• Published 11th Nov 2016
  • 894 Views, 96 Comments

Intriguing - Purple Patch



In the great and perilous metropolis of Canterlot, Fancy Pants and Fleur must foil a nefarious outbreak of corruption together.

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Chapter 9 Part 1

Fleur de Lis made the most of a lie-in when she could.

The day before had been a long but worthwhile one and she was looking forward to the afternoon.

She resolved that she must take Fancy Pants to Ponyville soon. He had before mentioned that he enjoyed visiting there and it would be the perfect place to find some privacy. There were so many things she had longed to say to just him and him alone.

And quite a few more things, Fleur was forced to admit, she wanted to do.

She wasn’t afraid to deny it. Not anymore.

She was in love with Fancy Pants and there was nothing she wanted more than to spend her life beside him.

He was, put simply, the stallion of her dreams. Dreams she had long thought very far out of reach.

For years her looks had gotten her ridiculed until the age when they became ‘appropriate’. And those that saw her never loved her. They only desired her, lusted after her, made her feel like a mere object on display.

But Fancy Pants had not only been a different stallion, he’d shown her a different world. A world where she was safe, protected from the cruelties of her past and allowed to make friends with those who understood her.

Stretching out as she often did with several elegant poses and brushing her mane out of her face, she gave her horn a surge, heating up the kettle on her desk. Standard morning routine for Fleur, the kettle would have boiled by the time her shower was finished and the tea would be ready by the time her mane was brushed. The tea, once ready, would revitalise her and prepare her for the day.

A light breakfast of a lemon and lime zest yoghurt and a tangerine later, Fleur strode out her apartment and into Canterlot city in good spirits. Her mane danced in the light breeze and her smile was cheery enough to brighten up all the rest of her.

Yesterday had been wonderful. She’d saved the career, reputation and, quite possibly, life of her beloved and their relationship together was stronger than ever. Photo Finish had soared to the centre of the fashion and photography circle and she and her models had celebrated with drinks and dance at Briefly Manor.

There, Fancy and Fleur had shared in a dance. It wasn’t as grand as the ones they’d shared at the gala but, Celestia be good, did it feel perfect. It was all she could do not to skip through the streets.

Her worries were over and so were those of Fancy Pants.


She received the message from Fancy left on her orb early in the afternoon, after getting some lunch at Genial’s. He’d be occupied till the late afternoon, whereupon he was planning to meet her for dinner at the Tasty Treat but, upon hearing he’d be leaving the Royal Council Hall, she decided they’d meet there and head to Restaurant Row together.

Apparently, Fancy would have quite a full day as Celestia had taken absence to head with all haste to the city of Bittsburgh where a firestorm had broken out in the industrial districts. She’d caught it on the orb. The devastation looked appalling but she was certain the Princess would take care of things.

She thought she might wear something simple, just to show Fancy that, although she still enjoyed dressing-up, she didn’t have to worry so much about making an impression around him. With a quick browse of her wardrobe, she concluded that a lilac jacket would do and perhaps a quartet of pale amber socks. A nip into the bathroom to put on a little eye-shadow and she was done.

She gave herself the once-over in the mirror, posing several times. It would suffice.

The walk up to the Royal Council Halls wasn’t arduous. It was late afternoon, as he’d requested and just starting to get dark. The building was situated far from the main street, atop a podium reminiscent of ancient architecture. Hopping up the steps, her hooves tapping hard upon the stone slabs, she noticed how quiet the atmosphere was.

The area around the Halls was almost entirely abandoned.

Looking down the road, she saw the traffic was entirely diverted from the street. It would’ve explained the terrible congestion she saw at lunch. Some roadwork ponies seemed to be on a break a few yards away.

Still, she would have expected the hall to have somepony watching the door at least.

Then again, it would be so like Fancy to make do without such extravagances.

Fleur tapped on the door. It opened as her hoof made contact with it.

She found it distinctly odd that the Royal Council Hall would not only be unminded but unlocked.

Something didn’t feel right.

Gently opening the door, and stepping inside, she saw the Royal Council Chamber was deserted. Yet the lights were on and the door was unlocked so they couldn’t have closed the meeting already.

