• Published 17th Nov 2014
  • 13,383 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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Union of Words

"This was most certainly a date," Willow said in a low voice, peering through the centerpiece of two tall, vanilla-scented candles. She shifted and glanced around the quiet restaurant. "I don't understand. Why didn't you just wait to invite the lieutenant later? It's not as though you didn't have time between then and now."

Crystal waved her fork as she clucked her tongue. "Perhaps I did, but you know how busy he has been. And how busy you have been." A smile lit up her face. "It gives me an opportunity to apologize for Silent Knight's behavior toward you."

Willow paused, then slowly set down her glass of water. "Behavior toward me?"

"What I mean to say is, I was under the impression that you believed he and Princess Luna kept secrets from you."

"Believed?" The feathers on Willow's wings fluffed and her ears pinned back. "I don't believe they conspire behind my back. They do."

Crystal shook her head. "I'm sure it's not like that, Willow. Silent is just very serious about his job. It's all he's ever trained and worked for, to be a guard." She twirled pasta around her fork, hoping to keep things calm by carrying on with her meal.

It didn't seem to work, however, seeing as Willow's body language remained aggressive. If anything, her irritated aura grew more intense. "And since I didn't want to do this job my whole life, that means I should let him do whatever he wants because my job is less important?"

"That's not what I mean at all." Crystal sighed, lowered her fork, and folded her hooves in her lap. "I'm sorry. Willow, I know you're extremely talented. I've seen it myself many times over! I'm just trying to give you some perspective, that's all."

"Oh, I have perspective." Willow crossed her forelegs over her chest. "I'm aware of the facts. Silent Knight, son of Stratus Knight. Joined the then-new House Guard for Princess Luna straight out of the academy. I've read his file and know just how hard he has worked in the service of Princess Luna."

"Then... ?" Crystal pressed. "Why are you so antagonistic toward him?"

Willow narrowed her eyes. "Because he is not a foal. He is a grown stallion. If he wants my respect, then he should do his job, not run around in secret and have the princess continually cover for him. She has too many other things that require her attention, and the last thing I need her worrying over is her lieutenant. It is his job to manage her House Guard and her safety, not work in secret and shadows."

Crystal sat in silence long enough for Willow to give up waiting on the conversation and resume her meal. Finally, Crystal said, "I'm sorry. I don't know what he's doing, so I won't try to excuse him. But he does take his job very seriously, I know that much."

Willow sighed and shook her head. "I know that. I just... I feel left out, sometimes." Her wings started to droop as she averted her gaze. "He and the princess have such a bond that I feel like an outsider when they're together. Every time I think I'm making progress with gaining Princess Luna's trust and confidence, I look at her and the lieutenant and realize I might as well be a stranger."

"I think—"

"No," Willow interrupted, lifting her head to look Crystal in the eyes. "It doesn't matter what you or I think. I should just be happy to have this job, and on the whole I am. I can't expect the princess to see me as a confidante if she already has one." Her lips curling into a light frown, she added in a bitter mumble, "It has only been a year since I started training to be her aide, after all."

Crystal huffed, crossed her forelegs over her chest, and cocked one eyebrow. "As I was going to say, I think you should have a talk with Luna. She may be a princess, but she's also a pony. If you'd be more comfortable with it, I could talk to her for you."

Willow blinked a few times. "No, actually, I would be much less comfortable with that." She folded her napkin and set it on her plate. "Why don't we skip dessert and head to the theater? I don't care much for sweets, anyway."

"Oh." Crystal idly licked her lips as she contemplated arguing, but smiled and nodded instead. "All right." She inclined her head, raised a hoof to signal a waiter, and said when he approached, "Check, please."

---

Crystal and Willow sat in awkward silence as they waited for the lights to dim and the show to begin. One of Crystal's legs jiggled until the sound of her hoof tapping against the floor annoyed her more than the silence. She looked around for anything interesting of note until she finally whispered into the quiet between them, "My friend is one of the ballerinas."

"I know," Willow whispered back. "You've mentioned so three times now."

Crystal fiddled with the program clutched in her hooves. "She's in the corps de ballet, which—"

"—are essentially the background dancers. You've mentioned that three times now, as well." Willow turned her head to frown at her. "What is wrong with you?"

