• 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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Protests of the Lady

"Double, double toil and trouble," Crystal chanted in a playfully low voice. "Fire burn, and kettle bubble."

She stood with her forelegs folded on the kitchen countertop, her head resting on them to gaze at the side of the silent tea kettle. Her tail swished lazily back and forth to the rhythm of her chant.

"Sprig of nettle. Balm of lemon. A rose's red hips. Leaf and root of the yellow'd dandelion. Root of ginger digg'd i' the dar—"

The kettle started to whistle and she gasped, her lips curling into a wide smile. She poured the already infused tea through a strainer and into a cup.

It was her third cup of tea and, consequently, her third experiment. Velvet's particularly sensitive nose didn't care for some of her more aromatic brews, and it had been a while since she had the freedom to throw some herbs together just to see what came out.

Once she finished pouring, she took her time to savor the scent alone. It was rich and full of all sorts of earthy tones: spearmint, rose hips, ginger, dandelion… She licked her lips and once her sense of smell was satisfied, she moved on to the main course of taste by taking a sip.

"Mm." She melted against the counter and sighed contentedly. "This is the life. Nothing can be better than this."

Whump. The little red ball hit the wall, rebounded toward the floor, and bounced back to Crystal.

"Bored." She threw it again. "Bored," she repeated when the ball returned and she threw it once more. Whump. "Bored, bored, bored."

She turned her head to look at the door that hadn't opened all day while the ball rolled past her and came to a stop. Her gaze drifted over to the nearest window and she sighed. The sun was still high in the sky. She had been alone for a whole three hours and she was ready for Velvet to come home.

Crystal rolled over onto her stomach, then stood up. Her joints popped from the motion that was strenuous by comparison to the morning's lack of activity. Her hooves scuffed the floor as she walked into the kitchen and checked the fridge.

"Oh, right." She frowned. "Velvet didn't go shopping." She rolled her eyes and shut the fridge door, turning back to the living room. "I'm too busy! I have to perform for a big crowd in Las Pegasus! Busy, busy, busy!" With a grunt, she flopped back onto the floor. "Well, I'm too lazy."

A paper and quill floated over to her and with her nose held defiantly high, she distracted herself with writing.

Her olive-green eyes flashed in the dim sum of light as she strode across the cream-colored sand, the waves lapping at her hooves like a cat lapping frothy milk. Selene's moon hung above her, a perfectly round white peach in a night sky of deep blackberry hues.

A low groan rumbling from the depths of her stomach alerted her that it was not going to comply with her stubbornness and she forced herself back onto her hooves. "Fine! I get it, I'm hungry!" Her stomach rumbled again. "I'm going already, jeeze."

She knew just where to go. There was one place she could count on to feed her until she was so full that she wouldn't have to go shopping all weekend. She trotted down the street, her legs weak with hunger but urged forward by the promise of food if they carried her just a little further.

The bell above the door chimed to announce her arrival. Pepper Ridge looked up and smiled. "Hi, Crystal! What brings you here?"

Crystal put a hoof to her chest, batting her eyelashes. "Would you believe me if I said your wonderful company?"

Pepper Ridge laughed. "Food it is, then. Come on back. Sunbeam will take care of you."

"You're the best, Papa Pepper!" She smiled as she walked past him and into the back room that doubled as a kitchen and storage.

Sunbeam was resting against a giant pillow, one foreleg draped over her stomach, the other dabbing a wet cloth to her forehead. "Oh, hello, sweetie." She smiled weakly. "I'm sorry, let me get you so—"

"No, no, no! I can do it!" Crystal raised a hoof. "You shouldn't be working at all. He's due in four months, isn't he?" She trotted over to the large fridge and retrieved a pitcher of lemonade. "You look like you could use some of this, too."

Sunbeam scrunched up her nose. "No, thank you. I can't stand sweets." When Crystal looked at her with wide eyes and a loud gasp, she laughed and corrected, "Right now, that is. This little guy's messed up my sense of taste all to Tartarus and back." She covered her mouth. "Excuse my language!"

Crystal giggled and poured herself a glass, then started to rummage around to make herself a tomato and cucumber sandwich. "It's okay. Pregnancy is that much trouble, huh?"

"Oh, I don't want you to think it's not wonderful!" Sunbeam sighed, shaking her head. "It is. I can't wait to meet this little guy. There are just some, well, side effects that I could do without." A grimace overshadowed her expression. "Like the nausea." She paused, glancing at Crystal, who was mid-bite. "Sorry, sweetie." The smile returned in full force. "So, Velvet left you alone with no groceries, huh?"

