• Published 17th Nov 2014
  • 14,052 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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Close Encounters

Crystal gasped and her expression lifted with excitement before falling into confusion. "Wait, what?"

Velvet rolled her eyes. "I don't know how to rephrase such an obvious statement."

"No, no, I mean, what—that's what you're upset about?" She sat down next to her.

"Just think about it a moment." Velvet stared at her, brow furrowed. "Can you imagine your mom being pregnant?"

Crystal pondered it just long enough for a chill to rush through her and she quickly shook her head. "Okay, it's a little weird, I'll admit that, but you're practically crying."

"Oh, well, yeah." Velvet slumped against the table where a half-eaten slice of cake rested. "I found out accidentally. I dropped by to check in on them and they weren't behind the counter. Some weird pegasus was managing the store and when I asked where they were he responded that they were 'at the hospital'."

Velvet jabbed a fork into the slice. "So, d'uh, I freaked out and rushed over. The nurses wouldn't tell me anything, just that my parents would be out soon and could talk to me themselves, so I just cried in the waiting room. Mom and Dad walked into the room, surprised to see me, and that's when I found out." She interrupted herself by shoveling a large piece of the cake into her mouth, then just sat there, chewing.

Crystal bit her lower lip before she gingerly pressed, "So—?"

Velvet continued after swallowing, "Apparently, they didn't want me to know yet. Like I'd be upset or something. Well, of course I'd be! They're practically replacing me!"

"Velvet, you moved out, what, a year ago, more or less?" Crystal asked a little hesitantly.

"That doesn't mean they can just have a new foal! I'm the foal!"

Crystal tried to argue herself out of saying it, but the words escaped in a playful tone. "You're certainly acting like one."

Velvet gasped and looked at her with wide eyes that quickly narrowed. "I am not!"

"Well—" Crystal hedged, raising her shoulders in a meek shrug and giving a similarly meek grin.

Velvet huffed, puffed, and stabbed the cake again. "So I'm just supposed to be happy for them?"

"Perhaps just be happy for yourself?"

"And why the hay would I be happy about this?" Velvet crossed her forelegs over her chest.

Crystal shrugged again. "Because you're going to have a cute little foal to play with that you don't have to take care of yourself?"

Velvet gave this serious consideration, tapping one of her hindhooves on the floor and staring at Crystal with a frown. Finally, she relented with a neutral face and muttered, "I guess that might be fun."

"So why don't we go see your parents so I can congratulate them and you can show them how mature you are about this?" She levitated the fork over to herself to steal a bite of cake, prompting a playful glare.

"I am mature," Velvet said and stuck her nose in the air. "Just watch how mature I'll be!"

Although Sunridge Sweets was closed by the time they made their way over, Velvet's parents could be seen through the glass still cleaning up. When Velvet knocked on the door, Pepper Ridge was the one to unlock it and let them in.

"Hi, sweetie," he said with a clear tentativeness to his tone. "We weren't expecting you to drop by." He paused, then acknowledged Crystal. "Evening, Crystal."

Velvet hesitated until Crystal bumped against her. "Is it a colt or a filly?" She glanced up at her father.

Pepper Ridge blinked before he smiled softly. "Dear? Do you want to tell her?" He looked at Sunbeam, who was walking toward them.

The mare's stomach was just big enough that her gait had a bit of a wobble to it. "Oh, sugarpop, I'm so glad to see you!" She put a foreleg around Velvet's neck and pulled her close. "After the way you left, I was worried that we'd hurt your feelings."

Crystal stood quietly off to the side and tried to blend into the wall.

Velvet squirmed out of her mother's grasp. "Well, yeah, my feelings were hurt. You guys have known about this for a while, right?"

Pepper Ridge dragged a seat over and offered it to Sunbeam, who gladly leaned into it. She smiled down at her stomach, one hoof gently resting on the bump.

Her head lifted and she looked at Velvet, her smile softening as she said, "We really did intend to tell you, sweetie. I was just worried what you might think, since you've been an only child for so long. Your father and I both came from big families and we never felt like we got enough attention, so we agreed we'd only have one. That we'd only have you. But—" She shrugged. "Well, sugarpop, I don't know how to put it, but the house is just so quiet without you around."

