Twilight Sparkle opened the library door happily exhausted from her day’s work.
Between helping Applejack settle her argument with Big Macintosh, and grooming Opalescence to perfection for Rarity, it was safe to say that Twilight collectively cared for her companions courageously this day. Now that her friends were writing some of the letters to the princess, the stress of her scholarly job could be more focused on being a physical benefactor to her compadres, instead of just being a source of helpful advice. Needless to say, this purple mare was a satisfied purple mare, and it was time for her to relax.
Twilight kicked off the excess dirt from her hooves in the foyer and entered the main room to the library. Suddenly her jaw dropped, her eyes grew wide, and confusion mixed with terror gripped her very soul. The place had been ransacked: quills were piled in a heap, ink splotches stained the nice finish on the wood floor, paper was everywhere. But what really hit Twilight hard was the amount of books disorganized all over the place! She could do nothing but scream...
“AUGH!!!! WHO DID THIS?!”
“The dame’s scream was louder than the siren on a royal castle guard’s carriage, but to me, it was the sound of a beautiful symphony. A scream like that could only mean one thing: I had a case, and I never complain when I get a chance to bring home the bacon. Although her screeching could go down a few octaves, bits hitting my palm are always music to my ears. After all, criticizing music wasn’t my job, my job was simpler than that. Solve mysteries, get money; I was private eye!”
“But not just any private eye, oh no, I was the best in the business. Yelling like that was a daily occurrence for a snoop like me. You get used to the emotional types in the field; drowning out their pathetic whining. ‘The only thing I care for is the money, honey,’ is what I’d like to say, but I wouldn’t be in this business for much longer if I didn’t act genuinely concerned. But that’s not why they call me, they call me because I produce results fast and efficiently. Since I'm self employed, the copper’s rule book has no hold on me, and my independent actions help get the information I need to complete cases twenty percent faster.”
“Justice never sleeps, so that makes me an insomniac. My name is Spike Steel, I’m a professional snoop.”
Rain beat the window to a dusty old office. In the room was a filing cabinet and lamp in the corner, coat hanger near the door, and of course a gargantuan desk in the center of the room. Behind said desk was a dark figure, but not the menacing dark; the cool kind of dark figure. He wore a trench coat with khakis and on his head was a detective’s hat. He had his legs on the desk and was leaning back in his chair oh so cooly. On the desk was your essential private eye gear: desk lamp, cards, note pad, revolver, some smokes, and a bottle of whisky; all key pieces to any good detective. The dark figure poured himself another shot of whisky as he took a drag from his cig.
“When I find my target, there’s usually a struggle. Luckily my years of experience has granted me a keen eye, especially while looking down the sights of my .45. This ain’t your regular Colt ‘cause I’ve dropped a few stallions with this baby. Usually it takes me two shots to bring ‘um down: One shot from my pocket flask of Applejack Daniels, another lethal shot for the crook’s brain. I find the sweet nectar dulls the nerves and lets my hand stead-“
Twilight had made her way up the stairs in a slight rage. She comes home after working so hard to find more work for her to do! Being the sensible mare that she is, she knew that there could be only a few culprits who would pull such a stunt. But she knew for a fact that Spike would know who it was since he had spent the majority of the day inside the library. Once she had ascended the steps to the bed area, she spotted Spike in his bed/basket.
“Spike!” Twilight yelled in anxiousness, mixed with genuine concern, and a hint of anger.
Spike jumped at her voice being so close. The purple dragon turned his head to see the flustered mare coming toward him. He took the lollipop out of his mouth to take a sip from his juice box.
“It’s a tough job, but then again, I’m a tough guy. In this job, it’s hard to spot who the real bad guys are. Luckily, there are certain signs that tell me when the going will get tough. They include weapons pointed directly at me, blunt objects appearing, or angry, angry mares. So when the tall pony opened my door, I quickly counted my chickens before they hatched. And by “chickens”, I mean rounds; and by “hatched”, I mean exploded-out-of-my-gun. Snooping pays the bills though, especially Bill, my poker friend. He’s an Old Maid himself, but debts are debts and this debtor always delivers. After hearing the handsome pay, I swallowed the last of my bourbon and took the case.”
Spike sucked the last of his juice, tossed it in the trash and started toward the stairs. The baby dragon could sense the anxiety in Twilight since she kept nudging him toward the main room. Spike rolled his eyes as he hopped down the stairs.
“The dame said she had a case. She sounded like a case herself, but I can’t choose my clients. If there’s one thing I’ve learned from ten years on the force is that ponies are crazy. Since I live in a world run by them it’s a wonder how I’m not insane myself. The unicorns are pompous pricks, the pegasi are insecure perfectionists, and the earth ponies are as stubborn as mules. Dealing with these ponies is one of the reasons I quit the fuzz, but somebody’s gotta solve the mysteries so I became private eye.”
“My snooping sense's telling me that there is something fishy about this case, but I can't put my finger on it yet. Maybe it was the mood of my client or maybe it was the gin I had earlier.”
The dark detective drew out another cig out, lit it, and blew some smoke. As they got closer to the crime scene, his client began to encourage him with her hoof.
“She was the pushy type. The kind who’d break your heart, or your arms; whichever was more convenient. I’d like to end the day with my good pair, so I hurried over.”
The two had arrived at the mare’s apartment. After fumbling with the keys, the flustered client finally got the door open. Upon entering the room, Spike Steel could smell the carnage. But smelling really didn’t matter, since it was obvious that someone had trashed the place just by looking at it.
