• 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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Crystal stood off to the side when the door opened and a doctor rushed in, several nurses following behind him. She watched, nervous and excited all at the same time, while they worked to assess his health.

Dr. Emerai lifted a chart and smiled pleasantly at Silent Knight. It was a well-practiced smile that had likely seen countless patients through all sorts of ailments. "Sergeant, do you know your name?"

Silent's ears swiveled forward to acknowledge that he heard the doctor, but his gaze was wandering the room. "Silent Armor," he said with groggy certainty.

Emerai paused, then shook his head. "Try again."

Silent squinted up at him. "Shining Knight."

It would have been funny if Crystal weren't suddenly terrified that the stallion had brain damage. She paced just outside the circle of nurses, peering between them to try to get a look at him.

Emerai shook his head again, and Silent frowned. He opened his mouth, closed it, then finally asked, "Silent Knight?"

"There you go, you got it," Emerai said. "You're Silent Knight. Now, tell me, do you know where you are?"

Crystal let out a sigh of relief while the doctor and Silent discussed his memory and condition. When the nurses dispersed enough to free up some space around the bed, she walked over.

"You've been in a coma for quite a while," Emerai finished. "Welcome back."

Silent's head bobbed some as he took everything in. "Thanks, doctor." His eyelids started to droop before snapping back open. "Where is the princess?!" He hurled himself forward to sit up and his eyes rolled back just long enough for him to fall back down, groaning.

The pain visible on his face stopped Crystal's heart for a moment and her breath caught in her throat. "She's fine," she quickly assured him, putting one of her hooves on his. "She didn't suffer any injury at all. Please, you need to be still, Silent Knight. You're still unwell."

Silent looked up at her, or at least in her general direction, and asked in a low voice, "How many?"

Crystal swallowed. "What?"

His gaze focused on her, but rather than bringing her a sense of calm, the look he gave her hurt to see. "How many did we lose? How is the lieutenant?"

"The lieutenant is fine," she said, averting her eyes. "His injuries were mostly superficial, though he still has a limp. It's almost worked out, though. His doctor said he'll recover completely..." She trailed off, grasping at proverbial straws. "He'll be so happy you're all right. He comes by every day to give you his thanks. He owes his life to you, as do—"

"Crystal," he interrupted, "please. How many?"

Crystal's ears drooped. Having no other choice, she replied in a tentative whisper, "Ten in all did not return. From what I was told, most of the gryphon entourage was lost. I'm so sorry, Silent Knight."

Silent turned his head away, his face twisting into anger and disgust. He started to sneer when Dr. Emerai cleared his throat. "Sergeant." When the stallion didn't respond, Emerai clapped his hooves. "Sergeant!"

Silent blinked and shook his head to clear it. "Yes, sir?"

"You're not out of this just yet. Your body is still going to need rest to fully recover. For now, we need to make sure you don't have too much excitement and start eating whole food as soon as you can. You may be a soldier, but that doesn't make you immortal." He slid the clipboard into its holder at the end of the bed. "A nurse will be in to go over the new rules now that you're awake."

Silent's face hardened. "Understood," he said with a voice void of emotion.

The doctor left the two of them alone. It felt so strange now that Silent was awake; if Crystal spoke, he would actually talk back. She glanced at him to see he was facing away from her, but just enough of the anger in his expression showed at that angle to form a pit in her stomach. "I'm sorry, Silent Knight," she said. He didn't respond, which almost amused her at how that felt normal. "Please, look at me."

His movement was sharp as he jerked his head toward her, but the anger quickly subsided when their eyes met. He relaxed back against the pillows that propped him slightly upright. They stared at one another for a moment before his brow furrowed. "You've been here, waiting for me to wake up? Why?"

Oh, the answers she could give to that question. She nodded and said with a soft smile, "Yes, but not just me. Everypony has been here for you. We set up a schedule to take shifts so that there was no chance you would wake up alone. Of course, the hospital tried to enforce the visiting hours rule, but Princess Luna overruled them. She has sat by your bedside, too."