"We still love you," Pepper Ridge interjected. "This doesn't change that one bit. We'll just have another little pony to love, too."

Velvet responded with a loud sigh that verged on a groan. "I know, I know, okay? Can you just answer my question?"

Sunbeam blinked a few times before a bubble of laughter erupted and she rubbed her stomach again. "Oh, the doctor confirmed it's going to be a c-c-cute… f-fabulous… c-curious…"

Both Velvet and Crystal—who had walked over to be a part of the conversation again—were leaning in with wide eyes.

"… f-fussy," Sunbeam continued, giggles making her feigned stutter legitimate. "… c-content… f-fantast—"

"Oh, come on already!" Velvet hopped into the air to stomp all four hooves against the floor. "Seriously, is it—"

"—a colt," Pepper Ridge said, only to receive a playful slap on the shoulder from Sunbeam. He laughed and raised his hooves to defend himself. "I'm sorry, but you were torturing them!"

"And I was enjoying it!" Sunbeam gave an indignant huff, then looked at Crystal and Velvet as the former squealed and the latter simply stared. "Sweetcakes?" she asked, a little worriedly.

Velvet stared directly at her mother's stomach. Finally, she took a tentative step forward, then lowered her head to be level with the bump. "Hey, are you listening?" Her ears pinned back. "Don't be cuter than me. Got it?"

Crystal laughed and pushed against Velvet so that she could talk face-to-belly. "Oh, don't mind her. She's just jealous because you're going to be oh-so-very adorable." She lifted her gaze to meet Sunbeam's, her voice softening as she continued, "Congratulations, Mrs. Sunbeam and Mr. Pepper Ridge. I'm so happy for both of you." Her smile widened. "Have you considered names yet?"

Pepper Ridge cleared his throat. "You know very well that it's tradition to keep the name secret until he's born. Don't want to jinx anything, now do we?"

"Oh, so you and Mom get to know, but I don't?" Velvet huffed. "I'm already starting to feel excluded."

Sunbeam reached out and ruffled Velvet's mane. "You'll be the first pony we tell, sugarlump. I promise." Her eyes widened suddenly. "Oh!"

"Oh?" Velvet and Crystal repeated in unison.

Sunbeam looked down at herself with a warm fondness. "Well, I'll be. I think he just told me that he intends to keep me to my promise."

Velvet tilted her head, stepping forward. "How?"

Sunbeam took one of Velvet's hooves in her own, then moved it over to and rested it on her stomach. "Wait for it." She paused, then muttered, "Come on, silly boy, don't hold out on your big sist—" She flinched and Velvet squeaked. "There it is!"

Velvet jerked her hoof away. "He kicked!" She stared at her hoof with wide eyes, as though it had performed a miracle.

"Can I feel?" Crystal asked, glancing between them.

"Of course, sweetie. You're family." Sunbeam waved her closer. "Just put your hoof right here and think nice thoughts!"

After a pregnant pause, Crystal jumped back with the same squeal Velvet had given. "Oh my Celestia!"

Sunbeam laughed. She reached out to take her husband's hoof in her own. He looked down at her and she looked up at him, both of them smiling while Crystal and Velvet just stared at their respective hooves in awe.

Though the city of Canterlot was covered in snow, the royal gardens were an exception for the evening. Four pegasi patrolled the sky to keep the laden clouds at bay and several royal guards stood at the edges of the garden space where a table had been set up. By the time Crystal arrived, Iridescence and Princess Luna were already seated and enjoying a cup of tea.

Stepping from the snow onto the grass was like stepping into a spring. Two of the unicorn guards alternated in keeping a small, simple barrier raised to block the wind, and there was a fire going near the table. The air was warm, still, and welcoming.

A servant approached her and offered one of his forelegs. "Your coat, madam?"

Crystal slipped the heavy coat off her shoulders. Underneath it, she wore a purple gown that draped just long enough for the effect of elegance but still short enough that it hadn't dragged in the snow. The skirt was tucked in at several intervals to give the illusion of fullness with large ripples.

"Huzzah!" Princess Luna cheered when she noticed Crystal. "Thou hast arrived safely! Officially, the mare's night out beginneth!"

