51w, 6dSherlockian Mysteries
We left the schoolhouse behind and resumed following the road, making our way towards a large, sloping hill in the distance. Pones, who had resumed his bold strides that were at least one and a half times my own, gave no impression of faltering or doubt, but I had observed his reluctance to leave Miss Cheerilee. While I was certain I would not want to annoy Pones any further then I had on the train, I was feeling brave enough to attempt to uncover a little more about my enigmatic companion.
“So, who was that precisely?” I inquired, struggling somewhat to maintain Pones’ pace and speak as we reached the base of the hill. He turned to me with an incredulous look. “I am not referring to her name,” I said quickly, assuaging my companion that I was not wholly ignorant. “I merely want to know who she is.”
“She is the town schoolteacher, though that much is obvious,” he replied as the road began to tilt. “She is also somewhat of an old companion of mine – when I first lived in Canterlot I knew her quite well, you see, and that was several years back. She moved here, I stayed in Canterlot, though I came to see her often.”
He fell silent as the road uphill got slightly steeper. I thought quickly about how to ask about Pones’ past without offending him, and settled upon a very ambiguous statement as a test.
“She seemed glad to see you.”
“Indeed,” He replied, and I noticed his face had turned a somewhat darker shade of grey than usual. “She certainly is quite affectionate.”
“You did not seem totally untoward in returning it,” I teased. Pones scoffed, his amber eyes vanishing briefly as he closed them and shook his head, as if what he had heard had hit him lightly on the nose.
“A gentlecolt is always polite to a lady.”
“The way you two stood there and looked at the children, one would have thought that you were a little more than polite to her once,” I jested, continuing on up the hill.
It was a few steps before I realised that the crunching of my own hooves was the only noise that I could hear. I stopped, looked up and around, and noticed that Pones had stopped a short way behind. He had on his face the same ashen-faced sadness that had haunted him when he had left the schoolyard.
“Quite,” he said in his usual dapper manner, and he began walking once more, though his features did not lose their gloominess. I watched him pass me, quite astonished that my light-hearted joke could have had such an effect.
I had wanted to apologise to Pones, but as he drew level with me he did not give me eye contact, instead looking at his hooves as they fell before him. He did not speak further, instead pushing past me towards the crest of the hill. I was particularly unwilling to advance his mute sadness, so I followed him wordlessly.
It was not long before we reached the hill’s apex, and, as the other side of the hill came into my sight; I understood what Pones had meant by his ambiguous words at the train station.
Carousel Boutique was a tall and many-storied pavilion, not unlike the town hall. It was a dazzling array of colour when one first focused one’s eyes on it – an astonishing blend of mauve, lavender and rose, fashioned in the manner of a carnival ride. I shall describe it from the bottom-up for ease, for there is simply too much to say about the majestic building to be contained into a brief sentence.
Starting at its circular base there was elaborate purple half-timbering, reminiscent of the other houses that we had seen on our way here. It was very much different from thereon up though, with slender oval windows giving distant glimpses of mannequins dressed in stunning greens and reds.
From the very high angle that Pones and I approached it, it appeared to resemble a very large and many-tiered wedding cake – the smooth bluestone walls were adorned with white floral emblems and trimmings around the windows; with caramel-coloured shutters. The ground floor almost resembled a barber’s shop, in that there were several long, striped poles around the doorway, though their colours were of rose and violet, and not white and red. They held up a chequered sheet of canvas dyed in the same fashion, and this ran the whole way around the boutique. The canvas itself was attached to a sloping roof, so that the ground floor resembled a circus big-top, with said roof reaching all the way to the base of the second floor, where it appeared someone had placed a real-life carousel, complete with immobile magenta decorations.
Or at least, it would have been real, had the inner machinations of the carousel not been replaced by a slightly larger circular living-room, set with small crystal windows that faced each compass direction. This second floor tapered into a miniature tower, which was decorated with a streaming red pennant – Equestria’s flag. Overall, it was a sensationally grand and vivacious thing.
