• 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?

  • ...
1
 23
 1,257

The Guilty Gathering

It was eight o’clock in the morning on Friday, May the 13th, and someone, somewhere, was having a very earnest conversation with the police.

“Sleepy, would you be a dear and pass the eggs, please?” Rarity asked.

They were not, however, having it here.

“Sure,” Sleepy said, doing just that. The sounds of moving cutlery laid out a backdrop to the meal. It was breakfast time at the Clearglass estate, and all the current residents were present for once.

Well, most of them, anyway.

“You’ll have to pardon my friend’s absence,” Rarity said, nodding towards the empty chair to her left. “Being a professional athlete, she has a strict regimen she must adhere to. She’ll join us once she’s finished her morning exercises.”

“Perfectly understandable,” the Duchess said. “Now, Miss Rarity, what progress have you made on my case?”

“Quite a bit,” Rarity said. She allowed herself a small smile as she began unpeeling the boiled egg on her plate. “In fact, if you’ll excuse the expression, I believe I’ve ‘cracked’ it.”

“You mean to say you’ve solved it?” the Duchess said.

“That is exactly what I mean to say.”

The room fell silent for a few moments.

“Well, don’t keep us waiting!” Scribbled Page exclaimed.

“I’m afraid I must,” Rarity said, continuing to attend to her meal. “I will reveal the culprit of this ‘fowl’ crime, but only after my assistant returns.”

“Why not now?” The Duchess asked.

“Because that’s just how these things work,” Rarity said. “It’s part of my method.”

“Your method seems half-baked to me,” Scrib said.

“I think you mean ‘hard-boiled’,” said Sleepy.

“Enough of these rotten egg puns!” the Duchess snapped. “Miss Rarity, I am very anxious to have this matter resolved, and while I have full faith in your methods, I must insist that you reveal the culprit at once!”

Rarity held up a hoof. “In due time,” she said. “I assure you, I do everything for a reason.”

“In the meantime,” she continued. “I would ask you for a favor, Your Grace. Would you mind calling your security staff? In their entirety, please.”

“Of course not,” the Duchess said. “But whatever for?”

“Well,” Rarity said, “we wouldn’t want the culprit slipping away, now, would we?”

Another moment of silence, this one more dire.

“Hold on,” Sleepy Hollow said. “Are you saying the robber was one of us? That’s ridiculous!”

“All will be revealed soon enough,” Rarity said.

Though clearly shaken by this information, the Duchess called over one of the servants hovering on the edges of the room. Soon enough, the security staff arrived, led by the griffon, Mr. Gentle. Rarity quickly filled them in on the situation, at which point they stationed themselves around the room, two of them (the gate guards, by the looks of things) taking up posts by the doors. Gentle, too, left to take a position, but Rarity caught him by the shoulder.

“I ask that you stick close to the Duchess,” she murmured to him, too low for anyone else to hear. “Things may get a smidge… messy. I wouldn’t want any harm to come to our patron.”

Gentle raised an eyecrest. “Do you think that’s a possibility?” he asked.

“It may well be.”

“Then I won’t leave her side.”

She released him. Nodding grimly, he took up a post at the end of the table, standing just behind the Duchess’s left side.

Shortly afterwards, there came a knocking on the door; Rainbow Dash had returned.

“Welcome back, darling,” Rarity said as she entered. “How went your morning exercises?”

“Huh?” Rainbow said. “OH! Oh, they went great. Really, uh, stretched those pinions!”

“Wonderful to hear.”

Rainbow took her seat at the table. With everyone now assembled, Rarity was ready to begin.


“I think the place to start,” Rarity said, sitting now at the foot of the table, opposite the Duchess, “is with Hobble Hooves’ death.”

“Hobble Hooves is dead?” the Duchess asked.

Rarity nodded. “I’m afraid so. Rainbow Dash and I found him on the floor of his room at the inn yesterday. It appeared as though he’d drank himself to death.”

She stood up and laid her front hooves on the table.

“But there was one crucial detail that immediately contradicted that theory,” she said. “That being that Hobble Hooves was not a drinker!”

