• Published 11th Nov 2016
  • 890 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.

  • ...

Chapter 4

Nitpick winced with every step, cursing Fancy Pants every time.

He’d make him suffer for this, he swore it. Him and that painted nag he was so fond of, Tartarus knew why.

He’d prove him very wrong. The Chairstallion couldn’t make the accusations he was throwing on his competitor carry any weight. The wound he’d given the Lord Magistrate was quite another matter.

He’d chosen to take a carriage, largely to avoid anypony taking note of the state of his guards. The unicorn, Culverin, had two black eyes while the earth pony, Morion, had been fitted with a neck-brace. He wasn’t afraid to show off his own injury but the look of those meant to defend him would cause derision. He’d save baring his wounds for the court.

Hopefully, the pegasus, Arquebus, whom he’d placed with his client, would still be ready for service. Arquebus had his orders. If he was seen, he’d inform his target that the Lord Magistrate had ordered him to protect his allies from Fancy Pants’ cronies...if any existed.

He’d never imagined manipulating royalty would be this easy.

Perhaps he’d see if he could have an audience with Celestia.

She was a very shapely mare after all. And never aged.

For now, however, thwarting that insolent monocle-sporting nemesis of his was his main priority.

At the door of Invitro Hall, its grand mural reflecting the sunlight, he grunted in pain as he pushed it open.

Morion steadied him gently. Nitpick glowered, swearing another violent oath upon the head of Fancy Pants, and strode in, taking a moment to admire the mural on the inside of the door, depicting the Banishment of Rememberly, and made his way to the smoking room.


It took a while for Nitpick to fully gather his senses as he lay on his back with a stinging cheek, staring up at his ‘beloved’ wife who loomed over him seething like a dragon king who’d found thieves in the shinier part of his hoard of treasure and with roughly the same voice and tone.


Nitpick flopped upon the floor like a fish, cowering and babbling.

“M-m-my...my...my dear...my sweet, you...”

“Don’t you ‘my dear and/or sweet’ me, you contemptible insult to stallionkind!” she roared and with a flash of carmine magic round his collar, Countess Magnifying Glass hauled her husband to his hooves and hurled him with some force into a chair which nearly tipped over from his landing. He glanced around fearfully and noted Sir Cumbersome Clout, Earwax and his two daughters, all of them nursing their cheeks suggesting that he was somewhat late to the family meeting.

“I give you one instruction!” Magnifying screeched, her face twitching and convulsing in unconcealed rage “Just...OOOOONE...instruction! Be discreet! That means no spying...no threatening...and absolutely no drooling over mares, particularly not the kind that can't keep their mouths shut!” She took a deep breath through flared nostrils and spoke quieter with distinct faux-tranquillity.

“And what happens?”

“Now, now, listen...” Nitpick stammered “Wh-whatever that cad, Fancy Pants, told you is a filthy lie”

“Fancy Pants hasn’t said anything, you boob! You think his opinion matters to me?!” the Countess groaned.


“I did” A voice came from around the corner as Prince Blueblood and Conkers walked through the doorway, both possessed of grim, sickened expressions at the gathering before them.

“Y-y-your royal highness” The Lord Magistrate got to his hooves, trying hard to ignore the pain and kowtowed “Y-your aid is essential. Fancy Pants has gone completely insane!” He pulled on his coat to reveal his scar “You see here! He struck me, your royal highness, in broad daylight with an unsheathed blade! And he said things, things about you and I that you wouldn’t believe!”

“I’ll tell you what I believe” the prince barked, glaring blades not dissimilar from the one that made Nitpick’s injury “I believe you have only yourself to blame, Nitpick, for what you did to Fleur de Lis and, for that matter, what you attempted to do further!”

“What?” The Lord Magistrate’s face jerked in alarm.

“I know the truth, Nitpick!” Blueblood snarled “You lied to me! You lied when you told me Fleur had tried to seduce you on Fancy’s instructions! I now know the truth from reliable sources. You tried to force yourself on her! You scared her! You hurt her! You humiliated her without the merest shred of shame or sympathy! And worse, you hoped to finish the job!”

“Your highness...”

