• Published 25th Jul 2018
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Clear as Blood: A Detective Rarity Mystery - RB_



Why can't eccentric billionaires ever have normal cases?

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The Residents' Ramblings

“Could you give me a quick summary of your activities today?” Rarity asked, mane freshly washed and curled and smelling slightly of lavender.

They were back in the estate, in the same dining room they had met the Duchess in earlier. However, it was not the Duchess they were talking to now.

“Certainly,” Sleepy Hollow said. “Let’s see… well, I woke up around nine, and had breakfast… I was alone then, no one else showed. After that, I decided to go down and spend some time in the village.”

“So, you visited the village this morning?” Rarity asked. “What for?”

“Well, I thought I might do some shopping… some of the Duchess’ staff were bringing a wagon down there to pick up groceries, you see, so I rode with them. That’s where I got the idea.”

She sighed. “This estate is lovely, but one does get tired of all the finery after a while.”

“I couldn’t agree less,” Rarity said. “Did you buy anything while you were there?”

“No, unfortunately,” Sleepy Hollow said. “In fact, I only visited one store, and then I decided I’d had enough.”

“Really? And why is that?”

“The owner,” Sleepy said. “He was very rude to me, especially after I mentioned that I was a guest of the Duchess. And he had just the ugliest vest on…”

“Yes, I do believe I can relate,” Rarity said, distaste dripping from every syllable. “After you left his shop, what did you do?”

“Well, I decided to walk back to the estate to clear my head.”

“Alone?”

“Yes.”

“And what time did you arrive back?” Rarity asked.

“Eleven o’clock, on the dot,” she said with confidence. “I remember because the clock chimed just as I walked through the door. After that, I went to my room and read until lunch, when the Duchess announced that we’d be having a visitor.”

“You mean me,” Rarity said.

“Well, I didn’t know it at the time,” Sleepy Hollow replied. “The Duchess was rather secretive about who it was—but yes, she meant you.”

“Really?” Rarity said. “And she hadn’t mentioned me before?”

Sleepy laughed. “Oh, no, she talks about you all the time! Well, for the last week or so, anyway. In retrospect, it should have been obvious who she was inviting. She’s quite enamored with you, I think.”

“I don’t know why she would be,” Rarity said. “Flattering as it may be.”

“The Duchess has a habit of… fixating on extraordinary ponies,” Sleepy said. She smiled. “Before you, it was me. She saw a performance of mine, some time ago; the next day, I found a little silver envelope in my mailbox. I’ve been a frequent guest of hers ever since. Once you’ve caught her interest, she’ll do anything to have you in her circle.”

“And when did she… fixate on me?”

“I believe it was at the party she hosted, two weeks ago,” she said. “Lots of guests from the nobility. Who, as you probably know, are notorious gossips. You came up.”

“I… see,” Rarity said. “Well, I’ll just have to make the most of it, then. You say you are a frequent guest of the Duchess’s? Were you here on the night of the break-in?”

“I was.”

“Could you go over what happened, then, from your perspective?”

Sleepy Hollow took a sip of her drink.

“Well, I’m afraid I slept through most of it,” she said. “My room is the furthest from the sitting room, so the commotion didn’t wake me. I only heard about it the next morning. You should ask Mr. Page; I believe he was awake.”

“I plan to,” Rarity said. “What about after?”

“One of the servants woke me,” she said. “The police were taking statements. They wanted to speak with everyone present. Not the most pleasant of wake-up calls.”

“What was your opinion of the investigation?”

“Thorough.”

“And since the break-in, what have you been up to?”

“Lounging around the estate,” she said. “Pardon me, but I can’t help but notice you’re asking a lot more questions about me than you are about the actual case, Miss Rarity. Do you suspect me of something?”

“Should I?”

Sleepy scoffed. “Of course not! I had nothing to do with this.”

Rarity smiled. “Then you have nothing to worry about.”


“So,” Rarity said. “Your name is?”

“Scribbled Page,” the stallion with the unkempt mane said. She suppressed the need to do something about that. There would be plenty of time for it later.

“My friends call me Scrib,” he added. “Or, well, they would. Are you really that detective everyone’s been talking about?”

“I see you’ve heard of me as well,” Rarity said.

Scrib nodded. “The Duchess says you’ve never failed to solve a case.”

“Technically true,” Rarity said. “But I am here to ask you questions, not the other way around.”

“Oh. Sorry.”

“Right,” Rarity said. “Mr. Page, could you tell me a little about yourself?”

“I’m a poet,” he said.

“Oh? And what kind of poems do you write?”

“Bad ones.”

“Like…?”

He cleared his throat.

