• Published 17th Nov 2014
  • 14,119 Views, 5,459 Comments

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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Tumultuous Revelations

Crystal was startled awake by the sound of the train's whistle blowing, signaling the impending arrival at the Ponyville station. She yawned behind a hoof before she stretched as much as she could while still sitting on the bench in proper form.

The train's momentum slowed, the wheels starting to squeal as the brakes were applied, and soon came to a complete stop. Crystal's magic lifted her luggage into the air and she walked to the nearest exit.

However, something struck her as odd as soon as she reached the end of the station's platform: Horsey wasn't there to greet her like normal. Crystal paused to recall the letter she had sent and was fairly certain she hadn't written the day down wrong. Perhaps the restaurant was busy?

She shrugged and stepped off the platform only to be met with a sickening squish beneath her hoof. She recoiled and looked at the hoof that had touched the wet ground. Brown liquid clung to the feathery tufts on her fetlocks, simultaneously confusing her as well as reminding her that she needed to get them trimmed. It was too watery to be mud, and the skies were perfectly clear.

With a small groan, she tried to shake it off before gingerly stepping down again, doing her best to step where it seemed the driest.

Her attention was distracted from the moistness that invoked continuous whimpers at the unpleasant feeling, however, the closer she got to town. Something was off and, at first, she couldn't put her hoof on it. She thought it was the smell of chocolate in the air, but she disregarded that. Somepony was probably throwing a party. No, it was something else that bothered her, and she had to stop to think about it until—

"Oh, sweet Celestia!" she cried aloud when it finally hit her.

Ponyville was in disarray. Some buildings were missing patches of roofing, some of the gardens were upturned, and everypony in town was trying to clean up the scattered debris. Crystal's eyes widened and she hurried her pace toward Savoir Fare's restaurant. Though a few of the outdoor tables were broken or toppled over, the restaurant itself was still standing and in fairly good condition.

She skidded through the doors and nearly into the wall, her hooves slick with the brown liquid. "Horsey?!" she cried. "Are you okay?!"

The mare in question turned to look at Crystal with wide eyes. "Did you just get here? I'm so sorry! I completely forgot to go to the train station!"

"Forget that!" Crystal lost her focus and her luggage fell to the ground. "What the hay happened to Ponyville?!"

Horsey's expression was muddled at best, some sort of smile that gave up halfway through and fell lopsided. "Have you ever heard of Discord?"

"Discord?" Crystal paused. "As in, a lack of harmony?"

"No, as in, apparently, the spirit of chaos that likes to wreak havoc on little towns." She shifted her weight to her forelegs and bucked a toppled dessert cart upright. "I'm actually kinda surprised that the train still pulled into town. We've been upside-down all day."

Crystal stared at her. She walked closer and put the front of her hoof to Horsey's forehead. "Do you need me to tell Savoir Fare to give you the day off?"

Horsey snorted and waved the hoof away. "Okay, how would you explain the state Ponyville's in, huh?"

Crystal considered a few options, straightening some of the tables and chairs as she pondered. "Rogue weather pony?" she finally offered.

A short bark of a laugh escaped Horsey and she guided the dessert cart outside magically rather than physically, as two of its wheels were broken. "Come on. I have to take this to get it repaired." She glanced at Crystal. "How was Manehattan?"

"Not nearly as interesting as, apparently, your past few days were," Crystal mumbled.

"Day. This all happened today." Horsey shook her head. "At least, I think it only happened today, what with the sun and moon flipping faster than Savoir's pancakes. I don't know what's a worse: bullying from my parents, or waking up to a new disaster each week. The sky was filled with pink clouds that rained chocolate milk.

"Chocolate. Milk. And that's not as fun as it might sound. And just a week ago, Fluttershy and Twilight Sparkle were running all over town chasing a naked chicken or something and upsetting the guards." A low groan rumbled in Horsey's throat. "I know they're the Bearers of the Elements, but they get Ponyville involved in the weirdest stuff."

Crystal was quiet for a while, trying to take it all in. "I don't understand, though. I thought Ponyville was so quaint and quiet and easygoing."

