Octavia followed Scratch as the filly led her to the instrument room, which Mrs. Reed had pointed them towards after they made amends, noting that they were already quite tardy thanks to, as she put it, "Vinyl's latest stunt". Fortunately it seemed the old mare had been overexaggerating slightly, given that the last of their class was still filing into the room ahead of them. Vinyl got to the door ahead of Octavia, and held it for her. They made it just in time for their music instructor to turn around and face the class. He was a yellow unicorn with a long brown ponytail of a mane, and the only adult Octavia had seen who wore a smile on his face.
"Now I know you all picked instruments out over the summer," he said, voice so raspy that Octavia's throat hurt in sympathy. "But you gotta make sure it feels right in your hooves. Try it all out, colts and fillies." He gestured around the room to the dozens of carefully arranged instruments. Stands held saxaphones and violins, trumpets and oboes, more instruments than Octavia had ever seen. Most of the class spread out slowly, overwhelmed by choices. One filly, however, broke away from the pack immediately, bounding across the floor.
"Sweet! Look at this! No, that! Oh stallion, this thing is wicked cool!" Vinyl stopped rushing around as she discovered a brass beast of a tuba, sitting off by itself. The bell was large enough to swallow the filly whole.
"I bet it sounds awesome too!" Vinyl said over her shoulder as she saw Octavia approach. Octavia gave a cautious glance to the tuba, as if she feared it.
"Is, is this what you picked?" Octavia asked? The instrument looked nothing like what her father played, and was somehow more intimidating tham her mother's grand piano. Its multitude of pipes snaked around and around, and its numerous buttons and valves seemed to be arranged at random. Octavia didn't understand how this terrifying device even made music. Yet as she turned to Vinyl, Octavia saw nothing but excitement in her new friend's expression.
"Nah." Vinyl answered. "Mom said I couldn't get anything that would 'make me a hazard to those around me' or something. Grownups, right? But who wants to play a dumb old flute anyway. What about you?"
Octavia looked around, pointing to a violin hanging to her left. "Father said I should play a string instrument. He says they're more eloquent."
"Psh. I don't know what elo-kent means but it sounds boring." Vinyl replied. "You need something... something like..." she sat and rubbed her chin, looking around. "Like that!" She pointed straight at a cello towering over the other instruments, "I saw one of those once, only it was smaller, but if you play it goes thruuuuuuummmm." Vinyl gave a tight-lipped hum as she made a plucking motion in the air. Octavia brought a hoof to her mouth as she had been taught to, surpressing her giggling. The music teacher noticed them and trotted around.
"You're a filly who knows what she wants, eh?" he asked, earning a grin from Vinyl in response. "Y'want to give it a test run?"
"Can I, Mr. Trombone?"
Their teacher just smiled, his horn lighting as he opened a nearby box, levitating a mouthpiece over and into position on the tuba. Vinyl immediately took a deep breath, but the teacher caught her, placing a hoof on her shoulder.
"You have to purse your lips like you're blowing bubbles, see?" He made a face, causing Vinyl to giggle a little. She mimicked his motions, pressed her lips to the mouthpiece, and -
"Bzzzzzzzt!" A pitiful whine escaped from the instrument as Vinyl blew her hardest, shortly followed by a giggle from Octavia, though she immediately brought a hoof up to stifle herself. Scratch tried to give her an angry glare, somewhat diminished by her puff-upped cheeks. Octavia brought up her other hoof, falling into a sitting position to keep herself from toppling over. Scratch's cheeks went bright red.
"Pretty good for a first try." Mr. Trombone said with a chuckle. Scratch pulled away from the tuba and gave him a pointed look.
"This one's broken." She told him, completely straight-faced.
"Give it another shot." He replied. "Go on. Remember, purse your lips tight."
Obviously not quite believing him, Vinyl nonetheless returned her lips to the tuba's mouthpiece. Octavia had calmed herself down, and watched on, honestly hoping for her friend's success.
