• 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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Provocations

Crystal shook her head quickly to get her wits in order. "What?"

Runic turned his head toward her and repeated, "Do you trust me?"

Her terrified heart pounded all the way up to her ears. "I—"

Thunk.

She jerked her gaze back to the windows. Two of the creatures were smashing themselves against the glass. One paused to peer back at her with shiny blue orbs for eyes, bared its fangs, and threw itself forward again.

Thunk, thunk.

"Of course!" Crystal's whole frame trembled. She pressed herself up against the table behind her. "I trust you, so please do something!"

Runic grabbed three of the phials from his vest pockets and held them out to her. "Then hold them off for just a moment!"

"What?!" Crystal nearly fumbled them in her hooves before her magic lit up to catch them. "But—"

He kicked off the ground and gave a powerful flap of his wings to propel himself through the doorway into the back room, giving her no option to argue the matter further.

Thunk, thunk thunk.

Her magic flickered as fear gripped her chest. A third creature joined the others and with the added pressure of its lunges, the glass gave an ominous crack. They looked at it, at each other, and then at her, all mirroring the same wicked grin. With one final push, the window shattered and all three creatures flew into the room.

Crystal screamed and grabbed a potion out of the pink aura beside her. She clenched her eyes shut and threw it blindly. It broke open and sent its orange contents into the face of one creature; upon contact with the chitinous exterior, the liquid expanded around it and solidified. The insectoid froze, no longer able to move its limbs or its wings, and fell to the ground with a useless thud. The other two paused to look at their fallen comrade, their multifaceted eyes growing even larger in surprise.

"I'm—" She choked. Why did she want to apologize?

At the sound of her strangled voice, the attention of the two still airborne flipped back to her and they hissed. The left one lowered to the ground, a grin spreading across its lips, and green flames erupted from its hole-laden hooves—or at least, what seemed to her like hooves, anyway. The flames spread up its legs and where they touched, its black skin turned into creamy white fur. Its wings disappeared while its tattered tail became pink and blonde.

Before she knew it, she was looking at a mirror image of herself. Her doppelganger sneered at her and stepped forward. Not knowing what else to do, she lobbed another potion at it—her? Bright green liquid splashed into its eyes and it emitted a high-pitched sound that was a cross between a hiss and a scream. Its hooves flailed in an attempt to wipe the liquid away and it stumbled into its remaining companion.

A hoof grabbed her own and she cried out in surprise. She went to swing at the potential attacker, but she stopped just short of punching Runic in the face. Her doppelganger let out another pained cry and she glanced between it and him.

"Was that acid?!" she asked, her ears pinned back.

"Huh?" Runic shrugged, took the remaining potion from her, and threw it to the ground. Smoke filled the shop and he guided her toward the back room. "Yes! Maybe! Acid or shampoo, but either way, it worked!"

Crystal glanced over her shoulder into the swirling purple haze. She could hear their wings buzzing, sending the tendrils of smoke in all directions, possibly in an effort to clear it. He slammed the back room door shut, slid a wooden security bar in place, and returned his attention to her.

"You okay?" he asked over a slight pant. "Did they get you?"

"No." She shook her head. "Are they—are they going to die from the potions?"

Runic simply shrugged in response. He put both hooves on her shoulders and looked her square in the eyes. "I don't know what they are or what they're after, but we have no choice. The front room's lost and I can't lose this one." He pointed at a steel door set against one wall. "Everything that's important to me is behind that door." He put a pair of goggles in her hooves and turned to the door that jolted from an attack.

Thump thump.

The creatures were trying to get inside.

Runic slid his own goggles down. "It's time to fight fire with fire!" He balanced one vial on a hoof and poured a second into it, mixing the two liquids. There was a puff of steam and he threw it at the door.

A cone of fire burst forth upon impact, searing a hole through the wood and shooting out into the main room. Runic pointed at the blast and smiled at Crystal. "Did you see that?!"

Crystal pointed as well. "Do you see that?!"

When Runic looked back, he frowned. "Oh."

A creature extended its head through the hole and snarled at them, half of its face blackened further with ash. It placed both forelegs on either side and braced itself as it tried to wriggle inside.

