The chariot slowed to a halt and Crystal leaned forward to peer at their destination. Above the main doors was a sign that read 'Fluorite Ferrier Resort' in a fancy, cursive script. Crystal's gaze traveled upward to follow the height of the building, which was shaped like a single gemstone sitting on its face so that its point extended up into the blue sky. The very tip glimmered independently of the rest of the building in the sunlight, and streaks of light ran down the sides like trickling water.
"Here we are, sir," the guard said after walking over to the side of the chariot and looking up at Silent. "Would you like any help with your bags?"
Silent jerked forward and put a hoof almost protectively on the pile of luggage. "No!" He cleared his throat and lowered his voice to a more conversational level. "No, but thank you, sergeant. You've done more than enough as it is. I can take it from here. Please send Lady Cadence our deepest gratitude."
The guard nodded. "Yes, sir. Have a wonderful stay while you're here in the Crystal Empire." He stiffened to attention, and once Crystal and Silent had unloaded their luggage, the guard turned sharply on his hind hooves and led the other two away toward the castle.
After Crystal helped Silent balance the bags on his back—and suddenly had a new appreciation for why Velvet told her to pack less—they walked toward their resort. Silent held open the tall and wide door for her and when she stepped inside, she was bathed in an iridescent light. Her head tilted back to look up at the ceiling and she gasped. "Oh, wow! Silent, look!"
From the outside, they had seemed like small trails of light; on the inside, it was so much more. It was as though the tip of the building harnessed the sunlight itself and turned it into liquid gold which trickled down the walls, illuminating the multi-story lobby with a natural, glimmering light.
"It's amazing," Crystal said in a breathless voice.
"It really is," Silent said. "I've never seen anything like it before."
Crystal jolted at the sound of a third voice, even though it was smooth and friendly. "The Fluorite Ferrier boasts the tallest lobby in the Crystal Empire, rivaled in height only by the palace itself. The peak of the Ferrier is set in a way so that it catches the sun's rays and focuses them into a golden light we use inside. There are natural veins running throughout the entire resort's structure so that each and every room gets at least one point of light from this central peak. We want our guests to feel connected, warm, and welcome."
The two of them turned to face an earth pony standing behind the front desk. Her aquamarine coat had the crystalline quality typical of the Crystal Empire locals and her silver mane glimmered in the light. When they all made eye contact, she smiled brightly. "Most of our guests from down south are struck by the beauty of our lobby."
Crystal giggled softly. "I'm not surprised." She returned her gaze to the view above. "It's absolutely beautiful. I've never seen anything like it."
Silent walked forward, reaching into his saddlebags and retrieving a folded sheet of paper. "Suite for Silent Knight, please."
The mare took the paper and set it aside. "Ah, yes, I remember your correspondence! If you don't mind, how did you hear about our resort?"
Crystal looked over to see Silent shifting from one hoof to the other. A smile spread across her lips. While he struggled with the question, she went back to admiring the architecture.
"A friend recommended it," he finally answered.
"Oh, how lovely!" the mare chirped. "Is it anypony I would know so that I can thank them for sending you our way?"
Silent swallowed loudly. White lies were his weakest social tool. "Perhaps? It was Shining Armor."
There was a pause before the mare asked with an intonation of surprise, "You mean the husband of Lady Cadence herself?"
"Yes?" He looked over at Crystal, who offered him a light shrug, and he added, "He used to be my superior officer in Canterlot."
The well-practiced but still warm smile returned to the mare's face and she chirped again, "Oh, how lovely! In that case, please allow me to upgrade you to a special suite."
With a small, excited gasp, Crystal looked up at Silent with an eager smile.
Silent shook his head quickly, not even seeming to notice her. "No, ma'am. Thank you but no thank you, what I paid for is just fine for us. We don't want any special treatment."
Crystal stuck out her bottom lip in a pout. "Aww..."
"But, sir." The clerk tilted her head, her brow furrowing. "You're a friend of Lady Cadence's husband!"
"That is true and I understand what you're trying to do. I'll be sure I tell him you were very nice and accommodating. But we're modest ponies and what we've paid for is more than enough for us."
