• 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?

  • ...
20
 258
 5,653

Chapter 14: It's a Date

Author's Note:

Underlined Some scenes are written from third person POV.

And yes, I'm quite aware some of you don't like my methods of formatting, but there are far nicer ways of phrasing this than I've been seeing. It's this kind of rude and obscene behavior that makes me want to leave FimFiction altogether.

Chapter 14
It’s a Date

He offered a warm but crooked smile as I appeared, and I foolishly found myself mimicking it.

“Graphite Sketch wanted to make sure these got to you himself, but unfortunately, he had an important meeting to get to today. I offered to take them instead.” He gestured to the bulky package on the counter.

“Uh huh,” I dumbly replied, lost again in his eyes.

“Aren’t you going to open it?”

“Oh! Of course. I just... wasn’t expecting anything from Mr. Sketch. His order isn’t due until the end of the month.”

“Oh, it’s not payment. As he put it, it’s a small gift for his ‘favorite artist.’” He forgot I was watching, and rolled his eyes. I blushed realizing that the package was obviously too big to hold the few meager bits he owed me, and pulled at the twine binding the brown paper. Inside the box I found several large jars of some of the most expensive oil paint in Equestria. These were made from the purest minerals in Saddle Arabia!

“I- I can’t possibly accept this!” I gasped.

“Mr. Sketch was very firm in making sure you received it.” His assistant smiled at my refusal. I sighed, shutting the box.

“I’m afraid Mr. Sketch has been mislead into believing that our relationship goes beyond business. Please tell him that I have no intentions of entering a romantic affiliation. No, scratch that. I should probably do it myself.” I began trotting past him, getting it in my mind that it had to be done then and there. Thankfully, he dragged me back out of the clouds and into reality.

“So, you aren’t involved with Mr. Sketch at all?” he exclaimed.

“Only professionally,” I answered, still not stopping.

“Oh, thank goodness!” That finally got me to freeze, and I turned around to his flushing face. “Er... what I meant was...” He gasped. “Your cutie mark!” I self consciously looked back.

“Yes?” He shook his head.

“It’s just... we match.” I glanced between his flaming torch and my fiery paintbrush.

“We do,” I realized with a grin.

“I’m sorry, I don’t mean to stare. It just... reminds me of something from long ago.”

“Reminds you of what?” Rarity saved him when she entered the shop.

“There you are, Acrylic! Rainbow Dash has been looking all over for you. I told her you’d be in your shop; you’ve been holed up in here for weeks. Now, go on! She wants to meet you ‘at the tree line.’ I’m not sure where that is, but she said you’d know. Go on! Off you go!”

“But Rarity...” I groaned, trying to push past and reenter my shop.

“No buts! you’ve locked yourself in here for so long, fresh air will do you a world of good. Off with you! Shoo!”

“Excuse me,” the stallion called from the corner.

“Oh, hello there. I’ll be with you in just a moment.”

“You will?!” I burst.

“Of course I will. Don’t worry, I’ll take care of things while you’re gone. You don’t want to keep Rainbow Dash waiting, do you? Go!” I was finally shoved all the way out, locked out of my own shop. I banged on the door.

“RARITY!” I still hadn’t gotten his name.


“Right, then. How can I help you?” Rarity asked, moving to the counter.

“My business was with Miss Storm,” the stallion sighed. “Thank you, though.”

“Storm? Oh, that is what Acrylic’s calling herself now, isn’t it? So sorry to take her away like that, but she’s been holed up in here for weeks. We just had to get her out of this shop before the paint fumes got to her head, you know.”

“What do you mean, ‘calling herself now?’ She didn’t always go by Acrylic Storm?”

“No, as a matter of fact. The first time I heard her called Acrylic Storm was the night we gave her that portfolio. She changed her signature, then and there. Come to think of it, Rainbow Dash seemed to know what she was talking about. It must have come up in their conversation at some point. Those two have been spending quite a bit of time together, recently.”

