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I D O L

By SQA-non
Created: 16th July 2021 09:31:33 PM
25th January 2021 06:37:41 PM

  1. >Makeup? Check.
  2. >Costume? Check.
  3. >Wings? Immaculate.
  4. >Alright, everything’s ready to go.
  5. >As you approach the stage you can already hear the roar of the crowd, and it's getting you pumped up!
  6. >Makes you already want to dance, and the band hasn’t even started playing yet!
  7. >As always though, your manager is by your side to rain on your parade.
  8. >”Focus, Nonny! You’ve got a big show today. Do you remember the song order?”
  9. >You leap into the air, pirouetting and landing with your hoof under your chin.
  10. >It's that pose that drives the mares wild!
  11. >...and that she wants you to do at the end of every show.
  12. “Hehe, of course! You can always count on me!”
  13. >The pride-filled smile she gives you fills your heart with joy.
  14. >”You’re right about that...”
  15. >Any further conversation is cut off by the sound of the band playing the first few notes of your new single.
  16. >That’s your cue!
  17. >Taking flight, you charge straight for the curtain, eager to start the show.
  18. >”Knock ‘em out!”
  19. “But how can I wow them if they’re asleep?” you call back.
  20. >You just barely catch her chuckle, before you blast onto the stage.
  21. >The crowd’s exactly as wild as they sounded, and they go even crazier as soon as they see you.
  22. >Letting yourself bask in the adoration for just a moment, you clear your throat and hold out for the perfect moment.
  23. >Aaaaaaaand there it is!
  24. >Show time!
  25. “Your heart goes~”
  26.  
  27.  
  28. I D O L
  29.  
  30.  
  31. “Today went GREAT!”
  32. >The carriage you’re in bumps over one of those famous Manehatten potholes, but you don’t even notice it.
  33. >You’d think after so many shows over the past few years, this feeling would get old, but it doesn’t!
  34. >No matter the day, time, or venue, a show like that always leaves you in the clouds!
  35. >Bringing you back to the ground though is the sound of your manager laughing happily from the seat across from yours.
  36. >”It sure did! I’d say you’re on track to—”
  37. >She stops in the middle of her sentence, something catching her ear.
  38. >”Hold on a second...”
  39. >Her horn lights up, and as it does, the volume knob on the carriage’s radio spins.
  40. >>”-gue, better known by his pseudonym, Nonny, is taking Equestria by storm! After another record-smashing show today, the Cloudsdale born Pegasus’ new single, ‘Heartthrob’, is slated to top the charts for weeks to come!”
  41. >Your manager gives you a sly smile, well aware of what emotion is now building inside you.
  42. >Pure. Unbridled. Happiness.
  43. “WOO HOO!”
  44. >Without hesitation you leap into the air, spreading your wings in joy.
  45. >Only a moment after you do though, you feel your manager’s guiding magic leading you back to your seat.
  46. >”Woooooah there, bud! Don’t wear yourself out now!”
  47. >Allowing yourself to be guided back down, you chuckle sheepishly.
  48. “Aw, sorry, Goldie, it's just so exciting!”
  49. >”It's fine, just remember you’re on air tonight! Wouldn’t want to be too tuckered out for your mares!”
  50. >Oh gosh, she’s right! That would be awful!
  51. >You’d hate to disappoint them!
  52. >”Actually, having a special ‘tuckered-out-after-the-show ‘ edition of Nonny Talk would probably go over really well. We still haven’t topped that sleepover special. I’ll have to remember that...”
  53. >Settling further into your seat, you’re content to watch the city roll by as Goldie mutters to herself about manager things.
  54. >What would you do without her?
  55. >She manages your concerts, radio shows, appearances, interviews, meals...
  56. >You’d be totally lost without her!
  57. >Speaking of, you think you remember her mentioning earlier that next on today’s agenda is a photoshoot.
  58. >Gazing out the window to watch the Manehatten streets go by, you /think/ you recall a photo studio being this way.
  59. >Oh well, no use dwelling on it, you’ll see what it is when you get there.
  60. >Focusing more on the individual ponies, you let out a contented sigh.
  61. >Ponywatching always was your favorite part of the day.
  62. >Wonder how many of them listen to you?
  63. >Oh hey, that mare certainly does.
  64. >She’s wearing one of your shirts!
