• Published 25th Jul 2018
  • 1,257 Views, 23 Comments

Clear as Blood: A Detective Rarity Mystery - RB_



Why can't eccentric billionaires ever have normal cases?

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The Distressed Duchess

“Help! Help! She’s trying to kill me!”

It was eight o’clock on the morning of Thursday, May the 12th, and someone, somewhere, was being murdered.

“Oh, stop being so dramatic.”

It was not, however, happening here.

“Help! Murder! Arson! Jaywalking!” Rainbow Dash screeched, clawing at her throat.

“Really, darling,” Rarity said, squinting through her sewing glasses as she adjusted the neckline that Rainbow Dash was doing her best to ruin. “This would go a lot faster if you would just keep still!”

The two were in the main room of the Carousel Boutique. Unusually for the two, it was Rainbow who was wearing the dress.

“It would be easier to keep still if this fancy frou-frou straitjacket of yours wasn’t so tight!” Rainbow said. “Why did you need me to model this again?”

“Because it’s been special-ordered by a pegasus client who matches your build,” Rarity answered, unpinning and re-pinning one of the folds. “Why did you volunteer?”

“Because I didn’t know you were planning on violating the Geneighva conventions today!”

“Oh, hush.”

Rarity made one last adjustment, then stepped back. She ran her appraising eye up and down the dress, and once she was satisfied, she nodded.

“There we are; that will be all, for the moment,” she said. Her horn lit, and the dress floated off of Rainbow’s shoulders. “Now, was that so bad?”

Yes.”

A tinkling from the front of the shop interrupted their banter; the bell over the entrance, announcing a new customer. Rarity slipped the dress-in-progress onto a hanger.

“Just a minute!” she called out in that sing-song-y way of hers. “Feel free to browse!”

After depositing her sewing glasses and tape measure on a side table and taking a moment to coif her mane, she trotted out into the storefront. Rainbow Dash, meanwhile, took the moment to refill her lungs.

It had been a month since their little adventure at Blueblood’s manor, and barring an incident at Wonderbolts HQ involving a raccoon and a large bowl of ice cream, not a single interesting thing had happened since. And the Wonderbolts incident didn’t really count, anyway. It had been a Tuesday. Odd things always happened at HQ on Tuesdays.

No, life had been rather mundane for the two of them as of late. No adventures, no murders, and certainly no surprise visitors—

“D-Duchess Clearglass!” came Rarity’s surprised shout, drifting in from the front. “It’s an honor!”

Rainbow’s eyebrows rose. Well now, that was something. She walked over to the door to the front of the shop and took a peek.

The mare Rarity was talking with was a unicorn of above-average height who kept her head held high and her nose firmly in the air—the telltale manner of a member of the Canterlot elite. And she almost certainly was one, given the way Rarity was fawning over her. The two beefy-looking stallions in guard uniforms standing on either side of her was a bit of a tip-off, as well.

“Yes, it is,” she was saying. “I’m looking for a ‘Miss Rarity’, a dressmaker. I was told I might find her here.”

“Why, you’re speaking to her,” Rarity said.

The Duchess smiled. “Wonderful. I have need of your services.”

Faster than Rainbow could blink (which was quite fast, indeed), a pair of ribbon tape measures began orbiting the duchess’ figure, taking measurements both obvious and esoteric (though mostly the latter; high fashion remains outside the comprehension of most ponies for a reason).

“Wonderful,” Rarity was saying. “What did you have in mind? A light summer dress to combat this heat? Or something special for a formal event? You of course would look wonderful in a ball gown, Your Grace, but with your figure, I’d say you could pull off anything. Perhaps you’d like to try something more modern, to shake things up a little bit? That would really get the commoners talking—”

Her measures were pushed aside.

“I’m not here for a dress,” the Duchess said. “It is your other services that I need use of.”

“Oh,” Rarity said. “I see. Come back after hours on Thursday.”

“Not those services, either,” the Duchess said, and her next words made Rainbow’s ears stand on end.

“The services I require are those of a detective.”

Rarity blinked. Her lips pursed.

“Oh.”

“You are the master detective who unearthed that ghastly murder at Prince Blueblood’s manor, yes?” the Duchess asked. “The nobility is awash with rumors; I hope I haven’t been led astray…”

“Well, I can’t say that you have,” Rarity said. “But I’m afraid—”

“Not a chance!” Rainbow said, choosing that moment to fly into the room. “Rarity’s an awesome detective!”

She landed beside Rarity, who was shooting her a glare that would have withered roses. Rainbow, an equine, was unfazed.

