• 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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All's Quiet in Canterlot

The citizens of Canterlot were kept in their homes for a full day, which—given the seriousness of the guards the night it happened—seemed somewhat underwhelming. The sun rose to banish the night, the guards informed them that all was well, and life returned to normal. It was almost as if nothing had happened at all, and that feeling was more unnerving than the initial panic.

Nopony talked about the events outright, but, of course, the citizens of Canterlot were experts at gossip. The sun had hardly reached its zenith on the day of its return before Velvet came home with conflicting news.

"So," Velvet said as she walked through the door and shut it behind her, "it seems that either a new alicorn appeared and foalnapped the princess, or the princess turned into an evil alicorn. Either way, everypony seems to agree that there was an evil alicorn involved."

Velvet pranced into the kitchen, continuing, "And the guard tried to rescue her, or turn her back, or whatever, but some other ponies beat them to it and became heroes. Or some ponies got in the way of the guards but Princess Celestia defeated the alicorn herself." She paused to scan the contents of their fridge.

"What?" Crystal blinked. "That doesn't make any sense."

Velvet shrugged lightly. She picked up an apple and said around a mouthful of the fruit, "I'unno, I jus' tellin' you wha' I heard a'prac'ice."

"You clearly need better sources." Crystal sighed and got up off the floor, walking over to the window and peering out into the city of Canterlot. "Did anypony know if Ponyville is all right?" she asked softly.

"You mean if Horsey is all right?" Velvet nodded. "Other than Princess Celestia supposedly disappearing, nopony talked about anything really happening in Ponyville. From what I can tell, it got blown way out of proportion." She resumed eating her apple.

Crystal breathed in through her teeth. "We should go to visit her, then."

"I figured you'd say that." Velvet smiled and walked into her room. She called over her shoulder, "You should go pack an overnight bag. I don't think either of us want to make it a quick visit!"

Horsey looked at both of them with tears in her eyes. "Gosh, I'm so happy to see both of you! It was so scary!"

"Yeah." Velvet glanced at their cheerful surroundings. "So, about that. What exactly happened? Everything seems fine here."

Horsey hesitated a moment. She glanced around as well, though more nervously than Velvet. Without a word, she waved for the two to follow her, leading them into the restaurant proper and up the stairs to the living quarters above. For how modern and sleek the downstairs was decorated, the upstairs was much more rustic, as if straight out of the idyllic Prench countryside. Or, at least, what Crystal had seen of Prance in magazines, anyway.

Horsey sighed after she shut the door to her bedroom behind them. "Okay, so here's what happened."

Velvet and Crystal set down their overnight bags and turned all of their attention on Horsey. "Yes?" they asked together.

Horsey sat on her haunches, twiddling her hooves. "We all gathered for Princess Celestia to be introduced and to raise the sun, but she wasn't there. Then, a strange alicorn appeared, talking on and on about the night lasting forever and her rightful place after a thousand years or something."

"Then?" they both leaned in.

Horsey shrugged rather meekly. "Then she left. The guards that were there, some of the pegasus ones flew to Canterlot while the rest stayed to urge us back to our homes. I don't know much else, but everypony here is talking about Princess Celestia's student, Twilight Sparkle, having something to do with the return of Princess Luna."

"Princess Who?" Crystal tilted her head and furrowed her brow.

Velvet rolled her eyes. "Oh my gosh, Crystal, do you seriously not pay attention in Equestrian History?"

"No?" she responded flatly, returning the eyeroll. "It's never really mattered—well, up until now, I suppose."

"She's Princess Celestia's sister," Horsey explained. "She was banished to the moon a thousand years ago. And now she's back."

Crystal was silent while Velvet and Horsey talked, her gaze wandering the room. Princess Celestia had a sister? She'd have to get her hooves on that history textbook sooner rather than later. "Where—" she started to ask but cut herself off. "No, Raven probably would know more, actually."

"Huh?" Horsey blinked. "What about Raven?"

Crystal waved off the question dismissively. "When we get back to Canterlot, I'm going to try to get an appointment with Raven. If anypony knows exactly what's going on, it'd be her." Her gaze refocused on Horsey and she smiled. "I know I already said it when we got here, but I'm really, really glad to see you."

Velvet nodded and hooked a foreleg around Horsey's neck. "She cried," she whispered loudly.

Crystal snorted. "Hey! You cried, too!"

Horsey smiled and hugged Velvet, then pulled away from her to hug Crystal next. "It's okay. I cried when I thought we were going to—"

"Nope!" Velvet shook her head. "Everything turned out all right, so let's not talk about it anymore. Hey, Horsey, do you think you could sneak some sweets up here from downstairs?"

