• 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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Burdens

Crystal glanced at a clock on one of the walls and sighed inwardly. It was almost over. After smiling and engaging in ceaseless polite conversation for four hours, she had remembered every reason why she didn't miss the world of social elitism one bit.

As the crowd started to disperse, Crystal tried to follow a group out to the doors, but a familiar tug of magic on her hoof forcefully guided her away. She rolled her eyes, then smiled as her mother came into view. "Mother, I have places to be. Can we talk another time?"

Upper Crust peered down her snout. One brow started to raise before it dropped back into place. "So, darling, what brought you here?" She turned and looked at one of the paintings on the wall behind her. "You socialized only with important ponies, so it isn't a friend you came to see or support."

Crystal sighed and stepped forward to stand beside her. "I came to socialize, Mother."

Upper Crust's ears twitched upright. "I see. So this is about your stallionfriend." She tilted her head slightly. "Are you going to move out now that you and Velvet are no longer an item?"

Crystal raised her hoof and, very carefully due to the heels she wore, pressed it to her face while she shook her head. "Mother, Velvet and I are just friends."

"What?" Upper Crust jerked her head to the side to stare at Crystal with wide eyes. "You cannot be serious, darling! Does Velvet know you only see her as a friend?"

"Yes, Mother," Crystal groaned. "We both know. We're just friends! We've always just been friends!"

Upper Crust just stared at her for a while before she raised a hoof to paw at the air. "And this stallion of yours, when you said you only see him as 'just a stallion,' does that mean he is only a friend as well?"

Crystal glared up at her. "I didn't mean it that way! All I meant was he's not a commander or Celestia Cross bearer or anything but a stallion with whom I prefer to spend my time. Intimately." Her eyes widened and she sputtered to correct herself, "Not that kind of intimately! I just mean—friendly—but more than friends—"

Surprisingly, Upper Crust interrupted her with a small bout of laughter. It wasn't hidden behind a hoof, but instead seemed to have escaped before Upper Crust could even think to smother it. "Darling, this is the very reason why you should not have dropped out of charm school. You have no control over your composure in the face of embarrassment." She sighed and returned to admiring the piece of art before them. "What do you see?"

Crystal swallowed her embarrassment and irritation, then looked up. The painting was abstract shapes and colors that only vaguely resembled the figure of a pony. Crystal's ears flattened to the sides as she mulled over her options: an honest response, or the response her mother wanted. Finally, she sighed and recited, "A thought-provoking piece of work that showcases the clear talent of the artist."

Upper Crust snorted. "And why must we say it is thought-provoking when it is clearly little more than garbage?"

"Because you never know if the artist will be a pony of note, and it's better to praise a nopony than insult a somepony." Crystal glanced at her mother, who smiled back at her.

"Good, darling. You remember the basics. Now, back to the issue at hoof." She turned and started to walk toward where Jet Set stood with a group of other stallions. "When will we meet this stallion of yours?"

The hairs on the back of Crystal's neck and shoulders raised in a primal response of fight or flight. "I don't know, Mother."

Upper Crust sighed and shook her head. "That is hardly a 'when,' now, is it?" She cleared her throat as they approached the group. "Jet Set, dear, I'm so terribly sorry to interrupt..."

Jet Set turned his head, smiling. "Not at all!" He glanced back at the stallions. "Excuse me, boys, but I need to talk to my girls." He broke away to meet them halfway. "Hello, dear. Did you have a nice time?"

Crystal smiled. "Of course, Dad."

"Good, good. I hope we'll see more of you at these sort of events?" He lifted a champagne flute to his lips to take a sip. "In fact, there is one coming up in a few months that your mother and I were very much hoping you would join us for."

Crystal's smile fell just slightly and she glanced between them, noting the roll of her mother's eyes. "What is that?"

Jet Set beamed at her. "Jet Ventures will be holding an entitlement ceremony for a brand new line of luxury skyliners!" He puffed out his chest with familial pride. "The company's been stuck in a lull for quite some time, you know. The idea of a deluxe, luxury airship that could carry ponies across Equestria in comfort and style came to me in a dream. I sent the plans off to your grandfather and I suppose he rather liked it!"

Crystal blinked a few times, her brow starting to furrow. "I didn't know you decided to start working at the company, Dad."

"What? Oh, no, dear." He shook his head. "I just drew up some initial sketches, that's all." He chuckled and added with a wink, "The idea of working with your grandfather is as tempting as I'm sure it is for you to attend events with your parents."

Upper Crust shot him a cross look. "Darling, please refrain from making such comparisons between me and your parents."

Jet Set nodded at her, but winked to Crystal with the eye facing away from his wife. "Sorry, dear."

