• Published 12th Dec 2013
  • 1,644 Views, 140 Comments

My Little Investigations: The Gemstone Godfather - Metool Bard



Some jerk is trying to shake me down for gems, but he won't tell me who the buck he is. Why me of all ponies? I have no idea.

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Confrontation: Byakko

July 13, 9:29 AM
Everfree Forest
Southern Timberline
***

Here's a little bit of advice from me to you. The next time you want to try and chase down a magical talking tiger, do yourself a big favor and suppress that impulse (unless you're a super-athletic pony like Rainbow Dash, in which case by all means, go right ahead). I mean, hot damn. Those things can really book. I'm lucky I managed to make it from the rock farm to the Everfree Forest without passing out! And by this time, Byakko realized that he was being followed and turned to face me.

"I already told you, equine. I have no interest in dealing with you right now," he snarled.

"Well *huff* too bad," I said breathlessly. "Because I *puff* have a few questions *gasp* for you."

Byakko's eyes narrowed. "Do you realize whom you are addressing, equine? I am Byakko, the White Tiger as sturdy as steel. I answer to none but the Great Kohryu and his hierophant."

"Okay, then riddle me this," I said, finally catching my breath. "Why did the Great Kohryu send you all the way out to the Pie Rock Farm? It's a bit out of your jurisdiction, isn't it?"

"Jurisdiction?" parroted Byakko, raising an eyebrow. "The Great Kohryu is not bound by such trivial things."

"But, he's after the Silvervest pack, isn't he?" I asked. "And as far as I know, they don't operate out here. If they did, I would've heard about them ages ago."

"Need I remind you that I don't have to answer to you?" said Byakko. "I didn't come all the way out here to get pestered by a nosy equine."

"Maybe I've got a reason for being nosy," I retorted. "For instance, the disappearance of one Limestone Pie. You wouldn't happen to know anything about that, would you?"

Byakko's growled, and I could actually see his muscles rippling with tension. "I didn't come here to get accused, either. Through this line of questioning, you are insulting my honor as an acolyte to the Great Kohryu!"

It just hit me. I'm trying to interrogate a talking tiger. A talking tiger who's twice my size and is apparently as sturdy as steel. How did I get it in my head that this was a good idea?! I know he's Kohryu's acolyte and was probably instructed not to hurt anyone who isn't "marked," but that doesn't make him any less scary! Nevertheless, I tried desperately to play it cool.

"W-well, there is one way to defend your honor," I said with a swallow. "Y-you could e-explain yourself."

Byakko snorted. "If I do this, will you leave me be?"

"Yeah, sure! Whatever!" I said hastily.

Byakko relaxed a bit. "Very well, equine. Since you are persistent, I shall explain. But be forewarned that I have important work to do. Delay me any longer than necessary, and the consequences will be dire. Is that clear?"

"Crystal!" I squeaked.

Byakko smirked, seeing right through my transparent poker face. "Good. Now then, what shall I answer first?"

I took a moment to compose myself before responding. "F-first, the pawprint. It was stated quite clearly that it belonged to you, and as of right now, it's our only clue to the ponynapping of Limestone Pie."

Byakko nodded. "Interesting, interesting. But I'm afraid your logic is woefully flawed, equine. Allow me to explain..."

***
Argument: Byakko's Alibi
***

"The first obvious flaw is simple," said Byakko. "How do you know the pawprint was left by me? I am not the only creature with paws. Plus, the Great Kohryu has no interest in this Limestone Pie you keep bringing up. Why, then, would I kidnap her? Furthermore, if that pawprint did belong to me, how does that connect me to the crime? As you can plainly see, you don't have much of a case."

Had I been a more cowardly pony, I would've just dropped the matter and let him be on his way. But there was too much at stake for me to back down. Besides, I couldn't help but think that he was hiding something from me. It's hard to place my hoof on what, though. Well, only one way to find out.

