• Published 2nd May 2016
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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 28: Luna’s Bouquet

Author's Note:

Okay, what's going on? I haven't had a single comment for the last several chapters. So, I've gotta ask, am I loosing my touch here? Have I lost all of your interests? What's going on?

To this day, I still can’t figure out how news of Acrylic leaked out, but there on the dining room table in black and white. “Impressionist Artist Again Attempts Suicide,” was the headline. No sooner than I’ve read through that article did the doorbell rang to a storm of my coltfriend’s admirers, patrons, and reporters were there, armed to the teeth with gifts, cards, chocolate, cameras, concerns, flowers, questions, and fruit baskets.

“I still can’t believe this is all for me.” Acrylic put my vest over me, every so often he would glance out the window. “Do you really think they mean it?”

“Most of them do,” I said. “Although there are a few that are there just because you’re a sort of celebrity while others are there because they wanted to be seen. But either way, since you’ve gained this much attention, I would say that a majority of them are genuinely concerned about you.”

“But you didn’t tell the press,” he said as he passed me my tie, “did you?”

“Honestly, I have no clue who said it, but they’ve said it nonetheless – which, again, I’m so sorry about all this. It is probably the last thing you need.”

“I’m not saying that it was you that gave out something so private. But regardless if it was intentional or not, there’s a mob of ponies out there asking if I’m still breathing.” He then went inside my closet and picked out my suit. “How long do you think they’ll be there?”

“Knowing Canterlot, they might get bored in a couple of hours, give or take.”

My coltfriend hummed as he slipped one sleeve up my foreleg, “Fancy, you’re not going to put me in a loony bin, are you?”

“Oh heavens no,” I kissed him on the forehead. “I wouldn’t imagine doing something like that to you. With somepony as wonderful and brilliant as you are, I’m not going to put you behind bars with raving, screaming lunatics. For which you are very well not.”

“Then what are you going to do to me?”

“Honestly? I think that in the coming days, I’ll have to make an appointment with a psychiatrist/therapist who has studied depression. Of course, I’m going to make sure that the doctor that I need to find is qualified in helping you. Be it by some sort of therapy or by medication, I’ll cover whatever cost to make sure that you learn how to cope with your depression.”

“As for my… uh, tutors?” he asked with a hint of embarrassment.

“Priorities my dear,” I kissed him again, “Doctor first, education afterward.” There was a sudden knock on my door, “Come in.”

One of the hoofcolts peeked his head in, “Sir, sorry to bother you, but Princess Luna is downstairs asking for the both of you.”

This piece of news took both of us by surprise. After I was fully dressed, we descended the staircase to find the Princess of the Night and a couple of her guards waiting for us. Sitting in her aura was a bouquet of light pink geraniums, snow white callas, yellow tulips, and rainbow zinnias. We both bowed as we reached the tiled floor.

“We have come as soon as we’ve heard,” she said as she hugged Acrylic. “Pray tell, are you feeling alright?”

“Yes, I’m fine Princess,” he said, looking between me and Luna. “Can you let go now.”

She did and offered him the flowers, “We- pardon, I would have come sooner, but I thought it would be improper not to bring you something to wish you good health.”

“Your Majesty is most generous,” he said as he accepted the bouquet.

“Although,” the princess continued, “I was wondering, that is, if it isn’t too personal to ask, but what drove you to doing… it, again?”

Acrylic turned to me, “Didn’t the papers say about why I nearly did it?”

I thought back to the article I’ve read from breakfast, “I don’t think it was clear on the issue.”

Luna unravels a wing and draped it over my coltfriend, “Please tell me of your troubles, as your Princess, no, as your friend, I only intend to help you in any way I can.”

Acrylic’s ears folded back, his neck bends earthward, “I… I just overreacted to something stupid.”

“When life's in danger, there are no such things as a ‘stupid reason.’ Clearly, something has been troubling you.”

He took in a deep breath, “I opened my letter from Canterlot University to see if they’d accept my application. Only, they’d turn it down because they said I wasn’t smart enough to attend.”

“Basically,” I clarify, “it said that the only way for him to get in is if he had a high school degree, which was something he never achieved.”

“Is that so,” the blue Alicorn asked and Acrylic nodded. “Believe it or not, I had this same exact problem.”

This got my coltfriend’s attention, “You?”

“Indeed,” she nodded. “When I returned to Equestria for the first time in a thousand years, I was completely ignorant of modern knowledge from customs to speaking, mathematics to history, I was completely, how you’d say, clueless. There have been so many changes that for me it was like living in an alien world. Before I left, it was my duty to know everything, but when I returned, I quickly realized how little I knew. So you could only imagine how embarrassing it was for me to listen to my own servants and civilians, and yet, I barely had any idea what they were talking about. I had to relearn, and in countless cases, rethink everything that I thought was once true and timeless. So really, we are not that different, you and I.”

“Wow,” he said. “I never thought that you had to relearn everything. Was it hard?”

She laughed, “Oh quite! It took me weeks to learn about the workings of table manners alone! But as hard, and yes at times, frustrating to learn even the most basic of things, I still press on because I knew that they are important skills to learn. Even to this day, Celestia is still sending tutors to me to learn about various subjects from modern writing to the workings of political philosophies.”

“Do you think that…?” Acrylic said but then tailed off.

“What?” I asked while taking the flours into my magic. “What were you going to say?”

He shook his head, breaking away from the princess’s wing, “Forget it.”

“I said that I would like to help you,” Luna said. “If you have a suggestion, please speak freely of it.”