"I'll be there," Crystal said, smiling. "It's been years since I saw Grandmother and Grandfather. Now, if there isn't anything else, I really do have somewhere to be." She took a step back and, when neither stopped her, turned and started for the doors.

She was finally climbing out of one fire, but potentially jumping into another. She took a deep breath and just tried to focus on the tasks at hoof: flagging down one of the valets to get her sulky home, finding a safe place to park it out of the elements, then getting herself over to Silent and Winterspear's to assess the situation with their mother.

---

Though nothing was on fire, tension was in the air when Crystal arrived. Wallflower sat at one end of the couch with an urn on the end table beside her, Winterspear and Iridescence were side-by-side at the other end, and Dot was sprawled on the floor with an open coloring book. Nopony said anything other than a brief greeting after Winterspear let Crystal inside, and nopony looked at one another. They all just sat there, staring, while Crystal tried to busy herself with making tea.

It was just as relaxing to make as it was to drink, and with how on edge everypony was, she planned to make a triple batch.

"So," Wallflower finally said, "if I understand correctly, he didn't even tell you where he is going or when he will get back, Crystal?"

Crystal's ears perked upright at the sound of her name. "No, ma'am."

"It's a classified mission, Mom," Winterspear mumbled. "He didn't tell anypony."

Wallflower turned her gaze on her daughter. "Then why is Crystal here, exactly?"

Winterspear started to lower her head, then jerked it up with hardened resolve. "Because Silent needs all the support he can get. From all of us."

"I disagree." Wallflower's eyes narrowed just slightly. "This is a family matter. We will wait for him to return home, allow him some time to relax, and then you and I will give him the news. Alone."

From a safe distance, Crystal served the first round of tea, using her magic to set it in front of them without having to physically insert herself into the conversation.

Dot blinked when a teacup landed beside her in-progress drawing. "I don't want tea," she said with her nose scrunched up.

Crystal smiled. "I added extra honey and sugar in yours, though."

"Oh." Dot scooted forward, sniffed the tea, then took a tentative sip. "Okay, I changed my mind. Thanks!"

"I thought you would like it." Crystal lifted her gaze to see Winterspear and Wallflower still locked in debate.

Winterspear let out a frustrated snort. "Well, Mom, maybe if you knew him better you'd know why separating him from the ponies that care about him is a stupid plan."

Silence gripped the air and threatened to choke the life out of the room. Slowly, Wallflower lowered her teacup and turned to look at Crystal. "Crystal, would you mind taking Iridescence and Dot out of the room?"

Crystal could only nod, all sense of speech lost from the frigid eyes staring her down. Iridescence gave Winterspear's hoof a reassuring squeeze before she slid off the couch, scooped Dot up in her magic, and walked with Crystal into the next room.

Dot squirmed against the magic holding her, but to no avail. "Hey! I wasn't done drawing!"

Once the door was shut behind them and the sound of arguing started up almost immediately, Iridescence sighed. "This is going well."

Dot glared up at her sister. "Put me down!"

Iridescence returned the glare twofold. "Not until you say 'please'."

"Ugh." Dot rolled her eyes, then put on the sweetest expression and squealed, "Pleeease?" She was dropped a little forcefully onto the floor, at which point she turned away from Iridescence, pouting. "Meanie."

"Dot, I swear to—" Iridescence bit back the rest of her words with a groan. "Please, just sit still and quiet for a bit, okay?"

Dot looked over her shoulder to stick her tongue out.

Crystal put a hoof on Iridescence's shoulder, offering a small smile. "It's going to be all right." She crouched down by the door and peered through the crack between it and the floor, doing her best to ignore the less-than-polite words being exchanged between mother and daughter.

Instead, she focused on what she could see of Dot's scattered books and papers, wrapping one of the pages as well as a couple loose crayons in her magic. With slow and careful movements, she pulled them closer and slid them under the door. Dot gasped, but before she could resume her coloring, Iridescence's magic snatched the items away.

"Hey!" Dot frowned up at her. "Those are mine!"

Iridescence waggled a scolding hoof. "What do you say?"

"Please?"

"What? No!" She groaned, the hoof moving to instead point at Crystal. "What do you say to her?"

"Oh." Dot looked at Crystal, then frown flipping into a smile. "Thank you, pretty pony!" The paper and crayons were lowered down for Dot to grab them.

Iridescence leaned against the wall and rubbed her temples. "I don't know why I thought I could raise a filly..."

Crystal smiled, moving over to sit down beside her. She watched Dot as the little filly swirled the different colors together in a nonsensical mess of lines. "I think you're doing fine, especially given that she's your sister."

