• 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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"What happened?" Crystal almost didn't recognize the sound of her own voice; it was cold and distant and every bit unfeeling as she was emotional.

Winterspear took a sharp intake of air. "Crystal, I'm here as—"

Crystal's expression hardened and she repeated, "What happened?"

Winterspear gave a slight nod of her head. She stalled for a while, though whether that was for Crystal's sake or her own was hard to tell. "He's in a coma," she replied in a near whisper. "There was an ambush and... What are you doing?"

Crystal had walked away from the door to retrieve a hat. The act of putting herself together, even just that little bit, was enough to provide her some sense of normalcy. Every part of her ached, but she instead focused on straightening the hat over her ears. "Where is he?"

"I'm sorry, Crystal, but I think we should talk about his condition so you're prepared before you see him."

"And I disagree." Crystal turned back to face her. She glanced away after she realized just how apparent the tears in her eyes were when Winterspear winced. "If he's not dead, then I want to see him." Her tone grew softer as she added, "Please, Winterspear... I don't want to hear how he is. I want to see him for myself."

Winterspear hesitated a moment longer, then nodded. "Okay... All right." She donned her helmet. "Come with me."

They walked in silence up the street in the direction of the hospital. Her heart pounded hard to punctuate each step that brought her closer to the cold, unfeeling building that had housed such joy less than a month ago. She hated it: the sight of it, the thought of it, the reality of it.

The front doors were pulled open to let them inside and everything seemed to be covered in a haze. Winterspear led her down a hall, still not saying a word, though she did nod to the guards that were standing in the hallway. Crystal kept her gaze firmly focused on the mare's backside to avoid seeing their faces or the looks in their eyes. Would it be sadness? Pity? Anger? Or nothing at all? She didn't want to know.

Her head was spinning and light. She knew there were all sorts of noises in the halls, but her hearing didn't seem to work quite right. Everything sounded so distant until Winterspear pushed a door open and every sense caved in on her at once.

The steady beep, beep, beep of machinery throbbed against the inside of her skull. Rubbing alcohol turned her stomach on itself. The light was blinding, but not enough to where she couldn't see the vision before her.

Silent Knight laid on the bed. His eyes were closed and his chest just barely rose and fell. He looked like he was sleeping, save for the bandages around his wing, his legs, his chest, his head... It would have been easier to list the parts of him that weren't bandaged. He laid there, small and weak, nothing like the pony she knew. The sight of him was almost a mockery of the strong protector she loved.

Winterspear glanced at her from where she stood beside the bed. "Are you okay?"

Crystal blinked a few times. Her feelings caught up with her and she had to cover her mouth to keep a sob from escaping when the wave hit her in full force. Everything hurt. Nothing made sense.

Crystal asked in a quiet, muffled voice, "Why?"

The simple question brought a bitter look to Winterspear's eyes. "He had to be a hero, of course! Things got bad over there and he saved nearly everypony but himself. Thank Celestia for Ferrel, or else... else..." The bitterness was replaced with sadness and Crystal went to her side to comfort her. "Stupid pony," she muttered.

"I'm sorry," Crystal said. It was the only thing she could think to say. "I'm sorry."

Winterspear's breathing was ragged as she struggled to regain composure. Her gaze flickered from the floor to her brother and each time she looked at him, her jaw clenched and her brow furrowed. Once she calmed down just enough, she straightened up and looked back at Crystal. "Look, I know you and he are close, so, I wanted to tell you myself. I need to make the rounds and gather up his other friends."

Crystal nodded, her gaze drifting to Silent's nearly still form. "I appreciate it, Winterspear. I really do." She stroked a small circle against what was exposed of the mare's shoulder. "I'll keep an eye on him."

"Thank y—"

The door opened and a brown stallion leaned into the room. "Miss Winterspear?"

Winterspear jerked her head to look at him, hope springing into her voice. "Dr. Emerai! Do you have any news?"

Dr. Emerai kept a perfectly neutral face. "I do." His gaze landed on Crystal. "Will you give us the room, please?"

Crystal nodded and hurried to the door. "I'll be right out here if you need me, Winterspear!"

The door closed behind her with an ominous click, but she kept a smile on her face while she sat just outside the room. The doctors in Canterlot were some of the best around. It would be fine. She clenched her jaw. He would be fine.

