• 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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Pieces of the Puzzle

Crystal sighed, tilting her head one way, then the other. All she had written for the last chapter for Her Silent Love was sprawled out on the floor in front of her. She had sent the draft off to Reindom House for editing, but she wasn't happy with how it ended. For some reason, it bothered her so much that she couldn't stop reading it over and over. Should it just end at the happily ever after? Or continue one or two chapters further to show after the happily ever after?

"Morning, Crystal!" Velvet called when she walked out of her bedroom and toward a pillow.

Crystal glanced up from her papers with a smile. "Good morning. The kettle's still hot, if you'd like some."

Velvet nodded, changing course to head instead into the kitchen. "What are your plans today? Let me guess. Date with Silent Knight?" She giggled. "That's the only reason why you get up early on a weekend."

"I'll have you know, I have plans to meet with Raven this afternoon." She paused, then added quietly, "And then I have a date with Silent Knight. It's a double date, actually, with Runic and Miley." She tilted her head. "I'm not sure how late we'll be out. Would you like me to make you something for dinner and leave it in the fridge?"

"Nah." While her tea cooled, Velvet set about spreading jam on a piece of bread. "I've got plans to eat out tonight, so don't worry about me."

Crystal blinked a few times, then nodded. "All right." She took a sip of her tea before cleaning up her mess and reorganizing the living room to make space for Velvet's morning stretches.

"Thanks." After she finished off her breakfast, Velvet walked over to the center of the living room and stretched out her legs.

Crystal climbed onto the couch and watched Velvet go through her morning routine. The fascination Crystal felt for how limber she was never faded or lessened despite all the years. Velvet could hold positions that Crystal couldn't even fathom.

Velvet glanced over to see the stack of papers on the table, her ears perking with interest. "Working on your Silent story?"

"Oh, well." Crystal shrugged. "The Crystal Empire can wait, so I sent this one off yesterday. There's no need to strike while the iron's hot, per se, as there are already several novels out. I think I'd rather see what the readers are interested in than jumping on the bandwagon, as they say."

"Good for you. I was beginning to think you would waste a perfectly good story." Velvet tucked one hind leg in and stretched the other straight into the air. "That scene where they meet under the moonlight is pretty steamy."

Crystal furrowed her brow. "What? There's no—" She choked and an almost painful heat spread from her neck to the tips of her ears and she shrieked, "There's no such scene!"

Velvet turned her head to grin wickedly at her. "Oh, I guess you're right. That was something else I read."

"S-something else, indeed!" Crystal tried to preoccupy herself by shuffling and stacking the papers. "I would never write such a thing!"

"Uh-huh." Velvet's ears wiggled. "You know, I've been reading your stuff since we were fillies. I think I can recognize your writing style by now."

Crystal slammed the papers on the desk, jumped from the couch, and marched to the door. "I think I'll take a stroll before I meet up with Raven! I'll see you tomorrow!"

When she slammed the door shut, Velvet's intentionally loud laughter could be heard from the other side and Crystal buried her face in her hooves. She was doomed. Absolutely doomed. There was no way in Tartarus Velvet was going to let her live this one down.

---

Crystal groaned with painful satisfaction as skilled hooves kneaded the knots in her back. "You don't know how happy I am that the spa was not damaged in the cockatrice attack," she purred.

Golden Fish giggled. "Us, too."

"Did you see the newspapers?" Crystal turned her head to look over at Raven while the spa ponies worked their magic. "'The Royal Guard Saves the Day', the headlines say." She giggled.

"It was rather impressive," Raven mumbled, her eyes closed in bliss. "They—oh—yes, there, please."

Conch Shell rubbed her hoof in a circle and when Raven moaned, she smiled. "Yes, you do always carry your stress in your shoulders."

"I'm surprised there weren't any fatalities with the damage the cockatrices did. Also," Crystal furrowed her brow, "why were there giant cockatrices?"

Raven snorted. "The Secretariat Comet passed over. Its proximity affects magical creatures, though the effects vary depending on magical prowess. I felt nothing, but from what I heard, the more attuned unicorns at the School for Gifted Unicorns caused their own little chaos. It seems that the cockatrices were particularly affected and decided to siege Canterlot."

"I see." A small shiver ran down Crystal's spine. "But they didn't turn ponies to stone, did they? Isn't that their power?"

"Princess Celestia explained that the increase in size made it difficult for them to focus on then-comparatively small objects such as ponies," Raven mumbled while Shell continued to massage her tense shoulders. "Would you believe that both princesses decided to charge into the fray?" She snickered. "I should have invited Willow here, now that I think about it. I thought she would quit right there on the spot."

Crystal's ears twitched. "Well, I suppose all's well that ends well. Now, we should get down to business." She took a breath and steeled herself for what was to follow. "You mentioned you had news about the wedding?"

"Oh, yes." Raven opened her eyes, which creased at the corners when she smiled brightly. "I'd like to push the wedding back a month."

