• Published 8th Mar 2016
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Crime Pays - chillbook1



Twilight Sparkle, master thief and adrenaline junkie, leads the Mythos Crew in search of the next big score.

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An Eye For An Eye

“Oh my goodness… Are you serious?”

“This isn’t something I would joke about, Twily.”

“A-are you okay? Are you safe?”

“I’m fine. Just a bit pissed.”

The dinner should have been a relaxing end to a string of exhaustingly stressful jobs. It was something that I must’ve done hundreds of times. Spike and I invited Shining and his wife to dinner, where we talk about our jobs. Well, obviously, not my real job. I talk about the library, Spike talks about the post office, Cadance tells us as much about her patients’ relationships as she’s legally allowed to, and Shining talked about what murderous, sinister, heartless scumbags he’s put behind bars lately. It was all good fun, if a little dull. That said, everything seemed dull when you burned down a house and killed a handful of people earlier in the month.

Something about this dinner, though… I don’t know what it was, but this dinner was tense.

“Shiny, you’re not explaining very well,” said Cadance. “Tell her exactly what happened.”

“Right, right, sorry,” sighed Shining. “Okay, you guys know about that group of bank robbers? They call themselves the Mythos Crew?”

This was always a tough question to answer. Would Shiny be more convinced if I told him I’d never heard of this Mythos Crew? Or would it be safer to show that I had at least heard of them?

“I think I must’ve heard of them,” said Spike. “You did a press conference not too long ago about them, right?”

“Exactly. Well, before Flurry was born, we caught two of the four robbers. The other two…” Shining shook his head, no doubt disappointed. “Never even saw them. A couple of days ago, I ran into someone who I think might be another member. Maybe even the leader. She was trying to steal some samurai swords from the plane I was tasked with protecting until takeoff. She tricked me.” Shining was clearly very annoyed, no doubt because he had been duped. “She made me think that you were in danger.”

“Oh my… Do you think they might come after me?” I asked. “Should I… I dunno, do something?”

“No, these guys don’t want to hurt you, is my guess,” said Shining. He reached into his pocket and pulled out a blue and gold poker chip, which he began turning over in his hands. His lucky chip that he got from Dad. “If they wanted to snatch you, I’m sure they would’ve. They’ve been watching you for a while.”

“This entire thing has been a nightmare,” sighed Cadance. “This is exactly why I wanted Shiny to think about retirement. It’s too dangerous, especially at his age.”

“Don’t be silly, Cadance. Shining’s still as quick as a man half his age,” said Spike. He flitted out his tongue teasingly. “Almost as sharp as me.”

“Only things sharp about you are your claws and your breath,” said Shining, a small smile on his face. Spike and Shining always had a sort of brotherly rivalry among them. Childish, yet amusing. “Caddy is right, though. I’m getting too old. I missed too much of life working. Flurry is turning eight soon, and I feel like I just met her. Maybe I should retire.”

“I’ve been telling you, honey, there’s no shame in calling it quits,” said Cadance. She gently grabbed Shining’s arm. “Especially after a career like yours. You haven’t taken a day off since…”

“Since the wedding,” Shining admitted sheepishly. “Okay, okay, I’ll consider retirement.”

Could it possibly be this easy? I hardly said anything. If Shining retired now, it was unlikely that any man, woman, or child would stop the Mythos Crew. Since the very beginning, Shining was the biggest threat to business. If he stepped down…

“After these Mythos guys are behind bars,” said Shining finally. “That’s when I’ll throw in the towel. This’ll be my last case.”

“That’s good, Shiny,” I said, although that was a lie through my teeth. “You certainly deserve a break. I couldn’t imagine your workload.”

“Actually, you could be really helpful, Twilight,” said Shining.

Oh no.

“Uh… How do you figure?”