"bzzzzzzzBWAAAP!" A deep toot burst from the horn, sending Octavia, Vinyl, and several nearby classmates jumping. Vinyl turned to Octavia, who was trying to get her mane back into order.
"This thing is awesome!"
Octavia was really unsure about this. She stood on her stool, leaning slightly to counter the cello's weight as she held it up. Mr. Trombone had had to help her into position, and already all four of the filly's legs were aching. She had to reach up ever so high for the cello's neck, and she only had the most tenuous grip on the bow.
Music practice took place in an adjacent room to the instruments. They were organized much like a real orchestra, in rows facing a conductor's stand, and seperated by instrument type. Octavia was one of two earth ponies with a string instrument, and the other had wisely chosen a harp her hooves could actually manipulate. The rest were unicorns, of course. At least nopony else had chosen the cello.
"We'll start by going through the scales." Mr. Trombone stated, standing in front of the class. "Everypony just sit tight and we'll do this by section. Vinyl, stop taunting Summer Dream, the piccolo is a perfectly fine instrument."
Octavia looked over; Vinyl was situated in the back row like her, but nearly as far away as possible, with the rest of the brass. She wasn't the least bit nervous, of course. She even slumped in a huff when Mr. Trombone started with the wind instruments. Octavia for one was glad to delay the inevitable a little.
Octavia wasn't sure exactly how to play this thing. She had seen her father practice with his violin since as long as she could remember, but how he manipulated it was unfathomable to the little filly. What if she couldn't manage it, she began to wonder. What if she messed up so badly they wouldn't let her play again? Would they kick her out on her first day? Father said it was so hard to get into this school, and she had to do her best. She really didn't want to get kicked out, she was just starting to like it here.
"Vinyl, the tuba isn't a weapon. Please keep that upright." Mr. Trombone's patience was world-class, that was for sure. Octavia glanced over, but the unicorn filly was already sitting perfectly still, eyes to the ceiling. Was she making a halo with her horn?
"Alright, string sections." Mr. Trombone levitated up a violin, pointing out which strings to hold down for which notes. Octavia payed rapt attention, even when he went over other instruments in her section. She wasn't sure she could manipulate the strings to deftly, it was taking enough effort to simply stop the cello from crushing her. Still, she had to give it a shot.
"Alright, a one, and a two, and a one two three four!"
"TWAAAANG!" Octavia flinched at the atonal noise filling her ears. She looked over, where a mint green unicorn sat, fretting over her lyre. A string had broken.
"I'm sssssssorry Mr. Trombone!" She sputtered, a sharp whistle where her 's' should've been. The teacher just smiled.
"Never mind. We must've wound the strings too tight. I'll get you another one for now." With that he headed left them, heading for the instrument room. Octavia spared a glance to the filly, who was blushing hard and trying to look at nothing and nopony. On the inside, though, she was relieved. She hadn't even screwed up, and nothing bad had happened anyhow. She was safe - for now.
Octavia stepped out of Mrs. Reed's classroom, immediately stepping aside to let her classmates through. She wanted nothing more than to follow the rest of the student body for the exits, tell her mother how well her day had gone. Well, maybe she would skip the part about lunch, it was already a distant memory to the little filly. But Vinyl had told her to wait up, and it would certainly be discourteous for her not to do so.
"Man, I can't believe that gum lasted all summer." Vinyl said as she exited the classroom. "It's like, what're they paying the janitors for, eh?" She turned to Octavia, who could only stare at her without a speck of comprehension. Fortunately, it seemed that Vinyl wasn't expecting much from her, and started heading down the hall.
"You should come over to my place." Vinyl told her. "Momma's always home by now, she'll make us peanut butter pretzel sticks."
"What about detention?" Octavia asked, following by Vinyl's side.
"No thanks, I prefer pret- oh right. Thanks for reminding me, October... Taveeya... man, even your name is weird."