We descended the hill swiftly, with Pones resuming his meaningful stride as we did so, exiting off the road and making for the garden gate. A small path trailed out from the shop’s entrance, traversing a very small yard, which was scattered with a few bushes of colourful flowers. The path itself was a mixture of clay and gravel, and it was quite wet, for there had been rain last night. Our hooves crunched into it as we passed off the road and towards the front door of the boutique.
We were still a good five or ten paces from the door before it opened in front of us. A literal blast of noise immediately hit my ears, and in a horrid I had the idea in my head that something awful had happened, but after a moment of confusion, I recognised the sound as heart-wrenching sobs. Out from the door there then stepped a Pegasus the same colour as the crops of maize that grew in the rolling hills outside of town.
She had a flowing mane of gentle carnation, with three butterflies of a similar colour upon her flank—not that I would have looked else to mention it—and, as if attempting to sneak away from something, tip-toed away from the door as she faced it. As soon as enough of her body was outside, she closed the door as slowly and cautiously as it was possible to do – until I heard the lock snap shut, immediately silencing the cries.
She continued to back cautiously away from the house as we watched her, coming within about a pace or two of us. I heard her breathe a sigh of relief, and her shoulders seemed to relax, as if she had been hard at work. She then turned her body to swiftly walk away, and as such ran straight into me. She was not very large (thankfully), so she merely bounced off my chest before I could move out of the way. From her mouth came a frightened squeal and she jumped back in horror, a flap of her wings pushing her about ten feet into the air. I recovered from the impact almost instantly, averting my gaze skyward to see where she had gone, and there she hovered, surveying us both with a pair of soulful aquamarine eyes.
“Pardon me,” I said politely, but the words were hardly out of my mouth before the Pegasus rushed forward, landing with a skid at my feet and launching into a gushing tirade of apologies.
“Oh my, I’m so, so sorry – are you hurt?” She said nervously, lifting up my hoof and inspecting it for wounds before I could object. “I didn’t mean to hit you, honestly – Oh, I’m just dreadfully sorry. I am a total silly filly every now and then, and forget to look where I’m going, and then from time to time—”
I confess, I was totally overwhelmed. As a doctor, I was quite used this kind of vigorous inspection, but usually I was the pony giving it, and more importantly, my examinations were only ever voluntary. The mare was busy dusting off my coat and scrutinizing my hoof for injury.
Mercifully, Pones appeared to have the situation well under control. He came over and laid a hoof on the front shoulder of the mare, who was now busily into her third round of apologies, and as he did so, she fell silent almost instantaneously.
“My dear,” said Pones authoritatively, “Do calm yourself.”
As if his voice carried a hidden magic, the Pegasus froze, dropping my hoof. Her eyes were transfixed on Pones, and she looked as if she thought he might hit her.
“Now,” Pones continued. His voice adopted a much warmer tone, and he removed his hoof off of her shoulder, planting it back on the footpath. “What is your name?”
The mare was silent, her terrified eyes still locked on Pones.
“It’s alright – we’ve come to see Miss Rarity,” I said encouragingly, to which she seemed to stir somewhat, wrenching her gaze away from Pones and back to me.
“She’s… In there,” she softly mumbled to me, and Pones squinted at her, turning his head.
“I’m sorry?” He inquired.
“She said she’s inside,” I translated.
Pones nodded once and then abruptly left, leaving me outside with the stricken mare, though I knew not what to do with her. I watched Pones march up to the front door and slip swiftly through, the noise inside appearing to have dimmed in volume for the moment.
I looked back at the butter yellow Pegasus, and she looked at me. She seemed incredibly shy, and could not have been much younger than I, but I knew that I had to make an effort at conversation before the awkwardness of it all kicked in. I put on my best and most understanding doctor’s face, and smiled at her.
“Don’t mind him, he’s just a little forthright,” I said.
“Oh… Um… I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to run into you before,” she replied, as if her threefold apology had been insufficient.
