• Published 8th Jun 2012
  • 2,411 Views, 161 Comments

In the broad daylight - Askre

Two of the Cutie Mark Crusaders witness the foalnapping of a classmate. But do they want to help?

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Chapter 17

Chapter 17.

Tango entered Town Hall on Monday morning and the first thing he saw was the lieutenant Pegasus who was in charge of the royal guards. There was no sign of Mulberry or anyone else.

“Where is Officer Mulberry? I need to talk with him,” Tango asked.

“I don’t know, I was just arriving myself,” the Pegasus shrugged. “I’m expecting a report from my guards at the hospital.”

“I’m sure Vigilance has appreciated the help, he’s never had two criminals in the hospital before, well he’s never had criminals in there at all,” the Earth Pony said and sat down.

The lieutenant nodded and glanced at the clock, it was still very early. Tango eyed the door; he had been counting on Mulberry arriving early as usual. The stocky little pony did take his job seriously enough despite his many complaints.

“Maybe he’s sick?” the lieutenant suggested.

When I’m through with him, he’s going to wish he was, the officer thought. “Maybe.”

When the door began to open, Tango rose up and prepared to berate his working partner for continuing the investigation. The stallion scowled, raised one hoof and opened his mouth. Only to see two royal guards, a white unicorn and a black one enter Town Hall.

The police officer slunk back down and lowered his hoof again, feeling mildly embarrassed and annoyed that this hadn’t been Mulberry. The two newly arrived guards raised their brows then looked questionably at their lieutenant who was trying not to snicker.

“Are you alright Officer Tango, you seem tense?” the Pegasus asked.

“I’m fine,” Tango grumbled, mentally strangling the absent Mulberry now.

The lieutenant shrugged and walked over to the two guards who both straightened up. The Pegasus saluted them before giving them a signal to be at ease, the two ponies relaxed their stance.

“We have a very important report from the hospital, sir,” the white unicorn guard spoke when given a nod to begin.

“What is it?” the Pegasus asked. “Is it about the prisoners?”

Tango stopped grumbling to himself when hearing the word prisoners. Slowly the Earth Pony rose up and casually got a bit closer to the three royal guards but didn’t stand too close. They didn’t seem to mind and ignored the officer completely.

“Yes sir, the one called Silver Axe has made a rather interesting confession just few hours ago,” the black Unicorn continued and his partner nodded in agreement.

What? Tango made every effort not to show any outward signs of his confusion. He resisted the temptation to frown.

“It seems he was not as in the whole foalnapping case as we thought he was,” the white Unicorn said. “Turns out he was apparently actively trying to sabotage it from the inside of the group.”

It was only by miracle that Tango wasn’t already galloping out of Town Hall to warn Snow Heart. The officer knew he hadn’t heard the whole thing so he had to wait and listen more, but deep down his heart was beginning to beat faster in panic. The officer tried to appear as if he was just casually listening and mildly interested due to this being his job. It was really hard.

“That is interesting, how exactly was he allegedly doing that?” the lieutenant asked and seemed to put an emphasis on that question.

Tango didn’t notice the odd weight the Pegasus had put on the question, but he did listen intently when the white Unicorn began telling Silver Axe’s entire confession from few hours ago. The gray pony’s eyes shrunk in utter shock, his jaw dropped and his coat actually got paler as sweat began pouring down his brow.

“You know you’re right Mulberry is probably sick I better go check on him!” Tango sped out of his mouth before charging for the front door and left Town Hall on as much speed as his four legs permitted.

The guards watched him leave but weren’t surprised. The lieutenant glanced back to the office door of the mayor, it was slowly opening and out peeked Twilight Sparkle, Mulberry and Mayor Mare.

“You think this will work?” Mulberry whispered. He looked frightened.

“We’ll soon find out,” Twilight said and trotted out of the office. “It was a good thing the guards actually reported Silver Axe’s confession a lot sooner so we could properly stage this little show.”

“I… I still can’t believe it.” The mayor followed the librarian, a look of disgust on her face. “Tango involved in this dreadful business?”

“I told you I saw them talk with each other last night,” Mulberry furtively sneaked out of the office. “Then I saw them listening in when Twilight was talking with Scootaloo. I just knew then Tango would know we were still investigating and I just couldn’t go home after that because I knew Tango would try and find me and who knew what he would do too me…”

“Yes we know, Spike found you hiding in my pantry,” Twilight glanced down at the officer; he was walking so low he appeared smaller than her.

