• Published 8th Dec 2018
  • 274 Views, 31 Comments

Black and Blue and Bloodied - Sixes_And_Sevens



Celestia, sick of her nephew's bad behavior, sends him on an adventure with the ninth Doctor. Together, they investigate a series of murders connected to a mining disaster-- or they will if they can stop arguing.

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Blood Money

Back at RocRoll, Gertrude Henn laid her last file folder into the out tray. She nodded briskly and rose from her chair. She was a very efficient individual. To be otherwise would be wasteful. She walked briskly out of her office door. Her work was done for the day. She could now return to her apartment, with only a brief stop on the way to eat dinner. She paused in front of the elevators. Still out of order? A faint furrow appeared between her eyes. That was very inefficient indeed. Very well. The stairs it would be.

She pushed through the double doors to the stairwell. She glanced over the edge and sighed heavily. It was a long way down. Very time-consuming and terribly ineffectual for getting the job done. She gazed at the drop thoughtfully, then spread her wings and leapt over the edge. Her plummet was perfectly curved, almost geometric. She described a quadratic formula in the air. The sight of it would be enough to make a professional high-diver break into tears and become a chartered accountant.

The unfortunate side effect of efficiency is complacency. When all of your obstacles are foreseen and accounted for, the addition of an extra variable can throw everything off. So it was with the flight of Ms. Henn as a figure suddenly leapt from the shadows of a stairwell and landed on her back. The griffon squawked, flailing, pushing her assailant away. The perfect geometry dissolved into a child’s scribble as Gertrude crashed into a wall and fell to the floor. She struggled to rise, but her attacker pushed her down. She looked up at them and her eyes went wide. “No,” she whispered. “No, I don’t— you’re dead! You can’t—” She cut off abruptly.

The last moment of Gertrude Henn’s life was terrifically efficient. A blade as swift as Occam’s slit her throat, and her killer left the scene as swiftly and silently as it had arrived.

***

“That worked surprisingly well,” the Doctor commented. “Do you usually escape like that?”

“Hm?” Blueblood glanced at the Doctor. “No. Generally, I just wait for a guard captain to come bail me out. However, since Auntie doesn’t even know we’re here, that was not an option.”

“Right. So, back to the office?”

Blueblood glanced up at the sky. “They’ll likely be closed. It must be about quarter to seven, now.”

“No problem,” the Doctor replied cheerfully, holding his screwdriver aloft. “Their doors aren’t made of wood.”

Blueblood smirked. “Well played.”

“One does try,” the Doctor acknowledged, nodding his head slightly. “Shall we?” He gestured down the boulevard.

“After you,” Blueblood returned. They set off down the street, unaware that from high above, they were being watched.

***

RocRoll Industries did indeed appear to be closed for the night— the windows were dark and when the Doctor tried to open the main doors, they refused to budge. “Right,” he muttered, pulling out his sonic screwdriver. “Let’s see, now…” He aimed at the doors, starting at a low pitch. When nothing happened, he frowned and increased the frequency. He scowled. “Don’t tell me they’ve made the lock out of wood,” he said, disgusted.

Blueblood peered at the door and frowned. “How peculiar. This isn’t glass at all.”

The Doctor paused. “What?”

“It’s some sort of solid crystal,” the prince said, tapping it lightly. "Look, you can see there's a hexagonal lattice..."

“You don’t say,” the Doctor said, brow furrowing. “Right. Let’s try…” He held the screwdriver aloft once more, and an earsplitting whine assaulted the doors.

The crystal began to crack and weaken in several spots, and with a bucking kick, the Doctor finished the job. He grinned. “That’s the way,” he said, carefully stepping through the shattered remains of the door. “Come on, Blue. Sooner we can solve this, the better.”

Cautiously, Blueblood stepped through the shards of crystal. “Ow,” he griped. “I think I cut my hoof.”

“You’ll be fine,” the Doctor said dismissively.

“I’m bleeding!”

“Oh, you want me to kiss it better?”

Blueblood fell silent, glaring at the back of the Time Lord’s head. “I suppose we’ll have to take the stairs, if the elevator hasn’t been repaired,” he added. “I’ll have to walk on my wound.”

“It’ll build character.”