“Oh, don’t worry about it, I’ve had worse knocks before,” I said as I grinned, trying to inject some good humour into the conversation. Thankfully, she responded to my attempt, smiling weakly, and she seemed a good deal less afraid of me now that she saw that I wasn’t angry. I asked her for her name again, and she replied in a more confident voice.
“Fluttershy,” she said. An apt name for someone so frail, I thought at the time, though I would not have dared mention it.
“Call me Trotson,” I replied. I omitted the fact that I was a doctor on purpose – for I feared that she might lose her tongue again. “Are you a friend of Miss Rarity’s?” I inquired.
“Miss?” she said, with a soft giggle. It was a wonderful laugh. It sounded very much like the tinkle of wind-chimes in a gentle breeze. “I’ve never heard her called Miss before.”
“Well, I can’t call her by her name, can I?”
The question took me by surprise.
“Well, I hardly know her – she might think it rude of me!”
“Oh, she’s not like that at all,” Fluttershy said. I knew that for her to have said meant a good deal, for she did not seem like the type to throw a casual comment out here or there. She smiled at me, and immediately (for what was perhaps the third or fourth time that week) I found myself being surveyed once more
“You’re not from around here, are you?” she said, peering closely at my jacket. “Is that a stethoscope?”
“Why, yes it is,” I said, looking down at where it had partially fallen from my pocket during our collision. “I’m from Canterlot.”
“You’re a doctor?” She said, her round eyes still locked on the stethoscope as I stuffed it back into my pocket. I grimaced internally, hoping that my title – which was mediocre at best – did not scare her into silence again.
“Yes – what other kind of doctor is there?”
She looked at a forehoof nervously, as if being challenged had returned her to her shy nature.
“Well, um… I’m a doctor of animals, so…”
“Oh, you’re a veterinarian?”
“Yes!” she said, brightening visibly to see that I knew something so simple. Or maybe, it was the fact that whatever she had said had received a positive reply at all.
“…Rarity has animals?” I inquired, raising an eyebrow.
“Oh, yes, she does, but I’m just here on a little bit of personal business – I mean, um, as a friend.”
She had a very unusual habit, I noticed, of apologising or correcting herself whenever she made an assertive statement. I was almost sure it was because she was very wary of people she’d just met – but if that was the case, then how afraid had she been when she bumped into me?
“So you are a friend of… Rarity’s,” I said, forcing myself to skip the formality.
“Oh yes, for quite some time, now – um, since we were kids.”
“Did you know she was the victim of a robbery yesterday?”
She nodded furiously.
“I don’t know how someone could do that…” She said, her words trailing off.
“Well, that’s what my friend is here about.”
“Yes, he looked like a detective,” she replied.
I was surprised by her most pre-eminent observation. In fact, I was a little irritated, as I had spent the last four days trying to suss out exactly what Pones was, and even then I was not capable. In the meanwhile, a petrified vet had worked out who he was with hardly ten seconds of contact.
“His name is Sherclop Pones – as I said, don’t mind him. He’s not exactly a talkative fellow.”
Her eyes widened a little.
“The Sherclop Pones?” she asked breathlessly.
I was a little puzzled by this. Evidently, my companion’s reputation preceded me, though I did not know he was famous.
“You’ve heard of him before?”
“Oh, yes! – I mean, um, I’ve read about some of the things he’s done.”
“I had no idea that he was famous.”
She looked at me, surprised.
“You mean you haven’t heard?”
I shook my head, and she began to gush again.
“Oh, but he’s so talented – the secret of the Cloudsdale wind farm, the great train robbery, the recovery of Sapphire Shores’ coveted diamond bracelet –” She halted. “Are you a business partner of his?” She asked, a hopeful gleam in her eye. I could tell she was equally as keen to know as much about Pones as I was.
“I live with him, but I have only known him a very short while,” I said, my mind reeling in the light of these new and fabulous claims. “Did he really do all of that?”
“Yes, he did! I read about it, you know,” She said excitedly. “My friend is a librarian, and she has all kinds of books about him.” I made a mental note to try and track down this mysterious librarian so that I might acquire and read these ‘books’.