“What?” the Duchess said. “But I’m certain—he had a hip flask! I caught him drinking out of it on the job!”

“You were wrong,” Rarity said. “I have it on very good authority from one of his closest friends that he barely touched the stuff. And his hip flask? Filled with tonic water, not whiskey. Which made me immediately suspicious of two things!

“The first was that his ‘suicide’ could have been a murder. Given his age and condition, someone, or someones, could have held him down and poured alcohol down his throat until he croaked, an idea supported by the bruising on his legs and the impeccable timing of his death. The key witness to a crime dying the very morning a detective is summoned to investigate it? I refused to believe that was a coincidence.

“And, secondly,” Rarity continued, “that—if I was correct, and he had been murdered—whoever had done it had likely gotten the idea from you, Your Grace! And what’s more, this is also supported by the time of his death, as only someone close to you would have known that you had gone to meet a detective yesterday in the first place!”

“My word!” The Duchess exclaimed. “Then… it really was one of you!”

“Now, wait just a minute,” Scribbled Page said, sitting up in his chair. “Not to be unfair to you, Miss Rarity, but this all seems very circumstantial. And, killing someone in such a cruel way—it’s just absurd! Is it not possible he could have recently started drinking?”

“Of course,” Rarity said. “And of course, I considered that—but there was one detail that that line of thinking failed to account for, and that is that the bottles that we found in Hobble Hooves’ room—the bottles that presumably ended his life—came from the estate!”

“What do you mean, came from the estate?” the Duchess asked.

“I mean that they are precisely the imported brands and prime ages that I expect match those that are missing from the estate’s storeroom,” Rarity said. “Which is conspicuously empty, given that a supply run to the village was made just yesterday morning.”

“Maybe he stole them,” Scribbled Page countered.

“Ah, but there wouldn’t have been anything to steal until today,” Rarity said. “Due of course to the large party that was held here only two weeks ago. The stores would have been empty to begin with.”

“Well… then…”

Sleepy Hollow gasped. “Then… it must have been you, Mr. Page! And why you didn’t come to breakfast yesterday! No wonder you were so desperate to poke holes in Miss Rarity’s deductions!”

“What?” he said. “No! Never! My poems may be crimes, but I’m no criminal!” He turned to Rarity. “Look how quick she was to try and pin this on me! She must be the real culprit!”

“What!? No!”

“Quiet, both of you,” the Duchess said. The two immediately fell silent.

“Detective Rarity,” she said. “Please, if you know, tell us who did this.”

“With pleasure, Your Grace,” Rarity said. She lifted one hoof straight up into the air.

“The culprit was…”

Her hoof fell. Everyone in the room held their breath.

“You!”

The hoof stopped, pointing straight down the length of the table.

“M-me!?” cried the Duchess. “You’ve lost your mind!”

“Er, no, not you, Your Grace,” Rarity said. She shifted her hoof a few inches to the left. “The griffon sitting next to you!”

Gasps filled the dining room.

“And,” Rarity continued, swinging her hoof around so it covered the entire room, “his entire security team! Who in reality are not a security outfit at all, but rather a gang of thieves!”

Gentle’s chair squealed as he stood, a scowl on his beak. Some would imagine it impossible to scowl with a beak, but Gentle pulled it off beautifully.

“Slander and lies!” he shouted. “My men and I run an honest business! You can’t honestly expect anyone to believe this… this… this load of—”

“Malarkey?” Rarity said, fluttering her eyelashes innocently. “Is that what you were going to say?”

Gentle’s expression soured.

“Hey!” Rainbow hissed. “That was my joke!”

“Time and place, Rainbow Dash,” Rarity said. “And now’s the time, and this is most definitely the place.”

She turned back to her suspect.

“You, Mr. Godfried Gentle,” she said, flinging out an accusatory hoof, “are in fact none other than the leader and mastermind of the Malarkey Crew, the gang of professional thieves that has held western Equestria in its grasp—or should I say talon?—for the last year! And your men are just as party to it as you are!”

“But… how?” Scribbled Page blurted out. “Why!?”

“Allow me to lay out their plan,” Rarity said. She stood up from the table and began to pace across the front of the room.

