• Published 23rd Aug 2016
  • 597 Views, 371 Comments

The Pony Dreadfuls - No one is home

A series of stories about ponies. Dreadful in both subject and quality. Enjoy :)

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Chapter 13 - Case Closed?

“Ahhhh, Picture Perfect and Captain Moonphase,” Pip sighed bitterly as he swayed on his barstool at the empty bar, “Just the ponies I was hoping to see. Good news…”

“You don’t look like you have good news, Pip,” Picture replied cautiously.

“Are you drunk, sir?” Moonphase asked with distaste.

“I am most certainly not drunk!” Pip argued defiantly. “At least not very drunk…”

“Well, that’s good, it’s still too early for…” Pic started only to be interrupted by the inebriated pony.

“I’m high as a kite is what I am! 2% solution of coca leaf extract injected intravenously.” Orange Pip waved his hoof dismissively.

“Cocaine?” Moonphase asked incredulously, “Do you mean the stuff they prescribe for toothaches? I’ve heard of ponies snorting the stuff, but did you actually…”

“You injected cocaine?!?! Pip, what is wrong with you?” Picture slammed her hoof down on the bar angrily.

“There’s been a break in the case!” Pip pulled out the morning paper and tossed it casually on the bar.

“Changeling Infiltration Uncovered At Crystal Empire Mining Facility,” the headline read.

“What’s this?” Moon Phase carefully scooped up the paper with his wing tips. “A rogue changeling was spotted outside the Crystal Empire? Dozens of changelings were found replacing mine workers? What does this have to do with…”

“And yet, not one missing pony report. Dozens of mineworkers replaced, and not one’s gone missing.” Pip snatched up his stein of bitter ale, turning up an angry gulp. “Not the that anypony noticed, their all too busy being paranoid of the scary changelings.”

“But what does this have to do with our case?” Moonphase asked in confusion.

“Do you see? No, of course you don’t, what was I thinking.” Pip rolled his eyes before explaining. “The shackle scars. The unknown motive. Why bother to assassinate a rogue changeling? To cover up the other rogue changelings you’ve enslaved. Our Mr. Gold Brick was running a slave operation. Apparently with the heat on after Mr. Solid got caught in the botched assassination, he took advantage of this changeling sighting to cry changeling. Princess Cadence likely didn’t even question it. They were, after all rogue drones from the circus hive. She just locked them all up and called a hunt for the infiltrator drone that started the panic. Case closed. Don’t bother to pay my family, it worked itself out.”

“The hell it has! We still have two murder victims! Crystal Empire be damned, I intend to get to the bottom of this!” Moonphase ranted as Pip calmly finished his stein and slammed it on the bar.

“Do you now? We have several dozen feral changeling drones who just somehow ended up working in a mine in the Crystal Empire, how do you think that happens, Captain?” Pip scowled fiercely. “Miss Day Shift… excuse me, the victim's escape wounds were days, possibly weeks old. She was badly malnourished at the point she arrived back in Canterlot. Her murderer was clearly on the look-out for the poor drone…”

“The guards!” Picture gasped.

“Specifically the day guard,” Pip agreed, “At least two. One unicorn guard in Canterlot, and one of Cadence’s royal guards in the Empire. We can rule out the night guard because they have no real presence in the Empire.”

“Praise Luna for that,” Moonphase huffed, “We’ve had our own share of troubles. But what makes you so sure?”

“For one, the lack of rogue changelings to be captured since the circus,” Pip started on his second stein. “Homeless drones should be falling over themselves to gain admittance. The obvious answer is that they have been… but they haven’t been taken to the Canterlot hive, they’ve been taken to the Crystal Empire. Without strong evidence, Gold Brick is untouchable. The Day Guard are likely to rally against the very idea of corruption within their ranks.”

“It’s true, we faced the same problem in the Night Guard, until Stormy Night dragged our troubles into the glaring sun,” Moonphase agreed, “And there are still a few of the brass who’d rather pretend there was never really a problem.”

“So our only lead is an anonymous human, who nopony has ever seen, or can even agree on his where-abouts.” Picture nodded in understanding.

“Which is why I’m drunk and high as a kite on a friday afternoon.” Pip laughed bitterly. “Because quite honestly, it’s no more a waste of my time than anything else I could be doing right now. So if you will politely excuse me, I’m going to retire to my quarters.”

“He’s in bad shape miss,” Moonphase whispered to Picture as Orange Pip staggered towards the backstage door.

“I know, I’ve never seen him like this,” the unicorn mare nearly whispered.

“I have,” a new voice chimed in as the two turned to see Candy Apple, “The last time we heard from my uncle, when we got the news that Aunt Juice had died in the asylum. Pip didn’t take it very well. This case has him rattled.”

“Maybe we should drop it.” Picture turned to the Lunar Guard Captain, “Maybe we should just let you handle it from here.”

“Nopony would fault you miss, either of you. This case is clearly having an ill effect on Mr. Pip, and he really should consider his health first.”

“He won’t let go that easy.” Candy Apple should her head. “He’s started now, he has to finish. If he doesn’t it’s going to eat him alive from the inside out.”

Author's Note:

Super busy week, but I finally got a new update done! :pinkiecrazy:

So now they know the mastermind's identity, but knowing and proving are two different things. Anybody remember Goldbrick? He was one of the same Cabal of Old Families as Gold Plate. Fancy Pants is also a member of this shadowy society, if you might recall, though he largely tries to keep their dealings aimed towards the greater good. I doubt he would rally quickly to defend using changelings as slave labor, given that his partner in the Crystal Empire mining business is a changeling herself. If you want to read about the rise of the mining industry in the Crystal Empire, then you should definitely read Penny for Your Thoughts, by Damaged if you haven't already. :pinkiehappy:

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