"Be grateful you're an only child," Iridescence muttered.

The argument in the other room came to a sudden halt. Iridescence and Crystal looked at each other with shared worry, then jumped when the door creaked open.

"We've come to an agreement," Wallflower said, glancing between the mares. "Iridescence, you will be in charge of finding out when he will arrive so that Winterspear, Crystal, and I will be here to give him the news." She arched one brow. "Is that acceptable to the two of you?"

They both quickly nodded and agreed in unison, "Yes, ma'am."

"Good." Wallflower turned to walk back to the couch. "And I will stay here with Winterspear until he returns."

Winterspear jerked her head up and her ears pinned back as her mouth opened to argue, but she dropped back down into a resigned posture. "Yes, Mom."

"And Crystal, if you intend to be here as Winterspear wishes for you to be, then you will need to be ready at a moments' notice to come over."

Crystal nodded. "Yes, ma'am."

Wallflower folded her hooves in her lap. "The issue's resolved, then."

Iridescence went to Winterspear's side and Crystal walked into the kitchen to start heating up another kettle. The tension returned along with the silence, both of which were rather abruptly broken when Dot trotted into the living room.

"I'm done!" she squealed.

"Done with what, Dot?" Wallflower asked, looking at the filly with a faint smile.

Five pieces of paper swirled in Dot's magic and one of them moved out to hover in front of Wallflower. "This one's for you, Mrs. Wallflower," Dot said in a tone that teetered between serious and sweet. "It's you with a big smiley face because I think you need to smile more." Before anypony could react, she dropped the paper in Wallflower's lap to focus instead on moving a second one over to Iridescence.

"And this one's for you. It's Winterspear in a pretty dress, 'cause I know you like that kinda thing." She puffed out her chest as she waited expectantly for praise.

Iridescence furrowed her brow at the mess of blue and purple lines in the vague shape of a pony, though a grin started to twitch into place. "Thanks, Dot."

Dot nodded and repeated the process, this time offering one to Winterspear. "And this one is Iridescence in a pretty dress! 'Cause that's only fair, right?"

Winterspear hid a giggle behind a hoof and did her best to nod seriously. "She looks very lovely, Dot."

"I know, d'uh. I drew her that way." Dot pranced to the boundary between the living area and the kitchen to give Crystal her drawing. "And this is Silent Knight... but he's in a pretty dress, too. I don't know how to draw armor. Okay? It's really hard."

Crystal nearly fumbled with the teapot in her magic as she laughed. "It's all right, I don't know how to draw armor, either." She accepted the drawing with both hooves. "I'll put it on my fridge the moment I get home."

"Oh." Dot's ears fell to the sides. "You're not gonna hang it on the wall?"

Crystal paused. Her gaze flicked over to Iridescence, who gave an exaggerated nod, and she mirrored the motion. "Of course I'm going to hang it on the wall, Dot."

"Then why did you say the fridge?" Dot peered at her with clear skepticism.

"It was a joke?"

Dot pursed her lips, furrowed her brow, then sighed. "You're not good at drawing armor or jokes." She pranced forward to pat Crystal on one foreleg. "But it's okay, 'cause you're pretty. My sisters told me as long as you're pretty then a stallion will take care of you." She paused before tilting her head. "Is that why you're with Silent Knight? So he'll take care of you?"

Crystal's mouth wriggled in all sorts of directions as she tried not to laugh. Before she could formulate a response, Iridescence quickly asked, "Dot, what's the last one?"

"Huh?" Dot looked up at the paper still swirling in her magic. "Oh. This one's for Silent Knight."

The room went quiet, Iridescence hesitating a moment too long so Wallflower asked for her, "And what do you have for him?"

Dot lowered the drawing and stared at it, her little face falling into a small pout. "Well, I wanted to draw Silent Knight with his daddy so he could remember him, but then I realized I didn't know what his daddy looked like, so it's just Silent Knight standing alone." She looked up at the varying sad expressions and shouted, "I'm not done with it yet, okay?!"

Crystal stepped forward and smiled down at Dot. "Why don't you keep working on it, and then you can give it to him when he gets home?"

Dot pouted, staring at the lone pony figure. "But I dunno what else to put on it."

"You could draw yourself with him," Wallflower suggested, her voice turning all eyes to her. She disregarded the attention, instead keeping her own focus on Dot.

"That's a great idea!" Dot squealed and ran over to the rest of her crayons, flopping down on the floor and getting straight to work. "And I'll draw you and Winterspear and Iridescence and Crystal, too! It'll be a new family portrait!"

Wallflower looked over at Winterspear and Iridescence, then at Crystal, then straight ahead. "I suppose that's true."

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