• Published 17th Nov 2014
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Crystal's Wishes - Crystal Wishes

Crystal Wishes thought she was content just writing about ponies falling in love. While her career takes off, her love life is somewhat... lacking. Can she be happy living vicariously through her stories or will she find her own happily ever after?

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Princess in the Mirror

Crystal drummed her hooves lightly against the table. She looked around the bakery while Horsey enjoyed an oat smoothie. Finally, her gaze landed on the clock on the wall and she sighed.

"Well," Crystal mumbled, "I guess Velvet isn't joining us. Again."

Horsey kept her gaze down, focused on her smoothie. "Oh." There was an awkward pause before she started to slide out of her seat. "I'll just, um, leave, then."

"What?" Crystal looked at her. "We can still hang out without her!"

Horsey gave her an odd look—she almost looked skeptical. "Are you sure?" However, she did climb back into her seat, so there was a silver lining of hope to the skepticism.

"Yeah!" Crystal smiled, but her lips slowly fell into a somber line. "Look, I'm sorry. It was easy when we were kids, but—" She sighed.

Crystal raised her hooves and rested her chin on them, gazing forlornly somewhere indistinct past Horsey as she continued, "I just don't know what to do or say when Velvet's not around. I was so confident as a filly, but I feel like that part of me disappeared somehow, and she's become the confident and outgoing one. I don't really know who I am or how to act anymore around ponies, or around you."

Horsey took this all in with a serious expression before she inclined her head. "Look behind you."

Crystal blinked, then turned her head to look in the direction Horsey was facing. Behind them was a group of fillies, laughing and sharing a cupcake, frosting smeared on their muzzles. She frowned at the sight.

"See? That." Horsey pointed a hoof at her when Crystal turned to look at her again. "You used to act just like them, but now you do that."

"Do what?" Her ears folded back.

Horsey waved her hoof as she spoke. "You've changed. When Velvet slurps her drinks, you wince. When you see somepony chewing with their mouth open, you groan. You—" Her confidence wavered and her voice grew softer. "You're turning into our parents."

The words knocked the wind right out of Crystal's lungs. She had to take a moment to regain her breath and senses. "No." She shook her head, raising her hooves to her forehead. "I'm not! No way! I don't care about those things at all! I—"

Her vision grew blurry and she shook her head again in an attempt to clear her thoughts. She tried to refute the accusations, but a part of her knew, and now she had to acknowledge it. "I can't believe you're right. What's happened to me?"

Horsey carefully moved from her seat to the one between them and put a hoof on Crystal's shoulder. "I'm sorry." Her expression and tone matched her apologetic words. "I know it's not your fault, that our parents do this to us. I just—" She bit her lip. "When it started, and Velvet didn't say anything, I thought I was just being paranoid after what happened with Golden Pants."

Crystal wasn't sure what frightened her most: becoming her mother, or becoming Golden. In all the years since elementary school, Golden had only grown more cold and cruel toward others as she pursued her modeling career. She had even gone so far as to say everypony in their class 'would only drag her down out of jealousy' and hadn't made any friends after High Horse.

Sometimes, Crystal felt bad for her. She must have been lonely.

She shook her head and returned her thoughts to her own situation. Who was she kidding? She was lonely herself, and she was making it worse by keeping her distance from Horsey. Now with Velvet spending less time with her and making new friends, she was going to end up all by herself, just like Golden, unless—

Crystal lifted her gaze. "I write lovey dovey romance stories."

This was evidently—and unsurprisingly—not the revelation Horsey was expecting. She furrowed her brow, tilted her head, and pursed her lips. "Okay?" Then, all at once, she gasped and flung her hooves to her mouth, her eyes wide. "Wait! Is that why—"

"Yeah." Crystal shrank back in slight fear. "That's what Velvet knows, what I've kept a secret from you. Well, from everypony, but more importantly, from you."

Horsey's gaze darted back and forth, only briefly meeting Crystal's before flickering away. Finally, she lowered her hooves and gave her an odd look of muddled confusion. "Why is that a such a big deal to you?"

A blush glowed across Crystal's cheeks. "Because it's embarrassing. Ponies our age are interested in dating around and having a good time, not reading about the hardships and rewards of love. All I can think about is meeting my true love. How silly does that sound?"

Horsey shrugged. "I think—" She paused. "I think, as somepony who also doesn't talk about what I want to do with my life, I can totally understand."

Crystal blinked, then leaned in toward her. "What?" Her eyes widened and she recoiled, a hoof clamping over her mouth. "Oh, Celestia, you're—I've never asked! In all these years, how have I never asked?!"

