• Published 12th Dec 2013
  • 1,638 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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Jade Blockade

July 13, 12:02 PM
Everfree Forest
Northern Timberline
***

As I trotted up the grassy knoll that overlooked the northern timberline, I couldn't help but feel a sense of uneasiness. As cliché as it sounds, things were quiet. Too quiet. No whining from the Redvest pack; no argument between the teenage dragons and Kohryu's acolytes; no nothing. Everything was perfectly still. And that caused warning bells to go off in my head. There had to be a reason for this, and whatever that reason was wasn't good.

"Ammy~!"

The silence was broken by Derpy Hooves calling out to me. I looked up and waved.

"Hi, Mom," I said. "I was about to wait for you here. You all done with your route?"

"I sure am," said Derpy. "And look, I made us some peanut butter and Zap Apple jam sandwiches for lunch."

She reached into her mailbag and pulled out two sandwiches. How she managed to get away with carrying them in her mailbag, I'll never know. I just hope nopony got incredibly mad at her for giving them sticky mail (which probably happened, knowing Derpy).

"Uh, thanks," I said, taking my sandwich with my magic. "Anyway, you'll be happy to know that I made quite a bit of progress in the investigation."

Derpy beamed. "That's wonderful news, Ammy. What did you find out?"

"Well, where do I start?" I said. "First..."

"Ah-hem!"

Before I could give Derpy a recap, I heard an unfamiliar voice behind me. I turned around to see a Diamond Dog I did not recognize. He was wearing a black tuxedo with matching top hat, a frilly white cravat, a pair of white gloves, and a monocle over his left eye. He had large, floppy jowls which and a single fang poking out of his mouth, which sort of undermined the whole aura of elegance he had going on.

"Um, yes? May I help you?" I asked.

"I'm terribly sorry, madam, but this area is restricted," said the dapper Diamond Dog. "I am under strict instructions not to let anyone traverse these plains."

Well, that would explain why the place is quiet. Doesn't make me any less confused, though.

"Strict instructions from whom?" I inquired.

"My mistress," said the dapper Diamond Dog. "If you wish to complain, you may take it up with her. Again, I apologize for the inconvenience."

"Hang on, I'm getting really confuzzled here," said Derpy. "I thought the leader of the Redvest pack was a boy dog."

The dapper Diamond Dog raised an eyebrow. "You're getting what?"

"Confuzzled," repeated Derpy.

The dapper Diamond Dog stared down at Derpy with a dumbfounded look. "I beg your pardon, madam, but that is not a word," said he.

"She means confused," I said. "Listen, I don't know if you know this, but I'm supposed to be meeting with the Redvest pack today. So, if you don't mind..."

"I'm afraid I do, madam," interrupted the Diamond Dog. "I wasn't given prior notice of this. As such, I must ask you to leave."

"Well, go check with them!" I said, starting to lose my patience. "They know me!"

"Please, madam. Do not raise your voice," said the dapper Diamond Dog. "There's no need for it."

I sighed. This was going nowhere fast. I need to know what this is about.

"Look, I've been here plenty of times before, and I've never had any trouble," I said. "What's going on?"

"That information is strictly on a need-to-know basis, I'm afraid," said the Diamond Dog.

"Well, I need to know," I said with a shrug.

"My apologies, but I'm not sure you do," said the Diamond Dog.

"Ife? What's going on over here?"

The argument was interrupted by a sharp voice from behind the dapper Diamond Dog. He turned around to see a very fancy-looking Diamond Dog that looked very much like a Prench poodle. She wore a dark green sweater vest, a golden collar decorated with all sorts of gems, and even a pair of fancy earrings. She held some sort of scepter in her paw which had a piece of jade at the head and two wires sticking out of the neck that formed a heart shape around it. Everything down to the way she strode up to us just reeked of high class, which is not something I'd expect from a Diamond Dog.

"It's nothing, mistress," said the dapper Diamond Dog. "Just a pair of interlopers claiming they have business here."

The poodle approached us and raised an eyebrow. "Ife, these are ponies," she said. "We are not defending this area from the likes of them. They're our friends."

Ife blinked. "Oh, I-I see. My apologies, mistress," he said with a bow.

"It's alright, no harm done," said the poodle, turning to us. "I do hope Ife here wasn't rough with you. He was just doing as I asked."

"Um, it's alright," I said, very much bewildered. "So, uh, who are you?"