“Well,” I said, pointing with my hoof at the front door. “He is here at the request of the police, and hopefully he will clean up this mess.”
“Are you a detective as well as a doctor?”
“Err,” I stammered. “Not quite. Honestly, I am currently enlisted as Pones’ clueless accomplice and very little more,” I said, to which she brightened.
“It sounds so exciting,” she said, seeming to ignore my brutal honesty.
“Well, this is just a simple burglary, so one would imagine it to be quite plain,” I said with an apologetic grin. To this, Fluttershy let out a small sigh.
“I suppose you’re right,” she said resignedly, and I was overcome with an immense feeling of guilt for having stepped so carelessly on her enthusiasm. “Though, the way Rarity acts about it, you’d think…” She paused and put a hoof to her lips. “Um… Excuse me,” she said, and I realised that she must have been about to say something risqué.
“Is there some problem with the way she is acting?” I asked, but before Fluttershy could respond I had already come to a conclusion. “…The crying?”
Fluttershy nodded and leaned close, whispering to me as if she were communicating a great secret. I felt a shiver roll up my spine.
“She’s so upset about it… she cries whenever anyone tries to ask her about it.”
“Well, it was a lot of money,” I said, distracting my thoughts away from the possibility that I would have to deal with a tearful lady.
I had never been very skilful at dealing with upset ponies – more often than not in my childhood, the fault was not mine, or at least if it was, I had no idea what I did. Regardless of fault, I had no idea how to remedy their tears—which, as an idealistic young colt, is beyond awful for more than one reason. I often became quite teary myself in sympathy, and for whatever reason I found their suffering (imagined or not) to be most painful upon myself. I speculated at times that this shared sympathy was one of the reasons I became a doctor.
“Well – yes, that is true, but…” Fluttershy appeared to have descended into her extremely nervous self once again. “She’s, um… You’d think she’d, um…”
“Lost a hoof?” I added, helpfully.
She nodded furiously. I grimaced.
“Well, at least Pones has had a while to calm her down,” I said hopefully.
“Oh, um,” Fluttershy began, following my gaze. “I’ve been inside talking to Rarity for an hour now. The detective arrived and bossed her around, and she got quite angry at him, and went to her room, and refused to see him…”
“She sounds like she’s just upset and shaken over the whole thing. The thief was in her house, after all. It would put anyone on edge.”
“Yes, I suppose you’re right,” Fluttershy murmured. “I’m just glad she’s unhurt.”
I looked back down at her, beaming.
“What more could you ask for, really?” I said with a shrug.
She looked up at me, smiling peacefully.
At that instant, the door slammed open. Fluttershy jumped and squealed, and immediately took shelter behind the nearest solid object, which just so happened to be me. I noted, mercifully, as I saw Pones’ head sticking out of the doorway, that there were no sobs radiating from the heart of the boutique.
“Trotson?” Inquired Pones, “I require your assistance for a moment.”
I looked back at Fluttershy, who, having regained some of her composure, now stood some behind me. She seemed somewhat embarrassed about her fear, so I chose to ignore it, instead smiling at her once more.
“Well, I suppose I must go now,” I said cordially as I turned to her, taking one of her hooves in my own and kissing it gently. “It’s been a pleasure meeting you, Fluttershy.”
Fluttershy turned a very faint tinge of pink, and uttered some words that I assume must have been a good-bye, and with that, I turned and crossed the threshold of the boutique.
From the inside, the boutique appeared to be quite spacious. I had entered straight into the shopfront, which doubled as a waiting room and showroom, and encompassed the entire level. Lilac walls with the same floral emblems that I had seen on the building’s exterior caught my eye as I panned my gaze once around the store. On my right, there stood several fairly large full body mirrors, and in front of them was a comfortable sofa, where I imagined customers might try on shoes – indeed, the abundance of empty boxes near the seat was enough to verify my guess.
