Jump to content

A Harmony To Be Treasured (Closed: River)


SteelEagle
 Share

Recommended Posts

                                                                                               zh0HVKH.jpg


The piano hummed with dull, incessant energy as she sent its notes spiraling out of reciprocity. Ra-Ra knew it must not have sounded up to her personalized par but it felt good on her hooves and she knew better now than ever that a solid thrust of the heart into activity was guaranteed to breed better results over the long haul. Practice made perfect or so the mantra went, but experimentation bred revelation and the final thrill of success. She played the piano fast- "Oooh, what do we have there?"- she thought to herself as her racing, bracing mechanism of music trilled out an excitable pattern for her near-random jostling of the keys. She pounced on it with abandon and followed this feeling for a few more moments. Her hooves lost their wild displacement and formed up and attacked the birthing melody with all the energy she could muster, focused on it as she was. It happened- she got it right! A melody spat out, bellicose and jocular in equal measure, and then she repeated it with increased excitement.

 

"Yes!" She whisper-screamed in excitement. "Woo-hooo!" She let out as she kicked-pushed herself away from the piano, the chair she sat on wheeling her back until she hit a wall. She turned around, revealing a window to the outside, a window to Mustangia. A sweet smell, the smell of unbridled success perhaps, on a wind that gently blew the yellow curtains across her chest as she reached down and received a quill and notebook. She wrote down the musical melody she had begun as she half-hung out of the window, enjoying the warmth of a Mustangia day.

 

She had purchased the property after her first album hit it big. In one of the few pieces of advice her former manager had given her that she still believed was wise, she did so under a fake name. It was a good property. A large, three-story ranch house in the middle of a cleared property with room for cows and other livestock, though none were there. Lots of room for a mustang to stretch her legs and run, so much so that after last year's running of the leaves she had spent the bits to repair a bit of what amounted to a track around the property. A small lake lived on the border and a garden, one formerly patrolled by some gardeners she hired and now a triage unit of plants and flowers she had no skill at sustaining, ran along the rear of the ranch house. The house itself had a recording studio, a dance hall, and a few rooms given to instrumentation and a study. The main room had a high-tech projector show initiator and a top-notch sound system, while rooms on the first, second, and third toom existed for Ra-Ra and what staff made the trek to support her. And her guest. 

 

Especially her guest.

 

Applejack was going to stay for some time at the property to tutor Ra-Ra in the fine arts of country music, adroitly positioned as she was in skill and character to do so. Guitar playing, the rhythms, the themes, the intonation of the lyrics. It all played a part, the parts of a whole that could not be readily entered by the baldly uninitiated. There were ulterior motives at play as well. Now that Svengallop was gone, Ra-Ra didn't have anypony else to manage her affairs. She took it with enthusiasm but little skill. So she had cut down the amount of staff that made the trip out here in order to save herself the scheduling. She had competent aides but not many close friends. It threatened to get lonely out here. After everything she had been through she didn't know if she could have taken such extended loneliness. She had satisfied herself with false smiles and giggles, short and sweet interactions with her fans, but nothing substantial.

 

Now that her heart had been reopened she didn't want to fall back. She wanted companionship. A friend. Somepony she could lean on, somepony she could trust and- well, there was a lot to unpack. But it wasn't entirely selfish on her part. Applejack had a fantastic musical gift. She had heard 'Apple Chord' and her music before and she heard a very talented musician who simply vanished. It didn't take much deduction to figure out the identity of the artist once she reconnected with Applejack, and it didn't even take that long to understand that she still had something to give musically. Part of her tour was going to be shared with this musician.

 

She knew that Applejack would have some trouble with it. She had also been told so, by Applejack no less. She played music for the love of bringing joy to kin and kind, and for the love of family she had abandoned it. She had worked hard and long hours under the brightly burning sun of the Equestrian heartland for years and years and don't seem to have any concerns regarding her future. She was content and was needed- or at least it felt that way. She didn't really feel the drive to go out there and perform, go out there and abandon her family. At least that was what Ra-Ra got the feeling it would feel like for the working mare. She couldn't argue it. She wouldn't argue it! She didn't want Applejack to feel like she was abandoning something so near and dear to her beautifully Equestrian heart.

 

Thankfully, she had prevailed on Applejack with the help of her little sister the possibilities inherent in the offer. In offering not only her talents to Ra-Ra so the pop star could become more well rounded musically and as a person, but in offering the full breadth of her talents to Equestria at large. It would be wrong to deny everypony the opportunity to see her strut her stuff, wouldn't it? The farm would be fine. Apple Bloom was growing older and could take on more duties, Big Mac was healthy and capable of aiding, and she had a host of friends who could pitch in. It could work.'

 

Couldn't it? Wouldn't it?
Ra-Ra would love to be certain but she wasn't.

 

The train wasn't far from her ranch house. Applejack could hop a train and head home in case of an emergency. Ra-Ra feared that if Applejack did than the hope of the summer would fade with the fleeing train, because she doubted she really had all that much to offer her beyond friendship and excitement. Applejack would cherish the friendship hopefully but Ra-Ra had her doubts that it could be arrayed against her familial anxieties and love of her home. 

 

She sighed, stretching her back so her chest was the only part of her outside the window. It would be what it was and whatever it was, it would be grand. She had confidence in her skills and she had confidence in Applejack's good graces. The rest would be left up to effort and heart and she knew she could provide both in spades no matter the studio she resided in, the palatial or the intimate alike. 

 

"Countes-"
"Ra-Ra, please."
Her new aide, an Earth pony mare who was new to anything more than background dance, winced in embarrassment. 
"Sorry!"
"It's fine, Azure. You were saying though?"
"Oh, yeah! Your guest's train is arriving soon. Do you-"
"Great, haha!"

 

Ra-Ra sped past Azure, blowing the cap off of her head as she stormed down the flights of stairs, leaping off the landing between first and second floors and hitting the ground floor at full stride. She ran through the entrance, the door of which was opened to let in the nice air, as she charged her way to meet Applejack at the train station.

