• Published 25th Jul 2018
  • 1,256 Views, 23 Comments

Clear as Blood: A Detective Rarity Mystery - RB_

Why can't eccentric billionaires ever have normal cases?

  • ...

The Drunkard's Deception

“Is he… dead?” Rainbow asked.

“It certainly smells like it,” Rarity coughed. Her pale face began turning the colour of pea soup. “Perhaps you should ask the swarm of flies crawling over him, I’m sure they’d… urp… know.”

They stood there for a moment, just staring.

“Well, uh… after you,” Rainbow said.

“No, after you darling. I insist.”

“You’re the detective!”

“And I thought you were my assistant?”

“I quit.”

“Fine, fine,” Rarity said. She pulled a handkerchief from her coat pocket and held it over her nose and mouth. “I’ll… see about opening a window. Or something.”

Taking a deep breath (and a moment’s hesitation), Rarity plunged into the room.

Hobble Hooves’ home could have been described in many ways, but ‘luxurious’, ‘opulent’, or ‘lived-in’ would not have been any of them. In fact, the two-room abode was very sparse, containing only the kind of furniture one would expect to be provided by the inn, with only one or two personal touches that easily blended into the surroundings.

Aside from the bottles, of course.

Strewn about the room were empty bottles of liquor, whiskeys of a variety of heritages. Rarity had to take care not to trip over them as she staggered, eyes bulging, over to the only window.

Flipping the latches open with her magic, she yanked the window open as wide as it could go and thrust her head into the open air. The sounds of retching filled the room as Rainbow began flapping her wings, creating a breeze and forcing the stench of death and vomit out.

“Geez,” she remarked, still flapping. “I guess the Duchess was right about his drinking. Just look at this place! It’s worse than Twilight’s castle on Hearts and Hooves day!”

“Or your house on Hearts and Hooves Day,” Rarity replied weakly, pulling her head back through the window. “Ugh… Has Cherry Berry forgiven you for raining vomit on her roof yet?”

“She still throws pits at me every time she sees me,” Rainbow said. “Which she does every Wednesday. Because she flies her balloon up to my house. With a bucket of cherry pits. She’s figured out how to hit me through the walls now, you know.”

“Good aim, that mare,” Rarity said. “It’s a good thing we don’t live in glass houses, hm?”

“No kidding—hey!”

Rarity chuckled. “Now, let’s see about that body—hello, what’s this?”

She was referring to a plant, set in a pot on the windowsill. Horn glowing, she picked a leaf off and crushed it, then held it up to her nose and inhaled.

“Basil,” she declared. A curious look ran over her face. She dipped her hoof into the plant’s soil; it came out smudged black.

“Uh, Rares?” Rainbow said. “Dead body?”

“Right, right.” Wiping her hoof off with the handkerchief, she left the window and walked over to the body. Lowering her head to his chest, she listened for a heartbeat.

“He’s dead,” she said. She sniffed—and gagged. “And he smells like a distillery. Honestly, have some ponies never heard of a breath mint?”

“A what?”


“Looks like he had a little more than he could handle,” Rainbow said.

“It does indeed. Look, his fetlocks are bruised, as well.”

“Probably knocked into something,” Rainbow said. “On account of being drunk out of his mind. How much do you think he had in him?”

“Far more than he should have.”

After another moment, Rarity stood up. She took another glance around the room—and then something caught her eye.

It was a silver flask, a hip flask, with an elaborate pattern imprinted into the side. Rarity strode over to the nightstand that it sat upon and lifted it into the air. From inside it came the sound of sloshing liquid.

Frowning, Rarity unscrewed the cap. She took a sniff of the contents, then lifted it up to her lips and took a sip.

“Tonic water?” she said. “What kind of alcoholic keeps tonic water in their hip flask?”

“This kind, apparently.”

Rarity’s frown deepened.

“I think,” she said, “it’s time we fetched the police.”

