A blaze danced and cracked in a fireplace, stray rain drops caused the humble kindle to hiss as it illuminated a parlor set with lavish red trappings and several portraits that varied widely in species.
An onyx stallion pulled a pocket watch from his tuxedo pocket, his radiant crimson eyes burned brighter than the fire just behind him. After checking the time he replaced the watch, smiling to himself as ponies appeared in the room.
Just in time. The stallion chuckled to himself, brushing aside his snowy white mane.
As the last pony, a royal guard, entered, a tense and anxious air was apparent. The golden armor clad guard stood, blocking the exit, his emotionless gaze fixed on the others in the room. The guard and the stallion locked eyes, for a moment the guard faltered under the onyx stallion’s penetrating gaze.
The four other ponies in the room cast suspicious and accusing glances at one another. Each of them dressed in fine fabrics befitting the royal sisters themselves.
“Tell me,” grieved Professor Round, an overweight unicorn. “Why you have torn me away from a succulent meal and summoned me to this parlor in the dead of the night?” He challenged the black stallion.
“If I recall correctly, are you not supposed to be finding the thief?” Despite being a daintily built pegasus, Flurry Delight’s cold and harsh edge was matched only by the powdery blue hue of her fur.
“Tell me you’ve found our daughter’s necklace, detective!” Sterling, a well built sleek and silver earth stallion stressed.
Sunset Uppercrust, a deep orange mare, stood at her husband’s side narrowing her eyes accusingly at the onyx pony. It was clear she had something to say, though it was unclear as to why she withheld her tongue.
The detective looked over the crowd once more before smirking cockily. “Mr. Sterling, Ms. Delight,” Ironic. He thought to himself, nodding to the silver stallion and the blue pegasus respectively. “I trust you will find my investigation has indeed come to a close.”
“Really?” The orange earth mare mocked. “I assume you believe it’s one of us?” She gestured with a hoof to the present party, gartering shocked gasps.
“That’s ludicrous!” Barked the chubby unicorn. “What grounds have you to base such mad accusations!?”
“I was hired to do my job, Professor Round. I am the best there is at what I do.” The detective stated. “In the course of my investigation,” he began to pace around the room. “I also found out interesting facts about three of you.”
“So, what you’re saying is you invaded our privacy?” The bold orange mare shook her head, smirking with a devilish expression as if she had the detective cornered. “Sterling, I told you we shouldn’t have hired him.”
“Sunset, honey, please,” Sterling groaned. “I just want this to be over with, that necklace was a gift from both of us to our newborn foal; it’s precious... Seabastion, continue with your report.”
The detective nodded. “Aside from the father and myself, everypony else in this room had a motive for wanting to covet the turquoise necklace. Including you, Ms. Uppercrust.” Seabastion narrowed his eyes mockingly at her.
“Choose your words carefully, detective.” Sunset Uppercrust lowly growled.
“I will cut to the quick of it then,” Seabastion nodded. “The culprit had to have access to the nursery from the start of this investigation. A pony that could move around without drawing any suspicions.”
Sterling’s eyes widened, his jaw dropped. His eyes in addition to everypony else’s was drawn to an escaping figure, the sound of fleeting hooves echoed down the corridor.
“...er Spoon...” echoed a cryptic voice from seemingly everywhere.
Silver Spoon groaned, somepony gently rocking her abruptly tore her from her dream. Oh for Nightmare Moon’s sake! She slowly sat up and strained her eyes against the sunlight, scowling at the familiar onyx blob at her bedside.
“Ham... writes... awry.” The figure’s voice was distorted.
Silver Spoon yawned, covering her mouth with a hoof as she stretched. “What about writing ham, detective?” She wearily giggled, wiping her eyes with one hoof as the other retrieved her glasses from her bedside.
Once the lenses were placed upon her face, her faithful butler came into focus. The stallion smiled, shaking his head. “Dreams of grandeur, Silver Spoon?” He chuckled.
“I was in the middle of a great dream, Seabastion!” Silver Spoon pouted, poking out her lips. “Now I’ll never know who was the thief...”
Seabastion frowned slightly. “I am terribly sorry, Silver Spoon,” he dipped his head to the filly. “But, I thought it best to wake you, it is already eleven thirty an—”
“Oh no!” Silver Spoon gasped. “I overslept! I have to go—NOW!” She stressed, springing from her bed then blazing through the hallway and down the stairs.
Seabastion smiled, watching the young filly move with impressive agility; she appeared to be a gray streak. His smile slowly waned to a pained expression as if something were wrenching at his heart.