"You want me to steal from my own job?" She looked at Velvet with one brow raised.

"No, not at all," Velvet said, pulling away and waving her hooves. "I want you to steal for your best friends from your own job. It sounds better that way."

Crystal laughed. Her horn lit up, raising bits from her bag and floating them over to Horsey. Pale blue magic overtook pink and she dropped her focus. "There. Now it's not stealing, right?"

Velvet giggled and, while Horsey got up and left to go downstairs, threw her hoof to her forehead and exclaimed in a dramatic way, "I'm surrounded by ponies with morals!"

It proved rather difficult to find time in Raven's schedule for a visit. She had returned Crystal's letter with an ominously short reply of "I'll be in touch." The week was nearly over when it became evident why she had heard nothing since from the mare.

"Do you think Princess Celestia is gathering us about what happened at the Celebration?" Velvet whispered to Crystal as the two walked side by side toward the castle courtyard, along with the rest of Canterlot's citizens.

Crystal shrugged her shoulders in a mid-step gesture, her gait unchanging. "What else could it be?" she whispered back. "If it really was the return of an alicorn, then that would be the first thing I'd have a large, public address regarding."

They filed into the courtyard with the rest of the ponies and awaited Celestia's arrival. They didn't have to wait long before the princess stepped out onto the balcony and was welcomed with a swell of cheers that she quieted by raising one hoof.

"Thank you all for gathering here today," she began, her soft yet unwavering voice falling upon them like a gentle rain. It was cool, calming, and steady. "As many of you already know, this year's Summer Sun Celebration was interrupted by a mare known as Nightmare Moon."

There was a sudden buzzing of raised voices that echoed against the courtyard and castle walls, but her hoof raised again and they fell to a soft murmur.

"The forces of disharmony that once consumed her have been banished. Princess Luna has returned to her rightful place of rule beside me."

No hesitation or pause followed her words. Everypony cheered and stomped their hooves against the stone and the grass. Though they couldn't see it from their position below the balcony, the smile on Celestia's lips could be heard in her voice as she finished her address.

"Thank you all for gathering here today," she repeated in an even more sincere tone than before. "I request—Nay, I beg of you, my little ponies, to welcome my beloved sister, your Princess of the Night, home after a thousand years."

The stomping and cheering rose into the air again and Celestia waved before she turned and walked back into the castle.

"Wow! So there really are going to be two princesses from now on. How cool is that?" Velvet started to prance out of the courtyard, but stopped when she noticed Crystal wasn't following her. "Crystal?"

Crystal flashed a smile at her. "Head on home without me. I'm going to try to find Raven." She turned and walked against the flow of the crowd, toward the castle. "Hello!" she chirped at the guards standing outside the main doors. "Is the castle open to the public yet?"

One of the guards shook his head. "No, ma'am."

"I see." She flicked her tail. "What about the castle gift shop?"

The same guard nodded. "That is open, ma'am."

"That will have to do. Thank you!" She trotted away from the main doors and over to a building that adjoined the castle, but had a separate entrance.

The castle gift shop was busier than usual, to no surprise. Ponies that worked in the castle were shuffling about, restocking shelves with new merchandise. All of what they were unloading that Crystal could see was dark midnight blue in color: mugs that read 'I Love the Night' and hats that featured crescent moons prominently on the front.

This only got Crystal more excited and curious. "Hello!" She approached one of the staff. "I'm looking for Raven. We were supposed to have lunch together, but what with Princess Celestia's address, I'm afraid I can't find her."

"Really? She's been so busy lately that I didn't know she even had lunch anymore." The stallion chuckled and set the box down he had been unpacking. "I'll inform her that she's forgotten her lunch date."

Crystal smiled as sweetly as she could. Guards were such sticklers for rules and regulations; castle staff that worked in a mere gift shop, however, were much more compliant with a mare who smiled.

She waited long enough to make up her mind on buying a few pieces of Princess Luna merchandise the next time she came to the gift shop, especially a couple of the mugs. They were large and of good quality, so she was sure they'd be great for hot cocoa in the slowly upcoming winter season.

"Crystal?" Raven asked as she approached. Her voice was somewhat strained as she continued, "We don't have a lunch date."

Crystal offered a sheepish grin. "I know, but I really need to talk to you, Rav."

Raven flushed and glanced around them. "Crystal! We're in public. I'm Raven, thank you very much." She cleared her throat. "I don't have time for lunch, but you're welcome to follow me if you are able to walk and talk." She turned and made her way right back out of the gift shop.

