the back of the unicorn's neck, "it'll work out, trust me."
The unicorn mare nodded in affirmation. "Thank you, Bon-Bon," she said, "now if you'll excuse me, I must return home." She was about to turn and head for her house when she was interrupted by the sound of Bon-Bon clearing her throat.
"And just where do you think you're going?" she insisted, "if you're going on a date, then we've got to make sure you're prepared. You can't go asking out cute bucks without learning how to do things properly."
"Oh, thea…" Lyra was definitely not going to enjoy this. Not one. Single. Bit.
Saturday came quickly enough. Throughout the last couple of days, Lyra had been forced to endure Bon-Bon's "preparations" for this event, which mostly consisted of tips, advice, and something about acquiring a "taste for free-form jazz", (the unicorn made a mental note to ask her friend what the deal with that was). Bon-Bon had even tried to convince Lyra to allow her to spy on them and act as an observer; a suggestion that was promptly rejected, (Come on, Lyra! Please!, the earth pony had pleaded. Ochi! Absolutely not, retorted the mint green mare).
As she trotted up the cobblestone path that cut through the park, multiple scenarios played and re-played in Lyra's mind. Should she be forward? Should she wait for him to ask for a date? Maybe, but she was not sure that he might even want to ask her out. Should she just hint at a date? Did she even want to go out with Blues? The answer to the last question was pretty obvious; the others, not so much.
As she reached the bench where they were supposed to meet, the blue maned stallion was nowhere in sight. Was she early? Was she late? No, if there was one thing that Lyra Heartstrings would never, ever do, it was being late to anything that involved music.
Perhaps he got caught up in something, she thought. The mare resolved to sit on the bench in her unusual way and wait for him. She brought out her trusty instrument and began plucking the strings in no particular rhythm in order to pass the time. As she played, she continued to think about her situation; if there was to be something between them, would it work out? Well, whatever the answer may have been, she would have to save it for later as she spotted the blue stallion galloping towards her. His coat was damp with sweat, his mane all matted down as if somepony had dumped a bucket full of water on him. He was carrying a black case about half his size on a leather strap.
When he finally reached her, he took a moment to catch his breath; did he gallop all the way here? Lyra thought. When he finally regained his composure, he began to speak; "Oh boy," he said, taking a deep breath, "sorry 'bout that. The alarm clock didn't sound off, looked at the time, saw that I was late, and then galloped like a changeling outta Tartarus here." He punctuated his listing of the events with a small intake of breath.
Lyra barely managed to suppress a laugh at Blues' predicament. Still, at least he was a gentlecolt, which was a definite plus. "Well now, you seem a bit exhausted. Do you think you can still play?" she teased with a sly smile.
Despite his exhaustion, Blues was not oblivious to the challenge. "Oh, talented and a bit of a smart flank," he retorted, his smile matching hers.
She grinned at his remark. "Well then, bring out your instrument and let us start this ntoueto."
Blues grinned and unhooked the strap around his neck, careful not to let the case fall to the ground. He undid the two metal locks and the case immediately snapped open. With a look of utter admiration and perhaps a bit of love, he pulled out his instrument of choice: a saxophone. Being the daughter of an instrument maker, Lyra had to admire the sheer beauty of its craftsponyship. It was made out of pure polished brass which allowed one to see his or her reflection on it. The instrument was about the size of a baby pony, but he seemed to be able to handle it with the utmost ease. Lyra could make out two works written in elegant script on the side: "Ole' Saxy". He gave a few good test blows, testing to see if anything was blocking the main tube.
"My, my," said Lyra, admiring the marvelous piece of brass, "that is an amazing instrument you have."
The blue colt cracked a smile at the comment; "Thanks," he returned, "it's my dad's old sax. Got to hand it to those ponies in Seaddle, they know how to make a mean sax. Anyways, let's get started; mares first?"
She took the hint and began playing without a moment's hesitation. She started easy enough, a few simple notes so as to get into the spirit. As she finished, she nodded towards Blues, signaling that it was his turn now. He nodded back, brought the mouth piece to his lips, and repeated the notes she played. The loud noises coming from the saxophone were completely different from the gentler sounds that the lyre produced. However, Lyra noted that he played with such finesse and concentration that the normally cacophonous sounds seemed pleasing to her ears. He started adding new melodies and soon, he was playing a small solo.
