• Published 10th Aug 2012
  • 2,333 Views, 59 Comments

Red Light City - Joe Amethyst



An economic downturn has hit the country, and not everyone has held their honor intact for money.

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5
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Progression

"And who is this?"

It had been a long day for Captain Shining Armor. Although Captain he may be, he was still just another person. Service in the Guard anymore was demanding, especially on one of their leaders. Some days he'd wished that the Princess had never appointed him to the position.

Five years ago, the world had seemed to almost turn upside down. Hard times swept the nation like a storm, and soon, many found themselves in low positions. Crime went up, and until lately, it was typical routine for a prostitute, a drug addict, a rapist, or murderer to come in to the station handcuffed and led away.

Shining's attention was captured by the latest arrest. An officer escorted a young woman her hands behind her back past him. In the officer’s other hand was a paper bag. The arrested woman was no more than twenty, with short blonde hair and eyes almost just as blonde. She was dressed all in light gray from head to toe, with a beanie, a slightly too large hoodie, windbreaker pants, and sneakers. She simply walked with her head down, a trace of discontent and shame on her face.

"I asked, what her name is,” Captain Armor asked again to the officer delivering the report next to him.

“Oh, uh," the officer stumbled. “She’s someone that was picked off the street. She was found with the hood over her head and carrying the bag. When the bag was taken and inspected, the arresting officer found muffins.”

“Is baking a crime now?”

“No, sir,” the light green haired officer answered, “the muffins were baked with a narcotic in them. We are going to run tests on her to see if she has consumed them and then send her to interrogation.”

Shining Armor considered for a moment. “Tell Interrogation I’ll take this one. I’d like to know her story.” The officer quickly nodded and turned away. The blonde female was already in the back being tested. Armor wondered her past. It was unfortunate, really, that young women like that were getting caught up in those things. Many became prostitutes, drug dealers, drug addicts. Sometimes all three. It was a shame, that these harsh times had driven so many to demoralize themselves.

Shining was handed a clipboard about the recent documented crimes of the day. He ordered the officer to continue with her report on the blonde girl. He ran his fingers through his mop of blue hair. A further two bodies had turned up, making the week’s total four dead. All four were identified as gangsters, which wasn’t surprising to the Captain as they were found near the Red Light Quarter.

The Red Light Quarter of the city was where crime and vice were at their worst. The name was given after obvious reasons, due to the brothels, bars, clubs, and drug dealers that lined the streets. It was also where most of the street gangs and mafias took refuge. As of right now, the Guard had little control over the area. Any attempt at pacification resulted in shoot-outs and violence towards officers of the Guard. It was fruitless to try and go in.

The gangsters were found riddled with bullets, yet there were no casings. Whoever did this knew how to cover their tracks well. They did determine caliber though: 9 × 19 mm. A common caliber. It could have been any guy with a gun, and as far as Shining Armor knew, there was no shortage of that in the Red Light Quarter.

After about hour of more official work, Armor was informed that the woman had completed her tests, and was handed the results and her file. He was also told she was in the interrogation room, ready for him to come in.

“Good,” he replied. He turned and left the green haired officer and went to interrogation, documents in hand. As he went down the hall, he read over her file. Unfortunately, there was not much to work with. He slowly opened the door into the room and walked in.

He looked from the doorway, and saw the young blonde woman sitting. She had one hand covering her face and the other on the table. She noticed Shining Armor coming in, and quickly sat up, her arms dropping to her sides. Armor closed the door behind him, and walked forward right next to his seat. The woman’s eyes followed him where he went. He took another glance at the documents in front of him and shook his head.

“It says here,” he began, “that you had a clean record; no arrests or any trouble with the law.” He shook his head again. “But drug possession, that’s a big one for your first arrest.” The woman shifted nervously in her chair. Armor looked at her and pitied her. Her file confirmed his earlier suspicion: she was exactly twenty years old. Her parents were unknown, so there was no last name listed. All that was there was "Derperina".

The woman straightened up. “I never ate the muffins, okay!?” she burst out. “I made them and sold them, but I never ate them! T-The test should prove that!”

“You know, you can fail simply from being around these drugs," Armor told her, “the test isn't perfect.”

The woman Shining only knew as Derperina placed her face in her sleeves when she heard this. “I probably failed, didn’t I?” she asked, her voice muffled from her sleeve.

“Actually, you didn't,” Armor answered.

“Wait, you just said…”

“I lied,” Shining Armor smiled. “I just wanted to see what you said.” It was true, her drug tests came up negative; she hadn’t done anything. Any presence of drugs in the test were very minor, and not nearly enough to prove that she used. Armor realized that she was probably sincere, and that she never did any. It made him pity her more. She was a good person. And yet, she also revealed that she was around the drugs, so she could still be charged with possession.

The woman confusingly but insistingly replied back to him. “See? I was telling the truth! I would never do drugs!”

“I didn’t think you would”, Armor answered. She seemed innocent and sweet. Although he couldn’t help but think about how she got the drugs, and why exactly she cooked them into the muffins. He decided to press that later, and looked to her file once more. With a glance at her name, he gave an awkward face. “It says here your name is ‘Derpernia',” he told her, and she nodded. “Is there anything else I could call you? Something, you know, from your childhood perhaps?”

The woman shrugged. “Well, my friends called me ‘Derpy’, first because of my name, and second because of a trick I can do.”

“Really now?" Shining Armor asked. “Show me, if you may?”

‘Derpy’ looked down and chuckled. “Alright, then." She sat back, and Armor watched as her eyes moved in opposite directions, and she shrugged her arms letting her palms lay flat. She stuck her tongue out the side of her mouth, and both of them laughed. She resumed sitting straight.

Armor decided to press now that they were getting friendly. “You seem very nice, Derpy”, he told her. “...but how did you get mixed up in this?”

She sighed, and explained, “I…well, we’re all, but you understand, was going through some hard times. I wanted to open my own shop and sell muffins, but I couldn’t hold a job for the last two years. I was always getting laid off, or the manager said I was too clumsy to work there, and turned me away at interview. My home is a small apartment, just three blocks away from the Red Light Quarter.” It shocked, yet also didn’t surprise Armor that Derpy lived near there. “I had two options: make muffins like that for whoever wanted them, or…” she trailed, “or become a prostitute, and I was not about to do that.” Shining Armor was very glad she didn’t become a prostitute. Too many young women threw away their lives like that. Though the question of why she picked the seemingly harder choice with muffins prodded at him.

“I’m very proud of you Derpy," Shining Armor told her. It was awkward saying that, considering she had just been arrested for drug possession, but looking back on it, it was better if she was being arrested for this and was like this, instead of her coming in barely dressed and filled with drugs and alcohol. “Most women your age would become prostitutes or worse.”

Derpy shrugged down again, joining her hands beneath the table. “Thanks, I guess,” she answered lowly. Shining Armor smiled. She really was a sweet girl.

His mind went back to the task at hand. He had to ask her. “So Derpy,” he started, “how did you acquire these drugs? Did you buy them?”

“No, no,” she answered. “I was always given them by my customers. I’d go into the Quarter and any buyers would give me the drugs. Later, I’d bring them the muffins with them cooked inside, and then they paid me.”

“Wait”, Shining Armor stopped her. “You mean, you’ve been in the Quarter?”

“Several times,” Derpy answered. “I had to; that’s where my customers were, silly.” It surprised him that she was fine with going there, and she might have heard something about the murders.

“Alright, one last question,” Shining Armor told her. “How long have you been doing this?”

Derpy looked up to her right trying to recall. “I’d say three weeks.”

“Thank you,” Shining started to get up from his seat.

“You’ve, um, never told me your name,” Derpy asked sheepishly.

He turned around, and bowed. “Captain Shining Armor of Her Highness Celestia’s Royal Guard, at your service.”

“Hey,” she exclaimed. “I remember you now! You married the Princess’s niece six years ago!”

He chuckled and looked down. “Indeed I did." Cadence was a lovely wife, and he loved her dearly. Though married for six years, they had not yet been blessed with children. Fortunately, though cursedly at the same time for other reasons, the hard times had taken them out of the spotlight, allowing them to live a relatively quiet and uninterrupted life at home.

“Well, thank you Derpy for your cooperation,” Shining Armor told her. He pushed a button on the wall, and an officer entered. He told Derpy to get up and put her hands behind her back, and proceeded to handcuff her.