At that hour, there seemed to be a lull in activity. Most of the guards that had gathered in solidarity had already left to attend to their duties, leaving two positioned by the door: Thunder Tumble and Lightning Flash. Though determination was firmly plastered on their faces, she knew them. They were just as worried as she was, and however twisted it may be, that thought brought her some amount of comfort.

However, that lull paired with the lack of proper soundproofing gave way to the very uncomfortable detail of unavoidable eavesdropping.

"I'm sorry, Miss Winterspear," the doctor's muffled voice could be heard saying, "but there is only so much we can do given his condition. He's lucky to be alive. His luck ends there, I'm afraid."

"What do you mean?" Winterspear, on the other hoof, was hardly muffled at all when she verged on yelling at him. "I don't care about his luck. You're a doctor! It's your job to save him!"

There was an audible sigh. "Please understand, Miss Winterspear. Likely the only thing that saved him was his armor. Even with it, he took a considerable amount of damage. He has several fractures in his right wing, along with broken ribs that..."

Crystal clamped a hoof over her mouth when her stomach did an unexpected flip. She hurried to the nearest filly's room. Her magic flared, twisting the faucet knob a little too hard. It squeaked but obeyed the demand and water poured forth.

Of course she had seen the bandages. Ponies got bandaged up for scrapes and cuts all the time... but they didn't go overseas and get attacked by gryphons. She splashed some water on her face, then dried off and stared at her reflection. They scowled at each other while Crystal primped herself into suitable condition before she returned to the seat by Silent's room. The door was still closed and she could still hear Winterspear and Dr. Emerai inside.

"... do you understand?" he asked.

"I understand." The fire was gone from Winterspear's voice. "Thank you, Dr. Emerai."

The door opened and the stallion walked out. Crystal hurried in after he left to find Winterspear slouched against the wall, her gaze fixated on the ground.

Crystal hesitated. "I... I'm sorry, Winterspear."

Winterspear stomped a hoof and snarled, "How am I supposed to be 'glad that he's alive'?" She pointed at the bed. "How can I be glad about this?! I swear, if the doctor had come a step closer, I'd have wrung his neck for telling me to be glad!" She huffed, panted, and slumped forward. "Stupid pony... What am I going to do without him?"

"Don't even think that!" Crystal jerked her head from side to side. "He'll make it through. He's too stubborn to give up that easily!"

Wintersepear sighed. "I'm sure you heard what the doctor said ab—"

"Oh, forget what the doctor said! You know Silent Knight better than I do and even I know he won't leave us! And he definitely won't leave you." She glanced at the window, then back at the mare and quietly suggested, "You should go gather everypony while visiting hours are still open. I'll keep watch over him while you do."

To Crystal's surprise, Winterspear stepped toward her and wrapped a foreleg around her neck. She buried her face against her shoulder and mumbled, "Thank you. I don't know how much longer I can keep this up."

Crystal smiled and returned the half-hug. "Maybe go to Iridescence first and let her take care of you for a little while."

Winterspear nodded as she pulled away. "I think I'll do just that. I'll be back as soon as I can, though. You won't have to be in here by yourself for long."

"I don't mind. Honest. There's nowhere else I'd rather be right now, anyway."

Once Winterspear left, Crystal kept staring at where she had been, purposefully not looking at the bed. How wonderful it would have been to turn and see him awake, but when she finally turned her head, nothing had changed.

"Oh, Silent Knight..." She took a seat in the bedside chair, then wrapped her hooves around one of his. "Why did you have to be a hero?" Her voice cracked and her eyes glossed over with tears. She bowed her head to stare at the floor, watching her own tears fall. Her shoulders trembled as she put up a struggle. Finally, she lost the battle against herself and slumped forward onto the bed and wept.


After an hour of planning and coordination, the group had a schedule worked out of who would be with Silent Knight and at what times to ensure he was never alone. Crystal finished transcribing the last copy and levitated it over to Runic.

"Really, guys, I can close up shop for a while," he muttered, looking over his schedule. "I'll be fine, and that way Crystal can have more breaks."

Winterspear had regained her leadership mentality, evident in the way she shook a stern hoof at Runic. "That's not good for business. What would Silent think if you had to lose the shop because of him?"

Runic's ears pinned back, but he nodded. "All right, all right..." He perked up. "But if something comes up for anypony, I can fill in! There's a pony who can manage the store for me. He's reliably, occasionally available most of the sometimes!"

Iridescence turned her attention to Crystal. "Are you sure you can spend this much time here?"

