• Member Since 30th Jan, 2012
  • offline last seen 7 minutes ago

Tumbleweed


A guy. A guy who writes stories. Stories about ponies. (And sometimes robots).

T

This story is a sequel to The Prisoner of Zebra


Things are looking up for Flash Sentry! While on leave from the Royal Guard, he's cast as the lead role in a production of The Life and Times of Flash Magnus. Finally, he doesn't have to worry about being sent into the literal jaws of danger for the good of Equestria. After facing murderous changelings, gnolls, and even a few dragons, all Flash has to worry about is remembering his lines.

But sometimes, bombing on stage can be murder.

Volume 5 of the Flash Sentry Papers.

Chapters (6)
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Comments ( 64 )

“Flash! I love you, but we only have fourteen hours to save Equestria!”

I've been waiting for this one. :rainbowlaugh:

Things are looking up for Flash Sentry!

That may be the funniest thing you've ever written. :raritywink:

In any case, most enticing opening to a new entry in the Papers, and nice use of Canter Zoom and Juniper Montage alike. Looking forward to seeing where you go with this one.

I see Flash Sentry papers, I like it and I fave it. And then I read it.

This is going to be hilariously good, I can feel it :pinkiehappy:

“Line?”

I did not hit her, it's not true, it's bullshit, I did not hit her, I did not. Oh hi, Mark.

Ididn't say anything!Ididn't cast you!” Canter Zoom took off his glasses and rubbed at his nose. “I didn't casteitherof you! If I had my way,The Life and Times of Flash Magnuswould star somerealactors. But theproducerinsisted that you be included. For ... broader appeal, he said.” Canter Zoom sighed and slid his glasses back into place.

Executive Meddling's a bitch, innit?

I gulped down a mouthful of hot, bitter brew, and reflexively played the part I'd built up ever since that fiasco at Princess Cadance's wedding.* “All in the line of duty, sir.”

Of course.

“Careful, Sentry.” Carrot Top nudged me with a wink. “You never know when some jealous understudy's might try to arrange an 'accident' so they get a bigger part.”

“Very funny.” I said, and then paused. “Youarekidding, aren't you?”

“Mostly.” Carrot Top shrugged. “But at least you've faced worse.”

You scare me.

*Incidentally, thereisan Old Draconian word with this exact definition. Unfortunately, due to the phonetic structure of Old Draconian, said word is unpronounceable to creatures who are unable to breathe fire.

This amuses me FAR too much.

“Hardly more unpleasant than fighting through a Changeling hive, I wager.” I didn't like to brag, but sometimes I found it necessary to remind ponies of my (secretly fraudulent) reputation. It did wonders when somepony was trying to threaten me.

I'd imagine.

I knew better.

Of course. This is so bad an act even I can see through it.

Any alibis I might have concocted were immediately forgotten once I opened the dressing room door and saw the dead body.

Well shit.

8675440

Not gonna lie, I've been waiting for the chance to use that gag too. :)

8676337
Damnit, now I can't remember the character's original name.

Damn! Heck of a good start to this one!

8675734
I'm honestly surprised it's taken someone this long, :derpytongue2:

Shaky Bill

Really? Really? :trixieshiftright:

I can't be the only excited to see Juniper try and poison Trixie's coffee.

Gosh darn it I should know by now not to read your stories until they're completed with all these cliffhangers.

I think the obvious answer is Spotlight, being as she came on to Flash moments before the death was found, and my thought is she wanted to seduce him so she could accuse him of doing it. "It was a sordid affair, and when Canter found out, he obviously tried to fight Flash! Buy Flash, with his military training, killed him by accident! It was a crime of passion!" ..or something like that.

Obviously I'm drawing a conclusion too early, but without the rest of the facts... well, work off of what you got, right?

“Maple. Inspector Maple, if you're feeling official. But Miss Maple will do in a pinch.” She smiled up at me, all sweet and matronly. “Do you mind if I ask you a few questions, Flash?”

I see what you did there.

I poked him.

Accurate.

“Sentry.” Carrot Top took me by the shoulders and looked into my eyes. “Listen. This isn't an op. I don't know what's going on here.”

That, is bad.

“Ah, I'm good at that part.”

“I know.” Carrot Top groaned.

Hey, he's alive, proof that it works.

Juniper screamed.

Accurate.