Continuing anticlockwise from the mirrors, there was a pair of saloon doors that lead into a very small dressing room, followed by a polished wooden desk with a cash register. Behind this desk there were several mannequins waiting to be dressed in next season’s fashions, and, as my eyes continued left, an antique sewing machine upon a wooden workbench.
That particular portion of the room appeared to be quite chaotic, for there were many dresses of varying design and style that looked as if they ought to be taken care of strewn hither and thither. There was even a piece of fabric that was halfway through the machine, its maker undoubtedly having abandoned work on it mid-inspiration. All about the wooden workbench there were balls of yarn and spindles of twine that appeared to have been either knocked to the floor or were placed there in a moment of organised madness.
But, further than the confines of the workbench, there was an incredible neatness, almost meticulous in its nature. Sheets of vivid material were bundled away tidily beneath colour coded dividers, and of such an incredible array were these that they spanned almost the remaining third of the room, though the ones closer to the door appeared to be slightly haphazardly arranged and messy. The one closest to the door, which contained bolts of a very vivid shade of red, was very much disturbed.
Between me and the bench there stood Pones some way away, and another fellow that I had not met. He was a very tall, white-faced pony, with flaxen hair and a notebook in his hoof.
I expected, as I entered, to see Pones surveying every nook and cranny of every room. Nothing appeared to be further from the truth, however, though whether it was because he was bored or whether it was just part of his usual disinterest I cannot say.
With an air of nonchalance which bordered on pretension he paced around the room, stopping every now and again to rest a forehoof on his chin or to idly turn one of the many sheets of fabric over. He gazed vacantly at the floor, the roof, out of the window, always ignoring the scene of the crime -- an empty box, its lock shorn off completely, upturned in the center of the room. The stranger was squatting near it, peering at it closely, as if it had yet to reveal some secret to him.
“Ah, yes, here he is,” said Pones calmly, and the figure, who had had his back turned to me, looked around and saw me.
He stood and swiftly walked to me, wringing my hoof with effusion before I could even offer it to him.
“It is indeed kind of you to come,” said he. “I have had it arranged so that Rarity will not have any more visitors for today except you.”
I was rather mystified by his attitude, for I felt was less integral to Pones’ success then the stray sheets of cloth that lay scattered about my feet. And what had he meant, 'except for me?'
“Pardon?” I inquired, to which the Detective rushed to introduce himself.
“You must be the doctor that Pones mentioned – My name is Inspector Lestrade.” He wrung my hoof very firmly once more. He looked quite haggard – rings of tiredness were under his eyes, and there was a certain sullenness to his face that appeared quite unnatural for such a tall and striking fellow. “Please, make good use of your skill in taking care of the ill, and try to soothe Miss Rarity,” he said in an imploring tone.
I heard from some way above me a series of thuds, and I knew that the sound of crying I had heard before was not merely one of my imagination, and that it had only changed location instead of going away. Immediately, my head snapped to Pones, who had acknowledged my presence.
“Pones!” I said hastily, resisting the detective as he tried to drag me over towards the counter by my hoof.
“Yes, Doctor?” He replied, raising both eyebrows.
“What is the meaning of this?” My voice grew somewhat more anxious.
“I have concluded that you would be the best pony here for the job, of course,” he replied genially. “You are a doctor, and thus you have the most pertinent abilities in bedside manner.” Lestrade nodded his agreement, and I gave way to his tugging, allowing him to lead me over to and behind the counter. I saw a flight of carpeted stairs ahead that I knew must have led to the living area, and I looked back at pones with horror.
“But Pones!—” I cried out in dismay, but already he had turned his back to me. Lestrade pulled me up to the stairs and then stood there expectantly, smiling the tired smile of a stallion that needs a good rest.
“Best of luck, doctor,” he said.
I took a small number of ungainly steps up the lilac coloured staircase. That Pones would have me attempt such a task made my heart race in nervousness. Pones, of course, could not have possibly known of my deep fear – though now as I look back on the whole incident, I don’t doubt that I was the only one seeking to learn more about my new room-mate when I moved into Baker Street. I am still uncertain as to whether he was merely testing me, or whether he actually did not know about my past at the time.