“You’re a genius! Maybe you can help me work this out. The girl we caught was calling herself the leader, but I don’t believe her. She doesn’t strike me as a leader. All we really know about her is her name and her alias. Moondancer aka Apollo. Apparently based on a god? You know anything about that?”

I couldn’t pretend that I didn’t, because that would be suspicious. I took a second to think of what I would say, trying to keep calm. It wasn’t as easy as it normally was.

“God of music, truth and prophecy, healing, the sun and light, plague, poetry,” I said. “Rode on a chariot drawn by creatures resembling gryphons. Son of Zeus and Leto, and twin brother of the huntress, Artemis. I don’t know how exactly that translates to bank robberies, though.”

“Interesting. That explains her mask. So this girl must have some sort of connection to gods? What about the other one?” asked Shining. “She called herself the Pygmy. Her mask was some sort of bird?”

“Probably a crane. Pygmy have history with cranes, according to myth,” I explained. “Their queen angered a goddess, and the goddess turned her into a crane. For some reason, the Pygmy decided to war with cranes for some time. I suppose because they couldn’t exactly fight a goddess.”

“Hm… The goddess wouldn’t happen to be that Artemis you talked about?”

“No. It was Hera, who was Zeus’ wife. The connection between pygmy and Apollo is very thin,” I said. “Which means it was probably coincidental. If there’s no connection between the characters, maybe there’s one between the suspects?”

I might’ve continued, but a hand grasped my shoulder. I turned, expecting to see any of a large pool of people. Our waiter, apologizing for the horribly long wait time. An old coworker from the library. A random person I didn’t know who mistook me for someone else.

I didn’t expect to see Dash.

“Twi, I really need to talk to you,” she said, her voice just barely a whisper. “As soon as fucking possible.”

“Twilight?” said Cadance. “Would you mind introducing us?”

“Uh… Sure, of course,” I said. “Rainbow, this is my brother, Shining, his wife, Cadance, and you remember Spike, right?”

“Yeah, yeah, nice to meet you,” said Dash dismissively. “Twilight, please, I really need to talk to you.”

“Of course. Excuse me for just a moment, everyone,” I said, rising from the table. I followed Dash as she led me away to a quieter, less populated corner of the restaurant. When I was sure no one could hear us, I went ballistic.

“You better have a damn good reason for coming to me,” I snarled. “Do you understand how stupid this is of you? Shining is a few steps away from catching us, the last thing we need is to give him more of an opportunity! So hurry up and get this over with, so I can try to fix it.”

I only then realized that Rainbow was crying, or, at least, she was trying not to. She trembled, and her face was painted with absolute terror. At first, I thought it was me, but how could it be? I’ve yelled at her before, and she’s always just brushed it off. Whatever happened was bad.

“I went back home to pick up some of Squirt’s stuff, and I walk into my living room and Soarin is on my couch,” said Rainbow, choking back the tears. “A-and… He’s also on the floor. And the coffee table. And my bed. And the bathtub.”

“Jesus…” I breathed.

“Thunderlane’s guys found my friend, this guy I’ve known longer than just about anyone,” sobbed Dash. “And they cut him into fucking pieces!

“Calm down, calm down,” I whispered.

“What the fuck am I supposed to do?”

This wasn’t ideal. I needed Dash to calm down, and I needed her to be ready to do some… dirty work. I sighed, placing my hand on her shoulder.

“Go home, back to the laundromat,” I whispered. “Sit tight, and wait for me. When I get back, we’ll deal with this.”

“But how?” I gripped her shoulder more tightly.

“We’ll deal with it,” I repeated. “Now go home.”

“Boss, I… I need some… Some something,” said Dash. “I’m all out and my plug is… Fuck, I think I’m gonna be sick.”

“Please don’t. Look, I’m going to text you an address and a combination to a locker,” I whispered. “You take an ounce and no more than an ounce. If more than an ounce is gone, I’ll—”

“Break my arm?” asked Dash quietly. I grinned darkly.