"Tell me about it." The dessert cart bobbed as Horsey's focus wavered in and out. "Well, on the plus side, I've seen more of Princess Celestia than I ever did living in Canterlot. She drops by all the time to check in on the girls and, considering they defeated Discord, I guess they're important enough that it makes sense."

Crystal gave a quick shake of her head. "I don't even know where to begin with questions for all of that!"

Horsey released a long sigh. She dropped her head down low, ears drooping to the sides. "It's okay. I'm not sure I even really want to talk about it. I'd rather hear about how things are going with your new book. You said in your letter that you found a cover artist?"

"Oh! Yes, I did!" This added an extra skip to Crystal's step that she immediately regretted when a hoof landed a little too hard on a wet spot. She winced, but otherwise tried not to react so much that Horsey would laugh at her. "She's extremely talented and not a snob. Those were basically my only two requirements, but she's also…" She trailed off, mouthing a few words to try them out before settling on, "Wonderfully contemptuous."

Horsey stared at her with a furrowed brow. "I'm sure I don't have to tell you that not knowing what that means, it sounds pretty racy."

Crystal snorted. "She mocked a snobbish stallion to his face in ways you and I always dreamed of doing ourselves."

"Oh." Horsey paused, then repeated with more interest, "Oh! So, she's awesome?"

"Yup."

"That's good news, at least," Horsey said, mustering a smile.

The path grew less defined as they neared the outskirts of town. Cresting the hill, a wooden pole barn came into view. It was a faded red color and seemed a little worn down, but stood tall and sturdy nonetheless.

"Do you mind if I come visit you guys in Canterlot for Nightmare Night?" Horsey asked. "With all that's been going on the past few months, I just need a break. I don't know what will happen this time, but I'm sure it won't be normal."

"Sure!" Crystal flashed a smile at her. "I don't think Velvet will mind at all."

Nearing the building, Crystal could finally make out the writing on the sign that hung outside: 'Axel's Wheels and Wagons: Wagon Building and Repair'.

"Axel?" she mused under her breath, shaking her head when Horsey shot her a curious glance.

Her ears perked at the sound of chirping and her attention was drawn to several bird feeders that were set up in the lawn. A notable amount of wild birds were enjoying the free meal and tweeting to all of their friends about it.

"Hey," Crystal said as she looked at Horsey, "does Axel happen to be a big, strong red stallion?"

Horsey blinked. "Um, yes? How did you know and why do you ask?" A grin spread across her face when she noticed Crystal's posture stiffened. "Oh, I see. Well, he is totally your type!" She hopped ahead to beat Crystal to the door, calling out when she entered, "Hey, Axel! I've got two things for you to fix!"

Crystal's eyes went wide and panic overtook her. "Horsey!" she hissed. "Cut it out!"

Horsey giggled as a stallion approached them. His black fetlocks, larger than average build, and white mane confirmed his identity.

"What's broken?" Axel asked in a voice that was even more tired than the bags under his eyes, but he smiled nonetheless. A glance around the interior of the barn revealed the culprit for his exhaustion: numerous broken carts were lined up and waiting for their turn. "I'm a little backed up with work, but I can add it to the…" He trailed off when his gaze landed on Crystal and he froze.

Crystal found herself at an impasse. She had missed her opportunity the first time to discover his eligibility and she certainly didn't want to waste a second chance. However, considering what Ponyville had been through and, more than that, how tired he looked and overworked he was, she finally decided to just smile.

"Their dessert cart broke," she offered in a perfectly cordial manner. "If you could see to fixing it, we would all be appreciative."

Axel hesitated a moment, then nodded. "I'll have it fixed by the end of the day." With a chuckle, he added, "Assuming the day ends when it normally should this time."

"Right?" Horsey rolled her eyes. "This has been absolutely insane. Anyway, thanks, Axel! Just send the bill to Savoir Faire like normal!" She waved and urged Crystal with her outside. Once the door was shut and they were a good few paces away, she groaned, "So, what was wrong with him?"

Crystal stuck out her tongue. "A mare has the right to pick and choose!" She bumped her flank against Horsey's. "There was nothing wrong with him. It is the timing that was wrong. Did you see how many broken carts there were in there? He has other things on his mind, certainly. And besides, he clearly has set up his roots here in Ponyville." She glanced at the barn behind them then looked back ahead. "Mine are in Canterlot."

