Written by Closer-To-The-Sun (Joseph Noblit)
This was it. The biggest convention of them all. Clash of the Cosmos Con. A must-attend for anypony who is a fan of the amazing sci-fi franchise. Every year, this Baltimare con draws ponies of all ages from all over Equestria, and even beyond. And just like the years before, the convention tries to one-up itself from before: a star-studded guest list, an amazing live concert, activities for all ages to enjoy, panels for just about anything, crazy parties and, of course, a spectacular vendors hall.
But behind every single thing that the convention offers, there are plenty of hard working ponies that do everything they can to make the experience great for everypony. And behind the vendor hall is Blank Canvas, currently stressed and running on almost nothing but caffeine and anxiety.
Blank Canvas was a white pegasus mare who loves working for the convention. She wouldn’t have signed up for this if she didn’t live and breathe the con scene. But this year had been extremely stressful for the mare, so much that she came close to pulling out her lilac and pink mane due to the extreme deadlines she was given. This didn’t stop her from finishing her task, however, the vendor hall looked spectacular. Canvas took pride in her work, and it shown in her tired blue eyes.
The hall had already opened for the first day and ponies already started their transactions. Canvas finally had some time to relax and figured she should do what everypony else was doing, just enjoy the convention. She started to trot around the floor. Amongst the fans, she saw everything that she came to know and love about conventions. Friends new and old discussing the franchise, cosplayers dressed up as their favorite characters, artists selling their works of art, vendors displaying fan-made projects that are in currently in the work, and so much more.
Canvas smiled to spoke softly to herself, “This is why I do it, to make others happy.”
White trotting down one of the aisles, it became almost impossible for the white pegasus to move with all of the traffic. While she thought of using her wings, Canvas noticed an empty aisle and quickly moved down the second she had an opening. She made it safely to the aisle. Taking a deep breathe to get her bearings, she noticed where in the vendor hall she was at: the fandom tables.
These tables didn’t sell anything, rather they existed for other conventions to advertise their own cons, maybe even sell a badge or two onsite. Canvas never understood exactly why one would do that, but it was their choice to do so.
Trotting down the nearly vacant row, she saw a number of different conventions being advertised. Cons for those who like to dress up like animals, the Daring Do series, certain types of comics, a cartoon that was made for foals but that also has a large grown up fanbase, and so much more. However, one table seemed to catch Canvas’ eye. At the far end, there was a table that had a single pony behind it. Only a cash box and a few flyers rested on the surface. The pegasus trotted up.
“Hello!” the white-coated earth mare spoke. Her blonde mane had a silver streak through it and her face was dotted with freckles.
“Hey,” Canvas spoke. Her voice was rough after having to bark orders for the last 24 hours, of which only two hours was devoted to sleep, but not back to back.
The earth pony’s face turned to concern as her green eyes looked at Canvas, “Are you doing okay? You seem a little tired.”
Canvas couldn’t help but chuckle at the at the tired comment, “It’s what I get for helping create this convention.”
“Oh! Are you one of the creators of the convention?” the earth pony’s smile returned accompanied with wide eyes.
The pegasus nodded with a weak smile, “Yeah, I’m in charge of all of this.” Canvas raised up her badge that hung from the lanyard around her neck, “I’m Blank Canvas. You can just call me Canvas.”
“Oh, alright! So you’re the Blank Canvas that I got a hold of for the booth!”
“Mhm, I like to correspond personally with each vendor,” Canvas paused a moment before she continued, “and….forgive me for me not remembering you.”
The earth pony giggled playfully, “No need to apologize, I understand you’re under a lot of pressure lately with this ginormous convention!” She stretched her limbs out as she spoke, as if she was trying to encompass the entire convention center in her embrace. “My name’s Charity!”
“Nice to meet ya face to face,” Canvas reached out to shake hooves with her.
Charity made contact and both smiled.
“So what’cha got here? Are you advertising a convention or something?” Canvas asked as she looked down at the booth.
Charity grabbed a flyer and passed it over to Canvas, “I’m here with the Pony Thank You Fund!”
The flyer was pretty simple. On it was a pony who looked as if they were presenting the text, which read ‘The Pony Thank You Fund. A non-profit dedicated to helping those less fortunate in anyway we can.’ There was some other text beyond that, but Canvas was too tired to continue.
“I remember seeing the name when organizing all of this, but I haven’t heard of you ponies before. Do you go to conventions a lot?”
“Well, yes and no,” Charity started, “we go to conventions a lot, but this our first Clash of the Cosmos Con, as well as my very first convention over all! I must admit, I didn’t know what I was expecting when I came here.”
Canvas seemed a little proud as she replied, “Well, not to brag, but we keep growing every year and I think this year this Cosmos Con will be talked about for a long time. We all put a lot of time and effort into this because of how much we just love the franchise.”
“Really? Is it that good? It seems so interesting!” Charity said.
“Wait, you haven’t watched Clash of the Cosmos?” Canvas was in disbelief.
“What about reading the novels or comics?”
“What about the games?”
“You at least saw the new film reboot, right?”
“Did that come out during the same weekend as ‘The Great Galloway’? I just love the visuals in that film.”
Canvas looked as if she was about to lose her cool. However, she stopped herself and took a deep breath and mumbled to herself, “I didn’t get mad when Hoof Beatz had the fire during the concert, I won’t get mad now.”
Charity could tell that she may have struck a nerve with the pegasus, “I’m truly sorry! I do plan to get into it soon, but this charity that I help is always first and foremost.”
“I guess this organization means a lot to ya, Charity?”
She nodded, “Mhm, you see, we help ponies in anyway we can, no matter how small it may seem to those on the outside, I know for a fact that each and every thing that we do greatly helps those in need.”