Crystal nearly choked. "How do you know that?"

Sunbeam's laughter chimed and she rolled off the pillow to land on all four hooves. "Because she said that if she didn't get the groceries before she left, we'd know it because you'd come here looking for food instead of going shopping."

"Her lack of faith in me is disturbing," Crystal muttered between bites of her sandwich. "I thought about going shopping, but I figured this would be more fun."

"Of course, of course." Sunbeam ambled over to the large table set against one wall where a row of bare cupcakes sat. She grunted, shifting her weight to raise one hoof and reaching for a frosting piping bag. Pink magic erupted around it, startling her back a step before she looked at Crystal. "Thank you, sugarlump."

Crystal smiled and walked over to peer at the cupcakes while the bag levitated just above one. "I don't know much about decorating, but I'm pretty sure you won't be able to do much when you can hardly get a hoof off the ground."

"Just keep it simple and it'll turn out just fine." She winked. "I'm going to go sit back down, if you don't mind."

"I don't mind, but I do mind that Pepper let you come in like this." Crystal stared hard at the cupcake as she slowly worked her magic around the piping bag to squeeze out a dollop of pink frosting.

Sunbeam grunted as she lowered into the pillow, then laughed. "Oh, he didn't want me to. I insisted and told him that if he left me alone in the condo, I'd start redecorating the nursery. He just finished doing it himself, so he's rather attached to his work."

Crystal glanced over at her. "I don't get it. Why do you want to be here instead of resting at home?"

"Why are you here instead of shopping?" She giggled. "Because it's better than being alone, of course!" She gazed at Crystal fondly, her eyes soft and smile gentle. "How is your special Silentpony?"

Crystal's ears perked straight up and her magic squeezed a little too hard. "How do you know abou—oh, Velvet, that scamp!" She shook her head. "I don't know. I can't even really explain it. It's not like he's given me any kind of signal whatso—oops, a little too much! Anyway. He's not flirted with me or anything. I have no real reason to like him. I just—"

"—do?" Sunbeam smiled. She patted the empty space beside her on the oversized pillow. "Sweetie, why don't you come here? Nopony's waiting on those cupcakes, anyway. It's a slow day."

Crystal sighed. She set the bag down and walked over, nestling in, squeaking when Sunbeam put a foreleg around her and tugged her closer.

"You know how Pepper and I got together. Well, what if I told you that there's just a teensy bit more to the story?"

Crystal looked up at her with wide eyes. "There is?" She swallowed.

"Oh, don't look at me like that!" Sunbeam bubbled into giggles. "Goodness, I'd swear you were love-traumatized or something if I didn't know you were obsessed with the darn thing, silly filly."

Sunbeam stroked Crystal's mane and sighed wistfully, looking up at the ceiling. "Pepper was the only stallion I felt so comfortable around. When he joined the home economics club and introduced himself, I didn't feel this great, strong, life-altering attraction to him. Poppyseeds, I didn't even feel that when he kissed me!"

Sunbeam laughed and tapped Crystal on the nose. "I know it doesn't sound believable to a pony like you that writes about romance, but I think filly flicks have it all wrong. Love isn't fireworks, because those fizzle out after their brilliance, don't you think?"

Her tone grew softer to continue, "It's constant and gentle, like a river. Dependable and strong." She blinked a few times and laughed once more. "I'm sorry, sweetie; I don't mean to suggest that what you write is wrong but—"

"It is. Everything I've written is wrong!" Crystal exclaimed, smiling in spite of her words. "Mama Sunbeam, you have no idea how much I needed to hear that right now!"

Sunbeam's brow twitched in an effort to not furrow. "You're welcome?"

Crystal threw a hoof around Sunbeam and snuggled against her. "I've been so confused because that's exactly how I feel and I've never heard anypony describe it like that! It's always magical and passionate, so I thought maybe I was mistaken, but how could I explain everything else I felt about him?" She sighed, shaking her head, still smiling. "Thank you, Mrs. Sunbeam. Really."

"I think I like 'Mama Sunbeam' much better." Sunbeam patted her on the head. "Now, why don't we pack you a basket of food to tide you over until Velvet gets home?"

Crystal sat up and slid off the pillow, then trotted over to the fridge. "Okay! I'll pack while you tell me more about you and Papa Pepper." She scanned the fridge's contents. "Ooh, radishes!"

