• 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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A Dazzling Turnabout

July 13, 10:01 PM
Everfree Forest
Access Tunnel
***

When I got to the northern timberline, the area was completely deserted. There was no epic battle going on, and Ife was nowhere to be seen. That's a bit of a relief, because if he was planning to send me away as he was instructed to, I'd probably say some stuff that I'd regret later. Thankfully, that wasn't the case, and I was free to make a beeline to the access tunnel I found this afternoon.

I used my magic to illuminate the dark cavern and ventured forth. I didn't have to go far when I caught sight of a figure leaning against the wall.

"Well, well, well. So nice of you to drop in, Momma's Girl," said the figure in a familiar, sleazy voice.

I narrowed my eyes. "Dragonvest."

The figure emerged from the shadows. Just as I suspected, it was Dodger Dragonvest. However, he looked like he had seen better days. I noticed several burns marked his body, and his shades had all but shattered. I'm just guessing here, but I think the teenage dragons realized that he has no control over them anymore.

"Honestly, you're pretty early," said Dodger. "I wasn't expecting you to come after me so soon. And, oh. What's this? You're alone? Color me surprised, Momma's Girl. I thought you didn't go anywhere without your precious mother."

"You really don't want to piss me off right now, motherbucker," I snarled. "Where's Dinky?"

Dodger raised an eyebrow. "What makes you think I know?"

"Don't try to deny it," I spat. "You were waiting for me down here. You knew I'd come after you. How could that be unless you were the one who kidnapped Dinky?"

"Hmm. I see no reason to refute that," said Dodger with a sneer.

"So, you admit it."

"I'm not interested in admitting anything, Momma's Girl. All that concerns me is our deal," said Dodger. "You know what I want, right?"

"Supposedly," I said.

Dodger stared blankly at me. "What's that supposed to—? Never mind, it doesn't matter," he said, clearing his throat. "So, let's cut to the chase, shall we? You give me what I want, and I'll give you what you want. That way, we can both go home happy. How's that sound?"

I shook my head. "No deal."

Dodger blinked. "Y'mind repeating that?"

"I said I'm not giving you a single gem," I proclaimed. "You think just because you twist a knife in my heart that I'll just give up? Think again, dock-hole. Now, here's my offer. You hand over Dinky, or I will beat you within an inch of your life. Choke on that, you son of a bitch."

Dodger snickered. "Y'know, that's not really an insult to a Diamond Dog, Momma's Girl," he said. "It's just stating the obvious."

I felt my shoulders get tense. How can he be so calm right now? I've exposed him for who he really is, and he acts like it's no big deal. Something's wrong.

"Wipe that smirk off of your face, you bastard," I spat. "I'm not joking about this. I will tear you apart if you don't let Dinky go right this instant."

"I see no reason to, Momma's Girl," said Dodger. "Not unless I get what I want."

"Well, you're not getting it."

"Fine. Then you leave me no choice."

In one swift motion, Dodger punched me, sending me falling to the ground. When I looked up, he was cracking his fists and his neck.

"Thanks to you and your costumed friend, my dragons have turned against me," he said darkly. "They're eating my hoard as we speak, and they're probably gonna come after me when they're done. Now, I think we both know why that is. And you know what? I was planning to let the whole thing with you exposing me slide. When I control the Four Benevolent Animals, Kohryu only comes when I call him. There's no way you could've told him about me. So, I was willing to return what I stole from you, providing that you returned what you stole from me."

Huh? What the hay is he talking about? He sounds like he only wants the mystical gemstones Mare-Do-Well stole from him, but he practically confessed that he's the one who kidnapped Dinky. So, is he the culprit, or isn't he? If he is, why didn't he mention those gemstones specifically in the ransom note? And if he isn't, why did he leave that ransom note to begin with?

Before I could ask him directly, Dodger pressed his foot against my side, forcing me to the ground. He leered down at me with hungry eyes.

"However, since you're unwilling to give me what I want, I think I'll just have to silence you like I originally planned," he said. "Don't worry, I'll be sure to inform your precious mother about your gruesome fate. Say good— huh?"

Before he could do anything, he was distracted by a bright light heading our way, followed by several shouts. As the lights grew brighter, the shouts became clearer.

"You won't get away with this, you freak! The Top Dog will have your head!"

"That pony thought she could pull a fast one on us. I knew she couldn't be trusted! I should've taken care of her when I got the chance!"

I perked up as I recognized the voices. The light caused a familiar silhouette to appear on the wall. Just as I was about to put two and two together, Mare-Do-Well came barreling in, shoving Dodger off of me before landing and turning towards the light. The source of that light was revealed to be Rosco and Desoto, who were both wearing mining helmets.

"Oh-ho. What have we here?" said Desoto, frothing at the mouth. "The annoying pony and the traitor Dodger. It must be my birthday."