Horsey gave a heavy sigh, shaking her head. "You know, Velvet and I agreed we wouldn't date anypony until you found your special somepony. Maybe you could consider being a little less picky!"

"You two agreed to what?!" Crystal stared at her with wide eyes. "Why?!"

"Isn't it obvious? Crystal, you've been obsessed with having a coltfriend forever. How would you feel if one of us got one before you?"

Crystal stamped both forehooves. This time she didn't pay any mind to the squelch that followed immediately after. "Isn't it obvious?" she repeated sarcastically. "I'd be happy for you!"

Horsey stopped to stare at her with a stern frown. "You wouldn't be jealous or mopey that you, the most romantic one of the three of us, came in second or even third place?"

"It's not a race!" Crystal rolled her eyes. "Honestly, where did the two of you get an idea like that?"

There was a moment of silence before Horsey said softly, "Well, I don't know, I guess we just got to talking about it and—decided." She looked away, off in the direction of Ponyville. "You really wouldn't be upset by it?"

"Absolutely not." Crystal stepped toward her, suddenly grinning, and cooed, "Does somepony have a crush they've been holding out on?"

At the words, Horsey's face turned a bright shade of red and her ears stood straight up. "What? No! I mean, yes, but not solely because I thought it'd make you sad!"

Crystal squealed and hopped from hoof to hoof. "Oh my gosh, Horsey, I can't believe it! Is it Savoir? Tell me it's Savoir!"

"It's Savoir," Horsey admitted in a quiet voice that squeaked with embarrassment. "I tried really hard not to look at him that way because I'm living with him! I know Ponyville ponies are nice, but everypony gossips. I'm sure there's already lots of gossip about us. And he's several years older than me, and—I don't know—"

Crystal pursed her lips. "Do you really care what other ponies think?" When Horsey said nothing, she shook her head and sighed. "Then surely you care what I think."

This earned a meek nod in response.

"Well, I think you deserve to be happy, regardless of the living situation or age difference. So go get your stallion!"

Horsey shuffled her hooves as she resumed the walk back into town. "Maybe after things calm down," she mumbled. "I'm just not sure if he sees me as anything but an employee."

Crystal winked. "The only way you'll know is if you try."

"Says the mare who didn't ask a hunky stallion if he wanted to go on a date because of roots or whatever," Horsey chided with a playful grin. "Your advice is hardly credible!"

"Oh, that, you—" Crystal sputtered, trying to find her words. "That's totally different! Look, when you come to visit for Nightmare Night, Velvet and I will be prepared with plans to get you in Savoir's spotlight if you aren't already by then."

Horsey tried her best to stay stoic, but a giggle escaped despite her efforts. "Sounds like a plan."

They returned to the restaurant and spent the rest of Crystal's visit putting everything back in order, which was certainly no small feat.

As promised, roughly a week after their first meeting, Crystal returned to the coffee shop. The heavy, bitter aroma poured out like a gust of wind when she opened the door, but she pushed herself to enter. A quick glance around confirmed that, like last time, she had arrived first.

However, unlike the time before, she headed straight for the counter to place her order in advance. Though she was loathe to admit it, she was actually looking forward to another caramel macchiato more than the pseudo-date itself.

"Hello. Good morning. Welcome to SunBucks," a bored voice droned.

"Yes, I'll—" The rest of her words became strangled in her throat when she looked up. "YOU!"

The sage pegasus behind the counter regarded her with a look that spelled out apathy. His brow briefly furrowed. "Me."

Her heart pounded in her chest as a surge of emotions washed over her from the memory of her first date. "How—You—" Words continued to fail her.

The pegasus waited through a few more broken sentence attempts before he asked, "May I take your order, Miss Stranger?"

Though she wanted to reach across the counter and clock him right in the face, the lack of recognition snuffed the fire within her. Her tone was almost defeated as she replied, "Small caramel macchiato. Please."

"Yup. Five bits."