  • Aubergine 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 month later...

ie11NUk.png

 

The train began to slow down its chunking melodies and the whistle blew its signal that it would refrain its momentum. Applejack's train had met its destination. She had been to Mustangia before for apple-related business of course. But she had not been out this far down the tracks since she learned about her fillyfriend Coloratura set up out her during her rise as a famous pony musician in the pop music scene.

 

Applejack was pressured to take a break. A long break. From her duties and from her family. It didn't make her feel too comfortable, and the leave from the farm to the train was one of the hardest goodbyes she had to make. Having full intent on returning, she was not a pony to venture too far from home for such a long period of time. Considering she was the only one who thought she should stay home, she made the trek to the southern peninsula against her better judgement.

 

With her, she had a saddlebag, an old large suitcase only used on family vacations, and on her back she wore her trusty guitar, the same one her mother played on hundreds of moons ago. The train had come to a screeching halt, and out of the smoke from the engine, Applejack emerged from the train towing her oversized bag with her mouth, her expression being one of concern. She just wanted to make sure she walked off on the right station. Where was Coloratura? Or rather, where was her security?

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

                                                                                                                    zh0HVKH.jpg

The Ponyville transplant didn't have to wait long as Ra-Ra galloped into view, spotted her friend, and lit up with excitement, moved past the only other disembarking passenger towards her friend.


"Applejack!" Ra-Ra yelled as she went from a a gallop to a trot to a walk as she edged closer to her friend before embracing her in a big hug. "How was your trip? Need any help?" She asked, eyeing up her friend's luggage. She hadn't brought much but she knew that it was a lot for Applejack. She likely wasn't feeling very comfortable with all this, right? Had to be it. No matter, she would be. "I can take the suitcase if you want. The ranch isn't far from here, a nice walk," she said, taking it upon herself to help Applejack in any way she could, her tail flicking nervously as she did so. She desperately wanted this to work out, for her first real friendship to be strengthened and for this to be a summer they would both remember with joy and advantage. She just didn't really know how to act about it. Hopefully not in a way that'd ruin the vibrant possibilities in front of them.

 

She led Applejack off of the platform and the train was soon on its way. The stop wasn't in a city or a town, but rather a settlement named Mustangia Junction that consisted of a general store with a doctor's office attached, two to three houses, the train stop, and a community building that local farmers would use for meetings. It was typical of many Mustangia settlements and a perfect place for her to lay low. Her presence wasn't necessarily a secret but it was remote and small enough to not really allow for any paparazzi rush to take hold. Within what felt like moments she could led Applejack out of the Junction and out into Mustangia proper, where the far off send of galloping and neighing carried by the breeze seemed ever-present. 


"I'm very excited to have you. I think we'll do some great work and have a great time. I promise you, this'll be worth it. Any questions about the ranch?"

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

ie11NUk.png

 

Applejack leaned back in a pause as the sight and sound of Coloratura galloping her way yelling her name. After the frills of seeing what kind of following the pop star had in a not-so-large community of Ponyville, she was surprised to see her unhindered by cameras or obsessed fans. Either this train stop was more secluded than Applejack had originally thought, or Ra-Ra lost a lot of fans in the toning down of her image.

 

Applejack sat her suitcase down with her mouth. "Hey. Oh it was, fine." Applejack said plainly, the discomfort from being away from home written on her face. "Oh, ok, if you think you can handle it. It's not the lightest of travel cases." Being away from home never bothered Applejack that much. But the knowledge of having a planned extended stay periodically made her stomach turn upside down. Even the negotiated freedom of being able to go home whenever she wanted wasn't enough of a verbal contract to make her feel comfortable about what she was doing. She would feel even more nervous if she felt like she had to unleash the powers of her singing performances passed what she was comfortable of doing. She knew that her alter ego sometimes had a mind of her own, and she wasn't entirely trustful of the flowery colored hats that made her old act so entertaining to the many few who were lucky enough to see it.

 

When asked about the ranch, Applejack nervously responded. "Does it have a bedroom for me? As long as I have a place to lay my head, I'm sure it'll be fine." The two walked through a part-time township, seemingly populated with ponies who mind their own business. It was better than the annoying attention music stars typically got, but to Applejack it was still eerie to see a lack of bonding on the part of the community. Or maybe today was just a holiday. No wonder Coloratura wanted Applejack to come out. It had the lookings of a pony being lonely.

 

"You're by yourself right now?" Applejack asked with the intent to ponder on Coloratura's social well-being. Applejack wasn't sure if it was her nerves or if she was being a sour apple. But at first it seemed that this was going to be a trip with many underpinnings of things that would make Applejack irrationally uncomfortable.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

                                                                                                                     zh0HVKH.jpg


Applejack's voice and lack of enthusiasm told the tale of her heart more clearly than any passionate discussion could ever hope to reveal. She was still reticent, concerned, conflicted. Who could blame her? It was so easy for Coloratura to move about and leave things behind. Her eyes were always affixed to the sunny glow of the horizon and the possibilities that danced ever so slightly out of reach, attainable through her hard work and talent. Applejack however was a mare of the present. She could look down at her dirty hooves, feel the sweat falling off her brow, an ear twitching at the sound of her family's laugh. She didn't need to gaze into the future to be filled with the warmth of the possibilities out there when she was already brimming with the positivity of the present.

 

Of course that also meant that Applejack's eyes were bent down and she didn't didn't see beyond the immediate. Rara was hoping to open her oldest friend's eyes the way she had helped open up the pop star's when she needed it most. Applejack had helped Rara see who she was on the inside and gain the confidence to flaunt it for the world to see. Applejack didn't need to flaunt anything as far as Rara was concerned but she did think Applejack deserved a taste of what her talents had to offer. Rara may not have been the picture perfect pony in all the ways that Applejack deserved but she couldn't have been a better fit for this job. Applejack was reticent and so was Rara for a lot of reasons, but none of them had to do with concerns about whether or not this would turn out well for Applejack. Of that Rara had nothing but confidence.