"It's just that, well." Crystal sighed. "It's been a while since Velvet let me come to one of her shows. She's weird about it. And we're so close to the stage that I'm worried that I'll throw off her performance."

Willow's brow furrowed. "Then I guess just act normal." Slowly, a hoof raised, then moved in a vague gesture of a circle. "Unless this is normal. Then please, don't act normal."

Crystal sputtered into a small laugh and shook her head. "I'll be fine. Once the lights dim, under the spotlights, I'm sure she won't be able to see the crowd at all."

Willow eyed her with suspicion. "Velvet is your foalhood friend, isn't she? And is your best friend?"

"Absolutely," Crystal affirmed, giving one quick nod.

"Then it'll be fine." The lights started to dim and the murmuring of various conversations died down around them. "Now just enjoy the show," Willow finished in a whisper.

It was difficult not to. Though Crystal knew the mare playing Odette was Velvet's rival, Perennial, she'd be lying if she said she wasn't in awe of the mare's fluid movements. Each mare was in perfect form, and though their costumes were designed to mask as much of their uniqueness as possible, it was hard to hide Velvet's mauve tail.

Crystal smiled when she spotted Velvet among the other swanmares. There was a bittersweet twinge at the corners of her joy; Velvet's job was to blend in, which meant she couldn't stand out. How could Velvet ever grow her career if she had to spend all her time matching her fellow corps dancers?

Nonetheless, Crystal was happy for her, and clapped her hooves with as much enthusiasm as was appropriate for an event when the curtains fell on the final act. To her surprise, however, Willow burst into all-out cheering.

"That was amazing!" Willow's wings ruffled and shook. "Can you imagine being able to move the way they do? Absolutely astounding!"

Crystal laughed softly and put a hoof on Willow's shoulder. "If you calm down, I'll take you backstage to congratulate the dancers."

Willow stared at her with wide eyes. "What? Can we really?"

"Of course! Why do you think we brought this?" Her magic lifted a small bouquet of white gardenias.

"I don't know." Willow frowned at the flowers. "I presumed you would just throw them on the stage."

Crystal giggled and stood, motioning for Willow to follow. "Hardly. That would defeat the purpose of the pretty foil wrapping." Once they turned a corner and faced the hall that led to the dressing rooms, Crystal froze.

Velvet stood at the end of the hall, waving good-bye to the retreating form of Upper Crust. Crystal frowned and quickened her pace to reach Velvet sooner.

"Was my mother bothering you?" she asked while she peered down the side hall and watched Upper Crust walk away.

"Huh?" Velvet blinked, then laughed and shook her head. "Nope! She always comes to my performances in Canterlot."

Crystal's eyes widened. "Really?"

"Yup." Velvet shrugged. "Guess she likes bragging that she can come and say she knows somepony in the ballet or something. Who knows with her!" She smiled, turning her attention on Willow and asking, "So you're Crystal's date, huh?"

Willow just stared at her until she sputtered, "N-no! Not at all!" She grabbed the bouquet out of Crystal's magic and shoved it toward Velvet. "You and everypony in the ballet were amazing!"

Velvet accepted the bouquet with an exaggerated flourish of a curtsy. "Why, thank you ever so much, darling."

Crystal jabbed a hoof at her. "That, that right there is a sign you need to not talk with my mother so much."

Velvet stuck out her tongue, waved her away, and returned her attention to Willow. "So you enjoyed it, huh?"

Willow bobbed her head up and down in a vigorous nod. "Absolutely! I've attended ballets with Princess Luna before, but I..." Her enthusiasm gave way to a sheepish expression. "I've always been so busy planning what she had to do after the ballet that I never paid attention, I suppose. And now I regret not noticing how beautiful ballet is."

Velvet set the bouquet into her bag and slung it over her back before starting to walk down the hall toward the side exit. "I'm glad to hear my performance could touch you so deeply!"

Willow glanced at Crystal as they followed behind Velvet. "Perhaps," she started, then hesitated a moment. "Perhaps, some time, you could intentionally invite me to an event? I think I need to get out more."

Crystal blinked a few times before she smiled and nodded. "Absolutely."