"When you say 'back', do you mean—"

"To the day before Hearts and Hooves." A blush showed through her off-white coat. "I was thinking about it, and that's when Moore proposed, so we'd like to go on our honeymoon a year after he proposed. It's a little bit of a romantic whimsy, so I hope you won't mind."

Crystal jolted upright, but Fish pushed her back down. "Not at all! In fact, I think it's an absolutely wonderful idea! I'll set about rescheduling everything. I'm sure it won't be a problem, given who you are." She giggled. "There are benefits to being you, aren't there?"

Raven shrugged just enough to not interrupt Shell's work. "I suppose there are, aren't there?"

---

After their allotted ninety minutes were over, Raven released a heavy but satisfied sigh as they walked out into the lobby. "Thank you so much, Crystal." She looked at the other mare with a smile. "We should do lunch sometime with no wedding agenda."

"Sounds good." Crystal paused, catching sight of Rossby behind the counter. She waved idly to Raven. "I'll see you later."

Crystal tilted her head. Rossby's attention was firmly focused on a book in front of him while he nibbled on the pencil held in his mouth. He hadn't greeted her sarcastically when she came in; in fact, he didn't even seem to know she was there at all.

"Afternoon, Rossby," she said as she approached the front desk. "What are you working on?"

Rossby glanced up at her over his glasses. He spat out the pencil and replied, "Homework."

"Oh?" Her ears perked and her head tilted. "Really?"

He raised his brow. "Yes, really. Why would I lie about doing homework? Ponies only lie about not doing homework, you know."

"No, no, it's not that." She giggled behind a hoof, shaking her head. "I just assumed you had already graduated. I don't think I've ever seen you at school."

"Well, I'm still in school." With a small snort, he picked his pencil back up and returned to working on the sheet in front of him.

Crystal waited a moment before she leaned forward to peer at his work. "Oh." She blinked a few times. It was a sheet of mathematic equations and even though math wasn't her strong suit, they were surprisingly simple. "Oh..." Her ears folded back. "I'm sorry, I didn't realize—"

He spat the pencil out again. "Realize what? That I was doing homework and don't really want to chat?"

"Sorry." She winced, taking a small step back. "Look, it's all right. I'm not very good at math, either. You don't need to be embarrassed."

"Embarrassed?" His irritated expression lifted into light confusion. "What are you talking about? Why would I be embarrassed? I'm in the advanced class."

She just stared at him while the gears ground to a halt in her mind. With a sputtering jolt, they spun back up and then clicked into place. "Wait. Are you... You don't go to Canterlot Academy, do you?"

Rossby's brow knitted. "No. I'm in middle school." When Crystal gawked, he rolled his eyes and continued, "Yes, I know. I look old for my age. I'm so mature. You're so surprised and shocked. Can I get back to my homework now?"

Unable to process this new information, she just nodded and backed away toward the door. "Good talk! I'll see you later, Rossby! Good luck with your homework!"

The door closed behind her and she sighed, shaking her head. She would have to sort out that confusion later; if she didn't hurry, she would be late for her pre-date drinks with Silent Knight at the palace officer's club, and the idea of being late—fashionably or otherwise—was appalling to her.

---

"Hi there, hero," Crystal said as she slid into the seat across from Silent Knight, offering him a wink. "How does it feel to save the day?"

Silent blinked at her, then chuckled and shook his head. "I didn't save the day. The royal guard did." He pushed a strawberry smoothie across the table toward her. "I went ahead and ordered for you since I know... Since I think you like strawberries."

"Thank you." Crystal giggled and sipped from one of the straws. "I like just about any fruit, so you can't go wrong." She nudged the tall glass to sit in the very middle of the table.

Silent stared at her, his brow furrowed just enough to indicate he was thinking deeply on something. She allowed her gaze to wander while she waited for him to sort his thoughts out, looking around the lounge. It was a quiet, private space for officers to relax away from the hustle and bustle of the palace.

"Next time something happens," he finally said, his gaze dropping to the table, "I think you should come to the palace. You and Velvet, I mean. It would be far safer here."

She tilted her head to think it over, then shrugged. "Honestly, I wasn't that scared. The sight was so farcical that I almost laughed. Once we heard the alarm and saw the overgrown cockatrices, we headed down to the basement with our neighbors. That place is practically a bunker, after all, especially now that they've remodeled it." She waggled a hoof at him. "Besides, I think it would have been more dangerous to try to get here. Could you imagine us running through the streets of Canterlot trying to get to the palace?"

Silent's ears pinned back and his nose scrunched up briefly. "You've got a fair point there."

"If we happen to be near the palace, then we'll come here, all right?" She smiled. "But it was a nice surprise to see you in the condo afterwards..." The smile curled into a playful grin. "You seemed awfully worried about me." She leaned forward to take a sip from her straw.

"I won't lie. In the heat of battle, I was worried about the unit and the princess." He shook his head. "But once the adrenaline started to wear off and I saw the other ponies were thinking about their..." He paused. "Their..." His right ear flicked, he licked his lips, and decided on, "special ponies, it hit me hard."