"Let's go back to the pawprint," I said. "You said that there's no way to prove that you made it, right?"

"Well, you certainly don't have that proof on you, do you?" said Byakko with a toothy grin that sent shivers up my spine.

"W-well, no," I said. "But, there's just one thing."

"And what's that?"

"How many creatures in Equestria have paws that are as big as yours?"

Byakko shrugged. "I wouldn't know. But I'm sure there are a few."

"Yes, but on a rock farm?" I asked. "The only life that grows out there is moss. Whoever left that pawprint was not native to the area."

"It still doesn't prove that it was me," said Byakko.

Crud, that's a good point. I need to find some way to link Byakko to the pawprint. That ought to put him on the defensive.

"Actually, there's one thing about this particular pawprint that I haven't brought up yet," I said.

"Oh, and what's that?"

"Well, tell me, Mr. Byakko. Are you familiar with geomancy?"

Byakko tilted his head. "The art of divination through reading the earth?"

"Yeah, that's the one," I said. "Well, as it just so happens, one of the ponies I was with just happens to be an expert geomancer. And you know what she said when she read your pawprint?"

"I haven't the faintest idea."

"She said it predicted the arrival of a creature as sturdy as steel, and that this creature was on an errand," I said, brushing the underside of my nose. "Sound familiar?"

Byakko's fur bristled something fierce. "Th-that still doesn't mean anything, equine. The earth predicted my arrival. What of it? It doesn't mean I left that pawprint!"

"Oh really? I think it would be an impressive coincidence if that pawprint wasn't left by you," I said. "And besides, why are you getting all worked up about this, anyway? Didn't you say that there's no way for me to connect the pawprint to the crime?"

"Grrrrraough!"

Byakko's only response was a powerful roar that caused my mane and tail to stand up on end for a moment. Methinks I hit a nerve.

"You still cannot prove anything, equine!" he bellowed. "I am an acolyte of the Great Kohryu! I cannot and will not tolerate this besmirching of my good name!"

"Well, what other conclusion am I supposed to draw from this?" I said with a shrug. "If there's another reason you were prowling around the Pie Rock Farm, please, by all means. Enlighten me as to what that reason was. 'Cause as far as I know, Kohryu has no reason to be out here unless he's responsible for the kidnapping of..."

"You finish that sentence, and I'll tear you asunder!"

Byakko got right in my face as he said that, causing my heart to shoot into my throat. Man, I really hope Mare-Do-Well is somewhere nearby right now. I don't think I can keep tempting fate by ticking this guy off any more than I already have.

"A-alright, l-let's just calm down here," I said. "I-if you're truly innocent, then surely you've got a good explanation for why you were on the rock farm, right?"

Byakko snorted. "Your persistence knows no bounds, equine. I am still uncertain as to how your business is also that of the Great Kohryu."

"Oh, it is," I said. "You can ask your precious hierophant yourself, if you want."

Byakko furrowed his brow. "So be it, equine. If you truly wish for me to reveal my business here, then reveal it I shall. But the Great Kohryu will know of this, and he will deal with you. I'll make sure of that."

"I'm looking forward to it," I said. Yeah, I'm still not buying all the hype about this Kohryu fellow. I mean, sure, a giant dragon with a bunch of magical talking animals that serve his every whim is nothing to sneeze at. But like with Sykes Silvervest, I get the feeling that a lot of his power is exaggerated by those who praise and/or fear him. Now granted, in Sykes's case, he was able to back up those claims. But until I see it with my own eyes, I don't know if the same can be said for Kohryu.

***
Testimony: Kohryu's Errand
***

"As you have probably gathered, the Great Kohryu has sent me out here in search of something," said Byakko. "I am, not at liberty to reveal what that something is, but I can say this much. That pawprint was not left by me, even though I was in that desolate wasteland last night. Alas, I did not witness any crime, so I am of no help to you there."