"I-I'm sorry." Octavia lowered her head. Vinyl gave her a nudge as they walked. Confused, Octavia stopped in her tracks. What had she done wrong. Vinyl blinked and turned around to face her.
"W-what did I do?" Octavia fretted, shifting from hoof to hoof. Vinyl frowned.
"Chill out, Oc- chill, 'Tavi." Vinyl told her. "Man, it's a good thing I found you, or third grade would eat you alive." Octavia's eyes widened at this statement, making Scratch roll her own eyes. "Just... don't worry. I got this whole school thing figured out anyway."
"S-sorr-" Octavia stopped as Vinyl poked her forehead, just hard enough that Octavia reflexively backed into a sitting position.
"And cool it with the sorry's, okay? Y'gotta save those for the adults."
"So- um, yes, I promise." Octavia replied with a nod. Vinyl gave her a look, but turned back around and continued walking. Octavia got up after her. Down the hall and to the left, she recited in her head, then outside, down the street, second ri-
"U-um, Scratch?" Octavia piped up. Vinyl turned around, halfway down the hallway for the exit.
"Isn't the office, um, that way?" Octavia asked, pointing over her shoulder.
"And, I'm s-, I mean, don't you have detention?"
Octavia wasn't really sure what to say after that. She was pretty sure Mother and Father had never said anything about fulfilling other ponies' obligations, just her own. So she guessed there wasn't really anything to do except keep following Scratch. Only Vinyl had stopped, and Octavia didn't notice until she bumped into the filly's backside.
"Pardon..." Octavia mumbled reflexively.
"On second thought... I think I forgot something in the classroom." Vinyl said, giving a nervous chuckle. Octavia looked around her to see the school Principal standing at the exit. He was tapping a hoof and looking directly at Vinyl. Vinyl backed away, not even turning around until she was around the corner. Octavia looked at the principal, glanced to her new friend, back to the principal (who was now definitely watching her) and followed after Vinyl.
Vinyl was grumbling to herself when Octavia approached. She didn't seem to be heading for the classroom; in fact, they headed straight past it. Vinyl kept complaining to herself about how there was no trust these days, and how the system was out to get them all. She stopped only to place her ear against a door. Nodding to herself, she opened the door and headed through. Curious, as she still wasn't going to detention, Octavia ollowed. Scratch had told her to stick with her, after all.
"What is this?" Octavia asked, looking around with awe. She didn't notice Scratch closing the door behind her. A nice brown couch, table, icebox and counters... Octavia wanted to know why they couldn't have class here!
"Yeah, the teacher's lounge is pretty sweet." Vinyl told her. "Why can't we have comfy chairs, right?"
"Man were you homeschooled or something?" Vinyl asked her. "Y'know, where teachers hang out between classes and stuff."
"Where..." Octavia frowned. "Scratch, are we supposed to be in here?"
"Well, whatcha mean by 'supposed to'? I'm supposed to be home by three-forty, so this is just a sh-" Vinyl paused, one ear twitching. "Wuh oh."
Before Octavia knew it, Vinyl was dragging her by the tail, making a beeline for the couch. She didn't understand what was going on, but before she could ask Vinyl was backing in to a gap between sofa and wall. Octavia gave a squeek as she was dragged in as well. It took some wiggling, but she managed to turn around to face Vinyl. She didn't want to make a fuss, but Vinyl must be forgetting her courtesy lessons.
Before she could say a word, however, Octavia found herself being hushed. A click told them the door had opened. Suddenly Octavia was very sure they were not supposed to be here, and went very, very still.
"Celestia save me, another year of these little brats..." A mare's voice entered, followed shortly by a rasping chuckle.
"Not a good day, Claire?" Mr. Trombone asked. Octavia and Vinyl heard a sigh.
"Rustford, please. Formality may be dead to this generation, but that's no excuse."
