• 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?

  • ...

The Esteemed Estate

“So who is this Clearglass pony, anyway?”

Rarity squinted at her.

“Darling, I’m not sure if I’m more concerned by the fact that you don’t know who she is, or by the fact that you’re only just asking this now.”

Rainbow shrugged. Two feet below her, the wheels of their carriage trundled along the dirt road to the Duchess’ estate.

“The Duchess Clearglass is one of the most influential and wealthy ponies in all of Equestria,” Rarity said. “Her family has been a member of the noble class since the days of Princess Platinum. She’s rich to the point of obscenity, and what she wants, she gets.”

She bit her lip. “The Duchess is also, erm… a few sequins short of a dress, shall we say.”

“She’s a loon?”

“She’s a loon, yes,” Rarity said. “But she’s the kind of loon where, if she heard I’d said that, I’d be sewing dresses for sewer rats the rest of my life because they’d be the highest clientele I’d be able to get. So, try and be polite.”

Rainbow mock-saluted. “You got it, chief.”

“And don’t call me chief.”

“You got it, ma’am!”

“Don’t call me—ah, we’re here! We’ll work on this later.”

The door to the carriage opened, revealing a long pathway through a verdant garden which led to the door of a massive house the likes of which Rarity had only seen once or twice before. Both were framed by a large wrought-iron gate.

“Is that… actual silver lining the roof, or…?” Rainbow asked, peering out over her shoulder.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if it were platinum,” Rarity replied.

As the two stepped out of the carriage, they were met by a pair of stallions in well-pressed brown uniforms, who had been standing beside the gates.

“Hello, ladies,” the pegasus on the right said. “Names and business, if you would.”

“Rarity, investigating a break-in,” Rarity said. “And this is Rainbow Dash…”

“I’m assisting!”

“She’s assisting.”

“Oh, you’re that lady detective,” the unicorn on the right said. He held out a hoof. “Duchess Clearglass has been speaking highly of you. She says you’re the best.”

“Well, I’m flattered she thinks so highly of me,” Rarity said shaking his hoof. “And you two are…?”

“Brass Knuckle, ma’am,” the one on the right said. “And this is Kosh. We’re part of the Duchess’ private security team.”

“I see,” Rarity said. She eyed the brass buttons on their uniforms appreciatively. “You have very nice uniforms.”

“Thank you, ma’am. Custom-ordered by the Duchess.”

“I can tell. Tell me, were you two here—”

“Detective Rarity!” came a new voice from inside the gate, a stallion’s—or so Rarity thought, until she looked towards its source and found it to be a beak.

The griffon spoke with a slight accent, and he wore a slightly more elaborate version of the uniforms worn by the guards, specially-tailored for his larger size. He was also carrying a covered silver dish on his back as he hurried down the garden towards them.

“I’ve been asked to escort you to the Duchess personally,” he said, coming to a stop. He gestured towards the doors. “Follow me, if you would. The servants will take your luggage to your room.”

“Certainly. Come along, Rainbow.”

They followed him down the path, hoofsteps crunching on the gravel.

“So, a griffon, eh?” Rainbow said. “Don’t see many of you guys in Equestria! Are you from Griffonstone? I have some friends there.”

“Oh, no, I was born here,” he said. He spoke quite pleasantly. “Not far from here, actually. My parents were immigrants. I’ve been to Griffonstone to visit a few times, but… well, if you’ve been there, you know.”

Rainbow nodded. She did know.

Soon enough, they’d entered the mansion. More guards were positioned at the doors; they nodded to the griffon as he passed. The front hall was large and spacious, with floors made of marble and two large staircases on either side, carpets the color of roses flowing down each. They led up to a second-floor balcony which overlooked the room. And, standing on the balcony, Rarity could see a mare and a stallion.

The mare, a pegasus, was looking down at them curiously, like a zoo-goer admiring an exotic specimen in a tank. And with his wild mane and unkempt beard, the unicorn stallion looked as though he might have been such a specimen.

At their approach, the mare spread her wings and flew down to meet them, her yellow sundress billowing behind her. “Hello!” she said. “Are you the new guests?”

“With any luck, only temporarily,” Rarity said. “This is Rainbow Dash, of the Wonderbolts, and I am Rarity, of Carousel—”

“Oh, you’re the detective!” the mare interrupted. Rarity blinked.

“Er… yes, for the moment,” she said. “And you are?”

“Oh, I’m sorry! Sleepy Hollow, I’m a guest of the Duchess’s.”