“Maybe after I’m done ripping it off,” I said. “Now go. I have dinner to get back to.”

She nodded, then slowly and shakily went off on her way. I quickly formulated a story for what just happened, deciding to tell Shining and Cadance that Dash was just someone I was helping get back on their feet. I’d play it off like it was no big deal, that I was just doing what I thought was right. Cadance would probably refer to me as a hero.

Meanwhile, I would be planning out a murder spree.


I would have to kill at least one of them.

There was simply no avoiding it. I didn’t want Dash to kill anyone, because she really didn’t need that red on her ledger. All she needed to do was sit there and watch, so that they would learn that to mess with her was to mess with me. I knew that they would need some sort of proof that I was the real deal, and the best way to do that is to put a little bit of pressure on their gang.

I watched the building that they were meeting up in, with Dash to my right and Rift to my left. The new leader of Thunderlane’s gang seemed to have commandeered his predecessor’s office. From what we could see, there were six thugs in the office, not counting the new leader. He was much younger than Thunderlane, and looked to be almost the reverse of him. The kid was dusty, grey-ish blue, and his hair was a dark silver.

“Who's the new man in charge?” I asked.

“Rumble,” said Rift. “Thunderlane’s best friend and sole beneficiary. The whole thing is his now.” He bent over and lifted a sniper rifle from the floor. “You sure you don't want me to just… Y’know. Pfftb!

“No. Just watch for the signal,” I said. “You do remember the signal, don’t you?” Rift rolled his eyes.

“Please, Dusey, this isn't my first assassination,” he scoffed.

“Don’t ever call me that again.” I looked to Dash. She had her mask halfway up her face to smoke a pipe. “You ready to go, Apollo?”

“Fuck yes. Let's go kill that little shit,” said Dash, dropping her crack and lowering her mask. She raised her gun from the floor, that 12-gauge she liked so much, cocked it, then slung it over her shoulder.

“Just keep your finger off the trigger until I say so,” I ordered. “For real this time. If you treat Rumble like you did Thunderlane, we're pretty much out of options.”

“I'm good,” said Rift. “But not good enough to pop twelve-ish dudes with a bolt action before one of you gets it. Stay safe, Polly. Dusey.” I chose to ignore him. I'd rather not argue with the man who could both save and end my life with a squeeze of the finger.

I led Dash out of our building and across the lot to the meeting house. I pulled my taser from my waist as Dash did the same. We pushed open the door, turned, and fired at the armed guards waiting there. When they were out cold, we made our way up the stairs. Seven floors up, and we were right outside. I looked at Dash one more time, confirming that she was still a trembling mess. I pulled out my revolver and spun the cylinder.

“Follow my lead, Apollo,” I said.

“Fucking lead then,” she shot. I sighed, then prepared to put on a performance worth of Bridleway.

Showtime.

“Hello, gentlemen,” I said, stepping into the room. The baker’s dozen of men in the room drew their assortment of firearms and aimed them at us. Luckily, they had the good thought not to fire just yet.

“Who the fuck are you?” demanded Rumble.

“I would be Medusa, and my companion here,” I said, gesturing to Dash, who was brandishing her shotgun at our humble hosts. “This is my friend. My friend has a friend named Soarin.”

Had a friend named Soarin,” interrupted Dash.

“Right, sorry. She had a friend named Soarin. You might know him actually. You might’ve caught his name.”

“When you were chopping him to fucking pieces!” snapped Dash.

“Right. So…” I shrugged my shoulders. “Unless you can supply me with a decent explanation and apology…” I turned my gun over in my hand. “I'd hate to have to make a mess in here. It's a nice office. Nice desk, what is that? Mahogany? Looks like mahogany.” I took a step forward, while Rumble took one backwards.

“Give me one good reason why I shouldn’t kill you right now,” said Rumble. I grinned behind my mask, taking another step. My goal was to get him in front of a window, and he was doing exactly what I needed.