Runic shifted his weight to his forelegs and bucked the insectoid in the face. He winced at the sound of shattering glass when the invaders returned the attack by destroying his merchandise. He tossed another phial through to the other side before he ran over to a table covered in test tubes full of different-colored liquids. "Crystal!"

A puff of green smoke spilled into the room from the hole. It reeked of skunk.

"Yes?!" she squeaked, still fiddling with the goggles that didn't fit quite right.

"I'll brew them, you'll threw them." He grinned and lifted a tube.

"Threw? Throw!" she corrected before a loud hiss startled her. Without thinking, she reacted by grabbing and throwing a nearby potion in the sound's general distraction. It missed the door entirely and hit the wall, where it broke open and sent shards of ice in all directions.

Runic blinked as ice sailed right past his ear. He added in a quiet mumble, "You throw them… through the hole, please."

A groan of frustration escaped her and she sputtered, "Yes, I—of course! I just got scared!"

"Oh. I can fix that!" He tossed her a phial from his vest. "Drink this!"

Her magic caught it, but she backed up a few steps. "How do I know you know what this is?!"

Runic shrugged and set about making a new brew. "Then just throw it, I guess? Soon, perhaps?"

Crystal glanced at the hole to see a pair of narrowed orbs glaring at her. She got into position beside the table and, facing the door, she returned the narrow-eyed glare with one of her own. Her heart seized for a moment, but she pressed on through her fear. The creature backed away when she lifted the potion and flung it through the hole.

The still-lingering smoke illuminated with a sudden flash. Several figures stood out in the wispy brightness, ominous and looming and plentiful, though they recoiled from the blinding light.

"Runic!" she cried. "There are lots more of them out there!"

He slid a completed potion across the table and she just barely caught it before it hit the ground. "Sounds like you better get to work!"

Another came her way and she struggled to catch it with one hoof while she threw the first one at their attackers. There were several sparks before, for a brief moment, all she could see was fire.

"Some constructive criticism?" Runic offered while he worked on a new concoction.

Crystal glared at him. "About what?!"

"You're, well, a unicorn. Can't you just throw them with magic? It might be faster than using your hooves."

She hesitated, then mumbled, "I don't know why I didn't think of that." She nodded. "All right!"

The potions she had collected bounced around in the pink aura before one shot out, followed by another. A few resulted in colorful displays that sent plumes of smoke back into their room, bathing Crystal's coat in various streaks of red, yellow, blue, and purple.

Runic stopped to watch with wide-eyed interest. "I wonder if I can make some kind of device for rapid fire potion deployment."

Crystal coughed and wiped some of the powder off the lenses of her goggles. "Maybe wonder about that later? I'm out!"

"Oh! Right!" He returned his attention to the test tubes before him.

It was impossible to tell if the same creatures continued their barrage, or if their forces were so numerous that those who fell or fled were simply replaced. Either way, there seemed to be no end in sight. Even the more deadly concoctions that resulted in bursts of flame, shards of ice, or sprays of acid didn't seem to hinder their assault.

A mare's face appeared in the multicolored smoke, her coat and mane singed and covered in soot. "Help me!" she cried, sticking a hoof through the hole. "Please, help me!"

Runic gasped and started to move toward the door, but Crystal grabbed him by the back of his vest. "Wait," she whispered to him. "Those things can transform. It might be one of them!"

Runic frowned, but he nodded and stopped struggling against her grip. "All right," he whispered back before clearing his throat and calling to the mysterious mare, "How did you get inside?"

"What?" The mare gave a jerky shake of her head. "I don't know! Help me, please!"

He grabbed a potion out of Crystal's magic. "Wrong answer!"

The look of desperation on the mare's face fell into a scowl. "Stupid ponies!" it hissed, dropping the disguise and trying to lunge forward, but when Runic raised the bottle, the insectoid retreated into the smoky haze.

Crystal saw a flash of pink and felt a calming warmth course through her when an ephemeral force swept through the room. She looked over at Runic, who had the same confused expression as her. There were several thump sounds from the main room, followed by an eerie silence.