 

The suitcase was certainly not light but once she had it on her back she was fine. She might have been a prim and proper pop pony but she was a still mustang at heart. She kept her spirits up as she replied to Applejack. "You'll have your own bedroom. A choice, actually. The Ranch has one bedroom in the third floor, two on the second floor, and two on the bottom floor. Everypony else is just getting settled in so you should be able to have the pick of the litter," she said with a smile, forgot to answer the last question, and jumped to it. "Oh! No, yes. I'm not here by myself, haha. I have a new aide- Azure Velour, a real sweet mare from Manehattan. She'll be staying there as well. I also have Mister and Missus Percussion, a married couple who work as studio techs. The ranch house has a recording studio in it and they help with the production. Others'll come when I need them- or when we need them. I come here to the Ranch to work on new material in private."

 

She motioned around them.


"Not many permanent settlements in this land. Mustangs like to be mobile, live wild. Especially here. I won't be disturbed here and there isn't enough infrastructure to allow papparazzi or a collection of fans to stay here too long. Plus I bought the property under a different name," she said as a small herd galloped past them, several of the members nodding her way. She returned the smile. "I'd wager a number of them, maybe most, know who I am. They aren't liable to tell anypony though," she said with a contented sigh as they the environs of the station vanished behind them. "You seem really nervous, Applejack. Are you sure you're up for this?"

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

ie11NUk.png

 

Applejack exhaled a sigh. "To be honest, I jus' don't like being away from home for an extended period of time." She cracked a disciplined smile. "I'm sure once I get settled in though, I will be less anxious about the whole thing." The whole thing, of course, was the fact that this may very well be the last chance Applejack had to express her musical talent in a way that could possibly be fruitful for anypony willing to listen to it. Who knows how much affair was left on the table on account of her rejecting the big music life for the one she knew and loved with family on the farm. And associating with the countess of music herself was probably the most advantageous part of the whole ordeal. Apple Bloom was right. Applejack would be a fool if she didn't at least give her performance the ol' country whirl.

 

"Did you say third floor?" In truth, when Coloratura had written about her ranch in letters, Applejack had envisioned a more rustic cabin feel that would be offered by township more similar to Appleloosa. She hadn't even considered the possibility that the space she had to work with was reflective of her level of success. "How big is this place? I've had my share of large barns myself, but I ain't never heard of a ranch with three floors." Applejack chuckled. At least it wasn't a small loft in the crowded city of Manehatten.

 

After Applejack got any kind of response from her rhetorical questions and her normal confident posture took over, she decided to ask more specifically about her expectations of the weeks to come. "So, I kind of understand what you were asking for. You wanted me to share with you a few pointers and such about the style of music you may or may not have heard from a little gal known as Apple Chord. But I'm not sure if she can really be much use for what you might remember. I'm sure several years of practice since that time, her style of speakin' with the guitar is probably a lot different now. Remind me again what you're wanting to do for your next project and why you think she can help." Applejack walked along with Coloratura, wherever she was leading her. Applejack had no sense of where she was physically, but she was more concerned about making sure her mentality was where it should be in case any miscommunication caused the music mare's imagination to get the best of herself. In truth, Applejack was being modest. She had a wealth of life experience and story-telling to help Coloratura in her music creating. But Applejack was not confident of how much of her involvement it would really impact the new style of music Coloratura was seeking after.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

                                                                                                                          zh0HVKH.jpg


Rara smiled. Yeah, her place was nice. She owned seven different properties. No, scratch that. She had owned seven properties. When she split with Svengallop she let four of them go under the advice of her new business manager. The leases for those locations were half-owned by Svengallop and she didn't want a nasty fight in the tabloids as she was revamping her on-stage persona. Now she owned the suite in Manehattan, this ranch house and a small vacation home near Vanhoover. "Oh, quite big. We'll have plenty of space to work and roam. I even have a garden that I am simply no good at maintaining," she said with a chuckle. "I think I overwatered them for the first few months. I'm getting better though. Can't say I know how to satisfy a dragon without cracking a few gems!" She said with a shake of her head, though the smile never dimmed.

 

It remained even as she contemplated the answer to Applejack's question. It boiled down to Rara detailing just why she had dragged Applejack away from her home. It was positioned with as much reasoned evenness as Applejack could muster, but it was tied to an earlier comment nonetheless. She didn't want to leave home and sh wanted to know why, again, she was asked to do so and was compelled. 
"Well...fact is, ever since you saved me from the path Svengallop had lain for me and I dutifully followed, I've wanted to expand my musical tastes and what I can do. I love trying new things and just as much as trying them, I like to excel at them. For an upcoming tour I wanted to try to add a new genre to my shows and see just what I can do," Coloratura responded honestly as they approached the ranch house. It was peaceful and serene and it filled her with a particular need that she knew was unfulfilled. 

 

"I've always found there to be a certain...honesty in country music. A mare and her guitar telling tales from the heart, spinning parables from experience, speaking from the land itself and the ponies who call it home. I can recognize all this but I've never played a guitar, I've never written from that mindset before. SO I was hoping with your help I can learn new instrumentation- guitar, fiddle, however and whatever- and dig deep into the lyrical structure and meaning of the genre."


"I could have done that with others, but I know somepony who is highly talented and who deserves to have that talent recognized and rewarded by the masses. And so I figured that Apple Chord may not only teach me the arts of country music, but help me make a new album and join me on a small tour," she ended as they trotted up the stairs of her ranch house, the musical mare throwing open the doors and tossing a look back to her friend, keeping one door open all the while.