After loading up with a basket full of food, Crystal spent a little more time talking with Sunbeam before she returned home. Though the talk inspired her to make some progress on the draft, it didn't take long for her to spiral back into the lazy comforts of reading magazines the rest of the day. The lack of Velvet's presence made it much easier to lounge around the condo, for better or for worse. Likely worse.

The door creaked open as Velvet walked inside, one hoof already covering her mouth in mid-yawn. "I'm home," she mumbled, her voice slurred from exhaustion.

"Yay!" Crystal leaned back to smile at her upside-down. "You're just in time!"

Velvet glanced at the window. The sun was in the process of setting, illuminating the sky with brilliant orange and red hues. "For what, dinner? Please tell me it's dinner. I didn't get to eat on the train and I am starving."

"Huh? Oh, sure, dinner, yes. Anyway, I need your help." Crystal straightened up and gestured at the coffee table, where two bottles rested. "Which do you like better: blue, pink, or both?"

Velvet dropped down beside her and squinted at the bottles. "Mane 'N Tail Dye? What do you need this for?"

"To dye my mane and tail, of course." Crystal beamed. "Help me pick what would look best! I think the blue might make me look too much like him, but the pink might not be different enough."

Velvet rubbed her temple. "Whoa, girl, slow down. Why are you dying your mane?"

"Because—" She hesitated, the excitement in her expression and voice deflating. "Well, why not?"

"If you don't want to talk about it, fine." Velvet stood up, grumbling as she walked to the kitchen. "But don't drag me into something half-heartedly, especially when I'm hungry, and—oh great, you didn't go shopping. Why would you?"

"We can go shopping after you pick my new mane color!" Crystal fluttered her eyelashes. "Pretty, pretty please?"

Velvet glowered at her. She puffed out her cheeks, growled, then turned and skulked toward the door. "I'll just get some fast food, then."

"Okay, okay, okay!" Crystal jumped to her hooves. "I want to be more punky!"

Velvet stopped. "Uh-huh? And?"

Crystal bit her lower lip and looked down at the floor. "Like Iridescence."

One of Velvet's eyebrows quirked. She slowly closed the door and walked back over, her expression calming from irritated to confused. "Why the hay do you—oh." Her hoof flew to her forehead and the irritation returned in full force. "Crystal! I leave you alone for two and a half days and this is what I come back to?

"What's going to happen when I leave next month for two weeks? You revert back to pre-Equestrian civilization?" She paused, her hoof lowering, her gaze raising. "Oh, by the way, surprise, I have another trip!"

Crystal blinked once, then two more times. "Two weeks? Next month? So soon?"

"Well, yeah. I'm part of the corps now. I told you I'd have to travel someday for work. Well—" She grinned lopsidedly. "It's someday!"

"Oh." Crystal dropped her rump to the floor. "I didn't realize someday was so soon."

Velvet sat in front of her and put a hoof on her shoulder, saying in a serious tone but with a soft smile, "It isn't soon at all. Crystal, we talked about this, like, almost two years ago."

Crystal sighed, keeping her gaze fixated on the patterns in the wood grain. "I know, but I've just gotten used to having you around. I don't think I'm ready to be alone."

"Then I guess we'll just have to make some progress on your Silent situation." Velvet looked over at the bottles of dye. "So, let's start with you explaining why you want to look like Iridescence."

Crystal followed her gaze and levitated the blue bottle, bringing it closer to them. "Silent Knight doesn't notice me as I am, so maybe if I look more like the kind of mare he likes, I can get him to look my way."

"So your grand, genius plan is to get him to like you because you look like his ex-marefriend?" Velvet asked, her tone deadpan.

Crystal fell silent for a moment. Slowly, she lowered the bottle back to the table. "When you put it like that, it sounds rather awful."

"Uh-huh. Logic tends to do that. But," she started, a grin overtaking her as she stood up and grabbed both bottles, "that doesn't mean I can't have a little fun!" She cackled and bounded toward the bathroom, shutting the door behind her.

Crystal slumped against the coffee table and waited. She didn't have to wait long, however, as a few moments later a shriek pierced the air. She jumped to her hooves, running to the bathroom door, which opened and a multi-colored Velvet ran out. They nearly collided, instead skidding past each other and turning to stare with mirrored wide-eyed expressions.

"Velvet, you're—"

"What the hay?! Is this some kind of prank?!" Velvet glared at her.