“Well you weren’t home, I had to hide somewhere,” Mulberry muttered.

“In my pantry?” The purple Unicorn peered at the gray pony.

“Alright, I was hungry too,” the officer confessed.

“Well this is all well and good but we probably should head after Tango now,” the lieutenant pointed out.

“Right, Spike should be hiding near Parasol’s house so at least we have a lookout if anything happens,” Twilight nodded and assumed a thoughtful expression as if something had occurred to her.

“Good, I have guards stationed near Mr. Rich’s house just in case as well,” the Pegasus nodded, he and the two unicorn guards headed for the front door.

The mayor, Twilight and Mulberry watched the guards leave. The officer had finally calmed down enough to stand up normally; he glanced at the librarian who hadn’t moved at all after them.

“Weren’t you going too?” he asked.

“I was, but I think they can handle this. You and I are going to the hospital,” she said and started for the door.

“What? Why?” Mulberry asked and followed.

“Something just occurred to me, I’ll tell you on the way,” Twilight answered and waved the mayor.

“Good luck, keep me informed,” Mayor Mare waved the two ponies leaving the building. She then sighed and shook her head before returning to her office.

Spike peeked out from the bushes but nothing was happening yet. The young dragon pulled his head back in and sat down. He was starting to get a bit bored; it’s been several hours already and nothing had happened. He had seen Scootaloo head to school an hour ago and that was probably the most activity around the house. Parasol and Snow Heart had waved the filly bye but then both gone back inside.

The dragon’s stomach grumbled, reminding him that he hadn’t really eaten breakfast yet. Things had been happened so quickly after he found Officer Mulberry hiding in the pantry. Before Spike knew it, he was put on spying duty near Scootaloo’s home.

“Spike? Why are you hiding in a bush in front of my house?” Suddenly the orange filly was there in the bush with him, behind her peeked Apple Bloom.

“Aaah!” This had happened so suddenly that Spike jumped and accidentally let out a wisp of green fire that singed parts of the leaves around them.

“I’m sp… shouldn’t you three be in school?” the baby dragon asked, he knew he hadn’t been waiting for that long for something to happen.

“We were but Miss Cheerilee only took our weekend assignments and then gave all of us the rest of the day off, she said we probably could use the extra day after the whole foalnappin’ stuff this weekend,” Apple Bloom explained.

“So we were coming here to get my scooter and the wagon and then we were going to pick up Sweetie Belle since she can’t walk due to her sprained ankle, when we saw you peek out of the bushes,” Scootaloo finished and then eyed the dragon intently. “Which brings me back to why are you hiding in a bush?”

“Well you see,” Spike began to explain and carefully glanced out to see if anybody else was there.

The dragon was about to pull himself back down when he saw Tango appear in the distance heading straight for the house. Spike gasped and quickly grabbed Apple Bloom, who was only half inside the bush, by the tail and dragged her in to hide.

“Hey!” Apple Bloom protested but she and Scootaloo quickly got a shush signal from Spike, the dragon looked worried and now listened intently as Tango’s galloping hoof steps came closer.

“What’s going on? Why are you hiding from Tango?” Scootaloo whispered but was just shushed again by the young dragon.

They heard Tango knock on the door and then shift back and forth on the front porch while waiting for an answer. Spike very carefully shifted one branch of the bush so they could see. The stallion had stopped when Parasol finally appeared in entrance.

“Hi, can I speak with Snow Heart?” the officer asked, trying to look calm as he could.

“Sure, just a moment,” the yellow Pegasus said and went back in. Tango again began shifting back and forth and reassumed his panicked look.

“Yes?” When Snow Heart arrived so suddenly, he almost jumped and galloped away. He managed though to turn around to face her.

“I have bad news, very bad news,” he whispered. The Unicorn mare frowned and stepped outside, closing the door behind her.

“What is it?” she asked with a frown. Tango leaned closer to whisper; Spike and the fillies had to strain their ears to hear what he was saying.

“Silver Axe just made a confession where he apparently was not on your side at all and was actively trying to sabotage the entire thing,” the officer told her and quickly backed a step when he was done.

Snow Heart stared right at him, a scowl slowly forming on her face, the eyes were twitching and her mouth started to form a sneer. Tango braced himself for whatever storm was coming.

“What!!?” she hissed and dug her front hooves hard in the ground.