She quizzically looked at Shining for a moment before her expression dropped. “Oh, yeah,” Derpy said lowly and sad. “Possession…”

“I’m very sorry, Derpy,” Shining Armor tried to apologize. “That's how the law works, though.”

"There’s no need to apologize,” she answered and sighed. “I understand.”

She was led out and the officer, and Armor watched as she was led away. It was almost time for him to go. He sighed as the officer that gave the report to him previously came up to him again. He saw her and realized what he could do for Derpy.

“Have her placed in the temporary detainee cell,” he told the officer next to him.

“Sir?”

“You heard me”, Shining Armor said. The temporary detainee cell was a small one they used if the arrested person needed to be guarded for the night or until a partner was caught or a bailer came to get them. It was mostly used for petty criminals awaiting bail. It was a cell, and with no one to talk to, she’d probably become very bored, but at least a good girl like her wouldn’t have to deal with jailbirds.

“Sir, are we allowed to…” the officer tried to start before Shining Armor held up his hand.

“I am the Captain,” he told her, “I order you to put her in the temporary detainee cell.”

The officer straightened. “Yes, sir."

As he left he called back, “And get her a better pillow in there for goodness sake.”

“Sir, where would I get one?" the officer asked.

“I don’t know,” he answered sarcastically, “have you tried the store?”

-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

A week had past, and there was another body, and Shining Armor was starting to get concerned. Even Cadence was now getting worried, and she was usually pretty calm with Armor’s job. She was especially concerned, as she was really wanting to have a child. Armor dead would eliminate those chances.

But Armor knew he’d be alright. What concerned him was how these murders had come so close together. They couldn’t prove who did it, and if these murders were even committed by the same people. There hasn’t been a spree like this for a while. He wondered if whoever was doing it wanted to be found. “Sir,” the green haired assistant came, knocking at his door.

Armor looked up from his desk. “Yes?”

“The agent from central is here.”

“Good, good send him in.”

“Right away sir,” she replied, saluting and leaving. Armor got up and pushed his chair back in. He waited and a man with a black coat and fedora walked in. He took his hat off and revealed a head of green hair, a goatee and matching eyes. Armor could tell he was relatively young.

“I’m Agent Spike, from Central,” he introduced himself. “I was sent because you needed help with a few murder cases.”

“Indeed; Welcome,” Shining Armor said, shaking Spike’s hand. He looked at the man, and somewhat thought he knew him from somewhere. “How old are you?”

“Twenty-two,” Spike answered.

“Ah,” Armor replied. Younger than Armor, and he recognized him. “Don’t I know you from somewhere?”

“I think you might,” Spike chuckled. "I was your sister’s assistant for a long time, and I also organized the bachelor party before your wedding."

“Ah, yes, now I remember you,” Armor said. The person who organized his bachelor party, and Spike was only seventeen at the time. That added to that day long remembered. But then he thought about his sister...missing after all this time after unfortunate events. “Well, er, welcome again. We have a few things to discuss…”

“If you wouldn’t mind, I would like to start with whatever witnesses or anyone who you can help that you’re detaining.”

“Well, I’ve got one,” Armor said. He took out a dossier and handed it took Spike. “She was baking drugs into muffins.” Spike looked at Armor with a look of disbelief. “Yes, muffins. She claims to have never used drugs ever, and the tests are here to prove that. She seems a little too…innocent to be caught up in all of this on purpose. She said she’d much rather do this than become a prostitute like most women.” He handed Spike her thin folder. He opened it up and took a look inside.

“Her name is Derperina? No last name?”

“Not one that we could find. She said her friends all call her ‘Derpy’,” They had arrived at Derpy’s interrogation cell, and Armor opened up the door for Spike, and they both proceeded in. Derpy was laying back in her chair, tipping and balancing it as she sat slouched. As she saw Spike take the seat in front of her, she nearly fell over trying to sit up straight. Armor was behind her, and balanced the seat, and put it straight. Derpy thanked him and looked to the unfamiliar face in front of her.

“Hello there, Derperina,” Spike said, smiling. “Or would you prefer Derpy? Captain Armor here said you go by that name.”

“Yes, sir,” Derpy answered, her voice sounding a bit nervous.

“Sir?” Spike chuckled. “How quaint. You can just call me Spike. Think of me as a friend.”

“Yes si-” Derpy stumbled on her words to catch herself. “er, Spike…Sorry…”

“That’s quite alright.” Spike shifted in his seat and adjusted his fedora, getting more comfortable. “Sooo, arrested for drug possession. Tests show that you’ve never used them though, and Armor here said that you said you never have done them once.”

“Yes, that’s true,” she answered. “I don’t do drugs.”

“So”, Spike continued, peering onto a paper within the file. “It says here you just baked them for customers.” Derpy nodded. “Armor told me it was because you didn’t want to become a prostitute.”

“Yeah…” Derpy said, her voice and eyes trailing off, and then refocusing on Spike.

“A smart choice,” Spike told her. “Many women your age would just sell their bodies. However, I can’t say I fully approved of the alternative you chose either.” Derpy simply shrugged, and looked down. He could tell it shamed her to have done so, though she didn’t have much choice in the matter.

Spike decided to press further on this. “Derpy, though I am glad you are not a prostitute, but do you mind telling me why you didn’t go that way?”

Derpy shifted in her seat, and stroked her left arm with her right hand. She sighed. “Other than the obvious shame in being a prostitute, I kind of have issues with letting myself be like that.”

“Would you be kind enough to enlighten me some?” Shining Armor, standing silent, leaned in to stop Spike, but the latter held his hand up to block him.

“Well…”, she started. “I told myself that the only way I’d let a guy get close to me like that is if I loved him and I felt he loved me.”

Spike smiled. “That’s really sweet,” he told her. “And good too, as your tests also show that you seem to be committed to that.” Derpy smiled warmly at him. Spike was glad that some women still held some of their honor intact.

“Thanks."

“Now, Armor here says that you’ve been selling into the Red Light Quarter. Recently, four men were killed there.” Spike pulled out four different photos that were in her file. He placed them out in front of her, and she looked at them deep in thought.

“I sold muffins to these guys…” Spike’s jaw dropped a little bit. Finally, a lead! He leaned in a bit, much more interested in her story now.

“Do you know why they would’ve been murdered?”

“Not really, sorry,” Derpy answered, leaning back into her chair some. “But they did talk about this one gang when I dropped off the batch…” Spike and Armor both looked at each other, and then at Derpy.

“Could you tell us what you know?”

“Of course! They said that the gang was killing off competition, and were starting to gain a bit of a reputation. I wouldn’t be surprised if they were already dead, honestly…”

Spike simply nodded. “Would this gang be considered ‘high class’ from what you heard?”

“They didn’t really say anything specific, except that they lived fairly comfortably.” Spike sat back for a moment and considered all of this.

“Did they ever describe or name any of the members?”

“No…but when I left, I remember bumping into a woman with beautiful long pink hair. I noticed she had a pistol in her holster.”

Bingo. He pulled out a notepad from his back pocket and opened it up to the newest blank page. “Can you describe her to me? In as much detail as you remember?”

“Well, like I said, she had long pink hair. She was wearing a yellow sweater with three pink butterflies on the lower back, and uh…she was wearing jeans. Oh! And she had a pink scarf on.” Spike quickly jotted down the minor description of the newest suspect. Something about her seemed oddly familiar, though.

“Anything else? Height? Weight?”

“She was really tall for a girl, probably 6 feet. And skinny. Skinnier than me. I just don’t know for certain.” Spike looked up to Armor, and their grins widened.

“Thank you, Derpy. You’ve been a really big help,” Spike said, getting up from his chair. “Perhaps we can get something through to lessen your punishment for your cooperation.”

-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

Twilight Sparkle sat in her room, thinking about what had been going on lately. So far, as usual, money was being made. Pinkie’s drug deals and Applejack’s cider sales never ceased to please, and Rainbow Dash’s race winnings were all too filling. Rarity, of course, brought much of the big cash. Rarity was very good to her clients. So good, that in fact, she was constantly out entertaining them, pocketing large sums which made Twilight very, very happy.

But more importantly, Twilight thought about her standing amongst the gangs within in the Quarter, and her overall standing here in this land. Her plan was now in motion. Soon, she’ll have the Guard’s attention, and then she’ll be the best on the block. But first, she needed to deal with one last problem, but that was going to be taken care of soon. She had made some arrangements.

