• Published 17th Nov 2014
  • 13,387 Views, 5,574 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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Cautious Conversation

"I'm home," Crystal announced in a low, tired voice as she walked into the condo. She dropped her luggage by the door and slumped onto a pillow, burying her face into the plush material.

Velvet looked over the top of a magazine, one brow raised. "You were gone a while. Everything okay in Ponyville?"

Crystal groaned. "It is now."

Velvet waited for a further explanation and when none came, she returned her gaze to the magazine. "All right. Well, while you were gone, Winterspear dropped by to tell us that Silent Knight's 'welcome home' reception is next week."

"Next week?" Crystal lifted her head to frown up at her. "But you'll be in Manehattan!"

Velvet nodded and flipped a page. "Yeah, which is a really big disappointment, assuming you pony up and do something at the reception." She didn't look over at her, instead making a clear effort not to. "Because he's out of the hospital, you know. He's still single, not busy 'with other things,' but you're still procrastinating." Her voice dripped with disappointment and slight irritation.

"Velvet, I will, eventually, but right now—"

Velvet held up a hoof. "I don't really want to hear your excuse this time. I don't understand you at all, Crystal. Just confess to him already! Do you really want to live with regrets?"

Crystal bit her lower lip, then shook her head.

"Then when I get back, I better hear about how your first date went." She snapped the magazine shut and turned to Crystal with a big grin. "Wanna come with me to the shop? Mom's there with Red!"

Crystal stared at her for a moment before relenting with a smile. "All right."

---

"Who's a little cutie?" Velvet cooed, slipping the last button into place of a new onesie she had purchased for Red. "You are! Yes, you are!"

"Velvet," Sunbeam chided from where she stood by the decorating table, "if you keep buying these kind of outfits for him, he'll have an identity crisis."

Velvet picked him up in both hooves and held him in the air for Crystal and Sunbeam to see. Red squirmed in her hooves, giggling and wriggling about, looking every bit like the caterpillar outfit he wore. "And I also got a butterfly one, too!" She grinned. "Isn't he adorable?"

"As long as he doesn't start forgetting that he's a pony, yes." Sunbeam giggled.

Crystal took Red into her own hooves and cradled him with one foreleg, tickling his stomach with her other. "I think he's positively wonderful, Mama Sunbeam. You did well with this one."

Velvet gasped. "Hey!"

Crystal stuck out her tongue before returning her attention to Red. "Don't you mind her, Red. She's just jealous." She rocked him back and forth and looked over at Sunbeam. "So, Mama, do you think you could go dress shopping with me in the next few days?"

Sunbeam glanced between the two mares. "Of course, sugarplum," she replied tentatively, "but why me instead of Velvet?"

"Yeah, why her instead of me?" Velvet crossed her forelegs over her chest, sulking.

"Because I need a classy dress, not a clubbing dress," Crystal retorted simply with her nose stuck in the air.

"A dress?" Sunbeam's ears twitched to face Crystal while she worked on her cupcakes. "What's the occasion?"

Crystal returned Red to Velvet and stood. She stretched her limbs before walking over and aiding Sunbeam as best she could. "Silent Knight is having a reception now that he is out of the hospital and doing well. I'd like to wear something nice, but not too nice. I don't want to look desperate for his attention, since I'll be surrounded by guards in armor."

Velvet snorted. "You know, once upon a time, that's all you would've cared about."

"What?" Crystal glanced at her.

"Being surrounded by big, muscular stallions clad in armor," Velvet explained, her voice rising to a high pitch while she wiggled her ears to make Red laugh.

"Oh..." Crystal trailed thoughtfully. The only image that came to mind was that of Silent, back to full health, standing proudly with his armor hardly weighing his strong frame down. Finally, she shrugged and turned back to the decorating table. "Anyway, I was hoping you could help me pick the right outfit."

Sunbeam giggled and closed a filled box, placed a sticker on it, and slid it aside to start a new one. "You'll be the belle of the ball, lollipop!"