Most of the windows were open. Fleur had to get used to how chilly it was becoming.

She called out.

“Hello?”

Only the hum of the fluorescent light could be heard in the room.

Then, out the corner of her eye, she saw a flash of colour speed down the adjacent corridor.

“Wait!” She cried but it was clear whomever was around was not up for waiting.

Following the stranger into the corridor, she passed by a series of metal doors. Each one looked similar but for one.

One with a generous-sized hole punched through it.

Now Fleur was concerned.


*


‘Damn them! Damn Fancy! Damn Fleur! Damn Blueblood! Damn Carcassonne! Damn Celestia! Damn Photo Finish! Damn them all!’

The Lord Magistrate paced, fuming, up and down the alleyway outside the Hanoverian, remarking that this must have been where Hoity Toity, a stallion he thought his friend and ally, ‘Damn him!’ had met with that deranged foreign photographer and plotted his downfall.

Hiding in the alleys like the rats they were.

‘Damn them for forcing me to this level! Damn them for degrading me in this manner! Damn them all to Tartarus!'

He nursed his shoulder. The cut still hadn’t completely healed. The scab was fresh and crimson, just visible underneath his doublet.

There were fresher injuries that pained him as well, namely the bruise at his side where the armchair his wife had thrown around the smoking room had collided with him.

‘Mad nag! The sooner I’m rid of her, the better. Once I’m Chairstallion I’ll send her to her father’s old room at Canterlot Psychiatric and ruddy well leave her to rot. Damn her!’

“Nitpick?”

Sir Cumbersome Clout and Cringeworth appeared in the alley, halted by Nitpick’s three bodyguards. Nitpick nodded to them and piped up eagerly.

“My friend. Have you gathered support?”

“I sent word to some of the toughs in the local gangs. I’ve gathered a reasonable assortment”

“Oh yes indeed, a very reasonable assortment!” Cringeworth fawned with vigour “Sixty fighting stallions, all armed, twelve of which with buckshot rifles” He was silenced by a hoof to the head from his master.

“What he said” Cumbersome continued “They won’t charge us vast quantities, just enough for drinks”

“Excellent”

He would make them all pay. They’d sought to ruin him. But Lord Magistrate Nitpick would not go down lightly.

The Lord Magistrate left the alleyway, joined by Sir Cumbersome, Morion, Culverin, Arquebus and Cringeworth and, on the outskirts of Canterlot, largely ignored in the chaos the congesting traffic in the city square, inspected the sixty hired thugs, of all them crude, untidy and possessed of mean temperaments and meaner weaponry.

“Gentlestallions. Canterlot’s highest noble families thank you profusely for your service this night. I, Lord Magistrate Nitpick, intend on heading to the town of Ponyville, a fair few miles from here, two hours by carriage, and bringing down a dangerous fugitive, one Miss Fleur de Lis, daughter of ice-cream ponies. It is likely we will meet some resistance, not particularly challenging for hardened fellows like yourselves. I expect you to deal with them as you see fit, whatever that may be”

The thugs nodded, grinning.

“My friend and associate, Sir Cumbersome Clout, and my bodyguards, Morion, Culverin and Arquebus, will stay in Canterlot. My bodyguard, Morion leading them, will apprehend one Prince Blueblood and one Hoity Toity at the Hanoverian Club, take them to the abandoned warehouse three streets down and ensure they suffer for the insults they have paid our family. Culverin will head to the workstation of Photo Finish and do the same to her and all her co-workers. Arquebus will be doing his job alone. Meanwhile, Sir Cumbersome will head to Briefly Manor and storm the place. Take everything you wish and burn the rest. Succeed and drinks and mares at the Hanoverian shall be yours. Our family is generous to its supporters”

The thugs cheered in unison, their eyes gleaming greedily.

“Right then. A third of you come with me, another with Sir Cumbersome and another with my guards. Twenty stallions and four rifles each. Organise yourselves with all haste! We leave at once!”


*


The door creaked open and, Fleur realised, had one of its hinges snapped.