"Very well, then, sir." The mare hesitated a moment, then turned the book in front of her to face him. "If you'll just sign here, please." After he took up the quill and penned his name, she smiled brightly. "Your room is around that corner, the third on your right. Enjoy your stay!"
Crystal followed alongside Silent to their room. "But we could have gotten a special suite!"
Silent glanced at her out of the corner of his eye. "You don't want the room that I picked out special for us?"
"Oh, well, when you put it like that!" She purred softly and brushed her shoulder against his, then giggled.
He just smiled and, when they arrived at the specified suite, pushed the door open for her. It swung in to reveal a large room with white floors and glimmering silver furniture. Crystal walked to the center of the main sitting room and looked around with wide eyes. From where she stood, she could see through a pair of prench doors that led to a spacious bedroom, and another door set against the opposite wall was slightly ajar to reveal a small bathroom. Off to one side was a moderately sized dining area with candlesticks and a centerpiece of crystalline flowers already set out.
Finally, her gaze finished its wandering to land on Silent. "A modest room for modest ponies, huh?" she asked with a small grin.
Silent nodded. "There were two sizes larger, if you'll believe that. This—" He paused to look around once more. "This may have been overdoing it just a bit, though."
Crystal sidled up next to him. "Well, I'm most certainly not complaining. That said..." She trailed, circling around to face him, her brow knitted. "I do hope our relationship is far enough along where this won't be an inappropriate thing to ask, but how can you afford this on a lieutenant's salary?"
He chuckled and shrugged. "I'm very good with my money. You have to keep in mind that until recently, I didn't have to pay for many expenses. I lived in the barracks and ate in the chow hall, so I saved up quite a lot of money not having to pay for room or food." His wings twitched and he added in a quieter voice, "And not to sound morbid, but I still got paid the entire time I was in a coma." His expression lightened with a smile. "Obviously we can't go on a trip like this very often but I wanted this one to be special for you."
She wrapped her forelegs around his neck and nuzzled their cheeks together. "Well, you succeeded, Mr. Knight. This is beyond special, so above and beyond special that I can't even begin to thank you!"
"Unfortunately, sweetheart, it's all downhill from here on out." He chuckled and set a hoof on her shoulder to pull her closer.
A laugh bubbled up from her chest. She pulled back to peer up at him with her nose scrunched up, then kissed him softly. "Then let's just try to enjoy ourselves before everything falls apart."
Crystal stirred the next morning to the feeling of a soft kiss on her forehead. Her eyes fluttered open to see a familiar, smiling face near her own.
"Good morning, princess," Silent murmured.
Heat rose to the tips of her ears and she giggled, tugging the sheets over her face. "Good morning." She lowered them just enough to peer at him. In the sun-captured light that ran along the ceiling and walls, he practically glowed. "How did you sleep?"
One foreleg snaked its way around her middle to tug her close. "Great." He nuzzled his nose against hers. "Better than I've slept in a while. You?"
"Wonderfully." She closed her eyes and rested her head against him to hear the steady beating of his heart. "I already want this trip to never end."
He chuckled, the reverberations drumming his chest. "Well, we can just forget about Glimmer World and stay like this the whole trip if you want."
She gave an exaggerated gasp. "Oh, no!" With a giggle and a wriggle, she pulled free from his grasp and slid out of the bed. "Up and at it, mister. I want to be at the park the moment it opens, so that means it's time for a quick show-oh!" She skidded to a halt when she crossed the threshold into the bathroom. "What's this?"
A trail of rose petals drew her attention to the bath, which had already been prepared with a layer of bubbles that covered the surface of the water. Three candles, all recently lit, sat on one edge of the tub and casted a romantic light over everything.
"Silent?" she asked as he approached her from behind. "Did you do this?"
He walked past her, bumping their shoulders together playfully. "I would hope so. Otherwise we have a serious security breach and I'll have to spend the whole morning figuring it out."
She sputtered as she struggled to find a witty response, then finally pursed her lips. "But what about Glimmer World?"