The mare began playing in time with him, struggling to find a perfect tempo to play to. At first, the two instruments played out of sync, each musician trying to find a certain balance between their music. Then, the two sound began coming together, forming a sort of harmony. As they played, random passerbies began to stop and listen to their little show. Their "concert" ran on for about an hour and the crowd grew to up around ten ponies. As they reached the end of their duet, the audience began stamping her hoofs on the ground in applause and the two musicians gave a curt bow to the ponies who were showering them with praise.
As the crown dispersed, Blue placed the instrument into its case carefully. "Well now, that was fun," he commented, "not bad, if I do say so myself."
"Nai," Lyra acknowledged, "it most certainly was an experience." As he closed the lid of the case, she decided that now would be the perfect time to go through with the rest of Bon-Bon's plan. She opened her mouth to speak, bracing herself for the rejection that might happen.
"Hey, can I ask you something?" Blues asked suddenly, but he noticed that she had been ready to speak, "Uh, you first."
"Actually, you go ahead," she returned. Perhaps it was a gesture of good manners, or perhaps a way to stall the inevitable question. In any case, she decided to allow him to voice whatever question he had on his mind.
He looked to the ground and kicked the dirt nervously. "Well," he began, "I was wondering, if it's all right with you of course, if I could take you out to dinner tomorrow; if you don't mind, that is."
"Yes!" said Lyra, a little bit louder than she would have preferred, "I mean, that sounds like a nice idea." In truth, when he had asked her that question, her mind had immediately been thrown into a loop. This wasn't part of the plan, she had thought, then again, I suppose plans are a subject to change. As such, seeing as he was waiting for an answer, she replied with the first thing that came into her head.
The blue colt's face immediately lit up in a smile; "Really?" he exclaimed, "groovy! What time should I meet you? Where should we meet? What should I wear? Wait, that's kind of my call."
"How about tomorrow night at eight at the café? It's not too expensive and they serve the most delicious cakes…though only second to Sugarcube Corner's pastries." In truth, she felt slightly relieved that he was just as nervous as her.
He straightened himself out and cleared his throat, trying to make himself appear more orderly. "Sounds good," he said.
"Then I will see you tomorrow." They both went their separate ways soon after. When Lyra arrived at her home, she allowed herself to jump in the air in happiness. Bon-Bon's plan, that the unicorn had originally believed would end in complete failure, had turned out for the best; way better than she had hoped. However, she was not out of the proverbial woods yet; there was still the matter of the date itself, after all. Still, she had at least gotten through the hard part without any sort of terrible consequences.
Tomorrow, she would see how this would play out.
It was evening when she arrived at the proposed spot for their date. It was a simple looking place, a bit on the small side. She scanned the dining area for any sign of the blue maned buck, finally spotting him sitting at a table near the corner. He waved at her and she returned the gesture, trotting up to the table.
"Yia-Sou, hope I'm not late," she apologized as she sat on the chair in front of him. From the look of things, he had not ordered anything before she arrived. Mannerly and patient, she thought, quite the gentlecolt.
"Late? Nah, you're just in time," he replied. He was wearing a black bowtie and his mane had been combed back. In her opinion, he looked better with his mane all raggedy, but she had to admit, he was rather cute.
"You look really nice," she complimented, "Makes me feel completely underprepared."
The earth pony merely shrugged. "Momma always told me that one should always look nice when taking a mare out," he said, "you don't look too bad either."
Lyra blushed at the compliment; "Thank you," she replied, "that is very kind of you."
"Well then, let's order the food, I'm paying," he offered like the gentlecolt he was.
"Oh please, you don't have to do that," she protested, "how about I pay, hmm? I have enough bits here for both of us. It is not a problem in the slightest."
Blues shook his head; "Now what kind of stallion would allow his date to pay for everything?" he said, "seriously, it's fine. My gigs usually pay well, so I'm not hurting."
"Well, if you insist."
"Come," he said, "the waiter's on his way here. Let's order something."
"By the way, I've wanted to ask you something," said Blues while the two were walking towards Lyra's home.
The turquoise mare eyed him curiously; "Yes?" she responded.
"Actually, maybe it might be a bit too personal." he confessed, "Forget I said anything.