“Like I said, Silver Axe confessed few hours ago…” the stallion fell silent and shrunk down when Snow Heart was right in his face looking just about ready to commit murder.

“Few hours ago?! Why didn’t you come sooner!” she snapped.

“I didn’t get the report until just a few minutes ago. The guards didn’t come until then,” Tango said meekly, he closed his eyes when the mare raised one hoof as if to hit him. When nothing happened, the officer opened one eye. Snow Heart had stopped in mid swing, rage gone from her face and instead she was cringing and staring past him.

Tango followed her gaze and saw Scootaloo stand by a slightly singed bush, one hoof raised and with a sad frightened expression. Spike was half way out himself in a failed attempt to grab the filly, Apple Bloom head peeked out from the bush looking startled. Then to top it all Parasol stood in the front entrance of the house, one hoof covering her mouth in shock.

“There they are! Grab them!” the bellowing voice of the Pegasus lieutenant rang across the area.

Snow Heart quickly looked over and saw the two Unicorn guards and their commanding officer coming towards them on stop speed. She looked back at Tango who seemed just as surprised by their arrival. The mare turned her head towards Scootaloo then Parasol for a brief moment before taking off.

Tango rose up and was about to follow but the black Unicorn guard arrived and quickly tackled and pinned him down.

“You are under arrest officer,” the guard snorted.

“Scootaloo,” the voice of Apple Bloom shouted. The guard glanced back and saw the orange filly take off after Snow Heart with her friend right behind her. Spike followed and so did Parasol. After them then went the Pegasus lieutenant and the white Unicorn guard.

Twilight and Mulberry entered the hospital lobby and went straight to the front counter. The nurse manning it put her book away and sat up when seeing them coming.

“Hello, we would like to speak with Silver Axe if possible,” Twilight addressed the white mare.

“Just a moment, I’ll see if it’s possible,” the nurse said and left the counter.

“You really think he’s not telling everything?” Mulberry whispered while they waited.

“He left something out in his confession, Mulberry. Diamond Tiara was yes the foalnapping victim, but she wasn’t the only victim. She wasn’t alone when this Gryphon Paul attacked her. Silver Spoon was with her, I want to know what Silver Axe has to say about that,” the unicorn explained.

“Oh right, of course,” the officer nodded.

The nurse returned and with her was the brown security guard pony of the hospital, Vigilance. He didn’t look all too happy, the Mohawk mane stallion was frowning hard and it just seemed to get harder when seeing both Officer Mulberry and Twilight.

“Well it’s about time somepony came around,” he snapped. “I thought those royal guards were going to help me keep the prisoners in check!”

“What? They didn’t put replacements when they left?” Twilight asked surprised.

“No, they just immediately left and told me that they needed to report something to their superior, said they wouldn’t be long and now it’s been several hours!” Vigilance growled.

“Oh they probably thought they wouldn’t be long, but the lieutenant dragged them over to my library to speak with me and then we went home to the Mayor and then we cooked up a plan to catch Tango and Snow Heart in a trap. I’m sorry Vigilance, we completely forgot to send replacements,” the Librarian cringed and face hoofed herself.

“Has there been any problems?” Mulberry asked worried.

“Fortunately not, but I’m only one pony and these two are in two separate rooms even if they are restrained,” the security guard grunted and glanced back. “You were going to talk with Silver Axe right? Very well come with me.”

Vigilance turned around and escorted the two into the hospital proper. They took the stairs to the second floor and took the corridor leading to Silver Axe’s room. The security guard’s mood seemed to have mellowed a little on the way, he wasn’t frowning anymore. Twilight mentally berated herself again for forgetting about the guards.

They entered the room the large Pegasus was in but stopped short when seeing the empty bed. The restraints had been snapped in two. Three mouths were agape as the ponies took in the scene in front of them, the question of how and when started to rush through their heads.

A scream pulled them out of their shock. Vigilance was the quickest to react and rushed off, Mulberry and Twilight followed soon after. They galloped to another corridor where a nurse was backing away from a doorway and had dropped the tray holding a patient’s breakfast to the floor.

The three ponies rushed over and when the nurse saw them she could only point at the room and babbled nonsensically. They all three carefully peeked into the room and once again their mouths hung open.

Paul lay completely still on his hospital bed, but his head was not in a natural angle and his tongue lolled out of his beak. There was no sign of life in his only eye and the Gryphon was not breathing. His talons were slightly bloodied, a sign that he had tried to defend himself but clearly not succeeded. Two notes lay on his blanket covered boy.

