• Published 13th Sep 2014
  • 5,653 Views, 258 Comments

The Seventh Element - PaisleyPerson

Thestrals are thought extinct. But what will happen when one moves to Ponyville? Disguised as an earth pony, Acrylic does her best to fit in. Can she keep the secret, or will she expose her entire race?

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Chapter 12: The Best Night Ever

Chapter 12
The Best Night Ever

“Yeah! This is gonna be the best night ever! You know why? ‘Cause we’re all gonna spend time at the Gala to... gether. Or not.” Poor Spike was left to himself as the rest of us dispersed. I didn’t have much of a choice, though. Applejack was already hurrying out to find her brother, and I needed to follow her so I could retrieve my portfolio.

“Thanks, Big Mac!” I called.

“Eyup,” he called back, starting his return trip home. I carefully fastened the leather case to my side, trying not to rumple my dress as I made my way to the ballroom. I felt a little silly, lugging a big case around with me while most of the guests had brought nothing with them. I took a deep breath. This was it. I’d promised to show off my work, and that I would. But where to start? I guessed finding other art ponies who could appreciate my depictions would work. I looked for paintbrush or paint palette cutie marks not covered by a dress skirt or suit tail. I finally found a whole group of them clustered around one of the many statues stationed around the room. Here goes nothing. I slowly came up on them from behind.

“What do you think of this year’s decor, Graphite Sketch?”

“I thought these sculptures were going out of style, but apparently not. I still think you could have done a better job, Golden Mural.”

“I don’t think so. You see this gilding? I never could quite achieve this level of detail.”

“I find that the secret is really in the burnishing. Nopony notices these tiny etches.”

“I do.” The prestigious artists before me turned to see who had spoken. “Though, since you pointed it out, you must have noticed as well.”

“I’m sorry, I don’t believe we’ve met.”

“No, we haven’t. My name is Acrylic. Acrylic Storm.”

“An artist’s name if ever I heard one!” the stallion Graphite Sketch exclaimed. He was a strong, buff stallion with a dark gray coat and lighter mane. His cutie mark depicted a pencil busily swirling across a yellowed page. He currently wore a stark black suit with a bright green kerchief tucked in the pocket to match his eyes. “I am Graphite Sketch, from Vanhoover. This is Golden Mural, my associate from Filly Delphia. Pristine Gallery here is from Manehattan. This young mare is Painted Gale of Las Pegasus, and this is Pish Posh from our very own Canterlot. My! You two look just alike, don’t you?” I looked over at the gray mare with a start. She did look a lot like me. However, the older mare’s short mane had faded a few shades lighter than my blue, and it was kept short. Her nose wasn’t as pointed as mine, and her eyes were golden. I couldn’t see her cutie mark beneath the yellow dress she wore. The mare looked her twin over critically, but I didn’t let that intimidate me.

“It’s nice to meet you, Miss Pish Posh.”

“Yes, good to meet you too. What was it? Acrylic? Now, if you’ll excuse us...”

“Oh, no need to be rude, Miss Posh. Acrylic’s only just arrived. I say, what is this parcel you’ve got?”

“Hmm? Oh, this is my portfolio. I’ve done some commissions for a few friends of mine, and I’m supposed to be showing them around.”

“Well, please do!”

“As you like.” I unlatched the buckle, allowing the leather to make a loud clunk to the ground. Wincing from the heavy thud, I pulled back the zipper and revealed the first of the large canvases. Of course, they’d been peeled from the wooden frames so they’d fit, and I had to unroll it for their viewing. This was Twilight’s, the purple unicorn wrapping a hoof around Spike as they smiled from the scroll. Pish Posh’s jaw almost dropped as the vibrant colors reached her eyes.

“My my! You do have talent! I was afraid you were just another student of the fine arts, but I dare say this is a masterpiece. Who is this pony you’ve depicted so lavishly?”

“This is Twilight Sparkle and her assistant Spike, two of my closest friends. I would introduce you, but I believe she’s gone off to speak with the Princess.”

“The Princess?!” They all exclaimed. I casually rolled the canvas back.

“Yes. She’s the Princess’s private student, but she currently lives in Ponyville on an assignment to study the magic of friendship.”

“And have you yourself met Princess Celestia?”

“More than once, yes. Princess Luna, too. Why, the moon princess has even visited my shop!” Something made me feel good about seeing the arrogant Pish Posh’s mouth hang ajar. I suffocated the feeling, forcing it back to the pit of my stomach. What was wrong with me?

“Why, you are an important pony! I can’t believe your art hasn’t been featured in any local galleries! My dear Acrylic, would you give me the honor of displaying one of your pieces in my own gallery in Vanhoover?”