"It doesn't open for another half hour." He stepped into the tub and sat down at one end, looking over at her with a smile that sent a tingle down her spine. "So why don't you join me and enjoy the whole trip experience?"
"How can a mare say no to such an offer?" She giggled, walking over and settling into the opposite end of the tub to face him. "Did you get up extra early just to get this ready?"
He shook his head. "No. I got up extra early to get this and breakfast ready."
A small purr rumbled in her throat. "Have I told you lately that you're a wonderful stallionfriend?"
"Why don't you turn around so I can wash your mane while you tell me that again?"
She laughed softly as she made slow, careful movements in the spacious tub to face away from him. Of course, when sharing a bath with a big, strong pegasus, even large tubs had their limits. Once she was settled, two hooves reached out to run through her mane.
"You're wonderful," she mumbled, closing her eyes to fully enjoy his touch.
He gently pulled her back to dip her mane into the water, then eased her upright. "I try." Gently, he massaged shampoo into her blonde and pink tresses. "So I figure our first stop will be to get the earrings bought and taken care of. Then we can do whatever you want to do."
"I want to do everything," she said with a giggle.
The hooves paused before resuming their washing work. "That might be a little much to fit into in one day. Why don't we just see where the day takes us?"
"Oh, all right." She giggled again. "That sounds good, too."
When they rounded the corner and stepped through the gates to Glimmer World, Crystal and Silent stopped to stare at the view before them. It was as though they had stepped into the past; the main square had been designed to resemble Canterlot in a previous era, with quaint little buildings made of crystals polished so smooth that they looked like stone and marble. Even the staff wore outfits from styles long gone by to match their surroundings.
A street wound through the model town and led their gaze to a central plaza that was home to a crystalline Canterlot Palace that, while much smaller than the real thing, was still a beautiful, glimmering sight.
"Welcome and good morning!" a voice chirped and Crystal looked over to see the first of many, many bright smiles from a crystal pony staff member.
Silent was still taking in the sight but he replied nonetheless, "Thank you."
Her smile widened, which Crystal didn't even think was possible. "Is there anything I can do to help make your day glimmer?"
"Oh. No, thank you." He shook his head, then finally looked at her. "Actually, would you mind pointing us to where we can get glimmer earrings?"
"I absolutely can!" The mare nodded. "You're looking for the Broad Street Crystal Arts, which is right down that way." She gestured with a hoof in one direction. "Where all those ponies are standing in line."
Crystal sighed when she saw the line in question. It extended well out of the store, which was fairly sizable itself, implying that the line was longer still.
"Thank you." Silent turned his head to look at her. "Ready to get this out of the way?"
She tried to smile, but she knew it wasn't very convincing, so she just nodded instead. "Yes. Then we can get to enjoying the park."
He chuckled. "We'll have plenty of time to enjoy the park all this week, but I know what you mean." He reached out for her hoof, an offer she gladly accepted, and led her over to the line of excited ponies. "It doesn't look like it'll be too bad." With impeccable timing, he glanced down at her just as she frowned. "I'm sorry about this."
"It's fine, really." She pushed herself up to nuzzle his cheek, then kissed it softly. "If your boss asks for glimmer earrings, then you get her glimmer earrings. Especially if she's a princess."
"Even at the expense of making my princess unhappy?" he teased, smiling.
A laugh escaped her and she nodded. "Even then. Besides, I was awkwardly working on asking you about getting a pair when I brought them up originally." She laughed again. "This just makes it easier for me to get what I want."
"Is that so?" His ear flicked while he grinned. "Are you just with me for my bits?"
She put on a serious face and clicked her tongue against the roof of her mouth. "Oh, Siley." One hoof raised to her chest, then she reached it out to place it on his. "If I were after your bits, I could have found a much richer and easier stallion."
"I'm not sure if I'm comforted or insulted by that."
She shrugged. "Why not both?"
After they shared a laugh, they settled into a companionable silence while they waited, shuffled forward, and waited some more. The line moved at a slow but reasonably steady pace and they only had to wait an hour before they reached the doors to the Broad Street Crystal Arts.
Silent let out a small sigh of relief. "Almost there."
