• 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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Fighting for Love

Crystal sighed and jabbed the fork at the last spear of asparagus on her plate. Late. Silent was late for dinner again. That seemed to be happening more and more lately. She looked at the plate sitting at the empty chair across the table from her, frowned, and dropped her fork. Her magic flared to jerk his plate off the table and into the kitchen, where she covered it with the skillet's lid.

Well, that was fine. He would only have himself to blame for the short notice news of dinner with her parents. She grumbled to herself as she stalked over to the bathroom to take a shower the same way she'd had dinner—alone.

While the water warmed up, she stared at her reflection. Though she felt irritated, a pair of sad eyes looked back at her. She sniffed and jerked her attention away from the mirror, slipping a hoof past the rose-patterned curtain to test the temperature.

After stepping inside, she dropped her head to get as much of her under the stream as possible. Mad and sad were two emotions that didn't get along very well. One ear kept listening for any knocks on the front door while she contemplated just going straight to bed once she was done with the shower.

Water pelted against her back and neck in a steady rhythm. She wanted to see him. She wanted to teach him a lesson. A sigh escaped her. In reality, she didn't know what she wanted. Her feelings were too muddled to understand clearly.

Just as she had finished drying her mane and tail, three knocks resounded and her heart skipped a beat. That confirmed it; she wanted to see him more than she wanted to sulk.

Crystal quickly wrapped a bathrobe around herself and trotted for the door. "Wow, Silent, I expected you to be later than this," she teased, though the bite in her voice belied her internal struggle with emotions.

"I didn't want to be that late this time," Silent replied. "We don't get a lot of time together lately."

And whose fault was that? She smiled. "The work of a royal guard is never done, I know." Her smile fell as she glanced him over. Sweat matted his coat and his mane was tussled at odd angles. "Well, you are a mess tonight. Should I be concerned that you're cheating on me?"

She giggled when his ears shot up and he quickly assured, "Never! This sweat is all natural. Earned through exercise."

"Oh, in that case, then come on in." She stepped out of the way. "I'll heat up your dinner. You'll need it if you're working out until you're drenched in all-natural sweat."

Silent nodded and walked inside. "I am starving, although I'd love a shower first." He glanced at her. "Do you want to join me?"

Though she giggled, a surge of irritation bloomed in her chest. He didn't get to be rewarded for being late, no matter how tempting the offer was. "Most nights I would hop right in with you, but you're on your own for tonight. I'm in my pajamas."

"That's a bathrobe," he teased, one brow raised.

She huffed. "I've already showered and was ready to go to bed, so they might as well be."

"Fair enough." He started toward the bathroom door. "I'll make it quick, then."

While he started up the shower, Crystal went into the kitchen to reheat the plate of asparagus and red potatoes. She glanced over at the bathroom door and sighed. Perhaps she shouldn't have rebuffed him out of spite, but he had been late because he was exercising? She scrunched up her nose. Work, she understood, but working out?

Just as she finished heating up his dinner, the shower turned off and he trotted back into the living room once he was dry. "Thanks for cooking," he said as he sat down at the table. He paused, glanced around, and asked, "Wait, where is Velvet?"

Crystal blinked. "That's a good question. I'm honestly not sure, she didn't tell me about any late night plans. I'm sure she'll turn up eventually, though."

He shrugged and took a bite of one of the red potato slices. "Speaking of plans, do you have any for this Wednesday?" He looked across the table at her. "The play you said you liked is going to be stopping through here. I thought you might like to go and tickets are still available."

She tilted her head to the right. There were a lot of plays she liked, but which had she talked about recently? "Three Stallions and a Foal?"

"The other one." He bit into an asparagus.

"Swift Times at Manehattan High?"

He frowned. "The other, other one."

Tilting her head to the left, she pursed her lips in thought. "Hmm... Flankspeare in Love?"

"That one!" He chuckled, shaking his head. "You like too many plays. So, would you like me to get tickets?"

The easy answer was yes. Now that she was done puzzling over which play, however, she remembered one very important detail. "You said it was Wednesday?" He nodded, and she asked, "Is that the only day they're performing here?"

"One day only." He looked at her with eyes that almost seemed to plead with her. "We could drop everything and go have a good time."

"I'm sorry." Her ears drooped as she shook her head. "I can't. Fancy Pants's fall line showing is on Wednesday. Only a few select ponies were invited to the sneak peek at what he'll debut next season. I'm sorry, honey, but I can't miss it."

"That's fine," he said in a tone that was distinctly not fine and his gaze fell to his dinner plate. "We'll just do something another day."

Crystal squirmed in her seat. She absolutely couldn't miss the showing, but she hated saying no to him. He understood how important it was, though. He had to. After all, he was a very important pony tasked with guarding an extremely important pony. Protecting her social standing wasn't nearly as vital as him protecting Princess Luna, but that didn't mean it was something she shouldn't take seriously.

