• 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 34: The Story

About three years went by since the day Acrylic taught art at the university for the first time. While I could tell you about how Acrylic’s family had moved to Ponyville last summer, or that my coltfriend had received the minimum amount of education for him to go to college. I could also tell you about how he asked advice on how to use his leftover money to start a scholarship for young artists who can’t afford to go to college like himself – they’re not what I am here for.

I know I have spoken quite a good deal to you for longer than I intended to. For that, I apologize. I want to give you a good idea about what Acrylic and I are like as a couple before I finish this story of ours. But before I do, there is something that you should know about our relationship. One last, yet very important memory to share before I bring you to the present.

Last year in June, Acrylic had me wear a blindfold before we got into a taxi. He whispered the destination to the driver before we were whisked away.

“Acrylic,” I asked him, “Where are you taking me?”

“Just wait a bit,” he told me.

“I hope this won’t take long. There is a gallery that I promised tha-”

“Trust me on this,” he interrupted. “You’ll find that this is very important.”

I was curious, what could be so important for him to blindfold me to take to… wherever he’s taking me. For several minutes, the carriage stopped and went, it turned this way and that, sped up and slowed down. My ears tried to listen, my nose sniffed the air, trying to get some sort of clue as to where we were going. The road eventually got a little bumpier, which gave me a hint that we were in the lesser developed part of the city. Eventually, the taxi pulled to a halt.

“Here,” I felt my coltfriend’s hoof on my foreleg. “Follow me, I’ll help guide you.”

I really didn’t know what was going on. For a moment, I had wished that Fleur had arrived earlier so at least we would know what was happening. For the most part, I was completely in the dark of it all as I walked on three hooves over cobblestones and kicked what must be garbage laying around.

“Should I be worried?” I asked him.

He laughed, “No no, I think this will be something rather special. Uh, hold on a sec,” I heard something being kicked. “Okay, just a little bit further… Alright, you can take off the blindfold now.”

I did, after blinking a few times from the light flooding into my eyes. Putting my monocle back on, I looked around at our surroundings. On one end, there was a very tall wooden fence; while on the other was a brick wall and a yellow dumpster. The air had both pleasant and disgusting smells of food nearby. Although at first I was disgusted, there was something rather familiar about this place.

“Do you recognize it?” he asked.

Putting a hoof to my chin, I told him, “I have to say, there’s something oddly familiar about this… only I can’t seem to grasp what it is. Acrylic, where are we?”

My coltfriend went over to the wall and despite risking his clothing betting dirty, laid his back against the dumpster. “Fancy, sit with me,” so I did. “I’ve brought you here to tell you a story.”

I tilted my head, “Alright, but why here?”

He shook his head, “No. In order for this to work, I have to bring you here. This setting, although as grimy as it may be, serves an important place for me,” he coughed a little before continuing. “For this to work, I need you to be very patient with me when I tell this story. Once it’s over, you’ll know very well why doing what I do is important.”

I nodded, “Alright, I’m listening.”

“Once upon a time, in a land far, far away, there once lived a colt that lived in a mining town. It was not a very rich town, the locals there lived off of the opals the mined from the mountains to exchange it with traders for whatever they had. Although poor, they created with whatever they had to get by, and the town was proud of that.

“In fact, that town was so proud that it started traditions and beliefs of their very own. They worshiped cats that kept away the pesky mice. They decorated their roofs with colorful ties as an appreciation of their good fortune. They valued family and success above everything else. In fact, when one found his cutie mark, he worked hard for that passion, and when that pony was successful, they were considered real adults.

“This was the world that the colt grew up in. He searched for his purpose among the strong traditions that told him what he should do and how he should act. His parents told him that in order for him to be truly happy he was to first; find something he was really good at; and also, to find a marefriend that will one day be his wife. But there were two problems with this. As the colt grew up, for one, while he did find what his passion was, nopony thought he was any good at it. The other was that no matter how hard he tried, he would have feelings towards other colts, but not fillies.

“Then, one day the colt heard the tales about a land called Equestria. A place, he heard, where somepony as poor as he was, could go over there with absolutely nothing, and come back wealthy. Where the land was paved in gold and gems as far as the eye could see. The opportunity that once closed to him in his own country, were open wide for those who are willing to work for it. It was a land free of prejudice and fear, no matter how he hated they were in his country, he could be a blank slate in that one.

“So, as the colt grew to a stallion, he sold everything he had in order to come to Equestria. He saved enough money to buy supplies to make bits off of what he loved to do, and that was to paint pictures in his own way. He spends all on canvases, brushes and a rainbow spectrum of paint. He barely had enough leftover to eat. But he didn’t care; he would make his fortune off of his art.