“There once was a pegasus from Cloudsdale

Who had a magnificent rainbow tail.

Then her forehoof got nicked,

When her cobbler, he slipped

She died of tetanus from a rusty shoe nail.”

“You’re right,” Rainbow said. “That is an awful poem.”

“Indeed,” Rarity nodded. “The rhythm is off in the second line. How do you know the duchess?”

“Always the second line,” Scrib muttered. To Rarity, he said: “She’s a patron. My only patron. On account of the bad quality of my poems, you see.”

“I do see. Could you walk me through your day? A simple summary will suffice.”

“Well, I awoke at six, as usual,” he said. “I worked straight through breakfast—I had a stroke of inspiration, you see.”

“The only good kind,” Rarity said, nodding. “Can anyone corroborate that?”

He blinked. “Well… I suppose not, no; I didn’t leave my room until almost noon.” His features brightened. “Wait, no! The griffon, what’s his name…”

“Mr. Gentle,” Rarity supplied.

“Yes, that’s him,” he said, nodding. “He brought me breakfast, under the Duchess’ instructions. He can confirm I was in my room.”

“When would this have been?”

“Oh, around eight, most likely,” he said. “This isn’t the first time this has happened.”

“I’ll make sure to confirm it with him, then.”

“Why is it important?” Scrib asked. “I assumed you’d be asking about the night of the break-in. Or is that not what you’re investigating?”

“It is,” Rarity said. “Now, why don’t you tell me all about it?”

“I was awakened by a crash in the middle of the night,” he said. “It sounded like breaking glass; my room is just above the dining room, and I like to sleep with my windows cracked open.”

“I imagine most ponies do, in this sort of weather,” Rarity commented.

“Quite. Well, I got out of bed and went over to my window to see what had happened. I could hear shouting, but by the time I blinked the bleariness out of my eyes, the only one out there was the former head of security, dashing for the back wall.”

“No one else?”

He shook his head.

“What then?”

“I went down to see what had happened, of course,” he said. “I found the sitting room just as you saw it. I tried to get the story out of one of the old guards, but he knew even less than I did. Then the police showed up, and, well, that was the rest of my morning.”

“I see,” Rarity said. “Mr. Page, as a unicorn, do you know how to teleport?”

“Teleport?” he scoffed. “Miss, the most advanced spell I know is the one I use to hold up my quill.”

“One last question.”

“Shoot.”

“Why do you pursue poetry if you feel you have no talent in it?”

Scrib sighed.

“It was my mother’s wish, before she died,” he said. “She arranged the patronage with the Duchess, who has kept me in the business ever since.”

“But you have no love for the art?”

“Well, no, I never said that.”

Rarity nodded. “I understand.”

She glanced over to the window. The sun had descended below the treeline some time ago, and the sky was dotted with stars.

“It’s getting late,” she declared. “I won’t keep you. Thank you for your cooperation, Mr. Page.”

“Never a problem,” Scribbled Page said, slipping off his chair. “Perhaps it’ll inspire a poem.”

“Let’s both hope it doesn’t,” Rarity said, as he left the room.

“So, what now?” Rainbow asked. “Ready to nab the criminal?”

Rarity sighed. “Not quite. You should probably head to our room, Rainbow. I’ll be joining you shortly.”

“Why? Are you going off to do cool detective stuff without me?”

“No,” Rarity said. “Simply getting a little something to help me sleep.”


“Here we are,” Mr. Gentle said. Rarity stepped off the narrow staircase that lead down into the cellar and glanced around.

Lined with brick, the storeroom wasn’t all that big. Shelves lined with all sorts of jars and bottles stood like soldiers, taking up most of the space.

“There’s quite a lot down here,” Rarity remarked. “How often does the storeroom need to be restocked?”

“Once a month,” Gentle replied. “Or so I am told by the kitchen staff.”

“I see,” Rarity said. She began to stroll down the main aisle. “And do you buy locally?”

“Not at all,” Gentle said, following along behind her. “We import from all across Equestria. The Duchess will tolerate only the finest, you understand. We have everything delivered to the village. I believe the whiskey is kept over here.”

He gestured to the shelves to their left. Rarity followed, spotting quickly a shelf covered with bottles.

Well, perhaps ‘covered’ wasn’t the right word.

“Not much of a selection,” Rarity remarked, looking over the few bottles that remained.

“My apologies,” Gentle said. “If you’d like, I can see if we have anything else—”

“No, it’s perfectly all right,” Rarity said. She pulled one of the bottles off the shelf and scrutinized the label for a moment, turning it over in her magic.

“This one will do,” she said. “Thank you.”

“Just doing my job, ma’am.”