“And quite the accomplished actress as well, if I’m not mistaken,” Rarity said. “Or am I thinking of a different Hollow?”

Sleepy Hollow laughed. “No, that’s me! But I’m on an indefinite vacation at the moment. How long will you be staying with us?”

“Just for a few days at the most,” Rarity said. “I’m investigating that break-in from a few nights ago.”

“Oh, of course, of course,” Sleepy said. “Well, it will be nice to have a few more mares around to talk to. Besides the Duchess, it’s just me and Scribble up there, and he’s not much of a conversationalist.”

She nodded in the direction of the stallion, who was still watching them from the balcony.

“I see,” Rarity said. “Well, we were just on our way to meet with the Duchess—and I think our griffon friend here is growing a bit impatient.”

“Oh, don’t mind him, he’s a sweetheart under all those feathers,” Sleepy said. “But I’ll let you get on. Don’t be a stranger, now!”

“Of course.”

The griffon led them through the main hall, then to the right, and finally into an elaborate dining room. And sitting at the end of the table in the center of the room was the Duchess.

“Ah, Miss Rarity,” she said. “So glad you could make it. And in such a timely fashion, too!”

“Well, I’d hardly want to keep you waiting,” Rarity said.

“Please, sit, sit.”

“And your scones, your grace,” the griffon said, sweeping the dish off his back and onto the table. With one talon, he removed the cover, revealing a plate of the baked goods.

“Lovely,” the Duchess said. “Thank you, Godfried. That will be all.”

“Very good, ma’am.” He nodded and left, his lion’s tail sweeping through the air behind him. The dining room’s doors shut with a click.

“Who was that?” Rarity asked, taking her seat at the end of the table with Rainbow doing the same beside her. “I didn’t catch his name.”

“Oh, Mr. Gentle? He’s the new head of security. And so far, he’s done a far better job than his predecessor!”

“Oh?” Rarity asked. “How can you tell?”

“Well, it should be obvious,” the Duchess said. “The break-ins stopped when I hired him.”

“I thought there was only one break-in?” Rainbow asked.

“There was,” the Duchess said. “And there hasn’t been a second since I hired Mr. Gentle. Scone?”

“I’d be delighted,” Rarity said. She took the proffered pastry. “Though I must say, I’m surprised you have your head of security delivering your tea.”

“Well, what else should he be doing?” the Duchess replied. “If I didn’t give him and the rest of the staff things to do, they’d just be standing around all day, wouldn’t they?”

Rainbow leaned in and whispered into Rarity’s ear: “No wonder there was a break-in—the gate guards were probably busy doing her laundry!”

Oh hush,” Rarity said, waving the snickering Rainbow away. To the Duchess, she said: “We passed two other ponies on the way in, a mare and a stallion. Who are they?”

“Oh, you must mean Scribbled Page and Sleepy Hollow. They’re guests of mine. They’ve both been staying at the estate for some time now.”

“I see,” Rarity said. “So! Shall we get to business, then?”

“Of course. Where would you like to begin?”

“Why don’t you walk me through what happened on the night of the break-in?” Rarity said. “Then you can show me where it occurred, and after that, I’d like to talk to the witness.”

The Duchess nodded. “Certainly.”

“It was four nights ago, and I had retired to bed at my usual time of eight o’clock in the evening. I was rudely awakened several hours later by a guard and told that there had been an incident.”

“When was this?” Rarity asked. She took another bite of the scone. Raspberry. Exquisite.

“Oh, it must have been around three in the morning.”

“And the break-in itself?”

“I was told it occurred half an hour earlier.”

“And that was when your previous head of security, Mr. …”

“Hobble Hooves,” the Duchess supplied.

Rarity nodded. “Yes, Mr. Hobble Hooves. That was when he saw the intruders running?”


“And what did you do then?”

“Well, I sent for the police,” the Duchess said. “I touched nothing until they arrived—so as not to interfere with the crime scene, you understand—but I did go to see what had been stolen, which is when I discovered that nothing had.”

“And you’re quite sure of that, yes?” Rarity asked.

“Absolutely certain. I’ve been through the entire mansion several times. Twelve, to be precise. And I had my servants go through seven more. There is not a single mote of imported dust unaccounted for.”

As Rainbow mouthed the words “imported dust,” Rarity nodded. “And the police, what did they do?”

The Duchess scoffed. “Why, barely anything! They had a quick look around the room in question, but when they found out nothing was stolen, they left without so much as an assurance that they would find the culprits!”