"That's perfect!" Velvet chimed, stopping just at the door and turning to look at them. "Now that you two are buddy buddy, Crystal, you won't be mad."

"Won't be mad about what?" Crystal asked in a low voice, her smile fading away. "What did you do?"

Velvet shrugged. "I figured you wouldn't need it." She kicked the door open to reveal a familiar sulky, but a piece of paper had been taped over the heart and quill, featuring a drawing of Velvet's cutie mark. "So I borrowed it!" With unsurprising grace, Velvet sprung into the air and landed on the seat, twirled around, and dropped down. "I'll see you later!" she called over her shoulder as the valet trotted forward.

Crystal rubbed her temple but laughed softly. "She's so weird sometimes."

"She is, but you're lucky to have such a close friend." Willow's wings flipped out then tucked back in tight to her sides. "Anyway. I should be going. I had fun, though. Thank you for inviting me out of pity."

Crystal raised her hoof to argue, stopping when she saw the grin on Willow's face. Slowly, she lowered her hoof and nodded. "We will do this again sometime."

"I'd like that." The grin softened into a smile as Willow returned the nod, then turned to walk in the direction of the castle. "Have a nice night, Crystal!"

---

Raven's wedding had finally arrived, and Crystal couldn't be any happier while simultaneously so very nervous. Given that Raven was Princess Celestia's personal aide, the wedding had turned into a bit of a fiasco with the guest list growing in number every week up until the day itself. Raven was nervous about the large crowd, but for Crystal it just made things complicated every time she left the privacy of the bridal dressing room.

"Crystal Wishes, is that you?" Fancy Pants stepped forward to block her path, preventing her from progressing her current mission. "How wonderful to see you!"

Crystal smiled and tried not to imagine Raven pacing frantically and waiting for some ginger ale to settle her stomach. "Good afternoon, Fancy Pants."

It struck her as odd when Fancy Pants lifted a champagne flute and took a sip. The ceremony hadn't even started, much less the reception. She surveyed the room and noted the abundance of ponies drinking champagne. Who had green lighted releasing the bubbly alcohol so soon?

"You look absolutely charming." Fancy Pants winked. "Be careful not to make the bride jealous!"

Crystal offered a polite laugh behind one hoof. "Thank you, Fancy Pants. She picked the dress herself, so I would hope she thought of that."

"She picked the—" His eyes widened briefly before he laughed and straightened his monocle. "Right, right! You're one of her bridesmares, are you not? Yes, indeed, I had almost forgotten for a moment. Your mother must be so proud."

One of Crystal's ears betrayed her composure by flicking in irritation. "I suppose. I have yet to run into her. In fact, I—"

"Is that so? I was just talking to her, actually. She is just over there. Let me get her for you!" Fancy Pants turned and started to walk away.

Crystal swallowed. She glanced at the door that would take her away from the crowd of ponies and to the kitchen, but it was too late. She could feel her mother's gaze on her without even looking. Forcing her smile in place, she turned her head to watch her mother's approach. "Hello, Mother."

Upper Crust glanced her over. "Hello, darling. Are you going to wear your mane like that for the wedding?"

"Yes, Mother."

"I see." Upper Crust stared at her for a moment before she looked out into the crowd. "Do you plan to socialize at the reception?"

Crystal tried not to sigh. "It would be wise, I suppose."

Upper Crust bobbed her head in a small nod. "It would be, dear. Everypony is here and as one of the bridesmares, that gives you quite the advantageous position. You should capitalize on it while you have the opportunity."

"I'll keep that in mind." She took a step to the side. "If you'll excuse me, Mom, I—"

Upper Crust frowned at her. "And that is why you have made so little progress as of late, darling. You're always excusing yourself. Honestly, if you're not going to engage ponies in lengthy conversations, then perhaps you should consider attending events more than once every few weeks."

Crystal took another step. The irritation was crawling up her spine and if she didn't get away soon, she might snap. "I understand, Mother. I'll try to do better."

Just as she turned away completely to head toward the kitchen, she heard whispers starting up on one side of the room. The hushed, murmuring sound spread across the whole crowd until it culminated in loud and unadulterated gossip. Crystal's ears twitched independently, trying to pick up on what was flying around like an audible swarm of frenzied locusts.