“Yes, me too?” Pish Posh piped.

“Of course,” I answered with a wide smile, containing a squeal of excitement. And so we all exchanged contact information, and I got to show off my entire portfolio to not only this small group but to everypony else they managed to get ahold of.

“Acrylic, would you join us in the garden? As artists, we couldn’t resist bringing a tablet and a few pencils.”

“You read my mind!” I agreed, displaying my own sketchpad among the canvases in my portfolio.

“Excellent! I’ll have my assistant bring our materials. Oh, dear. Where has he gotten off to? Excuse me. I must find the elusive colt.” He agitatedly marched off while the rest of us settled down off to the side in the gardens. The rose bushes caught my eye, and instantly, my pencil touched down. We all exchanged tips and techniques between strokes, gossiping the night away. Graphite Sketch finally returned, slightly flabbergasted.

“He’ll be just a moment. I also asked him to bring the blenders you requested, Pristine Gallery.”

“Thank you, Mr. Sketch,” the indigo pegasus mare nodded.

“Sir? Your tools. Miss? Are you in need of these?” I looked up from my work into the face of the most handsome stallion I’d ever laid eyes on. My sapphires locked onto his dark brown coals, and I felt my cheeks grow hot. He was very tall- not quite Celestia’s height but easily matching Luna. His coat was dark but rich brown, and a black mane was brushed to the side. It was streaked with pinpricks of blond, and he had a short tail to match. His ears were slightly large, but not curved like mine. As he was only here as an assistant, he didn’t wear a full suit, but a collar and black bow tie rested around his neck. I found myself staring at him, and under normal circumstances, I’d have been embarrassed. I didn’t need to be, though, because the best part was that he stared right back.

“No, no. I said Pristine Gallery, you oaf!”

“My apologies. Here you are, Madame.” As he turned, I noted a cutie mark of a simple torch, but the edges of the orange flame were tinged with unusual green.

“Thank you,” Graphite Sketch sighed in relief. “Now, to get down to work! Might I see your most recent work, Acrylic?” I reluctantly handed over the sketchbook, my attention torn from the stallion before me. While he had been dismissed, he hadn’t moved from the spot. Graphite didn’t notice as he looked my rough, quick sketches over in amazement. “Magnificent. You’ve done it again, Acrylic.” Now I knew he was just flattering me, because these lines were barely decipherable, even for me. As he started to return the notebook, a particularly strong gust of wind blew in, ripping the page out. Luckily, he was there to catch it for me.

“Here you are. Miss...?”

“Acrylic,” I breathed as the page was handed back.

“Miss Acrylic,” he finished.

“Oh dear, I’m afraid I’ve left my T-square behind,” Graphite rudely interrupted.

“I’ll get it for you, sir,” his assistant offered, catching the hint. Reluctantly, he left me to obey his employer.

“Good lad.”

All evening, Graphite Sketch tried to impress and flirt with me. He even drew a sketch of me in my gown, presenting it later in the evening. I never did see his assistant again. I thought I’d spotted him among the multitudes, and was trying to pull away when none other than Pinkie Pie jumped on the stage and took over.

“Come on, everypony! You wanted a partay? Now it's paaartaaay! Yeah! Uh! Now that's a beat, yeah! Uh! C'mon, dance! Yeah, woo hoo!” I’d lost his assistant in the crowds again, so now tried to hide my face and avoid Pinkie’s gaze. It was rather hard to do without a hat.

“Okay, all you high-class ponies. Here's a highfalutin apple cake for your hoity-toity taste buds.” Applejack entered, pushing a cart hosting the tallest apple cake I’d ever seen.

“STAGE DIVE!” Oh, no. She jumped right onto AJ’s cart, sending the cake flying across the room. Rarity was standing with her prince, who ended up using her as a living shield to protect himself from the oncoming cake. That was the last straw.

“You, sir, are the most uncharming prince I have ever met! In fact, the only thing royal about you is that you are a royal pain!”

“Ewww...! Uh, stay back! I just had myself groomed!”

“Afraid to get dirty?!” She got up close before shaking as violently as she could, flinging icing all over the prince. He danced away whimpering, knocking into a statue on the way.

“This is my chance!” Rainbow cried, making a mad swoop for it. The thing landed on her back. “Yes! Whoa!” While she succeeded, it proved to be too heavy, causing her to knock into every other pillar in the room, which promptly crumbled. The noise had attracted the Princess and Twilight.

“Well... it can't get any worse.” She jinxed it. A thunderous rumble rippled through the air, and the ground vibrated beneath us. A stampede of animals crashed inside, finally throwing everypony into an uproar. Our pale yellow pegasus stormed in after them.