Crystal hurried to catch up with and walk alongside her. The sheepish grin turned somewhat playfully coy. "You let him call you Rav. I heard it last time the four of us went to dinner."

Raven's white coat showed her increasing blush. "Crystal!"

"Okay, okay." She giggled and had a small skip in her step before she looked at Raven with a serious expression. "What is the true story behind Luna's return?"

"Princess Luna's return is not something I am at leisure to discuss at length." Raven nodded to a pair of guards that held open a door for them. "Could you not consult with your local librarian on this matter?"

"I don't want to know the past, Raven. I'm interested in the present. I want to know who she is, not who she was. I—" She swallowed dryly. "I can't explain it other than I'm infatuated with the idea of her. Poetic Pen writes short stories featuring sun princesses exclusively. I've never read one of a beautiful, mysterious princess of the night."

Raven shot her an almost suspicious glance. "You want to write a romance novel about Princess Luna?"

Crystal was quick to dismiss the notion, waving both of her forehooves. "No, no, I just—I want to know more about her so I can consider the idea of writing a romance novel about a princess like her."

Raven's expression grew more distrustful. She paused to give some papers to a mare behind a desk. Crystal similarly paused to look around, having not even noticed they had walked into an office.

Once they were back out in the main hallway, Raven said in a low voice, "Are you attempting to capitalize on the return of Princess Luna to bolster your career?"

Crystal rubbed her temple and shook her head. "No, I just—augh! All right, could you make time to meet over dinner? It appears that no, I cannot walk and talk."

Raven came to a halt halfway down the hall and turned to face Crystal. She eyed her up and down before she relented with a sigh. "I'm sorry. I'm under a lot of stress right now with the princess's return. Until Princess Luna finds one herself, I am serving as aide to both princesses. Despite the addition of only one more princess to my care, it's more than doubled my usual workload. But—Perhaps, dinner would be nice. The four of us, or just you and me?"

Crystal smiled. "Oh, Velvet and I would never turn down the chance to have dinner with your—" She glanced around to see who was near. "—special somepony involved. He always pays." She giggled.

That made Raven smile briefly. "I will let him know that we will make time for dinner tomorrow night. Is that acceptable?"

"Okay!" She stepped forward, then paused. "Oh, wait, is hugging not allowed for you while you're in business mode?"

Raven said nothing, but she did raise one foreleg and gestured her closer with a half-smile. Crystal embraced her, then trotted toward the nearby main doors and out into the courtyard.

Le Bernardin had a reputation for being at the top of Canterlot's fine dining list. It was also conveniently close to the palace, making it the go-to for dinners with Raven. They didn't get together for dinner often, so when they did, Crystal didn't feel too terribly guilty about eating at such an expensive place on somepony else's bit. It also helped ease the conscience when the food was beyond phenomenally good.

Velvet could hardly keep from drooling at the smells that filled the restaurant while they waited for Raven and her stallion to arrive. They would be discreet as always; Raven was still fiercely protective of her image and how it could affect Princess Celestia.

"You're sure she said tonight, right?" Velvet looked around, her ears twitching to and fro. "Because we can't afford to eat here, but I'm not leaving without getting my hooves on some mushroom risotto."

"I'm sure." Crystal giggled. "She'll be here any—oh!" She sat up straight in her seat. "There they are!"

Raven approached them in her off-hours 'disguise'. Her mane was down and she was wearing a different pair of glasses than normal. Knowing her for as long as Crystal had, it was easy to recognize her, but a passing glance would hardly discern who she was.

"I'm sorry we're late," Raven said in a quiet voice. "I just—Well, things became busy, and—"

"You always apologize, dear," the light blue stallion beside her coaxed, putting a hoof on her shoulder. "We've all been friends for too long to warrant so many apologies." He smiled down at her, then over at Crystal and Velvet. "Good evening, ladies."

"Good evening, Sir Pony Moore," Velvet said in an airy voice. "It's always so wonderful to see you!"

Sir Pony Moore chuckled and took the seat beside Raven. "Charmed, as always." He inclined his head, raised a hoof, and flagged down the nearest waiter. "A round of Chardonnay for myself and these lovely ladies, if you please, my good sir."

The waiter nodded and walked away.

Moore returned his attention to the mares across from him. "And for what reason do I owe the honor of dining with you two tonight?"

"Crystal wants to talk about the recent castle events, and Velvet wants the mushroom risotto," Raven answered for them, smiling.

Velvet nodded without a hint of shame. "Yup! I'm just here for the food."

Moore hooked his hooves and rested his snout on them. "The recent castle events, hmm? That sounds like a conversation for you and Crystal." His gaze flickered to Velvet. "I suppose that leaves us to fend for ourselves."

