Black and Yellow

by Yip


Foreward From A Humble Journalist:

Death comes in many forms: illness, catastrophe, injury... murder. I had the unfortunate task of covering the latter more often than not, which made me harbour an odd mix of disgust and passion for any cases I checked out. Try telling anypony in Equestria that there are murders going on in some parts of the land; I daresay they’ll look at you incredulously. I had my own share of funny looks when I tried to publish my story elsewhere.

But even if you’ve ever lived in Manehattan—I’m sure murder cases aren’t very hard to come by there—then you wouldn’t be prepared for the murder of a young stallion. I would guess that no pony in any land would see that in the newspaper and not do a doubletake. I’d go even further as to say that the case wouldn’t be talked about at all amongst the city’s residents—depressing and interesting as it is, it’s such a devastating prospect that one perishes at such a young age.

Some even call that murder in particular a conspiracy created by the youth movement that had been growing extensively at the time. A rare few even claimed that the kid was a really good actor faking his death. If the one witness we had was right, then I can hardly see a pony of any shape or size feigning death from a six-story drop (besides a pegasus, of course, but that’s not the case).

I hadn’t been a very successful journalist in the past; most of my endeavours ended with a short grunt from my editor, displeased with the lack of news I could scrape from uninteresting cases. I was on the short end of the stick, but this whole murder case—along with the secret youth movement I was able to find out more about—was my chance at redemption. Normal articles would’ve been incredibly ineffective to tell readers about the travesty that had occurred; it could’ve been biased. It could’ve been fake. It could’ve been the second coming of the whole War of the Worlds incident for all they knew.

So here I bring to you a collection of anecdotes I scrambled up from some of those involved with the case. Each one got me one step closer to understanding both the mysterious youth movement and the murder case, even if a couple of them weren’t all that helpful. The sense of realism involved with real ponies telling their readers about everything would make the entire story fleshed out and believable—the only way this story, one of more than just a tragic death, can be given true justice.

And now that everything has been pieced together as originally planned, the story is ready to be made public, as seen through the eyes of Manehattan. There will be no judgement on my part; just real thoughts from real ponies. I sincerely hope you enjoy it as it develops—I know I certainly did.

~A small-time journalist



Before the news exploded in a frenzy of superstition and panic, this region was relatively quiet for a major city. A detective working with the authorities—also a local who lives just a couple blocks down from his office—is willing to tell me all that there is up to this point concerning the case. Despite his aged look and his ragged brown trench coat and worn fedora, Detective Clairvoyance's fiery green eyes and warm smile tell me that he is more than able to do his work. He greets me in a rough, worn voice with a certain ruggedness that seems to match his clothing.

The public wants information; I get that. Curiosity is a natural part of being a pony in Equestria. But they—the public and reporters, that is—have been asking me all sorts of questions about this and that and... it starts to get pretty tedious after a little while. I want to make it clear that myself and the rest of the task force involved with figuring this whole thing out barely knows much more than the public does.

Could you possibly give us something from your personal insight?

Sure, anything just to give to the press. I know, feed your wives, your kids...

I’d like to think of myself as an expert in the field of detective work. Been doing it ever since I was a wee little lad learning how to find the culprits behind small-time drug operations, idle bomb threats—you know, the stuff they teach you in kiddie sleuth school. [He takes a moment for a quick laugh.] I seemed to do it well. Well, the first few cases usually consisted of me standing in the office, breathless, as I thought of how cool it was to be a detective solving real cases and stopping real bad guys. Then I went into the whole “money is everything” stage for a while and eventually winded up where I am now: old as dirt and doing the work because I enjoy it. And hey, I seem to be doing the best now, but that might be my years of “wisdom” kicking in.

So I’m told by a visiting associate of mine here in Manehattan—after exchanging the usual family pleasantries and whatnot, of course—about a secret movement in Manehattan that had been gaining quite a bit of notoriety as of late. This happened... a month ago, I think? Two? Must be my aged memory acting up again. Either way, I didn’t think much of it.

You could imagine my surprise when I was called into the office a couple of nights ago over an alleged murder case. Young Clodhopper, class of Manehattan High just last year, jobless, homeless, had “fallen” out of an open window on the sixth story of the StallCo building up by the north end of the city. Was it possible that it was just a simple accident? Of course. I was put on the case immediately, but there hasn’t been enough time to make much of it.

Some of my associates suggest that I look into the whole “movement” thing with the city’s youth, figuring that I could discover some clues from the members themselves. I wasn’t too keen—I’m still not keen right now—on that prospect.

I’ve never been a huge fan of kids. Back during my day as a kid, barely out of school and mooching off of everypony I met, I took every job in the detective work that I could. Of course, by the time I actually got into the firm I work at now, the time I had spent mooching left me in some debt; can you really blame me for taking quantity over quality for a few jobs?

Anyway, I took this one job in Baltimare about a bomb scare. Wanted me to come over and find the source of the problem... basic stuff, really. Gave me boarding, a bus trip there, the whole lot. I’m pretty sure I delayed solving the case for a few days so I could get the extra pay and free lodging.