Crystal leaned forward into the shop and winced. The line snaked around the right side of the room several times before ending at a counter made up of three booths. There was a pony stationed at each to show off the glimmer earrings available.
"I'm not so sure about that," she muttered.
He looked in as well, groaned, then cleared his throat. "Well, we've come this far, right?"
"Right," she said with a sigh. The morning had started off so well, too.
"Crystal," said a soft voice. "Crystal, wake up."
Crystal groaned. Why did her body ache so much?
"We're next," the voice continued.
She blinked her eyes open and after adjusting to the light, yawned wide and looked around. "What?"
Silent smiled at her. "Good morning, again. You fell asleep. We're next now, though."
Embarrassment tickled her chest, but she tried to stave it off with a small giggle. "Oh, I'm sorry." She slid off his back and stretched out her legs. "How long has it been?"
His ear flicked. "Two hours."
"Two hours!" She gasped and her eyes widened in surprise. "We've been waiting in line for two hours?"
"No." He shook his head, which filled her with a sudden dread. "I meant two hours since you fell asleep."
She emitted a rather unladylike, squeaky little squawk. "What?! That means we've been here all morning! I—"
One of his wings stretched out and covered her mouth with a few feathers, cutting her off before she could escalate into the full-blown rant she was suddenly dying to give. He turned his head toward the pony behind the counter and offered a smile. "What she means is, good morning."
"Good morning, ma'am and sir!" The pony looked between them, her happy smile perfectly in place. "Let me first welcome you to Broad Street Crystal Arts, where we specialize in all things glimmering! Are you here for a pair of earrings for your beautiful friend?"
"My sweetheart," Silent quickly but politely corrected, then nodded. "Yes. I need one for her, one for my employer, and two for a friend of mine."
"Absolutely, sir," the clerk said. "Unfortunately we're only allowed to sell two pairs to any pony."
Crystal gawked, but before she could delve back into a rant, the crystal pony continued on happily.
"However, what I can do is sell you two pairs and, since your sweetheart was also in line, I can sell her two pairs as well. Will that work?"
Crystal opened her mouth to speak her mind, but Silent's wing lifted to stop her and he cut in, "Yes, that will be fine. If you don't mind, please start with Crystal first."
The clerk nodded and, in one quick motion, she pulled the black cloth back to reveal the display case underneath. The well-placed light hit the earrings resting inside with perfect precision so that each and every one of them glimmered with a seeming life of their own. A whole rainbow of crystals and variety of designs looked back up at them and took away all of Crystal's frustration, replacing it with awe.
"Oh, these are amazing!" she said in a breathless whisper.
"Yes, ma'am." The clerk gestured to them all with a sweep of her hoof. "Each stone has this year's date, a tracking number, and seal etched inside so that you will always know which is yours. What can I show you first?"
Crystal's gaze wasted no time in deciding what caught her attention first. There they were, a perfect pair of earrings, made of white gold shaped into the outline of shields with heart-shaped peridots—her birthstone—dangling in the center by delicate little chains. They were situated in the very center as if to cry out for her, as if they were made specifically for her.
Speechless, she just raised a hoof to gently tap on the glass.
"Ah, a very good choice, ma'am." The clerk slid the tray out and retrieved the earrings, then held them out. "The green will complement your eyes beautifully."
Crystal levitated the earrings into the air and hovered them just by her ears, turning her head to look up at Silent. "What do you think?"
Silent smiled. "If you like them, then they're yours. That's what I think." He turned his gaze to the clerk. "We'll take them, as well as those, those, and those." He pointed out three different pairs like clockwork.
The clerk nodded. "Very good, sir."
After staring at herself to admire the earrings she wore for the third time, Crystal finally smiled and asked, "Well, the earrings are taken care of now. What would you like to do first?"
Silent shifted his saddlebags to look inside then, once he seemed satisfied with what he saw, he looked out at the paths that stretched out before them. Glimmer World was separated into seven different, themed sections, and he paused to consider the options available before pointing. "Why don't we try Fantasy World first? It sounds a lot like Oubliettes and Ogres."