Crystal smiled at both mares and took the remaining seat. Iridescence wore a long gown that nearly covered her tail entirely, adorned with sapphires that caught in the firelight. Given the short distance from the castle to the gardens, the length of the dress had not posed too much of a risk being ruined by snow. She looked everything like an amateur model and, without her armor, certainly nothing like a royal guard.

Princess Luna, on the other hoof, was dressed simply in black, but a second glance revealed a complex layering of different fabrics. Sheer tulle draped over her shoulders; shiny silk, luscious velvet, and other materials hugged her frame.

"I still can't believe you put all of this together just for us," Iridescence said, looking up at the patrolling pegasi. "We could have just dined inside the castle."

Princess Luna lifted her chin. "This is not to thy liking, then?"

"Oh, it's wonderful, but—" Iridescence shook her head and smiled. "No, I'll just stick to it's wonderful."

Luna turned her gaze to Crystal. "And what dost thou think, Crystal?"

Crystal blinked. She was still not used to the princess using her name so casually and it took her a brief moment to recover from the schoolfilly-like glee that filled her chest. "I'm just grateful that you thought to invite me, Princess."

"Luna," the princess corrected, then raised her brow. "Why would we not invite thee?"

After a servant poured her a cup of tea, Crystal nodded her head gratefully then took a sip to stall for time. "I suppose that is a fair question." There was a glimmer of hesitancy in her tone as she asked, "Why did you invite me?"

The princess turned her cup slowly on its saucer. "Perhaps we—ah, I wish to discuss the art of writing with thee."

Iridescence chuckled softly. "Oh really? I thought you really enjoyed Crystal's company and wanted to see about being friends."

"Iridescence!" Luna's voice raised to match the powerfully stern look she shot the mare. However, the darkening of her cheeks gave away the true feelings of embarrassment behind the reaction.

Crystal glanced between them, then giggled. She hid her mouth behind a hoof. "I am delighted, regardless of the reason."

This seemed to calm the princess, though she fidgeted with her teacup again. "In honesty, 'tis Raven who arranged all of this. She is quite talented in the skill of organization and scheduling."

"Oh!" Crystal's ears perked up. "Raven organized this?"

Luna regarded her with curiosity. Iridescence did the same and asked, "You sound like she's your friend?"

Crystal nodded. "Oh, yes. I owe a great deal to Raven. She helped me with both of my novels."

Luna leaned in, narrowing her eyes. "Then 'tis Raven I must accost for the manner in which thou wrote fair Princess Selene?"

"What?" Crystal felt the color drain from her cheeks as a wave of panic overtook her. "Oh, I mean, some of it was—well, artistic license, and—"

A chime of laughter escaped Luna and she clapped her hooves. "I am only teasing thee! Princess Selene was a most flattering imitation." She tossed her flowing, starlit mane. "We were most pleased with that."

Iridescence snickered into her tea. "Silent Knight's the one that should be upset, really. He has no chance of living up to the standard you've set for him."

"Is he still so serious and aloof?" Crystal asked, glancing between them.

Iridescence blinked a few times. "'Still'?"

"He was a senior when I was in my first year at Canterlot Academy," Crystal explained. "I didn't have much interaction with him, but from what little I did, I don't believe many ponies had much, either." A grin slowly curled her lips. "Actually, I was paired with him for a rehearsal of lines from Julimare and Romehorse."

Luna and Iridescence leaned in with differing expressions of interest. Luna seemed more earnestly curious while Iridescence's curiosity had a clear tinge of mischief to it.

"The club president rather forcibly paired us together because there weren't enough stallions to go around," she continued. "But when it was our turn to speak our lines, Silent Knight was rather, well, silent." She paused to sip her tea for a dramatic pause. "I recited my line and he simply stood there with this look of mild irritation. So, I jumped behind him and recited his lines for him."

Iridescence sputtered into a laugh. Luna kept her amusement to a smile and said, "Verily, that seems quite like our Silent Knight. But enough about stallions: 'tis mare's night!" She tapped her hoof to the table, looking over at the nearest servant. "Bring forth the champagne!"

The servant bowed and carried over a bucket of ice with a bottle resting in the middle. "Enjoy, m'lady."