She set her teacup down on the table. “Why, it wouldn’t surprise me if they were in on it, the way they acted. Yes, now that I think of it, I’m certain this is their doing somehow! Miss Rarity, you must bring this conspiracy to light!”

“I will take your theory into consideration,” Rarity said. She popped the last of the scone into her mouth (daintily, of course), and stood. “Now, why don’t you show us to the scene of the crime?”

The sitting room was a nice, cozy place. Two chairs and a pair of luxuriously upholstered couches took up the middle of the room, arranged tastefully around a coffee table that looked to have been carved from a single solid piece of mahogany. The carpet was Purrsian, the wallpaper accented with gold leaf. An empty fireplace sat on one side of the room, grand and welcoming. Even in the summer heat, it seemed to invite a fire. Well-stocked bookcases lined the closer wall, glass cases full of various odds and ends the other.

A pity, then, about all the glass on the floor. Nothing quite ruins a cozy atmosphere like broken glass.

“I’ve left it just as it was four nights ago,” the Duchess said. “Not a thing has been moved, per my instructions. I’ve even kept the maids out.”

“Impressive,” Rarity commented. “Most ponies would have boarded up the windows, at least.”

“Ah, but I am not most ponies.”

“You sure aren’t,” Rainbow Dash said. “You’re one-of-a-kind, your duchessness.”

“Why thank you.”

When the Duchess wasn’t looking, Rarity shot Rainbow a glare. Rainbow shrugged and stuck her tongue out.

“A-hem,” Rarity coughed, drawing the Duchess’s attention before she could see. “If you wouldn’t mind leaving us to our work, your grace, it makes it much easier…”

“Oh, certainly, certainly,” the Duchess said. “If you need me, simply find one of the servants. I look forward to hearing your conclusions.”

She departed, leaving Rainbow and Rarity alone.

“You weren’t kidding about her,” Rainbow said.

“Of course I wasn’t,” Rarity said, starting forwards, being careful of where she trod. “Help me search, will you? But try not to disturb anything. We don’t want our patron’s efforts to go to waste.”

“Sure,” Rainbow said. She took to the air, hovering just above the ground. “What am I looking for?”

“Anything out of place, unusual, or otherwise odd,” Rarity said. “As I’ve said before, the devil is in the details, and in the details, we’ll find the devil. We must leave no shard of glass unturned!”

“…I thought you said not to touch anything?”

“It’s a figure of speech, darling.”


And so they began searching the room, Rarity working methodically along the ground and Rainbow making large sweeps from the air.

And yet…

“Rares, I’m not seeing any devils.”

“I told you, darling, it was a figure of speech.”

“No, no, I get that,” Rainbow said. “I mean I’ve gone over the whole room three times, and I haven’t spotted anything odd, unusual, or that other thing you said.”

“Unfortunately, the only thing I’ve found isn’t very telling, either” Rarity said, sighing. “Perhaps we should take a step back and look at the bigger picture.”

“Yeah, sure—wait, you found something?”

“Here,” Rarity said, gesturing at a patch of glass. “Someone—or someones—stood here. This glass is crushed into the carpet, here and here, and there’s some dirt and mud mixed in as well. There are a few spots like it; I suspect they were wearing boots.”

“Well, that’s something!”

“Don’t get too excited,” Rarity said. “I assume this is how the Duchess knew that someone had been in here, and the police probably found it, too. Assuming, of course, that the Duchess was exaggerating about their lack of efficacy. All this does is confirm what she already told us.”

She made her way over to the entrance, and was shortly joined by Rainbow, who touched down beside her. She gazed over the room in its entirety.

“Well, the window was certainly broken from the outside,” she said. “We’re on the first floor, though, so that doesn’t mean much.”

She frowned. “It must have made an awful noise when it shattered. Can you imagine? I’m surprised the Duchess didn’t wake up.”

“You think that means anything?”

Rarity just frowned harder. She continued to stare at the scene.

“Well, I can say one thing with almost complete certainty,” she finally said, “Our culprits were pegasi.”

Rainbow’s eyebrows raised. “How do you figure?”

“They didn’t bother to knock out any of the glass from the bottom of the pane,” she said. “An earth pony or a unicorn would have, so they could climb in without cutting themselves. Unless they can teleport, of course, in which case we might as well give up now.”

“But a pegasus could have just flown in,” Rainbow said.


“Then why didn’t they take anything?” Rainbow asked. She flew over to the display shelves. “This stuff all looks valuable… I mean, look at this!”