“Who is Rainbow Dash?”

“She’s one of our best friends. Personally, I believe that she’s the best flier in Equestria.”

“I see,” he sighed. Narrowing his eyes, he searched his memory. “Is she the pegasus who performed a sonic rainboom?”

“Why, yes! She’s been trying to get into the Wonderbolts flying group her whole life. You know, she even had Acrylic do a portrait of her performing a sonic rainboom in hopes it would impress them enough to let her in.”

“I saw it,” he nodded. “That’s how I knew about her. I met Acrylic at the Grand Galloping Gala a few months ago, and she showed me all her work. Ever since, my employer Graphite Sketch has been ordering one painting after the other from her.”

“Graphite Sketch, you say?” The unicorn sucked in as much air as Pinkie in a tremendous gasp of realization. “You! You’re the assistant from the gala! Acrylic would go on and on about you!” She zoomed across the counter, hoping for juicy tidbits. “The nameless knight in shining armor come to retrieve his princess! Well, forget the shining armor bit. Ooh! This is so exciting!”

“She’s talked about me, then?” the stallion hopefully inquired.

“Oh, you were all she could think about after the gala! She doesn’t constantly babble on anymore, but sometimes she still gets a dreamy look in her eyes. How romantic!” Rarity shivered with glee. “So, where do you plan to take her on your first date? A picnic dinner at sunset? A Bridleway musical?”

“Whoa! If I may, Miss, you said she doesn’t even know my name. Isn’t it early to be thinking about asking her on a date?”

“Oh, you do share feelings for each other! But you’re quite right, you must get to know each other better first. What is your name, pray tell?”

“Torchwood,” he stated.

“And you?” he pressed. “I don’t know yours, either.”

“Rarity,” she sighed with a batting of eyelashes.

“Of course. Now I recognize you from her paintings.”

“Hmm? What are you still doing here? Off with you! You have a date to get ready for.”

“What?”

“Leave it all to me. Just be at the park at eight tonight. I wouldn’t go for formal attire, personally, but be presentable.”

“Ponyville Park? Eight?”

“Shoo!”


“This had better be important, Rainbow Dash. The stallion of my dreams is back in my shop waiting for me.”

“What?! Then what are you doing here? Go to him!” the blue pegasus exclaimed with wide eyes, jumping off her cloud.

“Rarity kicked me out,” I growled. “Want to tell me what I’m doing here?”

“We’re all just getting worried about you, is all. You’ve been cooped up for weeks. I wondered if you wanted to go for a day flight over the Everfree, but hey! Don’t let me keep you from your ‘true love.’ What’s his name again?”

“I still don’t know!” I cried, flopping on the cloud next to her.

“GO!” Rainbow shrieked again, knocking me off. I just caught myself, and glided to the ground. I took her advice, and retracted my wings as I stormed back. Rarity was just closing up.

“Oh, back so soon?” she sweetly sang. “I thought Rainbow would have kept you longer.”

“Where is he?” I asked, bursting back in before she could lock the door.

“You mean that customer of yours? I took care of him. He’s gone by now.”

“No...” I groaned, sinking to the ground. “Did he leave anything, at least? A name?”

“Yes, in fact, he did.”

“TELL ME!” I towered over her, crazed eyes staring into hers.

“Why don’t you find out yourself? He left a note on the counter.” I zoomed over to it at what must have been a super-sonic speed. There was a card leaning between two bottles by the checkout. I greedily snatched it and opened it up. It read:

To the Lovely Acrylic Storm,

I haven’t been able to get you off my mind since the night we

met at the Grand Galloping Gala. While that meeting didn’t

have the most pleasant of endings, I hope we can leave off on a

better memory of each other tonight. Would you do me the

tremendous honor of meeting at Ponyville Park tonight for

dinner at eight?

