• Published 2nd May 2016
  • 1,746 Views, 79 Comments

The Last Impressionist - CrackedInkWell



On the way home one night, Fancy Pants discovers a painting of extraordinary quality being thrown away in the trash in the poorer part of Canterlot. Curious, Fancy discovers a depressed artist who's down on his luck named Acrylic Brush.

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Chapter 13: Stallion’s Night Out.

A few days later, it was Saturday night, which could only mean one thing on my calendar: the annual poker game at the Blue Smoke Bar. Every month on a Saturday, I and my friends along with our acquaintances would gather to a dark room where the only light is a lamp above us to play cards and see what was new with everypony. Tonight, now that Acrylic was properly been introduced several days prior, will be that invited guest to the table.

“Are you sure you know where you’re going?” the Artist asked looking around at the street we’re trotting down. “I don’t like the looks of this.”

“Not much farther now,” I told him.

“So why are we meeting your friends out here for? It doesn’t seem a place to have a night out.”

“That’s rather the point,” I said, turning into an alleyway. “It would be at a place where it’ll be as far away from our worlds as possible without endangering ourselves. Here it is,” down a flight of stairs with a blue neon sign that pointed downward, we entered into the bar.

I do think that I should take this moment to explain what makes this place so special. In my opinion, it is without a doubt, the best-kept secret in Canterlot. Not only does the bar serve liquors and beer that would easily rival the Royal Cellar beneath the palace, but it also has with it some of the best food in town. From hay fries to sandwiches, these ponies had somehow perfected them all. When one enters, it is full of dark woods and tinted light blue lamps that hang overhead the tin tiled ceiling. At the very heart of the establishment is a grand piano that only plays the songs of Horseshoepin, thereby giving the place a relaxing, calm yet, classy atmosphere all around.

Mr. Brush looked at me in confusion, “Why are we at a bar? You know that I don’t really drink right?”

“I know. But we’re not here to drink.” A waitress came up to us, asking if we’ve been helped. “Actually, young lady, we’re here for the poker game tonight.” Understanding what I was talking about, we were escorted to the back rooms, past a dark blue curtain, we stepped inside the black velvet room were the only light source is a blue lamp, a bright green table, and several stallions circling around.

“Well it’s about time,” I heard Hoity’s voice announcing our arrival. By the looks of thing, he was the dealer tonight. “This round’s almost over, but we’ve saved a few seats for you.”

“Thank you Hoity.” I waved a hoof over to the artist, “Everypony, I like to introduce you to Acrylic Brush, although a few of you already met. Mr. Brush, these here are my fellow chaps: Next to Hoity is Lord Night Light, father of Princess Twilight; this is Golden Gavel, an auctioneer for the Ruby Auction House; Doughnut Joe who runs a shop here in the city; Mr. Trenderhoof who is a reporter for the Hidden Equestria magazine; and… I’m sorry, but I don’t think I know you.”

“He’s with me,” Hoity said, “This here’s Fashion Plate, I invited him here.”

As I and Acrylic sat down, I asked, “So I assume that the Professor couldn’t make it tonight?”

“The fella’s got date night with his wife,” said Joe, “you know, being their anniversary and all.”

“I don’t blame him really,” Lord Nightly said, looking at his cards. “I think it’s been forever since those two had any fun. I think I’ll fold on this.”

“Shame, but understandable,” I commented before looking over to the new pony in the group, “Mr. Plate, what sort of occupation do you have?”

“Journalist photographer for Cosmare,” he offered his hoof, “You must be Fancy Pants?”

“Indeed I am. Although I’m afraid that I haven’t heard of you before, are you new to Cosmare?”

“I was the one that got him in,” Hoity said. “He started just this week.”

“Well, congratulations then sir.” At this point, I turned to Acrylic, “Is there anything you would like? Perhaps I could tempt you with one of the snacks they have here.”

“What do they have?”

“Get the fries,” Gavel craned his neck back. “They’re really good here.”