“Oh?” the Duchess was saying. “And you are?”

“The name’s Rainbow Dash,” she said. “I’m like her assistant—”

“Since when?” Rarity muttered.

“—and I can say from personal experience that whatever rumors you’ve heard about Rarity’s detective skills are one-hundred-percent true!”

“Wonderful!” the Duchess said. “Then you’ll hear my case?”

“I’d like to hear those rumors first—”

“Of course she will!” Rainbow said. “Why don’t you come to the back of the shop?”


“Four nights ago,” the Duchess said, “my estate in the western hills was broken into.”

“I’m sorry to hear that,” Rarity said. They’d retired to her sitting room, and the three of them had reclined into chairs, Rarity and Rainbow on one side and the Duchess on the other. Rarity had made tea, which two of them were partaking in and the third was ignoring. The Duchess’ guards had remained by the front door.

“They came in through my dining room window,” she continued. “They threw a stone through it, then climbed inside. It was quite a large window, and on the ground floor, too; it would have been easy to enter through.”

The Duchess looked at Rarity expectantly. Noticing an apparent lack of interest in asking questions in the mare, Rainbow asked one for her.

“What did they steal?”

“Not a thing,” the Duchess said.

This seemed to capture Rarity’s attention at last, her ears flicking over. “Nothing?” she asked. “You weren’t robbed?”

“Nothing at all.”

“But the culprits entered your home?”

“They did.”

“I see,” Rarity said, settling back into her chair. Nevertheless, her gaze remained focused.

“Well, I don’t,” Rainbow said. “If nothing got stolen, why do you need a detective?”

“Isn’t it obvious?” Rarity said. “Clearly the break-in has caused her a great deal of emotional distress, which she is now seeking to alleviate by finding those responsible.”

“The question has been rendering me sleepless these last four nights,” the Duchess said, nodding. “I have spent a lifetime surrounding myself with riches. Even my dishtowels are worth hundreds of bits. One could stroll into my mansion, stuff their pants pockets, and leave with a fortune.”

Her expression turned sour. “So why was nothing taken? Was it somehow not good enough? Did the burglars find my estate lacking in some way? I must know.”

Rainbow blinked. Never had she met a pony so upset she hadn’t been robbed.

“I suppose you’ve gone to the police with this matter?” Rarity asked.

“Of course,” the Duchess replied. “And they’ve been no help whatsoever. Probably too busy ogling the farmer’s daughters down by the village to do any real work. Buffoons, all of them.”

“What time did the break-in occur?” Rarity asked.

“Around one in the morning.”

“And how do you know this?”

“My security staff reported it.”

Rarity paused to take a drink of her tea.

“So there are witnesses, then?”

“Yes,” the Duchess said. “One. Hobble Hooves, my former head of security. He heard the sound of a window breaking, and when he went to look, he saw two stallions running for the hedges.”

Former head of security?”

The Duchess snorted. “I wasn’t going to keep him on after this! I replaced him and his staff the next morning.”

“I see,” Rarity said. “Is he still around?”

“He’s still in the local village, yes. Probably drinking. He always did strike me as a drunkard. He was probably intoxicated on the job the night of the break-in.” She tittered. “Yes, I’m sure of it; he was drunk.”

“If he was a drunkard, why did you—”

“A-hem,” Rarity coughed. “Well, your situation is very interesting, your grace. One of a kind, if I may be so bold.”

“Does that mean you’ll take my case, then?” the Duchess said, eagerness in her voice.

Rarity smiled.

“I’m afraid not.”

A beat of silence.

“…Excuse us for one second, your, uh, duchessness,” Rainbow said, taking to the air. She grabbed Rarity by the shoulders and began pushing her towards the door. “Professional, uh… emergency meeting.”

“What are you doing!?” Rainbow hissed, once her wings had carried them both safely out of earshot.

“Declining the duchess’ case,” Rarity said. “I’d have thought that quite obvious. What are you doing?”

“Stopping you!”

She set Rarity down on the ground, landing next to her. “Rares, you’ve been acting super weird since the Duchess said she was looking for a detective,” she said. “What gives?”

“’What gives’,” Rarity said, brushing off her coat, “is that she’s looking for a detective.”

“So?”

“So, Rainbow, I am not a detective. I am a clothesmaker. I make dresses, not deductions!”

“You made some pretty awesome deductions when you took down Wind Rider!” Rainbow countered. “Not to mention the stunt you pulled at Blueblood’s mansion!”

“Those were different,” Rarity said.

“Yeah,” Rainbow said. “This time you get to charge for it!”

“I don’t want her money,” Rarity said. “Rainbow, do you know who that mare is?”