I arrived at the top of the flight of stairs with my heart in the bottom of my hooves. There was before me a purple door not dissimilar to the one that barred the shop’s entrance, and, despite my apprehension, I raised a hoof and knocked on it.
“Miss Rarity?” I inquired to the silence that followed my knocking.
“Are you the doctor I sent for?” cried a shrill voice from some way behind it.
“Yes,” I replied. It was only a half-truth of course, for though I was a doctor I had not the faintest idea what she might want from me.
“Good,” the voice said again, and I heard from the other side a great many chains and locks being unclicked and slid open, and then the door itself swung inwards.
It was a large square room, looking all the larger from the interior as the bottom floor had been. A rather obnoxious and flaring wallpaper embroidered with the Fleur-de-lis adorned the walls. Opposite the door was an equally showy white marble mantelpiece, within which sat the glowing remains of a small fire. On the middle of this there sat the bust of a very regal looking mare, and either side of the mantelpiece there were two of the windows that allowed a stream of light in to the otherwise rather dark room.
All these details I observed afterwards, for at present my attention fell upon the form of the gorgeous Lady Rarity.
She was about twenty-one or twenty-two, of a middle stature, but with a slim physique, as one might expect from a very self-conscious young mare. Her mane was a neat affair of flowing purple locks, and she looked as I had remembered from her photo in the newspaper. She was dressed in a very heavy nightgown that appeared to be woven out of purple wool, and it ran all the way down her slim form, halting halfway down a set of ebony white legs. Her hooves were very well kept, but her face was stained with streams of black mascara, evidently from tears that had been running down from a strangely familiar set of sea-blue eyes.
On her face there lay an expression of such sadness such as I have never seen before – her portrayal of misery only heightened by the way she sniffled a little as she opened the door. As a doctor, I have seen many upset patients for a good variety of reasons, but never have I been so afraid to ever conduct therapy than in that dark living room with that tearful and astonishingly pretty mare.
She did not wait to see who I was, instead returning to a very long red couch in front of the fireplace the instant she had budged the door open. She flopped down on her back and sniffed again.
“I am feeling quite ill, Doctor,” she said with an air of self-importance. “Could you diagnose me?”
I very nearly choked on my own tongue – her words combined with her attire and very lounging position did not help – but all the same, I withdrew my stethoscope and slowly walked over. There was a very fine and expensive-looking table that sat between the long couch and the table, and on it was perched an equally expensive bottle of wine, with glass of immaculate crystal. These I gingerly relocated before taking a seat in front of the mare, who was now gauging me with a pathetic look from her half-lidded eyes.
I decided to start my analysis from the most basic question I could think of.
“What exactly is the matter?”
At this, she burst into tears once more, her pouting face breaking into another bout of sobs. Immediately and painfully aware of my error, I rushed to try and calm her before she grew totally inconsolable.
“No, no, please don’t cry!” I begged. Amazingly, she halted, though my reprieve was short-lived, for she immediately burst into a complaint.
“Oh, Doctor,” she moaned, sniffing again, “It is simply the worst thing that could have happened!” Again, she was alluding to something that I had no idea of – but I assumed her comments pertained to the robbery.
“It will drive me out of business! I’ve been ruined! Ruined!” she wailed, and I saw the familiar crystalline trail of tears falling from the corner of her eyes.
“Come now, madam, at least you are quite well and in once piece,” I said encouragingly.
“Oh, but don’t you see!?” She cried. “Of all the worst things that could happen, this is just the worst possible thing!” On these last words she placed an increasingly loud and high-pitched whine, which tapered off into the beginning of another sob, and she cast a hoof over her brow.
Before she could begin her tears anew, however, I seized my chance, placing my stethoscope against the glimmer of white coat offered to me near her breast and pretending to listen intently.
“A moment of silence, please, while I listen for your heart,” I said.
