• Published 3rd Jul 2012
  • 6,144 Views, 253 Comments

Where There is Smoke - Fizzy Orange

Lunaverse story. Trixie, Pokey and Raindrops investigate strange fires occuring all around Ponyville. Meanwhile, Corona unleashes one of her minion on the world to get her revenge on the Elements. Could the two events be related?

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Chapter 2

Raindrops was smiling.

Trixie could hardly believe it. Not a smirk, or a sneer, but a smile. Not ironic, or sarcastic, but a genuine grin. It was the kind of grin that would make Pinkie Pie break out into song, and then parade down the street so you would only catch half of what she sang. The jasmine-coated pegasus was currently bouncing up and down on a dark rain cloud a few feet off the ground, sending a torrent of water flooding the little garden space below her.

That little front yard garden space also served as a display area for Daisy’s flower shop. Right now, though, it wasn’t a very good marketing tool. Not only was it now flooded, but there was a large circle of carbonized flower remains.

“Huh…I think you can stop now, Raindrops.” Said Trixie, feeling a bit apprehensive about interrupting Raindrops’ fun.

The pegasus’ stopped bouncing, shutting off the rain, and almost immediately her grin dissolved away. She then slumped down on the cloud and looked at the scene below her with a neutral expression. Raindrops the stoic was back, and Trixie allowed herself a small sigh of relief. Seeing her friend getting emotional like that was somehow unnerving, but she had been even more worried about how it would end. Happy she wasn’t going to get hit by the pegasus again, the unicorn then turned to the Flower Trio.

Daisy, Rose, and Lilly spent so much time together that many in Ponyville wondered if they were sister, and as such everypony referred to the three of them as the ‘Flower Trio’. Daisy operated a flower shop, mostly decorative flowers but a few comestible ones as well, and she had her associated with her old friend Lilly, who ran a flower farm, to sell her product. Lilly’s specialty was being a fantastic flower breeder; capable of obtaining the right mixes of characteristics in a flower. Problem was she wasn’t that good at taking care of fragile and finicky flowers, and she tended to over-water her crop. That’s where Rose came in, with her talent to nurture flowers, to help shore up Lilly’s weaknesses. Finally Daisy created the best flower arrangements this side of Canterlot. The three had a decent amount of success and were well regarded in Ponyville for their beautiful products.

They were also infamous for their melodramatic tendencies. Right now Rose was fanning Lilly who had fainted mere moments before Trixie and Pokey had reached the scene.

“So, let me get this straight,” began Trixie, quoting the police chief from one of the mystery novels she enjoyed, “you came back from lunch and found that your front garden was now on fire?”

“Oh by the sweet glare of the moon, yes! Our beautiful flowers, engulfed in an inferno! It was like Corona was back to reduce us all to cinders!” said Daisy, tears forming at the edge of her eyes.

“The world is burning! Burning!” shouted Lilly, suddenly waking up.

“It’s okay Lilly, it’s over now,” said Rose, soothing her friend.

This, somehow, didn’t calm the excited mare “Oh no! It’s all over! Over!”

“She means the fire’s taken care of,” said Raindrops from her cloud, a bored expression on her face.

“Oh,” simply said Lilly, getting up and smiling at the pegasus. “That’s good then. Thank you Miss Raindrops.”

The pegasus waved it off “No problem.”

“What do you think caused this fire?” asked Pokey, who was studying the perfect round shape of burnt flowers in the soaked garden. “Did you girls hear or see anything?”

Daisy replied in the negative while Lilly and Rose looked at each other before simply shaking their heads. The unicorn stallion’s brow furrowed as he rubbed his chin with a hoof.

“It better not be Rainbow Dash up to her old tricks again,” said Raindrops, an edge to her voice.

“Well if they didn’t hear anything it can’t be a lightning strike that caused it,” commented Trixie.

“There’s no way you can set fire to fresh plants with a simple match,” added Pokey, pointing a hoof at the garden. “You would need a dry plant for it to catch on fire like that. Or use some sort of fuel, like cooking oil. I don’t see any sign of that.”

His boss nodded in agreement, “The only explanation left I can think of is a fire spell. That is, unless Corona did come back, except she was now one apple tall.”

“The miniature Tyrant Sun is stalking us!” declared Lilly, almost fainting again.

Even Rose and Daisy rolled their eyes at her over dramatic display.

“I’m pretty sure she was joking,” said Rose.

“And even there, the Great and Powerful Trixie would protect you from the Tyrant Sun.” declared the unicorn.

The lone stallion at the scene turned to Trixie. “Why don’t you cast your magic detection spell on the garden and see if there’s any residual energy left! That is if you can see anything with your giant ego in the way.”