“After many successful operations in the past, you, Mr. Gentle, set your eye on the biggest target in the western hills: the Clearglass Estate. You knew that even a small robbery would gain you incredible riches—but you were greedy. You wanted it all, but with the Duchess’ security staff, and the local police on high alert due to your presence, this would take something more complex than a simple burglary.

“Five nights ago, you staged a break-in,” she said. “It was easy enough for you, or some of your men, to slip onto the grounds undetected, given your profession. However, you knew that if you stole anything, it would alert the police to your location. They would have descended like vultures, and you’d never have your chance. So, you did the opposite: you stole nothing.

“This served your purposed threefold. First, it helped to camouflage you. A simple act of vandalism would fall below the suspicion of the local police, masking the true intent behind it.

“Secondly, it helped to discredit the Duchess. Like any professional, you must have spent some time scoping out the local village beforehoof. Or, perhaps you weren’t lying when you said you had been born around here. In either case, you would have known about the strained relations between the townsfolk and the Duchess.”

“Strained relations?” the Duchess said. “What on earth do you mean? The village loves me!”

“They might like you more if you bought local,” Rarity said. “In any case, you guessed that giving the Duchess, with her rather… insistent personality, a reason to brush up against the police would worsen her relationship with them, to the point where they would want nothing to do with her—and you were right! Perhaps this would come in handy if something went wrong.

“And, finally,” Rarity said, “It gave the Duchess a reason to hire new security staff.

“You knew that a mare like the Duchess wouldn’t tolerate so grand of a failure by her old staff. She would want to replace them—and that’s exactly what she did!”

“You’re right!” the Duchess said. “And I don’t regret it—but how did you know I replaced the entire security staff? I only ever mentioned Mr. Gentle!”

“It was simple enough to tell, once I’d begun to suspect it,” she said. “Their uniforms are brand-new, and custom-tailored. You wanted every trace of the old staff removed, even down to the uniforms. It was the most logical conclusion. And besides, the first thing one does after a break-in is change the locks.

“With the old security staff out of the picture, you knew the Duchess would be looking for a new company to replace them—and so you posed as one, or perhaps took over an existing one. In either case, you maneuvered yourself to be in just the right place at just the right time. The Duchess hired you immediately.

“With you and the rest of the crew in place as security guards, the Duchess distracted, and the police none the wiser, the stage was set for the heist of the century. You needed simply to wait for an opportune moment to pull it off.”

She stopped pacing and looked straight at Gentle.

“Unfortunately for you, the Duchess threw a wrench into your plans,” she said. “And that wrench was me.”

“You would have known from the moment the Duchess left for Ponyville that she would be bringing in a detective. After all, she’d been talking about me—and you were worried. There was still one loose end you hadn’t accounted for, hadn’t been worried about: Hobble Hooves. But, if I was as good as the Duchess said I was—and I am, I can assure you—perhaps I could find some incriminating detail in his testimony that the police had missed?

“You couldn’t take that chance, so you hatched a new plan. Luckily for you, yesterday was the day the supplies were to be picked up—and, given how the Duchess works her security staff in the same manner as any other servant, it was easy for you to arrange for your men to make the run to the local village. Miss Hollow tagged along with them; would you be so kind as to tell me if I’m correct?”

“They were guards,” Sleepy Hollow said. “They had the uniforms and everything.”

“As I suspected,” Rarity said. “You had them go down to the village, but while they were there, they performed an additional task.

“You see, I told a little fib earlier, when I said that the bottles of alcohol came from within the estate. While they do match the expensive, imported varieties found in the estate’s storeroom, the fact of the matter is that they never actually made it there. They were the bottles ordered to refill the supply following the large party the Duchess held here several weeks ago, and they were picked up by the guards shortly before they were used to murder Mr. Hooves!”

“And that,” Rarity said, slamming her hoof on the table, “was your big mistake! Because rather than making the case impossible to solve or scaring me off, your little stunt put me right on your leonine tail!”