Her gaze faltered and she added, almost embarrassed to admit it, "I have been here the most... since my job is the most flexible. I can write just as well here as I can anywhere else."

"Really?" Silent tilted his head and started to look around the room again. "It sounds like I've been out a while if you had to make a shift schedule. How long have you all been waiting?"

Though she wasn't sure what possessed her, a hoof reached out to stroke his mane. She had done so countless times while he was unconscious, mostly to keep it straight and proper rather than as a comfort. At that moment, however, it seemed appropriate.

"You have a lot of friends and family who all wanted to be here," she said, stalling as she contemplated her options. "You scared us. Winterspear the most, I think. But you're a stubborn pony. Dr. Emerai said you didn't seem interested in... leaving." She retracted her hoof and held it close to her chest as she added, "It... was a month. A bit longer, actually."

Silent smiled and nodded. "Sounds about right. There's still work to be done here before I give up the fight." His hooves started to poke and prod at his own body while he asked, "What happened to me?" He winced as he felt a few particularly tender areas but seemed satisfied with his self-check.

Crystal took a breath. She had heard it enough times from the doctors and nurses through the door that talked as though they couldn't be heard. She shook her head to clear the voices of the past and started to recite his injuries. "Your right wing suffered multiple fractures and a couple broken ribs did some nasty things to you when they shattered. You took... I think they called it a bolt near the base of your neck. There were several other wounds and bruising."

Her voice grew soft as she added, "They brought your armor for Winterspear to decide what should be done with it. When I saw... it, I nearly screamed at the sight. It was barely together."

"It probably saved my life." Silent looked around again. "Speaking of which, how did I get here? The last thing I remember is separating the train cars."

Crystal nodded absently. "Iridescence told us what happened and said that Exemplar Ferrel was the one who saved you. She used some sort of powerful teleport spell to bring you back to their car, then stabilized you herself. It was miraculous... at least, that is what the doctor said." Tears stung her eyes and she stared down at the sheets. "He, ah, well... He wasn't sure you would ever wake up."

He watched her with gentle concern in his gaze while she wiped the tears away and continued, "Ferrel was certain you would, however, after you survived Baltimare. I don't know why, but I believed her." She tried to smile. "I have never met a mare like her before. She never seems to be quite 'here,' but she was at least in the present enough to check in on you a few times."

Silent gave a small, pained chuckle. "I'll have to thank her, then."

"That would be the polite thing to do." Crystal nodded, then straightened up. "Now, if you can behave long enough to sit still and not injure yourself further, there are a lot of ponies that will want to hear the news. Winterspear will probably be your first visitor the moment I tell her."

"I'll behave." He waved a hoof to usher her on, then paused and added, "Thank you for being here, Crystal Wishes." He smiled. "It is nice to see you."

Crystal stopped at the door. Her heart sang at hearing her name rolling off his tongue and she had to brace herself against the doorframe when her knees went weak. She struggled to keep her voice above a wistful whisper as she said, "It is really nice to see you, too."

Her heart pounded as she left the room calmly, then broke out into a gallop. She nearly skidded when she turned the corner and ran out the front doors. Joy-fueled adrenaline coursed through her, urging her hooves to move faster along the streets in the direction of the castle.

He was awake. Finally awake. The squeal of delight that escaped her startled the ponies she ran past, who looked on with mild disdain at her unladylike display. Their disapproval was the last thing on her mind, of course.

When she finally reached Winterspear's quarters, she was sweaty and out of breath. That didn't stop her from rapidly knocking on the door, which opened after a few moments.

Winterspear peered at her with understandable concern. "Crystal, are you all right?"

Crystal couldn't reply. She tried, but all she could do was gasp, wheeze, and try to smile. The smile was key, otherwise her other behavior might send the wrong message.

Then, it clicked. All at once Winterspear was overtaken when realization struck her. Her breath hitched in the middle of a gasp that fell into a happy sob. Tears glossed over her eyes and her whole frame shook. "Is he—"

Crystal nodded. "Yes," she managed breathlessly. "He's awake."