She paid, then skulked over to the pick-up counter. She shot the pegasus a few sour looks as she tried to process that he didn't remember her. Perhaps literally raining on ponies was such a normal thing for him that their encounter was unremarkable. The idea somehow made her even angrier, but when her drink was placed in front of her, she picked it up and went to a seat that took him out of her view. Out of sight, out of mind.

Not long after, Zerox walked in and over to her. Remarkably, his mane was pulled back with a maneband to expose his smiling face. "You were right," he said as he took the seat across from her. "I can do music."

Crystal stirred her coffee. "So what happened?"

"A stallion came in to make copies for a flyer. He was trying to put together a cover band." He rubbed the back of his neck. "I mean, normally, I would have just made the copies without paying attention, but he was talking about it, too, asking if I knew anypony that would be interested. I told him that I was thinking of getting into music, so I went over to his place and, well." He grinned. "I'm going to be a bassist."

"That's wonderful!" She clapped her hooves together. "You don't even need my help finding an instructor, then, do you?"

Zerox shook his head. "Not really. He ran me through a few lessons and I sucked at first. I mean, I still kind of suck. But if I listen to the music, I can—" He paused, then laughed a little nervously at the irony of his next words: "copy it."

Crystal couldn't help a small laugh, either. "Well, you seem a lot happier already, so I'm glad." She paused to sip her drink. "So—"

"We have to break up," he interrupted rather quickly, now not meeting her gaze. "I mean, between the post office job and now my time devoted to learning to play bass, I don't think it's going to work out between us."

Crystal blinked slowly. Her expression flashed through a few samples of the emotions she felt until finally landing on her best effort at a calm smile. "I understand."

He stood. He still didn't look at her directly, but from what she could see he looked earnestly remorseful. "Good luck with your writing, Crystal. Thanks for encouraging me. I'm just sorry it had to end like this." Before she could respond, he turned and left.

Once he was gone, Crystal had to clasp both hooves to her mouth to keep from laughing. "Oh—Oh, Celestia," she muttered between strained gasps for air that shuddered from the effort of holding laughter at bay.

At least she could say that she handled her first break-up with dignity and that it taught her something important: she definitely needed an older stallion that understood how dating worked.

Crystal marched at the head of the small group of herself and her two best friends. Painted Wave had written that the cover was ready for final approval and included her address. Coincidentally, it was ready right when Horsey was visiting to avoid Nightmare Night.

"I'm so glad the timing worked out like this," Horsey said. "I can't wait to see the cover!"

"Me neither!" Crystal marched at the head of the group to lead the way. Her chest swelled with all the emotions that caused her heart to flutter against her ribs. "And I'm excited for you two to meet Painted." She paused, then added a little quietly, "And I'm excited to finally get to see her place."

They climbed another set of stairs to reach a hallway that ended with a door marked by the precise number on the written address. As they approached the door, soft instrumental music could be heard from behind it.

Crystal took a sharp intake of air before raising a hoof and knocking three times in quick succession. The sound of something breaking followed by a few colorful words responded before the door opened to reveal Painted's face. A forced smile was on her lips, though Crystal couldn't noticed its strained corners at first.

What they noticed first and foremost was her almost comically disheveled appearance. The mare's coat was its own canvas, covered in splatters of differing purples and blues. A couple tufts of her mane stuck out at odd angles, held stiff in place courtesy of dried paint. Two paintbrushes were tucked behind her ear and fresh color dripped onto the upper rim of her glasses from the fully loaded bristles.

Just as they had finished taking in her appearance, her gaze focused on Crystal and her smile relaxed. "You're a little earlier than I expected. Are you that excited?"

She pulled the door all the way open. The bright interior poured light into the hall which, by comparison, seemed dim. The source of all the illumination became evident when Painted stepped to the side: windows stretched from the first floor to the open second and spanned two walls entirely.

"Come on in. It's safe." A drop of paint fell from one of the paintbrushes and landed on the plush, mint green carpet beneath her hooves. She looked down and regarded the mess with a small frown. "Well, mostly."

With polite greetings and introductions, the three of them walked inside. Horsey slowly inclined her head to look around with wide eyes while Crystal turned her attention on Painted.

"So, I guess you've been busy," Crystal teased.