"My mother is demanding to meet you," she blurted out into the silence.

Silent looked up and blinked at her. "Pardon?"

"My mother. Well, to be honest, both of my parents." She twiddled her hooves and avoided his gaze. "Since we'll be getting married, my parents want to meet you before the wedding."

"Oh. That makes sense. You've already met my mom, after all." He went back to eating. "When do they want to meet?"

She offered him a meek, sheepish grin. "Tomorrow?"

He didn't say anything. Instead, he lowered his fork to the plate and raised his gaze to hers.

"I'm sorry!" The grin fell. "She sprung it on me rather suddenly, and with how busy you've been lately I didn't want to interrupt you at work. I was hoping to tell you over a nice meal, but then..." She trailed and sighed. "I'm sorry. If we cancel, she'll think I'm hiding you from her."

He shook his head. "No, tomorrow is fine. Is it at least after work hours?"

"Your regular work hours, at least," she tried to tease.

The joke didn't seem to be well-received, as he just looked down at his plate and said, "Yes, dear."

Crystal did her best to conceal her sudden anxiety. Was she making a mistake?


They stood outside the door to her parents' house, Silent standing still while Crystal fussed over his armor. If he was going to insist on wearing it—which he had, of course—then it was going to look perfect. Just as she found and wiped off a smudge from the breastplate, the door finally opened.

"Hi, Mom." Crystal stood up straight. "This is Silent Knight. My fiancé. Silent, this is my mother, Upper Crust."

Silent offered a polite bow of his head. "It is a pleasure to meet you, ma'am."

Upper Crust tilted her head to look down her snout at him, though with their height difference she was still looking up. After eyeing him from head to hoof, she said, "Charmed, I'm sure. Please, do come in."

They followed her inside, where she stopped and gestured to the couch. "Make yourselves comfortable. I'll get some tea."

While Crystal went straight for the couch, Silent seemed to hesitate. He stared at the couch a moment, seemed to weigh his options, then finally sat down beside her. She tried not to laugh. Served him right for deciding to wear full plate to her parents' house. Being in their presence was uncomfortable enough, but doing so while in armor? He was in for a rough evening.

Upper Crust levitated over a tea set and started to serve when hoofsteps came down the stairs.

"Welcome!" Jet Set called as he rounded the banister to walk over to them. "Pardon my late greeting. You two are earlier than I expected."

"Hi, Dad." Crystal rose to her hooves and smiled. "This is my father, Jet Set."

Silent stood as well, meeting the stallion halfway and offering a hoof. As Jet Set took it, Silent said, "Nice to meet you, sir."

They shook hooves and Jet Set nodded. "Pleasure to finally meet you, my boy." He smiled, then moved to sit by Upper Crust on the loveseat.

After Crystal and Silent settled back onto the couch and Upper Crust had finished serving all of them tea, Jet Set said, "I understand you're a royal guard. Exactly what sort?" He paused before adding, "Forgive me, but the royal guard isn't exactly my field of expertise. I just noticed that your armor isn't like that of the guards around the city."

Silent nodded. "That's right, sir. I'm the commander of Princess Luna's House Guard. Our armor is unique to match her colors. We ensure the safety of the princess above all else. The guards you see on the streets are responsible for keeping the peace."

Jet Set leaned back with his tea cup floating in front of him and smiled. "Capital, my boy. A commander? That makes you an officer, am I right? Do you personally protect the princess, then?"

Crystal did her best to not sigh. Why was he engaging in such obvious small talk? Her father had to know these things already, didn't he? Surely they hadn't cornered her into dinner to ask basic questions! No, her mother would certainly not let an opportunity like this pass by.

Silent, on the other hoof, seemed more than comfortable with the topic. "I am a lieutenant to be specific, sir. I do protect the princess, yes, but not in the way you may be thinking. Before my promotion I stood guard. Now I supervise the ponies that stand guard and such things. Most of my time is spent coordinating with her and her assistant, though I am still responsible for her safety."

"So you're in management, then!" He smiled at Upper Crust, who gave him a half-lidded stare.

"That must mean long hours at the palace," Upper Crust said. "Traveling outside of Canterlot with the princess, too, I'm sure."

Silent nodded. "Both of those things are true."

Upper Crust stared at him. "That sounds like it would make for a difficult home life, then."

Crystal's ears flicked back. There it was—the beginning of a very long evening. "Mother..."

"What?" Upper Crust glanced at her, then looked back at Silent. "I'm merely pointing out that he'll be around at inconsistent and unreliable hours. He has a duty to his job, darling. Isn't that right, Silent Knight?"

Silent nodded again. "You are correct, ma'am."