Torchwood

“Torchwood,” I quietly echoed. My love’s name was Torchwood!

“Oh, how romantic,” Rarity sighed, suddenly appearing over my shoulder. “You simply must go to meet him!”

“But... I’ve never been on a date before. What do I say? Oh, Rarity, what do I do?!” I completely forgot that I was supposed to be angry with them, and dramatically sagged.

“Oh, just be yourself, darling. Y-oh! Just... be yourself with a little less paint.” I looked down at my green and white speckled hooves. I blushed with an embarrassed smile before scrambling upstairs to wash up.


Rarity proudly pranced out of Art Life. Acrylic had taken the bait. Now she just had to get things ready for tonight. For that, she’d need to recruit all of their friends. She knew they’d be more than happy to help; their friend had been so sullen since the Discord incident, they were constantly trying to find ways to cheer her up. Even Pinkie hadn’t produced a smile from her. For the first time in weeks, Acrylic had not only showed herself, but she’d smiled. Really smiled! If this stallion Torchwood could put that smile back on her face, then Rarity would do everything in her power to make sure it stayed there.

She hurried into town, heading straight for the library.

“TWILIGHT!”

“Rarity?” Twilight looked up from her book, and Spike instantly jumped from his bed in the corner.

“What’s wrong? Can I help?” he offered.

“You most certainly can. I’ll need everypony’s help. Do you remember that stallion Acrylic met at the gala?”

“I remember her talking about him. How could I not? He was all she talked about for a week!” Twilight laughed, returning the book to its place on the shelf.

“Well, he’s come into town. I’ve arranged for them to meet for dinner at the park tonight at eight, but I need everypony’s help to set up.”

“Rarity, that’s...” Twilight sounded about ready to scold her friend for meddling in Acrylic’s affairs, but she stopped.

“I know you might not approve, Twilight, but you didn’t see the smile on Acrylic’s face when that stallion came into her shop. She was so happy!”

“Rarity, that’s brilliant!” Twilight finally finished.

“I know!” Rarity gloated. “Now, where’s Applejack? I was going to ask her if she’d prepare dessert for them. Do you think Fluttershy would do the main course? Applejack makes fantastic pastries, but given the amount of apples she tends to work with... I just don’t want to overdose them. What do you suppose we should fix them? Sandwiches? Soup? Torchwood is from Vanhoover. That’s a rather busy area; he’ll be used to city food, but that doesn’t mean we can’t prepare something a little more refined. Do you think horderves would be going too far?”

“Rarity, slow down!” Twilight exclaimed. “I get that you want to give them the perfect night and all, but don’t you think that’s a bit excessive?”

“You’re right, Twilight. Scratch the horderves.”

“F... F... F... Ah! Here it is! The First Date: Do’s and Do Not’s,” Twilight called, pulling a book from the shelf. Both unicorns scrutinized the pages as Twilight flipped through them. “Dinner!” Twilight read the chapter title. “Do Nots: For your first date, stay away from leafy greens, corn on the cob, or any food that may get stuck in your teeth. Everypony will agree that it’s very unattractive.”

“Hmm... that leaves salad off the menu, then. Nothing with seeds, either. Does it have anything against cucumber sandwiches? That’s a traditional picnic food. You can’t go wrong with soup, either. Acrylic knows not to slurp, and Torchwood must have refined manners if he works for a pony invited to the gala. Fluttershy makes a fantastic carrot soup for her sick animal friends. That wouldn’t get stuck in your teeth. But how do you take soup to a picnic dinner?”

“Also stay away from foods that leave a lasting odor; cheese, garlic, onion, etc.,” Twilight went on. “Tip: choose a familiar restaurant or food you know your date will love.”

“Oh!” Rarity squealed. “I don’t know anything about the foods Torchwood likes! I normally would never agree to this, but I think perhaps it’s time to set Rainbow loose with a spying assignment.”

“Rarity...” Twilight warned.