She picked up a beautifully stained wooden clock, with a pair of shining brass hands reading one thirty-five. One of many fine items on the shelves.

“That’s got to be worth something!”

“No doubt,” Rarity replied. “This whole situation gets odder and odder. Now put that back, before you break it!”

“Sheesh, fine,” Rainbow said, setting the clock back on the shelf. Then: “Hey, what’s this?”

She swooped down to one of the side tables. Rarity followed her with interest.

The table itself had several books stacked atop it—and, sitting atop one of them, a silver-coloured envelope. It was this which Rainbow snatched up. Her eyebrows shot up as she read the name on the front.

“It’s… for you,” she said.


“Yeah. Here.”

Rarity took the envelope. It was, indeed, addressed to her, her name written on the side in elegant cursive. Carefully, Rarity plied open the flap with her magic and pulled out the sheet of paper tucked inside.

“So?” Rainbow asked, hovering over her. “What is it?”

“Nothing of importance,” Rarity said, after a moment. She tucked the letter back into the envelope and left it where they’d found it.

“I don’t think we’re going to find anything else here,” she declared.

Alright, Rainbow said. “So, what next?”

“We shall head into town and speak with our witness,” Rarity said. “With any luck, he’ll have something new to add. But first…”

She got a giddy look in her eyes.

“It’s time to change!”

“Aren’t you hot in that?”

Rarity wiped the sweat from her brow.

“Of course not, darling,” she said. “Besides, if I’m going to be playing detective, I must look the part.”

“But, really?” Rainbow said. “A trenchcoat? At this time of year?”

“Trenchcoats are in style year-round, darling,” Rarity said. “Now, come; we have a witness to question.”

The two had just arrived in the village, having taken the dirt path there under directions from one of the guards.

“Rather rustic, isn’t it?” Rarity remarked, her hooves clopping on the cobblestones.

“No, Ponyville is rustic,” Rainbow said. “This place is backwater.”

“Well, I think it’s charming.” She spotted a local, sweeping his shopfront. “Ah! You there! Would you mind giving us directions? We’re looking for the abode of a mister ‘Hobble Hooves’.”

“Down this street, hook a left, it’s the inn on the corner,” the stallion said. “Can’t miss it.”

“Thank you!” Rarity turned back to Rainbow. “See? The locals are charming, too.”

“That’ll be two bits.”

Rarity blinked. “…Come again?”

“Two bits,” the stallion said. “For the directions.”

“Charming, huh?” Rainbow said, as Rarity reached for her purse.

“Here,” she said as she offered the bits, a look of mild disgust on her face. “And I’ll give you another two for any local gossip concerning the Duchess Clearglass.”

The stallion snorted. “Easiest four bits I ever made. Local gossip is that she’s a loon and that we all hate her. Can I relieve you of any more of your money? Maybe you’d like to know what time of day it is? The weather?”

“No, thank you,” Rarity said. She looked him over, frowned, then peered past him into his shop. “Perhaps you’d like to know why you receive more customers when your wife runs the till than when you do?”

The stallion blinked. “How’d you know…?”

“I’m a detective,” Rarity said. “Do you, or don’t you?”

“Of course I do!”

“It’s because she knows better than to mix burgundy with light green,” Rarity said, tapping the stallion’s vest. “I’m also a fashion designer. That’ll be four bits.”

“Okay, so perhaps not quite as charming as I’d imagined,” Rarity said as they walked away, putting her restored purse back in the pocket of her coat as she did so. “But at least we know where we’re going now. Ah, and here we are!”

After a quick chat with the inn’s clerk, the two climbed their way up to the second story, where Hobble Hooves’ room stood. Rarity rapped on the door.

“Mr. Hooves?” she said, when no one answered after a few seconds. “Are you home? We’d like to ask you a few questions…”

Still no response. Rarity glanced over at Rainbow.

“Maybe he’s out?” Rainbow said, shrugging.

Frowning, Rarity tried the handle. It turned easily in her magical grasp.

Once again, Rarity shot Rainbow a look. This time it was one of concern.

Slowly, she turned the handle. Then, on some unannounced signal, she threw open the door.

The two of them stopped dead.

There, lying on the floor in a puddle of dried vomit, empty bottle of liquor at his side, unseeing eyes open and staring glassily up at them, was what remained of the pony they’d come to see.

Rarity stared dumbly at the corpse for a few moments.

“Well,” she said. “I do believe things just got interesting.”