Twilight got up and left her room, heading into the living room. She sat down on the couch, and flipped her hair over to lay behind the couch. Fluttershy was inserting new bullets into a clip. Twack! as each new one was placed in. Twilight herself wasn’t sure what exactly happened to Fluttershy, but whatever happened, it made Fluttershy the best damn killer around here. Twilight had her running jobs since she formed the girls together, and each time, Fluttershy executed it flawlessly.

Twilight liked to remember how they all were, and how beneficial their coming together was. Dash’s speed on the tracks won her a lot of money, Applejack’s experience with making cider from her life on a farm, Rarity having her ways of pleasuring men…

The doorknob rustled around a bit, and Twilight shot her head over. Fluttershy too broke her focus to see who was coming through the door. “I’m baacck…” Pinkie trailed happily, entering the apartment.

As for Pinkie, well, she knew what kind of stuff some people around here wanted. The poor girl was a drug addict, Pinkie. Twilight pitied her. She was skinny and a little shorter than Twilight. But her naturally fluffed up hair made up for that. Though, when Twilight saw her high, she noticed Pinkie’s hair was oddly deflated. Pinkie had used drugs for a while, and about a year ago, Twilight and Rarity confronted her to not use as often, and to stay off powders and snorting entirely. If Pinkie overdosed and died, she could not make any money for Twilight or the rest of them. After a lot of effort, they were more or less successful.

“Good, good,” Twilight answered. Pinkie went over to the table in front of the couch, and put two stacks of money down. Twilight flipped through them and was quite satisfied. “You never cease to please.”

“I try,” Pinkie boasted with a smile. She went back and looked around, and she heard a greeting from Applejack in her room. A little bit after, she saw Pinkie peek back. “I see Rarity’s left.”

“Yes, she did,” Twilight answered, turning on the television before her. “She had a big job.”

“Ah, well,” Pinkie answered, then yawning. “I guess I could go to bed now.”

“You do so,” Twilight told her friend. “Dash should be back soon.” Rainbow Dash was in her garage a lot, sometimes staying late, modifying her car.

“Okay, night,” Pinkie called back. Twilight replied in turn and then focused her attention back to the programming.

Twilight thought about her brother, and how he might react to finding out his sister was the biggest criminal in town. It’d be sad to disappoint. But friendship taught her a lot of things. It taught her life lessons, how to accept others, and more importantly:

How to be the best damn criminal in town.

-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

A hand reached out to grab a gem encrusted purse, which swiftly tossed it onto its shoulder. The hand and arm belonging to a short, curly purple haired woman. She looked back over her shoulder, past her greasy hair to find the handsome and well built nobleman of Prince Blueblood lying asleep, sprawled out and hogging most of the covers. He was a work of art, that one, just as he usually was, but the large sum of money that Rarity now carried prevented her from protest.

She looked away shaking her head, and silently slipped out the doorway after leaving a note with her lipstick imprint of her kiss on it. Rarity made doubley sure she had everything with her, and proceeded down the well lit hotel hallway. The sudden change of the light level made her squint, and she rubbed her eyes to help clear her vision. She made it to the elevator, and pressed the button for the first floor. There was no one else in the elevator, so she placed her head against the wall and closed her eyes. It was late, but Rarity had to get home before dawn. It was the one rule that she and Twilight had established.

DING the bell in the elevator went, signalling for Rarity to head home. She was across the city from where she resided in the Red Light Quarter. Blueblood had insisted that the upscale hotels and casinos in the Serendipity district would be better. "The customer is always right..." She had told herself. Something she still retained when she made dresses, all that time ago.

The walk was far and difficult, the unending repetition of street lights being the only thing keeping Rarity awake, besides the desire for her warm bed, and salvation from the cold night. She was all the way into the Quarter, when she saw a group of three drunk men stumbling out of the bar just down the street from her apartment building.

"Hey! You!" One of them slurred out, yelling to Rarity from behind her. "Com'ere sweet thing..." Rarity swung around to face the group. It was evident that she still looked like she was working. Besides her long fur coat, the only thing she had on was her favorite pair of light blue heels and matching lingerie.

"What do you want?" She hissed out, evidently too exhausted to deal with these assholes. The sun was going to come up soon, and she needed to get home.

"You know what I want, come on now..."

"Yeah, I don't think so," she shot out, turning and walking away.

"Hey, bitch! I've got money you know!"

"I sincerely doubt you can pay for my entertainment."

"Oh really now? How mush do ya want?"

"300 bits."

"I can find someone sleazier for cheaper, screw you."

"Only the rich do," Rarity said confidently and snobby, strutting away. She rushed away as fast as possible, trying to get away from the group before they got any ideas. Thankfully, her apartment building was right there, and she hastily stuck her key into the door to get in and away from the cold night. She sighed as she looked up the flight of stairs that she had to climb to get to the third floor and home. Reluctantly, she drug herself up the flight of stairs, welcomed by the warmth of the building. She lightly knocked on the door of the floor that they rented, and opened it up slowly and quietly.

"Girls, I'm back." Rarity said softly as she entered the front door of the apartment. She strutted found her long time friend Twilight Sparkle sitting on the couch, her long and illustrious hair strewn over the back of it. She was focused on the television, and didn't even look over to greet Rarity.

"Hey, Rares. Finally back from doing that guy from the royal family, I see," She said, not even diverting her attention away from the television.

"It was the Princess's nephew, for the record."

"Wait, Blueblood? Didn't you and him have a falling out a few years back?"

"Indeed, but I'm not complaining. He paid me grandly." Rarity was shadowing over Twilight, leaning on the back of the couch. Finally, Twilight looked up at her, and Rarity handed her her cut. Twilight quickly counted out the stack, and her eyes widened.

"Damn. You weren't kidding." Rarity hung her coat on the rack they had by the front door, and slipped out of her heels, making her shrink about two inches.

"I guess everyone but you is asleep?" Rarity started over to her room.

"You know that I don't sleep anymore..." Twilight responded distantly, Rarity barely able to hear. She got out of her uncomfortable corset, and into a tank top and fleece pajama pants. She put her hair up into a bun, and returned out into the main room.

"I'm simply exhausted. Anything I should know before we go to bed?" Twilight stared blankly at the television for a moment, before looking over to Rarity again.

"Hm..." Twilight thought for a moment. "Not that I remember."

"In that case, goodnight." Rarity turned away and headed back into her room, stretching out across her silk sheet bed. She closed her eyes as the first rays of light of the day came through her window, peeking over the buildings in the skyline.

-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

"So you don't know anything about this woman?" Spike sighed as the waitress in the diner shook her head. He walked away, heading towards Shining Armor, who sat there sipping on his coffee.

"We aren't getting a damn thing from Derpy's lead." Spike sat down across from him in the booth he was occupying. Armor crossed his arms, and looked at his partner.

"There haven't been any calls into the precinct about her sketch, either." A middle aged man stumbled over to the booth that Spike and Shining were sitting in. He was visibly hungover, and his clothes were filthy and riddled with holes. "Can I help you, sir?" Shining asked once he was standing next to the two.

"I heard you was talkin' to the waitress over there about some lady that might've been killin' people."

"I'm guessing you know something?" Spike asked sarcastically. Shining shot him a quick dirty look.

"Probably nothing important, but I saw a whore last night who've I've seen with someone lookin' like that lady you described. I was looking for a bit o'fun myself, but her prices were crazy. Said somethin' about only workin' for the rich."

Shining's brow furrowed. "Could you tell us what she looked like? Did you get a name? Anything?"

"She was kinda a short thing, probably only 5'6". Had some fine curves, and her hair was purple. I wasn't close enough to see her eyes very well, and she never told me her name or nothin'. Just blew me off."

"Great, another lead with just a description..." Spike said to Shining disappointed.

"Thank you," Shining kindly said to the man.

"That's not it. She went into an apartment building of a new and upcoming gang. I could only guess she's in it." Shining and Spike looked at each other, both finding a few of the missing puzzle pieces fitting in.

"Do you know where this apartment building was?" Spike asked.

"Son, I barely even remember last night. You should be lucky that I recall as much as I did."

"Er...thank you, then." Shining said uncomfortably.

The man nodded at the two and walked back over to where he was sitting at the counter.

"It's starting to all make sense now. New gang comes in, starts wiping out all the competition..." Spike said admiringly.

"You know we need to stop them before it goes too far. There's already 4 deaths that we know about on their hands. God knows how many we're not aware of."

"Yeah yeah, I know." Spike thought back to the man's description for a moment. 'Purple hair, short, fine curves...'

"Spike, you alright?" Shining questioned his partner, who was staring off into space.