It was difficult, but she swallowed her desire to giggle at his struggle for words. "And that was what prompted you to fly straight over to find me?"

He nodded firmly. "Yes."

"That's very sweet, but you don't need to worry about me." She reached across the table to put her hooves on his, smiling softly. "I'm scrappy."

His brow arched and he tilted his head, saying nothing, simply staring at her.

She stuck out her bottom lip in a small pout. "Okay, fine. How about I've got a good head on my shoulders and will make safe decisions?"

"That I'll believe," he said with a nod.

Over his shoulder, she saw a figure lean into the lounge, stare at them a moment, and start to walk toward them. Crystal blinked and whispered, "Silent, there's a mare coming our way."

Silent looked behind him and rose to his hooves. "Ma'am."

Crystal, uncertain of what to do, followed suit.

The mare, whose bar and two sunbursts on the armor marked her as a major, waved a hoof. "Forgive my intrusion, lieutenant. I was passing by and saw you. I wanted to tell you good work yesterday. That was really something. It wasn't protecting the princess, but it was something!"

Silent's lips cracked into a light smile. "They are overly willful, ma'am, but thank you."

The major cleared her throat and purposefully glanced at Crystal, then back at him. He followed her gaze, stared at Crystal a moment, and then lit up with realization. "My apologies. Major Ruby Measure, meet my marefriend, Crystal Wishes."

Major Measure smiled and bowed her head politely. "How do you do. I believe I recognize that name. You're on Princess Luna's access list, are you not?"

Crystal returned the gesture, then brushed her braid back out of her face. "I am. It is a pleasure to meet you."

"Very good, then." Measure patted Silent on the back, her tone relaxing as she continued, "Please take good care of my lieutenant. He's very useful, you know, and I need him in top form."

"Oh, I intend to, ma'am." Crystal giggled. "Have no concern there."

Measure's smile widened and she winked at Silent. "As you were, lieutenant."

After the major walked away and they sat back down, Crystal took a sip of the smoothie then said, "She seems nice."

Silent nodded. "She is. She's a very different officer than most I've dealt with, though. If you're doing what you're supposed to she just ignores you."

Crystal tilted her head. "Isn't that good?"

"Yes, it is. It's just, well." He pulled the smoothie toward him to sip while he thought it over. "It's just different. Some commanders are really hooves-on." He shrugged. "Either way, I like the autonomy her style gives me. Enough about my work, though. How is the book coming?"

Crystal's ears flattened to the sides. "It isn't my best work, I think. The draft is with the editor but I just feel like there was something missing in this one. I was"—she hesitated and her mind raced to find the simplest explanation—"struggling with myself instead of just letting my muse run wild, for lack of a better way to put it. I think the stallion may have come out a lot more plain because of that."

"Maybe you were just preoccupied with thoughts of a stallion of your own?" Silent asked, his tone somehow both sincere and playful.

Well, that was certainly one way to put it. Fantasizing so much about a stallion of her own that she feared Stoutheart might come across too wonderful and may have scaled him back too far was another. Crystal glanced up at him then back down at the smoothie. She leaned out to take a long, slow sip. "Maybe so," she finally agreed and added with a small smile, "I was thinking about you an awful lot while writing it."

Silent smiled, raising one brow. "Perhaps next time you should write a story about two mares that are just friends." The smile widened to a grin. "It will probably be your greatest romance yet."

She puffed out her cheeks and turned her head to the side to distinctly look away from him. "Oh, laugh it up all you'd like. If that were true then you, sir, would be missing out."

He chuckled. "You made a cute couple."

She snapped her gaze back to him. "Hush!"

Though he laughed at her reaction, he nodded and drew a hoof across his lips.

"I swear," she grumbled, rubbing her forehead, "if I hear about that one more time, I don't know what I'll do."

He made a small muffled but curious sound. When she stared at him, he pointed at his tightly drawn lips and then at her, and she giggled.

"Permission to speak granted," she teased.

After drawing his hoof the opposite way, he asked, "How many ponies are teasing you about it?"

She rolled her eyes. "While we were in the basement, we found ourselves in a discussion about you and I. A neighbor asked if we had broken up."

Silent grinned in a clear attempt to not laugh. He glanced at the empty glass between them and shifted the topic. "Ready to go? I imagine Miley and Runic are all set and waiting."

Grateful for the change, she nodded and stood. "I am! This is going to be fun. At least, I think so. Miley is so sweet and with Runic around, it won't be boring, that is for certain."

Silent offered the crook of his foreleg to her, which she happily accepted, and they started on their way out of the palace. She had heard about double dates but never been on one herself. The idea had always seemed a little strange to her. Why would she want to share personal time with her stallion with other ponies? She glanced up at Silent and smiled. Now, it seemed like a perfectly fun and different way to keep things interesting. She just hoped that would be the case.

Author's Note:

Companion Mask Chapter: Two-Faced Mare

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