She was looking at rows and rows of grey metal drawers and folders bursting with documents.

It must have been the archives.

Fleur gave a sniff. It smelt awfully musty in the archives. In fact, it felt awfully musty everywhere. It would’ve been the reason why every window she’d passed was open.

They must have been cleaning with something strong-smelling.

But how would that explain the hole in the door? She would have expected them to be working on this. On the archives of all places, a hole in the door was bound to cause trouble. Anything could happen to...

A glint on the floor caught Fleur’s eye.

It was right under a table where a hefty folder was placed.

She peered down and picked it up.

As she drew it out of the shadow, she knew it wasn’t simply the open windows that made her feel cold.

Her eyes widened and her mouth drew open in a horrified gasp.

It was Fancy’s monocle!

Something was wrong.

Fancy barely ever left his home without his monocle.

And he never ever lost it!

Something must have happened. Something terrible.

Giving a gulp, her eyes fluttered to the folder on the desk.

Had Fancy been reading this?

Had he been interrupted?

Gingerly, her hoof reached out and lifted the binder.

“DON’T!”


A flash of bright cyan magic encased the folder as there came the distinct sound of a string snapping.

Fleur spun round where a scarlet unicorn with a multi-coloured mane was glowering at her, her horn blazing as a wire on the table struggled to come away in two pieces, barely kept together with her magic.

“You...” she growled “Idiot!”

“Wha...what’s going on?!” Fleur stammered “Who are you?!”

“Okay, listen, I’m going need you to run” the unicorn said desperately, straining through her spell “Follow me and run. Trailing shield, double-layer. It’s our only chance!”

Fleur stared, utterly confused.

“Are you deaf?! Start bucking running!”

Sensing the necessity of the situation, Fleur did so without much complaint, but not before placing the monocle in her jacket pocket and lighting up her horn to carry the folder.

“Shields up! Now RUN!

As the two mares ran, a tremendous explosion from the archives sent the door fling off its hinges and crumbling against the wall as the oncoming fire sped down the hallway, fast catching up to them. The magic from the unicorn created a bubble-like field of translucent cyan magic, right behind them, keeping the fires at bay. Fleur did her best to add to it, grabbing the folder in her mouth and using her magic to create a second layer on the shield that would ensure the building wouldn’t collapse upon them. She could feel the fire lapping at her hooves as rubble fell from the ceiling all around them.

Galloping down the corridors as fast their hooves could carry them, sweat pouring down their brows, Fleur and the shield-caster finally reached the Royal Council Doors.

The shields dissipated as they leapt out the doorway and the explosion encompassed the building, blowing the two mares across the street. They landed hard upon the stone slabs, groaning and nursing their bruised sides.

“Ugh! I feel like I just escaped a Trifle Bay Movie!” The scarlet unicorn said, holding out a hoof to help Fleur to her hooves “You’re a very lucky mare”

“I...I...Fancy!” Fleur exclaimed, gathering her senses as the Royal Council Hall burned behind them “We’ve got to go back for Fancy!”

“He’s not in there, Fleur! I looked all over the place! Someone’s abducted him, or worse”

“A-are you sure? Are you absolutely...Wait” Fleur started to mumble, blinking “How do you know my name?”

“I do read the magazines, you know. You looked great in that jumpsuit, by the way”

“Er...thanks...so...why were you looking for Fancy? And...wait, I recognise you, you’re...you’re Carcassonne!”

“Yeah, Fancy hasn’t much good to say about me but I’m trying to turn over a new leaf...and save your coltfriend”

“I...wait...you mean...” Fleur was too confused to string sentences.

“He’s in danger” Carcassonne sighed “You thwarted their blackmail scheme last time. Now, it seems, they’re going for a more conventional approach. With Celestia gone, Lady Cadence is running the palace. She asked Fancy to bring her some documents but he never showed up. When I checked, I found the door busted and the folder we were after trip-wired with explosives”

“How do you know about this?!” Fleur exclaimed.

“Because me and Cadence have been reinvestigating the deaths of Pantaloon and Petticoat, Fancy’s parents. Those documents you have there...” She pointed to the folder that had landed beside Fleur in the fall “contain information about who hired who to do the job”

“Did...did Fancy know?”