  65. >>”NONNY!! I LOVE YOU! I LISTEN TO YOU EVERY NIGHT!” she shouts, evidently having spotted you as well.
  66. >Her words put a great big grin on your face, and you wave back to her as the carriage rolls by.
  67. >You’d open the door to say hello, but last time you did that Goldie got /real/ mad at you.
  68. >”Hey, Nonny?”
  69. “Hm?” you respond as you turn your attention back to her.
  70. >She’s reached under her seat, fumbling for something.
  71. >”I know it’s a little early, buuuuuuuut...”
  72. >Her hooves eventually find what she’s looking for, and she pulls out a gift-wrapped box.
  73. >”Happy birthday!”
  74. >Your breath catches in your throat as you reach for the colorful box.
  75. >Gingerly taking it from your manager’s hooves you take a look at the tag.
  76. >’Happy Eighteenth, Nonny! Here’s to another four years!’
  77. “Awww, thanks, Goldie!”
  78. >She smiles warmly, reaching across the spacious carriage to pat you on the shoulder.
  79. >”Like I said, I know it's early, but I thought you deserved a little something after doing such a great job today.”
  80. >Grinning ear to ear, you don’t waste another moment tearing into the wrapping paper.
  81. >As you pull it away, you find...
  82. >A shoebox!
  83. >Oh filly! You needed a new pair of shoes.
  84. >Popping open the box, you see the most wonderful pair of golden horseshoes!
  85. “Wow~wee...”
  86. >”Go ahead, try them on.”
  87. >Gently lifting each shoe out of the box, you gingerly slide them onto your hooves.
  88. >They fit like a sock!
  89. >Hopping off your seat, you do a few experimental trots in place (now you see why Goldie had such a large carriage pick you up!)
  90. >”Well, how do they feel?”
  91. >Hmmm, they feel pretty good walking, but the true test is yet to come.
  92. >Spreading your wings, you pirouette on your back right hoof, then your back left, before gingerly drifting down onto your stomach, forehooves under your chin.
  93. “They’re great! So comfortable, and they don’t slip as much as that last pair did,” you say while kicking your back legs as you have so many times before.
  94. >Goldie smiles, clearly internally patting herself on the back.
  95. >”Wonderful! I hope you don’t mind wearing those for the shoot, then.”
  96. >Ah, you were right! That is where you’re going.
  97. “Of course not!” you say as you stand back up and flap yourself into your seat.
  98. >”Excellent... oh, by the way, these are Acolltes. Be sure to mention that on the show tonight.”
  99. >You shrug, too lost in the joys of new hoofwear to care.
  100. “Okay!”
  101. >You sit there for a brief few moments after that in silence, but soon after you feel the carriage start to slow.
  102. >”Looks like we’re here!” says Goldie.
  103. >Hopping out of her seat as the carriage finally comes to a stop, she opens the carriage’s door and steps out.
  104. >As she descends the steps from the carriage to the ground, you get a good look outside.
  105. >It seems your security ponies beat you here and are being overzealous as usual (almost certainly on Goldie’s orders).
  106. >They’ve lined themselves up in two parallel lines, creating a corridor in the crowd so you can walk straight from the carriage to the door...
  107. >... without interacting with a single fan.
  108. >It makes your heart hurt just a little, but you know better than to argue with Goldie on these things.
  109. >Plus, better not to dwell on feeling sad, you wouldn’t want to /look/ sad for your mares, would you?
  110. >Leaving your seat and forcing your pep back into your step, you practically hop out the carriage door and prance down the steps to the road below.
  111. >As you do, the gathered ponies go wild.
  112. >>”I LOVE YOU NONNY!”
  113. >>>”DID YOU GET MY LETTER?”
  114. >>>>”PLEASE LET ME KISS YOUR HOOVES!”
  115. >Some might balk under such attention, but it just reminds you how many ponies are touched by your music.
  116. >Taking a moment to bask in the affection, you smile and wave at the crowd.
  117. >Which only drives them crazier.
  118. >>>”CAN YOU SIGN MY TUFT!?”
  119. >Suddenly, Goldie, who was just a few steps in front of you, looks back over her shoulder at you.
  120. >”Come on, Nonny, we don’t want to spend too much time out here.”
  121. >Alriiiiight, you guess that was a little /too/ much basking, hehe.
  122.  
  123.  
  124. >Arriving at the dressing room of the photo studio, you were rather impressed.