“I’ll give you a reason. But first, a story,” I said. “Thirty-seven or so years ago a young, squeaky-clean Medusa committed her first felony. Robbed a liquor store, just for fun. By some miracle, the amatuer, clumsy, admittedly mediocre Baby Medusa managed to get away scot-free. And then she robbed a gas station. Then an electronics store, jewelry store, pawn shop, so on and so forth.” I walked in a slow circle, stopping when Rumble was positioned in front of the window.

“Baby Medusa grew into Adult Medusa who grew into the dusty old crow you see before you,” I continued. “Thirty years of robbing banks and not once has this scary face seen the inside of a prison cell. You want to know why?” I raised my hand and clenched it into a fist. A red dot appeared on Rumble’s forehead, freezing him in place. “It’s because I always cover my ass.”

“What the…”

“If I raise two fingers, you die,” I said. “The only thing that will stop me from raising those two fingers is if you can assure me that we won’t have another Soarin on our hands.”

“You want me to let her go?” asked Rumble, completely mystified.

“Well, that and I need you to stop murdering her loved ones in horrific ways,” I said, trying to pick which of his goons I would kill to prove my point. I picked the one closest to Dash.

“Well, you’re gonna have to kill me then,” spat Rumble. “If you think I’m gonna let this bitch go after she killed my brother, you’ve got another thing coming. So raise those two fingers or move out of my way so I can give her what she deserves.”

Dash’s entire demeanor changed on the word “brother”. She practically dropped her gun. Dash walked over until she was only a few feet in front of Rumble, and she stood silently staring for almost a full minute.

“He… He was your brother?” she asked.

“Yeah. Was. My big brother and best friend,” said Rumble, gripping his gun furiously. “And you killed him.”

“Fuck. I didn’t know…” Dash actually did drop her gun that time. “Look, Rumble. I’m sorry for Thunderlane. I was high, and he… He kidnapped my little sister. Just like your brother would’ve killed to get you back, I did the same.”

“What, and that’s supposed to make it okay?” he asked. “My brother is still dead!”

“I know, and that sucks. I don’t blame you for wanting me dead. Matter of fact…” Dash did the unthinkable. She pulled off her mask, then grabbed Rumble’s gun and pressed it against her forehead. “You can go ahead and kill me right now. But, if I’m dead, my boss will kill you. I can’t stop her from hurting you if you’re alive. So how about a deal. If you let me live, just leave me alone, Medusa won’t lay a finger on you.”

“And I’m just supposed to take your word for that?” scoffed Rumble.

“Swear on my sister’s life,” promised Dash. “Let’s just call this even. We’ve both hurt each other. Why waste any more bullets?” Dash extended her hand, waiting for Rumble to accept it. He stared at her for a while, and even I was left wondering what would happen next.

“You killed my brother,” Rumble reminded us.

“Soarin was my oldest friend. You killed my brother. A life for a life. No more fighting.”

Rumble looked around to his guys, then to me, finally laying his eyes on Dash’s hand. After a deep, tired sigh, he grasped Dash’s hand and shook.

“This doesn’t make us friends,” said Rumble.

“Never said shit about friendship,” returned Dash.

“Get the hell out of my office.”

I raised my hand again, showing a spread palm to the window. That was Rift’s signal to leave. Dash slipped her mask back on, and I followed her out of the room. She was quiet all the way out to the ground floor and into the lot. When I was sure none of Rumble’s guys had followed us, I put my hand on her shoulder.

“Holy heaven, Apollo. Did I just watch you employ diplomacy?” I laughed.

“I didn’t want to kill the kid,” she said flatly. “And I just saved you a bunch of money on cleaning, so you can shove your pretentious, condescending comments right up your ass.”

“Whoa, whoa, whoa, calm down. I’m impressed, is all,” I said. “You handled that quite intelligently. Well done, Ms. Dash. You did good work.”