"What?" He snapped his eyes back to Shining. "Oh, yeah. Sorry. Let's see what we can do about this new information." Spike chugged down the rest of his coffee, slightly burning his throat, and paid the waitress their minuscule check. Out the door the two went, Spike putting his fedora onto his head, and Shining adjusting his coat.

-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

“I wonder what’d it be like to be a pony..."

“Stop being ridiculous, Lyra,” BonBon told her friend. Both of them were Guard members, out patrolling an abandoned area of the Quarter for right now. It had been three nights since the guard had found a group of gangsters dead, and they were out in the area to report suspicious activity. They were about to go back to the station and then turn in for the night at their respective houses.

The two were inseparable friends from childhood, constantly hanging out with each other. Both were twenty-three. Lyra was light green haired with a dash of white. BonBon had a more purplish and pink, evenly distributed in halve. They both went to the Guard Academy together and passed the same year, and now were somewhat veterans, despite only serving for about three years.

“Consider it, having four legs, a tail, hooves…” Lyra went on. She was slouched on her side since they were not moving. A kind of pseudo-way of realizing her obsession.

“That’s just crazy," BonBon told her friend. That was one of the many traits of Lyra; she always went on about how great it’d be being a pony. It was the only thing that made her in any way strange. "I doubt there’s anything too great in being a pony."

“Well, you wouldn’t have to put up with places like this”, Lyra observed, looking at the place around her and her friend. The Quarter was low end, all around. They were glad to rarely enter here. There was a lot of illegal activity, but any direct Guard action would never end well. So, they didn’t have much control here.

“Good point,” BonBon answered. After another moment, she had enough of here. “Come on, let’s go”, she told Lyra about to start the car.

“Alright,” Lyra answered back. Then BonBon saw something on top of the building in front of them.

“Wait…”, she trailed. She peered up at the top of the building, at something that was out of place under the billboard. Her eyes strained to see. Lyra looked in that direction as well.

“Does it look like…there’s a person up…th…”

There was a flash and a banging noise from where they were looking, and in a second the window smashed open and the back of BonBon’s head exploded. Blood, bone, and brain matter followed, spraying both the headrest and the dashboard, as well as some on Lyra. BonBon’s head jerked back and then forward, her head hitting the car horn and sending it blaring.

As soon as BonBon was hit Lyra shrieked and opened the door and lept out of the car, taking refuge behind it. "BonBon!" Lyra shrieked. Her now deceased best friend's blood, dripping down her face, and stained on her uniform. She had started to panic and gag, utterly shocked by the swiftness of the incursion. She quickly toughened herself and breathed, taking a radio off her torso pocket and calling in.

“This is Guard Lyra Heartstrings! Guard BonBon is KIA, repeat, Guard BonBon is KIA! I need help! Now dammit!"

“Guard? Where are you?” the man at the other end asked.

“I’m in the lower East Corner of the Red Light Quarter on Cloudsdale Street, in front of the building with the big billboard. There is a sniper on top of the roof.”

“Alright, try to stay down,” the man said.

“Don’t worry,” she answered, she barely peered over the car. “I’ll try not to…”

There was another flash and bang. A bullet hit her eye and blew the back of her head open. Blood and brain splattered the road as she fell dead instantly, and the radio hit the ground, calling: “Guard Lyra? Guard Lyra, report! Guard Lyra?” From a distance, on top of the roof, Fluttershy was still aimed down the scope of her Super Magnum sniper rifle. Wearing her yellow turtle neck, pink scarf, and tan vest with matching pants. “Funny”, she whispered. “Usually I get cleaner shots…”
She packed up the sniper weapon and collected the casings and went downstairs and toward the safehouse to lie low, eventually hearing the sirens of Guard vehicles as the pulled to the scene.

Spike and Armor pulled up by the tape, and then got out of the car. They walked over past the line and to the scene which lay before them.

Already parked there was an ambulance, and the two bodies of the murdered officers were in body bags. They walked to an officer who was leading what was a going on.

“Officer," Shining Armor nodded the man standing by.

“Ah, yes, Captain," she answered. She was lean, with a mostly white hair, with a large streak of blue on the right. She handed a dossier to Shining Armor, who handed it to Spike. “We have two dead officers, as said. We’ve identified them as officers Lyra Heartstrings and Bon Bon. Both killed by sniper fire.”

“Damn, Heartstrings was my assistant...” Armor muttered. “I hope she rests in peace…” He stood around for a second. This was the first time in literally years that an officer, much less two, were killed in the line of duty.

“We’ve found that the rounds that killed them were shot from that structure”, the officer said, pointing to the tall building at the end of the street with the billboard on top. “However, on a sweep, we were unable to find casings.”

Armor turned to Spike. “Do you think whoever did this took the casings with them, so there was no specific evidence that we could prove it was them?”

“Possibly,” Spike answered, rubbing his chin. He went over to the body bags, and opened them at the top, both he and Armor flinched.

The medics had done their best to patch it up, but their heads were in terrible condition. Bon Bon’s forehead was simply broken, evidence of where she was hit. Lyra was even worse, with the bullet penetrating her eye and out her skull. Spike saw where the lines had been made to show where Lyra died, as Bon Bon was in the car. He pinpointed the trajectory, and pointed to where the shot came from.

“We found nothing there, sir,” the officer said. “We figured out the trajectory, but there was nothing, not even DNA. Whoever did this had a lot of skill.”

“Yes, but how does one get a sniper rifle?” Spike asked himself. “They aren’t exactly cheap, especially the caliber she was using.” Spike picked up the bullet and identified it as a .300 Magnum round; an expensive bullet.

“Do you think this is gang violence?” Armor asked.

“That may be a disturbing truth...” Spike noted. This was beyond likely though for a gang. Whoever did this was very bold or had serious issues. Perhaps both.

He turned to the officer. “Well, there’s not much we can do here, I’m afraid. Conclude your investigation and report back. We’ll get to the bottom of this.”

“Yes, sir,” the officer replied. Spike and Armor went back to their car and shut the door. Before turning on the engine, Armor asked Spike, “Why do you think someone would do this? She was my assistant, but that’s not why it happened. Why would someone target Guard? I know we aren’t exactly welcome, but this is beyond what would happen.” Armor thought back. “Do you think…this was the same person or people as the other murders?”

Spike thought about it. “There’s something amiss. I think someone or some people want to make them self or themselves known. And they want us to see what they’re doing.”

Armor took the dossier and read over it. “Did they have family?” Spike asked.

“None really,” Armor answered. “Or at least, none that would really be too affected by this, unfortunately.”
Spike thought back to the young Derpy, who on file didn’t have a last name, or even parents. He thought of what would happen if she were a victim, who would mourn her.

“Whoever did this is sadistic,” Spike answered. “And they need to be stopped.”

“No objections there,” Armor answered. He put down the dossier and started to car, and drove back to the Guard station.

-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

The club below the apartment was closed for the night; the tables and chairs moved out of the way. Towards the back near the bar were a few lounge chairs, as well as four sofas, and a coffee table in between all of them. Already, Twilight was setting up for the meeting. The lights were down low and a candle sat on the table. At the bar itself, Applejack already had her cider and other mixed drinks ready for when the gang arrived. Rainbow Dash just sat in a chair, tapping her foot and the other leg crossed. Rarity was just about ready, having been ordered by Twilight to provide some 'entertainment', and Pinkie was rolling spiced cigars. Fluttershy stood around, just watching with a pistol at her side.

Twilight then came down dressed in an elegant gown, though a holster with a loaded 9 mm was strapped to her inner thigh. Rarity followed in her footsteps, dawning a white dress that exposed her cleavage; a better view for their guests. Her hair was done up, and she had put on dark red lipstick, as well as a light blue eyeliner to compliment her diamond colored eyes. "Alright, they will be coming soon," Twilight addressed her friends. After a few minutes, a knock came at the door. Rarity went to open it and saw the group of five gangsters standing outside, all dressed in coats and fedoras. She leaned against the door and gave a seductive smile. "Hello there..."

"Right", the lead one adressed. He was in his mid-thirties by the way Rarity perceived him. Obviously, he started his crime business before the tough economic times, and just was on a roll because of it. "We're here because your boss asked to negotiate, so could you step aside?"

"Uh..." The sudden rejection shocking Rarity. "Of course," she answered, doing as she was told. The men stepped in and she eyed a particular one that appealed to her. He was tall and about in his mid-twenties. He met her gaze and she gave a slight giggle. He just smiled lowly and nodded back, as she bat her eyelashes at him.