So I arrive at the city, knowing full well that the residents there wouldn’t be as friendly as I’m used to. Not saying Manehattan is all that much better, but the things my co-workers told me about Baltimare... I was seriously considering not going. Better to find other work to get paid that doesn’t involve a harsh atmosphere, I guess. I arrive by bus at the local park—gorgeous little spot in the center, filled with beautiful evergreen trees that make you forget where you were, although that was of little importance to me at that age—and I have no idea where to go.

I’m not kidding. I expected to get dropped off right at the firm that had contacted me.

I began making my way down the park’s sidewalk, hoping for some sort of sign of where I was going. A young colt approaches me and asks why I’m looking so frantic in my movements. At that point I didn’t harbour anything negative towards youngsters; he seemed friendly enough, so I replied by telling him how I’m lost. He looks up to me, smiles and asks me what I’m looking for.

I was rather touched by the kid’s friendliness at the time, so I returned the smile and asked him if he knew where the Baltimare detective firm was. It was the only one in town, what with the police themselves running it, so I was rather pleased when he nodded his head and pointed to his right—my left.

It was to my great relief that he did so, as the street he pointed to was one I was just about to completely miss. After telling me it was just a few blocks down the road, I smiled again, tipped the same brown fedora I’m wearing today and went along my way. Oddly enough, he turned course from the path he had been going on and walked in the direction I had been going before—forward. I thought little of it.

I said a couple friendly “hellos” to a couple of ponies down the way, and I got stern looks shot in my direction every time. I quickly learned my lesson after that. [He looks away and shudders.]

So I kept on trotting down the street like the kid said, still not seeing any sign of the firm after four or five blocks. I began to get a little bit nervous that he was just mistaken about which direction the firm was in... but it didn’t matter at that point, as I was almost certainly lost.

It was rather surprising when I come across an old building a couple stories high and somepony called out from above. Up in the highest three windows, there were two young colts and a mare sticking their heads out their windows, one of the colts being the one I had met before. He had a wicked, mischievous smile on his face as he held out a blue, sloshy plastic ball in his hand.

It was only until the other two held out theirs and threw them at me when I realized that they were water balloons.

I cursed and cursed as I bolted down the street, ashamed by my public humiliation at the hands of a few youngsters. The embarrassment was only furthered as every pony I came across as I continued down the street—me dripping and creating a watery hoofprint with every step I made—simply stared at me like I was some sort of abomination.

The fleeing caused me to become even more lost than I was before, not even being able to find the park from before. None of the citizens I tried initiating conversations with would even give me the time of day, and I simply shivered and shivered as I stumbled from location to location. It was a low point in my life.

I only found the firm after a friendly visitor from... Ponyville, I think? Anyway, this visitor told me that she was just about to hop in her car and leave, but she offered me a ride to the firm as an act of kindness. After spewing out as many signs of gratitude as my cold, shuddering self could give, I was given a towel from her car and driven to the firm as promised. I suddenly had an immense respect for anypony from Ponyville.

Long story short, I don’t like Baltimare and I don’t like kids.

Does this story have a connection to the youth movement here in Manehattan?

Well, I didn’t think I’d be going off on a tangent like that, so not entirely. [He shakes his head and looks at me apologetically.] But I thought it was quite interesting to hear from that nice mare again just a few days before this case appeared—we kept in contact since the event, nothing serious though. I’m a happily married man. [He harrumphs and turns his blushing head from me.]

Anyway, she was just mentioning that a few fillies over in Ponyville had done the darndest thing—went looking for pearls or other in the town’s river and found a big old jewel, claiming it was to help them earn their cutie marks. The “Cutie Mark Crusaders”, if I recall. Sure sounds like a youth movement to me; I’ll be sure to ask them a few questions once this case really gets rolling.

I’m still frankly amazed that a youth group could be such a well-known force in the community while being largely hidden in their actions. We don’t even know its name—unless it really is the “Cutie Mark Crusaders”, which sounds far too childish for this organization. I’m not sure if I’ll even be able to find many clues about the murder or the movement myself, which amazes me even further. A bunch of youngsters beating a seasoned veteran? Seems unlikely to me. If they manage to thwart my efforts, I’ll give them some respect.

But I just know—[He slams his hoof on the desk separating the two of us.]—that this so-called “movement” has everything to do with the murder. They are intertwined no matter what anyone says. If it was an adult who was murdered, I might not think twice about it.

Either way, I’m going to try and do my best to solve both mysteries. If you ever need anything more, just visit this firm and I’ll be glad to tell you more about my insight. Well, I won’t be telling you long stories about my younger years... perhaps that was a slip-up on my part. [His cheeks begin glowing a faint crimson as he turns away from me again.] It doesn’t matter. I’ll give you solid info the next time I see you.

Before I go, could you tell me what your next step is?

Well, the case is pretty new, so I still have to tackle the files that were given to me. But I think the best option is to ask some questions of the local youth—perhaps Manehattan Elementary’s students would be the best bet.

And what would you ask them?

There was a name floating around the streets when I asked a few ponies about any movements around the city. My co-workers claimed that they had heard the name too, so I think I’ll be asking the students if they know who it is. Even if most of them will try and lie out of it, I’m sure I’ll find a way to get what I need.

If I recall correctly—pardon my terrible old-person memory—the moniker was “O’Riley”. Pretty weird name, eh? Must be some sort of nickname.

Whoever it is, if they were responsible for this murder, then they must be stopped.