• Published 7th Jun 2013
  • 2,756 Views, 193 Comments

Pinkie Pie is Dead - chrumsum



When you lose something worth living for, you get something worth dying for.

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9
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8 - Rarity

I don’t have much time for love. In all my years in Ponyville, I’ve hardly done more than glance at a mare. Call it being lazy, call it being heartless... heck, call it being downright terrified of a relationship. Whatever the reason was, I’d spent more than one Hearts and Hooves day inside with my only date being a strong drink. No, I’d never bothered with mares and they’d never bothered with me. I’m not exactly the kind of pony most want to take a chance to know better, for more reasons that one.

I arrive where there’s one last hole in my puzzle: Carousel Boutique. The guards don’t give me any trouble. Word gets around fast. A “closed” sign hangs on the door. Before I can get too close, I hear a disdainful meow down near my hooves. A cat looks up at me with feline disgust before slipping through a catflap. Bad omen. I knock like a colt picking up his first ever prom date. She answers. Rarity.

I don’t have much time for love, but every time I lay eyes on that dame, my heart skips a beat. Phillydelphia always had its share of colt-killers, swindlers that’ll take your heart and bank account all at once. I didn’t believe a word when the Chief told me she was born and bred in Ponyville. How a boring backwards town like this could ever make such a dame was beyond me. Even now, with her missing make-up and bleary eyes, she’s still stunning.

“Miss Rarity?”

“Oh... Detective uhm... Slipknot, was it?” she asks, looking behind me as if expecting someone else to be there.

“Sideways.”

“Oh, yes, Sideways. I’m terribly sorry about that I’m a bit... well, not quite myself,” she says with a nervous laugh. She scratches the back of her neck. Uncomfortable gesture noted. “I suppose you’ll want to come inside.”

“If that wouldn’t be too much trouble, Miss Rarity,” I say ambivalently. “I’d just like to ask you a few questions.”

“Yes. Questions, of course. Please, please, come in.” She gestures enthusiastically, a pained smile stretching her face.

The inside of Carousel Boutique is like a reflection of its owner: needlessly flamboyant. My notebook appears in from of me, and I put in a few notes as I enter. The place is messier than I remember it. Normally Rarity keeps things tidy, but the store is littered with fabrics and gems and half-finished gowns that hang like sad ghosts over coat hangers. Seems familiar. She leads me to the kitchen and invites me to take a seat.

“I’m terribly sorry for the mess, Detective Sinus,” Rarity says, visibly embarrassed at my unexpected company. Perhaps a little too on edge.

“Sideways. Been busy, Miss Rarity?” I ask, motioning at the unfinished gowns in the showroom.

“We all have to keep ourselves... busy, nowadays,” she admits, looking away. “It keeps one’s mind from becoming lost.”

“Lost?”

“Lost... And, well, I have so many customers, I have to keep them satisfied regardless of the... occurrences in my personal life. I’m sure you understand, Detective Siphon.”

She’s aloof. My gut tells me she’s hiding something, and my notes tell me the same.

I’m only half listening when I spot a gap in her defences. I pick up a worn-out Stetson hung over the back of a chair and hold it out to her. “Has one of your customers forgotten this, by any chance?”

Exactly as I expected, she blushes and rips it out of my grasp.

Generally speaking, there aren’t many stallions in Ponyville, far less than in a place like Phillydelphia. Maybe it’s how boring the place is, maybe it’s something in the water. Either way, the male aspect is lacking and as a result the mares have to keep themselves occupied. Even mares like Rarity, so convinced that they’re just waiting for their Prince Charming to show up that they lie to themselves and act like it doesn’t count.

But a dame like her... Well, it’s a damn shame is what it is.

“What do you want, Detective Sideways?” she finally says, eyes glistening. “Do you want to make a helpless mare cry? Is that why you’re here? To push and pull me until I start bawling for you? Is that what you want, just so you can tell yourself what a big bad stallion you are?”

I let her get angry. It gives her something to focus on. “No ma’am. I just want to talk to you about Miss Pie.”

The furious expression doesn’t leave her face, but she bites her tongue. After adjusting a fallen lock of her mane, she snorts and looks away. “What do you want to know?”

I lean against the kitchen wall and collect my notes. This broad’s hostile, and I need to know why. Nopony acting so defensive can be scot-free. I’d spotted my ace in the hole the second I walked into the room. All that’s left now is to play for time until I need it. “You knew Pinkie Pie well?” I start off innocently enough.

“Yes,” she says, refusing to give me more than what I asked.

“A friend, a Bearer... Did you get along well?”

“Usually.”

“Usually?”

“Pinkie Pie was a darling girl,” she admits. “But her head was never really on her shoulders. It was always bouncing around in the clouds.”

“And you were always the business pony. You had your own boutique to manage, your family to look out for...”