Everything was still and quiet, save for Crystal and Runic's heavy breathing. The adrenaline rush had finally subsided and she was overcome by a feeling of exhaustion. She struggled for a moment, then slumped against the wall. Her coat was matted with sweat and stained every color of the rainbow.

She lifted the goggles off her head, leaving behind the only spot on her that was still cream-colored. "Is it over?"

Runic shrugged. He tossed one more potion through the hole, which released another pungent surge of green smoke. There were no sounds from the other room. Nothing coughed or gagged or hissed.

"I guess it is," he said. A smile started to light up his face. "We did it!" He hurried over to the steel door and fiddled with the series of locks.

Crystal shook her head. "I don't think we did it, but I don't know if I really care right now." She grunted and forced herself onto her hooves, though she dragged them as she walked toward him. "What's in there, anyway?"

"Memories." He pulled the door open and smiled at its contents.

Crystal stared, then exclaimed in a way that sounded more like a squawk, "Rocks?!"

Runic nodded and picked one up to show it to her. It was a light grey, irregularly shaped rock full of little holes and, on the whole, seemed particularly ordinary. When he saw Crystal staring at him in disbelief, he explained, "Silent Knight gave me this. It's an extraterrestrial rock that he got me for Hearth's Warming. My first Hearth's Warming with friends." He turned it very carefully over before putting it back in the vault.

"And those," he continued, pointing at a row of closely grouped rocks, "are the ones I had made the day you and I kind of became friends, when you remembered my name."

Crystal blinked a few times. "Do ponies not normally remember your name?"

He stared at her and offered as a deadpan rebuttal, "How many shopclerks' names do you know?"

"I—" Her chest puffed up with indignation. "Thank you very much, but I think it's only polite to remember ponies' names!"

"Uh-huh." He shrugged. "Well, most mares just buy their strawberry perfume or gardenia shampoo and leave."

"Gardenia shampoo," Crystal muttered under her breath before she jolted upright. "Celestia's light, I need to find Velvet!" Her heart raced and she trotted in place. "I don't know where she is! Or where she would have been! Runic, I need to find her!"

Runic flipped the locks back into place, then walked over to her and smiled. "Don't worry. I'm sure she's fine. I'll help you look for her, in case there are more of those things out there."

Her breath caught in her throat. She looked at the door that separated them from the main storefront. "What are we going to do if there are?" she whispered.

He patted his vest, restocked with every concoction she had seen that afternoon. "I'll take care of them! You helped me defend my rocks, so I'll help you find your friend."

"Thank you." She smiled and held her head high in feigned bravado. "I don't live far, so let's check there first."

He pulled open the door, the remnants of the security bar sliding out of the slots and falling to the floor. Crystal gasped at the view that lay beyond it.

The shop itself was in surprisingly good condition if one ignored the burn marks, broken glass, and toppled displays. They stepped carefully around the debris and stopped when they saw the bodies. The creatures laid against one wall as if they had been thrown against it. After watching for any signs of movement, Crystal noticed their chests rising and falling just slightly.

"I think they're unconscious," Runic said. "Wait just a moment."

Crystal watched as he set about securing both the creatures and the back room. He rationed the contents of the purple phial, which turned into a sticky goo when poured, and used it as a makeshift rope around the creatures' legs, then patched up the hole in the door with the remaining gelatin. There was an almost sickening crackling sound as the purple substances hardened into their various positions.

Finally, he turned back to her with a smile. "Okay, let's go!"

When they stepped outside, they had to freeze once again. The once-crowded streets were empty and littered with wreckage. Whatever was breakable was broken: barrels and carts were smashed to pieces, while windows were either broken into or out of.

Crystal reached for Runic and grabbed onto his vest. "This is really bad," she said, her voice and frame trembling. "Why did this happen? What did they want?"

"Dunno." Runic patted her on the shoulder. He offered a small smile. "Let's just worry about finding Velvet for now."

She tried not to cry, but her vision started to blur and her chest tightened with fear. They walked in silence toward her condominium. Both of them stayed alert, ears twitching at any sound that remotely resembled buzzing or hissing.

The closer they got to the building, the more Crystal's pace quickened until she broke into a full-on gallop. Runic took to the air to fly alongside her just to keep up.