 

"It'll be emotionally rewarding, not to mention financially exciting. At least that is the plan," she winked, "now come inside. Let's get you settled.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

ie11NUk.png

 

Applejack followed Coloratura into the doorway. The place was big, bigger than Applejack had imagined. She would figure herself out after a while and she had no problems making herself at home. But she had no idea where to even start. "Okay, which room do you think I should take. You know I'm not picky. Maybe I can just have to one closest to yours. Which floor is that on?" Applejack looked down all the hallways that connected the foyer. A few swift swipes of her neck and she would ask, "Ya'll don't have an elevator do ya?" She smirked.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

                                                                                                                                  zh0HVKH.jpg


"I'm on the third floor. It's the only bedroom up there. If you want to be close, there is a bedroom right next to the staircase on the second floor," she winked, though hidden behind it was a bit of a hope that Applejack would randomly go, 'no I want to sleep in your bedroom. Actually, make that with you in your bed!'. It was a silly thought and one she chastised herself for. Desperate much, filly? While a romance was blossoming in her heart it had only taken root there and it was too new to get too adventurous with. Besides, it was a minor element at play. Applejack had to be made comfortable so the music they made together didn't feel stressed when it came out. Desperate emotion could sometimes be major kindling to a great song, but a distressed artist who wasn't a professional like Applejack couldn't be relied on to keep it out of her work.

 

Plus it'd just plain feel bad.
"We do have a little cargo elevator out back to help bring equipment in. I normally just use the staircase but if you're feeling tired, you can use the elevator if you want," Rara said as she trotted to the back. It took a little bit and they passed through a kitchen and a dining room along the way. She opened up a back glass door and turned to the right, taking a few more steps until they were at a small hand-operated elevator. She placed the bag down and turned it- one small turn and the mechanism took over. It came to life with a small clashing of gears and then rose into the sky, bringing them to the second floor in style. The cargo door was opened quickly afterwards and they were in the residential side of the second floor. Two bedrooms, two bathrooms, and a small study. 

 

She took the suitcase and trotted down the hallway, taking a left at the hallway's intersection and going straight until they hit the staircase that led up and down. To the left was the second floor landing and the staircase heading to the third floor. To the right was a hallway that took a left turn and ended into a door that led to the larger business half of the second floor. It had good space and a window that overlooked the ranch's rear. It had an attached fully featured bathroom to boot! "And here we are! Well, it is much quicker to just use the staircase, but now you know how our elevator works, ha!" She said as went to a corner and carefully dropped the suitcase.

 

"The recording studio is on this floor too, same with a few small instrumentation rooms. The top floor has my room and office. You're always welcome up there. The first floor has the dance studio which doubles as our main living room. We have an eighty-inch projector and live radio! Kitchen and Dining room, you saw that. Azure can cook pretty well but...well, you know. You have free reign. I'll let you get settled in now. I'll be downstairs for a spell if you have any questions. We won't be doing any work today since everything is still getting set up, so take this time to explore if you want," she said as she gave Applejack a big hug.

 

"Thank you for doing this, Jackie. This means a lot to me," Rara said before releasing her friend and giving her the time and space she needed to get settled.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

ie11NUk.png

 

Despite Applejack making a cheap joke about elevators, she decided not to interrupt her friend's willingness to show her how the cargo elevator works. Applejack was always a good host to visitors to the farm and she loved to show and tell everything in as much time as being cordial would allow, and she always got a kick out of it, too. She figured it was the same for Ra-Ra. Besides, the cargo elevator was surprisingly roomy. Applejack tilted her head around as she peaked into the different corridors and rooms, taking mental note of the areas as Ra-Ra explained them, and imagined what was in the rooms that were not mentioned. Once they reached what Applejack would claim her bedroom, she finished detailing the general amenities and said work would not start today. Applejack received the hug lovingly.

 

As the countess gave time for settling in, Applejack could not help but want to explore some of the rooms Coloratura likely mused in when writing her songs. So she set her guitar down on the bed, dropped her suitcase on the ground unopened, and took off her saddlebags and put them on a chair in the bedroom. Now that Applejack was lightened from her travel attire, she walked out of her bedroom to see how she could navigate what seemed like a mansion. She saw the stairs to where she knew Coloratura's bedroom was. She looked down the hallway where several doors splintered off into other rooms.

 

Walking down the hallway, she looked inside one that seemed to be some kind of guest study or private library. In it, there were a few bookshelves, but many of the archives were not books, but vinyl records. As she explored the room, she saw that it was recently used and the record player that center-pieced the room had the look of being a muse station. Applejack figured this might be an area where inspiration was sprung, without the cords and clutter of the recording studio equipment that was likely in the other rooms. "Wonder what kinds of music a music star like Ra-Ra listens to when she's not recording. Certainly she listens to other music that's not her own." Applejack thought out loud to herself. She could see some of the labels on the records. Some were country themes, others were more pop and jazz. There were several varieties. But there was a record already on the player with no way to discern what it was visually. "Hm. I wonder what she listened to last." Applejack wound up the player and picked up the needle to feed it into a grove on the record.

Spoiler

 

 

 

Shocked by the loudness an intensity of the music, Applejack quickly took the needle off the record. "Okay then!" Applejack shook her head to gain some sense and possibly her hearing back. "Ah guess she takes inspiration from wherever she can find it." she chuckled to herself.

 

She walked out of the room and into another. This new room was a bedroom, but was also adorned with several hundred pictures all over the walls from Coloratura's past performances and accolades. In place of wallpaper were signed photographs from other musicians, newspaper clippings of concerts from yesteryear, and several shiny awards decorating the mare's musical career. It was quite the arrangement, and showed just how active Coloratura's short career had been. She was on pace for music hall of fame status, no question.

 

Applejack walked into a third room. This one was much less interesting. It seemed to be a utility room for supplies and tools for maids and the like. Applejack wondered if at one point Coloratura had a butler.

 

She walked out of the room and into the hallway to make it back to her bedroom. Wait, was that her bedroom? No, that's a bathroom. Maybe it was the other across the hall? Dead end. Her room was right by the stairs, but where were the stairs? Applejack walked around a little in order to gain understanding of her surroundings, but the more she cantered through the halls, the less sure she was that she was still in the same wing of the ranch. She found a window, but when she looked outside of it, all she saw was an overhead view of the garden Ra-Ra had talked about. Applejack turned around and looked deep into the never-ending hallway, and sat down. She spoke loudly. "Um, Ra-Ra? Can you hear me?" She spoke a smiling chuckle. "I seem to be lost."