“I’d appreciate it if you didn’t put words into my mouth, Detective,” Rarity says testily. Clever dame.

“I’m not your enemy here, Miss Rarity. I’m trying to find who killed Pinkie Pie and bring the killer to justice. I’m sure you want just as much, don’t you?” I say, tapping my quill against the side of my notebook.

“What are you implying?”

Now I’m just getting sick of it. “I’m implying that it would probably be better for you to avoid answering my questions with questions.”

She glares at me, but eventually her eyes fall and she nods in defeat. “Very well.”

“Can you tell me when was the last time you saw Pinkie Pie?” I make an effort to make my tone sound as friendly as possible.

“Yes. It was... just the day before yesterday.”

“Take me through the day, please,” I say, flipping back a few pages in my notes.

“Well,” she begins, swallowing. “I had to get up early. Even with Sweetie Belle off with my parents, I needed to get a head start. I had a major commission on my hooves, you see. A very large client had requested a series of dresses for the summer line of his mark to debut in Canterlot. I spent all morning working on my hardest design of the lot. I was nearly done when... Pinkie Pie showed up.”

I stop writing. Rarity looks like she’s trying to swallow a pill several sizes too big, and I spot it in an instant. I already know what I’m going to hear. It’s exactly what I need. I’m just not sure if I want to accept what it might mean.

“Go on.”

“She arrived a little before noon. With celebratory ice cream. I didn’t have time for it, even though I appreciated it. I tried to tell her but–”

“She insisted, as she usually does.”

Rarity nods her head and licks her lips. “Yes. But so did I, and eventually she left. That’s all that–”

“She ruined one of your dresses by accident, didn’t she?”

She looks up at me, jerking as if she’d been stung. Her eyes are watering. Whatever she’s hiding, it’s bubbling close to the surface.

“How did–”

“Pinkie Pie was found next to heaps of sewing equipment. Fabrics, thread, how-to books. Gemstones that she’d probably been collecting for a while now. Like she’d been trying to make something.” I look into her eyes, and I crack the last of her armor with a single sentence.

“Like maybe a dress.”

I’m rewarded a sadist’s pension. Rarity cracks and puts her head in her hooves. Tears fall from her face and onto the table, thick like marbles.

“It... It was just a stupid, stupid accident. But I was so mad. I’d worked so hard on that dress and I was just so mad,” she splutters between sobs. “I should have just... just let it go! I was so mean to her. So cruel. I screamed at her, told her to get out, that...”

She looks up to me, eyes wide. Desperation rolls down her face, matting her face. “Oh Celestia,” she croaks, “the last thing I ever told her was that I never wanted to see her again. That’s the last thing she heard me say to her. And now she’s... she’s...”

I let her have her cry. Slowly, it dies down into pitiful sniffling and moaning. Then, she’s quiet again, sitting quietly at the table. Dames. Sometimes they just have to let it all out, and then you’d never even known they’d been bothered in the first place. I hand her a tissue. She takes it, grimacing and wiping her eyes.

“I’m sorry you had to see that,” she finally says. She’s such a lady that I’m embarrassed to even be looking at her.

“Don’t worry about it.”

“No, it’s silly. Crying won’t fix anything. That’s your job, I suppose.”

I don’t have the heart to tell her I can’t fix anything. All I can do is cover up the cracks in the concrete and pretend that there was never anything there to begin with. I give her as much time as she needs to recover. Then I go for broke.

“Miss Rarity, I need to ask you one more question. A very important one.”

She nods absently.

“Could you look me in the eyes, please?”

She looks confused, but of course she looks up. I can read ponies. And written in Rarity’s eyes I see every insecurity, ever fear, doubt, every last bit of self-loathing and regret. Posture, nervous ticks, and tone are only clues to a pony’s soul. Everything else sleeps in the eyes. I watch them closely, and I ask her the only question I need.

“Did you kill Pinkie Pie?”

The glimmer in her eyes flickers and falters. She speaks, but I don’t quite hear her.

“No.”

I let my eyes fall from hers, tracing the outline of her lips, muzzle, and neck. I nod, and there’s nothing else to say. I leave the table and walk to the kitchen counter, looking this way and that.

A lovely set. The kind of decor that’d be in some high-brow Canterlot bachelor pad. Everything’s in its place, everything looks perfectly tidy and orderly. Except for one thing.

Rarity watches me as I go to her knife rack. I hear the breath catch in her throat. Pearl-handled beauties, beautiful and pricey, for sure. All except for one. A knife with a black handle sticks out like a sore thumb. The kind of knife that would be missing from a baker’s set. Everything slows down when I pull it from the rack.

I turn and show her the blade. It’s caked with dried blood like rust.

Kitchen knife. Standard edge.

Rarity doesn’t say a word.