“You see, before the murder, I had arrived at the same conclusions as the police: that this was nothing more than an act of vandalism, perpetrated by a pair of perturbed pegasi from the village. But after finding the body, and realizing just when he was killed, I saw that it was too much of a coincidence—and that whoever had perpetrated the break-in had to still be around, and had to be in a position close enough to the Duchess to know just who she was going to meet that morning!

“So, thank you, Mr. Gentle,” Rarity said, “because without your assistance, my perfect record would have bit the imported dust.

“After that, it was a simple game of who and how and why. And you, my feline friend, were the one in the right place, at the right time, at every point of the case. And, not to come across as racist, but you do appear to be half magpie.”

She nodded, satisfied with her own conclusions. “Put simply: it could have been no one else.”

With her explanation finished, Rarity fell silent, and so did the others in the room. All eyes were on Gentle.

“You’ve put forth a lot of conjecture,” he said, speaking carefully, an edge to his words. “But what you claim is incredible. Besides, everything you’ve just suggested could be lobbied against the duchess, as well. We are her employees.”

“Not quite,” Rarity said. From her coat pocket, she withdrew a silver envelope.

“The possibility that it could have been the Duchess did cross my mind,” Rarity said. “Perhaps engineering a crime in order to have the chance to see me in action. A bizarre crime occurring just weeks after she first heard about my exploits? That couldn’t be overlooked.”

She opened the envelope and pulled out the piece of paper inside. “But you see, she was already planning to invite me to the estate. I found this letter in the sitting room. It’s an invitation, addressed to me, abandoned where the Duchess had left it on the night of the break-in to preserve the crime scene. There was no reason for her to have gone through such theatrics if she was going to invite me anyway.”

The Duchess scoffed. “Of course. Why would you even consider such a thing in the first place? I’m no lunatic.”

Rainbow Dash stifled a snigger. Meanwhile, Gentle began to speak again, keeping his dead stare locked on Rarity.

“But what evidence do you have that it was me?” he asked.

“Oh, I don’t have any evidence,” Rarity admitted. “But then again, the Duchess doesn’t seem like the kind of lady who needs evidence, does she?”

“I most certainly am not!” the Duchess said. Standing, she strode with much indignation up to Gentle, stopping with her face just inches from his beak.

“You and your men are dismissed!” she said. “Immediately! With no severance pay! Leave the premises at once!”

Gentle didn’t move. The Duchess grew even more incensed.

“Did you not hear me!? I said to leave, or I shall—”

“You shall what?” the griffon said slowly. “Call for your guards?”

“Yes!”

And then it sank in.

“Oh dear.”

Gentle brushed past her. Behind him, two of the guards slid in front of the door.

He stopped in front of Rarity.

“It seems you have made a horrible mistake, Miss Detective,” he said, towering over her.

“Did I, now?” Rarity said, showing no signs of caring. “And what would that be?”

He let a smile set over his features. His very sharp features.

“You’ve locked yourself in with your prey.”

He turned to one of his underlings. “Loot the place. Load it all into our wagons. Leave nothing behind. I want everything down to the silverware!”

“You got it, boss!” the stallion said, then ran off with a few of the others, the two guarding the door letting them pass before stepping back into place.

“I must give you credit, Miss Rarity,” Gentle said. “You’ve impressed me. I did not think anyone would be able to unravel that little scheme.”

“I nearly didn’t,” Rarity admitted. “You were a worthy adversary… almost.”

Gentle grinned. “Then it is such a shame the two of us will be parting ways so soon.” From his coat pocket, he withdrew a short knife, razor sharp and well-polished. “Surely you did not think I would leave you all alive after this?”

Quick as a flash, Rainbow leapt from her seat and landed between him and Rarity, lowering her head and spreading her wings in a protective stance.

“Back off, beak-brain,” she growled.

“So you admit, then,” Rarity said, “that you and your men are in fact the Malarkey Crew, the gang of professional thieves that have been plaguing western Equestria as of late?”

“I would have thought that would have been obvious at this point,” he said, advancing forwards with the knife.

“And you admit that it was your men, under your orders, who murdered Hobble Hooves yesterday morning?”

“Perhaps you’re not as smart as I was led to believe,” Gentle said. He took another step forward; Rainbow was forced to take a step backwards, and Rarity as well.