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

                                                                                           RaraforSteel.png


Coloratura made her way to the first floor, an extra bounce in her step. Energy was energy whether it was nervous or not and she had little way of expressing it, so her tail bobbed up and down independently of her already excitable movements. She really needed to have a Countess show soon. The message of empowerment and drive were good enough indicators of worth on their own, but she really felt the need to dance. In lieu of that she would cook something nice and quick. Some nice spinach toast infused with barley wheat, a nice mix of nutrients and texture drowned in a delicious batter to give it a fluffy, rich flavor. It was about the extent of her cooking capabilities and thank Sparkle it was over quick, six slices of the dish ready in about ten minutes. She sat down at the table to enjoy two of them when Azure, her own sporty body bouncing to a song she just heard, came trotting in. She brightened up as she came over to sit next to Rara.

 

"I can't believe its really Applejack. She's really the-" Azure began, the gossip queen barely containing her excitement. Equestrian heroine and secret famous country singer? Who'da thunk it?
"Yes, yes she is. And remember: Nopony can know," Rara replied pointedly. Azure nodded but couldn't help but frown as she helped herself to two slices.
"Why doesn't she want to belt it out?" The mailpony asked. True to form, she didn't quite understand the country girl upstairs. She had big city dreams and was addicted to big city lights.
"She isn't much for the limelight."
"Come on, it's every filly's dream to be a big star!"
"Not this one."

Azure scoffed more out of friendly disbelief than anger, and the two ate pleasantly for some time. Soon though, Applejack's voice wafted down the stairs towards them. The two mares smiled. This place could be confusing the first time.
"Hehe, I guess somepony needs me. Azure, you're free tonight but just make sure before you're asleep that we have everything ready for work. It starts tomorrow," Rara said as she stood up, cleaned off her plate, and added two more slices to it as she trotted upstairs. 
"Will do, Captain Rara."

-------------------------
 

"Well Applejack, I wish I could say this was a record but Azure got trapped in a supply closet her first day here!" Rara greeted Applejack as she found her friend lost in a hallway. She offered her the plate and turned around to lead her back to her room.
"It can be a bit confusing at first. When I bought the property this house was a three floor, four *room* abode. You could see clear across the structure. Now we have-" she tapped the walls "-which helps create more working space, but...it can be more confusing," she allowed as she led Applejack back to her room in quick order.
"Tomorrow we can do a bit more of a tour if you want. Be good to do so right before we start working. Have a bite to eat and take a trot around the property. I know I will, and I'd love for you to join me. Unless you'd rather settle- no pressure here!" She responded as she slowly started to move down the staircase, trying to keep her tone enticing and inviting without being too...forward. Hopefully she succeeded. If not, failure could have its own rewards when you spun the record right.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 month later...

ie11NUk.png

 

Applejack felt embarrassed but was eased by Coloratura's sense of kindness and humor. As she paced Applejack back to her room to help in directions, Appplejack couldn't help but consider how useful she might able to be on her visit if she helped redesign the hallway structures in the house. These walls can't be that hard to redirect. If only she had a hammer.

 

Coloratura mentioned musical work starting tomorrow. Oh yeah, right. You're not here to use a nail gun, you're here to play some music. Coloratura invited her to eat and explore, and Applejack would oblige. So once her friend left her room and went down the stairs, Applejack began organizing the things in her suitcase and even made use of the shelves and drawers in her guest room. Might as well insist on living here for a while.

 

Applejack walked down the stairs with her plate of toast once she completed her unpacking as much as she could tolerate and followed Coloratura into the eating space. Now that Applejack had more of a sense of living space, she felt more comfortable about dwelling and having more meaningful conversations with those around her, just like at home. Applejack took a small bite of the toast. "So what kind of toast is this?" But not exactly like home. "Hmm. It needs something." Applejack helped herself into the kitchen and opened the door of the icebox. Luckily, she found some butter, grabbed a knife with her mouth and scooped a shaving of butter onto the knife and began spreading it on the toast. She took another bite. "Now that's much butter. Or better." Applejack giggled as she sat across from Coloratura at the dinning table. After she swallowed the slice of toast, she threw up the other slice of toast and caught it with one full bite, chewed for a few seconds, and swallowed again. "All these extra bits and you don't have yerself a private chef?" Applejack joked, but she didn't mean to impose on the musical mare's success rate as being a waste of fortune.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

                                                                                           RaraforSteel.png

 

 

Rara's eyes rolled as she saw her friend destroy the toast with some butter. Of course Applejack would do that! Rara wasn't certain if that mare had ever been on a diet her whole life. All that farm work helped, as did what appeared to be a healthy metabolism. "It is spinach toast infused with barley and a nice batter I found in a Manehattan market. Its actually pretty healthy," she said as she took a bite, deciding to fight the instinct to follow the holy toast leader and not slather hers in butter. "Though I'd guess it doesn't taste all that good in comparison to yours...but when we have to get down to work on dance choreography, I might have an easier time because of it, Butterqueen," Rara said as she poked Applejack in the belly, finishing her toast as she retreated.

 

"I do have personal chefs, and even some nice dietitians and nutritionists. The chefs'll be here in about a month when I start getting back into stage shape. So enjoy the food now because they can be a bunch of hard flanks," she said, her tongue sticking out. Rara ballooned out whenever she let herself go for a few weeks so she had to be careful, even in her down time. Not that she minded it. She was used to the regimented schedule that came with performance. She had learned to crave it, even. A sense of order and timing to a creative mind could provide the sort of background firmament that allowed the forward-viewing mind to grow. Or maybe she just didn't want to deal with thinking about cooking, shopping, all that jazz. She liked the idea of just wandering around and picking what she liked, not having to concern herself with meal prep.