Horsey giggled and shook her head. "I wouldn't have told you even if you had. I—" She glanced around and lessened the gap between them, lowering her voice. "I want to be a model, like Golden, but I don't want to be lonely and mean, like Golden. So, I'm scared to pursue it."

An excited grin parted Crystal's lips. "You would be great! I've never put it together, but you have a perfect gait when you walk down the halls at school. And I've never seen you trip or stumble, not once!"

It was Horsey's turn to blush. "That's one thing, but being pretty enough to be a model is the problem."

"Oh, don't worry, you have that covered, too." Crystal lifted her spoon and held it up toward Horsey. "See?"

Horsey giggled. "I see a really goofy, stretched out, upside-down pony with eyes the size of her face."

Crystal turned the spoon to look at the same side. Her reflection was scrunched up and stretched out like a funhouse mirror. "Okay, so this isn't the best." She set the spoon down. "Why don't we go to my house? My mom may be overbearing, but she does wonders with makeup. I want to show you something when she's done, but you'll just have to trust me until then."

Horsey mulled it over, then finally shrugged. "Sure, why not?"

They slid out of their seats and, after waving goodbye to Pepper Ridge, trotted out of Sunridge Sweets together.

It wasn't a very long walk, but it was plenty awkward; Crystal didn't know what to say to Horsey, and Horsey had never been a conversation starter.

When they finally arrived and walked through the front door, Crystal called out, "Mom, I'm home."

Upper Crust lifted her head, looking over from where she had been resting on the couch. "Mm? Darling, you're home earlier than I expected." She smiled, noticing Horsey. "Oh, hello there, High Horse." She sat up and straightened her mane. "What a pleasant and wonderful surprise. How is your father?"

"Fine." Horsey glanced at Crystal, a nervous look in her eyes.

Crystal placated her with a brief smile before regaining her composure. "Mom, I need a favor."

Upper Crust's smile softened and she stepped off the couch to walk over. "Yes, darling? What is it?"

Crystal pointed a hoof at Horsey. "Can you give Horsey one of your makeup specials? She doesn't think she's pretty."

"Hey!" Horsey winced. "You didn't have to say that much."

Upper Crust gently laid a hoof on her shoulder, a sparkle in her eyes. "Don't worry, dear. I had to go through the same struggle with Crystal. And now look at her." She paused, glancing her daughter over. "Well, except for her current style of fashion. But you're much more confident now, aren't you, darling?"

"Yeah." Crystal forced a smile. "One of the prettiest mares in all of Canterlot, just like you said."

Her mother frowned. "Only Canterlot? What a shame. Just last week it was Equestria." She shook her head. "No matter. I'll help you later. For now—" She walked over to the stairs. "—come along, High Horse. We have work to do. Crystal, why don't you stay downstairs until we're ready? We can have ourselves a little fashion show."

Crystal giggled and hopped onto the couch. "You'll be just like a model, Horsey!"

"Just like?" Upper Crust poked her head over the railing to raise a stern brow at Crystal. "When I'm done with her, she will be a model, not merely 'just like' one."

Horsey shot Crystal a desperate, uncertain look. She silently mouthed, "Are you sure about this?"

Crystal nodded. She waved her hooves to usher Horsey along. "You'll be fine!" she called just as Horsey vanished up the stairs. She grabbed one of the fashion magazines lying around and spent the time idly looking through it.

By the time she had read through three magazines, Upper Crust came down the stairs. She cleared her throat and raised a hoof.

"Mares and gentlestallions, please divert your attention to Canterlot's up-and-coming star: High Fashion."

Crystal watched with anticipation as Horsey came down the stairs, though she was unable to make anything out through the railing. When Horsey came around the corner, walked a few paces, and struck a pose, Crystal wanted to clap her hooves together, but she was too busy staring.

Horsey was dolled up almost beyond recognition. A special foundation masked her innocent, filly-like freckles, leaving her coat perfectly smooth. Her eyelids were colored with a shimmery silver eyeshadow, and her cheeks had the slightest dark purple hue from blush. A string of white pearls tied her mane into a loose bun, with a white silk lily tucked behind her ear. The dress was pinned together in the back, though she tried to angle herself to hide the excess cloth. From the front, however, it seemed to fit perfectly: a slinky black dress with blue highlights.

"Rawr!" Crystal finally exclaimed, stomping all four hooves in thunderous applause against the couch cushions. "High Fashion for model of the year!" She threw her forehooves in the air. "Ooh! Aah!"

Horsey blushed while Upper Crust stood with her nose raised high in the air. "My work here is done." She dismissed the two with a wave of her hoof as she walked out of the room and into the kitchen.

Horsey fidgeted uncomfortably. "I feel silly."