“You're... going to LOVE ME!”

I felt lost in the confusion, unsure which way to run. I looked for Twilight in hopes of instruction, but I was promptly knocked over by an extremely inconsiderate pony.

“Run,” somepony whispered. I opened my eyes to see Graphite’s assistant pulling me up and ushering me outside.

“Thanks,” I said, eyes shining as he let go of my hoof.

“I couldn’t let a pretty mare like you get trampled underhoof,” he smiled.

“It was good to meet you, Acrylic, though I wish it had been on some other occasion.” Graphite Sketch came along.

“You t-” I froze when he stopped to kiss my hoof farewell.

“Goodnight, my dear. I shall most definitely be in touch about the paintings. Come along, you ungrateful colt! We need to get a move on” Graphite Sketch barked, stomping past. I was horrified by the terrible treatment he received. I caught him on his way out.

“Thank you again.” he smiled.

“My pleasure.” Once he left, I found my friends waving for me to come over. With a sigh, I moved to join them. What a night that’d been!

We all gathered at Twilight and Spike’s favorite donut shop where she guessed we’d find her assistant. Sure enough, the baby dragon was already there, chowing down his fifth donut and chugging a second mug of hot chocolate. After we ordered a similar meal, we all sat around the table to exchange stories of our worst night ever. While I listened, I found it hard to believe that any of them could feel worse than me, but their dreadful experiences soon leveled the playing field.

“Your night didn’t sound so bad, Acrylic,” Applejack offered when I was done.

“In fact, it sounded downright extravagant compared to ours,” Rarity agreed.

“But you don’t get it!” I wailed. “I think that artist, Graphite Sketch fancies me.” I still hadn’t come off the sophisticated speech I’d been using for that night.

“Isn’t that a good thing?”

“No! I don’t have feelings for him whatsoever. His assistant, on the other hoof...” I let myself gaze dreamily off at a bit of wall. “Him I like.”

“Wow, Acrylic. I didn’t take you for the gushy, lovey-dovey type.” Rainbow received a sharp elbowing from Applejack. “Ow!”

“Didn’t ya at least talk to him, then?”

“Just briefly. Graphite kept getting in the way. He treats that poor stallion like trash. Oh my goodness! I just realized! I don’t even know his name! Ugh! Why do love complexes have to be so hard?!” My head clunked to the table.

“Isn’t that why it’s called a love complex?” Rainbow jibed.

“That does sound like something out of a fairy tale,” Rarity sympathetically sighed.

“Wow. It sounds like you all had the worst night ever.”

“We did!” Pinkie laughed. The others smiled with her, but for my sake, didn’t laugh.

“I just hope Princess Celestia isn’t upset with us for ruining the gala,” Twilight sighed.

“That was the best Grand Galloping Gala ever!”

“Princess Celestia?!”

“Pardon me, Princess, but tonight was just awful,” Twilight corrected as the alicorn took a place at our table.

“Oh, Twilight. The Grand Galloping Gala is always awful,” the Princess chuckled.

“It is?”

“That is why I was thrilled you were all attending. I was hoping you could liven things up a bit.” Great. So we’d been invited just to be a laughing stock? “And while the evening may not have gone as you planned, I'm sure you'll agree that in the end it didn't turn out so bad for this group of friends.”

“You're right, Princess. Friends have a way of making even the worst of times into something pretty great.”

“Yeah! Hanging out with friends!”


“Laughing!” I smiled. These were all the things we’d been doing on the way to the gala. That had been a lot more fun than meeting that Graphite character. And maybe, if I’d stayed put with my friends, I’d never have met his assistant. Then at least I wouldn’t be going through so much heartache.

“You mean doing exactly what I wanted to do the whole time?”

“Yes, Spike. You were right.”

“As horrible as our night was...”

“...being together here has made it all better.”

“In fact, it's made it...” Pinkie began, cuing us all. I knew what she wanted, and gave way.

“...the best night ever!” we all cried in practiced precision. Even the Princess joined in the giggling. As a reward for providing a source of entertainment at the gala and to emphasize the lesson learned, the Princess stayed for some idle chit chat. I appreciated the personal attention we all received. It was taking my mind off things. In all honesty, though, all I wanted was to go home and mope. I’d tell Rainbow that I wasn’t feeling up to our nightly session tonight.

Author's Note:

A/N: Sorry guys, my romance scenes are rubbish. Not really my style, but I figured it was time to try something new. Did you whovians catch the Doctor Who refernce? Oh, don't worry, it gets better.