There was a large table near the door, and Fluttershy went behind it. She took her pistol out and ejected the clip, placing it on the table. She then put the pistol on the table and coldly demanded, "Your guns, please." They went into their coats and pulled out various revolvers and semi-automatic pistols. One of the gangsters even had a sub-machine gun on him and took it off the sling. They put the clips and magazines seperate and left them on the table. Twilight went over and put her 9 mm down as well. Applejack reluctantly pulled out a sawed-off shotgun from under the bar and went over and placed it on the table as well.

Twilight went to the lead gangster afterwards and shook his hand. "It's good to see you, make yourself comfortable."

"Thanks," he answered. "I look forward to making business with you. It's a wise decision to start dealing with us."

"Oh, I know it is," Twilight answered. "Come, come, have a seat," she told them motioning to the couch. He and his cronies took off their coats and put them on the hanger and went over. The boss sat on one couch and Twilight laid on another. His entourage stood around, hands crossed in front of him.

"Can I interest you in anything", Twilight asked. "Cigars? Cider, perhaps?"

"No thanks," the boss said. "Let's get down to business."

"With pleasure," Twilight answered. She had Applejack bring her a glass and pour. She drank as the boss waited patiently. "I don't want any disagreement between us, or any unnecessary roughness, if you know what I'm saying", she told the boss.

"I would like to keep it the same way," the boss answered. "We're happy to accept allegiance."

"Yes...allegiance." Twilight smiled as she gently moved the glass around in her hand.

As Twilight and the boss talked business, Rarity hovered around the men, looking at them as they just stood not noticing her, save the one from earlier. She went to the one specifically, and started to trace with her finger on him. She noticed his face getting red with arousal. She then went behind him, and laced her arms around his neck. Rarity then kissed him behind the ear. He immediately perked up, the rest of the men standing unchanging.

"Would you like to have some fun before you go dear?" she whispered in his ear. Before he could answer she brought him down on a chair, and started to crawl onto him, tugging at his shirt with one hand and moving up his pants with the other.

"Hey, knock it off." They both turned and the boss, looking over to them, followed by Twilight. Both of them blushed. "We don't plan on staying too long, okay?" the boss adressed them. "So get up, we're almost done." Rarity complied, and the member straightened himself up, taking his position back next to the couch. Rarity still floated around him though, flirtatiously looking at him.

After a brief time amount of discussion, Twilight looked around. Rarity was still flirting with the gang member, Pinkie was sitting in the back smoking a cigar, and Dash was just sitting looking at her nails. She figured they were no longer needed for the night. "Rares, Dash, Pinkie," she adressed all three of them as they turned to her. "You're excused for the night. Go upstairs; get some sleep. I'll be down here for a bit longer."

They nodded and went to the back up the stairs. Pinkie discarded the cigar in an ashtray before going up and then promptly went up the stairs. Dash followed, and Rarity went last. As she was going up, she heard Twilight from back in the club. "You know, you don't have to leave just yet...I can make it worth your while to stay longer..." Rarity turned back and peeked through the door, curious of what Twilight had planned. Twilight climbed over the coffee table, and was moving seductively towards the boss, who sat there with confused. She got on top of him and tugged on his shirt with one hand, and was lifting the side of her dress with the other. Rarity smiled and turned back to head upstairs. It was good she was-

Rarity heard an array of gunshots, some shouts, followed by thuds. Her heart nearly stopped as she jumped out of her skin and nearly shrieked at the noise.

She jumped back to see Twilight now holding a .50 cal pistol, that was obviously hidden up her leg. It was smoking with five casings on the floor. She watched as the body of the man she flirted with hit the ground last, a bullet hit right in between his eyes, making a bloody mess before and after he hit the floor. The gang boss was hit right in the heart, bleeding with eyes wide open. The rest of the gang were sprawled on the floor, hats strung about as the blood started to puddle. Twilight then looked to Fluttershy and Applejack, and told them to clean up the bodies. Rarity watched as they did so, shaking her head. She tripped, and caught herself on the door, which promptly swung open. Twilight's head shot towards Rarity and stared at her for a moment.

Rarity caught her balance and straightened herself up and looked around. She shook her head in disappointment. "Damnit Twilight, why did you do it again..."

"I had to," Twilight assured her. "I wasn't about to bow down to these bastards. This city needs to know who really is in charge here."

"But, was there no other way?" she whimpered. "Did you have to kill all of them?"

"They needed to be eliminated," Twilight answered. "No, there was no other way. Negotiation was out of the equation from the start. I never planned to deal with them. They came; I killed them. Now there's one less problem. I don't understand why you can't be happy with that."

"I...just..." she tried to explain, but stopped, lowering her head. Twilight sighed an put her gun down on the coffee table. Fluttershy and Applejack continued to do what they were told. Twilight went to Rarity and brought her head up and ran her fingers through her hair.

"Rarity, I know you don't like these things. That's why I sent you upstairs. I'm sorry, but there was no other way." Rarity said nothing but just looked at Twilight. A few years ago, this was the smart young woman that was very kind to all.

Now, anything that could be considered kindness was shown only to her and the rest of her friends. She spoke very harshly of others, especially rival gangs and Celestia. And she had been killing for a while, one of the few things Rarity found uncomfortable and afflictive.

"Don't you see we're at the top? We have the entire district in our grasp; now no one would challenge us! Sure, we'll stay here, but now the district will fear us! We'll have a great reputation."

"For what? Being murderers?"

"That's what it took to get here." Rarity looked away. "Listen, I could never ask you to kill. I, Applejack, and Fluttershy take care of that. All you have to worry about is keeping yourself healthy, and..." she took her arms and traced around Rarity's body in the air, "take care of that. You pleasure people with that." She then pointed to in between her thighs. "Especially that."

Rarity just sighed and went upstairs. "I...just...try not to do this as much anymore, Twilight."

"I can't make any promises, you know that. We need power through fear."

Rarity made her way up the steps as Twilight called goodnight. Rarity went into her bedroom and changed out of her dress, and into her favorite pajamas.

It was funny, she thought. This was the first time in the week she was actually in her own bed at this hour.

-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

Twilight was readying for bed. She started with removing her handgun and holsters, placing them onto her nightstand. She ejected the magazine and loaded it again, then placing the empty .50 cal pistol and the clip in her bedside drawer. She stripped out of her dress, and put on a large t-shirt.

As she went by her bed, she glanced at herself in the mirror. Twilight walked over towards it, leaning herself on her elbows and staring at her reflection.

She looked vigilantly for a few minutes, thinking about what had happened. She had just killed five people, and felt no remorse for it. But she knew Rarity didn’t like this murder. Twilight thought Rarity was going to have to deal with it, but it was a shame that Twilight had to see her upset like that. She seemed almost disappointed.

Twilight looked at herself more. The more she looked, the more she started to remember. It was something she constantly did; remember what brought her here, right now.

It was good to be the student of the Princess, but things were becoming hard on her highness as the country slowly fell. It was also affecting Twilight, seeing her friends being devastated as well, one by one.

Twilight had this…boredom. She loved studying, reading and being with her friends, but there was always a longing for something that eluded her. She found herself in the Royal Library one day, looking up what might be ailing her, and why she was feeling that way. The Encyclopedias gave her some insight, leading to what was called intimacy, but she then only wanted to know more. It was devouring her, like a deep seeded craving.

Celestia had marked off several books for Twilight never to read, lest she be scolded, but Twilight felt that her answers lay within. She snuck in and started reading, sometimes even hiding books from the guards to read at home for which she couldn’t while she stayed. There it was she learned; she was feeling sexually intimate. She wanted to have a partner, but now she felt she was at a dead end. She could never do that with her closest friends, it would never be right.

She wanted it to be closer. She started considering things closer to where she was. Despite being quite ravishing, Prince Blueblood was an ass. She thought of other viable options. The guards would never allow themselves near her like that. She felt lost, until she started gazing upon Celestia’s sister. Luna was nearly two decades older than Twilight, but looked no more than a day older. A trait carried amongst her and her sister. She was also similarly matured from Twilight’s perspective. Perhaps…as a favor, she could cater to Twilight’s desires? But she knew Celestia would never have it, even if she asked. This was her sister she was thinking of. There would be no way Celestia could have it like that. She would have to ask Luna in private, but she couldn’t just go out of the blue, she needed to help ‘persuade’ the younger sister. Her studies brought her to seduction tips. If she could…just one night, have her time, then she felt that might be enough.