“No. We thought it was safer that way...We were wrong” She gritted her teeth “Fancy’s parents were killed because they were treading the hooves of a certain thoroughly corrupt Lord Magistrate and his spiteful, grasping nag of a wife. History’s repeating itself”

“Then...my Fancy...” Fleur gasped, tears appearing at her eyes “We’ve got to save him!”

“I’d worry more about yourselves, m’ dears!”

Fleur and Carcassonne turned their heads to face the road.

The area had been blocked off with concrete barricades and the traffic ponies from earlier had replaced their jumpsuits for hardened hide armour, balaclavas and bandoliers and were pointing some distinctly unfriendly weapons at them.

Motorised Bolters. Funnel-shaped automatic crossbows, capable of firing a hail of quarrels in half the time it took to cast a magic bolt. State of the art weaponry in what were known as the ‘contested zones’ of Equestria, cities and sites who constantly prepared for war but didn’t often see it, Boulette among them. These ponies however, looked like they’d seen a lot of war and quite enjoyed the sight.

A scar-faced red and black pegasus in a green beret was striding towards them, idly spinning a thick-bladed sword around one of his hooves. He smiled, giving off a glint from his gold tooth.

“I’m afraid this was all rather unplanned, though not altogether inconvenient. First...you’re going to give me that folder...and then...you’re going to die, I’m afraid to say. Don’t worry, my friends are expert killers. Cooperate and they can make it as quick and painless as you like. Or resist...and they can make it as slow and painful...as I like”


*


“Can you hear me, Fancy Pants?”

The gas-masked torturer’s voice was the only real sound in the room.

Fancy’s jacket, shirt and bowtie were folded in a pile on the table where the torturer had placed his tools.

Fancy Pants’ breathing came in shuddering, haggard whistles through his nostrils as his gag was far too tight to speak through and too hard to bite through.

The masked stallion spoke again, his voice oddly calm and composed.

“Before we start, I’d like you to know this is nothing personal. I don’t like torture. I don’t dislike it, either. I’m very impartial in that regard. But whatever is requested of me I carry out”

He paced over to the table and surveyed his instruments.

Cold sweat was beading all the way across Fancy’s body as he struggled at the manacles that bolted his hooves to the wall.

“You’ve probably realised you’re gagged. That is not a mistake on my part. At no point through any of this will you be required to speak. It could prove a problem were anypony to hear you. I’m not an interrogator, I’m merely an assassin. If I had my way, I’d have cut the mains on Briefly Manor and blown you to kingdom come in one giant accident. Quick, simple, efficient and leaving behind no trail. But...I don’t have my way. So, with that in mind, I suggest you do your best to relax and take your mind of it. Here...”

The torturer opened a box that, instead of containing some hellish contraption of agony, revealed itself to be an old record player. Setting it, the torturer turned back to him and gave a content sigh through his mask, which made a muffled hissing sound, as the room filled with a gentle classical piece.

“Ah...Spheric Artie’s Gymnopedie No. 1...the original...Sexton Melody’s orchestra adaptation is nice but I’ve always found the sections a bit too bombastic. Doesn’t capture the same...sensation”

His metal-encased hooves slid around a dark, wide-bladed machete. There was a click and the tips of his hoof curled around it like some silver shellfish, whisking it off the table, let it catch the light, and placed it upon Fancy’s bared chest.

The chained prisoner gave a muffled whimper as the chill from the blade spread across his ribs.

“Now...I should warn you, Mr Fancy Pants...this is going to hurt quite a bit”

The blade slid forward. Fancy stared at the sword pushing underneath his skin, feeling it rattle against his ribs as blood fell from his open wound, first in running drops, then plentiful streams, pouring down his chest.

He didn’t feel anything at first, just...cold.

Then he screamed, or at least tried to through the gag, as pain shot through his body. He twisted his neck from side to side, trying in vain to escape his manacles as the blade continued slicing through his skin.