"That seems like as good a suggestion as any." Crystal hooked her foreleg around his, adding in a teasing voice, "You want to go and pretend to be a knight for a while?"
He winked down at her. "Who's pretending?"
A moat separated Fantasy World from the rest of the park and once they crossed over the drawbridge, they stepped into a scene right out of a history book. The buildings and staff were all done up to resemble early Equestria, with the mares wearing fancy gowns and the stallions wearing brightly colored tunics or full plate. There were vendor stalls offering soup served in bread bowls and large tankards of honey mead.
Not far from them was a tall building that had a crystalline dragon coiled around it with delightfully menacing features. Steam spewed from its gaping maw and its eyes were made of bright red rubies. On the front of the building, the words 'Dragon Flight' were etched as though the dragon had written them with its claws.
Crystal tugged on his hoof. "Oh, look, look! 'Dragon Flight: Soar over Equestria like a Dragon'!" She tugged harder to guide him toward the building and read the nearby sign aloud. "'Experience what it is like to be in flight'." She beamed up at him. "Silent Knight, we could fly! Imagine what... that..." Her eyes fell to his wings that twitched knowingly.
He stared at her with an even, calm expression.
She frowned. "Don't say a word! We're getting on this ride."
A coltish grin spread across his face, but he just nodded and walked alongside her over to the line formed outside the building.
"I'm so excited! You'll have to tell me if it's accurate or not. I have to imagine being carried while somepony else flies isn't nearly the same as actually flying."
He shrugged. "I'm not sure. I can't remember a time when I wasn't the one flying. You'd have to ask Runic."
"Or..." She gestured at the line ahead of them. "I can just fly for myself!"
He chuckled and nodded. "Or you can just fly for yourself. If you like it, though, don't get too attached. I don't think we can take the ride home with us."
She stuck out her bottom lip in a pout. "Spoilsport."
"Realist," he playfully corrected.
The line moved at a steady pace and they didn't have to wait for long before they were led into a dark room. An attendant guided them to specialized seats that resembled cushioned surfboards with straps. As instructed, they climbed onto the seats and dangled their legs over the sides, pulled the straps over their backs and secured them to a fastener on the underside of the seat, and waited for the ride to begin.
Once everypony was ready, the room went pitch black. Crystal gasped when her hooves lifted off the ground as the seats rose into the air. A breeze drifted across her face, growing stronger until the wind whipped through her mane and the darkness ahead of her flickered with flashes of light. Slowly, the forms within the light came into focus as clouds; she was soaring through a whole bunch of them, and soon they pulled away to reveal a magnificent expanse of green valleys, yellow fields, and grey mountains.
She couldn't hold it back anymore. Waving her forelegs, she exclaimed, "This is amazing!"
"That was amazing!" Crystal exclaimed for the third time as they walked the path out of the building. "I could feel the wind! I could taste the salty air! Oh, could you smell the oranges, too?"
"I did. I was there, too, you know." He chuckled when she pouted and swatted at him. "Yes, it was amazing. It was like a quick tour all over Equestria, which was pretty cool."
"It was." She nodded and, after a moment, tentatively asked, "Okay, be honest, how close to really flying was it?"
"I think it was pretty close. More or less, anyway. Minus the seat beneath you." Once they were outside, he pointed at a standing map nearby, which they went over to and examined. "Wow, look at how many rides there are just in Fantasy World alone! Any of them strike your fancy, my lady?"
She hummed in thought while looking over the options, then shrugged. "There's so many choices, how can I choose? I mean, it all looks like fun, but I don't know what any of them are. We could just start by riding what's nearby and work our way around the park."
"That seems logical. I was just hoping something in particular stood out." He glanced at her. "I'm worried that with so many ponies here, we might not be able to ride everything before we have to leave."
She patted him on the shoulder. "True, but it is just the first day, you know. Why don't we just take it easy and maybe worry about that on the last day?" Her gaze scanned the area and she pointed at the nearest ride. "How about we try that? The PonyPult?"
His ears flicked back as he stared at her, then followed her hoof's direction. "What is a PonyPult?"
