It was a dark night in the city that never sleeps, and rain was falling like a barrel full of bricks off of a high rise, both likely kicked off by a clumsy pegasus. Unlike the bricks, the rain didn't come with an apology, just the grumblings and the mess. I was in my office, considering getting cheap takeout for the third time that week, when she walked in. She was all legs and curves, with a look in her eyes that meant business, and a body that wasn't averse to getting pleasure in on the mix, and thoughts of gut-wrenching noodles and sauce left my mind quicker than a timberwolf run afoul of a campfire. She did a slow glance around the office, sizing the joint up, making me acutely aware of the dusty filing cabinets, the empty takeout cartons, and the full ashtray. Finally, she spoke, with a voice like a velvet glove, slapping me in the face and bringing me back to my senses.
"So, you're the famous detective, Rose Specter?" Her tone of voice told me she wasn't too impressed, and as she stepped closer to the desk and sank into the only other chair in the office, she locked her eyes on me, pulling out a cigarette and lighting it while keeping me trapped in that steady blue stare, appraising me like a shopper considering a dress... or a tigress contemplating a quick bite before dinner. "I have... a bit of a problem, you could say. And I think that you might just be the one to take care of business for me. And from the look of it, you could use the business."
Yeesh, this dame pulled fewer punches than a thick-necked gorilla under orders to snag protection money. I leaned forward in my seat, pushing the ashtray forward and nodding. "Yeah, I suppose I could. What's the issue, Miss...?"
"Rarity. And you'll do well to remember the Miss, Rose. The problem is my little sister. She's fallen in with a bad crowd, you could say." A long drag off of the cigarette, and a stream of smoke as she finally looked away, releasing me from that appraising glare. "She's a singer, and I'm afraid her most recent... employers... are trying to pressure her into doing more than using her voice." Out came a picture, though where she was keeping it in that little red dress, I still can't quite imagine. In the photo, a cute sorta gal, obviously modeled after big sis, though even in the photo, you could positively feel the innocence radiating off of her. Definitely not someone fit for the seedier side of the city. Truth be told, she didn't seem like she was made to handle the seedier side of a grape, for that matter. The consummate bright eyed kid sister. I passed the picture back, and it disappeared, Celestia knows where. Another long drag, and she'd blow a puff of smoke to the side. "I don't have proof, and until I do, I'm sure she'd just accuse me of being an over protective nag." Certainly not a word that came to mind looking at her, but then, maybe the kid had a mouth on her, in addition to the pipes.
"I getcha. Well, I can tell with a dress like that, I'm not exactly gonna be having to do this pro bono. I'll see what I can dig up." I leaned back in my seat, reaching for a pen and a pad of paper, before scribbling out a number. She took one look at the rate I'd put down, and didn't so much as bat an eye. Like I thought, either she wasn't exactly struggling to scrape bits together, or she was dead set on protecting the bright-faced little marshmallow in that picture. Possibly both. I could respect that sort of grit. "Anything else I should know?"
She stubbed out that cigarette in the ashtray, finding a bare spot in that full mess, before rising to her hooves once more, in that same sinuous way she'd moved the entire time, body moving just so in that red dress. Innocent as her sister may be, this mare was anything but, and it was hard to not get distracted by that slinky red number, by that velvety voice, by those little flirtatious movements that seemed to underlie every little thing she did. "She's working at The Gilded Pegasus. I do hope that's enough for you to get started on, especially with a rate like that. Don't disappoint me, Rose." Out she went, that elegantly curled purple tail chasing her backside like a determined suitor, and we'll pretend that that's what drew my eye as she swept out of my office in a cloud of sensuous red and white.
The Gilded Pegasus, huh? Not the worst joint in the city by far. Maybe Rarity was simply a bit too worried about her sister. But then, it would be an excellent cover for something illicit, especially given how clean the owner was. Mr. Rich, as he preferred to be called, put on a good face for the photo ops, but there were too many rumors surrounding him that suggested he lived up to both halves of his name in equal measure to think he was just another wealthy businessman. A stallion shakes that many hands, some of them are bound to be under the table, and you don't have your hands in that many pies without getting a little sticky-fingered.
I rose from my chair, carrying the most recent empty container over to the trash, giving the can a quick appraisal to see if I could manage another day or two. It'd keep, though with the stale cigarette smoke in the air, it was difficult to properly tell, and I wasn't too keen on taking a closer look. I reached for my hat and jacket, and then, after a moment's thought, walked back over to the desk. It took more effort than it really should to get the drawer open, and I groaned in time with the desks noise of protest. It looked like maybe the drawer could use a bit more grease, and my gut a bit less. I made a note to pick some up on the way back, reaching in and pulling out Ol' Bess. Hopefully I wouldn't need her, but hope and I weren't on speaking terms, hadn't been for a long time. Talk about your nasty breakups. Bess went into her holster, snug under my arm, and with the jacket you could almost forget she was there. Maybe tonight would be a quiet night, I thought to myself as I walked out the door. And maybe the clouds would pour chocolate milk.