Crystal's tail flicked in light irritation as she heard her parents' voices in the back of her mind. She shook her head and forced a smile. "I hope so. Oh, before I forget, you need to try these!" She floated a bag over to the mare, two peppermint sticks remaining inside. "I got them from Ponyville."

Sunbeam tugged the bag open, broke one of the sticks in half, and took a bite. Instead of a hard crunch, her teeth easily found their way through the peppermint. Her eyes widened and her ears perked straight up in surprise. "Oh, my goodness! It's so soft!" She took another bite, more gently this time. "It's like one of those fancy little peppermint pillow puffs they serve at the fancy restaurants! Crystal, you must give me the name of the shop. Could you imagine these on a cupcake? No sticky, crunchy bits that get stuck in your teeth!"

Crystal giggled. "Believe it or not, but a filly made them." She laughed at Sunbeam's shocked expression. "I know! I'll be back in Ponyville to help Horsey out soon enough, so next time I'm there I'll see about setting up an order for you... assuming she takes them. She is a filly, after all."

Sunbeam stared at the remaining peppermint, her eyes wide. "Amazing! Yes, please, find out for me. I would love to talk to Pepper about a new line of peppermint cupcakes using these."

Velvet gave an exaggeratedly loud sigh. "It's like I'm not even here, Red." She nuzzled her nose to his. "You've got my back, though, right?"

Red drooled, flopped over, and wriggled away from her and toward their mother.

"Oh! Fine!" She threw her hooves in the air. "Everypony can just go off and buy dresses and eat peppermints without me, I don't care!"

Crystal and Sunbeam looked at each other with varying degrees of amusement on their faces before both sputtered into laughter.

---

The room was alive with the sound of light conversation as the gathering of ponies waited for Silent Knight's arrival. The majority in attendance were guards, most from his unit and others appearing to be high-ranking officers. Princess Celestia stood at the front of the room, a gentle smile on her face as she conversed with a guard at her side.

Though she wasn't entirely familiar with every guard, Crystal found it more than easy to navigate the idle chat. It was much like all the other events she had attended in her life; all she had to do was smile, agree, and laugh politely behind a hoof. Sunbeam had found a dress of light and dark purple hues that matched the look of the armor of Luna's House Guard almost perfectly, and somehow that made her feel more at peace. She didn't stand out so much that she seemed like she didn't belong there or, more importantly to her, that she was fashionably screaming for attention.

After a while, Runic and Miley walked over and she excused herself. "Hello!" she hugged Miley briefly, then smiled at the both of them. "How are the two of you? I feel like it's been forever since we all got together for game night."

"Well, that all changes tonight!" Runic grinned. "I got the new expansion for Timberwolf!"

Miley's helmet bobbed as she inclined her head to look up her. "You look very nice, Crystal."

"Thank you, Miley. I'm sure if you could be out of uniform you would look just as nice. Don't you think so, Runic?"

Runic blinked. "Huh? Well, without seeing it"—he noticed the stares he received from both mares and cleared his throat—"yes?" He relaxed when Crystal nodded. "Yes."

Miley patted his foreleg, giggling. "You'll figure it out someday, Runic." Her mouth opened to continue, but a pair of doors off to the side opened and Silent Knight was led inside with Iridescence and Winterspear at his sides.

The mares were not merely walking at his sides; they were physically supporting him. Crystal's heart sunk seeing him in his armor for the first time since he left to go overseas. Lying in a hospital bed didn't give much context for how much muscle he had lost while being in a coma for so long. In his armor, she could see how weak he had grown and at that moment she wanted nothing more than to be the one by his side to support him.

Princess Celestia looked up at his entrance while the other ponies stamped their hooves and cheered and Luna strode across the room to stand by her sister. "Ah, it appears our guest of honor has arrived."

Both princesses stood side-by-side, and Silent Knight approached them with as much strength in each step as could be expected. He held his head high, however, and kept his expression cool and calm despite the clear strain the armor put on him.

In her usual way, Princess Celestia spoke with calm, quiet authority that silenced the quiet, whispering conversations that still lingered. "Silent Knight, in recognition of your dedication to Equestria and your selfless willingness to sacrifice yourself for the protection of Princess Luna and your fellow guards, it is my distinct honor to present you with the Celestia Cross."