  125. >They’d collected quite an array of costumes for you to don.
  126. >So many, in fact, that you hope they don’t expect you to pose in all of them.
  127. >You’ll be here all day!
  128. >”So which one do you want to do first?” asks Goldie.
  129. >Hoofing through the rack, you take in the various things they’ve got for you.
  130. >Hmmm, that a... oh what’s it called...
  131. >Aha! Magical colt!
  132. >Personally, you were never into those ‘mangos’ yourself, but you sure do get a lot of letters asking you to wear stuff like this after you did that promotion a year ago.
  133. >Passing it up, you take a look at the next outfit.
  134. >Oooooh, now here’s something!
  135. >A frilly baby blue tux, that both matches your mane perfectly and tastefully contrasts your cream-colored coat!
  136. “This one will d—”
  137. >As you pull the suit off the rack however, you get an eyeful of the costume that was behind it.
  138. >A costume that puts a pout on your face.
  139. “Goldiiiiiiiiiiiiiie!” you chide as you pull the familiar-looking swan suit off the rack, “Did you put this here?”
  140. >She chuckles into her hoof, which tells you all you need to know.
  141. >The swan suit, after all, is a near-exact replica of the one you made your debut in.
  142. >Oh memories.
  143. >To think you started your career as a ‘birdcolt’!
  144. >At the time you’d wanted to be a ‘graceful ballad swan’.
  145. >Goldie tried to talk you out of it the moment you brought it up, but you were foolishly obstinate.
  146. >You had her get you this ridiculous costume, let you learn a few ballads, you even had her pick out a fancy stage name for you.
  147. >’Anonymous’ was what she ended up going with.
  148. >Something about how, “Idols should have names that anypony can identify with” or something, you don’t really remember why.
  149. >Looking back on it, the writing was on the wall even during those first rehearsals for that show, but the young you had refused to back down.
  150. “Come on, that was four years ago!”
  151. >That just makes her chuckle harder.
  152. >”Yet you still tell your fans to call you, ‘Nonny’.”
  153. >As always, thinking back to the actual act you did that day gives you mixed feelings.
  154. >Turns out, if a costume is consistently awkward and hard to move in during rehearsals, going up on stage doesn’t magically fix that even if your cutie mark is a microphone in front of a star.
  155. >In fact, being on stage seemed just to make it worse!
  156. >After the second tumble though, you had realized Goldie was right.
  157. >Thank Celestia she forced you to practice a backup routine!
  158. >With it, you were able to turn what would have been the disastrous ‘Anonymous, the ballad swancolt,’ into the hit ‘Nonny, the pop duckcolt’.
  159. >You hadn’t actually intended to keep the name ‘Anonymous’ after that show, but your listeners started calling you ‘Nonny’ and the name just sort of stuck.
  160. “Well,” you say with what you’re certain is a blush on your cheeks, “It’s a good name!”
  161. >That finally breaks the dam and turns her chuckles into laughter.
  162. >”Hahaha! I know, I know.”
  163. >She gestures to the costume.
  164. >”That’s why I had them make this. I’m sure your fans would love a reprise of ‘Nonny the duckcolt’, even if just for a photo shoot.”
  165. >Putting the swan suit back on the rack, you answer as noncommittal as you feel.
  166. “I dunno, maybe. I’ll think about it while I do this one first.”
  167. >Holding up the tux from earlier, you start removing it from its hanger.
  168. >Goldie smiles, clearly assuming that was just a ‘yes’ in the making.
  169. >”Alriiiiiight, I’ll tell them to go set up the proper background while you get changed. Just think about it.”
  170. “Okay.”
  171. >As you wait for her to exit the room (a stallion never dresses in front of a mare that’s not his special somepony), you realize something just as she steps out the door.
  172. “And stop calling them my fans!” you call out to her, “Fan is short for fanatic!”
  173. >”Sure, sure.” she replies as she shuts the door.
  174. >You know, you aren’t certain, but before the closing door hid her from view, you’re pretty sure you saw her roll her eyes.
  175. >How rude!
  176.  
  177.  
  178. >And here you are, going through the motions.
  179. >Like any other day really.
  180. >This should be exciting, you’re photographing a pop star after all.
  181. >A popstar you /like/ even.
  182. >You’ve heard some of his songs on the radio, even picked up an album!
  183. >Ha! He’ll probably even mention the shoot today on that radio show of his that he’s known for always mentioning.