Trixie closed her eyes and concentrated. The blue glow of her magic started to coalesce around her horn before it suddenly flashed, momentarily blinding the ponies around her. When she opened her eyes they were pools of blue light rather than her usual violet orbs. This was the first spell Princess Luna had thought to her student. This spell allowed Trixie to see magic. All kinds of magic, not just unicorn magic like a mundane detect magic spell would. Princess Luna had explained to Trixie that the world was filled with all sorts of magic, and limiting one self to only one kind was a waste of efforts.

“The garden is flooded with magic… but not unicorn magic,” began Trixie “There is earth pony magic in the flowers left untouched and the water is literally bursting with residual pegasus magic… seriously Raindrops, you impress me! Sadly it’s overtaking any residual magic that might be left.”

Pokey looked even more confused and in concentration than before as he spoke up, “What a mystery.”

Raindrops chuckled a little, attracting the attention of the pair of unicorns. “You two are enjoying this aren’t you? You’re acting like a couple of detectives!”

“It’s his fault,” said the blushing Representative, pointing an accusing hoof at her assistant “He was reading on his break and he got me hooked on a new detective novel series!”

“Which reminds me, the library should have the new Ace of Clover in!” said Pokey with a smile that turned into a smirk. “But I already reserved it so you’ll have to wait until I’m done with it to get a stab at it yourself!”

Trixie glared at her assistant and was about to say something when another chuckle from Raindrops broke her out of it. She coughed a little to regain her composure and leveled a friendly gaze at the Flower Trio.

“Raindrops has a point though: it’s not really our job to investigate this. In the meantime I’ll fill a form you can use if you want to file an insurance claim.”

“No you won’t,” stated the stallion, earning himself a scornful look that he pointedly ignored. “Mostly because I’ve already done so.”

A piece of paper flew over to Daisy, carried in the silvery glimmer of Pokey’s telekinesis. He gave her a smile. She thanked him and grabbed hold of the form.

Trixie blinked in surprise “Where did you get that form?”

The stallion shrugged “Saddlebags. When we go out I make it a point to carry a copy of every form from the red book.”

“You mean the book about disaster relief? Every form?” asked an incredulous Trixie.

“I’m working for you. In Ponyville. I wouldn’t be very sharp if I didn’t carry forms to deal with sudden floods, fires and twenty six flavors of magical mayhems.”

Trixie groaned.

When Trixie and Pokey got back to the Residency they found a beige unicorn stallion with a green mane and a bowler hat waiting for them on the front porch. The unicorn was wearing a very formal business shirt and had a small briefcase set down beside him, one that matched the one found on each of his flank. His expression was a careful mix of boredom, exasperation and professional calm, the kind that screamed of a Canterlot bureaucrat. Trixie felt a bit apprehensive as she walked up to him, assistant in tow.

The unicorn took in her garish hat and cape with a slight twitch of his eyebrow “Representative Lulamoon I presume?”

“Yes… and you are?”

“I am inspector Serious Audit.” Explained the unicorn, flashing a piece of ID with his telekinesis. “I am here on behalf of the Royal Equestrian Public Safety Commission.”

To say Trixie was surprised by the visit was an understatement.

She gestured to Pokey behind her as she went to unlock her door. “Well Inspector Audit, this is my administrative assistant, Pokey Pierce. We just returned from a meeting at town hall where I was needed to break a tie. I’m sorry we left you waiting, I’m normally in at such time of the day.”

Serious Audit did a polite nod as greeting to Pokey before he followed Trixie into the residency “Well if you were held up by official duties there is no reason to apologize Representative Lulamoon.”

“Trixie please,” she said, cringing slightly.

“We got mail while we were away,” pointed out Pokey, dropping a pair of sealed scrolls on Trixie’s desk while they all settled down.

Trixie glanced at them and noticed the blue sealing wax and seal on the first of the two, inwardly groaning when she realized who had sent it. The second one had the more common red wax and a very generic seal she had never seen before, indicating that whoever had sent it might wish to remain anonymous. She decided to worry about it after she was done with her visitor.

“So what brings you all the way out to Ponyville Inspector Audit?” she asked with a smile, trying to sound as friendly as possible.

Serious Audit took in the décor of Trixie’s office without saying a word or cracking a smile before he turned toward her. “The commission is concerned with the number of requests coming from Ponyville since you’ve taken this post. We understand that Ponyville was the epicenter of the Tyrant Sun’s releases so extra relief was to be expect… but then after the events of the Longest Night celebration you have done quite a lot of requests. Flooding during Winter Wrap Up, Parasprite infestation, an Ursa Minor attack and a lot of nebulous ‘everfree weather’ incidents regarding wild weather patterns. I’m here to inspect your own file as well as the paperwork of City Hall for any irregularities, and if I find them, to solve the problem.”