Dodger got to his feet, snorting indignantly when he caught sight of Rosco and Desoto. "Well, if it isn't Sykes's lapdogs," he said, brushing himself off. "You're a bit out of your territory, aren't ya?"

"Shut it, Dodger," growled Rosco. "You've got a lot to answer for. But right now, we're after that costumed freak over there."

I slowly got to my feet and looked over at Mare-Do-Well, who seemed to be remarkably calm.

"I already told you fellows," said she. "What happened was not intentional."

"We're not buying that, you freak!" Desoto barked, licking his chops. "This tunnel has a direct line to our hoard! You're probably smuggling jewels out, or you're pawning off our watch-dragon to the highest bidder! Who're you working for?!"

"No one," said Mare-Do-Well with a shrug. "I was investigating these caverns when I stumbled upon a hidden passageway leading to your hoard. That's all that happened."

"And how're we supposed to believe you, huh?" said Rosco. "We know our watch-dragon hasn't been at her post."

"Again, not my fault," said Mare-Do-Well. "Now, I'd love to continue this conversation, but my friend Ms. Sparkler seems to need my help right now, so if you don't mind..."

"Hang on a minute," snarled Dodger, getting in Mare-Do-Well's face. "I don't know what this is about, but I do know that you and your friend Momma's Girl made off with my gems. Give 'em back."

"Stay out of this, Dodger," said Rosco. "You'll get your turn soon enough."

Dodger turned to Rosco and sniggered. "I don't take orders from you, Rosco. And this here isn't your territory. So beat it."

"Not until we find out what the heck's going on," said Rosco with a snort. "If you've been hiding out down here, maybe you're the one who's been stealing our watch-dragon. After all, isn't that what your little army consists of?"

"First of all, this isn't my territory, either. I was just waiting on Momma's Girl over here," said Dodger, jerking his thumb at me. "Second, if you two weren't a couple of brain-dead mutts, you'd see just what an spineless tyrant Sykes Silvervest really is."

Desoto bared his teeth. "You think you can talk about the Top Dog like that?" he growled.

"Of course. After all, I've seen it myself," Dodger retorted. "If he had a backbone, he wouldn't have dumped Georgette."

Rosco raised an eyebrow. "Wait a minute. That's what your little rebellion is all about? Then why did the Jadevest pack repel your little army from Redvest territory, just like the Top Dog asked her to?"

Dodger laughed. "Are you really that stupid, Rosco? Georgette's not on Sykes's side. She never was on Sykes's side! She supported me all this time because of my undying love for her! She wants to see my vision become a reality! No longer will packs be confined to their own! I will bring about this revolution and make her dreams come true!"

Rosco blinked. "You're crazy."

Uh-oh. He shouldn't have said that. If there's one thing I learned from Carrot Top's gopher freakout, it's that you never want to call a crazy person crazy. Y'know, because they're bucking crazy.

"Crazy? You think that fighting for true love is 'crazy,' Rosco?" said Dodger, menace seeping into his voice. "You're beyond redemption. You and the rest of the Silvervest pack. If I have to see all of you dead to bring about change, then so be it!"

Rosco snapped his fingers. "Desoto. Sic 'im."

Desoto didn't need to be told twice. He pounced right for Dodger, tackling him to the ground. Dodger snarled and shoved Desoto back. As the two continued to duke it out, Rosco advanced towards me and Mare-Do-Well.

"Don't think we've forgotten about you ponies," said he. "I'm bringing you both to the Top Dog."

"And what good would that do?" asked Mare-Do-Well. "Ms. Sparkler and I are completely innocent. In fact, if Sykes Silvervest isn't behind the protection racket, we should be on the same side."

"Well, we're not," said Rosco, pounding his fist into his palm.

Mare-Do-Well sighed. "I was hoping not to do this, but you leave me no choice."

With that, she ducked down and swept at Rosco's leg. While Rosco was sent off-kilter, Mare-Do-Well tapped a panel on the wall and revealed a secret passage.

"Ms. Sparkler, this way!" she said.

Not wanting to stick around, I quickly followed her into the passageway as it closed behind us. After a bit of running, we paused to catch our breaths.

"Phew. Thanks," I said breathlessly.

"Just doing what I was meant to do," said Mare-Do-Well with a bow. "What exactly are you doing down here, anyway?"

I sighed. "Dinky's been ponynapped. I came down here to rescue her."

"I, see," said Mare-Do-Well, obscuring her eyes with her hat. "I'm terribly sorry."

"Yeah, well. I'm still planning on getting her back," I said. "Oh, by the way. Dodger's the culprit. I think."

Mare-Do-Well tilted her head. "You 'think?'" she parroted.

"I-I dunno, it's all very confusing," I said. "He practically confessed that he was the one who kidnapped Dinky, but all he's interested in is the gemstones you stole from him. He didn't even mention the tribute."

"Hmm. That is strange," Mare-Do-Well mused. "We might want to pay another visit to Silvervest territory, assuming that Rosco and Desoto managed to apprehend Dodger Dragonvest."