 

She took her plate over to the sink and washed it off, humming a diddy while she did so. When done she turned around, a broad smile unknowingly plastered across her features. "Of course, you're free to do as you please in terms of food. I'm sure you can keep yourself in shape for a performance. Not everypony is born with such rich Apple family genes," she cracked, then stretched her back. "Okay. I'm gonna go ahead and take a quick nap, do some writing. You're free to do as you please but tomorrow, meet me in the second floor studio. We'll start working, okay?" She said as she started to trot away, turning back as she reached the stairs to cast one last, long look back.


"Oh...and Applejack? Thank you. For everything."

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 weeks later...

ie11NUk.png

 

Applejack wasn't exactly expecting her friend that invited her to turn in so soon. It felt like the sun had just set. Did she always sleep this early? "Ok, I'll go to bed soon then. See ya in the studio first thing in the morning!" Applejack carefully put a few things away in the kitchen and even cleaned some dishes that she felt responsible for, and even some she wasn't. Once everything was clean and presentable, she started back up the stairs and softly walked into her bedroom. Before she closed the bedroom door, she peered across the hall at the studio doorway. "Hmm." She pondered out loud as she let her imagination wander. But a few moments later, she would hang her hat at the foot of her guest bed, untie her mane and tail, and wrap herself in the soft covers of the bed that felt like it had only been used by a hooffull of ponies, maybe other famous musicians. Or maybe Svengallop. A short moment of curiosity, and Applejack fell asleep.

 

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

applejack-drawing-traditional-18.png

 

The cabin door was slammed open. Applejack walked in soaking wet. Her uniform was dripping of lakewater. Just moments ago, Her friend and her just took a cleansing dive into the lake after they had lost a furious battle in tug-o-war and fell into the mud. It was a quick and courageous attempt at quickly washing all the dirt and grime from their uniforms, although they were too wet to continue with them on for the rest of the day. Luckily, each camper was equipped with a few sets of their gear.

 

Applejack pulled off her uniform, which was stuck to her sides on account of it being wet. "Wooooweee. That there was fun, dippin' in the lake like that. I didn't think you'd do it, but then we did it together!" Applejack's filly voice squeaked. She carefully took a spare towel and dried herself of any unnecessary moisture and then tossed the towel to Coloratura. Before getting dressed in a new dry outfit, she looked at the camp schedule on her bed. "So, Rara, what else do we have for the rest of the day now that we're out of the physical challenge competition? We have the eatin' contest, oh but that's already started. There's an arts and crafts lesson for birdhouses, too. Oh! There's a talent show! Rara, we should do that so we can show everyone how awesome you are at singin'!"

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

                                                                                                  RaraforSteel.png


Following Applejack into the cabin was a off-white ball of energy that was equally wet and giggling as she entered. Coloratura hadn't know what to expect when her parents had sent her to Camp Friendship but this hadn't been it! She'd always been a mite nervous around strangers but when she was around Applejack it was like dealing with any friendly mustang back home. The two fillies had gotten into their fair share of trouble and had their fun at camp and Rara sure as rain wasn't gonna forget it for nothing. Well, she would like to forget losing the tug of war but it had been followed by a dip in the lake so she figured it all came out well. It had worked well enough getting them all cleaned up (or it did as fine a job as the two fillies thought important, what their guidance counselors thought sidelined for now) but now they had to get dry. Otherwise they'd have some older ponies on their case about getting sick, and that would be minutes out of their day not being spent on doing something fun together and that was just all around silly.

 

Applejack was faster than Rara (and stronger, and more confident, and Rara thought a little bit older) on the drying job so Rara started getting her new outfit out, tossing the old one on the floor like a proper filly. She just finished when Applejack tossed her the half-wet towel which was easily her best option for drying at the moment. She caught it in her mouth after it had slammed into her face and blinded her, spitting out the small mouthful and taking it in hoof and starting to dry off herself. "Well, it certainly seemed a midge more fun than a shower!" Rara replied with a laugh, not needing to go into detail about the often times freezing water temperature that the shower facilities here operated with. Not that she minded too much normally. Mustangs liked ponds and lakes and rivers and even the ocean more than most.

 

It was then that Applejack brought up the talent show, and what she said was Rara's singing voice being good or whathaveyou. Rara wasn't so sure. Less about the talent, she knew that and liked doing it for friends. But showing it off? Well...that much she wasn't sure about. She was getting along a lot better at camp than she thought she would but that didn't mean she was that comfortable just yet!
"Oh, a talent show? I-I'm not so sure about that, Jackie," she said as she started to dress herself again, hoping the cloth and losing track of the apple filly would lessen the appeal of the idea some. "I can get real nervous in front of a crowd. Even if they are just the other campers," she said with a nervous laugh as she thought of a better idea. It was better because it didn't involve her making a true blue fool of herself in front of everypony!
"We might be late but that eating contest could be fun. I bet you could out-eat every colt here!" She said in a classic and obviously very effective case of deflection.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

ie11NUk.png

 

Applejack chuckled. "Everypony knows I could out-eat all the colts here. But not everypony knows how enchanting your singin' voice is. I think we should do the talent show. And I'll do it with you! My pop taught me how to play the guitar in the Spring. I can play guitar and you can sing." Applejack's mind wandered as she put on a clean uniform and grabbed her guitar by the foot of her bunk. "I know! We should write a song."

 

Applejack sat up on her bed and started strumming the strings on her guitar. The sounds were random but shortly became coherent and melodic. "How about, 'My name is Ra-Ra, and I like to sing. Singin' is my favorite thing to do, hey hey'." The song was impromptu and kind of awful as Applejack at this age was not very good at the creation of songs. To her as long as she could put it to her guitar's rhythm, it was good. "And how about, 'we are campers and we have a song to share, we are fillies and we're here to...'" Applejack hesitated and her strumming stopped, but then restarted when she thought of something that rhymed. "Care."