Royal highness, you cur!” Blueblood spat “You wanted to hurt her, Nitpick, in the most barbaric way! And I...” He looked shamed, blinking away what may have been tears “I helped you...I was wrong to aid you in this, I won’t deny it, not in company like this. I aided you in sexual assault! And I doubt I’ll sleep for weeks because of it”

“Your...your royal highness” Nitpick made some uneasy attempt to fawn, mopping his brow with a handkerchief. The Countess turned her back to them, occupying herself by prodding the contents of the fireplace with the poker.

“Please be reasonable...whatever mistakes were made that day were made by the mare and Fancy Pants! They assaulted me! You can take it from my honest word that the imposter who calls himself Chairstallion is no good!

“No good? You and I clearly disagree on the definition of what is and isn’t good” the prince said sternly “Fancy Pants assaulted you in order to protect an innocent mare. That, in my opinion, is the very definition of goodness. I have no doubt that you and your guards were unafraid to hurt or kill him or any other law-abiding citizen who interrupted your sordid act. How can you stand there and declare yourself in the right?!”

“I am certain, your royal highness...” Sir Cumbersome stood and began cajoling “...that you will understand our side of the argument far better over more agreeable circumstances. Perhaps an increase of our funding on your estate would make up for any grievance we may have...inadvertently...caused you”

Blueblood gave him a cold glare which set him swiftly back in his seat.

Nitpick and Cumbersome wondered if the prince had been taking lessons from the Countess herself.

The Countess meanwhile knew the pair of them were simply cowards.

“Sir Cumbersome” Blueblood said “I am henceforth choosing to formally refuse your contributions to my trust fund”

“Wh...” Nitpick was taken aback. In fact, everypony in the room, even the Countess, was taken aback.

Blueblood never refused money.

“B-because of this...Fleur de Lis?”

“Because of what you did to her!” The prince sounded more exasperated than anything else, infuriated the ponies before him couldn’t comprehend the fact that they had done something wrong.

“And for that matter,” he continued “lying to me about it. I don’t take well to being played for a fool, Nitpick. You should have known that. You had me aid in your sickening scheme to so cruelly harm Fleur de Lis. It may interest you to know that the pegasus you sent after me saw fit to pin me in an alleyway and threaten me with harm should I send for the Royal Guard. Fortunately for me, Conkers was close by. Upon hearing what befallen Fleur and Fancy Pants from the chatter of several concerned citizens, I immediately went to Briefly Manor to properly discover the true story. When I think of what I’d chosen, instead, to believe before then, I feel sick to recall it. I will endure it no more, sirs. Whatever flaws they say Prince Blueblood may possess, I will never, repeat never, and, once more for good measure, Never be associated with ponies like you!”

He drew himself up “Your stallion, Arquebus, will return after thorough questioning from the Royal Guard. And I shall look elsewhere for financial support. Surely there is another way for me to expand my fortune than to enrich the tormentor...” His voice cracked.

“...of my friend”

And with that, he turned his fetlocks and marched with his valet out of Invitro Hall before giving one last order.

“And get rid of that tasteless mural!”

The door slammed and there was a moment of silence.

“Well...” the Countess sauntered sarcastically into the middle of the room again “You two certainly handled that well, oh yes, just peachy” She sucked her teeth, her eyes bulging, and screamed.


The stallions and mares all shrank in their seats as the Countess panted like a rabid animal, her mane a mess, her eyes pulsating in their sockets, her mouth curled in a bared-teeth snarl and drooling slightly.

It definitely didn’t look good for her health...mentally.

Or theirs...physically.

“I’ll...see if I can keep this under the carpet” Earwax piped up, his voice barely a squeak, and took the opportunity to exit the room.

The Countess seemed content not to react or move from her position. At all.

All those present in the room swiftly followed the lawyer’s suit, edging past the Glass family matriarch as if the merest pin-prick would blow the house sky-high.

As Cumbersome closed the door gently behind him, the Countess engaged in a heavy sigh.

“You can come out n-”

She was interrupted with a hoof carrying a glass of whisky appearing in front of her.

“Fancy a little drinky?” Cascadius asked.

Magnifying Glass took it, scowling.

“Don’t say ‘Fancy’. It makes me want to burn something” She swigged it down, made a face and sighed.

