• Published 13th Sep 2014
  • 5,637 Views, 257 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?

  • ...

Chapter 15: Torchwood

Chapter 15

I anxiously watched the clock. It had to be slow. I had to wait an eternity just for the minute hand to tick once.

“Ugh!” I finally flopped on my bed. Maybe Rarity’s was working properly. I couldn’t be late for my first date! I made a dash for the Carousel Boutique, taking care to keep myself ‘presentable,’ as Rarity put it. “Rarity?”

“Acrylic!” Several levitated items suddenly dropped. “W-what are you doing here? I thought you were getting ready for your big night!”

“I am ready. What time is it? do you know?”

“It’s only six, dear.”

“Oooh,” I groaned. “Why does time crawl when you need it to speed up?”

“Beats me. Now, off you go. Maybe you should have a hooficure down at the spa before dinner, yes?” I found myself being pushed outside.

“But...” I protested.

“Ah, ah! Go on, now. You look so frazzled, a spa treatment will do you wonders. You don’t want Torchwood to see you stressed, darling, believe me.”

“Well, I guess...” I really didn’t feel like a spa trip at a time like this.

“Excellent! Off you go!” The door was suddenly slammed in my face. I still didn’t want to go to the spa. Maybe I could help Twilight reshelve books or something first. That would give me work until it was time that wouldn’t effect my appearance. It would also soothe my nerves.

“Twilight?” I knocked on the library door, only to have it creak open. Only Spike and Twilight’s pet owl Owlowiscious remained. He looked up from a comic book to greet me.

“Oh, hey, Acrylic. Haven’t seen you in a while,” he casually called.

“Hey, Spike. Is Twilight home?”

“She and Fluttershy are in the kitchen,” he jabbed a claw.

“Thanks.” I nudged open the door blocking off the smaller room to find the two cooking something. It smelled heavenly, whatever it was. “Guys?”

“Acrylic!” they both spun, trying desperately to cover up their work.

“W-what are you doing here?” Twilight asked, not a sheepish but a sly grin creeping onto her face.

“I’m just so anxious for tonight, I need to keep my mind busy. I wondered if I could help with anything.”

“And what are you so anxious for, huh?” Twilight almost teasingly pried.

“Well... I’ve, uh... got...” I mumbled the last bit.

“What’s that? I didn’t quite catch you,” Fluttershy pried. I knew she was teasing me, because we usually had to tell her to speak up.

“I’ve got...” I mumbled again, playing along.

“One more time,” Twilight gleefully put in.

“I’VE GOT A DATE TONIGHT!” I squealed.

“Aww,” they both cooed.

“How cute!”

“Who’s the lucky stallion?”

“Remember the one I met at the gala? Not Graphite Sketch, but his assistant?”

“How could we forget?” Spike grouchily put in from the corner. “You talked about him for a week afterwards!” I blushed. Had I?

“Well... it’s him. Torchwood.”

“Aww,” they both sighed again.

“I’m meeting him tonight at eight for dinner. Now can I please have some work until then? What are you cooking? Can I help?”

“No!” they both exclaimed.

“I mean...” Twilight recovered, “I think Spike could use some help running errands, if you really want to help with something.”

“I could?” Spike exclaimed. It was news to him. Twilight elbowed him, causing the baby dragon to jump. “Oh, yeah. I could.”

“Great. It’s settled, then. You both can go out and run some errands. There’s some bits on the front desk. Spike, would you go get the shopping list?” I stumbled out to fetch the pouch, but Spike was held back another minute. I narrowed my eyes. They were up to something.

“Spike? You coming?”

“Of course! Be right there!” It took him another minute to run out with a long scroll streaming out behind him. I shook my head, and followed.

I spent most of the afternoon running errands to keep myself busy. When the clock struck seven, I was back home double and triple checking my appearance. I wasn’t sure if I should leave my mane as it was or fix it some other way. Should I wear my hat? Or maybe I could get Rarity to fix it in bows like she did the night of the gala. When I went over to her shop, she’d already left. This left me to fix it myself, and after several failed attempts, finally resolved to hide under my hat. By that time, it was seven fifty. Better early than late, right? I went ahead and left for the park.

I guess Torchwood had the same idea. The stallion was already waiting at the top of the hill, a beautiful arrangement in place. The few surrounding trees were wrapped in twirling ribbons, branches topped off with bows. Torchwood sat on a red and white checked blanket with a picnic basket at his side. Plates, cups and bowls were already set out. A candle stuck out from a bowl of what I later learned to be chocolates to provide some illumination against the already dimming sky.

He smiled upon eyeing me, and stood. I smiled back, and continued up the slope.

“I’m so glad you came,” he began, taking a seat again.