She shrugged and bounded forward. "I guess we'll just have to find out the hard way!"
With a small chuckle, he followed along behind her. "All right. Let's find out!"
The line for the PonyPult was not only short, but it moved quickly. The ride itself seemed to be rather quick which meant it moved ponies through at a good speed. When it was their turn, they were guided to a cart and strapped in. Slowly, the cart rocked backwards, and the crystal attendant smiled and waved.
"Have fun!" she called, and that was the last sound outside of Crystal screaming either of them could hear.
The cart shot forward and hurled around the track, speeding up and falling down hills in rapid succession. Crystal lost her breath to scream about halfway through the third careening loop, and instead she just clung to Silent's foreleg as tightly as she could until the ride was finally over.
The crystal pony waved to greet them when their cart pulled back into station. "Welcome back! Did you have fun?"
Silent looked down at the trembling mare squeezing the life out of his foreleg, then looked back at the attendant. "I'm not sure," he said in a flat voice.
The pony's smile never faltered. "Well, I hope you enjoy the rest of your glimmering day!" She reached over, undid the straps, and motioned for them to get off.
Crystal refused to let go of his hoof even as they walked away, her eyes remaining wide and her breathing uneven. "S-Silent?"
He glanced at her. "Yes?"
"I don't ev-ever want to ride the PonyPult again."
He pressed his shoulder to hers for support when her hooves landed unevenly. "That's fine. We won't. Why don't we find something nice and calm?"
She jerked her head up and down in a rapid nod. "Yes, please!"
They walked around for a while to look at the nearby rides until one caught Crystal's eye. A white arbor with green ivy crawling up the sides was host to a sign that read 'Our Petite Equestria' and stood by the moat. A little two-pony boat sat by the small dock, waiting for the next occupant. There didn't seem to be much of a line, so Crystal pointed it out and they walked over.
"What is this ride, sir?" she asked the waiting attendant.
With the usual bright smile, he happily replied, "This is one of our most famous rides, Our Petite Equestria! Climb into a boat and you'll be taken on a gentle ride down the river, along which you'll see all of Equestria's provinces."
"Gentle ride?" Crystal gave a sigh of relief.
"That sounds perfect," Silent said, stepping forward and offering a hoof to her.
She took his hoof, carefully climbed into the boat, and sat on the bench. "It really, truly does."
Once they were both seated, the attendant gave the boat a light push. "Have a glimmering trip!"
"I'm getting so tired of hearing that," Crystal whispered to Silent and they shared a laugh, then settled in as the boat drifted gently down the stream.
Magically powered lights kept the streets bathed in a soft glow so that walking around at night didn't involve crashing nose first into other ponies or, worse, crystal walls. Most of the rides were closing down and at that point, Crystal and Silent were wandering aimlessly to just enjoy each other's company.
Silent's ear flicked and he cleared his throat. "If you're ready, the fireworks display is going to be starting soon and I booked us a special spot so we'll be sure to have a good view of it. The travel agent said it was absolutely not to be missed."
"Oh?" She smiled. "Then we should go. So far it seems that everything ponies said was not to be missed was, in fact, not to be missed." She laughed softly as he led her toward Yesterday Land. "I wouldn't mind getting off my hooves for a while, anyway."
After checking in to a small kiosk, Crystal followed Silent up a staircase that circled one of the marble-esque spires of Yesterday Land. "It's a shame there's no flying allowed in Glimmer World," he muttered. "This would be much easier if I could just carry you up here."
She giggled. "It's safer that way with all the rides and whatnot. Besides, you can still carry me!" She put one hoof on his back. "I mean, if your heart is really set on it, that is."
One of his wings flicked to teasingly push her hoof away. "I'm not sure I could after you ate three whole funnel cakes by yourself," he teased.
Her face heated up and she gasped in mock offense—as well as a little embarrassment. "Well, I, that is... That's unfair! They were small funnel cakes!"
He leaned over to place a soft kiss on her lips. "Yes, dear. Besides, we're already there."