“You know I don’t like it when you do that”

“And you know I don’t like being predictable” The uninvited guest sat down in the chair Nitpick had been hurled in moments ago and suddenly sat back up again, staring aghast at the seat.

“Good grief, I hope this is just sweat” He chose another chair and spoke in a level tone.

“You’ll be pleased, perhaps for the first time today, to know that I was not spotted”

“That, at least, is a blessing” the Countess rested on another chair “Are they good enough?”

“You tell me” He tossed her a handful of at least a dozen photos of Fancy Pants and a slim, alabaster mare, in some photos wearing a school blazer and tartan dress.

The Countess rifled through them

“Well they’re clear enough” She admitted “But none of these are particularly...Ah!”

Her eyebrow rose as she found a photo of him in what must have been fancy-dress, appropriate for his name, and her carrying an unclothed and quite possibly unconscious mare through the streets in one foreleg.

“Nopony saw this?” she asked incredulously.

“Nopony chose to” Cascadius shrugged, pouring himself a whisky for himself “By now they’ve probably convinced themselves they were seeing things. The papers will change that”

The final photo was taken through a window. The mare was in a bed or what passed for one. She looked woozy, maybe even drunk.

She was kissing him on the lips.

“Hm...Intriguing” The Countess said at last.

“Perhaps she’s looking to get into some Fancy Pants, and I’m not sorry I made that joke” Cascadius chuckled “He spends an awful lot of time with her”

“Who is she?”

“Fleur de Lis” Cascadius answered matter-of-factly while rather expecting the result.

The Countess leapt from her seat like it had suddenly burst into flames and scattered the photos.

“F-F-Fleur de Lis?!” she stammered “Th-THE Fleur de Lis? The same...but...” She picked up the photos with her magic and scanned them again “You mean to tell me that the mare...that my husband ran into...and the mare that Fancy Pants...is...cavorting with...are the same...damn...mare?!

Cascadius took a sip of his whisky and answered, smiling.

“Just so”

The Countess snarled.

“I’ll have his skin hanging from a coat-hook for this! This is the mare he was drooling over? The mare that got him into this mess? For the love of Tartarus, she looks young enough to be his grand-daughter!”

“Yet she’s been with Fancy this whole time” Cascadius pointed out.

“Well exactly, I mean...”

Every muscle in the Countess’s body must have moved in unison as her face twisted into a demonic leer of triumph.

“Oh...” she mused “I do believe we can make this work to our advantage”

She paced leisurely over to the end of the smoking room and flung open the doors as if she were about to burst into song.

Family Meeting!

It was close enough. Cascadius was honestly disturbed by how unnaturally joyful she seemed but decided to play along and swiftly hid away while Nitpick, Cumbersome, Earwax, Monocular and Binocular re-entered the room as puzzled as they were disturbed.

“Come and sit down everypony” Magnifying Glass called out sweetly “I have some very good news”


“Are you sure you’re alright walkin’, love?” Mrs Fuss Pot was living up to her name, fussing over Fleur as she made her way, gingerly, to the carriage waiting just outside Briefly Manor.

Her injuries had been tended to sufficiently. There was no chance of them getting worse but it did nothing to stop them hurting.

Fuss Pot wasn’t alone. Tombola, Plumette, Ramekin, Gruffleby and almost every living thing in Briefly Manor considered it a matter of principle to see Fleur de Lis home without injury.

The master of the manor was no exception. Fancy hadn’t stopped holding her hoof since she got on her own four, aching hooves again. Walking down the steps, past that wondrous statue of Fancy’s ancestor that resembled him more than ever, Fleur felt the pain and cramping across her body ebbing away. It was slow but steady. The ponies who’d healed her knew their craft. In a few days, she would be back to normal and hopefully ready to model again.

Fleur found a seat in the carriage, Fancy opening the door for her. She got in and sat down, feeling a little guilty having got up from the couch she’d been lying upon for hours only to sit down in the carriage. Fancy Pants sat down in the seat facing her, gave her a reassuring smile, nodded to the drivers, waved to his household, and they were off.

“I hope you’ve had a...fairly enjoyable stay at my little estate, Fleur” Fancy said modestly.