"Right, sure. Sorry, Clarinet. But c'mon, the kids are starry-eyed and eager to learn. Today went well, I think." Mr. Trombone retorted. "Really though, 'Rusty' is fine."
"Oh if you insist. I think the one one with stars in their eyes is you, Rusty. Didn't one of your students manage to break their instrument on the first day? Brilliant."
"Ah, it was something she brought from home, those things always need tweaking. Most of them picked up their scales pretty fast. I think we've got some real talent in this crop, eh?"
"And a few weeds to pull loose." Mrs. Reed muttered. "I've half a mind to go check that the blue-eyed terror actually made it to detention this time."
"Who now?" Mr Trombone asked. Suddenly the couch creaked, the back closing in on them. Octavia began to yelp, but in a flash Vinyl had her hoof over Octavia's mouth. Octavia wanted to know why she tasted marshmallows again.
"Vinyl Scratch, of course." Mrs. Reed replied. Vinyl wrinkled her nose, trying to stick her tongue out in the direction of Mrs. Reed. She ended up licking the back of the couch. While Vinyl vigorously tried to wipe the taste off her tongue, Octavia continued to follow the conversation. The door had opened again.
"What did Vinyl do this time?" A third voice asked, deeper than Mr. Trombone's. Octavia didn't recognize it.
"Made a filly cry, and on her first day." Mrs. Reed explained. "I suppose waiting to make herself a terror was beyond her."
Mr. Trombone hummed thoughtfully. "That doesn't seem like her."
"Really," the third voice added, "Are you sure it wasn't a misunderstanding?"
"A mis- gentlemen! You give her far too much credit." By now, Vinyl had taken to mimicking Mrs. Reed very time she talked, only with a far less flattering expression on her face. Octavia felt bad for smiling at Vinyl's mockery.
"I was there." Mrs. Reed continued. "That little earth pony filly will have it hard enough without-"
"Wait." Mr. Trombone interrupted, "Earth pony? Gray, dark mane?"
"Yes, what about it?"
"Heh, must've been nothing, Claire, those two were thick as thieves this afternoon."
"What? Oh, for the love of-" Before Mrs. Reed could continue, the door opened again.
"Gentlemen. Lady." It was the principal. Vinyl froze. "I'm wondering if anypony here has seen a certain student we all know and love..."
"And I believe my point has been made." Mrs. Reed replied. "I'll go check my classroom, see if she's trying to climb into the ducts again."
"Now Claire- er, -inet, don't be too harsh on her..." A series of hoofsteps made it apparent at least some of the teachers were leaving. Vinyl paused, and Octavia wondered if they were finally going to get out of this cramped-
"Come on out now, little fillies." The deep voice told them. It was neither command nor request. Vinyl was already trying to move, but that required Octavia to move, and she was a little slow to realize that. A little awkward give-and-take and Octavia wiggled free, followed shortly by Scratch. An ice-blue stallion with a short-trimmed mane and sunglasses was making himself coffee. He didn't turn around as they came out from behind the couch.
"Uh, hey Mr. Keys." Vinyl tried. "How's it hanging?"
The stallion didn't turn around. "S'at your friend? The one Claire was talking about?"
"Uh, yes sir." Vinyl replied, lowering her head a little. She was neither smiling nor frowning. Octavia didn't know how to read the situation at all. Her courtesy lessons hadn't prepared her for this.
"What does she have to say for herself?" The stallion asked. Vinyl paused. She and Octavia traded a glance, and Vinyl nodded towards him. Octavia took a deep breath.
"Uhm, I'm sorry sir, I, we didn't mean to, I'm sorry, I didn't know and-"
"Woah, filly. Hold your horses. I meant are you following around Scratch because you're bored, or is she your friend?"
Octavia was confused by the question. She had only known Scratch since lunchtime. That being said... Scratch had definitely been nice to her. She had given her a sandwich, she hadn't really wanted Octavia to cry, she kept talking to Octavia and even helped her, kind of, choose an instrument. Octavia had wanted to get home... and talk about how great her first day had been.