“She’s some duchess or something, right?”

“That mare, Rainbow, is Duchess Clearglass.”

“Yeah, I got that part,” Rainbow said.

“Then you should know,” Rarity hissed, “that if I take her case and don’t solve it, my career could be over!

“Which one?”

All of them!”

Rarity peeked through the doorway, where the Duchess was still sitting with her tea, none the wiser.

“The Duchess commands a massive sphere of influence among the upper crust,” she said. “Even a passing mention from her can make or break a business. And she already has expectations of me! She thinks I’m some kind of great detective!”

“Rares, you are a great detective.”

“Your flattery, while appreciated, is not helping, darling!” Rarity said, grabbing Rainbow by the shoulders. “If I take her case and disappoint her, I’m done! Ruined! My shops will be out of business before you can say ‘bargain bin’!”

“Alright,” Rainbow said, pushing her off. “So don’t disappoint her, then!”

“I can’t take that risk!”

“Hell yeah you can!” Rainbow said. “Rarity, I don’t know if you’ve noticed this, but you’re really good at this stuff! Like, too good! It’s kind of freaky!”

“I told you, darling, flattery—”

“It’s not flattery,” Rainbow said. “I am flat-out telling you: what you did at Blueblood’s mansion? That was awesome. You are good at this, pony. And just think about what you’ll get when you solve the case!”

“Shame on you, Rainbow Dash,” Rarity said. “Suggesting I take advantage of that poor mare’s plight like this.”

“That mare is anything but poor! Did you see that necklace she’s wearing?”

“Perfectly cut diamond center, inlaid into platinum,” Rarity said. “Probably the work of Counter Cut, the Manehattan jeweler.”

“…Sounds like you saw it more than I did,” Rainbow said.

“One does well to pay attention to the details in this line of work.”

“Detecting or dressmaking?”

“Both. It’s still immoral.”

“When has that ever stopped us before?”

Rarity opened her mouth… closed it… then opened it again.

“While I see your point, let it be known that I still object to it.”

Her gaze grew thoughtful. “But perhaps… something more suitable could be arranged…”

Rainbow punched her lightly on the shoulder. “C’mon, Rares, you know you love doing this stuff.”

“Fine.” She rubbed her shoulder. “You don’t have to resort to physicality.”

“Does that mean—”

“I’ll take her case,” Rarity said. “But only because you give such a good pep talk.”

“It’s the Wonderbolts training,” Rainbow said. “By the way, do you really believe her about nothing being stolen?”

“I’m not sure yet. She certainly seemed sincere, but it’s just so strange...”

“Agreed,” Rainbow said. “Also, what were those other services you mentioned? I didn’t know you had a side business.”

“Oh, just a little community service,” Rarity said. “We live in a small country town of mostly mares. There are certain needs that need to be filled. Oftentimes literally.”

Rainbow’s eyebrows raised. “Really? I never pegged you for being into that sort of thing.”

Rarity shrugged. “We all have our duties. Now! I do believe we have a client waiting.”

Rarity strode back into the room, new confidence in her step, Rainbow following after her. The Duchess looked up expectantly at their approach.

“After some… consideration with my friend here,” Rarity said, striding back into the room, “I have decided that I will be taking your case after all, Your Grace.”

“Wonderful!”

“However,” Rarity continued, “as I have just been reminded, I am only a detective when it suits me. I will need to ask for some compensation if I am to help you in this matter.”

“Name your price,” the Duchess said, but Rarity shook her head.

“No, no; I’ll only name it after I’ve solved your case.” She peered at the Duchess. “You’ll have to agree blindly, I’m afraid. Is that okay by you?”

“Absolutely,” the Duchess said. “Within reason, of course.”

“Of course.”

“Then it’s settled.”


“Expect to hear from us shortly,” Rarity said, then closed the shop’s door, leaving just her and Rainbow alone. She flipped the sign that hung in the window to closed.

“I need to pack,” she declared. “I suppose that is the one good thing about all this; I can actually bring my costumes this time.”

“We need to pack,” Rainbow corrected. “I’m coming too!”

“Well of course, darling,” Rarity said. “I’d have thought that obvious, seeing as someone appointed herself as my assistant—who was that, again? Now, the Duchess lives several hundred miles to the west, near Tall Tale. We’ll need to take the train. Pack for a few days and meet me back here in an hour. And don’t you dare be late!”

“C’mon, Rares, I’m the fastest pegasus in Equestria. When am I ever late?”

“Usually between eight in the morning and eight in the morning,” Rarity answered. “Now get going!”