Crystal nodded. "Absolutely. I can write anywhere, after all."

"I know that, but I mean... here." Her expression softened and she looked across the waiting room in the direction of Silent's room. "It's not going to be easy to be with him for so many hours, every day, when we don't know how long it's going to be." She looked back at Crystal. "Somepony like you isn't—"

Crystal's chest puffed and she snapped, "Somepony like me? And just what do you mean by that?"

"What?" Iridescence frowned. "I mean exactly what I said. You're not a soldier. You didn't sign up for this sort of thing!"

The others fell silent and stared while Crystal bristled. "Soldier or not, I care for Silent just as much as you do!"

Iridescence snorted, but before the tiff could escalate, Winterspear put herself between them. "Ladies! We all care about Silent Knight. That's why we're here, isn't it?"

Crystal and Iridescence nodded, neither looking at the other. "Yes, ma'am," they muttered.

"Good. Because we haven't even started shifts yet and if we start fighting now, it's going to be a long... a long..." She swallowed.

Guilt tugging at her heart, Crystal glanced between Winterspear and Iridescence. "I'm sorry, Iridescence. I'm just—"

"I know. Me, too." Iridescence rubbed the back of her neck. "I think we're all just a little on edge. I really did mean that I was just concerned that it might be hard on you, as a simple—normal—ugh!" She groaned and got up off the chair to pace around the waiting room. Her tail flicked in agitation. "I don't mean it the way it's sounding! I'm just worried it will be harder than you realize, that's all I'm trying to say."

"I understand." Crystal slid off the seat and tucked her copy of the schedule away. "I'm going to head home and get my things. I'll see you all later!"

Once she was out of the hospital and on her way to the condo, she visibly melted. Her ears fell to the sides, her tail drooped, and her hooves dragged as she walked. Like the hospital lights she hated so much, her emotions kept erratically and annoyingly flickering between on and off. She was in for a long however-long-it-would-be...

Her gaze lifted to the sky where the sun looked down at her, blissfully bright. She tried to glare, but it was more of a blinded squint. "Fie on you, happy day," she muttered and kept walking.

When she walked through the front door, Velvet leaned out of the kitchen to chime a greeting. Crystal grunted in response, prompting Velvet to walk over.

"What's wrong? Look, I'm sorry I didn't come home yesterday. Mom was tired so I was on Red duty all night!"

Crystal didn't meet her gaze. "I..." The anger melted back to sadness and she dropped her rump to the floor. Her head lowered down past her shoulders. "Silent Knight's back."

Velvet furrowed her brow and sat in front of her. "And? What, did he bring a gryphon back as a bride or something?"

Even Crystal couldn't fight a small laugh at that. "No. He hardly brought himself back, much less a gryphon bride."

"He"—Velvet's ears shot straight up and she gasped—"What?! What happened?! Oh my gosh, Crystal, is he okay?!"

"He's alive, but he's in a coma." The floor beneath her started to blur. "They were ambushed just as they were leaving by gryphon soldiers. Some... some ponies died, Velvet. I should consider myself lucky that he's alive at all, but—" She was interrupted by the sudden weight of Velvet against her, forelegs wrapped around in a tight hug.

"Oh, Crystal, I'm so, so sorry. I had no idea!" She buried her face against Crystal's shoulder. "What are you going to do?" she asked in a soft whisper.

Crystal put one foreleg around Velvet. "Wait for him, of course. We've all put a schedule together so he'll never be alone until he wakes up."

Velvet pulled back to look at her, a hesitant look on her face and in her voice. "What if he... doesn't?"

"He will!" Crystal's ears pinned back. "Of course he will!"

"Hey, I just said 'if,' all right?" Velvet frowned and pulled completely away. "You have to be realistic, Crystal, or it's going to hurt worse if—if—he doesn't wake up."

Crystal stood and skulked to her room, gathering up her draft papers, a notebook, and a couple quills into a rucksack. "Or I can have faith and hope that he'll pull through."

Velvet glared at her and muttered, "If that were enough, then we wouldn't need hospitals."

"And what do you want me to do?!" Crystal whirled around to face her. The tears she had been fighting back fell freely down her cheeks. "Just give up on him and say 'oh well, I'll find another one'? You and Horsey always complain that I give up too easily. Well, I'm not giving up this time, and now you're telling me to give up!"

"I'm not saying that!" Velvet shouted, rising to stand on all fours. "I'm just saying to give it most of your all and save a little bit of yourself so in case something goes wrong, it doesn't totally and utterly devastate you!"

