• Published 2nd Apr 2018
  • 377 Views, 22 Comments

Detective Pony Comics Presents (Vol. 1) - Coyote de La Mancha

Where could a black fox inspire a wealthy unicorn to dress like a nocturnal flying herbivore and fight crime? Only in Equestria. For lo, when the sun has set and the parties are done, Prince Blueblood sets aside his socialite mask and becomes...

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Chapter One: The Bat Beginning

“…Afraid to get dirty?!?”

The white mare’s rage was palpable as she shook herself violently, pelting Prince Blueblood with bits of cake and frosting.

“No…!” Shrinking away from the onslaught of hate-propelled confection, he staggered into the great alicorn statue, the centerpiece of the Grand Galloping Gala. He cowered in its shadow as it teetered on its pedestal like a quadrupedal colossus. Then, with the groan of a bending metal facehoof, it began falling towards the one area around its plinth where no ponies were standing. Yet in a flash of multicolored light, another young mare – this one a pegasus – was beneath it, valiantly trying to keep its weight from the floor. She staggered beneath the massive sculpture for several seconds before it collided with a column, setting a chain reaction as the pillars fell like Discord’s own domino set, each one striking another even as it broke into multiple pieces from the impact. A moment later, the alicorn figure itself split along the neck, falling to either side of her.

Blueblood had just enough time to overhear his Aunt Celestia’s apprentice mutter, “Well, it can’t get any worse” when the main doors burst open, releasing an avalanche of wild animals upon the unsuspecting throng of partygoers. Hot on their heels was another young pegasus, obviously barking mad, screaming at the animals with a crimson fury, demanding that they love her.

While Twilight Sparkle and her companions fled out the front doors and Celestia began calming the panicking nobility, Blueblood slipped away from the chaos, out the back, deeper into the palace. Waiting for him in the hallway was his faithful servant. Impeccable, unshakable, and always above reproach, he held a towel out to the young prince. Blueblood accepted the heated, soapy towel gratefully, and began cleaning the worst of the frosting from his mane as they walked.

“Well, Pennyworth, how did I do?”

“Positively vaudevillian, suh. Your reputation as a spoiled cad and blackguard is assured for another fortnight, at least.”

“Good. The last thing we need is for my mask to be compromised.”

“Of course, suh.” Stepping forward, the older pony opened the door for his master, and followed him in. “Still,” he mused, “Are you quite certain such lengths are necessary, Master Blueblood? It occurs to me that most stallions manage to maintain a foul reputation without nearly such effort. Quite the opposite, in fact.”

“Completely necessary, old friend,” Blueblood replied, his voice relaxing into its natural hoarse growl. Gratefully, he accepted the tea his servant offered him, its warmth soothing the strain of maintaining a melodic voice for so long. “If anything, that designer’s attentions prove it. So long as Prince Blueblood is a target for mares’ affections, so long as anypony is trying to get close, the mask is in jeopardy.” He took another sip. “And my work depends upon the mask.”

“Of course, suh.” While his master relaxed from his social efforts, Pennyworth deftly untied the bowtie around the young pony’s neck, noting with satisfaction the compass rose cutie mark dissolving as the enchanted neckpiece was removed. No matter how the young master had modified the spell, for some reason the West point was always slightly more pronounced. A curious side effect, but one they’d both made peace with years ago.

“Though I must confess, your obsession about this ‘mask’ business sometimes strikes me as a bit juvenile,” the butler went on. “Rather like when you were small, and insisted on wearing your Black Fox mask to bed. I was always concerned you were going to smother yourself.”

A frown creased the unicorn’s face. “You think I’m childish?”

“Of course not, suh. Perish the thought.” As he undid the rest of his master’s formal wear, a thought occurred to him. “Oh, and I ironed your tights and laid out your little cape, and I packed you a snack in case you get hungry.”

“Peanut butter jelly?” The growl was hopeful.

Pennyworth presented a small paper bag. Written in the butler’s prim hoofwriting was his master’s true name: Batmane.

“With the crusts cut off, suh,” He smiled.


“You’ve solved your young femme fatale’s riddle, I take it?” Pennyworth asked.

“Of course.” Batmane took another sip. Pennyworth made the best tea ever. “‘The rose of friendship bound in ice, borne by crown sitar; within my heart I bear the mark of thunder’s loose guitar.’ Obviously a reference to the pink panther diamond, once owned by Lady Kalisa, famed for her skills in music. The jewel was a gift from her father, Lord Ratnam, for her sixteenth birthday. If it’s held up to the light the image of a panther can be seen, crouched and ready to strike.”

“Thunder’s loose guitar, suh?”