"Yes sir." Octavia replied. "Are, are we both in trouble now?"
The stallion looked confused for a second, before bursting out in a deep laugh that frankly scared Octavia. "Ah, spoken like a true friend. No, no, little filly. You see, the good Professor Cleft has asked, again, if we've seen Vinyl around. And, once more I have in fact seen absolutely nothing. So, I suppose the both of you are free to go." He lifted his coffee mug to his mouth. Octavia glanced to Vinyl, who had stepped away. For the first time Octavia saw there was a second door in the room.
"Thanks Mr. Keys. You're the best." Vinyl said. The stallion didn't reply.
Octavia was glad when they finally left through the other door. It let out on the side of the school building, pointing down an unfamiliar alley. Vinyl took a breath of relief, stretched out, and turned to Octavia.
"Like I was saying. A shortcut."
"This is your house?" Octavia asked, realizing too late that that was perhaps a rude thing to ask. But she had never seen a house like this. A large neon sign beamed down "Scratch'd Records" on them, the store sat between taller brick buildings. Vinyl walked in front of her and turned around, store to her back, the widest grin on her face.
"Yeah, it's like the best home in Canterlot, no big deal. Here, let me show you." Vinyl headed for the front door, but Octavia paused. Now that the panic of getting in Trouble had worn off, Octavia realized she wasn't following Mother and Father's orders. She was supposed to come home after school. But they had also told her about being a polite guest. Surely if she just went in and explained to Scratch the situation-
Scratch! Octavia had sat pondering, and had failed to follow Scratch inside. The unicorn filly was just standing there, half inside, holding ted he door and looking back over her shoulder waiting. Octavia thought she saw worry on Vinyl's face, but it was gone as soon as she looked. Octavia couldn't very well leave now.
Octavia slowed to a stop as she entered the store. There were rows and rows of tables upon which bins of records sat. Keyboards sat against the walls, and there were rows and rows of guitars, basses, drumsticks, and more. Octavia only half-recognized some of the instruments, as they looked nothing like the ones in the orchestras her father played in, nor were they anything like her mother's quartet. And Octavia was sure her parents owned no more than a dozen records - how so many could exist was astounding! She wondered what they all sounded like.
"Mohhhhhhhhhhhhhh-maaaaaaaaaaaaa!" Vinyl yelled, doing her best imitation of a fog horn. Octavia was startled right out of her reverie. Vinyl meanwhile sat down, a content smile on her face. She swished her tail back and forth, looking straight ahead as she waited. Octavia glanced in the direction Vinyl was facing. The shop counter was in that direction, and behind it a closed door. After a moment, Vinyl's brow furrowed.
"Yes Vinyl, I'm coming!" A mare's voice cut through Vinyl's from behind the door. It opened a second later, and through it came the voice's source.
"Really Vinyl, you're old enough that- oh, well, what d'we have here?" Octavia found herself greeted by a light pink unicorn with a deep blue mane somehow even wilder than Vinyl's, creating a halo behind her head. Octavia tried to smile, but instinctively shrunk away a little, hiding her eyes behind her bangs.
"H-hi Missus-" Octavia's mind stalled like a bad engine. "Hi Mrs. Scratch's mom."
The mare's eyes were full of laughter, but her smile was calm and relaxing. "A friend of Vinyl's are we? Vinyl, go on, introduce your friend."
"I was gonna!" Vinyl objected. "Momma, this is Octavi Lizard-breath, um, this is Tavi!"
"I'm sure I'll get that on the second run. Good to meet you, 'Tavi'." The mare smiled, closing her eyes as she chuckled and extended a hoof. Muscle memory took over for Octavia, and the filly touched her little hoof to the mare's, performing a polite shake as best she could.
"Make us pretzels!" Vinyl butted in, hopping in place. The mare gave her a flat look that didn't even impact Vinyl's eagerness.