"Oh, that's right. Forgive my manners," said the poodle, holding out her paw. "Georgette Jadevest, alpha of the Jadevest pack. A pleasure to make your acquaintance."

Something clicked in my mind. Sykes Silvervest mentioned that he was meeting with the Jadevest pack yesterday, and that he'd have them handle Dodger Dragonvest for the Redvest pack. I guess they work pretty fast.

"Pleasure is all mine," I said, allowing her to take my hoof in her paw. "I'm Amethyst Star, and this is my mom, Derpy Hooves."

Georgette looked at Derpy, and then back at me. "I don't really see the family resemblance," she said. "Then again, it's always hard to discern that kind of thing with ponies."

"I, get that a lot, actually," I said sheepishly. "So, what's the deal? Your goon here said that this area is off-limits."

"I prefer the term 'servant,' if you don't mind," said Ife.

"Oh, okay. Sorry," I said.

"No need to apologize, Ms. Star. It's nothing to get excited over," said Georgette. "Anyway, before I answer that, I wish to ask you something first. Ife says you have business here. What business might that be?"

I, suppose that's fair. "I'm actually meeting with the Redvest pack," I said.

Georgette pursed her lips and fiddled with the scepter in her paw. "Strange. I was under the impression that Rover Redvest was trying to avoid all contact with ponies after a certain, embarrassing incident."

"Well, he was," I said with a shrug. "But that's changed. He's actually helping me in an investigation."

Georgette knitted her brow. "Hmm, an investigation. I remember hearing something about that," she mused. "Ife, bring me Paw-Paw."

"Yes, mistress," said Ife with a bow. He then rushed off. I blinked.

"Paw-Paw?" I asked.

"What? Don't you name your diary?" said Georgette with a shrug. "I myself find that I can never bear my soul to something that doesn't have a name."

"Um, I never really thought of it that way," I said.

"Mmm. Well, whatever floats your boat, I suppose," said Georgette. "So, pleasant weather we're having, hmm?"

"I, guess," I said. "I haven't really noticed, actually. I've been pretty busy all morning."

"Oh, right. The investigation you mentioned," said Georgette, tapping her lips with her scepter. "Again, I know I've heard about this before, but I can't quite put my paw on it. Oh, where is that Ife?"

No sooner had she said that then Ife returned, brandishing a silver platter with a small book on it. Was that really necessary? I don't think I've met anyone so prissy and uptight that they need their journal delivered to them on a platter. That is, if Georgette really is that uptight; it's honestly hard to tell. She's actually the most pleasant Diamond Dog I've come across thus far.

"Thank you, Ife," said Georgette, scooping up the diary and flipping it open. "Let's see here... Ah, here we are. Sy mentioned you during our dinner date last night."

I raised an eyebrow. "You mean Sykes Silvervest?"

"Who else would I mean?" said Georgette with a smirk. "Sy and I go way back. He's quite the gentleman once you get to know him. His bodyguards, not so much."

So, she happens to know Sykes Silvervest personally. Interesting. Maybe I could get some dirt on him out of Georgette.

"What did he say about me?" I asked.

"Only that you're on this fool's errand trying to tear down a protection racket," said Georgette. "He didn't give me any details."

It seems that Sykes Silvervest doesn't have a high opinion of me. Can't say I'm all that surprised.

"Well, if you must know, I'm actually chasing down this prick who's trying to fleece me for gems," I said.

Georgette sighed and shook her head. "Tsk tsk tsk. What is the world coming to?" she bemoaned. "You have my deepest condolences, Ms. Star."

"Uh, thanks," I said, rubbing the back of my head sheepishly. "Anyway, I'm meeting with the Redvest pack so that they can take me to Sykes Silvervest. He's, actually one of my suspects."

"Is he really?" said Georgette in a sympathetic tone. "Oh, you poor dear. I really hope that's not the case. Whatever Sy wants, Sy gets."

"Yeah, well. I'm gonna be the exception that proves the rule," I said firmly. "I don't care who he is; he's not walking all over me."

"Famous last words, Ms. Star," said Georgette darkly. "I'd tread carefully if I were you."

"I know, I know. Trust me, I'm not an idiot," I said. "I realize that he has a lot of power. And yet for some reason, he doesn't have the guts to tell me who he is in his ransom notes"

Georgette shrugged. "I'm not sure what to tell you there, Ms. Star. Sy never told me about a new protection racket, especially not one that he's conducting anonymously."