  184. >Gives you a reason to actually tune in, you suppose.
  185. >Wonder what he’ll say...
  186. >You can hear the dressing room door open from across the room, followed by a sing-song voice.
  187. >”I’m ready!” says the colt himself.
  188. >Better put the finishing touch on this then.
  189. >Adjusting the light you had in your telekinesis just a hair more, you turn away from the set and face your subject.
  190. >...
  191. >Wow.
  192. >He’s actually cuter in pony.
  193. >/So/ cute in fact, you almost forgot to speak.
  194. >Not wanting to be rude and stare, you whip yourself around back towards the set, only to see everything is still exactly where it should be.
  195. >In accordance with the outfit he chose, you’ve set the background up as a fancy restaurant, with the actual set being a table for a romantic dinner, with one chair for him, and the other intentionally left empty.
  196. >Turning back toward him, you gesture toward the farther seat.
  197. “Please take your seat, sir.”
  198. >You resist the urge to frown at the sound of your own voice.
  199. >You’ve always been a naturally quiet pony.
  200. >Even when you try to speak up, ponies generally either just ignore you or need you to repeat yourself.
  201. >So there’s no way a pop star with his head in the clouds like him just heard that.
  202. >This is going to be such a—
  203. >”Okay!”
  204. >Watching him with no small amount of awe, your head follows him as he hops with an almost otherworldly pep in his step across the studio and to his seat.
  205. >He... heard you?
  206. >You never would have expected a pony like him to be such an... attentive listener.
  207. >Pulling your attention away from him, however, is the sound of an approaching pony.
  208. >It's his manager, Golden something.
  209. >She’s clearly appraising the set as she walks, looking for even the slightest thing out of place.
  210. >Oh great, you know these types.
  211. >Control freaks, you’re sure by the end of the day she’ll have told you off for something.
  212. >For the moment, she has a content look on her face.
  213. >>”Everything looks good to me.”
  214. >Nodding, you take that as your cue, and head over to your camera.
  215. >Focusing it on the table at a diagonal angle, you’ve managed to set up a perfect view of both the table’s set up and Nonny himself.
  216. >Adjusting the focus knob so that it's juuuuust right, all you’re waiting on now is for Nonny to strike a pose.
  217. >Your eye is solely focused through the camera, but you can hear his manager approach you again.
  218. >>”So what were you thinking for his first pose?”
  219. >That’s an easy one.
  220. “I was thinking—”
  221. >She almost immediately cuts you off.
  222. >>”I’m sorry can you speak up? I can’t hear you.”
  223. >You feel your teeth grit, despite yourself.
  224. “*Ahem* I was thinking of having him do the wing heart, like the one he was doing on the cover of ‘Cloud Nine’.”
  225. >You hear her “ahhh” in a way that you would describe as ‘approvingly’.
  226. >>”Good, good. You’ve done your homework then. Excellent. I had some mares in marketing draw up some new poses I’d like to run by you, but that can wait.”
  227. >Of course she does.
  228. >Sure would have been nice of her to send you those beforehoof so you could’ve had at least /some/ staging preparation for them, but you guess you’ll just have to cross that bridge when you get to it.
  229. >Alright, enough stalling.
  230. “Hey, Nonny,” you call out, “All set?”
  231. >The colt, nearly a stallion, who was previously just idly humming a tune in his seat, looks at you through the lens of the camera.
  232. >”Yeperoonie! Let’s get goin!”
  233. >You allow yourself a small smile, imagining what it’d be like to have a coltfriend like him waiting for you at a romantic dinner.
  234. >Maybe your boss will even let him keep the tux? It’d be nice to see him wearing it on an album cover.
  235. “In that case, can you do the pose from ‘Cloud Nine’ for me?”
  236. >Unfolding his wings, he brings them in front of him, his primaries making a heart shape.
  237. >”You mean like this?”
  238. >He looks perfect.
  239. “Perfect, now smile and say cheese!”
  240. >”I’ll do you one better!”
  241. >He leans forward ever so slightly, and for the moment, you feel like he’s not looking at the camera, he’s looking at /you/.
  242. >”I’ll make your heart soar!”
  243. >He’s said it at almost every one of his public appearances that you’ve seen, but this time as he makes eye contact with you through the camera lens, it feels special like never before.