"If you count—" The conversation was cut short by an exclamation of surprise piercing the air. They looked over to see Velvet standing in front of two easels that were spaced out to hold a single canvas.

The painting drew Horsey and Crystal over to stand by Velvet, the only sound the clicking of their hooves from where the carpet turned to paint-streaked hardwood as they observed in awe. It held a vivid nightscape that overlooked a distant castle outlined in the moon's light.

A pegasus stallion, clad in armor of varying purple hues, looked out into the night with undaunted determination. The white of his coat stood out from the purples and blues of the rest of the scene, but not so much that he didn't seem to belong. His gaze followed a blade he held in his left hoof that glowed in the moonlight, while his right foreleg was curled protectively—and perhaps possessively—around an alicorn mare that looked up at him with luminous amber eyes.

The alicorn was as gorgeous and mysterious as the night sky behind her. Her resplendent mane, brimming with stars, was caught in a strong breeze that twirled it up and behind the pegasus to sweep across the scene. A gown of glittering black chastely clothed her figure, and a modest crown and a bracelet, both a brilliant copper, stood out against the darker tones of her deep, royal purple coat.

Velvet and Horsey both glanced at Crystal while she simply stared, mouth agape. When she started to smile, so did they; when she started to hop up and down, so did they; and when she started to squeal with excitement, so did they.

Behind them, a stallion had started to walk out of the kitchen with a tray of freshly baked cookies and mugs of steaming tea; however, when he saw that he was vastly outnumbered by overly excited mares, his eyes widened and he slowly backed up and out of view.

Painted chuckled and walked over to them. "Does it pass inspection?"

"It's—I'm—speechless!" Crystal looked up at her. "I don't know how you took it from the concepts you showed me to this!"

"Well, obviously, I started with some paint." Painted shrugged. "This is your last chance for any changes."

While Crystal returned her gaze to the painting and studied it with extreme focus, Velvet found amusement in a rotund brown tabby with bold stripes that had wobbled over and pressed against her foreleg.

"Oh my gosh," Velvet said, giggling and stroking the cat's side when it flopped over. "You have a cat?!"

"Two," Painted corrected. "You've discovered Khan. Bonus points if you can find Panic."

Horsey gasped when what looked like a black pillow on the sofa suddenly moved. The cat turned his head to blink at her, then its eyes went almost ridiculously wide. Before she could announce her discovery, Panic held true to its namesake by springing from the couch, scampering across the floor, and disappearing up a spiral set of stairs that led to a partially open loft.

"And the points go to Horsey! You win a—" Painted paused. She inclined her head and peered at the kitchen. "Verd! What's taking so long?"

A stallion's voice responded, "Huh? Oh. Nothing." His head poked out to survey the main area. "I didn't want to, well, interrupt."

"Interrupt? As far as I'm aware, cookies and tea are a welcome interruption in most any circumstance." Painted gestured for him to come out. "Ladies, this is my brilliant-but-absent-minded husband, Verdant Wellspring."

"Hey," Verdant started with a small pout.

"Anyway," she continued, "help yourselves to some cookies and tea, but Horsey gets one more than the rest of you."

Crystal finally spoke as though nothing had happened during her examination. "Perfect."

Painted looked at her. "Hmm?" Her horn lit up, lifting one of the paintbrushes her ear held in place.

"I'm sorry." Crystal took a step back and nodded with determination. "What I mean is, it's totally, absolutely, positively perfect. I can't see a single thing wrong with it at all!" She turned to face Painted. "When can you ship it to Manehattan?"

The paintbrush returned to its resting place and she smiled. "As soon as it dries. I'm glad you like it."

Crystal giggled. "Like it?" She shook her head. "I love it. Now I can't wait for the writers convention just so I can show it off to everypony!"

Painted made a contemplative humming sound. She looked at the painting, then back at Crystal. "If it's all right with you, I think I'd like to attend, as well. Incognito, though. Ponies that see my work are more likely to be honest with their opinions when they don't know the creator's among them."

She paused, then continued, "I mean, if it is truly okay with you? Truth be told, I'd like to see their reactions about your writing, too." A big, genuine grin sprang across her face and creased the corners of her eyes. "And I want a copy!"