Luna's horn lit up and she raised the bottle. She aimed it away from them and her magic tugged on the cork just enough for the trapped carbonation to send it flying. The mares laughed and bubbling, foamy champagne spilled out while Luna poured three fluted glasses and doled them out.

"To mares!" she cheered, raising her glass.

"To happiness!" Iridescence cheered back and raised her own.

Crystal hesitated, then followed suit and finished, "To friends!"

Their glasses clinked and each took a sip. Crystal giggled when the bubbles tickled the back of her throat. "It's been a while since I had good champagne," she said and set it down. "Now, then, on the topic of writing—?"

Luna shook her head. "Writing? Nay. The night is too young to delve into our normal conversation, I think. I would like to discuss something more personal." She hesitated, then continued cautiously, "Dost thou game, Crystal?"

"Game?" Crystal blinked. "I'm afraid I don't follow."

"She means tabletop games. Card games, board games, and the like." Iridescence retrieved a strawberry from the small plate of fruit sitting between them. "Would you believe that our Princess of the Night is the most avid gamer I have ever met?"

"Really! My friend Horsey used to be part of the Canterlot Academy's LARP Club." Crystal smiled into her tea. "She really seemed to enjoy it. I've not really done any gaming myself, though."

Luna seemed to squirm somewhat uncomfortably in her seat. She glanced at Iridescence, who smiled and nodded to approve of the unspoken question. "Then, perhaps, hast thou plans for Hearth's Warming Eve? We are having a gathering of friends to play games late into the night. Iridescence will surely be there, though I am currently uncertain about my own attendance." She looked at a mare standing off to the side.

Crystal looked over as well. The mare, noticing the attention on her, nervously walked over. "Yes?" she asked.

Luna regarded her with a vague air of disdain. "Hast thou arranged our schedule for Hearth's Warming Eve?"

The mare swallowed. "I still need to talk to Raven about that, Princess."

"Then perhaps thou shouldst seek out the counsel of Raven." Luna dismissed her with a curt nod of her head.

"Yes, Princess." She bowed her head and cantered away.

Luna sighed while Iridescence chided, "Princess, you shouldn't be so hard on her. She just started last week, after all. She needs more time to get used to you."

"We do not understand why we need a handler." Luna raised her nose in the air.

"A handler?" Crystal tilted her head, then lit up when she put things together. "Oh! Has Raven found you your own aide?"

"If that is what thou wishest to call Dawning Time, yes. However, we do not see why the change is necessary. Raven and Silent Knight are more than sufficient. He handleth what she cannot and we do not find ourselves wanting for more."

Crystal twiddled her hooves and bit her lower lip. "Oh, well, I may have some insight into that." When both of them looked at her, she reconsidered. "It may not be my place to say. Raven's personal life—"

"Wouldst thou withhold information from thy princess?"

"No!" Crystal shook her head and hurriedly explained, "I cannot say for certain, but I know that Raven and her special somepony are becoming more serious with one another, and perhaps she is trying to find more time for him."

Luna hummed as she considered the news before she relaxed into a smile. "That is good for her, then. I suppose I will give Dawning a more fair chance." She steepled her hooves and leaned in. "Now, to return to the topic of Hearth's Warming Eve?"

"I will be there. Absolutely." Crystal nodded. "And where is there, exactly?"

"Art thou familiar with the Phial and Filly?"

Crystal nodded again, more enthusiastically this time. "Oh, absolutely! No other store has better mare care products!"

Iridescence gasped. "I know! It's the only place I shop now!"

"Perhaps I shall have to try some of these products sometime," Luna mused before she cleared her throat. "Then it is agreed. I shall work with Dawning to make time in my schedule for Hearth's Warming Eve." She sighed, dropping her voice to a mumble again. "Lately, I have become more busy than I like. I forgot, I suppose, the strain of being a princess. Celestia is no longer shielding me from my responsibilities."

"You're doing fine, Luna." Iridescence smiled at her. "We have faith in you."

"The sentiment is appreciated, Iridescence. For now, shall we play a game?" A box floated out from underneath the cloth and rested on the spare space on the table. "To test thine interest, of course. 'Twould be a shame to arrive and discover thou dislikest tabletop games."

Crystal giggled. She helped move the items on the table off to the side to make room for the box's contents. "It would be an honor, Luna."

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