by TheBandBrony

Chapter 1: Dancing (And Fighting) Under the Moon

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“This tune goes out to all you ponies who are crazy enough to stay up this late. This is Blue after two.”

The sound of a saxophone flows through the air, and fills the bar up with little difficulty. The establishment is still half-full with ponies, most simply putting down frilly cocktails in an attempt to flitter their Friday night away in a drunken stupor. Let them try. The drinks here are as potent as tap water. The place called itself the Pure and Petite, with its getup being the only “high class” drinking establishment in all of Ponyville, and in that category they took the cake. Case in point: the bartenders refuse to serve beer, on the grounds that it "corrupts the taste buds of our dear patrons". You don’t really like the place, but work is work, and as a traveling musician, you take whatever jobs come your way. Apparently, you did something right, because the owners have hired you back three times. This is your fourth show here.

For whatever reasons they hired you, you haven't made a considerable change in the atmosphere of the bar. Ponies mill about, some tipsy from the copious amounts of alcohol they had, some talking quietly amongst themselves, and a precious few actually watching you melodically labor over your instrument of choice: the saxophone. However, you started to notice a trend: one unicorn in particular would show up every night you played, would always clap the loudest when due applause was needed, would be the last one to leave the bar, only departing after you have ceased pumping music into the building.

"Maybe she just likes the music," you think. You contemplate the strange behaviors of the mare as you decrescendo into the final licks of the song, holding the final note as long as possible before parting with your piece, panting slightly. A smattering of applause fills the bar, and once again, the unicorn is the first to start, and the last to stop. You give her a quizzical look. She really is a beautiful specimen of the female gender. Perfectly combed and curled mane, spotless Pearl-white coat, ocean-blue eyes that seemed to lead you into her very essence.

And those flanks-

You stop yourself before the thought can be finished. You are a gentlecollt, and such perversion is not an acceptable way to think.

Then again... You steal a quick look. Every bit as good as you imagined.

There, you had your fun, you think. Back to work.

You take a light swig of a bottle perched next to you - water, not alcohol - and clear your throat. "Alright, ladies and gentlecolts. This will be my last song tonight. Thanks again for having me here. This song's titled ‘With gratitude’. Goodnight.” You exhale sharply into the saxophone, producing a slightly staccato, but laid back tone. The song is a three/four waltz, and you notice several ponies begin to dance with significant others. The unicorn who has not taken her eyes off you since you appeared on the stage, however, simply stares wistfully at the dancing couples. A pained expression on her face causes you to cringe. You don't like to see her in any amount of agony, no matter how small.

In a carefully prepared move, a deep red aura of magic encloses the instrument. Somehow, it remains playing. You have practiced this for a while now-using your magic to force air trough the horn. It doesn't sound as melodious as when played normally, but it will do the job. You hop off the stage, adjusting your jacket slightly. This jacket is your only piece of formal wear that is still presentable to the public, after your tux was ruined by that drunken party-goer at Sugercube corner. That's the last time you get talked into trying to play at such a rowdy place as that.

You snap your train of thought back to the mare, now only a short distance away, though still staring at the happy couples dancing.

You gently tap a hoof on her shoulder. As she turns to face you, you extend a fire-red hoof in front of you.

"May I have this dance?"

She begins to respond, but at that moment, she sees the saxophone, the magic clasping it, and your glowing horn. As she puts two and two together, a smile spreads across her face.

"Why... Why yes! I would just love-" she catches herself, composing her demeanor into a much more subdued state. "That sounds lovely, good sir." she takes your hoof and allows you to lead her to the dance floor, where a small crowd has already gathered, brought in by the enchanting music like moths to a flame.

As you begin to dance, you make a mental note that she knows all the steps of a waltz, a trait seemingly lost on ponies of a lesser caliber.

"You know," she almost whispers into your ear as you sway with the music, "most colts just try to dance with me so they can attempt to make some... Rather lewd actions, or that of the sort."

You stop dancing, sincerity on your face as you reply, "Well I can assure you, I would never even think of doing something so crass."

She smiles, the small action making your face flush slightly. "Such a gentlecolt."

You drag the song on for longer than you should have, but eventually, you end the song, a gentle forte signaling the tune's ending. As the dance floor begins to empty, you bow slightly, bringing her hoof to your lips in a gentle kiss. "It was an honor to dance with you, Miss..."

"Rarity." She giggles, the sound making your stomach turn. What was this? You certainly haven't felt this unusual in quite some time, not since-

No, you think. I couldn't possibly have feelings for her.

You were stating at her flanks, your conscience retorts.

You notice the owner of the bar walking up to you. You push the thoughts out of your mind, and part with the mare.

"Very nice, once again! You certainly earned this." he held up a good sized sack of bits. You accept them with a short nod and a soft "Thank you".

"Hey, listen. The folks here really like your music. Would you like to come back again on Saturday? Same pay."

You grin. Usually ponies don't take to your relaxed blues, but clearly, this pony was an exception. "I would love to," you reply. "Thank you again, for allowing me to play here."

"Not a problem, buddy." says the owner. "I'll let you go now. Be careful out there."

You shake your head in agreement, then make your way back to the stage to pack your saxophone.


You head out the back door, not wanting any more attention than you already have received from the bar’s patrons. You never clamor for attention, even shun it en masse. "Don't stay in the spotlight too long, or you'll go blind." It is an old saying of yours, a part of your most unusual, quirky brain. Poetry was always a hobby of yours, so you feel the flow of words, however enigmatic and difficult to decipher, natural to you.

"Hey, look. We got ourselves a pretty little mare tonight."

The gruff, surly voice tears you from you mind's ramblings, forcing you to search for the origin of the voice. What you see turns your skin to ice.

Two large, brown stallions have cornered a hapless mare, and by the looks of it, they did not simply wish to engage in friendly conversation.

"Hu Hu, yeah. She's real purdy." replies the second stallion. As you sneak closer, you realize just who the stallions have cornered: your dancing partner, Rarity.

Your blood boils. How DARE they try to harm a single delicate hair in her mane? You leave the question unanswered, spurred on by a fit of rage and passion, as you run between the attackers and their victim.

"Run, Miss Rarity! Go!" She doesn't hesitate, speeding away along the dirt road that ran through the town.

Your hatred returns to the two clearly larger stallions that are now set to pounce on you. You turn on your heels and immediately buck one in the face. To your horror, the only thing that you accomplish is making the stallion angry. Before you can react, you have been encircled by the attackers, and as you turn to run, you feel something solid connecting with the side of your head. You are lifted into the air by the sheer force of the blow, and before you can allow gravity to arrest your flight, you close your eyes, allowing blossoms of pain to drag you into unconsciousness.

Next Chapter: Black and Blue After Two Estimated time remaining: 1 Hour, 18 Minutes
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