The lieutenant called for attention and the others stiffened at the command. Crystal, feeling quite out of place all of a sudden, did her best to straighten up and match their rigidity. Runic had a foreleg around Miley's shoulders, but looked straight ahead to watch Silent.

Luna's magic lit up and raised the Celestia Cross from its place in the wooden box. Silent bowed his head as it neared him and slipped up and over to rest at the base of his neck. He hesitated a moment with his eyes downcast before forcing his head back up.

"Thank you for your service to Equestria, your fellow guards, and your princesses," Luna said.

Celestia stepped back and raised a hoof to gesture for Silent to speak while the ponies stomped and cheered. He turned to face them all, a blank look on his face.

There was a pause. Silent simply stared for a long moment until the noise had died down and everypony went quiet. Finally, he started to speak, slowly and carefully.

"I accept this honor, not for myself, but on behalf of the ponies that are here with us in spirit today." His voice was smooth, but Crystal couldn't imagine what he was actually feeling. "May we never forget them or their sacrifice. May we never become callous to the loss of others. As guards, we must always be willing to lay down our lives for our duty and our friends, but we should never seek to do so needlessly."

He took a breath. The rise of his chest pushed the medal higher and it glinted in the light. "When you look at this medal, do not think of what must be lost to earn it. Look to it as a reminder of all those ponies who have given their lives in the pursuit of the dream that someday, there will be no need for soldiers at all. Thank you."

Civilian or guard, nopony could not be moved by his speech, and all of them roared with stomping applause and heartfelt cheers.

"I think I speak for us all when I say: welcome home, Silent Knight," Celestia said above the noise. "Eat, drink, and be merry, ponies."

Luna walked over to and laid down on a pile of pillows, gesturing at the available space beside her. "And Silent Knight shall sit with me."

Silent collapsed onto the pillow beside her with a graceful descent. Despite it all he seemed determined to keep appearances in front of all the guards.

Crystal bit her lip when a line formed, consisting of the unfamiliar officers in attendance. They would step up, shake Silent's hoof, then exit not only the line but the room as well. It wasn't a very quick ordeal, so Crystal returned to Runic and Miley while she waited.

"So, an expansion of Timberwolf, you said?" Crystal asked.

Runic lit up at the question. "Yup! It adds a bunch of different roles. It's a shame Velvet can't be here. Or, wait, is Timberwolf the game she loves or hates?"

"Hates," Crystal corrected with a laugh.

"Oh." He paused to think for a brief moment, then smiled. "Then it's a good thing Velvet isn't here!"

"How is that going, by the way?" Miley asked, standing on the tips of her hooves to try and physically put herself in the conversation. "Is she still in the corpse... the cords..." Her brow furrowed.

"The corps de ballet, and yes." Crystal smiled. "The role as a soloist was only temporary, but we're hopeful that it'll help her in the annual exam." Her ears folded back and she sighed. "I never fully realized how hard it is to get noticed as a ballerina in the corps. They all have to move and act in sync, which means it's nearly impossible to stand out."

Runic tilted his head. "Huh. Doesn't sound very rewarding for how hard she works."

Miley furrowed her brow, looking up at him. "You spent weeks trying to grow blue rocks on blueberry bushes, and how did that turn out?"

"With a lot of burnt blueberries?" He grinned sheepishly. "Why?"

"Exactly. But why did you keep trying?"

Runic paused, then grinned wider. "Ah-ha! I see what you're getting at! You're making a metaphor. I get it. Clever mare!" He pulled her closer for a one-legged hug.

Crystal glanced between them, then shifted her gaze to Silent. He still had several more officers to exchange pleasantries with, so she looked back at Runic and Miley.

"Anyway," she continued, "Our hooves are crossed. It would be nice if she made it higher in the corps. It would be great, albeit highly unlikely, for her to make it to a soloist position!" Her voice softened as she added, "Now, you two don't need to stand here and keep me company. Feel free to mingle with other ponies. It might look like we're unsociable."