Winterspear shoved past her—not with malice, but with pure single-minded focus—and she started the run that Crystal had just finished, but she had the advantage of wings. She took to the sky to make a direct flight toward the hospital.

Crystal watched while she failed to regain even breathing. She collapsed on the doorstep and leaned against the door, deciding it would be best to rest before she started running around again. Her ear twitched as hoofsteps drew near.

"He's awake?" Iridescence's voice asked from behind her.

Crystal inclined her head to look at the mare, then responded with a nod and a smile.

"Oh, thank Celestia." Iridescence let out a sigh of relief, then stiffened with newfound worry. "Is he all right? Does he have any"—she swallowed—"brain damage?"

Crystal took a breath and let it out. Her heart was still pounding, but it was easier to breathe now. "I don't believe so," she said, shaking her head. "He held a normal conversation with me. I think the only concern is how long we can keep him in bed before he tries to get back to work." She tried to laugh, but it came out dry and forced. With a bit of effort, she forced herself back onto her hooves. "I need to go tell Runic."

Iridescence nodded and waved her off, then started to trot in the direction of the hospital. Once alone, Crystal sighed heavily. The adrenaline had worn off and halfway to Phial and Filly, her legs threatened to give out underneath her. She just barely made it, collapsing onto the floor beside the counter.

"Crystal! Are you okay?" Runic hurried around the table to crouch down by her. He put both hooves on her shoulders and steadied her, brow furrowed. "What happened?"

Crystal smiled up at him. "He's awake. Silent Knight's awake."

At first, Runic's face lit up with excitement, but the fire was quelled by concern. "Wait, then why don't you seem very happy?"

"Oh, I am. Believe me." She giggled and waved a hoof at him. "I'm just exhausted from running all over Canterlot. Winterspear and Iridescence are already at the hospital. Go on, I'll manage the store for you."

He nodded and hurried toward the door. "Thanks! Rest up!"

She leaned back and spotted a wide-eyed mare. "What?" She scrunched up her nose as she examined the bottle the mare held. "That'll be seven bits. Leave them by the register. Thanks, have a great day, come back soon!" After the mare paid and left, Crystal mumbled to herself, "Now, I just need a notebook and quill before I forget..."


When Crystal opened the door to their condo, Velvet gave a startled yelp from where she was stretched out on the floor, one hind leg in front of her and one behind. "Oh!" She toppled over and squirmed to get back onto her hooves. "Hey! You're home early. Shouldn't you still be at the hospital?"

Crystal smiled and plopped down onto a pillow, her whole body aching. "He's awake."

"What?!" Velvet gaped. "Then what the hay are you doing here?!"

"Letting other ponies that care about him have a turn." She dropped her head down onto her forehooves. "And resting. I'm exhausted. Thank goodness Rossby showed up when he did, because I didn't realize how utterly boring working a register is. It gave me some time to write, though, so that part was nice..."

Velvet just sat there, staring, her hooves raised almost pleadingly. Finally, she blurted out, "I don't get you!"

Crystal opened her eyes halfway and peered up at her. Before she could say anything, Velvet grumbled in frustration and paced in a circle.

"You mope, and then suddenly you're okay, and then, now that he's awake, you're just going to rest?" She stopped in front of Crystal and lowered her head to the other's eye level. "Are you in love with him or not?!"

A heavy flush filled her cheeks. "I, I am, but—"

"Then get off your plot and go tell him! You said you were going to confess. So why aren't you confessing?!" She stomped a hoof. "I swear to Celestia, the only pony standing in your way is you!"

Crystal raised her head and snorted. "He just woke up, Velvet! He has a lot more important things on his plate than my feelings!" Her ears folded back. "I can wait. He needs to focus on getting better."

Velvet's expression twisted from anger and confusion to a strange look of sorrow. "Haven't you waited long enough?" she asked in a soft voice.

"What do I gain by confessing right now?" She turned her head away. "I'm just grateful he's alive, mine or not."

Velvet started pacing again, each hoof falling with conviction. "I swear, you're the single most confusing mare I know!" She finally collapsed onto one of the available pillows and sighed. "Why do you want to be in love, again? It doesn't seem worth it at all."

