• 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 6: Friendly Talk under the Stars

After dinner, father presented his presents to me he got from Neighpon and retired to bed advising me to consider what he said in the garden. Once I had all of my work and made up the schedule for the next day, I decided to retire for the night. As I was leaving my study and headed to my room, I asked my butler to have Mr. Brush to assist me in my nightly ritual since I decided that I wanted to talk with him.

A few minutes later, there was a knock on my bedroom door in which I found the stallion balancing a tray on his back, “You sent for me sir?”

“Mr. Brush, come right in,” he followed into my bedroom. It was on the top floor where it had a pair of glass doors that lead to the balcony, a four post bed with the canopy of blue, a phonograph that lay at the very end of the bed, a couple of nightstands, and a two-hundred-year-old desk.

“Where should I put this?”

“You can put it on the desk, but mind the papers.”

“Yes, sir.”

“Oh, and Acrylic, pour yourself a glass too,” I told him as he places the tray on the desk.

“What is it?”

“It a lemonade that I like, I picked it up from Braezil and added some mint to it.” He looked at between me and the yellow picture. “There isn’t any alcohol in it unless you want some in your drink.”

“No sir, I’ve always hated the taste of it so I tried to stay away from it.”

“But pour our glasses and let’s go out into the balcony, I want to talk to you.”

He tensed up, “A-Am I in trouble?”

“Oh no, nothing of the sort, I just want to have a friendly chat is all.”

Mr. Brush did pour two glasses of the lemonade, in which I grabbed one with a gold aroura of magic. He followed me out the door and into the starry night where we are above the street. Although there were clouds here and there, the crescent moon stood majestically above the palace on the mountainside.

“What do you want to talk about Mr. Pants?”

“I wanted to check up on you to see if everything is alright with you.”

He blinked, “I don’t understand.”

“Let me rephrase it this way, are you happy being here?”

Acrylic looked down at his drink, “I’m not exactly sure myself. I guess I feel many things, gratitude for you giving me this job, bits now coming in, at least I can send a letter telling my parents that things are, hopefully, getting better.”

“Why do you say that?” I took a sip.

He sighed, “How do I know that this would even last? From my journey over here, I’ve become quite acquainted with disappointment. First when my parents didn’t think much would come from my painting, then friends who said would help only did so for a little time until they suddenly decided not to, and then there are all the ponies that once took an interest in me only to be distracted with something else. So, Fancy Pants, how do I know that you won’t leave too?”

“Because I’m confident that you have a future,” I took another sip. “I don’t know what else to say that would help, but as cliché and overdone as this is going to sound… I really do believe in you.”

“That’s what I find it hard to believe,” he said before taking a careful sip of his glass. “Hm… This is really good.”

“Told you so,” I smiled.

“Anyway,” Mr. Brush cleared his throat, “I can’t really tell you how long it’s been that somepony has given me a compliment, and really meant it.” He looked up at the sky, “Do you think that Princess Luna is just showing off?”

I looked up too, “How so?”

“In a way, I envy her that she can create variations of the exact same thing for thousands of years and nopony could ever get tired of it. She’s the real artist you know. That she can effortlessly create something timeless… how do you think that anyone, least of all me, could compete with that?”

“The thing about artists is that they provide a snapshot of how they see the world and put into something as permanent like stone, words, or even paint for all time. Tell me, just by looking up, how do you see the sky?”

He looked at me, raising an eyebrow, “That’s a weird question.”

“No it’s not, tell me if you were to put what you see on canvas, how would you describe it?”

Acrylic looked up at the sky for a long time, “You know how ponies just look up and see nothing but a black vale with tiny dots all around? If you really look at it, you’ll find it’s not true. The darkness itself isn’t black at all, it’s a very deep violet, over there by the castle, there are lines of blue, over there, a lighter blue, and by those buildings, a forest green. The stars themselves aren’t just white dots but they glow like flowers in a field of brass and yellow. Even the moon has more than just white but crimson and orange. Colors floating, twisting, turning, stumbling and getting up again like a sea.”

I looked up at the sky as he describes it, imagining it too of those brushstrokes that breathed in the evening air, “Now that Mr. Brush, is something that ought to be kept preserved. You make something as ordinary as this seems heavenly.”

From the corner of my eye, I could see a touch of light pink on those cheeks, “I could only wish I could live in that world too.”

After spending a moment in the quiet of the night, each of us drinking from our lemonades, I decided to change the subject. “Could I ask you a personal question?”

“How personal is personal?”

“Very. Have you ever had a special somepony?”

He raised an eyebrow at this, “Why are you asking me for?”

“For a topic of friendly discussion,” I said.

After downing the rest of the lemonade, he answered, “I’ve given up on love a long time ago.”

Now, this has gotten me curious, “Oh?”