“But what if we serve them something he’s allergic to? How foolish that would look! Acrylic thinks he’s setting the whole thing up!”

“What?”

“Oh, don’t worry; he’s in on it.”

“If he’s in on it, why don’t we just ask him?”

“Oh... that does make more sense, doesn’t it?” she blushed.

“YOU GUYS!”

“Pinkie?”

“There’s a new pony in town! Quick! You have to help me set up a welcoming party!”

“No parties today, Pinkie,” Rarity warned.

“Why not?” Pinkie whined. So the two unicorns explained the situation, Pinkie’s eyes growing bigger and bigger each second with excitement. “YES! I love surprise parties!”

“Not a surprise party, Pinkie. This is a romantic surprise dinner. No streamers, and certainly no balloons.”

“Ooooooooh,” Pinkie gasped. “I’ll get the chocolates! What? You can’t go wrong with chocolates!”

“Pinkie, that’s surprisingly a great idea!”

“I’ll take care of the decorations,” Rarity declared.

“I’ll keep everypony organized. Let’s see, Rarity’s doing decorations, Pinkie’s getting candy, Applejack has the dessert, Fluttershy’s cooking, Rainbow is going to find this... Torchwood, was it? to get dinner orders. But you do realize that we have to actually get them all to agree, first?”

“I’m sure they’ll all be more than willing to help. Let’s just keep this hush-hush, agreed?”

“Cross my heart and hope to fly, stick a cupcake in my eye,” they chanted in unison.

As Rarity had predicted, they were all more than happy to oblige. Rarity returned to the Carousel Boutique to prep the decor, Pinkie gathered the best chocolates she could find, Twilight gave Fluttershy a hoof with the soup appetizer, Applejack decided apple pie was more romantic than a cobbler, and Rainbow flew overhead in search of the mysterious stallion Torchwood. He seemed to have fallen off the face of Equestria! The pegasus couldn’t find him anywhere! She even checked Art Life to see if he’d paid Acrylic a visit between now and dinner, but he was nowhere to be found. He hadn’t chickened out and returned to Vanhoover, had he? She narrowed her eyes at the thought of her friend being stood up. Not on her watch, he didn’t!

She zoomed in the direction of Vanhoover as quick as she could. Most ponies, even pegasi would take a train, but she didn’t have time to waste. Her flight would shave off only a little of the time, but at least she didn’t have to wait for the train to come back into the station. Rainbow thought back to Acrylic’s blubbering the week following the gala. What had she said Graphite’s gallery was called? The Painted Page? It sounded right. She stopped and asked for directions several times before finding the extravagant building right in the middle of Vanhoover. No wonder this guy had been invited to the gala! He must be the most prestigious artist in the whole city, by the looks of this place! She entered the gallery, though it looked more like a museum.

“Can I help you?” a receptionist lazily asked.

“I’m looking for a pony called Torchwood,” Rainbow told her.

“Mr. Sketch’s personal assistant?” The receptionist peeled off her glasses in curiosity.

“Yeah. He’s got a date tonight, and I can’t find him anywhere! I’ve gotta make sure he’s not chickening out. Oh, and I need his dinner order.” The disbelieving receptionist pointed to the doorway on the far side of the room.

“That’s Mr. Sketch’s office. I don’t know where Torchwood is, but if anypony knows, he will.”

“Thank you.” Rainbow headed for the office, barely stopping to knock at the door.

“Come in,” Graphite Sketch sarcastically invited, seeing he already had a visitor. He swiveled in his rolling chair to slide out from behind the desk. “How can I help you?”

“I’m looking for your assistant, Torchwood,” Rainbow flatly stated. She gave this guy the death glare; Acrylic reported poorly on his treatment of others he viewed ‘below him.’

“That incapable butler? What business could you possibly have with him?” Graphite huffed, walking indignantly by to pour himself a cup of tea.