“Poor bastard,” the Constable remarked, watching as two stallions carried out the body.

It was a short while later, and Rainbow had fetched the local policeman. While Rainbow had been gone, Rarity had taken the opportunity to speak with the neighbors—who, unfortunately, had not been around to answer.

The constable was a very spherical fellow, with round cheeks and an even rounder belly. His face had plenty of laugh lines, but he wasn’t making use of them now.

“Loses his job, now this,” he said. “Poor bastard.”

“Did you two know each other well?” Rarity asked.

“As well as any two village boys can,” the Constable said. “He was a good stallion. Never thought he’d go out like this.”

“Oh?” Rarity said. “What makes you say that?”

The Constable looked at her oddly. “What’s that supposed to mean?”

“Well, I was just wondering,” Rarity said, innocently. “If he had this much of a drinking problem, you might have suspected—”

“Drinking problem?” the Constable said, outraged. “I should have you arrested for saying that! I’ll have you know, Hobble never touched the stuff!”

“Uh… dude?” Rainbow said. “It sure looks like he did to me.”

The Constable grew flustered. “Well… this must have been new. Probably picked it up after he got fired. Lord knows that if I had to spend as much time with Clearglass as he did, I’d have stuck my head down a bottle’s neck a long time ago.”

“Funny,” Rarity said. “She seemed to be under the impression that he already had.”

He shook his head. “He hated the stuff, and that’s a fact.”

“What makes you so sure?”

“I was the one who bought him his first pint!” the Constable said. “No stallion could fake the expression on his face when he drank that down. Poor guy looked like he’d taken a drink from a toilet he’d forgotten to flush!”

Rarity gagged.

“Yes, like that, exactly!”

“Anyway,” he continued. “From the way you speak of her, you must be one of Clearglass’s ponies.”

He eyed her up and down. “Should have known, dressed like that.”

“There is nothing wrong with wearing a trenchcoat in the middle of the summer!” Rarity snapped. “And we aren’t one of anyone’s. The Duchess has hired us to look into a matter, that’s all.”

“So, what, you’re some kind of detectives?”

“Something like that,” Rarity said. “My name is Rarity; this is my assistant, Rainbow Dash.”

Recognition flashed in the Constable’s eyes. “Hang on a minute—you’re that lady detective, the one who solved that case at Blueblood’s mansion!”

“Oh?” Rarity said, surprised. “You’ve heard of me?”

“A cousin of mine helped make the arrests,” he said. “Word travels fast between family. You’re here on a case? Is this about that break-in up at Clearglass’s last week?”

“Indeed it is.”

“Well, then I’m sorry you had to waste your time,” he said.

“You sound as though you’re familiar with the case.”

He snorted. “I was one of the officers sent up there when it happened. And let me tell you, it wasn’t worth the overtime.”

“Really? The Duchess claims you did very little.”

The constable snorted. “Oh, did she now? Then I suppose the seven hours I and the rest of the boys spent up at her mansion combing over the entire grounds for any sign of her ‘burglars’ didn’t count to her, then?”

“It seems not,” Rarity said. “And did you find anything?”

“We found a broken window,” he said. “And that’s about it. We figured it was probably just a couple of boys from one of the nearby villages committing some harmless mischief.”

He sighed. “Honestly, I was hoping you were here on more serious matters.”

“Like what?” Rarity asked.

“Rumor has it the Malarkey Crew’s been seen in this area.”

Rainbow crooked an eyebrow. “The what?”

“Darling, you really must start reading the papers,” Rarity said. “They’re a gang of crooks, professional thieves. They’ve been making a living robbing ponies blind across western Equestria for the last few months.”

“A gang of super thieves?” Rainbow smirked. “Sounds like a load of mal—”

“Time and place, darling,” Rarity said. She turned back to the Constable. “Do you think they could have had anything to do with this?”