She snuck off to find something sexy, and when she felt the time was right, she snuck into Luna’s room without her knowing. Things went downhill fast. Very, very fast. She tried to convince Luna, but Luna wouldn’t have it. She started getting frustrated as Luna kept on rejecting her, and eventually it came to her just trying to force Luna down hoping that Luna would eventually concede and comply.

But Luna shrieked at the top of her lungs. Twilight tried to clamp her mouth shut, but the guards that were posted at her door came in at the screaming and wrestled Twilight away. They locked her in irons and threw her in a cell. Then she broke down. She shouldn’t have let this happen, to let herself come to that…

She spent the night there, until day broke, when she was thrown her usual clothes and ordered to change, and she was to be escorted to Celestia. She nearly broke down again at hearing her name. She knew…she knew Celestia knew what happened. Luna would have told her. Twilight was Celestia’s pupil, and she was caught trying to force the Princess’s sister to have sex with her. Saying the disappointment that Celestia was to give would be upsetting would be a colossal understatement.

She was lead into the throne room dragged by the arm. Celestia had ordered that Twilight must not be bound. Twilight tried looked up at her teacher, but she could not meet her gaze. With Luna next to her, it made it all the more difficult. Twilight forced herself to look at the princesses. What she did see, was utter disappointment. Celestia’s eyes pierced Twilight. There was no doubt that Celestia was beyond furious.

She felt the cold floor as the guards threw her down mere feet away from the throne. She limped up, and held her head down as she was on her hands and knees. Her tears fell gently on the ground, both from the pain of impact and her shame.
Celestia’s voice boomed. “Do you know the law, Twilight?”

“Ye…yes…yes..” Twilight trailed crying. The amount of her tears multiplied.

“Then you know that ANY type of sexual abuse is punishable by a very long prison sentence, and when it’s a noble, much less MY OWN SISTER, it deserves the ultimate punishment.”

Twilight shuttered. Death.

“Please…I’m sorry…I apologize”, Twilight tried to grovel. “I…I promise this will never happen again…I will…just…if I have to stay here for a year or more without leave, I will do it…just forgive me…please”

“What you have done is unforgivable; your grovel is folly”, Celestia stated. Everything in Twilight dropped, and she started to tremble. The Princess had taught her the morals she had, and Twilight had thrown out all the respect the Princess had for her in one night. “But I do not forget your years of service.” Her voice was still cold, not any way assuring.

Twilight felt the guards grip her arms and hold her upright. Twilight’s eyes were red with tears as they ran down her cheeks. Her head drooped down, but one of the guards forced her chin up and let go. Twilight saw Celestia get up off her throne, and slowly walk down in front of Twilight. Twilight shook her head and wept. Celestia came right in front of her, and Twilight stopped, shaking still.

Celestia stood there, and Twilight saw the rage, sorrow, and more than anything else, the disappointment in her eyes. This hurt Celestia as much as Twilight. The once calming and mother-like figure now look as if she was a demon before her. Celestia hand rose and she flinched, expecting to get struck.

But Celestia’s hand had rather made it to Twilight’s shirt. It gripped the badge that Twilight wore to signify she was Celestia’s student, and in one movement, she heard and felt the rip as Celestia tore it off. The Princess threw it at Twilight’s feet, and Twilight stuttered in disbelief.

The guards threw Twilight back away from the Princess, and Twilight landed on her hands. She heard Celestia behind her. “I hereby disgrace and dishonor you, Twilight Sparkle. I relinquish you from your position as my pupil; you are no longer my student. You are no longer welcome in Royal Court for the rest of your living days. You are to cease any association with members affiliated with me or my Guard, including your brother.” Celestia sat back down on her throne. “And if you remain in my sight, I might reconsider not throwing you in a cell for the rest your natural life.”

Twilight got up and turned back. Celestia’s face didn’t change, just staring at her. Twilight quickly rushed out of the Court, wanting to get away from it all. Hoping it would all just disappear. Celestia might as well ended her life. Twilight ended up on the streets. No one high up would hire her. Nobles turned her aside, as it was forbidden by Royal edict for them to deal with her. Even high-class business owners said no, not wanting to deal with an unwanted and disgraced person.

As the Red Light Quarter started to build up, Twilight started finding her former friends in similar situations, doing illegal activity as a result of the hard economic times. It was both a relief and painful to see them like this. Twilight then spent much of her time, when they were not doing their jobs, with them, all of them being together. She saw how they were, unorganized and alone. Twilight had earned money doing various things, mostly being a courier sometimes or helping some low-time gangsters. She realized what she could do.

After a few months she was able to buy a ragged place that could hold all of them. She then gathered them all there, and asked them about a possibility for them to work together, as one group. They all considered, and Applejack made the suggestion for a leader, and Twilight didn’t have to say anything before she was elected. Twilight’s knowledge, they had said, would help them organize. It was then they formed the gang. They armed and stocked up gradually, and worked their way to their position now: the top of the criminal world. It was earned through many trials, and decisions that needed to be made. It no longer bothered her. What needed to happen needed to happen, there was no other way.

Twilight stared into the mirror some more, looking at herself. She wondered sometimes what Celestia must think of her now, realizing that her former pupil was now the bane of her existence.

Twilight smirked at the thought, and abruptly turned to get into bed.

-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

Applejack headed back into her room, and started to undress. Underneath her flannel shirt was a white tank top, and she put on a pair of boy shorts. She crawled into bed, and laid on her side. On the wall next to her was a small and beaten family photo from six years ago. It was her, Applebloom, and Big Mac, all standing smiling and hugging each other. She reached out to put her hand on it and sighed. It had been years, and the pain still lingered.

They were all young. Big Mac was twenty-two, Applejack nineteen, and Applebloom only about twelve. They lived and worked together on the farm, as family. Granny ran most of the business affairs. She soon died though, and they had to pay for a funeral. Despite the cost, the family made it through. Income from their business got them back on their feet within a few weeks. It was hard work, but as a family they got it done together.

That's when the economy went plummeting. Many stopped buying from the farm so they could buy cheaper alternatives to save money, or because they couldn’t afford it all together. Their customers just…disappeared. One month they were hauling in enough to live comfortably, and the next they could barely afford dinner. They even started to become very cheap themselves, and soon foreclosure and the loss of the farm seemed inevitable.

Big Mac started to go around, and came back saying he found a way he could keep the farm. He made a deal with a group of people, who said they would both buy and ship everything the farm produced themselves. Big Mac just had to pay them a certain amount each month and all would be good. Applejack was skeptical of what she suspected as illegal activity, but was okay with it, as long as they kept the farm. It was her family’s; she couldn’t lose it.
They got back up the ladder very quickly. It was back to the way it was, money coming in and simple everyday luxuries. It seemed okay, even though Big Mac made his payments faithfully. It went on for months.

Until one night. She was sleeping, in her bed in the farmhouse, when she heard a scuffle outside. She looked through her open window and saw a small crowd of about six with torches. Big Mac had gotten up and went to confront them. Applejack’s family couldn’t afford, and had no need for a weapon, so Big Mac just stood in nightshirt and pants, armed with a pole. She soon learned that Big Mac was holding out on them. Big Mac tried to explain that things were starting to get a bit rougher despite their help, and that he’d happily get the money in a few days and pay up, but they wanted it now, right there and then. Big Mac said he could, but then the family couldn’t eat for a week. The gang said they didn’t care. Applejack was lowly whispering for Big Mac just to give them the money, and that she’d eat scraps if they had to, they just needed to keep the farm. Big Mac eventually gave in and turned to get the money, but no sooner had the lead man pulled out a gun and shot Big Mac twice in the back. Applejack gasped and shrieked as her brother dropped lifeless. The gunman said that Big Mac should never have considered holding back, and then ordered something incoherent and lit his own cigarette. The other men took their torches and set fire to the barn, the fields, and the house.

All of it went ablaze, and Applejack rushed to Applebloom without hesitation. Applebloom had witness the entire thing from her room, her body unable to move from the shock as the inferno spread throughout the wooden house. Applejack burst in to save her sister, scooping her in her arms. Applejack frantically ran through the blaze, dodging the flames, but the smoke was rising. Applebloom hacked violently and Applejack did her best to cover her own mouth with her arm. She jumped over fallen planks and weaved through columns of flames.