“Yes, we were the ones who killed Hobble Hooves. I didn’t want his testimony getting out; we took enough of a risk leaving him alive as it was.”

He took another step forward. They took another step back. Rarity’s back hoof hit the wall. Nowhere left to run.

Not that she needed to.

“Wonderful,” she said, raising her voice. “Oh, Constable, did you hear that? He confessed. You can come in now!”

“What?” Gentle said, his eyecrests raising in confusion just as the doors burst open.

“Sure did, Miss Rarity!” the Constable said, as blue uniforms began flooding into the room. “And so did the rest of the department!”

The guards didn’t have a chance to react before the police were upon them, subduing them with little resistance. Out in the hall, the stallions Gentle had sent out only moments ago could be seen, handcuffed and gagged.

“No!” Gentle cried, watching helplessly as his men were subdued. He glanced at the knife in his claws, then at Rarity. He snarled, curling his back legs and lunging forwards with the knife outstretched.

With characteristic speed, Rainbow swung about on her forelegs, brought her hindlegs up, and bucked him straight in the face. He flew backwards, right into the waiting hooves of the police. He was in handcuffs before the knife even hit the floor.

“Ha!” Rainbow laughed. “Take that, worm-breath!”

“Thank you darling,” Rarity said, patting her on the shoulder. She strode up to Gentle, currently pinned against the floor by two stallions.

“I believe the expression the Abyssinians use is ‘trussed up like a turkey’?” she said, looking down at him.

“How,” he sputtered. “I don’t understand.”

“Oh, it’s quite simple, darling,” Rarity said. “I knew that if I revealed your true identity here at the estate, it would be far too easy for you to take advantage of the situation, given your superior numbers. And I knew that if I didn’t, you would become suspicious and alert your men.

“So, I sent my dear assistant down to the village this morning, with a message for the police to come to the estate at a specific time and wait outside the dining room for my signal. Meanwhile, I gathered all of the guards here under the guise of catching the thief, when in reality it was to keep you all in one central location to prevent your escape. And, of course, I needed your confession—I had no evidence, remember? You were trapped from the very moment you entered this room.”

Seeing his expression of shock, she laughed. “As I said, a worthy opponent… almost. Boys? Take him away.”

Rainbow walked up beside her, watching as Gentle was dragged out of the room.

“’Take him away’, huh?”

“I’ve always wanted to say that.”

“Miss Rarity!”

They turned around to see the Duchess walking up to them, carefully stepping around the police officers and their charges on her way. She looked a bit shaken, but otherwise unharmed.

“Apologies, your grace,” Rarity said to her. “We needed it to appear authentic.”

“Yes, well, if you ask me, it was a little too authentic,” she said. “Nevertheless, thank you. You’ve not only solved my case, you’ve prevented an even greater crime. Why, when I think of what that monster was planning to do…”

She shivered.

“I am in your debt.”

“Well, that’s good,” Rarity said. “Because I believe now is the time to talk about my payment.”

“Yes, of course,” the Duchess said. “I’ll go get my chequebook. No price is too high for what you’ve done for me today.”

“Oh, no, I don’t want your money,” Rarity said, shaking her head. “What I want is a favor. You, Duchess Clearglass, are going to wear one of my designs to the Grand Galloping Gala.”

The Duchess blinked. “I am?”

“You are.”

“That’s it?”

“That’s it.”

“Well, then it shall be so,” the Duchess said. “And I’ll make sure to tell everyone I meet about what you did here today.”

“I’m sure you will,” Rarity said.

“Hey. Psst. Rares.”

Rarity turned. “Yes, Rainbow?”

“You sure that’s all you want?” Rainbow whispered. “A dress? C’mon!”

“The Duchess is one of the most influential ponies in Equestrian high society,” Rarity whispered back. “If she’s seen wearing one of my dresses, my sales will triple overnight, and I’ll be the talk of the high fashion circles for months. I get renown, she gets a wonderful new dress, and we both come out of it with more than we started.”

“Oh,” Rainbow said. She stepped away. “Carry on.”