"Please be here," she whispered as she fumbled with the lock once they arrived at her condo. "Please be safe." She pushed the door open and it gave an ominous creak. "Velvet?" she called.

There was no reply.

Runic trotted over to the kitchen window, glancing out into the streets and up at the skies for any signs of movement.

The tears she had kept at bay finally fell down her cheeks. "Velvet?" She searched every room and under both beds. "She's not here!" she wailed, burying her face into her hooves.

"Does this building have any kind of basement?" Runic shrugged. "That's where I'd—" He blinked when Crystal gasped and took off running again. "—go? Hey! Wait up!" He jumped into the air and flew after her.

She nearly tripped over her own hooves in her hurry down the stairs, rounding each corner with a small skid. When she reached the basement level, however, a heavy door stopped her, refusing to budge when she pushed against it.

"Hello?" She banged her hoof against the door. "Is anypony in there?!"

At first, she heard nothing except for the echo of her knocking. Then, after a moment, a voice came from the other side.

"Who's there?"

It wasn't Velvet's, but Crystal smiled briefly at the sound of a familiar voice. "Mr. Grey?"

There was a pause before Earl Grey gasped. "Crystal? Is that you?" The old stallion's tone raised with excitement, then fell to a worried whisper. "Is it safe?"

"I don't know, Mr. Grey. I think so." She shook her head. "Is Velvet down there?"

"Velvet?" Earl Grey paused again to think. Finally, his voice called out in a different direction, presumably over his shoulder, "Is there a Velvet?"

"Velvet Step?" Crystal offered and he repeated the full name. Her heart pounded so hard she thought it might break her ribs.

At a distance from behind the door, a voice responded, "Yes! Yes, I'm here!"

"Oh thank Celestia," Crystal murmured. She felt like collapsing as the adrenaline drained from her once more. Her legs trembled and threatened to give out, but a firm shoulder pressed against hers and she leaned against it. She smiled up at Runic. "Thank you," she whispered.

Velvet's voice was closer when she said, "Who's out there, Mr. Earl?"

"I think it's Crystal," he responded.

"Oh my gosh! Crystal?!" Her voice had a small hitch in it. "You're okay! Thank Celestia!" She paused. "It really is you, right? This isn't a trick?"

Crystal's lips quivered as she tried to smile. "Cross my heart and hope to cry," she started.

"Else I'll live in a pig's sty," Velvet finished and laughed. "Mr. Earl, it's her! Please unlock the door!"

The locks turned and clicked until the door was pushed open. Velvet sprung forth and tackled Crystal to the ground, both of them laughing and crying.

Earl Grey leaned out and glanced around. "My word, it looks terrible out here."

Runic shrugged. "It's probably safe, though. See?"

He pointed at a patrol of guards that were sweeping through the streets, each one calling out, "Citizens of Canterlot, for your safety, please remain indoors."

"Or, well, perhaps more emphasis on 'probably'." Runic gave a lopsided grin. "I'm going to head back to the store, Crystal. Glad you found your friend."

"Alone?" Crystal looked up at him, still lying on her back from where she had been knocked down, her forelegs wrapped tightly around the trembling Velvet. "Will you be all right?"

"Of course I will!" He chuckled and spread his wings. "Even without my rapid-fire potion deployment device, I can still take care of myself! I'll see you next time you drop by!" After he waved to them, he turned and jumped into the air, his wings carrying him back in the direction of his shop.

Velvet stood up and looked down at Crystal. Though her eyes were glossed over with tears, she started to giggle. "You look and smell awful."

Crystal rolled her eyes. "Happy to see you, too."

"What? I thought we already established that part with the hugging and the crying?" She offered a hoof to help her up. "Come on. The guards said to remain indoors, so let's get back down in the basement. Besides, it looks like you have a really big story to tell."

Crystal glanced down at her colorful, sweaty self and shook her head. "You probably won't believe it, but all right."

Earl Grey shut the door behind them, then went about locking it. Crystal followed Velvet down the stairs to find a large group of frightened ponies huddled together, their attention quickly fixated on her. She took a seat on a barrel and, after a deep breath, started to regale the tale of the alchemical defense.

Author's Note:

Companion Memoirs Chapter: A Canterlot Wedding - Part 2

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