“I did warn you”


*


“So that’s when things got dicey”

Prince Blueblood and Hoity Toity had gotten sufficiently drunk and were pausing in the red-lit alley that linked the Hanoverian’s bar to the private rooms. Fragrant Magnolia and Silvanberry were supporting them, slightly listening to their accounts, surrounded by silence of a diverted street.

“Fancy Pants was completely surrounded and poor Fleur de Lis was faced with a fate worse than death!” Blueblood waved one hoof around dramatically, a half-full bottle of champagne in his other hoof “It was up to us! With a cry of ‘For Equestria!’ I, Prince Blueblood charged into the fray. The armies of Nitpick quivered at my coming as I drew my trusty blade and felled a dozen of the filthy cowards before they could even blink! ‘Your Royal Highness!’ Fancy cried out as I picked him off the ground ‘I feared you would forsake us in this hour of need!’ ‘Ha!’ said I ‘If I could not shoulder a dear friend and rescue a darling damsel then what sort of Prince would I be?’

I, meanwhile,” Hoity butted in “knew that the enemy would surely swarm them once they regrouped so, in the midst of the chaos, I appeared before Nitpick’s bodyguard, cutting a dashing figure. ‘Looking for somepony, gentlecolts?’ I asked casually before proceeding to give the ruffians several marks on their person they wouldn’t soon forget!”

“Not bad, Hoity” Blueblood snickered “Still, it’s a shame you were all the way over there. You missed me bring down that dragon! Huge beast...with...with a laser gun attached to its head!

“Impressive, I’m sure, your royal highness” Hoity scoffed “I myself didn’t chance upon any dragons but I did happen to stumble upon a few manticores. Certain they regret crossing me, that’s for certain”

“All well and good, but you weren’t there to see me face the sea serpent...and the krampus...and the horde of sabre-toothed leprechauns!”

“Oh that’s a bunch of baloney, Blueblood, everypony knows leprechauns are extinct!

“Well, you two were very brave” Fragrant Magnolia giggled “And I’m sure you’d both like to relax after your gruelling dice with death”

“That would we would, madam, with great pleasure” Blueblood chuckled.

“Come on then” Silvanberry said, seductively “Only the best for two dauntless heroes of Equestria”

“Lead the way, you sweet belladonnas!” Hoity chortled as they reached for the door to the rooms.


A heavy metal spike impacted itself in the woodwork of the door causing Fragrant Magnolia and the Prince to scream in terror as a leering pale earth pony appeared from the street, a rifle in hoof. Twenty armed stallions behind him, murder in each of their eyes. Two carriages blocked the street, one the red carriage belonging to Lord Nitpick, the other the white carriage of Sir Cumbersome Clout, Cringeworth standing beside it, smirking triumphantly.

“I’ve got some bad news for you, boys” the rifle-toting earth pony sneered “The boss wants a word”

“M-M-Morion...” Hoity Toity gulped, recognising Lord Magistrate Nitpick's bodyguard instantly “What...what do you think you’re doing?! When we tell the Princess what Nitpick’s been up to...”

“Buddy, if you think you’re going to have teeth or a tongue by the end of this, you’re crazy” Morion paced over to face them, his cruel smirk illuminated in the glow of the red light overhead.

“Morion, please...” Blueblood held up his hooves “Don’t...don’t hurt us...we’re very wealthy stallions”

“So is Nitpick. And he’s going to become a lot wealthier”

“Please, sir” Hoity whimpered “We can work this out with your employer, I promise!”

Morion tilted his gaze toward the two mares. Silvanberry bared her teeth aggressively as she shielded a quivering Fragrant Magnolia.

“And who are these pretty little things?”

“Now...now listen, Morion” Hoity Toity piped up, doing his best to stand up straight on his shaking hooves “You have us where you want us. You have what you were after. Let the mares go. They’re...they’re not involved”

Morion sniggered, gesturing to his henchstallions.

“They are now”

“No!” Blueblood and Silvanberry’s horn lit up but both unicorns found themselves writhing on the floor as Morion threw two magnetic anti-magic rings, automatically latching on to their horns and rendering them immobile. Four of the thugs grabbed the jolting Blueblood and the terrified Hoity Toity.