And so, after a winner was proclaimed and an order of those golden hay fries later, Hoity now cut the cards for me and Acrylic to join in.

“Correct me if I’m wrong,” Trenderhoof spoke to Mr. Brush, “But aren’t you that new painter, the one with all the Impressionist paintings?”

“Um… yeah?”

“I’ve only seen pictures of your paintings in a newspaper, you know, the ones from the exhibit? I want to ask, how did that go?”

“It went off beautifully,” I said. “You can ask Lord Night and Hoity about it, they were there.”

“Went off without a hitch if you ask me,” Hoity commented. “Although the downside is that my commission won’t come for a while.”

“What do you paint?” Gavel inquired.

“From what I’ve seen,” Lord Night answered, “He’s done landscapes, cityscapes, portraits, still lives, and all sorts of things. Although,” his face turned sympathetic, “are you feeling alright Mr. Brush?”

“Sorry,” Trenderhoof gave a confused look, “What does that have to do with anything?”

“Don’t ya know?” Joe asked. “This guy nearly jumped off the eighth floor this week.”

“Uh, could we not talk about it?” Acrylic asked.

“But you almost died, didn’t you?” Night questioned, “I mean, it’s a little concerning don’t you think?”

“My Lord,” I stepped in, “Mr. Brush isn’t exactly keen on talking to strangers about his personal problems. He’s doing fine now as you can see. Could we at least change the subject?”

Gavel shrugged, “Since everypony’s here, why not talk about what’s new.”

I nodded, “Lord Night, let’s start with you since you weren’t here the last time.”

“Again, I’m sorry for that,” he said. “Twilie was here when she came up to revisit her old friends. Velvet and I haven’t seen her or Spike for a while and I didn’t want to pass up on the opportunity.”

“Okay, fair enough,” Joe commented. “You had family business to attend to. I can respect that.”

“Let’s see…” Night looked at his cards while tapping his chin with his hoof. “I know Cadence and Shining are trying to make a baby. They said in a letter that Cadie is trying to get pregnant but there’s no luck so far.”

“It’s about time if you ask me,” Hoity said. “I understand running an Empire next to the Frozen North and all, but I’m surprise that this hasn’t happened sooner.”

“I wouldn’t blame you,” Night nodded at his cards. “Velvet is trying to pressure them so that she and I could become grandparents. I can’t say the same for Twilight though, since as far as I know still doesn’t have a special somepony.”

“But you’re not pressuring her, aren’t you?” Gavel asked.

“She’s her own mare, castle and all, until the day she introduces that pony to us, we’ll leave her alone. But what we do after that is a different story.”

There was a burst of collective laughter around the table.

“Mr. Gavel, what about you?” I asked. Around the table, we learned that the Golden Gavel is planning to go on vacation, Doughnut Joe is thinking about expanding his business, and Trenderhoof asked around for suggestions for places to go to write about.”

“What about Ponyville?” Mr. Brush submitted, “After all, the place itself is beautiful and it's quite a large town that I expect to be filled with interesting ponies.”

“Quite right,” I agreed, “I think that town would yield up some inspiration.”

“Who knows,” Hoity grinned, “Maybe you’ll find some tail to chase around.”

I couldn’t help but roll my eyes, “Hoity, is that head of yours filled with anything else then sex?”

“And has good taste in fashion? But of course,” he smirked.

“Well, since you’re talking, why not we move onto you. What’s new with you?”

“I have a new coltfriend,” he lowered his glasses over to the tip of his nose and winked at Mr. Plate. “One in which I have a date tomorrow with.”

I turned to the new pony, “He did tell you he’s looking for a one night stand, right?”

“Yeah, so?” Fashion smiled, “It’s been a while, okay?”

“Now it’s your turn,” Joe said, “What’s new with you?”

“Excuse me,” Acrylic stood up, “Do any of you know where a bathroom is?”

“Just turn left, go down straight and you’ll see them,” Trenderhoof pointed out, in which the Artist thanked him for that before he left the room.