*A common superstition of the time, likely inspired by the untimely disappearance of the real Flash Magnus. Alternately, for a more pedestrian explanation, it's worth noting that the number of scene changes and effects necessary for a 'proper' production ofThe Life and Times of Flash Magnusare enough to bankrupt a theater company that does not sell enough tickets.

Oh wow...

“You must be Flash Sentry.” She said with a smile that showcased the wrinkeles at the corners of her eyes.

Wrinkles. Also, she's probably involved in all this.

“Yes.” I lied. While having my own cowardice exposed in Miss Maple's investigation would be bad enough, I couldn't fathom what would happen if she found out Carrot Top was secretly Special Agent Golden Harvest.

Who knows.

“No.” Miss Maple said with a little sigh. “In fact, I have reason to believe Deep Pockets was murdered.”

Naturally.

“As I said, that is thelazysolution. It's too pat. After all, Deep Pockets is the one who put you in the theater to begin with. You've got no motive. Unless, of course, there's anything else I'm unaware of? Any arguments about money, perhaps? Or ... no, you wouldn't kill anyone over money.” She said it more to herself, than to me. “But ... a mare, perhaps? Jealousy can run deep in even the best of ponies.”

Maybe, but while Flash is a coward, he's NOT that bad a guy.

“Wait! Nevermind--” Miss Maple craned her head up, looking down the hallway, to where Spotlight passed by, talking to Canter Zoom. “There she is. Take care!” And with a too-cheery wave, Miss Maple tottered off after the director and freshly-minted-widow.

Wonder if she's the killer? Spotlight, that is.

“Whoever killed Deep Pockets is a better fighter than I am.” She sounded almost embarrassed as she said it.

That's, intimidating.

I thought back to the sight of Deep Pockets, sprawled out in my dressing-chair with a shattered neck. “I ... don't think that'll be a problem.”

HAH!

Most certainly it was a murder. Actually, forget that, it was an accident. Somepony WAS trying to kill him, but some piece of the stage got him first and the murderer-to-be just put him into his chair. I'd say it was his wife, trying to seduce Flash to put the blame on him, but that would be too obvious.

I think this is the first time I've seen Miss Marple adapted into a pony story, and it makes me kind of sad that it hadn't ever happened before. In any case, with murder most foul (and Equestrian) to investigate, just about anyone's a suspect. For now, my money's on secret ninja Juniper Montage.

Awww yeaaah! More FSP shenanigans. Let the nay sayers neigh, this stuff is awesome.

8679510
I agree. So far the evidence points towards Spotlight, specially the timing of her advances. That would too easy though, wouldn't it?
Maybe she is in cahoots with someone else? Perhaps an annoyed, abused, downright humiliated director who saw it fit to regain complete control of the production and protect his career? Maybe his mysteriously mobile niece for similar reasons, she's shown unusual skills already...

Let's face it though, it was probably the butler.

I'm very excited to be reading yet another installment in this series, and I look forward to the change of pace. I suppose it remains to be seen exactly how different this story will be compared to the others, considering how easy it would be to switch into the fast-paced adventures that the others contained, but the reference to Agatha Christie (and the classic discovery of a murdered pony) has me hopeful that the mystery elements will play a slightly larger roles than in the previous installments.

I eagerly await the next chapter.

Holy cow flash gordon, and miss marple references in the same story. Going to have to dig out the VCR I am pretty sure I still got some of that stuff on tape.
>.>
<.<
Anyone got a coax to hdmi adapter?

Ten bits says Juniper just gave her the wrong coffee, :derpytongue2:

THE TENSION RISES!!1!!1!1!!!

A point in the favour of Juniper being the culprit, considering she's the coffee maker. We don't know however if she poisoned it, or if someone else managed sleight-of-hoof (or magic, or wing) on the tray, so I shall withhold my judgement for now.

I do love a good mystery, even if I can never solve them haha

Hmm... Juniper is looking awfully suspicious, but she may be a red herring. The sins of the human need not reflect the sins of the mare. Still, it's not like there's much evidence for anyone else at the moment.

Really not sure where things will go from here. Neat! Looking forward to finding out.

8685654
Lactose intolerance is no laughing matter.

8685763
Yes. Yes it is.

I get to laugh at all the poor unfortunate souls who will one day struggle with osteoporosis, chuckling wistfully to myself as I tip back my fourth or fifth giant glass of moo-juice for the day and feel its awesome power seep into my bones; strengthening them with its calcirific goodness.