Applejack sighed in relief as she charged out the back door, and turned to Applebloom. Applebloom’s eyes were shut, and her body was motionless, covered in ash and soot. Applejack shook her sister, and she tossed about like a ragdoll. She shouted her name several times and continued to try and force her awake. Applejack frantically then proceeded to try and revive her, compressing her sister’s chest and trying to give her air. She tried over and over, hoping to hear a cough or a gasp to know that her sister was still with her. She couldn’t lose Applebloom, not now…

Fifteen minutes passed, and Applejack finally stopped for a moment, and put her head to Applebloom’s chest, to hear a heartbeat, and there was nothing. She felt her pulse and there was nothing, and she had stopped breathing entirely. Applejack sat back and looked at her sister, who now Applejack realized was gone. She had choked to death on the ash and smoke coming from the house. Applebloom was only twelve.

Applejack lost it. She cried out, and dug her face into her knees, wailing. Her brother, her farm and now her sister, all taken from her in one night. She didn’t stop, and her tears kept on falling, until she fell asleep on the ground. When she awoke, she got up and saw that the fire had died during the night. She crawled through the smoldering wreck that was once her house and went to where her room used to be, and found a slightly crisped hat lying there. She reluctantly put it on, and looked to the body of her brother. He laid in the exact spot where he had been shot, in a puddle of his own blood. Applejack went to where the barn was, and found a shovel, which she then spent hours digging two graves. She lowered her siblings in them, and filled them. She took a moment, and started to weep again. Her old life; there was now almost nothing left.


A few days later she went into town, and started doing whatever she could to make money. She needed to stay afloat, making home in the streets of the Red Light Quarter. Eventually, she started bartering for apples. She made cider with what was provided by customers, and spiked it with narcotics at their request. It paid enough, and soon she had her own small apartment.

It didn't take long until she started to run into her old friends, in varying predicaments and doing various jobs. She then ran into Twilight Sparkle. Applejack thought her long gone, after what happened. Everyone knew, but she just disappeared. Now, they started hanging out together again, and soon Twilight formed them into a gang, and Applejack went on making her cider.

One day, she was given a shipment, and she went to personally deliver it. She always carried a pistol after the incident, to keep her safe. She knocked on the door and the man who answered was the same one who had killed her family. There was no denying it was him. She went inside calmly, her facial expression unreadable. She put the shipment down, and started to walk out.

She proceeded to show them the same mercy they showed her brother. She drew her pistol out in a flash and emptied seven rounds into the gang. All of them died either instantly or of blood loss. Applejack’s eye teared once again, but now she knew she had gotten retribution at last.

Applejack now opened her eyes and looked at the picture, and how happy they were. She kissed her hand and pressed it on the picture, and said goodnight to it. She fell all the way back into her bed.

She then wondered if she had taken the role of the gang that killed her family, doing the same thing. It bothered her a little bit, but what had to be done had to be done. There was no other way now. This was her life. She had to live it.

-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

"Are you sure you're ready for this, Spike?" Shining asked his partner. They both sat in his patrol car at the edge of the Red Light Quarter, preparing for a long night ahead of them.

"Yeah, I'll be fine. Nothing too hard, I've done this before back at Central."

"Just make sure you get back here before sunrise," Shining continued, "and try not to get shot." Spike shot him a condescending look, and got out of the patrol car into the cool night.

"I'll be fine, don't you worry." Spike headed down the street, deeper into the bowls of the Quarter. More brothels and rundown homes appeared the further her went.

Spike turned the corner and walked down a red lit street, and gazed at the signs. All around, places of vice were open and thriving, customers entering and leaving, and the alleys filled with shady activity that this Quarter was known for being home to.

Fortunately, though Spike did look as if he had a bit more class, he noticed that his attire of fedora and trench coat didn’t look too out of place. That was good; he didn’t want to attract much attention if he could. He continued to stroll down, looking at all the signs that advertised the various brothels, bars, clubs, and other establishments that lied within the walls of the buildings here. Above them, lie apartments, which could house the homes of owners of the establishments, rooms for the prostitutes and their clients, or just places for people for residents of the Quarter to sleep.

It was amazing to Spike, that one place could hold the most of the illegal activity in the entire country. For a lot of these places, existing was illegal, but the Guard couldn’t do a thing about it. Stepping in here in the name of the law and open about it was a near death sentence.

Spike wanted to change that. And he could, if he got what he wanted done.

He looked around and looked at the different clubs, seeing the names of which ones and where he might want to start looking. He eventually tried a few of the bars, only having non-alcoholic beverages. Though the bartenders were confused, he made up the alibi that he was from out of town. It was risky, but the bartenders all bought it, saying they were glad they were getting business from people like him. However, he didn’t get much information, or what he didn’t already know.
He was about to give up when he looked at one of the clubs. The writing in neon read the word “Minerva”. He looked at it, and shrugged. Perhaps he could try one more place. There was no bouncer to his surprise, and he was able to just walk in.

The single room that was the club was large to say the least. To his left, he saw a massive floor, populated by some tables and many patrons. He saw a catwalk that had dancing poles, the dancers all dressed skimpily and revealing, patrons throwing money or placing it in the strings of their lower garments. To the side of the stage was the DJ’s position, surrounded by a large stereo.

Spike looked to the right and saw a bar, with a stool open. He decided he could try there. He went and sat down. He looked at the bartender tending to another patron. She was dressed in a shirt and shorts with an apron, filling a glass then going to clean another. She noticed Spike sit down and went his way, still cleaning a glass with a rag. “What can I get you?" she asked.

“Something not too powerful, I guess,”

The bartender looked at Spike, and put down her glass. “You’re odd. Many come just to get wasted. But I won’t judge.” She took a shot glass and filled it with a drink, sliding it to Spike, who tasted it. “Good?”

“Yeah,” he answered. “That’ll be fine.” She brought over a full glass of it as soon as she could. Spike waited for a bit. He didn’t want to seem suspicious. He just looked around, seeing the varying patrons, some with their own ‘escorts’. Spike simply tracked around and drank. When he was finished, the bartender took noticed, and asked if he wanted a refill. He accepted, and she complied.

After a time, she came over and looked at him. “I can’t say I know all of my patrons personally, but I haven’t seen you around at all. You from around here?”

“No, no,” Spike answered, drawing back from taking a gulp of his drink. “I just came here not too long ago; wanted to see what this was all about.”

“Ah, I see”, the bartender answered. “Well, welcome I guess. It’s nice to see customers, and there’s always more room for more money to be made, eh?” Spike nodded. After a few moments, the bartender got another empty glass and started to wipe it down. She leaned over and whispered to Spike. “So, uh, what’s your pleasure? Got any?”

“Why..?” Spike asked. He could see where this was going; perhaps it could lead him to who’s committing the murders.

“I happen to know of a few people who can supply some…‘special’ vices”, she answered, her voice still in a whisper. “So, got any?”

“Depends,” Spike replied. Yes, this would definitely help. “What are you offering?”

“There’s one who can give you some spiked cider, make you have a real good time, and another provides the party favors, if you know what I mean.”

Street drugs. Pinkie Pie was busted for street drugs a few years ago...

“Yeah, I know,” he whispered back. He wanted to ask for more information. “Anything else?”

“Well, there’s this one hooker…” she trailed, as she was cut off. The DJ took her microphone and the dancers went back. Spike looked as well.

“Ladies and Gentlemen, it’s time to drop the bass cannon!" the DJ attempted to scream over her music. Spike looked over to the source of the music, as he cringed slightly from the sudden increase of wubs in the room. The DJ was a young girl, looking barely old enough to be in the club, with red eyes and short hair, laced with blue and sky blue. She dawned a pair of purple glasses, which Spike found to be hideous. “… for the prized jewel and hard to obtain, Rarity!”

Rarity?

Spike kept a straight face but his mind was near exploding now. RARITY? What…is she doing here? The figure came out and there she was. Spike was dazzled for a moment. She…was almost exactly the same. But Spike couldn’t say the same of her attire. She came out in a boa, lace bra and panties. She slowly walked down the catwalk and threw the boa into the crowd, taking to a pole, and beginning to dance and spin, looking seductive and sexy.

Spike was disgusted. Why...you…went like this. We…why, Rarity? You could have been so much better. It was hard to see her like that. Years ago, she was the girl he loved. Now she was just an object of lust.

“Pretty one, isn’t she?”

Spike turned to the bartender, leaning on her elbows watching. “Oh, er, yeah,” Spike answered, his voice not hinting what he was really feeling. He took a few moments, just watching from the corner of his eye, as the memories rushed back. Then it hit him. Perhaps the bartender knew something. “What do you know about the people who supply what you said, and that hooker?”