"With peanut butter." Vinyl added, not getting what the wait was about. Her mother placed a hoof over her muzzle and sighed.
"Vinyl... try again."
Vinyl's face fell, and she glanced to Octavia quickly. Octavia cleared her throat, and beginning with a squeak,
"Pardon me, ma'am, if it's not too much trouble, could we please have something to eat?" As Octavia spoke, the mare lowered her hoof enough to peek out at the filly. There was a moment of silence, in which Octavia shifted uncomfortably, Vinyl sat in confusion, and the mare just stared. Finally, she chuckled, lowering her hoof.
"Well well, isn't that something. And you're friends with our blue-eyed terror. Alright, after a request like that let's see what I can whip up."
Octavia sat quite comfortably on a thick pillow on top of a kitchen chair, working on her latest bite of peanut-butter-dipped pretzel. Vinyl sat across from her, equally preoccupied with her munchies. Octavia felt silly for ever doubting her new friend; this was quite the amazing house. Behind the counter and across a hall had led them to a small kitchen, quite fancy as far as Octavia could tell. The cabinets and icebox were stocked with so many foods Octavia had never had. She had spied what she was pretty sure were marshmallows, but it'd be rude to ask for what she wasn't offered. No matter how tempting.
"You gotta show me that trick later, Tavi." Vinyl told her, her words half-muffled by peanut butter. Her mother chuckled as she cleaned away the rest of the snacks, turning to quickly ruffle Vinyl's hair.
"It's called 'having manners' and she's quite welcome to try. So, Octavia is it?" Vinyl's mother asked, having gotten proper introductions a little while ago. Octavia's mouth was much too full for her to speak politely, so she gave an exaggerated nod. The mare held her hoof to her mouth, hiding her laugh exactly how Octavia herself had been taught. Octavia liked Vinyl's mother.
"Tavi's new at school." Vinyl explained, swallowing her snack. "I'm gunna make sure she doesn't get eaten."
"Y'know, by, like, space bullies." Vinyl replied in a casual tone, dipping another pretzel stick in her gob of peanut butter.
"Ah, of course. Silly me." Vinyl's mother shook her head. "Hopefully this will give you something to do besides find new and exciting ways to get detention." Her voice remained cool, teasing Vinyl as she turned away to make something for herself. Vinyl didn't react, but Octavia's eyes widened at the mention - she had to know, parents always knew. Seeing her, Vinyl's eyes widened in turn, and she quickly held a hoof to her mouth, hushing Octavia. Octavia nodded, not sure if keeping quiet was wrong or not - her parents had never told her exactly what to do when somepony else was in trouble. Satisfied, Vinyl turned back to her mother with an innocent smile, right in time for the mare to return to the table with a sandwich.
"Can Tavi stay, momma? Please?" Vinyl asked.
"Well, what did her parents say?" Her mother asked, not looking up from her sandwich. Both fillies stared at one another, freezing with realization. Vinyl's mother waited a moment, then, realizing she wasn't getting an answer, looked up at them. She put down her sandwich, staring at her daughter.
"Vinyl. You didn't."
"Vinyl. Please don't tell me you dragged Octavia over here without her parents' permission."
"Uhh, o-only a little." Vinyl admitted, rubbing the back of her neck. Her mother facehoofed again.
"Alright, looks like we're making a little trip." she told both fillies. "Octavia, do you know your address?"
"Uhm, it was, 43..." Octavia's mouth was dry, and suddenly the unfamiliar address fled from her mind. "34 Stone..."
"Stonewall Lane, south of the school?" Vinyl's mother guessed. Octavia and Vinyl hopped off their chairs, and Octavia looked up at the suggestion. That was it! She nodded rapidly.
"Right. Come on then." They headed for the door, Octavia's heart sinking. She had just wanted to be polite. But she had the feeling she had done something terribly, terribly wrong.