"Oh. That is a good point. I don't want to look unsociable in front of Miley's peers!" Runic smiled down at the little mare. "You wanted to get some punch, right?"

"Well, yes, I am thirsty, but—"

"Then let's go talk it up at the buffet line!" He grabbed her hoof and tugged her in the direction of the display of cake, snacks, and punch. "Bye, Crystal!"

Crystal waved them off, then looked around. The nearby guards were engaged in their own conversations already, so she remained where she was, idly smoothing her dress. She would be patient until he had time for her. She—

"Hi," Silent said, approaching her from the right, nearly startling her if the sound of his voice hadn't melted her surprise into elation. He smiled at her and she reflexively smiled back.

"Hi, Silent Knight." All sense of self escaped her for a moment and she said the first thing that came to mind: "You looked dashing in your new armor."

Briefly, she panicked. What if he was feeling down about being underweight? Her ears started to fold back, but before she could apologize, he nodded.

"It was a wonderful surprise. I only wish I could fill it, but it might be best for today that I don't so you and Runic aren't the only ponies out of armor." His gaze flickered briefly to look her over and he smiled. "Thank you for coming, though. It is nice to see you."

Crystal giggled and winked. "Oh, I don't mind being around ponies in armor, but thank you for considering our feelings. I wouldn't have missed this for the world."

He looked around the room, a curious look overtaking his expression. "Where is Velvet?"

"Unfortunately, she is away in Manehattan on another weekend tour, but she sends her best wishes"—for us getting together—"She wanted to be here"—to ensure that we did—"but we didn't know when this ceremony would take place, so..." She cleared her throat as the amused thoughts spiraled briefly into sadness. "Well, Winterspear wasn't sure when you would be ready for this."

Silent glanced in the direction of Winterspear, shook his head, and looked back at her. "This is a party, after all, so why don't you escort a wounded pony over to the punch bowl? I'd love to hear how your newest story is coming along."

Crystal tried to contain her excitement in a smile as she moved to stand beside him as they walked. "I'd be delighted, on both accounts. The story has been quite the struggle lately. I can't get the characters just right."

"I remember something about that," he mused, bobbing his head in a light nod. "I remember talking about a stallion and lists." He chuckled and accepted a cup of punch her magic offered him. "Thanks. Anyway, I feel like we've talked about the stallion more than the novel itself."

Her heart fluttered. She lifted her gaze to his, certain her nervous joy was plastered on her face, and she tried not to stammer. "I, well, yes. I suppose you would feel that way, wouldn't you?" A bubbling giggle erupted from her and she shifted from hoof to hoof. "It seems a little strange, as I have already told you everything while you were, well, that is. That is to say, while you were... The title of it is Her Silent Love."

There. She had said it. Not what she was trying to say, but the words related to 'hospital' and 'coma' were impossible to bring to audible life with him standing right there in front of her. If it weren't for how hard it was working to beat so fast, her heart likely would have stopped the moment the title slipped past her lips.

Silent sipped his punch, then nodded. "Seems like a good title. It sounds a little melancholy, but from what I remember that is the goal." He paused curiously. "Or am I remembering wrong?"

It would be the biggest lie of her life if she denied feeling disappointed by his reaction, but she smothered it with a smile. "Oh, a little, I suppose," she finally responded, gazing up at him, her heart pounding all the way to her ears. "The story of a mare in love with a stallion who is oblivious to her feelings is sad... at least until they get together."

He tilted his head. "Do they?"

The smile on her lips twitched as she struggled to keep it in place. "Of course. It is a romance, not a tragedy, after all."

"Ah, that's good to hear." He smiled and turned his head to look out at the room. "Shall we join the others to play some games?"

Crystal nodded and, when his attention was elsewhere as they started to walk toward their friends, allowed her tail to lose its perk and drag behind her. While they ate cake and played board games, all she could do was hear the same question looping over and over in her mind: Why am I such a coward?

Author's Note:

Companion Memoirs Chapter: Some Measure of Peace

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