Noon! Silver Spoon inwardly squealed, galloping with every ounce of strength she could muster. The scenery blurred, colors meshed, and her heart beat in her ears. The distorted chiding of ponies she sped by fell on deaf ears. This is going to be the Best. Day. EVER! Only one vital event was on her mind, her dream only reinforced her already boiling excitement.
The apple trees of Sweet Apple Acres went by in the blink of an eye. Silver Spoon panted heavily as she pressed her way inside. She blinked in confusion, finding herself to be the first crusader to the clubhouse.
“I ran... fast!” Silver Spoon said between quick breaths. “First here... I... I’m not... late!” She heaved, groaning as she fell back on her haunches laughing shallowly as the adrenaline faded; a burning sensation arose in her legs.
“See? Told you girls this is where she was going!” Chirped a familiar voice.
Silver Spoon looked up and her energy was quickly renewed. Sweetie Belle and the others trotted in smiling eagerly. Apple Bloom brought up the read, dragging along a red wagon filled with bags.
“Silver Spoon, you were movin’ faster than gossip through Ponyville!” Apple Bloom chuckled, shaking her head. “An we know all too well how fast that goes!”
“Didn’t you hear us trying to stop you?” Scootaloo asked. “As fast as you were going, sompony coulda got hurt!”
Twist giggled. “When ‘Thootaloo i’th the voi’the of rea’thon, you know you’ve done wrong.”
“Hey,” Scootaloo chuckled. “I got two words for ya: Whatever!”
Sweetie Belle blinked, slowly shaking her head. “That’s... one word!”
“Fine, here it is again, whatever.” Scootaloo giggled. “That makes two.”
“Awright, Awright, y’all.” Apple Bloom announced. “We got our gear and ah hereby call th’ first mettin of the Cutie Scheme Investigators t’ odrer! First order of business,” she turned to Twist. “As we said before, Twist, yer in charge of this.”
Twist got cold hooves for a moment. She inhaled deeply then forced a smile. “W-Well,” she meekly motioned towards the bags. “We ‘thould get dre’thed fir’th.”
Everyone nodded then picked out a bag. Silver Spoon look inside hers and found a gray flannel suit, a pair of shades and a matching gray fedora.
“We have matching outfits!” Sweetie Belle sang, donning her shades and taking on a serious expression. “Hey! I can see in grays!”
Twist smiled. “M’th ‘thparkle enchanted the ‘thade’th to made u’th ‘thee in gray, the hat’th make u’th look gray!”
“Hey..!” scootaloo said with growing excitement, staring at the shades. “Oh. My. Gosh! I have the most AWESOME idea! A chance like this doesn’t come knockin’ too often!”
“Well, lay it on us as we dress then.” Apple Bloom said, placing her fedora on her head, the color of her body faded down to a gritty grayscale. “Oh, ah am gonna LOVE this.” She smirked.
The newly formed Cutie Scheme Investigation squad seemed to walk in slow motion through Ponyville square insync with one another as a grayscaled group. Silver Spoon looked to her her left out of the corner of her eye, everyone stared straight ahead wearing a flat and serious expression.
Better get with the game. Silver Spoon mimicked the expression, fighting every ounce of her being to crack up and giggle hysterically.
The fillies approached a homely two story home, the color, however appeared in various shades of gray behind the lenses of the magic shades. I guess we are here. Silver Spoon looked to Scootaloo, the pegasus retrieved a key from inside a miniature garden that hung on the window then unlocked the front door.
“Our fir’th ‘thu’thpe’tht i’th in’thide I a’thume?” Twist flatly asked without much enthusiasm, motioning ahead with her head.
Scootaloo nodded, pressing inside. “Berry Punch is inside,” she motioned with a hoof for the others to follow. “Cheerilee is away, won’t be back for hours. She’s out on a date with Big Mcintosh.”
“Great,” Sweetie Belle nodded, a hint of excitement breaking her stoic expression as she fell in like behind Scootaloo. “Time for questions.”
“Yeah.” Apple Bloom added.
“Scoots?” Called a voice from around the corner.
Silver Spoon shut the door behind her then caught up with the others. A juicy purple mare sat in a chair with a notebook in her lap. That’s our suspect number one! Silver Spoon silently celebrated.
Twist motioned with a hoof for the others to stand on either side of her. “It’’th come to our attention, M’th. Punch,” she slowly began. “That you are a ‘thour’th of information for our... let’th ‘thay ‘game’.”