“I wouldn’t miss it for the world.” Neither of us were sure what needed saying next, so Torchwood reached into the basket and presented a thermos of soup, a sealed water pitcher, and two geranium sandwiches. My favorite! He expertly poured our glasses and ladled the carrot soup without spilling a drop. I guess he performed similar duties for Graphite as the butler.

“Thanks,” I said as he finished pouring.

“Of course.” I awkwardly dipped the spoon into the bowl, unaccustomed to using silverware. I usually ate right from the bowl. Since he’d set them out, though, I used it. I finally achieved a sip without dribbling. It was good! I looked over to tell him so, only to find him busily sipping from his bowl. With one disgusted look back at the spoon, I set it aside.

“The soup is wonderful,” I commented.

“I’m glad you like it,” he said, looking up. He turned his attention to the sky so as not to stare. I looked with him. “Beautiful, isn’t it?”

“Quite,” I sighed, breathing in the cool air. “Most ponies don’t think of Celestia and Luna as artists, but they are. They just use a different kind of canvas. Even the finest oils can’t capture the majesty of the real thing.” Even on date night, I found myself bringing art into the conversation. I was sure he got enough of that as it was, but he didn’t seem to mind. He even joined in on the subject.

“Mr. Sketch doesn’t seem to think so. He orders only the finest paints. According to him, they make his work look ‘more realistic than the real thing.’” I laughed at the quote. He smiled as well. “Personally, I can’t tell a difference between the fine paints and the regular ones. Of course, I’m not much of an artist, either.”

“The most expensive isn’t necessarily the best,” I agreed.

“You’re living proof to that statement. Don’t tell Mr. Sketch I said this, but your pieces are far better than his. That’s why they keep selling out.”

“I have a hard time believing that,” I blushed. “Graphite is such a prestigious artist... how did he get where he is now if he doesn’t turn out exceptional work?”

“The same way everypony does. He knew somepony.” I nodded. Sadly, that was true. “So, how’s your business been since your work was featured at The Painted Page?”

“I have been getting a lot more orders recently,” I admitted. “Most are just mail orders, but it keeps me busy.” He nodded, and silence ensued. “What about you? How’s work?”

“No worse than usual,” he finally answered. He had nothing better to say about it.

“But how do you like it?”

“It pays the bills.” He was still avoiding the question.

“You don’t?” He guiltily looked at me, hoping I wouldn’t tell Graphite. I zipped my lips in a promise to keep quiet. “Hey, I get it. I see the way he treats you. So my only question is why do you even stick around?” He sighed.

“There’s no other work in Vanhoover. I was just a nopony wandering the streets when Graphite approached me with an offer. He was just starting out at the time, and needed somepony, anypony to lend a hoof around his studio. He was nice enough back then. Not so self-centered, you know. When his business took off, though...” he shrugged. “What can I say? Fame and fortune changes even the best of us.”

“Well, if you ever get tired of the big city, Ponyville will always welcome a new friendly face,” I half-jokingly offered.

“Is that so?” The look in his eyes told me that he was seriously considering it.

“Always,” I hopefully affirmed. He sagged.

“Mr. Sketch would never go for it.”

“Graphite signs your paychecks, sure, but he can’t tell you how to live your life!”

“You don’t understand... he’s got dirt on me.”

“What is it? Torchwood? You can tell me anything.”

“Not this, I’m afraid.”

“Alright,” I consented. “But if you change your mind, you know where to find me.” We’d barely touched our dinners, but I felt awful for making him look so shame faced. What could be eating at him? Did he have a criminal record or something? I couldn’t have cared. I’d never think less of him.

“Do I smell pie?” I asked, trying to change the subject. He eagerly took the bait, perking up at once.

“Apple,” he affirmed, pulling it out. I offered my plate as he cut me a piece, but looking over his shoulder, I noticed a stetson poking out from a bush. I chose to ignore it and enjoy the rest of my evening.

“Acrylic! How’d your date go?” All six of my friends entered my shop first thing in the morning. I sighed in content.

“Wonderful! But you already know that, don’t you?”

“I... don’t know what you’re talkin’ ‘bout,” Applejack declared.

“Oh, please! I know for certain you were there. Bushes don’t wear stetsons, but you do.”

“Oops,” the cowgirl winced. The rest of them glared at her, telling me that they were all there too.

“And those decorations? That’s your style, Rarity.”

“Aww,” Rarity disappointedly groaned, having been found out.

“Look, Acrylic...”

“Thank you all.”


“Thank you. I know you all played a part. You tried so hard to make sure I had the perfect night! And I did, so thank you.”

“Aww,” Pinkie sniffed, eyes watering with happy tears as they all moved in for a group hug. Realizing she was missing out, Pinkie jumped right into the middle of us. We landed in a heap, laughing and giggling. After that day, my mane seemed to return to its bright blue color.