“It will build a colony of bacteria,” Blueblood replied primly. “The cut will become infected, and my hoof will grow gangrenous. Perhaps they’ll have to amputate.”

He became aware that the Doctor was no longer listening. Instead, he was staring intently into the stairwell. “Let’s see if we can’t take th’ lift after all,” the Time Lord said shortly.

Blueblood attempted to peer past the Doctor. “Why, what’s in there?” he demanded. “What’s happened?”

“Nothing!” the Doctor said forcefully, rising to shepherd the prince away. “I’d just sooner not ‘ave to listen to you whine up forty flights o’ stairs!”

Blueblood stretched his neck out and inhaled sharply. Lying in the stairwell, covered in blood, was the griffon they had met earlier. “Oh my,” he whispered, putting a hoof to his mouth.

The Doctor sighed and seemed almost to deflate, dropping onto all fours once more. “You gonna ‘ave a freak out again?”

Blueblood glared. “How crude. A griffon is dead in the stairwell, and you treat it as though it were no more than a spilled glass of wine.”

“Nothing we can do for her now, ‘cept try to find her killer,” the Doctor returned shortly. “I figure keepin’ you outta La-La Land is a bit more relevant.”

“Yes, well, I’m not going to faint now, am I,” the prince said crossly. “Are we going to investigate further, or not?”

The Doctor regarded him. “You go on upstairs, I’ll work out what killed ‘er,” he said after a long moment. “If you need me, just shout. Or scream, as the case may be.”

“What?” Blueblood sputtered. “We can’t just split up! The last time we tried that, we got arrested!”

“Do you want to be around for my examination of the corpse?”

Blueblood blanched, which was quite a feat considering his paper-white coat. “I’ll tell you what, why don't I just go upstairs and have another look at that painting,” he said nonchalantly. “You can stay here with the body.”

“Yeah. Good plan.”

The prince skirted around the griffon’s body and trotted quickly up the stairs. The Doctor studied the corpse closely. Blood, yes, quite usual. Apparently killed mid-flight, judging by the spread of her wings. Cause of death? The Doctor snorted slightly. He might not have been a medical expert, but it didn’t take a genius to see the gaping wound slashed across the griffon’s neck. He peered closer. It was a smooth cut, just like the one on Lord Rings. Deep, too. That was worrisome. Whatever did this apparently had a very wide, very sharp blade and a very strong force with which to swing it. He rubbed at his own neck and shuddered slightly. It would’ve been quick, at least.

He then turned his attention to the papers that had scattered over the corpse. Lots and lots of little numbers in neat columns and rows. He picked one of the less bloody ones up and studied it. Slowly, his frown deepened. He picked up another sheet, and another, quickly sorting them into two piles. When he had finished, the two were almost even. He stared at them for a long moment. Then, he picked up a page and began to read.

***

Blueblood wheezed as he hauled himself to the top of yet another flight of stairs, stumbling over his own hooves. He glanced up at the wall beside him. Surely he must be almost at the top? ‘25’, said the sign. The prince groaned and hauled himself over to the next staircase, heaving himself up the steps.

***

The Doctor held two pieces of paper next to each other, squinting first at one, then the other. His brow began to darken, his jaw growing taut.

***

‘32’, said the sign. Blueblood glared at it with dull malice. “How sodding original,” he snarled. “Thirty-two. Exactly what always comes after thirty-one. Why don’t they ever skip any floors, hm? Now that would be something new!” He wiped his sweaty brow with a hoof, and then cringed. “Ugh,” he groaned, pulling himself up the next set of stairs. “You have seven floors left to impress me.”

***

The Doctor set down the last sheet of paper, rising to his hooves. His face was grim. He looked at Gertrude Henn for a long moment, and his eyes softened slightly. “You still didn’t deserve this,” he said quietly.

***

“Forty,” Blueblood whispered. “At last.”

He pulled himself up over the last step and stumbled to the door, heaving it open. The Doctor turned to look at him. “Oh, hello,” he said grinning. “Turns out they ‘ave fixed the elevators after all!”

The unicorn, his mane matted flat with sweat, eyes wild and bulging and mouth slightly frothing stared at him for a long moment, panting. “As soon as I can work up the energy to do so,” he said finally, “I am going to strangle you.”

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