This is my nightly ritual to appease the kind goddess Bovina.

GASP! I've solved it! I know who the killer is!
It's Cutie Cue. You see, her initials are C. C. Cereal Ckiller.
...
...
...
Maybe not.

Carrot Top is not going to be pleased to learn that was an exaggeration, given her history.

“Deep Pockets fancies-- fancied --himself a ladies stallion.” Canter Zoom took a small sip of his whiskey, topping off his liquid courage.

Did he now?

“There's an easy way to get into trouble.” I tried not to speak from first-hoof experience.

I can only imagine.

“I'll say. There's going to be a line of angry husbands waiting to dance on his grave. It was a game to him. Every show, he'd take a new mistress. A unicorn during The Barber of Ponyville. An earth pony during Who's Afraid of Virginia Timberwolf? I don't know who he's shacked up with for this production-- but it doesn't matter anymore, does it?”

Well now.

“The best stage managers are practically invisible in how they keep things running. And Cutie Cue's the best stage manager I've ever had. She tells me that we can still make our opening night ... if certain cast members can get their lines down.”

Ah, right.

“Honestly, if it were up to me, I'd just recast you and Trixie, but it almost like you two are Deep Pockets' legacy? For ... better or worse. Now, I have to ask you, Flash-- can you prove me wrong?”

I would to. Probably best to cast ponies who can ACT.

“I guess that's the best I can ask for.” Canter Zoom grumbled, and looked up at the clock hanging on the wall. “It's getting late. Miss Maple said she's already talked to you, so you might as well go home. Get night's sleep, Flash, we'll start fresh in the morning. And ... if you could do me one more favor-- I'd appreciate it if you kept what I said about Deep Pockets under your hat. Bad luck to speak ill of the dead, you know?”

So how's Carrot Top going to find out?

I told Carrot Top.

That about does it.

“Not in as many words, but he might as well have. He's got the artistic temperament for it-- and the fact that Spotlight was married to somepony else, well, that just adds to the inevitable, tragedy, hm? Spotlight probably doesn't know he's smitten, though-- elsewise she would have thrown herself at him rather than me--”

Carrot Top nearly choked on her coffee, and then affixed me with a pinning glare. “Excuse me?”

Not your best choice of words, Flashy boy.

Carrot Top peered at me for a longer moment, and then her glare melted into a playful smile. “I should have figured as much.”

The guy is a bit of a leech, but he's a SMART leech.

“Trixie.” I nodded. “Canter Zoom said Deep Pockets was dallying with somepony in the cast, but he didn't say who. What if that somepony was Trixie?”

Hm, might explain why she's cast, but WHY would she kill someone? And how would she do it? I've seen Trixie be a LOT of things, but an assassin?

“That ... would explain a lot.” Carrot Top rubbed her chin, thoughtful. “On the one hoof, she did use an ancient magical artifact to conquer Ponyville. But on the other ... she's reformed now. Mostly reformed. I have a hard time believing she's a killer.”

Agreed, she's a bitch at worst, not a murderer.

“It still makes sense. Everypony knows Trixie's a tempermental sort, especially when there's scenery to chew. So, she could have gotten into an argument with Deep Pockets over ... something, at which point she used her unicorn magic to teleport in, kill Deep Pockets, and then teleported out before you got there.”

Yeah, but WHY would she do that? Not to mention, I don't think she CAN teleport.

“I have a hard time believing Trixie knows the No-Shadow Hoof.”

Agreed.

“Good point. But it's still all conjecture.”

Also agreed.

“That's the spirit! I should have expected as much from pony of your reputation.” Miss Maple sounded more like she was congratulating me on winning a childhood buckball match, rather than risking life and limb in service to Equestria.

She's the killer, isn't she?

“I'm afraid I'm not at liberty to say, Flash.” Miss Maple shook her head. “But rest assured, I'm looking into every avenue of investigation. Speaking of which--” Miss Maple looked past my shoulder, to where a few more extras and bit-players were heading in. “I'm afraid I must be going. Take care, Flash?”

She's absoLUTELY the killer.

“You're welcome, Mister Sentry!” Juniper perked her ears as she saw somepony else enter the lobby. “Oh! Cutie Cue! I have your latte!” And off she went.

Well, she certainly seems more even tempered than her EQG counterpart. Then again, she's presumably older, so, more time to calm down, and all that.

I knocked on the door, and Trixe's voice called out. “Entrez!” She put extra emphasis on the 'z.'