“Good enough for a raise?”

“Good enough for me to think about it.” I pulled out my burner, dialed Rift’s number, then put it to my ear.

“What’s going on?” he asked.

“Nothing. Dash worked her magic, and we’re in the green,” I said. “Go home. I’ll still pay you.”

“Y’know, I’m starting to think you hire me just to spend time with me. Until next time, Dusey.” I hung up, slipping my phone into my pocket.

“I’m going to seriously hurt that man if he calls me ‘Dusey’ again,” I said, shaking my head. Dash chuckled slightly. “What’s so funny?”

“I just think it’s cute how you and Rift flirt.”

“Ha! I’m forty-seven, Dash,” I chuckled. “I’m too old to flirt.”

“Oh, come on, Boss. I know I joke and all, but you’re not that old,” said Dash. “You’re smart, funny when you wanna be, and you’re pretty hot. I mean, as far as grandmas go.”

“I’ll keep that in mind. Let me call Spike.” I dialed his number and put the phone to my ear. When he picked up, I relayed our location and assured him that everything was fine. He arrived shortly thereafter to pick us up. He switched out with Dash and rode in the back with me, handing me my personal cell phone as we pulled off.

“You have a message,” he said. I maneuvered to my voicemail and played the recording, mostly in the background as I listened to Dash recount our little adventure.

“It’s Shining. I did some research on those girls, just like you said. Turns out, they do have some history together, more than the masks. They went to school together, both have their Bachelor’s in social and cultural anthropology. They both loved myths, so much that they made a little group in school called the Mythos Club. Just like I said, Moondancer wasn’t the leader. She was fiercely loyal, though.

“But I bet you knew that, didn’t you, Medusa?”

My heart stopped. I must’ve misheard him. There’s no way in Equestria that he said that. I couldn’t speak for Dash, but Spike matched my terror. The air in my lungs felt as if it had solidified. I couldn’t breathe.

“That fiercely loyal lieutenant of yours wasn’t so hard to break when I told her that she would die in prison unless she revealed your identity.” Shining’s voice was dripping with spite. Disgust. “After that, she sang like a canary. I didn’t believe her, but then… I looked a bit deeper. There were too many happy coincidences. You all went to school together, all worked for the Royal Library at about the same time. Then, I thought about that little recording. Why bother spying on you if they only wanted to use your voice? If they wanted you for leverage, why not just take you? That’s when I really got down into it.”

No. No no no, this could not be happening!

“I got my hands on some videos of this Medusa character. She was your height, your weight, your posture, your gait. Then, I heard some audio. You know, I thought it was weird that the person who put a gun to my head didn’t speak. Now I know why. You were afraid of me recognizing you.”

I felt sick. I genuinely thought I would faint, or worse. Everything was falling apart.

“I haven’t told anyone yet. Not even Caddy. Tomorrow, she’ll be out of the house with Flurry to have some mommy-daughter time. I will be there, alone. If you turn yourself in, and explain to me why exactly you did the things you did, and if I like your answer, I might go easy on you. If you choose to run, though… I will not sleep until you are sentenced to life. If you’re lucky.”

My head swam. My gun clattered to the floor, followed swiftly by my phone. I was going to die. I needed air. Oxygen refused to enter my lungs, and I threatened to start hyperventilate. Spike grabbed my shoulder, trying to calm me down.

“Twilight!” He sounded like he was a mile away. “Get a grip, Twilight!”

“He knows,” I whispered. “He knows, he fucking knows!”

“What are we gonna do?” asked Dash. She glanced back to check on me. Based on her expression, I looked as bad as I felt. “What are you gonna do?”

I stared down at my gun, the blue revolver I got from Silver. I slowly picked it, turning it over in my hand.

“The only thing I can do,” I breathed.

Author's Note:

Be sure to tell me what you thought of this chapter. I await your critique, in hopes that I may make this story better.

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