“Of course, Fancy” Fleur still sounded tired but her smile was back, at least “I’m sorry for being such a trial”

“Not at all”

“No really-” Fleur butted in “I mean...you and your household sent up supper in the smoking room and all the messages you had to send...and tomorrow there’s bound to be hundreds of journalists outside your house in the morning thanks to me. I-”

“Stop right there” Fancy held up a hoof. His tone was frank and formal, as opposed to the manner he’d adopted before now, obliging, vapid and somewhat distant. He’d had a lot on his mind. And it seemed Fleur’s words had brought him out of that state.

“Now listen carefully” he said “Whatever has happened and will happen thanks to what befell you and the lengths I went to help you recover from it were no fault of yours. And even if they were, I still do not consider it necessary to hold anything against you. I want you to understand that”

Both his hooves wrapped around hers as he gave her a smile that always settled her, despite his own firm belief that the smile made him look like an utter goof, and whispered.

“I want to help”

Fancy’s hoof was nothing like Nitpicks'. It felt smooth, polished, unblemished and yet so comfortable.

These were the hooves that warmed her.

She felt giddy at the touch, hoping it was just the fatigue talking.

“Are you alright?” Fancy asked instinctively.

“Fancy, could you...” Fleur mumbled, fidgeting with her mane as she took another liberty.

“Could you sit beside me...here?” She patted the carriage bench she sat upon.

“Of course, darling” Fancy sidled himself over and, in about an instant, he and her were sitting a bare inch apart.

Both of them felt themselves blush and hoped it wasn’t too prominent.

Fancy cleared his throat and began talking. His voice was something Fleur found strangely soothing.

“I managed to catch Photo Finish while you were asleep. She was...incredibly worried for your well-being, Fleur, and I do mean that genuinely” he chuckled “I think she’s growing fond of you. She understands you may be off work for a week and I said you should be alright by the time she starts her fashion shoot”

“Oh that reminds me” Fleur’s head shot up and she gazed up the gentlecolt earnestly “Fancy...Photo Finish couldn’t find any decent shooting sites. Her competitors are trying to leave her dry. I...I promised her she could produce the shoot at Briefly Manor”

“Of course. I’ll let her know”

She had at least expected a pause. It would have seemed that wasn’t the case.

Fleur asked herself why she was surprised. She said it to herself once again, this was Fancy Pants. There were few stallions more willing and capable of helping others and she knew none but him.

Able to relax, Fleur began to lean over on his shoulder, her horn gently brushing his parted blue mane that she was so very fond of.

“Are you tired?” he asked before correcting himself “Sorry, rather silly question there”

“It’s alright” she said sleepily “Could you...hold me?”

Fancy raised an uncertain eyebrow.

“Like...” He awkwardly edged his foreleg over her shoulder “This?”

A sudden symphony of Fleur’s laughter filled the carriage, startlingly but not shockingly, as the gentlecolt’s hoof stroked her shoulder. Fancy jumped in his seat and apologised, secretly hoping the mare’s laughter he so enjoyed listening to wouldn’t end quite so soon.

“I-I-I’m terribly sorry, what...what exactly...”

Fleur caught her breath and held the hoof around her shoulder.

“Careful, Fancy...” she giggled tenderly “I’m ticklish...”

‘Ruddy Jackpot’ Fancy heard bells go off in his head but he kept himself composed.

“I’m sorry”

“Don’t be...” Fleur rested against his shoulder again “I like it. You can keep on doing it if you want”

“Oh...erm...” Fancy felt the wish to laugh himself “Very well”

Fleur was closing her eyes. She didn’t laugh as Fancy began obligingly caressing her neck but gave a contented sigh which was, to Fancy, just as pleasing.

“I’ll wake you when we get to your flat, shall I?” he asked.

“Hm...” came the reply followed by some more words he was desperately waiting for.

“Do you love me, Fancy?”

The gentlecolt paused, weighed the sentence, looked again at the beautiful mare he blessed Paradise daily to have at his shoulder, and answered.

“Nothing has convinced me otherwise, Fleur” he said, giving her a kiss on the forehead “And I doubt anything ever will”

There was another contented sigh, little more than a whisper.

“I love the way you talk”

And that was the last sentence uttered by Fleur de Lis before indulging in an hour and a half of sleep on the carriage home.