"Would he really tell you something like that?" asked Derpy.

"Like I said, we go a ways back," said Georgette. "He's actually an old flame of mine, if you can believe it."

"Really? What happened?" said Derpy.

"Society," said Georgette, a hint of disdain slipping into her voice. "It's taboo for Diamond Dogs to marry outside of their packs. I'm a Jadevest; he's a Silvervest. It just wouldn't have worked out. That's life, I suppose. We're still on good terms, though."

"So, he knew you would take this job and help defend the Redvest pack from Dodger Dragonvest?" I asked.

"Well, of course," said Georgette. "After all, he is paying me quite handsomely for this mundane task."

Derpy blinked. "I thought you said he was your friend."

"He is."

"Then, why aren't you doing it for free?"

"That's the kind of Diamond Dog Sy is," said Georgette. "He's always about just compensation. If you're doing something for him, he's gonna make it worth your while."

"You mean like if I give him gems, he's going to not hurt my family and make my life miserable?" I said dryly.

"I never said it was a perfect system," said Georgette simply.

That's an understatement if I've ever heard one. I decided to change the subject.

"Well, did Silvervest tell you about Dodger Dragonvest?" I asked.

"Bits and pieces," said Georgette. "It's all quite surreal, actually. Dragons don't usually work well with Diamond Dogs."

"They don't?"

"Of course not. It's a conflict of interest," said Georgette. "Diamond Dogs hoard gems in order to gain status amongst the other packs, and they can't do that if dragons are eating them all."

So much for my theory that Sykes Silvervest hired a dragon to attack my mom. Unless...

"You said they don't usually work well with dragons," I said. "But Dodger Dragonvest has organized an entire clan to serve under him. They don't like it, but he managed to pull it off."

"Yes, Sy did mention that," said Georgette with a sigh. "A few times, actually. Apparently, poor Dodger has gone off the deep end, talking about Kohryu marking Sy for crimes against, something or other. Quite ridiculous, if you ask me."

"You know about Kohryu, too?" asked Derpy.

"Of course. I happen to subscribe to his teachings," said Georgette with a warm smile. "That's why I'm so friendly with ponies such as yourselves. My pack is actually quite welcome back in Baltimare. They're even creating a petition to make me the Diamond Dog's ambassador to Equestria. Me! Oh, they are too kind, indeed."

Derpy raised an eyebrow. "Huh. That's weird. I've been all over Equestria, and this is my first time hearing about something like this."

"Ditto," I concurred.

"Well, we Diamond Dogs don't like to make a big fuss over things like this," said Georgette with a laugh. "I mean, what would the other packs think? They need to ease into this sort of thing, know what I mean?"

"I, guess," I said. Honestly, I'm not that politically savvy, so I should just take her word for it. Besides, I feel like we kinda got off-track.

"Anyway, back to my original point," I said, clearing my throat. "Dodger has certainly proven that it's possible for a Diamond Dog to work with a dragon."

Georgette tapped her chin with her scepter. "Well, I suppose some of the more well-off packs could hire dragons as watchmen for the hoard. They'd have to have a lot of gems to burn, though."

"Like Sykes Silvervest?" I asked.

"Conceivably," said Georgette with a shrug. "And before you ask, Sy hasn't told me anything about hiring dragons. I honestly don't think he needs them, anyway."

"Does he usually tell you everything?" inquired Derpy.

"Well, not everything, I suppose," said Georgette. "After all, we're still in separate packs. It would be quite scandalous if I was made privy to all of his dealings."

So, the best way to find out the truth behind Sykes Silvervest was to talk to Sykes Silvervest himself. And here I thought this mystery was getting easier. Silly me.

"Just one last question," I said.

"Ask away," said Georgette.

"How do you know about Kohryu and his teachings? Sykes Silvervest says he's just a myth."

"Oh. Well, that's easy enough to answer," said Georgette. "Magic happens to be a bit of a hobby of mine. I'm interested in all things arcane. Why, I actually created this Leash Wand using alchemy."

"Leash Wand?" parroted Derpy.

"Just something to discipline anyone in my pack who gets out of line," said Georgette. "I never use it that much, of course. Maybe I should lend it to Sy."

"Um, mistress? You're rambling again," said Ife.