“With the break-in, you mean?” He snorted. “If only! It’d certainly get the Duchess off our backs if we could say it was. You know, she’s been sending ponies down here at all hours of the morning, demanding we take another look around in case we missed something? If she wasn’t who she is, I’d have thrown her in a cell for harassment!”

He put his hoof down. “No, this was too messy to be one of theirs. They’re professionals, you see. It doesn’t match their MO.”

“Still, it’s certainly a big coincidence,” Rarity said.

“And that’s all it is,” he said. “And—”

“Excuse me!” came a voice from the doorway. They all turned and looked. It had come from a mare Rarity recognized as the Innkeeper.

“Could someone be a dear,” the Innkeeper said, “and please tell me why a dead body was just dragged through my lobby?”

“Sorry, Wick,” the Constable said. “Hobble drank himself out.”

Her hoof flew to her mouth. “That’s horrible! He still owed me for the last three nights!”

“Ma’am, would you mind if I asked you a question?” Rarity said, stepping forwards. “Did you see anything unusual this morning? Any odd characters lurking about, anything?”

“Hm?” The Innkeeper tapped her hoof to her chin. “Well… there was one pony. Came in here with a crate on their back. I assumed it was a delivery for one of the guests.”

“What did they look like?” Rarity asked. “Mare? Stallion?”

“I can’t say,” the Innkeeper replied. “I wasn’t paying much attention.”

Rarity sighed. “Well, thank you anyway.”

She turned to the Constable. “We’ll be heading back to the estate; send someone up if you find anything else.”

“I don’t think this was an accident,” Rarity declared.

She and Rainbow were back on the dirt path that led from the village to the estate, this time headed towards the Clearglass residence.

“Well, yeah,” Rainbow said. “Kind of hard to down half a distillery on accident.”

Rarity shook her head. “I don’t think it was intentional on Hobble Hooves’ part, either.”

“What do you mean?”

“Well, it’s inconsistent with his character,” she said. “Unless we follow the Duchess’ opinion of Mr. Hooves, of course, but I’m more inclined to believe the Constable’s. Then there’s the timing of it. It’s too perfect.”

“Go on…”

“Well, he died this morning,” Rarity said. “Quite possibly while the Duchess was visiting us. That’s too much of a coincidence.”

“Hold up,” Rainbow said. “How do you know he died this morning? Did you smell that place? He must have been there for days!”

“The summer heat and lack of ventilation can account for that,” Rarity said. “Besides, there’s the basil on his windowsill.”

“The basil?”

Rarity nodded. “Basil is a very delicate plant, especially when kept in small pots. It needs to be watered several times a day to keep the soil moist or it will wilt. If Hobble Hooves had been dead for very long, the plant would have been in much poorer condition because there would have been no one to water it. Additionally, the soil in the pot hadn’t yet fully dried out, even with this heat.”

“…Huh,” Rainbow said. “How do you know all that?”

“One of the many benefits of growing up in an earth pony town,” Rarity said. “But you see what this means, yes?”

“That maybe I should pay attention next time Applejack gets into one of her farming monologues?”

Rarity scoffed. “Oh, heavens, no; Applejack may be a dear, but she’s no horticulturist.”

“Why do you say that?”

“Darling, she harvests her crops by kicking them.

“Point taken.”

Rarity nodded curtly. “Now, as I was saying: the timing of his death indicates that Hobble Hooves was almost certainly killed to prevent us from talking to him, which means whoever was behind it knew that we were coming. Which, of course, means that whoever may or may not have robbed the Duchess is likely still around.”

She came to a stop, the wrought-iron gate of the mansion in sight up ahead.And what’s more, I’d be willing to bet they’re inside the estate!”

“No way!” Rainbow said, her wings fluttering. “Then… you think it was that mare, Sleepy Hollow? Or that other stallion who was on the balcony?”

“We shall see,” Rarity said. “For now, I think we have some new suspects in need of questioning.”

She shivered. “But first, I think I’ll need to take a shower. A very long shower. With lots of little soaps.”

“Good idea.”