  244. >As the shutter of the camera snaps, for just a moment...
  245.  
  246.  
  247. >”—and that’s how my day was! But enough about me, I want to hear from some of you! That’s right, it’s mail time!”
  248. >You are Gold Standard, manager to one of the biggest pop idols in Equestria.
  249. >The lad himself is in the recording booth of his own private radio studio right now, talking into the microphone you have him at more days than not.
  250. >”Let’s see, our first letter of today!”
  251. >If five years ago, somepony told you that sitting a star down in front of a radio and having him talk about his day would net you as much fan engagement as concerts, you’d have said they were crazy.
  252. >But the numbers don’t lie, and your radiomare says that you get enough listeners every evening that you could almost call every other broadcast itself a concert.
  253. >Taratarus, after special broadcasts, cassette and vinyl sales jump so high that they might as well be!
  254. >”Zowee! Did you make this cassette? I’ll have to listen to it tonight!”
  255. >You remember the letter he’s reading, some younger bat mare who says he’s an inspiration to her.
  256. >It was a good letter, the kind that you and the mares always like to read when you’re picking out what Nonny will “open” on the show.
  257. >You listened to the cassette she sent too, as you always do, and what was actually in your hearing range wasn’t bad!
  258. >Might be worth keeping her name in your mind.
  259. >Out of the corner of your eye, you see him spread his wings as he sits in his chair.
  260. >”And of course, a biiiiiig hug to you for writing me! Now let’s open another letter!”
  261. >It's a testament to his commitment to his fans that the only sign of his fatigue is in his eyes.
  262. >He’s even still posing as he talks, even though there’s no one there to see him.
  263. >You’re tempted to let him tire himself out on air, but you’ve already got tomorrow set aside to be his ‘sweet eighteenth’ special.
  264. >It's better to space the special shows out, you can have the ‘tuckered out edition’ another time.
  265. >Plus, you know, you actually want him to have a good birthday tomorrow.
  266. >Something that won’t happen if he wakes up tired.
  267. >He may be on the cusp of stallionhood, but today he’s still a growing colt.
  268. >”Wow, thanks for the poem, Limerick! I’ll keep it close to my heart.”
  269. >As he says it, he actually pulls the paper to his heart, something you’re praying the microphone picked up.
  270. >”And a big hug to you too!”
  271. >You let him continue on like that for a while longer, constantly shifting your eyes between him, the sound levels, and the clock.
  272. >After he makes his way through a few more letters though, you decide to call it.
  273. >Clearing your throat, you open the door to the recording booth and call over to him with the voice you always use when it's time to end recording for the evening.
  274. “Nonny? How’s talking to your friends?”
  275. >He pouts, knowing immediately what your interruption means.
  276. >”Aaaaaw, so soon? I’ve only read a few letters!”
  277. >You sigh and shake your head the way your mother used to at your younger brother.
  278. “Now, now. Tomorrow’s a big day! Tell you what, you can read one more letter, but then you’ll have to say goodbye to them until tomorrow, okay?”
  279. >”Alriiiiiiight,” he says as you withdraw from the recording booth.
  280. >As you gently shut the door, the previously silent mare working the soundboard addresses you.
  281. >>”Ponies really dig that ‘mother reigning in her son,’ act?”
  282. >You nod.
  283. “Indeed. Keeps it from feeling like an advertisement, you know?”
  284. >The mare chuckles sardonically.
  285. >>”Is that why you told him to talk about the brand of shoes you got him for his birthday?”
  286. >You roll your eyes at the mare.
  287. “Are you saying you don’t want sponsors’ money included in your paycheque?”
  288. >>”No ma’am.”
  289. >Turning your attention back to Nonny, it seems he’s just about wrapped it up.
  290. >”Well everypony, you heard Goldie, that’s the last letter for today. I admit I’m feeling a little *yawn* tired—”
  291. >Sweet Celestia, did this colt really just yawn in the middle of saying that?
  292. >You’ve thought this many times over these years of working together, but he really was born to do this.
  293. >”—so I think I’m gonna hop off and hit the hay! Before I go though, go ahead and wrap yourself in a blanket and imagine it's a great big hug from me!”
  294. >As he says it, he flaps his wings once to mimic the sound of him giving a hug.
  295. >”Have a great night! I hope today I made your heart soar, and I hope you’ll be at my birthday party tomorrow because you’re certainly all invited!”

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