Crystal smiled softly. "Because it feels wonderful, even just loving him from afar." The smile fell. She admitted with tentative caution, "I'm also... afraid that I've built it up too much. How can any stallion compare to the one I've imagined him to be?"

"You have to start somewhere." Velvet rolled her eyes. "Fine. Stall. Wait. But if another mare sweeps him up while you're just stalling, I am seriously not going to feel bad for you. I won't say 'I told you so', but my shoulder will be cold."

Crystal rolled onto her side and laughed, pawing at Velvet. "Thank you. You're the best friend I could ever hope for!"

Velvet waggled a stern hoof. "I'm serious!"

"I know." Crystal giggled. "It'll be fine..." Her brief cheer subsided and she sighed. "When he's better, I'll tell him. I promise."

"You promised you were going to tell him the moment you saw him," Velvet grumbled.

"That was before I found out he was in a coma." Crystal squinted at her. "You can't hold me accountable for things I said in ignorance!"

Velvet squinted back. "I have, I do, and I will! Do you think I'm making a fuss about this for my own sake? Good grief, Crystal, you're basically writing a love story about you and him!"

Crystal flushed again and buried her face under one foreleg. "Y-yes, that's true. Speaking of..." Blindly, she reached out with her magic to where she had dropped the notebook and floated it to Velvet. "Do you mind reading what I wrote? I-it's still a rough draft, I only just wrote it, so..."

"I do, in fact, mind." Velvet grabbed the notebook and held it closer to herself. "It's just going to make my case, you realize that, right?"

"Right, right. Please?" Crystal fluttered her eyelashes.

Velvet sighed. She opened the notebook to where the quill marked the end of what was written, flipped back a page, and started to read aloud.

"She opened her eyes and the breath was forcefully expelled from her lungs by the sight. There it was, bobbing along the horizon, tossed lightly by the waves but moving steadily closer: the ship she had seen in her restless dreams. Tears of joy fell freely down her cheeks while she struggled against the urge to jump off the pier and swim the distance that separated her from him.

"He had returned to her. All she had to do was wait a little longer and her dreams would come true. Her heart danced in her chest, fluttering with excitement and pounding with nerves, while the ship drew nearer. Once it finally docked and the passengers, all soldiers, began to descend the ramp that was lowered, she was certain her heart would seize right then and there when one figure in particular came into view. She knew the cut and build of his form better than her own; there was no doubt in her mind that it was her beloved Stoutheart.

"Misty hesitated while he walked onto the pier, his head hung with the weight of months spent overseas. Should she run to him? He had no reason to expect her to be waiting there. Her hesitation turned into doe-like frozen terror when their eyes met and he started toward her, his gait hurried to close the gap between them. Before she could stammer out a reason for being at the pier, he threw his forelegs around her and kissed her with a desperate passion she thought only existed in her heart."

Velvet's pink coat couldn't hide the red flush of her skin. She paused to lick her suddenly dry lips and continued with rising interest in her voice.

"Words failed her when their lips parted, and he didn't give her time to find them. Instead, he smiled and nuzzled his nose to hers as he whispered fondly, 'Hello, beautiful.'"

Velvet glanced up at Crystal when she reached the end but said nothing for a while. The clock on the wall ticked idly, not sharing in Crystal's nervous suspense while Velvet remained still and quiet.

"So?" Crystal asked after the silence had gone on too long. Her heart pounded all the way up to her ears. "What do you think?"

Velvet finally relented with a sigh and mumbled, "I think if this is what love is like, then sign me up." She flashed a grin, which she quickly dropped when Crystal returned it. "I'm kidding! Whatever you're thinking, stop it. Just stop it right now."

Crystal's grin widened. "I do believe I have Lovey Dovey's address. I could set you up with an appointment..."

Velvet dropped the notebook as she jumped to her hooves and backed away toward her bedroom door. "Nope, nope, nope." She kicked the door open with a hind hoof to continue her escape. "Nope!"

The distinct click of the lock sliding into place finalized Velvet's sentiment, and Crystal couldn't help a much-needed, full-bodied laugh.

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