Silver Spoon couldn’t help but feel astonished by the tone Twist suddenly took on. Maybe this is all going to her head. Just yesterday she seemed hesitant about doing this and now she’s almost... believable!
“You girls can’t be serious...” Berry Punch snickered, shaking her head. “What’s goin’ on?”
Scootaloo exaggerated a sigh, removing her glasses and leering at her older sister. “We’re asking the questions here, sister!”
“Huh,” Berry Punch cocked a brow. “Aren’t you all a little young to be running an interrogation?”
Scootaloo chuckled, dramatically and nodded. “Yes, yes we...” she paused, replacing the shades on her face, smirking cockily. “...are.”
Ooooh, I see what she wanted to get at. Silver Spoon giggled.
“Don’t make this any harder on yerself, hun.” Apple Bloom added with a chuckle.
“Just answer our questions.” Sweetie Belle said, her lips curled into a devious smirk.
Berry Punch laughed mockingly, her gaze traveled to each of the gray scaled junior detectives. “So, what if I don’t feel like talking?” She challenged.
Twist loosed an exasperated sigh, shaking her head slowly. “Then I’m afraid you’ve for’thed my hoof. Girls, lean on her.” She said, with a wide cheshire smile.
The others nodded in responce to their order. Berry Punch watched, still appearing to be thoroughly amused by their act. On either side of her, Scootaloo and Apple Bloom, Silver Spoon and Sweetie Belle simply pressed against Berry Punch, starting with their stoic expressions.
Berry Punch burst out in a fit of laughter until she was in tears and holding her stomach. “Cute act,” she shook her head. “But, fine I’ll play along. What do you... detectives,” Berry Punch snickered. “Want to know?”
“M’th. Cheerilee and her ‘thpecial ‘thomepony,” Twist began. “What do you know?”
“Oh them?” Berry Punch casually began. “To be honest, I don’t know much, but I know my sis enjoys...” she paused and smiled uncomfortably. “Err... well, they do love each other.”
Well, we already knew that. Silver Spoon rolled her eyes. She did say she didn’t know mu—
“I’th that really all?” Twist cocked a brow.
Berry Punch scratched her head. “Yea, I think so. Or at least all I can say that won’t jack up the ratings in here. Cheerilee would never let me live that down...” she shuddered. “Try talking to Davenport, Cheerilee’s been in and outta there for the past month now, maybe he knows something.”
“We’ll be in touch,” Twist said, moting with her head for the other crusaders to follow. “Don’t leave town. And remember, we were never here.”
Berry Punch lead to Mr. Davenport. Silver Spoon mentally recited, her eyes moved systematically from picture to picture. Mr. Davenport lead to Pinkie Pie. Pinkie Pie lead to... to... huh? Darn, I forgot who.
“Well, we got alot of lead’th.” Twist commented, reviewing the pictures posted on a wall of the crusader’s clubhouse. “Now... we gotta figure out the main one’th and how they connect.”
“Well, Rarity said her order was placed by BigMac.” Sweetie Belle said, moving her sister’s picture off to the side.
“An’ according t’ Mr. Davenport, mah brother and Cheerilee’ve lookin at a lot of furniture.” Apple Bloom jotted down a quick note then scratched her head. “This is kinda confusing...”
“Let’s take it one step at a time then.” Silver Spoon suggested. “Okay, why would Ms. Cheerilee and Mr. Big... Apple Bloom’s brother need furniture?”
“Well, you would need a house for furnitur—” Scootaloo paused. “...Oooohh.” Her eyes widened, a grin stretched across her face. “Hold on girls, I’m having one of those headaches with pictures!”
“An... idea?” Sweetie Belle giggled.
“What if... they are looking for a house together?” Scootaloo moved over to the wall and began moving the pictures around. “See, that means my sis’s lead was good, Davenport mentioned somepony was looking to sell a house, Pinkie Pie mentioned a party, so maybe it’s a house warming party!”
“Great!” Twist grinned as realization dawned on her, she made a quick note then paused, shaking her head. “But, wait, that ‘thtill leave’th M’th. Rarity. Why would Apple Bloom’th brother place an order at Carou’thel Boutique?”
“I do not... know.” Scootaloo groaned, sounding assertive at first.
“Well, at least we made some ground, right?” Silver Spoon chirped. “We know where to go from here, I know of a griffon real estate agent.”
“Yeah, Apple Bloom nodded. “Least we got somethin out of an evenin of chasing after ponies,” she motioned to the receding sun against the burning red sky.
“I’m going to ‘thudy thi’th at home.” Twist said, removing her shades and her hat, the color of her body slowly restored.