"We are?" She blinked, looking around. They were at a small balcony at the top of the spire with only a few other ponies waiting for the show to begin. "Oh." She walked forward and flicked her tail in his face. "They were still small, and so am I."
"Yes, dear." He chuckled and sat down beside her at an empty spot on the balcony.
Not long after they settled in, a feminine voice resounded throughout the whole park, clear as a bell yet not too loud. "Ladies and gentleponies, fillies and colts, Glimmer World is proud to present our evening fireworks extravaganza: Dreams."
The lights dimmed to just enough to barely see by and the murmuring crowd quieted. The doors to the model Canterlot castle opened and an orchestra walked out to set up in the courtyard, then the show began.
Just as the crystal clear note of violins and flutes began, a single golden trail shot into the sky from behind the castle. As the music rose, so did the light until a clash of cymbals resounded and the firework exploded into a bright display of gold and silver glimmers.
The drums joined in, sending several more gold trails into the sky with each pounding beat, and a chorus of strings sent each one into a shower of lights that illuminated the whole park.
Then the whole orchestra played together in perfect harmony as new streams of colors joined the sky and burst into blue moons, silver stars, gold suns, and red hearts.
Crystal staved off blinking as long as she could so that she didn't miss a thing. It was beautiful. The trip was continually surprising her with new heights of beauty and splendor that she was bereft of words and stuck on repeating the same one over and over: a beautiful empire, a beautiful resort, a beautiful park, a beautiful firework display...
Out of the corner of her eye she thought she saw Silent looking at her rather than up at the sky. She hesitated before turning her head to meet his gaze. "You're missing the show, Silent Knight," she whispered.
Silent shook his head. "No, I'm not."
Instead of sending fireworks into the sky, his words sent heat to her cheeks and a tingle down her spine. She flushed and returned her gaze upward, but leaned over to nestle up against him for the rest of the show.
The orchestra quieted down into a low rumbling of the drums as one large silver stream rose into the air. It climbed higher and higher until the cymbals clashed and the sky was filled with silver, gold, blue, purple, and pink streaks that stretched out in all directions and, for a brief moment until they faded away, resembled the Crystal Palace.
Cheers and hoof stomping filled the air as the ponies in the orchestra stood up to take a bow. Crystal clapped her hooves together, but didn't take her eyes off the sky. The smoke from the fireworks drifted away and the stars, the natural fireworks of the night, resumed their glimmering positions.
"That was most certainly not to be missed," she said in a soft voice.
Silent nodded. "I definitely agree there."
She nestled closer to him and finally closed her eyes, sighing. "It's a shame the day has to end."
"Yes, though there's no rush to leave just yet. There's a pretty sizable crowd of ponies trying to leave, and since we booked this spot we get to stay a little later than normal. Why don't we let the crowd clear out first?"
"Oh, really?" She nodded. "Okay. That sounds like a good idea."
He wrapped his forelegs around her and held her close and for a while, they just gazed at the stars in comfortable silence. The other ponies on the balcony eventually got up and left, leaving the two of them alone. She wouldn't mind spending every day like that; just the two of them together, without a care in the world. Softly, she kissed the underside of his chin. For a short while, he wasn't a royal guard or a lieutenant with ponies to manage and a princess to protect. For a short while, he was just Silent Knight, her wonderful and thoughtful stallionfriend.
Eventually, Crystal glanced down at the emptying streets and said, "I guess we should leave and let them close."
Silent withdrew his forelegs. "I suppose we should."
Although she wished the evening would go on forever, the park had to close eventually. There was always the next day, of course. She stood and started toward the staircase, but Silent stopped her with an audible intake of a deep breath.
"Crystal," he started, "before we bring this night to an end I just wanted to ask if you had fun."
Her ears perked straight up. "Had fun?" She turned to look at him, her expression somewhere between amused and confused. "Do you even have to ask? Of course, Silent Knight!" She giggled. "This was one of the most amazing days of my life."
The moonlight reflecting off the crystalline surfaces illuminated his face more than well enough for her to see a smile spread across his face. "I'm so happy to hear you say that," he said as he started to bend one of his forelegs, the other lifting up a small black box.