“We both know that’s not true,” Rarity said. “Oh, as you’re here, could you confirm something for me? Scribbled Page claims that you brought him breakfast this morning, is that true?”

He nodded. “Around 8 o’clock, if I remember correctly.”

“And he was there?”

He nodded.

“Any particular reason the Duchess sent you specifically?”

“I was available.”

“You should ask for a raise,” Rarity said. “If she’s going to make you play butler, she might as well pay you for it.”

“She pays me more than enough as it is,” he replied, smiling. “Is there anything else I can do for you?”

“You could show me to my room,” Rarity said. “It is getting late, after all.”

“As you wish.”


“Hey,” Rainbow said from the bed as Rarity entered the room.

“Hey yourself,” Rarity said. She set the bottle of whiskey down on a small table by the door as she passed, making her way over to the closet. The sash holding her trenchcoat closed began to undo itself.

“Soooo,” Rainbow said. “Have you figured out who did it yet?”

“Patience is a virtue, darling,” Rarity replied, levitating her coat onto a hanger.

“Yeah, and honesty is an element, so spill it.”

Rarity sighed. “Not yet.”

“Oh,” Rainbow said. She nodded. “That explains the whiskey.”

“Not quite, darling.”

Rarity shut the closet doors, her coat securely hung inside.

“I need some time to think,” she declared.

“…Is that what the whiskey is for?”

“No, Rainbow.”

“Because you probably shouldn’t drink if you’re trying to solve a case,” Rainbow said. “Or… wait, is that why the PI’s in the movies are always…?”

“The whiskey isn’t for me!” Rarity snapped.

“Oh. Gotcha.” Rainbow thought for a second. “Sooooo… can I have it?”

“If you must.”

“Sweet!”

As Rainbow descended hawk-like upon the bottle, Rarity pulled out a chair and sat down. She steepled her hooves together in front of her face, closed her eyes, and focused, her brow furrowing.

“I think it was Sleepy Hollow,” Rainbow said, as she poured herself a glass of the golden liquid.

“Why do you say that, darling?” Rarity asked. She kept her eyes closed.

“Well, she was in town today, right?” Rainbow said. “Around the same time you think Hobble Hooves died. If you’re right and it’s one of the ponies in the estate, then she’s the only one who could have done it. Plus, she’s a pegasus.” She set the bottle down and held her glass up. “Cheers.”

“Cheers,” Rarity echoed. “I admit, that is somewhat suspicious… but why would she stage a break-in? Especially such an odd one? By all accounts, she and the Duchess have been friends for some time.”

Rainbow set her glass down and began to pour herself another. “Huh, I didn’t think of that… maybe it was just a prank? A prank that got really, reeeeally out of hoof?”

“If so, then it’s not a particularly funny one,” Rarity said. “There’s also the issue of the bottles. How could she have snuck all those bottles to the village without anyone noticing?”

Rainbow downed her second. “Wait, so… the bottles came from here?”

“They’re all exotic brands,” Rarity said. “Some of them matched the ones I saw when I paid a visit to the storeroom just now. A storeroom that is noticeably low on whiskey.”

“Gotcha,” Rainbow said. “So it must have been Scribbled Page, then, right? He didn’t sound like her biggest fan.”

Rarity’s brow furrowed farther. “It’s the same problem. Besides, how could he have killed Hobble Hooves if he spent the entire morning in his room?”

Rainbow swirled the liquid in her glass around before drinking it down in one gulp. “Then… maybe they worked together?”

“It’s possible, but… why?” She let out a sigh. “I’m telling you, Rainbow, the key to this mystery is in the motive. Why would someone want to fake a break-in, and why do it in such an odd manner?”

Rainbow had no answer to give, so she went back to her drinking with double the enthusiasm to compensate. Meanwhile, Rarity continued to think.

Ten minutes went by. Twenty. Half an hour.

Then:

There’s a special kind of smile that only a predator can wear. It’s the smile a cat wears when it’s cornered a mouse. The smile a tiger wears, right before it pounces.

Rarity was not a cat of any size. But she was a businessmare, and a detective, and that was close enough.

Rarity smiled, that special predator’s smile, and she opened her eyes.

“Rainbow,” she said, “is there any whiskey left?”

“Uh…”

Rainbow picked up the bottle and swished it around. Half an inch of liquid sloshed about the bottom.

“Yeah, why? And why are you smiling all creepy like that?”

“Pour me a glass.”

“Sure,” Rainbow said, doing just that. “But I thought you said you didn’t want any?”

“That,” Rarity said, “was before I solved the case.”

Author's Note:

Detective Rarity has solved this case. But have you? Post your answer and your reasoning in the comments below, and then head to the next chapter to see if you were right!