“Stop, Morion, please!” he wailed “You don’t have to do this! Just let us talk, we’re civilised ponies, we...”

“Shut it!” Morion’s foreleg shot out and struck the celebrity critic across the face, cracking his glasses and leaving him semi-conscious.

As two more of the thugs grabbed the mares, Morion smiled and gave orders.

“The rest of you take the red carriage and head to the warehouse. You three stay here” He licked his lips “I want to get to know these two a bit better”

“Mister Morion, Sir Cumbersome Clout ordered no delays” Cringeworth butted in pedantically.

Morion shot him a venomous glance.

“Just as well I take orders from the Lord Magistrate” He gave the sycophantic valet a shove “I won’t be long. Wait by your carriage with the boys. That’s me giving you an order”

Cringeworth nervously stared a moment at Morion before turning back to the carriage without a word.


*


The door to Photo Finish’s set was cut open with a red-hot ray of magic.

Culverin and ten thugs sauntered inside. The set was dark but the lights in the dressing room were on.

Photo Finish and all her models were inside.

Culverin nodded to one of the henchponies who fired a blast of buckshot at the ceiling.

“Oh girls, are you decent?!” Culverin yelled mockingly “It really makes no difference. We’re from Invitro Manor. Our employer would like to ask some questions. You’ve got till the count of three to come out or my boys here drag you out. And they don’t like to wash their hooves. Sound good to you?”

There was no reply but the snap of the lock on the dressing-room door.

“One...”

The thugs crowded around the door.

“Two...”

Culverin’s horn lit up as they prepared to break in.

“Three!”


*


Earl Grey found his wife sitting, ashen-faced, by two beds in the hospital ward. A bright blue curtain on the opposite side of them shielded a couple of quiet, young nurses, washing their hooves in a basin.

Upon seeing him, the navy-blue mare fell into his fore-hooves, weeping uncontrollably.

“Earl! Earl, thank Celestia!” she wailed.

“It’s alright, Crochet” he struggled to remain composed “I’ve been speaking with the doctors. They’re going to be fine”

Crochet wouldn’t stop crying. It was odd from a mare who often remained so on top of things. An excellent parent, better than he ever could have been.

Beside them both, Pokey Pierce and Ponet Pierre lay on their backs upon the two beds, still and silent, bodies and faces covered in bandages, hiding terrible magic burn marks across their figures.

Earl gazed at his sons and sniffed, taking all the effort he could muster to prevent himself from sobbing on his knees.

This was all his fault. He should have known the threats they’d made last time were still within their means.

“Where’s Perry Pace?” Earl asked.

“Perry wasn’t so close to the blast. They’re checking him for eye and ear trauma” Crochet said quietly through tears “He blames himself. I blame myself...I-I don’t know what happened, Earl. One minute, Pokey and Ponet were having one of their bets, hitting the bull’s-eye, the two of them bickering, Perry laughing and then...” she swallowed hard “As Pokey took his shot he...he clutched at his temples and...The blast, Earl, it nearly burned both of them alive!” Crochet started weeping again.

Earl Grey and Crochet Doily had lived apart since their sons were foals, their work and travelling causing far too many detriments on their marriage and child-raising. The separation wasn’t messy. They still loved each other dearly and, in recent months, had started getting back together as Earl Grey considered retirement, much to the joy of their sons.

However distant they’d become, Earl Grey’s family meant everything to him.

To keep them safe, many years ago, he’d committed a great injustice.


“Earl!” Crochet grabbed his shoulder, looking over it as Earl turned.

A grim-faced khaki pegasus was standing behind the closed door to the hospital ward.

He was holding a bolt rifle in his fore-hooves, a lethal weapon that would fire a sharpened spike of metal with roughly the same sound as a stapler.

“Councillor Grey” he asked, sardonically “I’m afraid you made the Lord Magistrate very unhappy”

“Arquebus...Wait” Earl Grey raised a hoof, standing in front of her wife “Listen to me! I didn’t know! I did all I could!”