“Only, as he found out, no matter where he went or what he painted, nopony was interested. Not in him, nor his art. He tried very hard to find somepony... anypony, which would help him gain success. Yet, from town to town, city to city, he quickly learned that achievement was not about working hard, but getting an invitation to be successful. After all, he was lacking a proper education, he never been to an art class in his life, how was anypony going to take him, or whatever he put on those canvases seriously?

“The stallion ended up at what he thought to be his last hope, a city called Canterlot. One of the major art capitals of the world, if he couldn’t make it there,” Acrylic shook his head, “He then would know that he truly failed. With the remaining bits he had, he spent them on the cheapest housing he could find, and some art supplies. He tried desperately to paint something that would catch these wealthy ponies’ attention. Yet, to his eyes, no matter what he painted, they always seemed to have fallen apart, so he angrily threw them away.

“Eventually, he ran out of bits and he was kicked out of his apartment, seemly condemned to live the rest of his miserable life on the streets. For several days, he was hungry, cold, and very, very sad. There was no way he could go home to the old country because he found that it was completely impossible to go anywhere now.”

Looking up, he smiled at me, “Then, on this very spot, when it seemed that hope was entirely forgotten, the first of many miracles happened to the stallion. One of his art pieces caught the eye of the most influential stallion in the entire city. Only second to that of royals, he saved a painting from becoming wet with rain and searched for its maker, to which, he found him here. He told the artist that what he found was the most extraordinary thing that he’s ever seen, but the stallion didn’t believe him. He thought that the rich pony was lying to him. However, when that same wealthy stallion offered to give him a job, food and shelter, did that stallion start to really listen.

“From that day on, the rich stallion encouraged him to paint more, brightly colored pictures to his heart’s content. He painted near every day when he wasn’t working as his servant. During that time, the stallion learned that they were very much alike. That he liked stallions as well, he also learned that he hadn’t found his special somepony yet either.

“That stallion was filled with something he hadn’t felt since he arrived in Equestria. Hope. Hope that maybe, this rich pony that was kind enough to save him, he stood up for the stallion, and proved to him that his art was ingenious, that he could probably fall in love too.”

Acrylic then took both of my front hooves and continued. “Days turned to weeks, then into months, and into years. Slowly, but surely, the sad artist started to open up to him. To his shock and delight, he gave him a chance to court him. While the wealthy pony wasn’t sure at first, he too opened up to the stallion in which he would gladly call his coltfriend.

“From there, they encountered prejudice from the stallion’s own parents, journeyed to a faraway land in which they’ve gained enlightenment, and the rich pony’s father became a mediator to speak to the stallion’s parents. Although, the two of them had their trials, some that nearly destroyed the stallion’s want to live; the other always came to save him from himself. The wealthy stallion performed one miracle after another, in which whatever doors that were once locked to his coltfriend, now wide open for him to enter.”

He let go one of his hooves to reach into his pocket. “The immigrant stallion became deeply in love with his savior. Over the years he’d been with him, he dated him until one day; he knew that this was the pony he was missing in his life. He loved him so much, that he decided that he would reenact a certain ritual that he learned from his village.

“First, he went to the sea and searched for the biggest, and purest purl he could find. Then he would gather four opals that came from his village, along with three sapphires and three rubies. Once he gathered these, the stallion then went to a goldsmith who carefully crafted a ring from these items.

“Next, he would blindfold the pony who he values above anyone in the world, to take them to the very spot in which they’d first met. This pony must have no knowledge beforehoof of where they were going, nor knowing that the ritual was about to take place. The stallion could only have the other take the blindfold off once they’ve arrived if the other did before, he had to cancel the ritual.

“If the wearer didn’t take off the blindfold before they reached the spot, he then recounts a tale of their relationship while the other listens. When this is done, the stallion then recites this pledge: 'I brought you here because I will go to the ends of the universe to find such beauty. You trusted me to guide you, just as you have guided me. I recanted the story of our love, now it will last as long as the stars give their light. These pledges I give unto you so that it will be a promise etched into my heart.’ He then ends it by saying the name of his beloved: Fancy Pants,” out from his pocket, he pulled out a ring just as he described. “Will you be mine, now and for all eternity?”

I hugged him, “If I say yes, do I get to brag how sweet your proposal was to everypony?”

Tears flooded his eyes… he nodded, “You said yes… thank you so much… for performing this miracle for me. I love you, Fancy.” He cried wrapping me into a tight hug.

I smiled, “I know.”

Author's Note:

This is it, one more chapter to go!

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