“He’s got to be somewhere tonight, and I can’t find him anywhere,” Rainbow gritted her teeth. “I’m just trying to make sure he hasn’t got cold hooves.”

“Well, you’re out of luck. That colt has a history of skipping out on other ponies, at least in my experience. Always running out in the middle of a meeting or just not showing up at all.”

“Look, could you just tell me where he is?”

“I’m afraid I don’t know. I sent him off to Ponyville this morning to deliver a package to Miss Acrylic, one of my finest suppliers. He hasn’t come back since.”

“Could you tell me where he lives? Maybe he went home early.”

“I hope for his sake that he hasn’t. He already owes me three double shifts! Here’s the address. Make sure he reports back in, if he’s there.” Graphite gave her a good looking over. “Wait just one moment. You’re Rainbow Dash, are you not? Acrylic did a fine job on your portrait. I’ve put in a good word with the Wonderbolts for you, young lady.” Rainbow almost stopped in her tracks at the chance to gloat or even just talk about her all time heroes. For Acrylic’s sake, she kept going out of his office. It was five already. She had to get Torchwood back on the 6 o’ clock train in time for his dinner date.

The address given to her by Graphite led the blue pegasus to a run-down apartment building. The bricks were cracked, and mortar was missing or peeling in some places, but the ponies were friendly enough. An elderly earth pony was more than happy to direct her to Torchwood’s floor. He was on the top level in room 50 G. He was on the outer wall; the ones with balconies, she said. Rainbow took one look up at the spiraling, rickety stairwell.

“Forget this,” she muttered, returning outside. Taking to the air, she flew around the building in search of 50 G. Unfortunately, there were no room numbers on the outside. Still, only one of the balconies had an open window, so she lighted down there. It was not in fact a window, but a glass door. She knocked gently on the pane, but nopony came to the door. “Hello? Anypony home?” The loud clanging of metal from what appeared to be the bathroom greeted her. “Sorry, I didn’t mean to startle you. Ya know, you’re balcony door is open. But... since I’m here, do you think you could tell me where a pony named Torchwood lives? Dead silence ensued. “Hey, are you okay in there?” she called again.

“Go away,” the pony inside demanded.

“Come on, pal, help me out here. You know Torchwood?”

“Of course I know him. He’s me.”

“You’re Torchwood? What are you doing here? You’ve got a date in two-and-a-half hours!”

“I know. Somepony named Rarity told me to leave everything to her, so I came home to get ready. Now would you please leave me alone? I’ll be there.”

“Well, you better hurry up, pal. You’ve got half an hour until the next train to Ponyville. So unless you’re suddenly going to sprout wings and fly the whole way, you’d better make that train. Got it? I won’t let you stand my friend up.”

“Okay,” the exasperated voice came.

“Oh, but I still need to know what you want for dinner.”

“What?”

“Your dinner! My friends are cooking, but they don’t know what the main course is.”

“Oh, I don’t know... whatever Acrylic likes.”

“Well... I know she likes geranium sandwiches.”

“That’s fine.” Rainbow waited by the door for him do come out, but the stallion never appeared. She heard the occasional cracking, letting her know somepony was still inside. What was that? Could he be stepping on something? She sure had made him spill, but what he spilled was still a mystery.

“Would you come out of there? No stallion I know takes this long to prep for a date.” She flew over and opened the door herself. A tall brown stallion with a black and blond mane stood, still tangled in a toppled shower curtain. A few decorative marbles had clattered to the floor from a copper bowl on the sink. No, not marbles. Mints? That would explain the crunching. “Oh, did I do that?” Rainbow sheepishly grinned. “Here, let me help.”

“No! Just leave!” he demanded. This time, Rainbow didn’t argue.

“Sorry.” She shut the door, sagging against it with a deep breath. That hadn’t gone quite as smoothly as she’d hoped. “Just... don’t miss your train.” With that, she zipped out before she could cause any more trouble.