"I, I think it was 43." Octavia said, looking left and right as the they headed down the street. Mrs. Scratch had let Octavia ride on her back for the last several minutes of the trip, giving the filly a better vantage point. She recognized landmarks her mother had pointed out to try and familiarize her with the neighborhood, and now her house was coming into view.
"This it?" Vinyl's mother asked as they approached the residence.
"Yes ma'am." Octavia hopped off as the mare rang the doorbell. They could hear hoofsteps rapidly approaching, and the door came open with far more violence than Octavia had been expecting.
"Octavia!" Octavia found herself swept up off the ground before she knew what was happening. It didn't take her long to recognize it was her mother's coat she was half-buried in.
"Mother! I'm so sorry" Octavia said, trying to hug her mother while pressed into her chest. She was put down before her mother addressed her.
"Young lady, where have you been!" Her mother asked. There was no anger in her voice, not like Octavia had feared.
"I believe that's our fault." Mrs. Scratch made herself known. Octavia's mother looked up, appearing quite startled. She hadn't even noticed them until now. Instinctively Octavia's mother wrapped a foreleg around her filly, as if to protect her.
"Karaoke Scratch, you can call me Kary." The other mare didn't even seem to notice the distrust. "Looks like our daughters are classmates."
That clearly put Octavia's mother at ease. She stopped shielding her daughter, instead extending her hoof politely.
"Dolce Vitula, a pleasure. You said...?"
"Yeah, looks like they got a little over-excited, heh. Vinyl had dragged Octavia home with her, but we got that sorted out."
"Oh, Octavia." Octavia's mother sighed. Octavia looked up, seeing that of all things, her mother was just relieved. That made her feel a lot worse than anger would've.
"I'm so sorry, Mother, I..." Words failing her, Octavia opted to just hold tight to her mother's leg. She peaked up at the sound of a fluttering chuckle.
"Hehe, that's my Vinyl. Such a sweet talker." Vinyl's mother ruffled her daughter's mane, causing the filly to try to squirm away. "She's really sorry though. Aren't you Vinyl?"
"What did I d-" Vinyl was cut off by another noogie from her mother, whose grin had taken on a forced quality.
"I'm sorry Missus Vitula." Vinyl mumbled, looking more at her own mother than at Octavia's. Octavia's mother gave Vinyl a wary eye, but shook her head.
"Well, thank you. I suppose it's only natural to get over-excited on your first day. I appreciate you returning Octavia with such haste, and I apologize for the trouble she must have caused."
"Trouble? Hah! I was tempted to keep 'er and give you this one instead." Vinyl's mom replied with a wide grin. Octavia's mother blinked, but slowly a second grin spread across her face, more reserved but no less sincere.
"I suppose that's good to know. I am grateful, but if you'll excuse me, I'm sure Octavia has homework and we are behind now."
"Ah, childhood." Vinyl's mother shook her head at the excuse. "School does its best to rush them through it, right? Have a good one." She gave a wave and turned away. Vinyl glanced to her, then back to Octavia. She mimicked her mother's motions and turned away, following at her mother's heels. Octavia's mother took a deep breath, releasing it in a drawn-out sigh.
"I'm sorry, Mother." Octavia repeated. Her mother closed her eyes for a moment, and when she opened them, gave a small smile.
"We'll discuss the importance of coming straight home after school later. Right now, I'm simply glad it all turned out for the best. And it seems you've made a friend, then?" Her mother gazed down the street, and Octavia did likewise. Vinyl had hopped up on her mother's back, and the two seemed engaged in some kind of excited conversation. Octavia went over the day in her head again.
"Scratch." Her mother worked the word over. "A peculiar name, but they seem nice enough."
"She's really coo- um, she's a really nice pony." Octavia told her mother. Her mother raised an eyebrow.
"I see then. Now, let's get inside and you can tell me just how your day went." Her mother said. Octavia nodded and followed inside. She already couldn't wait for tomorrow.