Fancy thought he might carry her up to her room.

Hopefully he’d remember which room exactly was hers.

His worries would keep till tomorrow.


Tomorrow, as expected, brought his worries. Specifically in the form of a frenzied mob of press officials swarming Briefly Manor’s courtyard in the early morning hours. MacTrowel was weeding the lettuces by the time several journalists saw fit, against their better judgement, to pester him.

“Excuse me sir, can we ask you a few questions concerning the master of this estate?”

“Look’ ere, lad. Unless yir’ a bonny Trottish lass in a bonny wee kilt, shove orf!”

“I’m sorry, sir, do you work here?”

“Ach, yir’ sloower than an ungreased Telsh waitress, ye ken!”

“Would you be willing to tell us what your master was doing with the slim mare that was seen yesterday?”

“An’ betree’ th’guid master’s trust? Ach nay! Ye be roond th’twist ye’ greet baboon!”


“Hawee’ wit’ ye! Hawee’, ya scroongin’ clompin’ sons o’ fishwives! Afore’ ah take the hoo to ya goolies!”

“Sir, please calm down. Sir, please put down the rake. Sir, we’re going now!”

That swiftly put an end to their conversation with the hardy Trottish gardener.

Gruffleby, in the meantime, had his own methods for dealing with inquisitive and unwelcome individuals.

Old war stories.

“Aye, so there me and the lads were, surrounded from all sides by General Gurglemere and his henchgriffins, when one of them, a hulking berserk, or Bloodbeak as they were called, hits me over the head with a banjo! Now I never reason with a Bloodbeak, let alone a banjo-playing one so what I do is I-”

“Sir...what does this have to do with the mare your master’s been seeing?”

“Not a thing, where was I? Ah yes! So I give the bounder the old one-two and...”

“Coo-ee? Can I get you lot any tea?” Mrs Fuss Pot poked her head out the kitchen window.

“No! We don’t want any tea!” Most of the journalists were already regretting coming to this house of madponies “We just want to see the master of the manor! The Chairstallion, Fancy Pants!”

“Well then, you’ll just have to wait. Anypony want a scone?”

By the time Fancy Pants emerged, immaculately dressed as ever, the press outside were happy to accept that the mare had simply been a guest at the fundraiser who had injured herself getting out of a carriage and had been escorted to the hospital by the Chairstallion. Anything would do to be rid of the Briefly Household.

As the press departed, leaving a cloud of dust in their wake, MacTrowel, Gruffleby and Fuss Pot turned with satisfied smiles to the master of the house who smiled back and complimented them.

“Jolly good work, chaps” he chuckled “Now I believe we should all engage in some breakfast while the day’s still young”


“So have we all got that?” The Countess paced by each of her addressees, poker trailing along the carpet “I don’t want to have to repeat myself. Remain discreet. Let nopony believe anything awry has happened. Do and say as little as possible until we are ready to play our cards and there won’t be a single thing Fancy Pants can say or do to avoid public and permanent humiliation”

“A brilliant strategy, my darling” Nitpick chimed, rubbing his hooves.

Anything seems brilliant compared to your planning, fool” Magnifying sneered at her husband “You just make sure you do your job or you’d better start reading the vacancies pages”

“Nothing will go wrong, your ladyship” Cumbersome held up a hoof “We are very much ready to put that impudent moustache-twiddling twit in his place for good”

“Make sure he can never rise again. Were it only I was able to leave the house, things could be over a lot quicker. In the meantime, I must rely on you absolute geniuses. And yes, that was sarcasm!” She scowled at them but, for once, they seemed too hopeful and eager to notice.

“With this information we may be able to make him give up the position willingly” Cumbersome guffawed.

“Not without severe backlash and suspicion” the Countess snapped.

“Well, it wouldn’t be out of the question, my dear” Nitpick leaned over “After all, his mother gave up the position, didn’t she...”

He must have thought that sounded remotely subtle.

“In the sense that she died, Nitpick. We’re not going that far, not yet anyway” She spoke louder, catching their collective attention.

“Look, I’m not asking for much but I trust I’ve been clear enough. Don’t. Plough. This. Up”

“There shall be no question of any such incident, my lady” Cumbersome said as they exited the room.