 

aDthLf7.png

  • Hearthoof 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

                                                                                             RaraforSteel.png


It was hard to say no to Applejack when she had the right idea and Rara knew that she did here. She might not singing in public but she knew she had a good voice. Heck, look at her cutie mark! She knew it was true! And if it meant they got to go up together and be recognized, well, doing it with a friend would certainly make the pill go down smoother. "You're awfully good at convincing ponies...alright, we'll do it. You and I, stage singing superstars!" She said as she tried to summon at least a front of courage, despite feeling worried about it inside. She'd have to get over that. Maybe imagine the ponies there with more clothes on, like her mama used to say. She giggled and sat down on the floor next to Applejack, her head laned back onto the bed as she heard the other filly strum her revealed guitar. She was awfully good with it considering how rarely she spoke about her own talents, which as far as Rara was concerned were at least as good as hers.

 

Applejack started up her playing and soon enough threw some lyrics out there. She didn't pay much mind to the lyrics because she knew they could do better, together. But she sure was good at strumming those strings and she produced a musically pleasing melody with her guitar. Rara's head bopped gently to it as the neurons started to fire off. "That sure did rhyme. But if we're gonna do this, we should do it big and bold, right? Like when we tried to build the biggest treehouse outta all the treehouses. Except words. We're gonna build the biggest treehouse of my words and your guitar they ever did see! Or, uhh, hear!" She said excitedly, only now starting to get into the idea fully. And anything to make that fat colt who pushed her into the mud yesterday drop his potato chips for a second and be nice. It was called Camp Friendship for pony's sake, not camp spud.
 

Her mind raced to think of something. "Hmm...oh, maybe we'll do somethin' that'd make our family proud if they heard it. Like...how about Equestria?" She pondered as she allowed Applejack's strings to play in her mind. "Duh duh duh...hmm..." she cleared her throat and started softly singing along the strings, "Equestria, the land I love...a land of harmony..."

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

vXHAPke.png

 

"...Our somethin' wave, from high a dove," Applejack sang impromptu to Ra-Ra's suggestion, but failed to do one of the most important things in singing a song, remembering the lyrics. Applejack continued to strum the guitar beautifully, but then she stopped. "Ra-Ra, I don't know. I know the song you're thinkin' of, but I can't for the life of me concentrate on rememberin' the words while I'm tryin' ta play the guitar. Maybe we'll just..."

 

Applejack caught the schedule with her eye again and noticed something alarming about it. She gasped. "Holy spittin' balls, Ra-Ra! The talent show has already started. We need to get over to the stage if we're still gonna do it." Applejack snapped a strap onto the guitar and slung it on her back to carry to the stage. "Come on, Ra-Ra, there's no time!" Applejack said to her fillyfriend, not minding the amount of anxiety that might be building in the room.

 

Applejack walked out and then back in. "And this, too!" She grabbed a triangle with it's stand.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

                                                                                    RaraforSteel.png


Applejack was very right on it being hard to play an instrument and sing. She was showcasing it just right, though Rara would be lying if she didn't like the start of that.
A slight lyrical change popped into her head and then like a dam bursting the rest came into being in her mind's eye. It wasn't perfect but it was true and raw and she could feel the words live within her. She jumped up to exclaim, "By Celestia, I got-" she started before Applejack noticed the time and started galloping out with her guitar. It took Rara a few seconds to catch up out of shock that they had managed to mess up their time so much but after recovering herself she launched herself out of the room, following Applejack towards the stage- triangle notwithstanding. 

 

Rara ran over the lyrics in her head as she did so. She was now just trying to match the lyrics to Applejack's simple but motive guitar playing. She couldn't pinpoint why she had the ability to do so but she liked that little puzzle, matching words and music. She wouldn't call herself a songwriter per se because she was always so nervous that ponies would dislike her and what she made that she didn't seem to waste her time with it. But now with Applejack by her side she had the confidence she needed to tackle this very small stage in front of very small ponies (save the one) and belt it out. As they grew closer she resolved herself to kicking flank and taking names alongside her newfound friend, or be embarrassed trying!

 

Celestia above, not embarrassed though...she thought to herself as they neared the stage and Rara brought an important point up: "That triangle's fixed, right?"

  • Hearthoof 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 month later...

vXHAPke.png

 

"Whadya mean fixed? It's got a few scuff marks on it, but it should ring just fine. Now come on!" The two small ponies pattered their hooves to the stage where they saw the counselor in charge of the talent show motion to the two indicating they could go ahead and perform on stage. The audience was a lot smaller than Applejack had imagined, but it was still enough to make an impression.

 

Applejack stepped on top of the stage and started to notice a little apprehensiveness from her friend. She set the triangle and the guitar on their stands and stepped towards Coloratura. "Listen, you're good at writin' lyrics. Don't you worry about the music, I can improvise. You sing whatever song you're feeling, and I'll seal the deal with a hit or two of the triangle. No pressure!"

 

The counselor in charge of the talent show motioned to the two to continue with their routine. "I'm right behind you," she whispered. Applejack walked in tandem with Coloratura up to the front of the stage, grabbed her guitar and took a sitting stance. She would follow the singer's lead. She motioned to her with an encouraging hoof to indicate she was ready.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

                                                                                            RaraforSteel.png


The duo ran up on the stage, Rara's little heart hammering as they arrived. The walls could close in even when they didn't exist, crushing her chest in waves. All these ponies even though there weren't that many ponies. What if they hated the song? Hated her? She never dealt with rejection very well. Her mama said that she had a sensitive soul but Rara always thought it was more like she just wasn't good enough. But she wasn't alone. Applejack was here. She was a calming influence and she helped bolster Rara. Even if this turned out to be a disaster it would be a disaster together, and that alone would make it okay. "Alright. We can...we will do this," she said with as much confidence as she could muster. She took the lead at the front of the stage. Rubbing her front foreleg she looked once more back- Applejack was ready. Okay. It was time.