Twilight took one step inside but was halted by Vigilance. He had noticed Silver Axe. The large Pegasus was sitting by a window staring out; there were scratches on his front legs, possibly after talons from a Gryphon. The remains of his restraints where still fastened on him.

The Pegasus didn’t even glance over to them. Instead he just raised one hoof slightly and began signaling. Vigilance and Mulberry looked at Twilight who had gasped while listening to the hoof signals.

“Oh my…” the unicorn blinked.

“What did he say?” Mulberry asked.

“He said: ‘I should not have tried to bungle it up. Again I could have prevented a filly being hurt but instead I did something stupid. Had I just done my job my daughter would still be alive and I could still talk. Had I just met Paul when I was supposed to, I could have prevented him from harming that filly he dumped in the dumpster to die. I waited for the right moment. I couldn’t do it at the cottage, then I would have had to explain myself to Snow Heart. No it had to be when he was helpless. Helpless like that filly, so he could feel how it was to be helpless.’” Twilight translated.

“Did he have to… kill him?” Mulberry cringed and took a step in. He almost jumped back when Silver Axe turned his head to look at them.

Twilight reacted on instincts. Quickly her horn began to glow and suddenly a purple force field bubble surrounded the large Pegasus. Silver Axe looked up and around but otherwise didn’t move.

“Vigilance, get Big Macintosh, I know he’s technically a patient but right now he’s the only one strong enough to handle this pony. Mulberry, you help the nurse,” the librarian ordered.

Neither stallion argued, the security guard quickly disappeared down the corridor and Mulberry went to tend to the nurse pony that still huddled up against the wall opposite the door. Twilight entered the room and kept a careful eye on the force field around Silver Axe.

“Look Silver Axe, I’m sorry about your daughter. But the other filly, the one Paul attacked; she was found right away and brought to the hospital, just so you know. She is alive, her parents took her on a trip to help her recover,” she addressed the Pegasus, he only hung his head.

Twilight frowned; it was puzzling that the stallion would react this violently regarding a filly he didn’t even know. She glanced at the bed and saw the notes, using a levitation spell she picked them up and brought them closer. One had a lot written on it.

“Rain Dove was the most beautiful little filly ever born in Cloudsdale. Her little dove like wings always flapping in excitement when it rained, her beautiful gray coat always shimmering in the sunlight, her silver gray mane and tail were always well kempt and often braided up by her mother. Despite her problems with learning, she was always a bundle of optimistic joy and never let anything bring her down. She loved playing in the rain and making big splashes in the puddles. She loved flying in the rain too and was always mesmerized in wonder when there was a scheduled thunderstorm.”

The purple pony looked over at Silver Axe, it was rather mood to say that he was silent since he was mute, but he was looking a whole lot sadder. The librarian noticed that more was written on the other side of the first note and flipped it over.

“Rain Dove did have problems learning and never understood why she couldn’t fly in thunderstorms. She always wanted to go closer to what she called ‘the pretty lights’. We always had to keep a close eye on her during storms, or she would try and sneak out to fly. One day we made a mistake, we dropped our guards. The storm was not even scheduled; it was an accident from the weather factory and storm clouds escaped out of control from it. It took dozens of Pegasi to get everything back under control. I was one of them until my wife arrived and told me that Rain had managed to sneak out and she couldn’t find her. I raced away to search for her and who knows, if I had just continued to gather up the clouds things might have gone fine. The worst moment of my life happened when I found my daughter’s charred body and had to bring her back home to my wife.”

Twilight sighed sadly, there was no denying it that this was a sad tale but it didn’t really answer a question that still burned on her mind. Why had he finally killed Paul and even waited with it until an opportunity arose. She looked at the other note and expected more written on it, but instead it was a drawing of a filly placed in a dumpster.

The librarian turned the note around and raised an eyebrow when seeing a drawing of a small filly flying in what apparently was supposed to be a storm. The mare turned the note around few times before looking back at the first note and gasped when rereading the description.

“Oh… she reminded you of your daughter,” the Unicorn whispered startled. She glanced at the force field and saw that Silver Axe was in the process of nodding, tears in his eyes.

I should have helped her, but I didn’t! I should have helped them both! The Pegasus signaled with his hooves.

End chapter 17.

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