"No, its all right." she rebuked, "It's the least I can do for the wonderful dinner." Indeed, much to Lyra's content, the date had gone so well. Blues had proved himself to be a wonderful and funny stallion.
"Well, both times I've seen you at the park, you were always sitting weirdly. Why is that?" he asked.
Lyra chuckled at the question; almost everypony in Ponyville had asked her that, Bon-Bon asking it many times. "It's an interesting story." she began, "You see, my father is a merchant captain in Preece. As you may know, Preece is home not only to ponies, but to many different species as well. As such, my father's crew is a, how you say, 'hodgepodge' of members from around the continent. One of them is a rather special one; he is a human."
Blues looked surprised at that revelation. "A human!?" he cried, "So far from the Northlands? What was he doin' in Preece?"
"He never said why, only that he did not desire to be with his kin. His name is Asgrath, and he's my father's first mate and friend. He would always invite him to dine with us when his ship returned to port. For a human, Asgrath was not at all what most ponies think humans are like. He always treated us as his family and we saw him like a sort of uncle. I sort of began imitating the way he sat, and well, it kind of stuck with me ever since."
As Lyra finished her story, Blue continued to look at her in amazement. "Whoa," he murmured, "that's something."
"I've always wondered how he's faring. I haven't talked to my family in a while," she said, her voice carrying a bit of sadness.
Blues reached his leg up and gave her a comforting pat on the crest of her neck. "Hey," he comforted, "don't be like that. I'm sure they're ok. If something bad did happen, you'd probably know about it right now."
"I guess you're right." she said with a smile, "Anyways, this is my stop. Thank you so much for the food."
"Pleasure's all mine." he returned. As she prepared to open to door, Blues spoke again. "Hey, Ms. Heartstrings?" he murmured.
"Please, call me Lyra."
"Ok, Lyra. I was wondering, if you want to, we could go to the movies tomorrow night"
She raised her eyebrow in confusion. "Already asking for another meeting?"
He began rubbing his right leg with his hoof, a nervous look in his eyes. "Well, I thought since you enjoyed tonight, at least I hope you did, maybe you would mind hanging out again."
Lyra's heart began to beat uncontrollably that it felt as if it were to burst at any moment. "I don't know; it seems a bit sudden."
"Well, if you're not up to it, it's not a problem. I'm sorry I even brought it up." He turned to leave.
"Wait," Lyra called out, "I mean, I would like to go out to the movies with you. It's just that, I've only just met and yet, ever since that day, I've felt so strange; something I can't explain. My friend called it love and, well…"
"Well, what?" said Blues, raising an eyebrow in interest.
"I think I sort of, have some sort of feeling for you. But, I just don't know if it's right. Ah, it's all so damn confusing."
"Hey, hey, don't worry about it. Truth be told, I've kinda had my eye on you for a while. But I get what you're saying. Tell you what, how about we go to the movies tomorrow night and we'll see where it goes."
"You…you like me?" she asked, to which he replied with a nod. "Okay, then yes, I will go to the movies with you." She trotted up to him and wrapped her front legs around his neck, pulling him into a hug. When they pulled away, Blue planted a soft peck on her forehead, right above her horn. Her face turned a dark shade of red, but she never stopped smiling.
"Goodnight, Lyra," Blues said.
"Goodnight, Blues," she returned, turning towards her home and entering the building.
It appeared to her that everything was about to get much better from here on out, and it had been music that had made all of it possible.
As the two ponies said their goodbyes, they were unaware of prying eyes watching from the bushes.
"Haha! That's my Lyra," whispered a cream colored earth pony mare. She turned to the pony next to her, a caramel colored colt with a brown mane. "See Caramel, I told you my plan would work."
The stallion named Caramel did not see to share the mare's enthusiasm. "That's nice, Bon-Bon," he answered, "now can we go? I think there's a law against spying on ponies."
"Aw c'mon, honey," she said in a hushed tone, "don't you see what just happened? My best friend finally found her certain special somepony!"
"Great, now let's go before we get caught." Bon-Bon was about to protest but he held his hoof up to silence her. "If we go now, I'll give you one of those massages that you love so much."
She sighed in defeat; "Fine, but only because I can't resist your magical hooves."