“Speaking of which,” Silver Spoon giggled, removing her outfit. “Twist, you really surprised me earlier at Scootaloo’s house. You sounded... serious.”
“Oh yeah!” Apple Bloom chuckled, tossing away her guise. “Ah had t’ double check that that was her!”
“You sounded like an ace detective, like you already had everything planned out.” Scootaloo admitted, nodding approvingly from behind her shades. “Yeeeeaaaah, I could learn to loooove these.”
“G-Girl’th, ‘thop it...” Twist blushed brightly, giggling bashfully as she attempted to hide behind her fedora.
Sweetie Belle giggled. “It was like you’re two different ponies in one!”
“Well, I did get too into it... but you girl’th ‘thaid you wanted me to lead...” Twist looked to nothing particular on the ground.
“Yeah, but we didn’t know you were THIS good.” Silver Spoon smiled. “You should talk with Seabation, he used to be a detective when he was younger.” She proudly stated.
“Really!?” Twist suddenly grinned, her eyes sparkling with excitement.
“Yeah.” Silver Spoon nodded. “Or at least he implied it; I don’t know for sure.”
“That old coot?” Scootaloo snickered. “It’s hard to imagine him as a young anything. Though, for an old stallion, he’s not as crotchety as some.”
“He isn’t that old.” Silver Spoon protested. “At least... I don’t think he is. Come to think of it, I think he’s older than my dad. Wait... maybe he IS that old.”
“Heh, ah’ll bet he probably grew up with Granny Smith.” Apple Bloom giggled.
“Hmm... you think so?” Sweetie Belle smirked, an all too familiar glint in her eyes.
“Woah now, dial it back!” Scootaloo waved a hoof. “We know that look, you’re being devious aren’t you?”
“Ah hope you ain’t thinkin what I think yer thinkin.” Apple Bloom narrowed her eyes. “Ah don’t think even Celestia herself could take what we went through with Big Mac ‘n Cheerilee happening with Granny Smith ‘n Seabastion.”
Everypony shuddered, nodding unanimously in agreement. “Point taken.” Sweetie Belle admitted.
“Ah really fear fer all of us if yer magic turns out like Princess Cadence’s.” Apple Bloom shook her head.
“Yeah,” Twist added with a giggle. “Everypony would be in love with ‘Thomepony.”
“Sweetie Belle means well, she has a kind heart.” Silver Spoon smiled. “Though, she would cause more wide-spread panic than Discord ever could.”
“Hey!” Sweetie Belle pouted, leering at Silver Spoon.
“Stop me when I’m wrong.” Silver Spoon giggled, sticking her tongue out.
“It’s gettin late girls,” Scootaloo stretched, her bones audibly popping. “I’m gonna jet, Berry Punch give me wiggle room, but if she comes down on me my brain would probably explode from sheer boredom.”
“Best be careful at home since yer livin with somepony we interrogated.” Apple Bloom chuckled.
“I got this, no biggie.” Scootaloo smirked, waving as she donned her scooter helmet. “See ya, girls!”
“Bye!” Everypony sang, waving off their friend. The buzzing of Scootaloo’s wings rapidly faded in the distance.
“Hey, Silvy, shouldn’t you be getting home, too?” Sweetie Belle asked, an edge of worry in her voice.
Silver Spoon sighed and nodded. “Yes, I suppose so.”
“Come on, I’m gonna go home, too.” Sweetie Belle smiled.
“Okay,” Silver Spoon smiled to Sweetie Belle before turning to Twist. “What about you, Twist?”
Twist shook her head. “I’m gonna ‘thay here a little longer, ‘thee if I can find ‘thomething el’the.”
Apple Bloom groaned. “Don’t worry, ah’ll make sure she ain’t here too long. You girls go on, see y’all t’morrow!”
“Alright, bye girls!” Sweetie Belle waved along with Silver Spoon.
With Sweet Apple Acres behind them, Sweetie Belle and Silver Spoon reached the edge of town, the streetlights had already come on as the last rays of the day vanished. “I didn’t expect it to be so late...” Silver Spoon observed with increasing worry as she looked to the star filled sky.
“Yeah, me either.” Sweetie Belle shook her head. “Rarity is going to be sooo mad...” She sighed.
“Why don’t you stay over my place then?” Silver Spoon suggested with a smile. “I’ll have a message sent to your home so Rarity won’t worry, we can write this off as a spontaneous sleep over!”
Sweetie Belle giggled and nodded. “Alright, great! That way neither of us is out alone after dark!”