Crystal frowned and puffed out her cheeks. It sounded so much worse than it was! Of course it was annoying to never know when he'd be home for dinner, but—"It isn't as bad as you're making it out to be, Mother. He doesn't come home late that often."

As soon as she said the words and all eyes turned to her, she froze. That was not the right thing to say by any means.

Upper Crust, unsurprisingly, was the one to break the moment of silence. "Excuse me?"

Words failed her. Her mind was a complete and utter blank slate. Thankfully, Silent explained, "I live with my sister, Winterspear. She and Crystal are good friends. They are often left waiting on me for dinner."

"Oh, I see." Upper Crust folded her hooves in her lap. "Then you do keep late hours often?"

Silent nodded. "That would be a fair statement, ma'am. Princess Luna's schedule is not the opposite of Princess Celestia's, exactly, but they are definitely different. We start later in the day and leave later in the evening. Sometimes I am required to stay even later to handle problems that come up or additional responsibilities that get dropped on me. Most nights, though, I am home after moonrise."

Upper Crust raised one brow. "I see."

The silence lingered a while before Jet Set cleared his throat. "So, Silent Knight. Is it a family business to be a royal guard?"

Crystal fidgeted, earning herself a stern glare from her mother. Couldn't they just cut to the dinner already so they could leave sooner?

"More or less, yes, sir," Silent said. "The Royal Guard or the Equestrian Army. My sister is a guard. My father was both a guard and a soldier. My grandfather, too. From my understanding, the Knight family has been in some form of martial service to the crowns as long as we have been around."

Jet Set nodded and patted Upper Crust on the knee. "You hear that, dear? That is true dedication. Great... fidelity, wouldn't you say?" He looked over at Silent. "And your parents are all right with you marrying a unicorn?"

"Dad!" Crystal gawked, her hooves going numb from surprise. "That isn't an appropriate thing to ask!"

"What?" Jet Set raised his brow. "Honey, it's just a question. He's from an old family like ours. Not everypony from our sort of families are okay with... well, mingling."

"Mingling?!" Crystal nearly shrieked. "Dad, I—"

Silent put a hoof on her shoulder and interrupted, "To be honest, sir, the topic hasn't come up. I didn't give anypony advanced notice that I was going to propose. My mother doesn't know much more than what I put in a letter. As for my father..." He frowned lightly. "He would probably be displeased that I was spending time on love rather than my career and wouldn't even notice she was a unicorn."

"Oh, I, ah, see. How unfortunate." As Jet Set lifted his teacup, he muttered, "That certainly won't make the wedding awkward."

Silent's ears twitched. "I don't think it will, sir. I'm afraid he passed recently."

How had it come to this? Crystal just stared at nothing in particular, her eyes wide and her mind void of a way to salvage the conversation. Dead fathers. 'Mingling' concerns. Her mother's judgmental stare, which shifted from her to Silent.

"You seem too rough for my little girl," Upper Crust stated without an ounce of reservation. "You're so much larger than she is and, frankly, too frank."

Silent shook his head. "Crystal is tougher than you might imagine, ma'am. A trait she no doubt earned from her upbringing. I commend you on that."

Crystal wanted to laugh and cry at the same time while Upper Crust's lips curled into a frown. "Well! I never! I—"

"Dinner!" Jet Set interrupted, jumping to his hooves. "I think it is time for dinner! Shall we move to the dining room?"

Upper Crust held Silent's gaze. He didn't flinch. Finally, she huffed, stood up, and trotted into the kitchen. Once she was out of sight and Jet Set had left the room, Crystal let out a heavy sigh and leaned against Silent.

"This was a mistake," she whispered. "Do you think we could make a run for it?"

Silent smiled down at her. "What do you mean? I think this is fun."

"Fun?" Crystal's ears pinned back. "How?"

"You never met my father," he responded with a soft chuckle. "This is fun. Come on, I'm hungry."

Her mood lifted just long enough for them to enter the dining room. Seeing her father sitting at the head of the table and spotting her mother hovering at the doorway dragged her back down to a state of dread and she took a seat.

"Now, dear," Jet Set said, smiling at Crystal, "how is Velvet Step doing?"

Crystal sighed. "Well enough, I suppose. She is struggling a bit. Some trouble with one of the other mares in the company, but she's working on a plan to resolve that."

"Oh?" Jet Set tilted his head.

"The Royal Ballet of Equestria had their auditions today. Competency exams or some such thing, they're called. I haven't seen her yet so I will either be going home to a very happy mare with a new company or one without any at all."

Upper Crust set down the last serving plate and seated herself across from Crystal. "At least somepony is working to improve their station in life."

Crystal glanced at her mother, then back at her father. "I'm confident it will be the former."

"Well, then, we should throw her a little party," Jet Set offered.