Hmm, not as much information as I hoped for. How am I supposed to trust Byakko's alibi if he won't tell me explicitly what he was doing? There has to be more to this.

"You claim that the pawprint we found was not your own," I said. "Do you have any proof to that effect?"

"Well, of course," said Byakko. "The pawprint you found was in the east. However, my search was restricted solely to the west. I couldn't have left any pawprints in the east."

I deadpanned. "You know, it would've been a lot more helpful if you gave me that information earlier."

"If I've said it once, I've said it a thousand times, equine. I don't have to answer to you," Byakko growled. "The only reason I'm indulging you right now is to regain my honor as the Great Kohryu's acolyte."

"Yeah, yeah. Sure," I said, rolling my eyes. "Anyway, you said you were in the West Field the whole time, correct?"

Byakko raised an eyebrow. "You call that wasteland of stone a 'field?'"

Boy, he's lucky the Pies aren't here to hear that. They would've gotten so mad. Rock farmers are very picky about their terminology, and the Pies are no exception. It doesn't matter if their fields are barren of all life; to them, they're still fields.

"Let's not argue semantics here, Mr. Byakko," I said. "You were in the West Field the entire time last night, yes or no?"

"Yes, I was," said Byakko. "Meaning I didn't leave that pawprint in the east."

"So, if I was to go to the West Field right now, I would find your pawprints all over the place, correct?"

"Indeed," said Byakko with a nod. "And I'm sure you'd find more than one."

Wait, that was another good point. According to Pinkie, it took her forever to find that one pawprint. As in one singular pawprint. Why weren't there more? I didn't think Byakko could answer that one, so I just put that question on the back burner.

"Let's change the subject," I said. "I take it that you haven't found what you're looking for yet."

"You would be correct," huffed Byakko. "I'm beginning to suspect that it's not even out here."

"Well, maybe I could help you find it," I said.

Byakko gave me a look. "You are quite strange, equine. First, you slander the Great Kohryu, and now you wish to help him?"

"It ties into this investigation I'm working on," I said with a shrug.

Byakko's eyes suddenly went wide. "An investigation, you say? Equine, by any chance, is your name Amethyst 'Sparkler' Star?"

"It is," I said.

Byakko nodded. "I see. It all makes sense now. The Great Kohryu has spoken of you, Amethyst 'Sparkler' Star. I apologize for being so short with you."

Well, this is a surprise. One minute this tiger wants nothing to do with me, and now he's as polite as a Canterlot noble. Not that I'm complaining or anything, but what exactly warranted this change in attitude?

"Um, yeah. Sure," I said, rubbing the side of my head. "Uh, what did Kohryu say about me?"

"He said that you are on a noble quest," said Byakko. "One filled with great peril. In fact, he would like to speak to you personally."

I blinked. "H-he would? Why?"

"Your quest interests the Great Kohryu very much," said Byakko. "If you want, I can take you to him right now."

I then remembered the note Derpy left me and sighed.

"Um, that's very nice of you. But, could I possibly meet him later, like this afternoon?" I asked. "See, I'd feel a lot more comfortable if I had my mom around."

Byakko placed a paw to his lips and nodded sagely. "Hmm. I see now why the Great Kohryu's hierophant refers to you as 'Momma's Girl,'" said he. "Very well. I shall inform the Great Kohryu of this."

"Yeah, you go do that," I said. "Oh, and one more thing."

"Yes?"

"Tell your hierophant to stop calling me that."

Byakko shrugged. "I apologize, Amethyst 'Sparkler' Star, but I cannot make demands of the hierophant. Well, I must be off. Fare well."

Before I could say anything else, he bounded off into the forest. Well, it looks like Kohryu actually wants to meet me face-to-face. I'm still not entirely sure why, but at least now I can see what all the hype is about. That'll have to wait for when Derpy is done with her route, though. Right now, I should probably go see what the Pie family is up to. Maybe they found some more clues in my absence. At least that would mean one or two things are going my way in this whole catastrophe.