“You were meant to keep an eye on him, Mr Grey. Make sure nopony put their noses in our business” Arquebus said, lowering the rifle to aim at the motionless form of Pokey Pierce “You were warned what would happen if you didn’t”

“Please...” Earl fell to his knees, tears pouring from his eyes “Nitpick can do what he likes to me but please...please don’t hurt my family”

“I have my orders, sir” Arquebus gave a smirk “As did you. You’ve only yourself to blame” He cocked the rifle “Goodbye, Mr Grey”

The old unicorn stood as the pegasus before him took aim.

“Crochet...” he murmured, his voice cracking “I’m so sorry”

“Earl...” He felt the forelegs of his wife clutch his shoulders as Crochet shut her eyes tight, hoping that she’d be first and wouldn’t have to watch her husband and sons die in front of her.

“I love you”


*


“My best advice is to take your mind of it. Listen to the music, let it...take you away” His voice sounded almost reassuring “I’ve got some nice Von Webber if you fancy a bit of Farman opera? Would you prefer that?”

Fancy Pants shot his head forward and threw every insult he knew at his tormentor. With the gag, it only came out as muffled growls and groans, bloody spittle spraying between his lips, but the rage and hatred he felt for this monster before him would not be quiet.

The torturer gave a grim look as if he’d understood every word.

“Defiant to the end, eh?”

He sighed and removed the blade. Fancy Pants gave a gasp and writhed, choking on the cloth between his teeth as his wound bled in torrents.

“You should know you are dead pony” the torturer said “And your friends are in similar positions”

The chained stallion raised his head, eyes wide with horror at his words, more horror than he’d shown when the knife went into him, his tormentor noticed.

“My employer wants you to watch them all die but that, for me, is a bit extravagant. You will be allowed to watch Miss Fleur de Lis die however. That I believe I can arrange”

Fancy Pants screamed an incomprehensible word, one-syllable, beginning with an ‘n’ and drawn-out, over and over again as he flailed hopelessly against his retraints before breaking into sobs, his rage giving way to despair.

“It’s funny, isn’t it” The masked sadist had his back to his victim “Harm a pony through their own flesh and you only get so far. The body may break but the heart, mind and soul can still hold out many times longer...But harm a pony through those they love...and they’ll fall like a leaf in autumn. Body, heart, mind, soul, everything just...decays in front of you” He sighed “It’s something I’ve always found very...intriguing”

His metal hoof placed the bloody blade back down on the table and picked up an electric prod, sharpened at the tip.

“I spent months trying to figure you out, Mr Fancy Pants. I would have spent longer but...plans changed” He shrugged “You were willing to go to any lengths to protect those you cared about, whoever they were. And that devotion was...infectious. You saved Fleur’s life, she wants to save yours...I’m glad she could do that. I’m glad she could honour her dept to you before you both died”

He looked into Fancy’s despair-ridden eyes, the blood-red goggles reflecting the gentlecolt’s horrified visage.

“You were a very intriguing pony, Mr Fancy Pants...” He grasped the handle of the prod and, with a hum and a buzz, the instrument crackled with electricity.

“And I’m really going to miss you”

Author's Note:

Of course, it's Part 1. You knew it would end on a cliffhanger.
I'm wrapping it up (Christmas Joke! :pinkiehappy:). Everypony plays their cards.
Who will triumph?!
(Downside of prequels, you, more or less, know what's going to happen from the start. Convenient to write though but once this is done, my main series will continue)
Earl Grey's Family are based of WhiteFangKakashi300's art. She's a Raripants fan but I don't hold it against her. :raritywink: Her art's fantastic and I recommend it, whatever your shipping preference.
Blueblood repeats Tinny Can. Great minds think alike. :derpyderp1::derpytongue2::derpyderp2:
Leprechaun reference if from the Simpsons. Sceptics in fantasy world always look like idiots. :facehoof:
Also, I've gotten a watch from Alex Warlorn himself, POV Writer Extraordinaire :yay: and I'm planning on working on a FancyFleur POV Discordisation/Reharmonisation fic in between stories.
Thanks to everyone who reads, likes and comments.
Your input is greatly appreciated. :raritywink::raritywink::raritywink:
Tune in for Part 2