“Either she had a psychotic decorator, or her place had been ransacked by someone in a big hurry. It could have been a thief, but this thief made a crucial mistake: this pony had nothing of real value in this dump. Books upon books upon Celestia-forsaken books. I almost looked back at the unicorn in disbelief, but in this job the client’s always right, even when they’re wrong. Oh so wrong.”
Spike had arrived to the mess with Twilight close behind. The purple dragon rubbed his chin as he studied the wreckage.
“What happened, Spike?” Twilight asked nervously. She was looking around like whoever did this would come out and attack her at any minute. After a few seconds Spike turned to her and shrugged.
Twilight’s horn began to glow and she proceeded to gather papers to tidy the place up, but Spike put a hand up to her face and shook his head. Twilight looked confused and dropped what she was doing to watch her companion.
“Since my client was a unicorn, she automatically had a need to clean up her possessions. Luckily I was able to stop her before she could tamper with most of the evidence. The sight of the trashed room made my head spin; I definitely didn’t have enough cigarettes in my pocket.”
Taking the last drag from his cig, Spike Steel tossed the bud outside and began to work. Using tweezers, the detective began going through the scattered paper; he was searching for evidence leading to a crook. The documents seemed to have no real value and just looked like gibberish to the senior crime fighter.
“Leave it to unicorns to write about things that make no sense. Some would say that they think at too high of a level; I just think their thinking outside of any level in existence. These artsy-fartsy types always get on my nerves, but they get the money so I’m always around them. One day, I’m just going to move to Appa-”
“Hey! What is that?” Twilight asked as she pointed to one of the hundreds of parchments on the ground. Her horn began to glow and she floated the sheet toward her. She had found a clue!
“I think it’s a print of the perpetrator! He must have stepped on some of the spilled ink and then stepped on this sheet. It… looks exactly like… yours?” Twilight stopped with a puzzled look. She turned to her dragon who currently started to perspire noticeably, though still had his back turned to her.
“Spike! I can’t believe it!”
“Nothing like a loaded .38 behind the back to fire things up.”
Spike Steel stood stone still as his client pulled a fast one. The unicorn grinned as she cocked the barrel on her loaded pistol. The P.I. scowled as he glanced back at the wicked smirk on her face. Everything became clear.
“After seeing this shabby apartment and the nervy character, it confirmed what was currently going down. The money proposed was a sham, and the dame had me set up from the start! She had no intention of helping me solve this case; she just wanted a poor sap to pin the crime on! It was obvious that she couldn’t pay for the damage, let alone me. If only I had thought of this sooner. I was sweating bullets, but painful bullets were about the sweat right through me like a coffee filter.
"And I hate coffee.”
Spike Steel turned to face his “client” with his hands raised. A purple glow covering the floating gun was steady in front of the magic mare. The frown on the investigators face had a hint of determination as he glared at her.
“I didn’t like how this ending was shaping up, so I decided write a new one. Fortunate for me, my .45 is a terrible writer: he has a tendency to put in too many plot holes.”
“Well? What do you have to say for yourself?” Twilight demanded, understandably disappointed with her favorite assistant. Spike turned to her and rubbed the back of his head with a nervous grin.
Spike Steel crouched, pulled the side of his coat out, and reached into his breast pocket to produce his most cherished item.
“I introduced the dame to my two best friends: Smith & Wesson. These two were a tag team of fiery conversation. One stated a powerful argument to her chest, the other a rebuttal right to the brain. I used their strong words to muscle my way to the exit. No pony frames Spike Steel and gets away with it; she should have known that.”
The gumshoe fired two shots into the surprised mare and kindly excused himself from the premises. Spike Steel didn’t hesitate, didn’t fidget, and didn’t look back. He was a professional.
Twilight was soaked from head to hoof. Her bangs were covering her eyes, so she had trouble seeing Spike running away. She shook the water off just in time to catch a glimpse of Spike scurrying up the stairs.
“Where did you get the money to buy a water gun?” She asked, but her query fell on deaf ears as Spike reached the top of the stairs and bolted out of sight.
“Hey! Come back here!” And with a flash from her horn, Twilight vanished. Spike had reached the balcony window, burst through it, and ran onto the portico. He was about to leap for the tree that was adjacent to the library, but Twilight teleported right in front of him. She put her hoof down as Spike screeched to a halt.
“I had just finished putting the puzzle pieces together when the mare I had maimed magically appeared in front of me. It seemed she had stopped the bullets from hitting any of her vital organs, though I was skeptical seeing as one of the shots was to the cranium. The dame was hysterical, so I assumed she had brain damage to begin with.”
“She gave me a verbal beating, and let’s just say I felt every word. Though, through all the action, my mind never went asleep. I had found out who our perp was, but since she wasn’t my client anymore, I felt no need to divulge the information. Besides, the culprit happened to be a buddy of mine. I closed the case.”
Spike grumbled as he slowly slunk to the closet for the bucket and mop. He looked up to see Owlicious on the rafters above him. Owlicious flew down and landed on Spike’s head, but the dragon was used to it and just sighed.
“Ya know, next time we play tag, we’re doing it outside,” Spike said as he dragged his feet to the cleaning cupboard.
“Who?” Owlicious hooted.
“You! …And me, I guess. This was mostly your fault though!” Spike accused. “If you hadn’t flown to the rafters, I wouldn’t have climbed the bookcase to get your sorry bird butt. Ya gotta play fair, ‘cause I clearly don’t have wings.”
“Who?” Owlicious hooted. The owl had perched on the open door to the closet while Spike rummaged through to get the items he needed.
“Ugh, some days Owlicious, some days ya really grind my gears.” Spike sighed as he put the bucket on his head like a hat and made his way toward the mess.