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Time for a Change-ling Exhibition! (Sponsored)

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Kahz's grey eyes were glinting like polished metal in excitement.  "Certainly!  You'd light up the stage, Aria.  Heck, even your name's musical."  He laughed, before blowing his nose once on the proffered kerchief.  "At any rate, you're more pleasing on the eyes than I am.  We're setting up now, so if you've got any particular number in mind, now's the time to let the band know.  Don't worry about me, I'll follow you to the ends of my musical range, if not Equestria."


That was laying it on thick, and he knew it.  He was too happy to care, though.  After all, even with the hour growing late, the exhibition was still gaining new guests!  "Well, hello there!"  Kahz gave a wave to the brown earth pony stallion who'd called out to him.  "Um, I guess you could say it's a tour.  Self-guided and... hooves-on, so to speak."  A playful streak in him almost made him leave it at that, but Naj and Red's proximity made him more conscious of how his behavior would reflect on the fairness of the Hive in general.  "It's more of an obstacle course, really, but if you ask, I'm sure the architects would love to give a behind-the-scenes demonstration."


Speaking of the mixed couple, the discussion had been growing a little too political.  This was not yet the time and place for heavy negotiations, but simply to show that changelings were not mindless beasts.  Fortunately, that was winding down, as the party was breaking up for the evening concert.  "You two might want to find good seats.  The sound of rocking music tends to draw a crowd."  And with a wink, Kahz trotted to the task of mustering up the band...

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Luxuria found herself surprised for how Kahz greeted Aria with a lack of familiarity. She supposed she couldn't recall seeing them both in the same place at the same time, but it was still strange to her that they wouldn't have met.


"You've honestly never met dear Aria before now?" she asked, with a smile, hugging Aria some more. "She stayed with me for some time after the Nightmare Night ordeal and took the stage at the Gypsy Moth regularly while she did."


Luxuria giggled as she recalled it all. Aria was likely the only changeling who had ever sung on that stage who she acknowledge as being anywhere near to her equal. It had been a perplexing thing. The vain part of the vain changeling wanted to limit Aria's performances, fearful that in time she would steal away some of Luxuria's own many admirers. A deeper part of her, however, wanted to see Aria on stage as much as possible, for she appreciated it for its beauty and richness, just as she deeply appreciated Aria for the kindness she had once showed her where she did not deserve to see it.


"It was probably that you were more focused on things besides the Moth in those days," she said, glancing back toward Kahz. "I'll admit even my own thoughts were frequently elsewhere back then with all that happened."


She looked toward Aria and then noted that even more ponies seemed to be arriving. "You know, Aria, that I would rather make beautiful music with you all on my own than be forced to share you with another," Luxuria teased with a laugh. "But if you want to see Kahz included in the act, I hardly mind. Who knows, it might prove to be fun!"


She laughed again and smiled, wondering just what they all might perform together. It was remarkably rare for her to share the spotlight, but at that moment, in the spirit of seeing the guests there perhaps come to consider changeling-kind in a different light,  it seemed only appropriate. She only wondered as to what they would be singing and if it might possibly suit all three of them.

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So many factors could affect whether or not two ponies, or two changelings, met; that was where one could get lost in bottomless speculation or sentiment about 'fated meetings' or 'destiny.'  Kahz could talk that sort of stuff as well as anyone else, but he'd laid it on enough for one day.  "Yes, I was mostly working backstage then; hadn't felt comfortable putting myself out there.  But then the one singer got sick, and the rest is history, eh?"


He threw back his head and let out a laugh as the trio made their way up the back steps to the stage.  Ah... yes; so many were afflicted with fear of publicity that to sing or speak in front of a crowd was their deepest, darkest, fear.  But for others, it was their bread and butter.  Almost literally in the case of the three singers; concerts like this could actually prove to be a prime way of painlessly harvesting love that would surge out from a crowd that was really into it!


That was probably why Chrysalis had approved this whole experiment, now that Kahz thought about it.  New techniques for supplying the needs of her people.  Well, she could count on Kahz not to fail for lack of effort!  "We'll go with a proven crowd-pleaser.  Not too many chords, we don't to embarrass our backing band."  Indeed, four was pretty much the upper limit they could confidently reach at this point, but that was fine.  Most songs that caught on in Equestria didn't have more than that!



When at last they took the stage, they did so with confidence.  "Thank you all for coming!"  Kahz called out to the crowd, as he magically levitated his guitar over, tuning it as he continued talking, "It's really great to see you come here; when we were working to set this up, heck, back when we were working for permission to set this up,he paused for a short burst of laughter from the crowd, "We weren't sure if you all would be willing to give us a chance.  Not gonna lie, it'd be hard to blame you.

"But seeing you all here, I got hope that things are gonna get better.  In fact, this song's gonna go out to two special guests out there; a couple who really show all that we've done this for."  He waved out to the crowd to single out Naj and Red, both for the pony guests, and for the changeling hosts.  After all, who was to say that this wouldn't be the night two more crazy kids met, and started something wonderful?


Well, that's what this song was all about, really.  The piano chords started up, and anyone hearing would instantly know what they were in for.  Unless this song was sung with absolute sincerity, it wouldn't work at all.  Fortunately, there was nothing ironic in Aria, Luxuria, or Kahz tonight.  He began the verse, the lines passing from singer to singer, though they all joined in for the chorus:


"Just a changeling mare,

Lost in a world that doesn't care;

Took the midnight train

Going anywhere.


Just a city colt,

Born and raised up in the north;

He took the midnight train

Going anywhere.


Stops over in some small town,

With guards and disguises down,

For a smile they can share the night,

It goes on and on and on and on...


Strangers waiting

Up and down the Boulevard

They're shadows, searching in the night.


Streetlight Ponies,

Living just to find emotion,

Hiding somewhere in the night!


Working hard for a little love,

Finding pushing comes to shove,

Paying everything to roll the dice,

Just one more time.


Some we'll win, some we'll lose,

Are we just born to sing the blues?

But the music never ends,

It goes on and on and on and on!


Strangers waiting

Up and down the Boulevard

They're shadows, searching in the night.


Streetlight Ponies,

Living just to find emotion,

Hiding somewhere in the night!"


There was the chorus again, and here came the bridge.  The crowd was caught up now, all right, singing along.  The last lines were the key though.  If he could get them to sing them and mean it, it would be a promise to all here who dared to join hooves in love, harmony, or friendship, that the Hive would keep faith with them.  If they would just-


"Don't stop Believing!  Hold on to that feeling!  Streetlight Ponies!

Don't stop Believing!  Hold on to that feeling!  Streetlight Ponies!"


Kahz couldn't tell when the song ended.  His ears and eyes were swimming in music and raw emotion.  It was overwhelming!  He'd played before changeling crowds before, but any affection one gathered from that had rather social than nutritional value.  But this?  This was like giving a beggar a feast, when he had hardly believed himself able to take it all in!


*There's so much here... so much they're willing to give to us...*  He'd suspected, but never been sure.  But now... now the power of rock was joined to the power of love; the whole exhibition was glowing with the radiance of his own soul.  "Love you all, you're beautiful, goodnight!"



Last post for me.

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