She can't. The Z is silent. If anything, she'd have rolled her "r".

“Why didn't you say so?” Trixie leaned forward. “I'm very popular in Ponyville, you know. Comes with the whole 'saving the whole kingdom from a Changeling invasion' bit, you know? There simply aren't many ponies as resourceful and brave and brilliant as I am.” Trixie tossed her hair back as if she were in a shampoo commercial.

I bit my tongue.

Technically, that was Starlight. But you did help a lot. As for you Flash, you just killed A Changeling, and even then by accident.

“Teleport?” Trixie's expression faltered. “Why in Equestria would I want to do that?”

She can't, got it.

“The Great and Powerful Trixie has been poisoned!”

Oh. Cornnuts. Also, I DOUBT the killer is Juniper, it's too obvious. Too easy.

Love Trixe, over dramatic, even when poisoned.

Set

i cliff hanger in the first chapter...
Fuck

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She can't. The Z is silent. If anything, she'd have rolled her "r".

You're assuming she knows the language.

8690071

Well, I like to headcanon that she's from Neigh Orleans, so... eh?

Comment posted by Tumbleweed deleted Jan 24th, 2018

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See, my interpretation of what Tumbleweed had written was that he was putting her in the role of airheaded, self-centered diva who wants people to think she's classy but can't actually back it up, and trying to use French (or however you want to ponify it) words without knowing the language is exactly the sort of thing that type of character would do.


8690108
I don't know why you tagged me in this?

Cause I'm on my phone and hit the wrong button. :p

On the one hand, I adore scenarios where the protagonist is a suspect and the detectives hound them. As long as they're not really overly abusive about it, that is.

On the other hand, Miss Maple is probably too smart to suspect Flash for very long. Sentry isn't a good actor. He's leaving lots of tells, but they're not quite the right tells.

This cliffhanger is killing me!
...
Sorry. :twilightblush:

FTL

Carrot Top's jaw dropped. “I can't believe it. She used us.”
I tried to hold back my laughter, and summarily failed. “So now you know how it feels!”

Like Flash, I got far too much enjoyment from this moment. :twilightsmile:

Called it! ... Well, only sorta ... OK, not at all. Anyways, I imagine there's an epilogue coming? It would be nice to know how a random ass stage manager knows super deadly martial arts. Also, I didn't quite get why did it matter that Juniper Montage was "seeing" Deep Pockets.

I froze, and Carrot Top took a step forward-- but Trixie waved the both of us away with a disdainful sweep of her hoof. “Hazelnut. Hazelnut!Who putsnutsintocoffee? I might as well chew on a pine cone! Gah!” Trixie flailed about, histrionic-- though definitely not in a manner befitting someone on the verge of death.

Dammit showhorse!

“You're right.” Carrot Top said. “If she werethatgood of an actress, this production would be going a lot smoother.”

Yep.

“Spotlight!” I forced a grin as I saw the elegant white pegasus walking in our direction.

Correct.

“Yes.” Spotlight sailed over, acknowledging the both of us with the barest of nods. “I wanted to speak with you before rehearsal.”

Wonder why?

“Don't fuck this up.”

Eep.

“She did it.” Carrot Top said as she watched her go. “I don't know how, but she did it.”

Oh absolutely.

“No. He said it's worse.”

Worse than murder?

“The press is here.” Canter Zoom said.

https://getyarn.io/yarn-clip/43a2548a-95eb-453e-aa0f-bfd640579e7f

I reflexively looked beside me for Carrot Top, but she'd already disappeared. Smart mare.

Smarter than you, that's for sure.

“If I didn't know any better, I'd say somepony wastryingto ruin us. After everything we've been through, we've got a lobby full of hard-to-please theater critics, just waiting for an excuse to tear this production apart. We can't tell them to come back in a week, because then they'll be mad at us for wasting their time, so they'll give us a bad review. But we can't perform for themnow, because the show still needs a lot of work, and so they'll give us a bad review. Either way, bad reviews mean no ticket sales, which meansThe Life and Times of Flash Sentrywill be dead on arrival.”

Flash MAGNUS.

“It could be worse.” I said, by reflex. Because if I'd learned nothing else in my long and sadly storied career as a Hero of Equestria, it's that things canalwaysbe worse.

A valid point.