“Well, there’s the hooker."

“What…” Spike trailed at first. That was even harder. She was a pole dancer AND a prostitute? "I mean uh, is she now?" he stumbled.

“Yeah”, the bartender answered. “She comes by here every so often to do a dance, collect a few more tips and cash. But mostly she’s a call-girl. You know, a whore, slut, hooker. She’ll bang you if you call her. Well, if you’re pocket’s big enough that is.”

“What do you mean?” Spike asked. This was getting harder to take by the second.

“Well, she lives up to her name. She’s the most expensive prostitute ‘round here. Only sleeps with the sleazy upper class guys who’ve got the money she asks for. But if you’ve got enough, I bet she’ll give you a night.”

“Uh-huh”, Spike answered. He wanted to know more. “Do you know…if she’s a single-act, or is she organized?”

“All I know she works with this woman called ‘Sparkle’ or something.” TWILIGHT SPARKLE? Now that’s a name he hadn’t heard in a very long time. He didn’t want to come off as suspicious though, so he didn’t bother to ask about the murders or Twilight yet.

“So…do you know her number?”

“Oh please, 'out-of-towner',” the bartender condescended. “Do you think you have the money?”

“I do…” he answered lowly.

The bartender looked around. “Alright, she gave me it just for such an occasion; wait here,” the bartender said, and went over to a drawer and took a small notebook out, a pen, and a napkin. Spike looked over to Rarity as she was collecting the cash and teasing the crowd.

He looked back, and the bartender had just finished writing a number on the napkin. “Call that number, but book in advance. From what I hear, there’s competition for a night with her.”

“Alright, thank you very much,” he told the bartender.

“Hey, no problem”, the bartender answered. “Anything for an out-of-towner.”

Trust me. You don’t believe how important this is. Spike took another large gulp of his drink, and turned back over to Rarity. She was working the pole rather well, twisting and portraying her body for all to see. Spike called out to the bartender before she got too far away. "Excuse me?" he asked. "Can I have something a little stronger before I go?" She nodded, and brought him over a heavy lager.

"Enjoy." Spike slammed on his new drink, finishing it quickly.

"Appreciated." Spike handed her a few bits and walked out to the street, the cool rush of the night air sobering him up some. The sudden lack of music was pleasant, as for the constant bass was starting to get on his nerves.

Damnit, Rarity... Spike's ego was a little more than bruised. He didn't want to see her like this. He still wanted her to be his, and only his. Not like she would want me now anyway... Spike put his head down and started walking towards the edge of the Quarter, where Shining await in his patrol car to pick Spike up. It wasn't a terribly long walk, since the club was close to the border.

"How was your night?" Shining Armor asked as Spike entered the car. Spike looked over to his partner and smiled.

"I've finally got something. Bartender at the last club I went to gave me this number," Spike pulled out the napkin from his inner coat pocket. "A hooker," Spike internally cringed at the word, "the lady said she was working for someone named 'Sparkle'." Shining's eyes widened at Spike as his jaw also dropped. He looked at Spike for a bit. "Yeah, I know. I did just about the same thing."

"...Are you sure? She could be dead for all we know, I haven't talk to her since-" Spike cut Shining off.

"I'm about to find out. I call the prostitute, set up a meeting, press her for information, and see what we can find out." Spike looked around, in search for a payphone on the street. There was one a few yards behind the car. "Got any spare change?" Shining shook his head as he reached into his pocket, and pulled out a few coins for Spike.

"Stay here," Spike teased as he got out of the car.

-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

Knock, Knock, Knock.

There was a light knock on the hotel door. Rarity was lying on the bed of the room, dawned in a black see-through night gown, as well as matching slippers and panties. She raised her head up at the noise, and inquisitively asked, "Who is it?" She knew better by now than to just open the door to anyone.

A familiar, yet distant man's voice answered. "A client. I believe you said the entry word was 'Elusive'." Rarity got off up the bed, and elegantly walked over to the door. It was locked, in three places. She undid all of them, and the man on the other side pushed the door open. He was wearing a black fedora that covered his face along with a matching coat. He stood a good foot taller than Rarity. The darkness of the room shielded his face.

"Come on in then, darling," She chimed, as he made his way into the expensive up-town hotel room. There was wine sitting next to the bed, as well as two glasses, and a remote for the flat screened TV that hung on the wall across the room. The man pulled out a large stack of money and placed it on the table. Good, he has plenty of money. Rarity poured herself a glass of wine, and approached the figure, whispering into his ear "Are you ready for a lovely time, darling?"

“I bet you say that to all your clients." His voice sounded more familiar, now that it was closer.

Rarity gasped in shock for a moment, hoping her mind was deceiving her. No, it can't be... The man took off his fedora, finally exposing his face fully. Green eyes, green hair and goatee. It was a face Rarity recognized all too well. "Hello there, Rarity," Spike said.

Rarity nearly screamed, but held her mouth, and jumped back. He was so much taller than before, but his face had barely changed. She was nineteen and he was seventeen back when she last saw him five years ago. They were dating then, had been for months. They spent a lot of time together, enjoying one another's presence. Her business hit a rough patch though, and she left to, well...

Here she was now. Caught red handed as a prostitute to her former love.

Rarity realized Spike could see right through her night gown, and ran in order to grab something to cover her extruding chest. “Long time, no see,” Spike said, taking his coat off, placing it on a chair.

“Ah, er…” Rarity trailed. “Indeed...” She noticed his outfit, and realized what he had been doing the last few years. “You're with the Guard…” Spike nodded. Rarity sighed, reminded as to why she was called. "Well, seeing as you called, I suppose that-"

"I'm not here for that, Rarity."

"Oh? But I'm a prostitute, Spike. Why else would you call me? Just to have another look at me?"

"I wouldn't mind staring all day, but, I need to talk to you as well." Rarity blushed, and took a big gulp from her glass of wine, and poured herself more.

"You can't talk me out of this, darling, sorry. This is my life now; entertaining clients. It pays very well. Much better than clothes designing."

"I'm not here to talk you out of your job, either." Spike sighed, as if pained by what she had become. "I'm here with a question."

"Go ahead."

"Who do you work for?"

“Twilight. The girls and I had all spiraled into just about nothing, until she came around. Organized us.”

"Ah, interesting..." Spike trailed off, stroking his goatee. "So she's alive and it IS her..." Rarity sat there for a moment, contemplating, until she realized what Spike had just come here for.

"Oh no, no, no. You're not using me to get to her. She would kill me! And you! She'll, she'll-"

"That's what you're scared of, Rarity? Threats? Is your 'job' more important than what's right?" Spike cut off Rarity with.

"Spike, I..."

He quickly cut her off again. "I have enough dirt on you from this alone to put you in jail for years. I'm positive you don't want that, and neither do I. You help me Rarity, and I'll make sure you don't go to jail. And I'll make sure you stay safe." Spike looked into her blue eyes, and she returned the gazed. "I promise," Spike assured.

Twilight's always killing people for no reason. Fluttershy isn't the same, and Pinkie hasn't changed, despite my attempts... "What...What do you need me to do?" Rarity caved in.

Spike sighed in relief. "Twice a week we will meet, Sundays and Thursdays. We've got two things that you'll be doing. We'll be drawing in corrupt nobles that request your "entertainment" and arresting them, and I want you to tell me of anything Twilight might be planning, whether it be large deals or murders."

"Alright, but..." Rarity said reluctantly. "Twilight hasn't been telling me about a lot of hits she's been putting out lately, because I hate how she just kills so... ruthlessly."

"It's better than nothing." Spike wrote down his phone number on the back of one of his cards, and put it next to the pile of money. He picked up his fedora and coat, and headed for the door. "Thank you, Rarity...and, for the record, you still look beautiful."

"T-thank you, Spike," Rarity blushed. He was out the door, almost as quickly as he came in it felt. What in god's name am I getting myself into? She looked over to the table, the stack of money still there. She hastily grabbed it, and rushed out the door, looking to return it to Spike. She looked to her left and to her right, the hallway completely empty. Rarity went back into the room, and sat down at the table, placing the money back down. She took a look at the card Spike left her. As well as his phone number, a note was scribbled below:

Here's some money so you won't have to sell your body for a little while; buy yourself something nice. I look forward to seeing you Thursday.

She sighed, and looked back at the stack of money. Damn it, Spike. Always so sweet...