“So…” Hoity leaned forward.

I sighed, “To tell the truth, I’ve been keeping myself busy lately, especially with Mr. Brush as of late. You see, what I’ve been doing is to try to cheer him up from his depression.”

“That’s right,” Joe nodded, “the guy works for you, doesn’t he?”

“I read somewhere that he’s a servant,” Hoity asked. “Is that right?”

Nodding, I answered, “Quite, he’s a hoofcolt that I’m planning on to changing it to Valet soon. At least it would give him time to paint with all the commissions he’s getting left and right.”

“That’s rather thoughtful of you,” Trenderhoof said, “Anything else?”

“Actually, there is,” I smiled, “I’m dating again.”

“Oh-ho-ho-ho!” Hoity grinned, “This I gotta hear!”

“Really?” Lord Night inquired, “How serious is it?”

“Now now, we’ve only got started after all.” I lifted my hooves. “After all, we’ve only been on our first date a couple days ago… But, I’m tempted to go out with him again.”

“Is it somepony we know?” asked Fashion Plate.

Looking over my shoulder, I said only one word, “Acrylic.”

“No way!” Hoity stood up in surprise. “You’re dating him?”

“When did this happen?” Lord Night asked.

“Wait, all of you, just hear me out,” I said. “Part of the reason why he was depressed was that he was lonely. Not only that, but he has a crush on me so I thought, why not, and give the fellow a chance.”

“Lucky,” Hoity said. “How come you always get the cute ones?”

“I must say,” Fashion added, “your new coltfriend is fine! H-O-T, fine!”

“Now wait a second,” I interjected; I think my cheeks were filling with blood. “I never said that he’s my coltfriend, we’re just dating for now.”

“When was this again?” Gavel asked.

“I said it was a few days ago, but I admit that I’ve been thinking of going on another date. Only I’m not exactly sure where to.”

“Oh,” Lord Night exclaimed, “Actually, perhaps I could provide it.”

Everypony turned to him, “What do you mean?” Treanderhoof asked.

“You see, I’ve recently bought tickets for my wife and me to go listen to the symphony. Only as it turns out, we won’t be able to make it there. So I’m thinking that maybe I could give those tickets to you so that they won’t go to waste.”

I blinked, “You would do that?”

“What not? What are friends for?”

“Why… thank you, your Lordship.”

He waved a hoof, “Mr. Brush seems like a nice pony, besides, I think what you’re doing is noble. After all, I am commissioning him to paint our family portrait.”

“So what did I miss?” Acrylic reentered into the room.

“Nothing much,” Fashion told him, “Oh! That’s right; we haven’t gotten to you yet, have we?”

“Since we already know what’s new with him,” Trenderhoof said. “Perhaps we should ask him some other questions.”

“Like what?” he asked sitting down next to me.

“Once you get a good income in, what are you planning to do with it? Are you going to get a new house? Spend it on something you want?”

Acrylic sat there for a moment as he picked up his cards. “I want to go to college.”

“You mean returning to it?” Joe asked.

He shook his head, “No, to start it.” The whole room became quiet, “What?”

“You never had been to college?” Mr. Plate questioned in disbelief.

“No. Up until now, there was no way I could afford to go to one.”

“But, have you ever taken an art class?” Lord Night inquired.

“Never. There was no art class where I came from. But in a way, I’m rather glad I never did because all the other art I’ve seen seemed rather impersonal. Yet, I wanted to paint something that was not just personal, but something that even the most common of ponies could relate to. At the same time, however, I wanted to prove that I’m not an idiot by going to college, and the only way you could attend is if you’re rich to do so.”

“But what about student loans,” Joe asked.

He shook his head, “I never wanted to go into debt for trying to live.”

“Sure, I get that,” said the large pony, “But aren’t you a genius or something?”

“You’re no genius until you have a piece of paper that says you are. I mean, if I had that years ago, things would have been different for me.” He looked up from his cards, “So, who’s in?”

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