“We’ve had our shares of incident it’s true but it’s not that enormous. A lot of those requests were for small time damage and a lot of those were already partially covered by private insurance.” Said Trixie, feeling a bit small before the stoic gaze of the inspector.

“Let’s cut the tap dance, Inspector. Basically you’re accusing Trixie here, or Mayor Mare, or both, of cheating the system and putting the money to fraudulent use,” said Pokey. “Frankly I’m surprised you guys didn’t show up sooner.”

Trixie gasped “Pokey!”

Once again the only thing betraying emotions on Audit’s stern face was a slight twitch of his eyebrow “Suspect, yes, accuse, not yet. This would hardly be a new caper and so that possibility must be considered. Your assistant likes to get to the heart of the matter, Representative Lulamoon. It’s a quality that is certainly worth excusing his rather obvious insubordinate streak.”

“I make it a point of honor to always pierce through to the core of a matter,” the stallion replied, returning to making that copy of the meeting transcript for Trixie.

“In any case, I will be staying in town for a few days and I hope to have your full cooperation in resolving this embarrassing matter,” said the beige stallion, standing up. “Now if you’ll excuse me I still need to speak to Mayor Ivory Scroll and secure some lodging.”

“Of course Inspector! I’ll do everything to make your job quick and effective! As for lodging, they’re working on building Ponyville’s first motel and I believe the finished half of the building is open for business. Otherwise the city hall has a room set aside just for such official visits,” explained Trixie, escorting the inspector out.

When the door closed she let out a sigh. She wasn’t all that happy about that turn of event, and Pokey was right that the commission would eventually take notice of Ponyville. Especially since that was where the Elements of Harmony lived. Pokey’s insolence was refreshing at time but when official visit was in town it turned out to be a tad embarrassing. She decided not to worry too much, as none of the money requested for disaster relief had been used for anything but relief and so the town had nothing to hide from the inspection. In the meantime she had some letters to get to.

“Try to hold your tongue next time the inspector is around, needle brain,” she scolded, as she walked back into her office.

“I make no promises.”

With a roll of her eyes she went to open the first scroll. The blue wax and seal clearly indicated this was a letter from the Blueblood family, and as she expected she found it to be a letter from her old acquaintance, Prince Blueblood, Viscount of the Night Court. She had an inkling of an idea of what that letter might be and when she saw the ridiculously polished hoofwriting in the letter, something he had obviously dictated to some secretary, she had no need to actually read the words to know what it was. This was his usual invitation to be his date at the Grand Galloping Gala. This was the fifth time he had sent her such an invitation, and every time before she had turned him down. This year was not going to be any different. Prince might be the most eligible bachelor in Canterlot, according to the media, but in person he was a brash, blustering, and blunt buffoon.

Trixie crumpled the invitation and threw it at Pokey’s head from her place at her desk. Much to her amusement the ball of paper went and got itself impaled on the stallion’s sharp horn. He went crosseye, staring at the offending ball.

“Send a negative response to that letter on my behalf, would you?” Said Trixie, before moving on to the next scroll.

This one had a much more simple hoofwriting. It was steady like that of a unicorn but lacked any of the flourishes and sophistication of a trained secretary’s style. As she read over the missive, Trixie’s face became more and more livid, while her pupils shrank.

Fils de pute!” she loudly let out, angrily slamming both her front hooves on her desk.

Pokey fell backward at the sudden outburst. “What?”

“That jerk!” said Trixie, pointing to the letter “He’s blackmailing me!”

Pokey got back to standing correctly and looked at Trixie with confusion “Who? What? Why?”

“Viscount Blueblood!” she said.

At his continued confusion she decided to go on. “You know how Rainbow Dash’s pranks got added to the lists of natural disasters by the previous Night Court Representative?”

“I remember. He got her a section under the Everfree weather phenomenon header, as an 'untamable force of nature'.”

“Well his nephew, Prince, is threatening to reveal the whole scam to Inspector Audit and make it look like it was me and the mayor’s fault if I don’t accept his invitation to the Grand Galloping Gala!” said Trixie, anger filling her voice. “If I don’t sent a positive RSVP before the Inspector leaves town, the documents will reach him.”

“He’s going to frame you for something his uncle did? What an eel! Can’t you just report his blackmailing? You’ve go his letter and everything,” asked Pokey, pointing at the letter she had just read.

A letter that suddenly burst into flames, crumbling into ashes on Trixie’s desk. Trixie looked at Pokey with a deadpanned expression.

“Oh,” he intoned. “Well at least we know he’s not a complete idiot.”

“Well, excuse me if I don't find that notion comforting,” replied Trixie.

Pokey shrugged and gave her a smirk “It would kinda look bad on your resume if you got trounced by a moron, wouldn’t it? So what do you intend to do?”

Trixie sighed as she slumped down on her cushion.“I don’t know yet. Let’s get work done and maybe I’ll go and ask one of my friend for counsel.”