The downtrodden artist sighed, “You’ll never agree to it.”

The Moon Princess frowned, “Tell me.”

With a sigh, he gave in, “Do you think that… I could have some of those teachers teach me. Just enough so I have the credit to get into college?”

Luna put a hoof to her chin, “A fascinating idea. I guess it would give those that I’ve already been with something to do. Of course, I would have to raise their pay if they’re willing to take on an extra student. But then again, it would be like having a... what was it that Princess Twilight put it? A study buddy?” without warning, her eyes went wide and her grin stretched from ear to ear. “Ooh! There’s a capital idea! A study buddy! One in which we would guide through the complicated and confusing world of learning! Together, we will make sense out of the nonsense of modern life, where nothing, not even that evil is known as bureaucracy will stand in the way! But I’m rambling on.” She looked down, “Of course, these will have to be evening classes if this is going to be taken place.”

“E-Evening?” my coltfriend backed away, “But I can’t do that, Your Majesty. I still have a job to take care of that time.”

“Oh,” she blinked, “Remind me what you do other than painting again?”

“He’s my Valet,” I told her. “As well as my coltfriend as you already know.”

She gave embarrassed chuckled before she went on, “Ah, yes. What time are you needed?”

“By evening?” Acrylic answered, “It depends when he summons me. Usually, he doesn’t head off to bed until ten-twenty at earliest or at eleven at the latest.”

“Then there’s no problem at all!” she smiled, “Can I trust that you’ll be at the palace at say… nine-thirty in the evening? Probably two or three times a week for about an hour so you can learn with me. After all, I prefer to get my studies done early.” Here, she yawned, “Would this be satisfactory?”

“Nine-thirty?” he pondered before looking over to me, “Would that work?”

“It is reasonable with me,” I said. “Besides, at least this would take care of the tutor problem if her Highness is offering to study beside her. Though, there is one request that I do ask from you.”

“That being?” she tilted her head.

I smirked, “Please don’t keep him out too long.”

One glass shattering squee, quickly followed by the realization of what she was doing. She quickly recovered and returned to a much more formal tone the Moon Princess said, “Excellent, then we expect to see you tonight! Until then my ‘study… buddy’” she finished before heading out the door.

Acrylic looked over to me, “What just happened?”

“It would seem that Princess Luna had just agreed to your idea of studying with her,” I patted his head. “Now, as for today, I want you to take things easy until your lessons tonight. In the meantime, I’m going to make sure that these get in a vase.”

“But what do you want me to do?” he asked as he followed me to the study. “I’m forbidden to use my paints until later, I can’t eat anything other than soup, and I can’t even leave the house because of the mob outside.”

I hummed in thought, ringing the bell for Gustav, “True. Perhaps I could let you borrow one of my books. After all, everyone in this house is welcome to my library.”

He looked around, “I know that but… I don’t know where to start, or if I could even understand any of those types of books.”

“You did say that you can read, right?” the red stallion nodded, “Perhaps we could start with something simple, not trying to the point that insults your intelligence of course.” It was then that I remembered something, “In fact, I think I already know just the book.”

I trotted over to the shelf closest to the window by my desk and looked over the tomes to find that book. “Now where is that story? I know I have it here some- Ah!” I picked it out with my magic while carefully placing the flowers on my desk to make room. “Dear me, I haven’t seen this since I was a teenager.”

“What is it?”

The book in question that I held up to him had South Luna Sea native carving as the binding. The hardcover book bared the title, “Te Moana o te Ahi,” and underneath is a picture of a tattooed pony rowing in a canoe, facing the sunrise in the sea.

“The title translates to, ‘The Sea of Fire,’” I told him, “It takes place in the many islands of the South Luna Sea, as far south as you can go without freezing. The tale follows a chap called Whakamā (which means Shy), that, after losing his brother Mārohirohi (or Brave) in a typhoon, he goes on an odyssey to many islands across the sea to recover the last of his family. All the while he encounters spirits and creatures of local myth on each island he searches.”

My coltfriend took hold of the book, flipping through its pages, “It’s kinda thick.”

“Trust me,” I put a hoof over his shoulder, “Once you get through the first chapter, you’ll fly through it before you know it. Of course, the beginning is rather slow but once the brother hops off his home island, things will immediately become interesting.”

The door behind us opened, “You summoned me, sir?”

“Oh, Gustav,” I gave him the flowers, “Would you find a vase to put this in, they’re from Princess Luna.”

“Of course sir,” he nodded as he placed the bouquet on his back and trotted off.

“What is that?” my coltfriend asked. I looked over to what he was looking at to find him open the book to one of the etched pictures in the middle. The particular picture had the hero paddling away from an erupting volcano that the smoke had a very angry, and even scarier face on it.

“Oh, I remember this,” I pointed, “This is the scene when he’s trying to swim away from Pele, the God of fire and volcanoes.” Here I put a hoof to my chin, “Though for the life of me, I can’t exactly remember why.”

Closing the book, Acrylic asks, “When do you expect me to return it?”

“Take as long as you like,” I kissed him on the nose. “In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised to hear that you’ll be rereading it several times over.”

“Don’t you have someplace to be?”

I shrugged, “Unfortunately yes, but I promise that I’ll come back to check up on you as soon as I’m able. Alright?”

He nodded, “Before you go, can I ask if you’ve sent the letter to your dad yet?”

“I have,” I nodded before walking out the door, “Although I don’t think I’ll expect a reply from him for at least a couple of days. But in the meantime, follow the doctor’s orders and get some rest.”

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