 

She didn't remember what happened next, not fully. The puzzle she had completed earlier revealed itself in full as she sang, the lyrics coming out almost as she thought of them. The way she sang, the way she moved with it, it all came to her naturally. Not a thought given, not a thought taken, and nary a moment given to worry or to be wary or weary. She walked back, facing the joyous crowd as she did so. They loved it. This had gone a lot better than she could have ever dreamed and she sometimes dared to have big dreams.


"Haha, well- they, uhh, they certainly seemed to like it! Jackie, was it really that good? What'd I even say out there?!"

  • Hearthoof 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 weeks later...

ie11NUk.png

 

After the performance, Coloratura felt the need to reassure with her friend that she wasn't in a dream. "Ra-Ra, that was amazin'! You're cutie mark glowed, and yer singin' was on point, and everything!" Applejack jumped. "Ra-Ra I think this is your true calling for sure. It ain't just a talent, you have singin' ability I ain't never thought possible." Applejack teared up slightly at the reality of seeing her friend find such a oneness with her talents and purpose, hoping that Coloratura would find confidence in that affirmation and that it would enable her to do whatever it is she might be destined to do with it.

 

 

 


Applejack woke up.

 

She wasn't sure what time it was, but because of her farm-nature, it was possible her body clock got her up at an early hour. She pulled herself out of her bed, did a quick stretch longways and sideways, paired with appropriate grunts, and walked out of the bedroom not before first grabbing a small bag she carried in her large pack. The halls seemed peaceful. She walked down the stairs and into the kitchen. Out of her small sack she pulled out a jar of genuine Sweet Apple Acres apple jelly. She went for a loaf of bread, sliced some of it off, and threw it in the toaster. Soon enough, Applejack would be able to taste a slice of home, and perhaps share it with her new housemates as well.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

                                                                                                            RaraforSteel.png


Coloratura had a night of equally fitful and amazing sleep. When she awoke it was with a contradiction firmly expressed: Great serenity with alarmed excitement. Her step had an extra oomph to it, her flicking tail an extra snap. She woke with the first rising of the sun and allowed her eyes to settle on the rising orb. The future was so unbelievably bright but it could burn her so bad, so quickly, and so completely. She needed to manage it. She needed to manage herself and not allow herself to be fooled by her dreams, led astray by hopes. She had her friend here and she had everything she needed to succeed. Rara would simply need to accept these great things and allow everything else to be bled into the edges of possibility, lest her passions become untenable. She took a deep breath, rolled her head around on her neck, and made her way downstairs.

 

She wouldn't be alone it seemed. She could hear somepony in the kitchen and judging by the way they made sound it certainly wasn't one of the others hoping to get a  quick snack. She wasn't shocked when she rounded by and saw it was Applejack in the kitchen. "Hello," she began before letting out a yawn, "Applejack. Not shocked to see you up so early. That smells really nice. Genuine Sweet Apple Acres apple jelly I take it?" She said as she pulled up a seat and sat down, slapping down a notebook and starting to write on it as her unconscious muse drove the pen forward. "I figure this is about normal wake up time for a farm mare such as yourself. Myself, I get up this early to get a nice gallop around the property and some piano time before I start the real hard work!"

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Applejack nodded with a warm smile at the entry of her fillyfriend Coloratura. "Oh yeah? You told me to meet you upstairs in the morning, but I supposed that was assuming I'd sleep in. Honestly, sometimes I wish I could. But this ol' mare doesn't have much room for a lazy mornin' these days. Besides, I slept amazingly well. That bed was about as soft as honey is sweet." The toasted bread jumped up and Applejack caught it with a quick swipe of a plate. She quickly, yet carefully, smathered a healthy heap of apple jelly on the toast, spread it liberally, and then slid the plate towards Coloratura. The plate just made slight contact with her notebook. Applejack placed another slice of bread in the toaster. Applejack then began to tap into her old song-singing ways, something she often kept to herself. Seeing as she was with another mare who was a singer, it seemed more appropriate. Applejack sung her tone from her heart, and remembered the lyrics with her mind.

 

"I can see the light of a clear blue morning
I can see the light of a brand new day
I can see the light of a clear blue morning
Oh, and everything's gonna be all right
It's gonna be okay"

 

large.png

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

                                                                                                RaraforSteel.png


Rara wished she could enjoy a good sleep-in too. Sadly she didn't, much like her friend here. She figured the reasons were quite different however. "Ha! Well, I know that feeling. When you travel and perform you're lucky to get in six hours of shuteye," she said with a critical laugh as she continued writing. It wasn't long before a plate skillfully slide over the top few lines of her notebook, smelling delicious. She gently nudged it out of the way and brushed crumbs off of her notebook, setting aside the quill as she went to take a bite. As she bit into the apple-jelly slathered toast- burstung at the seams with all that high-quality goodness- the real treat was for her ears. They had the distinct pleasure of hearing Applejack sing in a way that spoke to so many of her qualities.

 

There was an earthiness and honesty to her vocals that was refreshing. The way she pitched it and allowed it to drop, the conversational note at the end, the purity of her vocals. There were minor flaws but they worked entirely in her favor- after all, honesty was important in any song and feeling the emotion and the flaw could only ever bring you close to the artist. As her friend sang, Rara sat back and allowed herself an easy smile as her friend ended.
"And that,"
she said as she bit the end of her quill in thought, "is why we need to get you up there on a stage when all this is over. You have a voice built for it, sweetie," she said as she got up to get herself a glass of water. "Thank you for the toast, by the by. As good as I could hope for. Certainly worthy of a hoofsie," she said with an impish giggle. She had gotten rid of that gimmick but it still followed her everywhere! Own it instead of being ashamed of it, that was her new motto.

 

She poured a glass of water, pouring another one for her guest as she slipped the notebook into a breastpocket. "So, in the studio on the second floor I have a bunch of country records, some instruments, and a lot of recording equipment," she said as she stretched. "After my morning run i figured we could go up there and get to work. Wanna go for a jog with me or do you wanna set up shop up there in the studio?"

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...