“Who? Cheerilee? She’s good with legal matters,” said Pokey, setting Blueblood’s invitation aside, in case Trixie had no other choices.

“No, Monsieur Bourbon.”

“Shaker! My usual please, I need it,” said Trixie, addressing the stallion behind the bar.

The grey-coated unicorn smiled at her and walked up to her place at the bar. Shaker was the night-time barpony at Berry’s, the soda parlor and bar operated by Berry Punch. He came in to work when the alcohol was unlocked and the parlor turned from family establishment to Trixie’s favorite spot for sociable drinking in Ponyville. Not that Ponyville had much choice when it came to bars, but it was an amiable enough place to visit.

“Actually Miss Trixie, if you don’t mind, Berry’s got a new cocktail she wants you to try. She wants to make it the Night Time Trixie Special,” he said, referring to the original soda mixes Berry Punch had designed and named after each of the Elements of Harmony.

The Trixie Special was normally a mix of birch beer, cream soda and a quick shot of bluegrass juice for a little zing. It wasn’t very popular but Trixie liked it and that's what was the most important.

“There’s bourbon in it?” asked the unicorn with a raised eyebrow.

Shaker grinned broadly “Of course there is. It’s a boulvardier: bourbon, campari and sweet vermouth. The little twist here is that instead of ice cubes we’re using frozen blueberries.”

Trixie pondered it for a second and then nodded, “Fetch thy elixir, my good poison peddler!”

The stallion curtsied with a smile. "With all due haste, my lady."

Shaker went to work just as the door to the establishment opened. Trixie turned and broke into a smile when she saw it was Raindrops walking in. The pegasus waved to the unicorn and made her way to the bar.

"Hey Trixie," she said.

"Hey Rainsy! What brings you here?" asked Trixie, happy to see her friend.

"I was on my way home when I saw you coming in, thought I'd come and say hello since we didn't have much time to talk earlier today."

Trixie nodded in agreement. "Yeah, we were both on duty at the time after all. So where were you coming from?"

"I went to see Fire Chief Splasher after work, about the fire earlier," she said.

"Does Ponyville even have a fire inspector in its fire department?" asked Trixie.

Raindrops shook her head. "No. The fire department is only Chief Splasher and volunteers like me, but he said he would go on site to take a look, in case we missed anything."

Shaker came back with a ruby red drink in a glass and put it down in front of Trixie. Raindrops took the chance to order some ginger ale with citrus while Trixie took a sip of her cocktail.

Trixie closed her eyes and smiled happily "Oooh... rich blend of flavors! I love it! Tell Berry she can put it on the menu with my name on it. This is officially approved by the Element of Magic!"

Shaker went off to get Raindrops' order with a satisfied smile on his face. Trixie took another sip and let out a sigh.

"This should make me forget that nasty surprise," she said.

"Nasty surprise?"

The unicorn then told her pegasus friend what happened when she returned to her Residency earlier in the day, as well as the two letters from Blueblood. After explaining that, yes, his name was Prince and that he was actually Viscount, Trixie then went on to tell of the previous invitations.

"Why does that scumbag care so much about that invitation anyway?" asked Raindrops, sipping her ginger ale.

Trixie sighed and looked into the red pool of her drink "I don't know... I think the first time he just wanted to get on Luna's good side by being nice to me, but then when I refused he took it as a personal affront... and now... I guess he wants to impress the other nobles by how close to the Element of Magic he is?"

Raindrops rubbed her chin with her hoof. "Think that Inspector guy is in on it?"

Trixie shook her head. "If he was crooked he would be the one doing the blackmailing instead of Blueblood risking a letter to me. I think Audit is a straight guy, he's just a pawn in Blueblood's game here."

"So, what are you going to do then?"

Trixie didn't have the time to respond. Cries for help were suddenly heard outside the bar, and when Trixie and Raindrops turned to look through the front window they caught sight of a yellow-orange glow. Quickly the two of them dashed to the door, followed by Shaker and some of the patrons. They burst outside and found a parked cart engulfed in flames.

"My cart!" wailed one of the other patrons, a green unicorn stallion.

Shaker quickly turned back inside and came back holding a bucket of water in his telekinetic field. In the meantime Raindrops had taken off, to find the nearest cloud. Together the two of them took care of the fire before it could spread to anything else. Trixie took this opportunity to ask some of the bystanders, including the one who had called for help when she had noticed the burning cart.

"I'm sorry, I didn't hear or see anything. I just turned the corner and saw the cart on fire," answered the earth pony mare.

Raindrops landed next to Trixie and looked at her friend with confusion on her face. "You think this is related to what happened with Daisy's garden?"

"I hope it isn't Raindrops," replied the unicorn with a grim expression on her face. "Otherwise, Ponyville's in trouble."