Crystal rubbed at her face with the back of one leg. Her voice fell to a tired, empty mumble, interrupted by the occasional hiccup. "I don't want to even th-think about that, Velvet. If I do, it hurts t-too much. I just... I just want to believe that he'll..." She leaned against the doorway and sobbed.

Velvet remained where she was, though her face showed her empathy openly. She bit her lower lip and looked away, her own eyes watering up. "Fine. Then for as much as you think he'll make it, I'll prepare myself to take care of you if he doesn't." A sniffling sigh escaped her. "So, you're heading back there, then?"

"Mmhm." Crystal nodded. She rubbed her face again, then started to walk to the door, but Velvet stepped in front of her to block the way. "What?"

"You can't go to your stallion looking like this. Celestia's sake, he'll think something's wrong." A weak smile pulled at her lips. "Wash your face and put on something nice. It'll give the guy all the more reason to pull through sooner, yeah?"

Crystal stared at her for a quiet moment, then smiled and turned toward the bathroom. "You're right." She forced a haughty spring in her step. "Can you get my yellow ribbons?"

"Can do!"

After washing her face and applying a fresh coat of make-up, Crystal finished the job by tying the yellow ribbon into a bow around the dock of her tail. She tucked a spare one into her bags, then left to go back to the hospital. As the building came into sight, a gloom started to cloud her mind, but she chased it away by humming. She would keep her spirits up. She had to.

Stepping around the corner, however, caused her heart to race. Reality was behind that door. Perhaps this time he would be awake when she opened it...

... He wasn't, of course. His eyes were still closed. The monitors continued their job of watching his vital signs. A nurse was tending to one of his bandages and Crystal looked away just before it was unwrapped. She stood, awkwardly, off to the side, waiting for the nurse to finish her work.

"Thank you," Crystal murmured to the nurse when the mare finished and walked past.

The door clicked shut, leaving her alone with Silent Knight. A bitter chuckle escaped her.

"Alone, huh?" She finally looked at him again and winced, but pressed on with a smile. "Just what I always wanted. Well, you know what they say about wishes, eh, Sergeant?" She pulled the chair closer and sat down. "You have to be careful what you wish for, or you just might get it."

Her voice trembled despite her effort to keep it even and calm. She was probably out of tears by that point, but she didn't want to find out. All she had to do was keep talking and focus on that instead.

"Do you remember how I told you I had stories about my adventure while you were gone? Well, now's as good as time as any. It's not like you have a say in the matter." Another painful chuckle. She crossed her forelegs over one another and looked up at the ceiling. "I went with Velvet on her trip. Can you believe it? Me, who avoids leaving the house if I can help it, went all around Equestria. Well, I suppose I only went to a few cities, but it was a big step for me, you know."

She swallowed; her throat was dry. Her magic lit up and levitated a glass over to the sink, filled it up, and brought it to her lips.

"The first stop was at Las Pegasus. Have you ever been? I've been told about all the casinos and gambling that goes on there, but never about all the shows. Oh, I went to at least three! By far, my favorite was the Blue Pony Group. The music was good, certainly, but I enjoyed the show itself. I don't know how they found three identical blue stallions." She paused, then tilted her head. "Oh, perhaps they used dye!"

She tapped her hooves together. Talking aloud to a comatose pony was more awkward than she had realized. Her eyes flickered to the clock and back.

"I'd love to go with you sometime. When you recover, perhaps I'll just ask you." She stared at him. Of course, he did nothing. She leaned closer. "As a date, because I like you, Silent Knight. I've never told you that, but I do."

Silence. Nothing but silence, save for the machines' beeping and whirring.

"I... I don't know if you just don't know that, or if you do but don't want to hurt my feelings. Which is it, Silent Knight?" She raised a hoof to gently wipe her eyes, careful not to muss her mascara. "No, I'm not crying. A lady doesn't shed tears in public." She paused, then shook her head. "Though I suppose this isn't public, now, is it?"

Crystal's ear twitched at the sound of the door handle turning. She blinked and looked up at the clock on the wall. There were still four hours before Runic would come by for his turn. As the door opened, she said, "You're early."

A mare stood in the doorway, one brow raised. "Excuse me?"

Crystal jumped out of the chair. "Oh! I'm sorry, who are you?"

The mare's other brow raised indignantly. "His mother. Who are you?"

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