Georgette blushed. "Oh. I am, aren't I? How embarrassing," she said, clearing her throat. "Anyway, Kohryu is one of the few dragons who has truly mastered magic. As such, I'd be daft not to study him and his teachings. Although Dodger is truly mad if he believes a pacifist like Kohryu is telling him to declare war."

"Mistress!"

The conversation was interrupted by a Diamond Dog soldier running up to us and saluting.

"Report," said Georgette.

"We've sighted some dragons on the outskirts of the timberline," said the soldier. "They might be with Dragonvest."

Georgette sighed. "A woman's work is never done," she said. "I'm sorry to cut this short, Ms. Star, but duty calls. Good luck with your investigation. Oh, and I'll let Rover know that you're here. Ta-ta~."

With that, she and Ife followed the solider to the other side of the timberline.

"Well, she was nice," said Derpy. "I wish all of the Diamond Dogs were as nice as her."

"You're preaching to the choir, Mom," I said, taking a bite out of my sandwich. "Still, it's kinda weird, isn't it?"

"What, you mean the whole thing about Baltimare being accepting of Diamond Dogs all of a sudden?" said Derpy.

"Well, yeah. But also, she seems too, I don't know, clean," I said. "Diamond Dogs usually spend their time digging around in dirt, so why does she have a servant bring her a diary on a silver platter?"

"I dunno, I'm not her," said Derpy with a shrug. "If I was, that would be super weird. But if it was bugging you so much, why didn't you ask her about it?"

"Because to be honest, I'm not sure what she has to do with this mystery, if she's involved at all," I said. "My beef's with the Silvervest pack, and she's not even aware of half of Sykes's activities."

"That's Mr. Silvervest to you, po— I mean, Ms. Star."

I had to do a double take as Rover Redvest and his two buddies made their way into the conversation. Boy, that was fast.

"Right, right. I keep forgetting about that, on account of the fact that I can't stand him," I said. "So, what did he say?"

"Well, how do I put this?" said Rover, rubbing the back of his head. "I don't think he likes you very much."

"Yes, I've gathered that," I said, rolling my eyes. "Can I meet with him, though?"

"Yes, but on one condition."

"What might that be?"

"He wants to see you alone."

Derpy's pupils dilated. "What?! No! Nonononononono! We are not doing that!" she yelled.

"I'm sorry, Mrs. Hooves, but this is out of my paws," said Rover sadly. "He'll only see Ms. Star."

I saw Derpy's lip begin to quiver as tears formed in her eyes. "B-but she's my daughter. I-I have to protect her. I..."

"Yeah, about that," said Fido. "He, actually has his doubts about your relationship as mother and daughter."

That was a slap to the face. I snorted angrily.

"Well, you just go tell him to mind his own damn business!" I snapped. "Derpy's my mom, whether he thinks so or not! And I don't give a flying feather what he thinks; she's coming with me! If he has a problem with it, he can tell me about it to my face!"

"O-okay, okay!" whimpered Fido. "Sheesh, don't kill the messenger."

I took a moment to let my rage dissipate and sighed. "Sorry, guys. I-I'm just really sensitive about this, and I made it clear to him that I was sensitive about this. So, it just pisses me off that he has no respect for me."

"It's okay, Ammy," said Derpy, draping a wing over me and nuzzling my cheek. "It doesn't matter what meanies like him think. You're my daughter, and nothing will ever change that."

I couldn't help but smile like a dope. "Thanks, Mom. I really needed to hear that," I said. "Now, let's get going, shall we?"

"S-sure," said Spot with a sniffle as he wiped a tear from his eye. "L-like last time, we ask that you wear blindfolds."

"That I can agree with," I said. "Oh, and one more thing."

"Y-yes?"

I hefted up the plaster cast with my magic. "Could one of you please carry this for me? It's important evidence."

Rover shrugged. "I, suppose we could do that. Fido."

After taking a moment to compose himself, Fido took the cast in his paws and hefted it up.

"Good. Thank you," I said with a nod. "Alright, lead the way."

With that, the Redvest pack blindfolded me and Derpy and lead us off. Part of me is kinda apprehensive about this meeting. After all, I've seen Sykes Silvervest demonstrate his power, and it is quite impressive. But more than that, I am absolutely livid. Sykes seems to have this idea that I'm just a helpless pony who's in over her head, and he finds this amusing. Not only that, but he seems to have no problem claiming that Derpy's not my mother, as if he knows anything about me. For the record, he doesn't. And I think it's time I gave him a bit of a crash course...