"Yeah, about that," I said. "You found that one of the passageways in this tunnel leads to the Silvervest hoard? How did no one notice that until now?"

"To be fair, the passage was blocked by a large pile of jewels," said Mare-Do-Well. "Otherwise, we might have to chalk this up to the use of Shroud Emeralds. Anyway, we can figure that part out later. Right now, we should focus on rescuing your sister."

"Took the words right out of my mouth," I said. "I've still got that anti-illusion spell, so we can see where Dragonvest took her."

"That might not be necessary," said Mare-Do-Well, staring at the ground.

Confused, I looked down. Muddy pawprints riddled the floor, starting from the passageway we just went through. Dodger must've fallen into another mud trap while carrying Dinky off. Talk about a lucky break.

"Right," I said, illuminating my horn. "Let's go see where this leads."

"Right behind you," said Mare-Do-Well. And with that, off we went.

***
July 13, 10:20 PM
Underground Network
Redvest Territory
***

The trail seemed to stretch on forever. It even got to the point where I had lost track of where we were going. Even worse, the mud seemed to fade with every pawprint that was made. It's possible that the trail could peter out before we reach Dinky. And if that happens...

No. I shouldn't think like that. We will find Dinky, no matter what. I don't care if I have to run around through these stupid caves for the rest of my Celestia-damn life. I'm not giving up. Not now.

Just then, my ears perked up as I heard someone crying. My heart stopped beating for a moment.

"D-Dinky?"

I rushed ahead of Mare-Do-Well and followed the sound to a small alcove sealed with a door you'd find in a jail cell. I looked inside, and my heart became heavy. Lying in the cell was Dinky, curled up into a little ball and sobbing. I-I don't know how to feel. I'm relieved that I found her, but seeing her in pain just tears me up inside.

"H-hang on, Dinky," I said in a hoarse whisper. "I'm getting you out of here."

I used my magic to cut the bars of the door. The sound and glow from my spell got Dinky's attention. When she saw me, her eyes sparkled.

"A-Amethyst? I-is that you?" she whimpered.

I nodded. As soon as the bars were cut, Dinky dashed out and tackled me into a big hug.

"Amethyst, I-I... *hic* I... *sniff* Bwaaaaaaaah~!"

Poor thing. She can't even form a sentence. She must be so frightened. I started to cry along with her as I held her close.

"I'm sorry, Dink," I sobbed. "I-I'm so, so sorry. I didn't want you to get caught up in all this. I-I should've done a better job protecting you. Th-this is all my fault. I..."

I felt Dinky's hooves press up against my chest. When I opened my eyes, I saw that she was staring right back at me.

"Amethyst, what're you talking about?" she asked. "None of this is your fault."

Ponyfeathers. I-I didn't mean to say any of that.

"I-it's not important," I said. "I just..."

"You're worried about hurting me, aren't you?"

I blinked. "Wh-what?"

"I, kinda heard some things while I was here," said Dinky, a new batch of tears welling up in her eyes. "Th-that's why I was crying. I was scared. I'm still very scared. B-but, now that you're here, everything's going to be okay, right? And Mama's coming to save me, too, isn't she?"

I don't know whether Dinky's words are making my heart break or melt. For all I know, it could be both. Either way, I squeezed her tighter and rubbed her back.

"Yes, Dink. Everything's gonna be okay," I cooed. "I'm right here, and Mom's probably on her way right now. We won't let anything else hurt you. I promise."

Dinky didn't say anything for a long time. She just nuzzled up against my chest and sniveled, and I continued to hold her tight. Eventually, my tears had dried up, and Dinky was done crying, too.

"Th-thanks, Amethyst," she said, brushing her nose. "I-I feel a little better now."

"Me too, Dink," I said. "C'mon, let's go home."

"Before we do, I wish to ask something," said Mare-Do-Well. "Dinky, was it?"

"Yes?"

"You said you heard some things while you were here," said Mare-Do-Well. "If it's not too much to ask, what sort of things?"

Dinky bit her lip. "It was, a lot of dark, scary things. Stuff that Mama says she protects me from," she said. "Mama always says that bad things exist in the world, and ignoring them won't make them go away. But as long as I'm with those I care about, I'll be safe."

So, the Zen of Dinky has a way to cope with traumatic events. I kinda wish I knew that a few days ago.

"Where did you hear them from?" asked Mare-Do-Well.

"From a pony in the cell next to me," said Dinky. "She was arguing with a bunch of mean Diamond Dogs about it."

I looked over and saw that there was indeed another set of bars over an alcove. Walking over to it, I found that it was pitch black. I illuminated my horn, and was shocked to find an all-too-familiar pony lying on the ground and snoozing.

"Limestone?"

Limestone Pie awoke with a start.

"Who what when where why how?!" she exclaimed, looking every which way. Her eyes then met mine. "Oh, you must be the rescue party. Neat. Dare I ask what took you so long?"