Of course, we were all safely ensconced in the green room, and not on some arrow-riddled battlement, so things weren't nearly as dire. And so, when I affected a roguish grin and puffed out my wings, I almost meant it.

“You can count on me, chaps.”

And you know what? They bought it.

Maybe I wasn't as bad an actor as Canter Zoom thought.

Oh, you are SO fucked.

I squeaked in brief terror, and threw myself backwards-- over the years, I've survived enough deathtraps and ambushes to fill an A.K. Yearling novel, so that sort of reaction was my first reflex. Thankfully, no twelve ton slabs of rock came crashing down from the ceiling, nor did any razorblades shoot out from the floor. Instead, the mirror on the other side of the room slid to the side, revealing a cramped, dark corridor that might as well have had 'SECRET TUNNEL' stenciled on the wall.

Ooooh...

“Mister Sentry!” The pigtailed pony skidded to a halt in the doorway to the scene shop. She had a clipboard in her hooves and a panicked look in her eye as she stared at me. “You're on!”

Oh shit.

I'm sure you're familiar withThe Life and Times of Flash Magnus. Every literature teacher in Equestria will make at least some attempt to cram the gist of the play into each and every student they teach.

So, Shakespeare in our world, got it.

A gasp went up from the crowd as Carrot Top made her grand entrance. Somewhere along the way she had acquired Trixie's Adent Dale costume, complete with a peacock-feathered mask to conceal her identity.

Clever.

Which is when I hit the Nameless Assassin.

From behind.

With a chair.

It works.

“But we only have fourteen hours to save Equestria?”

She got a standing ovation.

Naturally.

“I'll say. I have standards.” Cutie Cue said.

HAH!

Juniper Montage cringed, splaying her ears back. “He ... he said he could make me a star.”

Dangit Juniper...

“Indeed. They were in rather poor shape. But ... well, I won't bore you with the specifics of it, but Deep Pockets had something of an insurance policy set up in the show. You see, due to certain ... loopholes in Equestrian Tax law, it's actually quite possible to turn a considerable profit from a flop of a play ... so long as one is ready to take the money and run at the correct time.*”

The Producers.

*While I am not a law historian, it's worth noting the most notable case along these lines is the semi-famous Berrystock vs. Wilder Bloom.

Oh good, you know it too.

“THE GREAT AND POWERFUL TRIXIE SHALL DEIGN TO LEAVE HER DRESSING ROOM ONLY WHEN ALL HAZLENUT COFFEE IS REMOVED FROM THE BUILDING!” Say what you will about Trixie, but the pony could project.

... Noted.

Carrot Top's jaw dropped. “I can't believe it. Sheusedus.”

Played you like a fiddle and cut the strings.

I tried to hold back my laughter, and summarily failed. “Sonowyou know how it feels!”

Have your laugh, Sentry.

“I like the way you think.”

You would.

So, in the end, it's a blend of Romeo & Juliet, Flash Gordon, Movie Magic... and The Producers. Brilliant, and a thrilling climax all around. Looking forward to the epilogue.

Lol, he's not a good actor, but he can certainly pretend to be one!

8709548
Pretty much the same complaints- how is a random stage manager one of the world's top martial artists? What's with Miss Maple and how did she suspect? Still a decent story, but not up to the standards of the previous Flash Sentry Papers.

Loved it. I really liked Maple, though I too can't wait to learn why the stage manager was a ninja.

So then how did Cutie Cue learn the Shadow Hoof? I thought that would come into play at some point.

Nice. This was an excellent addition to the series; you're presently one of the number one reasons I log in to this site, and you should be exceedingly proud of your works, which are deserving of vastly greater recognition. Bravo.

Ok, that's more or less a standard epilogue for this one. However the questions remain, where did Cutie Cue pop out from that she was trained as a super assassin. Also, why is it important that Juniper Montage was seeing that one guy.

I am curious about the super-assassin training, but hopefully that will come up in a later entry in the Papers. Suffice to say, a very entertaining mystery and a nice capstone for it. Thank you, and here's to the next installment.

This was a rather interesting take to the story. Out of the equestria saving situations flash still fights for his life and drama.

I just hope he and carrot actually manage to marry, retire and raise a couple of rapscallions. They deserve it.

8733765 Yeah, I have to agree. I liked this as a neat little coda, and I like that Carrot and Sentry were doing this together for a year, but how the heck was Cutie Cue a super-ninja? No stuntmare is going to be as well trained as Carrot.

geb

It’s good.

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