The pegasus was intrigued, “What are some things you ponies have done?”
Charity looked a bit unsure at first, but then something came to her mind. “Well, for one, during the fires that ravaged a portion of the Everfree Forest last year, we donated what we could those who lost homes in the area as well to organizations dedicated to help restoring the habitats of the animals who live there.”
“I remember reading about that. The damage was really bad, wasn’t it?” Canvas thought back.
“Mhm,” the earth pony nodded, her mane bounced gently, “We did everything we could to help. A number of us even went out there to do what we could with rebuilding. One pony in particular built a family a brand new home all by himself!”
“That’s really amazing to hear.”
“And this year, we have a special cause that we are helping. We are funding cancer research.”
“Yup. Foal cancer to be more exact. We’re striving for a day where no foal has to be told they only have five years to live,” Charity’s demeanor seemed to change when she said that. The bubbly personality was replaced with something more somber.
Canvas raised a hoof to her mouth, “Goodness.”
The smile returned to Charity’s face, “Sorry, didn’t mean to get all gloomy there.”
“It’s okay. It’s just….it’s just that’s really powerful to think about. I can’t imagine being told something so….devastating,” Canvas tried to think, but could only get so far before shivering.
“I can. It happened to me.”
Charity placed her hooves on her mane and lowered her head. As if it were nothing, the mane came off to reveal that it was a wig and Charity was, in fact, bald on her head.
“Oh my Celestia….”
With that bubbly and bright smile, Charity laughed, “Heh heh, surprise.”
“I….I had no idea….”
“Well, that is the idea of the wig, silly.”
Canvas could only look at Charity. She was at a lost for words as she looked at this earth pony. Her head was completely smooth save for a scar that rested slightly to the right of the center of her head. Despite this, the mare smiled on. Her freckled cheeks seemed to make her smile bigger and brighter.
“You had cancer?”
Adjusting the wig in her hooves, the earth mare nodded, “About nine years back, they found something weird when I went in for a check up with my mom. A few months later, they told me I had a brain tumor and I had five years to live, if I was lucky. That’s not something you tell a little filly, especially to one that still didn't know their special talent.” Charity flipped the mane back up onto her head, making her look just as she did when Canvas first saw her.
“I’m….I’m so sorry….”
“Why are you sorry?” Charity’s voice was still sunny, “Not like you did anything to me. I was just given a bad hoof of cards, ya know? My dad always told me to not let that stop me from playing. And five surgeries and eight years later, I’m still here!” She looked proud about that statement, and Canvas could tell that it’s because she have lived it.
“If you don’t mind me asking, how have things been for you. Since….you know, learning about the cancer?” Canvas asked carefully.
Charity was quiet for a moment before answered, “When I was a little, I just thought that all of Equestria was fighting against me. And now, I still believe that. But I don’t just curl up into a ball in cry. I fight back. You can’t just give up. And from that fighting dumb disease, I’ve learned a lot since then, and it’s to not get hung up on the little things, or even the big things. There are far more important things.”
Canvas raised an eyebrow, “Like what?”
“Friends, family, all of ponykind, all life for that matter. We are all here to live our life, right? Let’s help each other out. So what if we all don’t see eye to eye on all issues or belief the same things? I personally don’t care what others do with the little time that they got on this planet, as long as they don’t hurt anypony and do what they can to help others in need.”
The pegasus smiled, “We certainly need more ponies who think like you. Perhaps if they went through what you did.”
“No,” the statement was firm, “no pony should experience what I had to. We all have our personal giants, and I don’t anyone to face mine.”
“Well, you certainly were brave slaying that giant,” Canvas nodded, “Can I ask you one more thing?”
Charity smirked, “Is it about my mane?”
Canvas rubbed the back of her neck at the bluntness, “Eh heh, actually yes. Do you miss it?”
“I knew that the chemo would take it temporarily, but apparently it took it permanently. Sure, I miss it. But so what? Life is more than about a single mare’s mane. It’s about helping others. At least that’s how I see it.”
With a final nod, Canvas pulled her wallet out, “Well, thank you very much for coming to our convention, Charity, and for sharing your story with me. Allow me to make a donation.”
“Oh, please, thank you for listening to me! I was so scared of coming here alone to represent the organization and you just made my day by stopping by!”
Canvas pulled out a number of bits and placed them on the table. “Here you are,” she stated, “one donation for the Pony Thank You Fund.”
Charity quickly counted the coins in front of her, “Twenty-five bits? For real?” She seemed in disbelief.
“You said it yourself, it’s for funding cancer research. And pardon by French, but buck cancer,” Canvas’ statement was filled with conviction.
“That’s the spirit!” Charity gathered the coins and placed them in the cash box with a smile, “Thank you very much!”
“No, thank you again for sharing,” Canvas took a business card out of her wallet. “May I borrow that pen for a moment?” She quickly scribbled something on the back before passing it off to Charity.
“My business card. If you ever need anything, don’t hesitate to get a hold of me. And, if you don’t happen to have any plans tonight, allow me to treat you to a beer at Baltimare’s best ale house.”
Charity’s face beamed, “Sounds great!”
“Great! Just give me a call when you’re done here in the vendor hall.”
“I have some other things to take care of, but I’m looking forward to tonight! Bye!” Canvas quickly trotted away, waving to her new acquaintance.
Charity waved by to the pegasus as well before looking down at the business card she just got. On the front, there was the basic contact information for Blank Canvas as well as her position in the convention. She turned it over and noticed that she had written a cell phone number and a small message: ‘thank you for sharing!’ The inscriptions were accompanied with a small scribble of a heart.