"That leaves you to fend for yourself, you mean." Velvet leaned back in her seat. "I can sit here and think about what I'm going to have for dessert until the waiter gets back by myself just fine."

Moore laughed softly while Raven stared expectantly at Crystal.

"Okay," Crystal started. She placed her hooves on the table and leaned in. "I'm completely without inspiration. Everything I try to write, when I reread it, is flat and without feeling. There was so much emotion behind The Mare's Temptation that I'm not sure if I can match it."

Crystal gave a serious frown, as if they were discussing their health or finances, and continued, "But something draws me to Princess Luna. I feel like—It's as though I am trapped in darkness, and her beautiful moonlight has shone down to reveal that it is not darkness at all, but a mysterious yet alluring night that surrounds me."

Flushing as she felt all their eyes on her, Crystal drew a small circle with her hoof against the white tablecloth. "It sounds strange, I understand, but I want to put that feeling into a story."

Moore broke the silence with a clap of his hooves. "How wonderful! Rav, weren't you just complaining that the castle has become mad with trying to promote and heighten Princess Luna's image? This would be a perfect opportunity for both of you, would it not?" He smiled at his mare.

Raven tried not to look at him, but she couldn't help it. She stole one glance into his blue eyes and quickly turned her head away, as if burned. "I—I do agree, but what if it backfires? What if—" She cut herself off, sighed, and looked across the table. "I read your interview in Wanderlust. I know you're struggling with finding a new idea."

Crystal dropped her gaze, unable to reply.

"What if you pounce on this idea out of desperation and it backfires? Crystal, if you ruined your career, I wouldn't forgive myself for allowing you to write such a thing." Raven reached over and placed her hoof on Crystal's.

Velvet cleared her throat. "You know, she is really good at writing."

Moore nodded. "Quite right. I think this is just the thing Canterlot needs. After all, word on the grapevine is that even with the castle's efforts, including Princess Celestia's address, ponies are still unnerved by the recent events."

"I can—No, I want to write this." Crystal offered a timid grin. "I am not fully aware of what 'this' is just yet, but I can feel it in my soul. The bright romance of the sun princess is losing its luster."

Crystal's grin shifted into a soft smile. "After all, is not night the hour of lovers? A rendezvous of hidden passion occurs under the watchful but silent gaze of the stars. We meet tonight under the veil of night for the sake of privacy. The night is truly the most romantic thing of all."

Raven's resolve faltered and she relented with a slow shake of her head. "All right, all right. It's hard to argue with you when you're like this."

"She's pretty much impossible to deal with when she's set her mind on something," Velvet added, giggling.

Moore glanced between the three of them. "Then it's settled?" When they nodded, he smiled. "Wonderful! To celebrate, tonight's dinner is on me!"

"Dinner is always on you, dear," Raven said and laughed softly.

"Ah, true." He sighed. "That does somewhat lessen the impact of the celebration, doesn't it?"

Crystal raised the dessert menu and glanced it over, mumbling, "That said, you could offer to buy us each two desserts. To celebrate, of course."

Moore's smile returned in full force. "Two desserts it is!"

While they waited for and then enjoyed their meals, the conversation wandered to lighter topics. They discussed Velvet's budding ballet career as well as Moore's business in stock trading. The former was much easier to digest than the latter, which was met with slow nods and confused smiles. After their double course of dessert, the four of them left the restaurant to part ways in their respective pairs, but Raven hesitated.

"I'll be right behind you, Moore," Raven said over her shoulder. He nodded, waved farewell to them, and walked away. She turned her head back to Crystal and Velvet. "Thank you for pestering me into coming out tonight."

"Thank you for agreeing to help me with my next novel once I decide exactly what it will be." When Raven opened her mouth to interject, Crystal spoke over her. "I know, I know. I must handle the situation with great care given the circumstances." She raised a hoof and dismissed the concerns. "I will send you the premise as soon as I have one."

Raven smiled. "I look forward to it. Good night, Crystal." Her gaze shifted Velvet. "And good night to you, as well. It was nice to see you again."

"Yup! You, too." Velvet waggled her hips to draw attention to the take-out bag balanced on her back. "Thanks for lunch tomorrow!"

Raven laughed a soft but earnest laugh and trotted off to catch up with Moore. Crystal bumped her shoulder to Velvet's before starting to walk in the direction of home.

"So, any idea at all what you're going to call this night princess novel?" Velvet asked in between happy little hums for having a happy, full stomach.

"Nope." Crystal sighed and lifted her gaze to the night sky. "But just like Temptation, when it hits me, I'll know it for sure."

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