Octavia returned to the table, delicately balancing the two drinks upon her forehooves. One was her Shiraz, having moved on from the Sauvignon Blanc she was drinking earlier. The other, of course, being Vinyl's drink. She delicately placed the glass on the table, but still with enough force to produce a noticeable bang. She had to hoof it to herself, she was doing well despite the fuzzy veil of alcohol that was draped over her mind.
Vinyl shot up from her semi-conscious position, her eyes turning from bright joy to dulled confusion. She tapped the glass, sniffing the contents before turning her confused gaze to Octavia.
"What the hay is this?"
Octavia had expected this, she'd swapped Vinyl's alcopops for something at least passable. Partly because she wanted to sit with somepony who wasn't drinking foals' juice, and partly because she hadn't a clue what the drink was called.
"It's a glass of Stagner's Pear Cider, try it."
Vinyl gave the glass another cursive sniff, before looking back at Octavia.
"Look, I'm not changing it back. You could at least try to develop a palette for a better tipple. I mean, I can't expect you to even understand why I enjoy this Shiraz, for example. But if I'm paying, you're going to drink something worthy of your palette."
"Pear cider...isn't exactly posh, Octavia..."
Vinyl brushed her muzzle against the rim of the glass, before wrapping her magic around it, and taking an exploratory sip. The sip became a slug of the alcohol, and within a few seconds she returned to the air, gasping. The now half-full glass was dropped back on the table, a smile spreading on Vinyl's face as she enjoyed the subtly sweet aftertaste.
"Gotta hoof it to ya...that was good!" She licked her lips, taking another, more measured drink.
Octavia smiled, raising the Shiraz to her lips. Her snout caught the subtle play of the peppery notes of the wine as she sipped it, the flavour itself being as powerful and full-bodied as the barcolt had promised her. She'd never tried South Zebrican Shiraz before, but she had to hoof it to the barcolt, he knew his drinks. Maybe this was a new bar to frequent on her days off.
"I'm just glad you're moving up the tables. Maybe one day I'll have you sipping refined liquors and wines like a true connoisseur."
"Yeh, or I could just stick to this. Way better than Bacolti, at least." She gulped down another slew of the bittersweet drink, before slamming the empty glass on the table, eyes glittering in earnest at Octavia.
"Look, just because you won our wager, doesn't mean I'm buying you a new drink every two minutes."
"Fine. I'll just go have fun with the jukebox, then."
"Don't think you're just putting any old rubbish on! There's other ponies with ears here too."
"I have to save them from jaw-dislocation, in case they yawn too hard at the boring music you'd play, Octavia."
In a display of both fillyish immaturity, and surprisingly sober co-ordination, the two mares leapt from their seats, racing to the jukebox. Octavia reached it first, leaning against the hoofprint-streaked glass. Until Vinyl, quite rudely, shunted her out of the way, usurping her delicately tuned balance, and knocking her to the floor.
"You did that on purpose, you little hayseed!"
"That I did, Octy...oh yeh, you'll love this!" Octavia's mind was bombarded by the same cheap, bassy music she remembered in the bar in which they had both met. "Can you hear that? Unce, unce, unce, unce, unc-ow!"
Octavia had risen from the floor like a phoenix, knocking Vinyl over to take her place. She rattled a hoof over the selection button, trying to find something worthy.
"Iron Mareden, Haul Mycartneigh, Fill Coltins, ugghhhh...is there anything at all here worth listening to?!"
While standing was easy for Vinyl, the intricate maneuvering of the hundreds of muscles necessary to come to her hooves was now beyond her. She dragged herself up the jukebox's front, hooves slipping on the frictionless glass. Octavia couldn't help it, the sight of Vinyl pawing at the glass in a vain and fruitless attempt to stand up ruptured her into a fit of giggles.
"Alright, Vinyl. You're embarrassing me, I wasn't aware you were such a lightweight."
She reached a foreleg under Vinyl's stomach, and lifted her as best she could, the mare shakily rising to her hooves.
"Look, Octy...I swear to drunk I'm not Celestia, okay? Just lemme pick a song. I think I got one."
Vinyl has given up on magic, instead hoofing the selection buttons with the speed and precision of a geriatric. She flicked through the tracks, resting on one in particular. She tapped the play button, letting the music roll through the speakers.
A synergy of beautiful orchestral music, and synthetic electromagical noise ensued. The violins were played across with the delicate thrumming of a crackling bass, the pianos creating a punchy medley that had Octavia's forehooves tapping in time with it on the floor. It was simply a masterpiece, she sipped another mouthful of the Shiraz, enjoying the powerful taste combined with the powerful music coming to her.
Vinyl had already moved on, head bobbing with the bass, as usual. She located the chocolate fondue buffet, and balancing a stick on her teeth, speared a row of marshmallows, before coating them in a slurry of chocolate, and devouring them one-by-one. Little trickles of chocolate dribbles from her mouth, and she licked her lips like an ecstatic foal enjoying a candy bar.
"Isn't that almost cannibalism, Vinyl?"
"Eating soft, white, squishy marshmallows, when you're a soft, white, squishy pony?"
Vinyl dropped the stick from her teeth, shocked by Octavia's accusations.
"Are you saying I'm fat?"
"Oh dear." Octavia's mind halted, then slammed itself into reverse. "No, no, no no no! I just meant, you look...cuddly, like a marshmallow. Never mind, forget I said it."
"Good, because you try to cuddle me, and I'll go Buck Norris on your flank. Now you have to do an apology forfeit for calling me fat."
"And what, precisely, would that be?"
Vinyl giggled, grabbing a lime slice from a nearby platter intended for drinks, and coating it in the chocolate. She brandished it at Octavia, who grimaced, realising the proposition.
"Eat up, Octy, and be sorry."
"Can't I just say sorry?"
"Nope, that prissy tongue of yours scared to touch anything actually interesting?"
"Hoof it over here, then."
Octavia snatched the chocolate lime, biting onto it hard. The first moment was glorious, the bitterness of the lime intermingled with the sweetness of the chocolate. However, after the first second passed, the lime juice created a tidal wave of powerful, bitter flavour in her mouth. Her taste buds were overpowered, but she had to save face. Chewing slowly, she swallowed, rind-and-all. Alcohol was excellent for inciting stupid acts.
Vinyl must have enjoyed the grimacing face Octavia had pulled, because when Octavia turned back to her, she was on the floor in hysterics. A hoof wiped a tear from the corner of her eye, and she in turn felt a hoof pressing on her stomach. Looking up, she saw Octavia bearing down on her. Her forehooves pinned her to the floor, while a stick hung between her teeth, a chocolate-coated pickled onion nestled on the end.
"Bon appetite, Miss Scratch."