Crystal's feelings were bouncing between amused and concerned. A grin tried to take hold of her expression but she quickly tried to smother it. "No, I swear, it's not!" She cleared her throat and turned to the front door. "We have to get you to Runic. I'm sure he has a perfectly reasonable explanation and cure for this."

Velvet whined, shrinking back a few steps. "I don't want to go out looking like a rainbow farted on me!"

A bark of laughter escaped Crystal. She levitated a pair of sunglasses and a hat over to Velvet and headed out the door. "Come on, we should hurry in case there are side effects."

"Side effects?!" Velvet squeaked. She hurried after Crystal, tugging the hat over her face. "Oh my gosh, Crystal, if this is permanent, I am going to murder you."

They made it to the Phial and Filly in record time, Velvet running ahead with a panicked speed. She tugged on the door to no avail, banged on it with one hoof, then looked at Crystal. "It's locked! He's gone!"

Crystal gestured and trotted around the side. "He's probably in the back conducting"—a flash of light and a series of crackling pops came from an ajar door on the side of the building—"an experiment."

Runic stumbled out the door, coughing and gasping for fresh air. He turned his head to see Velvet rapidly approaching him. "Hello?"

Velvet grabbed him by the front of his vest. "Fix this!"

Runic smiled. "Fix what?"

One of Velvet's hooves let go of him to raise up and flick the hat off her head, then removed her sunglasses. She stared at him with narrowed eyes. "Me!"

"Oh, hi, Velvet!" His smile widened. "I didn't recognize you!"

"I know!" she shouted. Her right lower eyelid twitched.

Runic leaned some to look around her at Crystal. "Is she okay?"

Crystal shook her head, hiding her grin behind a hoof. "No. She used the mane and tail dye I bought from you."

Runic's gaze returned to Velvet. "But I only sold you pink and blue dye." He paused, then gasped. "Oh, did you use them together? You shouldn't do that."

Velvet seethed while Crystal asked, "Why didn't you tell me that when you bought them?"

"You said you were going to use blue or pink. You didn't say blue and pink, so I didn't recommend the kind that can be mixed because I assumed you knew."

Velvet shook him by his vest. "I don't care about that. I just want to be pink again!"

"Well, there's the easy way, and the hard way." Runic smiled. "Which way would you prefer?"

"I don't know." Velvet glanced at Crystal, who shrugged, then back at Runic. She replied with questioning hesitancy, "The easy way?"

Runic put his hooves on hers, lifted them away from him, and trotted inside. "Come on in! I'll just find my razor and we'll take care of your problem!"

"A razor? You're going to shave me? No, no, no, no!" Velvet grabbed his tail and tugged on it. "The hard way, then! No shaving!"

Crystal walked in and sat on a stool to watch with mild amusement. "Short coats are in for this summer, you know." She laughed when Velvet glared at her.

Runic sighed and changed his direction over to a table. "Fine, but the hard way involves this potion." He picked it up, paused to take a quick whiff, nodded, and held it out. "Drink this."

Velvet whined, "But using a potion is what got me in this mess in the first place!"

"No, you used mane dye, not a potion." He smiled. "Trust me! I had to develop this after Silent Knight kept turning himself pink."

Crystal sputtered, "P—Pink? Silent Knight? Why in Equestria—"

Velvet waved her forelegs. "Let's focus on the real issue here! How is this potion the hard way if you already had it made?"

"Huh? Oh, no, that's not the hard part. You have to drink it and, from what Silent Knight said, it tastes awful."

Velvet looked at the phial in her hooves. Her lower lip trembled the more she stared at it. Finally, her expression hardened along with her resolve as she tilted her head back and downed the greyish-blue liquid in one gulp. She tore the potion away from her lips once she had drained it.

"Ugh!" Velvet wiped her mouth on the back of her foreleg, grimacing. "That is—" She belched. Not just a little bit, either.

Her eyes widened in surprise at the sound that had escaped her and before she could apologize, a puff of steam rose from her whole body. The rainbow colors dissipated, leaving behind her natural pink and mauve self.

"—amazing!" Velvet stared down at herself in awe.

Crystal clapped. "It worked!"

Runic beamed at them. "Of course! Now, Velvet, if you really wanted to be blue and pink, I can get you some—"

"No!" Velvet shrieked and ran out the door.

Runic tilted his head, blinking a few times, then shrugged. "Oh well." He looked over at Crystal with a smile. "Anything else I can do for you?"

"Nope. That'll do it for today. Have a good evening, Runic!" She slid off the stool and trotted outside to chase down Velvet before she could flee the city in terror.

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