Once the door was closed, Nitpick, Cumbersome, Earwax, Monocular and Binocular engaged in a bout of triumphant laughter and cheering.

“He’s finished!” Cumbersome roared “At last that cad, Fancy’s, finished! Done for! He won’t be able to charm his way out of this, no sir! Oh yes, he’ll be sorry”

“Yes, yes...” Nitpick nodded, before edging over to Earwax for reassurance.

“He is finished, isn’t he, Earwax?”

“Absolutely, your lordship” Earwax sniggered “The photos can’t and won’t be denied by anypony. The press love smut and this amount of dirt on Canterlot’s ‘Goodcolt’ will be lapped up by every paper in Equestria like foals with chocolate milk. Everything that has transpired in the last few months will work to our favour and that’ll mean the swift and brutal end of Mister Fancy Pants and his treasured reputation”

“Ha!” Nitpick cackled “He’s done! Him and his worthless little nag!”

“She’s so ugly” Binocular snorted.

“And skinny” Monocular sneered.

“I hope we get to put her in a pair of stocks for what she’s done! For weeks and weeks and weeks”

“Yes and then we can throw mud at her”

“Mud? Ha! I’m going to throw stones”

“Well I’m going to beat her with a stick!”

“Me too! A really long, thin stick like mummy used on stupid old Irregular!”

“And maybe we can shave her mane off and make a cushion!”

“And her tail and coat and everything!”

They both gave their father gazes with pleading eyes.

“Can we, daddy? Can we?”

Nitpick imagined a Fleur de Lis tied up outside in the frozen winter, night and day, with her neck in the stocks, hairless and shivering, covered in mud and filth and battered with stones with sticks.

Far from the proud and prudish Ponyville trollop that had cost him so dearly.

The thought gave him great pleasure.

“I think we can arrange for that, my dear girls” he chuckled.

“Come then, friends, let us open the gates of death for Mister Fancy Pants, shall we?” Cumbersome chortled.

“Wait, hang on” Earwax piped up “I thought the Countess wanted this kept secret”

“Oh come now, Earwax, be a sport” Nitpick pleaded, grinning wildly “Just imagine Fancy’s face!”

“Earwax, old fellow” Cumbersome stated “Her ladyship wants this kept secret for a time, at least till the most recent incidents have died down, from other ponies in Canterlot. Letting Fancy know, however, poses us no threat. You said it yourself, he can’t deny the photos no matter what we say about them”

Earwax tilted his head.

“I suppose that’s true”

“Earwax, he’s been making fools of us for years on end” the Lord Magistrate assured, placing a hoof on his lawyer’s shoulder “Think how many times his stupid little smirk has won over the courts and conned you out of an honest pay-check. This is fate, my dear colt, the will of Paradise that he now receives the other end of the public’s opinion. Let us be pious and act as its servants. After all, it would be cruel not to give him a few days to clear his desk and kiss his fame goodbye”

Earwax gave a smug smile.

“I like your way of thinking, my lord”

Like eager foals rushing out the classroom, the greater part of the Glass Household flew out the door, grinning hysterically.

Behind them, Cascadius shook his head.

‘Shall I prepare the room for Mister Plough-Up?’

Author's Note:

I told you Blueblood would surprise you.
Don't worry, he'll be back to his old self soon enough. :twilightsheepish:
I know it kind of ruins the story when the villains act like complete morons but trust me, they're far from finished.
I disturb myself at how vile I made Monocular and Binocular with nothing but a childish 'one-up' contest. The things they want to do to Fleur make you worry about what they might have put Derpy through, doesn't it... :fluttershbad::fluttershyouch:
MacTrowel's threats and Gruffleby's recollections are based off several quotes from The Simpsons Hit and Run, a PS2 Game which I love and play daily to this very day.
'Prepare the room for Mister C**k-Up' is a Blackadder reference. I'm pretty sure the Countess feels rather like Blackadder at this point.
To quote Scar from the Lion King.
:ajbemused: "I'm surrounded by idiots" :ajbemused:
Hope you like this chapter and please feel free to comment. :pinkiesmile::pinkiesmile::pinkiesmile:
Knowing you like or see ways to improve it makes it all worthwhile.