"But you look amazing." Crystal hopped off the couch and over to her. She grabbed her by the hoof and dragged Horsey right back up the stairs and to her room.

Romantic posters no longer decorated the walls, which were now bare—save for one spot that was home to many small hooks on which various pieces of jewelry were hung with care. The little desk that used to sit across from her bed was replaced by a vanity littered with mane products and accessories.

Crystal led Horsey over to the vanity and stood off to the side, smiling. "Take a look," she said softly.

High Horse lifted her tentative gaze from the floor to her reflection and gasped. "Is that me?!" When Crystal nodded, she stepped closer to the mirror. "That's amazing! You're right, your mother did make me look like a princess!" She turned her head a few different ways, blushing.

"All the models wear makeup. If you ever saw one without it, they look just like you and I normally do." She giggled. "You know that new model that just got her first photo shoot, Fleur?"

"Oh, yeah! Golden's dad took her under his wing. Or, hoof?" Horsey shrugged, then nodded. "She's really, really pretty."

Crystal shook her head, grinning. "I saw her without any of her makeup on a couple weeks ago. She's got a big brown birthmark on her snout that looks kinda like a bug. And she's got really bad acne."

"What?!" Horsey burst out into laughter. "No!"

"Yes!" Crystal laughed with her. "I thought my mom was crazy when she said that Fleur was going to be the next pony that everypony should know!"

Horsey tried to smother her giggling. "But I saw her in an ad in one of my mom's magazines. She's flawless!"

"Her makeup is flawless." Crystal's laughter died down and she smiled again. "You can't just compare yourself to how she looks in magazines if you're not dolled up, too. Trust me, both of you au naturel? You're way prettier than her."

Horsey looked back at her reflection. She angled her head a few different ways, then nodded and raised a hoof to remove the silk lily. "Thank you." She reached out and clipped it into Crystal's mane. "I'll do my best if you do, too."

Crystal glanced at the mirror. The lily was off-center, but she smiled in spite of that—or perhaps because of that. She had to be less caught up in silly things, after all. "Maybe when we're all a little older. I just don't think now is the time for romance stories."

"Why not?" Horsey started to wipe off her makeup with a tissue.

Crystal stared at her, one brow raised. "Are you really interested in reading about a mare finding her true love in the stallion she thought was her greatest enemy?"

Horsey was quiet as she thought the question over. "Hmm. Not really?"

Crystal's ears started to fall. "Exa—"

"But that doesn't mean much. I'm just one pony in our entire school. There are a lot in our class that are really into this Julimare and Romehorse play. I'm sure they'd love to read your work." Her eyes started to widen and she jerked her head to look at her. "What if you started a new club? Authors Anonymous?"

"Authors Anonymous?" Crystal tapped her hoof to her chin, her ears perked back up. "That's kinda catchy. I wonder if the principal would let me make a club this late in the semester?"

Horsey smiled. "What have you got to lose?"

"What have I got to lose?" Crystal laughed softly. She turned her head to look at her bed and pointed. "That's what I said, back when we were fillies. Velvet was pushing me to write a story for Ms. Tutor, and that's when I discovered my cutie mark."

Horsey glanced at the bed, then back at Crystal. Biting her lower lip, she said in a soft, somewhat uncertain voice, "Well, then, maybe it's my turn to be the friend that pushes you?"

Crystal nodded. She paused, thought about it, then nodded again. "What have I got to lose?" She stepped toward Horsey and hugged her. "Let's do our best!" She squeezed a little tighter and added quietly, "Thank you."

Horsey smiled and returned the hug. They remained that way for a while until Crystal stepped back and looked at her reflection in the mirror while Horsey went to the bathroom to wash off the rest of the makeup.

"Prettiest mare in all of Canterlot," she whispered, moving closer to the vanity. "Prettiest mare in all of Canterlot. Prettiest mare." She challenged herself to a staring contest.

Of course, she blinked first and sighed at the defeat. She turned away from the vanity with another small sigh and went over to sit on the bed.

The quill on her bedside table lifted, dipped into the inkwell, and hovered just above a scrap piece of paper. "Let's see." She smiled. "A club for ponies to share their writing with the comfort of anonymity? So they don't have to worry about being judged and can explore new topics. Actually, this is a really good idea."

Nodding to herself, she started to jot down notes for her presentation to the principal. Horsey came back in not long after and quietly sat on the bed beside her, peering over her shoulder, saying nothing.

When Crystal finished writing, they both squealed with excitement and began discussing their plans for success: Crystal with her club, and Horsey with talking to her dad about modeling for his company.

At least for that one evening, the future seemed bright and full of hope.

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