“A cat’s purr.”

“Begging your pardon, Master Blue, but it strikes me that panthers don’t purr.”

“Normally, you would be correct, old friend!” Batmane turned to him with sudden energy. “But the pink panther is a very rare breed. Found only in Catmandu and Kittymanjaro, the pink panthers are the one species well noted for their purring, as well as for their dance troupes and their pantomime skills.” He took another sip and went on, “This is of course in contrast to the blue panthers, who are renowned for their luchador skills and singing voices; or the elusive mauve panthers, who remain feared to this day for their deadly combat crocheting. Peter Sellers’ Guide to Civilizations around the World, page one hundred seventy-five, paragraphs nine through twelve.”

Pennyworth bowed slightly. “I defer to your superior knowledge, suh. Shall I summon Sparrow?”

“No. They’ll still be on vacation.” He looked up and away, nobly accepting his burden. “I’ll be handling Conundrum alone.”

“Very good, suh.”

With dynamic purpose, the Dark Detective strode to his underground wardrobe. He flung open the doors, revealing his enchanted work clothes.

“This,” He said as he donned his gear with Pennyworth’s help, “This is my true face, Pennyworth.”

“Of course, suh.”

“Darkness. The night. The shadows of justice.”

“Just as you say, suh.”

“It was that night, Pennyworth. The night I got my cutie mark. My true cutie mark.” He glanced back at his flank, and the mark which was momentarily visible there, free from his illusion magic. “The night the fox crept through my open window, I knew it was a sign.”

“I did warn you not to leave your dinner by the window, suh.”

“I knew it that was an omen. That it was my burden, my destiny, to become the night. To bring justice through darkness. To protect the innocent. To strike fear into the hearts of criminals, always a superstitious, cowardly lot…”

“Yet, for all that it was a fox, I cannot help but note that you dress yourself as a bat, suh.”

At last, Batmane donned his signature cowl, its magic hiding his horn even as it darkened his coat, concealed the color of his eyes. He glared down at his servant with the orbs of an immortal being of the night itself as his cutie mark shifted again, this time disguised as a bat silhouette against a yellow oval.

“Bats are cooler, Pennyworth.”

“Of course, suh.”


Batmane shifted uncomfortably in the furtive darkness of the gargoyle-encrusted clock tower, half-listening to the concert nearby. An international shock rocker, Black Rainbow, was snarling and whining about long, hard roads while he staggered around on stage. Even from such a distance, Batmane could see the vocalist’s signature crooked horn gleaming plainly in the spotlight. Several times, it looked as if he was going to fall off the stage entirely.

Small wonder, the Caped Crusader thought grimly, washing down the last of his sandwich with a swallow of warm milk. Punks like that scarcely know they have a life to lose. His eyes narrowed. And after all, punk is nothing but death, and crime, and the rage of a…

With the speed of a falcon, his head snapped up. Batmane’s inescapable senses had detected the slightest hint of movement along the nearby roof of the museum. He quickly secured his bat collapsible thermos and bat lunch bag in his utility belt, wiping away his milk mustache as he did so. A second later, the green figure appeared, her purple mane and tail half-lit by the moon’s glow as she bounced towards the museum’s skylight. The Shadow Sleuth spread his cloak as he glided down towards her. The three question marks on her flank were unmistakable, but hardly necessary. There was only one mare in all of Equestria who had the irrepressible energy to literally bounce everywhere she might go, even when trying to sneak into a high-security building.


He landed behind her even as she was cutting the skylight glass with a balloon animal. He nodded grimly as he observed her criminal wiles. Diabolical, he thought.

“It’s over, Conundrum,” he growled. “Don’t make this harder than it has to be.”

The super villain whipped around, staring at him with the look of a trapped Québécoise beaver, her burglary device forgotten.

“Batmane!” Her high-pitched voice pierced the night as her eyes narrowed with criminal intent. The balloon animal – a giraffe, he realized – made a long, high-pitched squeaking raspberry-like sound as it gently floated away, releasing its trapped breath into the nighttime sky.

“So, you figured me out,” she declared with a dramatic wave of her hoof. “But you will find that resolving a rhyming riddle and capturing the clever Conundrum are a duo of decidedly different deeds!” Their glares matched one another, the wind whipping their manes like a tormented dervish.

Then, suddenly, she grinned. “Chase me!” she squealed, and leaped off the roof as though cannonballing into the very River Styx to her sudden, instant, and even… immediate death.

For less than a heartbeat, he stared after her, unbelieving. Then, the Shadow Sleuth sprang after her with the grace of a gymnastic gazelle and the athletic prowess of a cheetah on a trampoline.