Crystal gave a quick shake of her head. "Oh, no, you know how she is. I'm sure she'd rather not."

Jet Set blinked before he simply shrugged and started to spoon green beans onto his plate.

Once they had all filled their plates, an awkward dinner of silence commenced. Upper Crust periodically cleared her throat whenever Crystal got gravy on her cheek or Silent had grabbed the wrong fork. After several attempts at small talk, Jet Set finally set the ball in motion with the simplest of questions.

"Have you made any big plans for your birthday, dear?"

Crystal shook her head and replied, "No, not at all. I don't want a big show this year. Silent has been busy, and my schedule is full, as you both know."

Upper Crust snorted at that.

"Not to mention, I've been working myself hard to meet my deadlines and whatnot."

Upper Crust set down her fork and looked at Crystal. "Oh, darling, I wish you would consider writing something different. Just how long are these tawdry romance novels of yours going to be popular? You have to think of and prepare for the future, you know."

"They're not tawdry, Mother!" Crystal snapped. "You know that I won an award for my first one. Luna reads all my books!"

"And that makes it okay?" Upper Crust raised her brow.

Crystal shot her a withering stare. "If they're good enough for Princess Luna, they should be good enough for a pony like you!"

"Like me?" Upper Crust put a hoof to her chest. "And what does that mean?"

Jet Set cleared his throat and leaned to look at Silent. "My boy, do you smoke cigars?"

"What do you think it means, Mother?" Crystal's upper lip curled into a snarl.

Silent shook his head. "No, sir, I don't."

"I'm afraid I don't, darling." Upper Crust's eyes narrowed. "Please, spell it out for me."

Jet Set stood and gestured a hoof for Silent to follow suit. "You do now. Come with me."

"Excuse me," Silent said as he walked after Jet Set toward the balcony doors.

He could go wherever he liked. Crystal was going to stay right there. The hairs on the back of her neck stood on end as a fury coursed through her veins.

"All you care about is what other ponies think, Mother, and Luna is a princess, of all things! If there is anypony that you should fawn over for once in your life, let it be somepony of some actual substance!"

Upper Crust snorted. "Oh, that is rich. Truly, it is. Yes, darling, I'll do my very best to be just like the princess who became Night—"

"Don't you even dare say it!" Crystal shouted. "That wasn't Luna's fault!"

"She's the one who—"

Crystal slammed a hoof on the table. "Don't even start!"

Upper Crust crossed her forelegs over her chest and leaned back into her seat. "Of course you would be quick to jump to her defense. Your career and your stallion depend on her, don't they?"

There was a small hitch in Crystal's voice as she fought through a swarm of responses to simply ask, "Why do you always do this, Mom?"

One of Upper Crust's ears twitched. "What do you mean?"

"Why do you try to ruin everything for me?" Crystal's raging emotions swung wildly between anger and despair. "Why can't you just let me be happy? I love my writing. I love Silent Knight. Why isn't that good enough for you?"

"Because—" Upper Crust paused, then frowned and continued, "You deserve the best, but you don't seem to be motivated to reach for it. Somepony has to look out for your best interests."

Crystal snarked and glared at her. "For my best interests, or yours? Have you ever once asked me what I wanted?! All my life you've told me what I wanted!" She wrapped her forelegs tightly around herself as a shiver ran through her. "I have the best, Mom. I have a job I love to do, and I have a stallion who loves me. That's all I want. So what do you want?"

They stared at one another in near silence, the whimper of Crystal trying to smother her desire to cry the only sound between them for a while. She hated feeling this way. She should have never agreed to this dinner.

Upper Crust's ears fell to the sides until she mumbled, "Are you really happy with the way things are, darling?"

"What?" Crystal sniffed, then nodded. "Yeah. More than I've ever been in my life."

Slowly, almost tentatively, Upper Crust unfurled from her tense position to reach across the table and offer her hoof. "Do you swear to me that you're happy?"

Crystal stared at the hoof, then lifted her gaze to meet her mother's. Tears were in Upper Crust's eyes, which started tears in her own. "I am." She took the offered hoof and squeezed it. "I really, really I am."

"And this stallion, Silent Knight. He loves you?"

Crystal nodded. "Yes, he does. And I love him."

Upper Crust withdrew her hoof and stood, turning her head away. "Good, then. I'm glad you were able to find your own happiness, darling." She cleared her throat and started for the doorway to the living room. "I think I'll retire for the night. Do apologize to your Silent Knight for me, if you would be so kind."

"Yeah..." Crystal watched her leave, stunned silent. Once her mother was out of sight she allowed her gaze to fall to her lap. Her heart pounded all the way to her ears like a steady drumbeat that heralded the arrival of something.

But what?

Author's Note:

Companion Secrets Chapter: Crystal's Parents

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