I felt her shrink a little at the cold touch of the metal, but all the same she did not speak, instead allowing me to listen. I then glanced away from her, searching in my pocket for a thermometer to take her temperature with – an act that spurred her back into life once more.
“It was horrible, doctor!” she said dramatically, throwing herself further back on the couch so that the stethoscope was ripped from my ears.
“Now now,” I said cautiously, ignoring the stinging pain. I was determined to keep her calm. “I cannot diagnose you if you keep acting like that!” I chided.
She sniffed again and sat back up fully, affixing me with another of her sad frowns.
“I… am terribly sorry; sir, but I have misled you. I am not very ill, you see,” she said, and she sounded quite honest. I was quite taken aback by this – and, given her rather wretched attitude and appearance, somewhat disbelieving.
“Pardon?” I said blankly, needing some time to piece together an appropriate response.
“I am not very ill, doctor,” she repeated again, and she withdrew a kerchief from her pocket, dabbing at her face. I’m just a little in shock, is all. I apologise for wasting your time.”
Such a forthright confession could have not come as less surprise to me had she suddenly broken into song and dance. It took a moment for me to work out an appropriate course of action, for my pretence that I was ‘treating’ her was my only fall-back in the event she started to cry for a second time.
“I’ll be the judge of that,” I replied sternly, shifting forward with intent. “Shock is a very real thing, Miss Rarity.” I placed the stethoscope to her chest once more and listened for about four or five seconds.
“Please, just ‘Rarity’ will do if you don’t mind, doctor,” she said quietly, crossing her forehooves over her lap.
“Very well, Rarity,” I said, removing my stethoscope. I remembered what Fluttershy had mentioned not a few minutes before, and was quite surprised at how correct she was. For all her grandeur and theatrics, she appeared to be quite sincere in her more rational moments.
“You are here with the detectives, are you not?” She said in a calmer voice. I noticed that in this state her accent was quite refined and eloquent – quite dissimilar to those that I had met thus far in this strange town, to whom my gentlemanly habits were a bit unusually polite and formal.
I nodded my reply. Undoubtedly she had seen me from the window, so I did not question her about it. She shot me a surly look.
“Are you really a doctor?”
“Yes – though I am not in league with the police. I am, for today, assisting the private investigator that Mr. Lestrade hired to solve your case.”
“Do you mean to say that Mr. Lestrade has no leads?” she replied, and I saw tears welling up in her eyes once more. I hurried to console her.
“No – but do not lose all hope, for my companion is quite apt in matters such as these,” I rushed. She did not reply, but instead sniffed rather loudly and blew her nose.
“And besides,” I continued more steadily, “As I mentioned before, you are in quite good health, so at least that means that nothing worse can happen from here on out.”
She sighed and reached to my left, retrieving her half-full glass of wine before taking a sip. “If only that were the case,” said she, and I knew at once that her melodramatic attitude had at least some basis in reality. She was a different creature then her first impression had given me, and she appeared genuinely concerned and worried about something – her tired eyes and the way she wrung her spare hoof told me as much.
“Would you care to explain it to me?” I said, aware that I had been presented with a small window to question her. She appeared quite surly at the proposition, though not untoward the idea
“I have already explained it to the detective, and he was rather brusque about it.”
“Consider it payment for you occupying my valuable time, then!” I replied speedily. She was rather taken aback by this, perhaps aware of her own embarrassing faux pas.
“Oh, err…” She stumbled, looking slightly bemused as how to remedy the situation. “Well, I suppose that is fair – but I don’t even know your name?”
“John Trotson, M.D.”
“Oh!” Her appearance brightened visibly. I was thankful for this, though I suspected the reason for her sudden revival long before she had ever opened her mouth –
“Are you that dashing fellow that Doctor Redheart was telling me about the other day?”
“I hope so,” I said with a forged smile, bypassing my own desire to leave my body temporarily. To this, Rarity seemed to become a little more relaxed.
“Well, any friend of Felicia is most definitely a friend of mine,” she said with an air of decisiveness.
She took a deep breath, and began to speak.