“Fancy, I’ve already accepted the fact that I’m cursed. Nopony wants anything to do with me. For someone that deals with, as you called, Impressionism, I don’t really make much of an impression on anypony. Besides, even I wouldn’t blame anyone from not even asking me out on a date. I’m a failed artist, cursed, and an overall freak to everyone I meet.”

“Well, I can relate.”

He blinked… and blinked again, “How?”

“Don’t go speaking about, especially my father, but I think I find it difficult for me to find a lover that’s guaranteed to be there by my side. For you see, I have the opposite problem. I’m very influential in Canterlot because I fund art and fashion alike. Basically, I dictate the taste of the upper-crust. Believe me, I had so many ponies over the years that… to put it elegantly, wanted to bed me so I could fulfill whatever agenda they have. From promoting their art shamelessly or simply get money out of me. Not to mention it’s really hard to find any mare or stallion that’s honest with me through and through.”

There was an uncomfortable silence between us; I looked to see what the matter was. I found Acrylic showed no emotion, “Stallions?”

“Yes, is something wrong?”

“When you say ‘stallions,’ do you mean that they… tried to bed you too?”

“Of course that’s what I meant. You don’t have anything against it, do you?”

He looked away until I couldn’t see his face, “So… you… you didn’t happen to… like some of them back… right?”

“For some, I did,” he turned around, “although I was betrayed afterward to find that their feelings towards me were false. But I was attracted to them.”

There was another tense silence, “So y-you’re… like… me?”

I blinked, “Beg your pardon?”

He placed his glass down on the stone rale. “Mr. Pants, can you promise me that, what I want to tell you that you won’t repeat to anypony from downstairs… w-would you?”

“You can trust me Acrylic.”

Looking at the bedroom door, he lowered his voice, “I… I thought I was alone. Since I was a teenager, I wondered why is it that I don’t really care for the fillies in my town then I do with the colts. I never dared brought it up thinking what would happen if I told anypony that I’m not exactly normal. As much as I tried, I just couldn’t see the appeal towards the gentle sex. I honestly don’t know what’s wrong with me or why I want to… go to bed with my own gender. And considering that I never knew another like me, I thought I was completely alone in this. Until now.”

Oh dear. Oh dear sweet Celestia, this much, much worst than I thought. Putting a hoof on his shoulder, I said, “Acrylic, I want you to look at me in the eye and hear what I have to say.” He obeyed, “Now listen to me very carefully. There is nothing, I repeat, absolutely nothing wrong with you. Although it may seem that you’re alone, you’re not at all. There are thousands of ponies like you and me, each as diverse in taste in gender like every shade of your paintings. You have nothing to be ashamed of for holding this attraction. It doesn’t make you any less of the pony you are. There is no demon, or mental disorder, or whatever that’s controlling how you feel towards the same gender. The only thing you get to choose is the pony you want to spend the rest of your life with that you feel an attraction towards. You, sir, are not alone.”

With tears in his eyes that he tried so hastily to wipe away, he asked, “You… you really mean that?”

“You’re in Equestria now, where although there aren’t enough couples out there to make it the norm, nopony would mind who you decide to date, who to go to bed with, even who to marry.”

“Does anypony from downstairs know about your… attraction?”

I couldn’t help but laugh, “Of course they do! Even Gustave knows that I’m Pansexual.” He tilted his head and asked me what that was, “Well, to put it in plain Equestrian: it means that I’m attracted to all genders which include; male, female, even transgender ponies as well. For me, personally, I tend to let the personality of the pony dictate who I like.”

Mr. Brush looked down at his hooves, “Even for somepony like me?”

“Acrylic, I’m going to make something clear here. Even while knowing that you lean towards the rougher gender, I can’t say that I’m seeing you as a lover... for the time being. At the moment, I'm trying to get to see you as something other than a stallion that believes he’s a walking tragedy. But for now, I want us to get to know each other as friends. For I cannot push you into anything without your consent, for if you want me to be your friend and employer, I will continue to do so, however, if you feel that you want to have a date with me… then I have no objection to the matter. So to answer the question you have in mind, I think it’s still a little too early to determine what I feel about you personally. But Acrylic, even if you don’t feel any romantic inclinations towards me, I won’t stop you. I really do wish that you find some happiness, besides, I think you’ll be quite the hit among the gentlecolts.”

He blushes harder as he asked, “W-Will there be anything else, sir?”

“I think I can dress for bed so, no, that will be all Acrylic.” Taking the empty glasses, he went into the room to fetch the tray as well. Before he could reach the door, I added, “Oh and Mr. Brush, if there’s anything you want to talk to me about, you’re free to do so with me anytime.”

“I… I’ll keep that in mind, sir… and you wouldn’t tell anypony from downstairs about me?”

“Only if you feel comfortable to say otherwise,” with that, he exited the room – leaving me standing outside, looking at the artist’s starry night.

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