"What? Of course!" Crystal waved her hoof. "Absolutely, to all of it! I'll make sure you get one of the first copies. And, besides, it's not like I could stop you if you were intent on going." She returned the grin with one of her own. "If you went to the convention with all this paint on you, I'd not recognize you at all."

Painted tossed her head back to release a loud bout of laughter. "All right! Oh, and just one more thing." She turned her head toward a loaded palette. Her magic sprang to life, lifting plain white paint in a stream of droplets. Her eyes flicked upward to a large crystal that hung over the work area.

A low hum resounded as the crystal seemed to vibrate to life. A split second later, a bolt of light shot out and connected with the tip of Painted's horn. Her head lowered and she directed the light through the suspended paint. Like a bolt of lightning, the paint shot forward and onto a corner of the canvas. Instead of a splattered mess, however, what appeared was a signature that read 'Painted Wave' and shimmered with faint rainbow hues.

"There," she said, the crystal resuming its still, quiet state. "Now it's done."

Crystal stared at the signature, her mouth agape, then turned to look over at the others. "Horsey! Velvet! Did you see that?!"

Horsey nodded from her spot on the sofa, the plate of cookies resting beside her. "That was amazing!"

"See what?" Velvet looked up. She was lying on her back, the chubby tabby perched on her chest and when it started to knead, she giggled. "Oh my gosh, Crystal, we need one of these. I'm not even joking!"

Crystal put a hoof to her forehead. "We are not getting a cat."

While Velvet whined and hugged Khan closer. "But—"

"Why don't we have some tea and discuss the pros and cons of cat ownership?" Painted offered. Her magic lifted the mugs from where they sat and floated them over to the dining table. She sat down and cradled her mug with both hooves.

Velvet gently set Khan down before she took the seat beside Painted. "Pro: they're awesome."

Crystal took the seat across the table. "Con: we can't afford to take care of one."

Velvet fell quiet, her expression vaguely irritated, then she started to grin. Slowly, Khan's head crested the table as she lifted him up. "But Crystal," she said in an exaggerated voice one would normally reserve for the very young or the simple-minded, "look at how cutesy-wootsy I am. Won't you pet mah tummy?"

Horsey sat at the head of the table and steepled her hooves, a serious expression on her face. "I think I have a compromise." She paused for dramatic effect. "I'll get a cat."

Painted, who had been doing her best to not laugh during the negotiations, finally cut in. "That sounds fair to me." Her mug rose for a toast. "To cats?"

"To cats!" Velvet and Horsey cheered, clinking their mugs to hers.

Crystal rolled her eyes, though raised her mug as well. "To cats I don't have to clean up after!"

Varying giggles and chuckles went around the table. Painted and Horsey discussed breeds of cats, Velvet went back to playing with Khan, and Crystal looked between them all with a contented smile.

A mournful, pained wail resounded throughout the condo. Crystal fell off her pillow and onto the floor with a loud thump. She buried her face against her forelegs to muffle but not completely silence a series of less-than-polite words that followed.

Velvet nearly stumbled over her own hooves in her rush to go to Crystal's side. "Holy Celestia, what happened?!" She knelt down, gently touching her shoulder. "Are you okay?!"

"No," Crystal whined. "I'll never be okay again." One foreleg swept out to gesture at the letter she had dropped.

Velvet trembled as she picked it up and started to read. The trembling ceased, and her worried expression was replaced with a scowl that was quickly overtaken with laughter. "Seriously?! You're such a drama queen, I swear!"

Crystal rolled over onto her back and looked up at the ceiling. Her voice was bereft of joy as she muttered, "But this is possibly the worst news ever." She reached out for the letter and when given it, read once more to herself:

Crystal

Sooo… You'll find this out sooner or later, I'm sure. I figured it would be easiest to take coming from me.

It turns out something did happen in Ponyville for Nightmare Night. Princess Luna showed up and apparently bonded with the locals over games and pranks.

Apologetically yours

Horsey

Author's Note:

Companion Memoirs Chapter: Nightmare Night

A picture is worth a thousand words, but I'm not sure if a thousand words would be enough to describe the magnificence that is the work Painted Wave put into the cover, which you can view on her DeviantArt! :heart:

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