"—what is he—"

"—I don't understand—"

"—Prince Blueblood—"

Crystal felt her blood run cold and for a moment, she thought perhaps it had frozen and that her heart stopped until the frigidity became a panicked burn. She jerked her head to the side and saw the source of the murmurs: Prince Blueblood stood in the entryway, surveying the room with a disinterested frown.

"Oh, no, no, no." She backed away, then turned around and ran back toward the dressing room. "No, no, no."

"Did you get the ginger ale?" Raven asked in an exasperated tone, her eyes wide and her mane unkempt. "Oh, Celestia, you didn't." She paused when she saw the look on Crystal's face and asked tentatively, "What's wrong?"

Crystal realized she wasn't breathing and gasped for air. Her heart pounded in her ears and made it difficult to hear herself when she whispered in response, "Prince Blueblood is here."

Raven blinked once. She blinked again. Then her eyelids fluttered and her knees wobbled. "Did—did—did you just say Prince Blueblood?"

Raven's brother, Hawk Eyes, rushed over to put his shoulder against hers and steady the trembling mare. "Prince Blueblood?" He looked over at Crystal, frowning. "What is he doing here?"

Crystal shook her head. "I honestly don't know. He most certainly wasn't on either Raven nor Moore's guest lists, I can guarantee that. I have them memorized from how many times Raven and I went over them." She leaned against the door frame and put a hoof to her forehead. "I know that some influential ponies found their way in, but—"

"Why would he even want to attend?" Raven blurted out, anger rising into her voice. "Is he here to try to ruin things for me?!"

Hawk put a foreleg around her shoulders. "Stay calm, Ravy. I'm sure he's just following the crowd of ponies. Like Crystal said, there are a lot of important ponies attending. It may have nothing to do with you."

"Like Tartarus it doesn't," Raven spat and pushed him away. "He took so many years from me, and now he's going to take away Moore!"

"Moore!" Crystal stiffened upright. "I should go warn him so he's not caught off-guard." When Raven nodded in agreement, Crystal turned and trotted down the halls with a brisk pace.

When she arrived at the groom's suite, she knocked on the door and it opened a moment later to reveal Moore's best stallion, Perfect Pace. He tilted his head and asked, "What can I do for you?"

Crystal leaned to the side to look past him and into the room. "I have to warn Moore!"

Perfect Pace matched her leaning to block her view. "What about?"

"Oh!" Crystal frowned up at him. "It's the bride and groom that shouldn't see one another. Bridesmares don't count."

Perfect Pace finally chuckled and stepped to the side. "All right, all right."

Crystal stepped inside and, when she spotted him, over toward Moore. "Moore, I'm afraid I have some potentially terrible news."

Moore jumped up from his seat, his eyes wide. "Is Raven all right? Did something happen to her?"

"She's fine, other than nerves." Crystal took a deep breath. "Prince Blueblood has seemingly invited himself. He's currently in the ceremony hall."

Moore blinked. "Oh. Is that all?" He waved a hoof to dismiss Crystal's sudden frown, returning it with a smile. "I'm not concerned. After all, Princess Celestia herself is presiding! I'm certain he'll behave in her presence."

"I suppose that is a good argument..." She sighed, righted herself emotionally, and tried to smile as she looked around at the stallions. "Well, there isn't much time left. Are you prepared?"

Moore gave a firm nod. "Certainly. I've been ready since before I proposed." He wagged a hoof at her. "Now, run back to Raven and ensure she doesn't panic." He winked and added, "Tell her if it comes to it, I'll sock him right in the face."

A small laugh escaped Crystal. "Oh, I'll be sure to let her know so we can hold you to that." Her magic lit up to straighten his boutonniere before she turned and walked to the door. "Just make sure he's at that altar before Raven walks down the aisle, boys!"

"Yes, ma'am!" the groomstallions responded in unison, each one offering a slight variation of a playful salute. Socialites weren't exactly trained in a proper salute, of course.

Crystal let out a sigh as she walked down the hall to return to Raven's side. Under her breath, she pleaded in a quiet mumble, "Please, for all that is good in this world, please don't let him ruin this moment for them."

Author's Note:

Companion Mask Chapter: En Face

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