“So,” the Duchess said. “Will you be staying for lunch? I could have a veritable feast prepared. Or perhaps you’d enjoy a longer stay?”

“No thank you, your grace,” Rarity said, shaking her head. “While I appreciate the offer, I really must get back to my shop.”

She looked disappointed. “I understand. I shall have a carriage prepared to take you to the train station, then.”

“Thank you,” Rarity said. “That would be lovely.”


“Well, that was fun,” Rarity said. Their carriage, the Duchess’ finest, trundled down the road, back towards the train station.

“See?” Rainbow said. “I told you.”

“Well, I never said you were wrong.”

A few seconds passed.

“Truth be told, I was somewhat… afraid,” Rarity said, “of taking such a bold step in my life. All I’ve ever really wanted to do is be a dressmaker, to run my shop, and to make ponies beautiful. Playing detective is… well, it’s wonderful, exhilarating, fun as all get-out, but it’s also new and strange, and I worried it might consume me. I was afraid of committing to that.”

“I notice you’re saying ‘was’,” Rainbow said.

Rarity chuckled. “Yes, I suppose I am.”

They trundled on in silence for a few moments more.

“I’ve decided that there’s room in my life for two passions, after all,” Rarity said.

Rainbow leaned in, a twinkle in her eye.

“Sooooo…?”

“So, I think I’ll be requiring more of your company in the future, darling,” Rarity said. “If only so I can stand having to deal with the loons. I assume you won’t mind?”

“Won’t mind? Are you kidding? You wouldn’t even have to pay me!”

“Good, because I have no idea how profitable this little venture is going to be,” Rarity said. “I’ll have to carve some space in my shop—perhaps I can convert part of the basement into a proper office. Oh, and I’ll need to have a new sign made… and new costumes!”

She laughed, in that sing-songy way she often did when excited, and Rainbow couldn’t help but smile.

“Oh, this is going to be so much fun, darling!” she said.

Rainbow chuckled.

“You bet!”

It was eleven o’clock on the morning of Friday, May the 13th, and someone, somewhere, might have been being murdered. Or robbed. Or kidnapped. Or been the victim of any one of an ever-growing list of crimes.

But if anyone wanted closure, revenge, or simply to know why, all they had to do was take the train down to a little village named Ponyville. Because there, in a building shaped like a carousel, lived the greatest detective in the world.

And she was finally open for business.

…When it suited her, anyway.



















“Hey, Rarity?”

“Yes, Rainbow?”

“What about your side business?”

Rarity blinked. “Oh. Well, I suppose bridge night may have to be postponed every once in a while—”

“Bridge night?”

“Yes, of course,” Rarity said. “Ponyville is a small country village of mostly mares. As a rule, every village has to have a bridge club. We meet on Thursdays; I host and provide snacks.”

After a moment of confused silence, Rainbow began to laugh.

“What’s the matter, darling?”

“Don’t laugh?” Rainbow said. “I thought you were—”

Fin.

Comments ( 9 )

I thought the first story would be a one-off, but thankfully I was wrong. Really enjoyed this one.

Very nice mystery. And very fair play too! :twilightsmile:
I can't wait to see more adventures of this investigating duo! (It's great to see more of Detective Rarity!) :raritywink:

A delightfully put-together mystery. I had a faint inkling of what was going on, but you surprised me for the most part. Rarity's positive-sum fee was an especially nice touch. Thank you for this.

Ri2

Guess I was wrong about the culprit.

I WAS right about the side business, though. Or what it wasn't.

So, what sorts of future mysteries lie in wait for the Great Detective Rarity?

Huh. Nice little parlor mystery. But he thought he could kill five ponies and just leave an emptied-out slaughter-house and the authorities wouldn't be on his tail like Bon-Bon and Clyde?

That was exquisite.

  1. I wonder why ScarletWeather hasn’t written a review yet.
  2. More Detective Rarity please!

I had to create an account for the first time in seven or so years just to say that these Detective Rarity stories are criminally under-read if the counter is to be believed. They are funny as all hell and decent mysteries as well, which is impressive given their short lengths and farcical character. This particular one reads like Doyle if Doyle had been a comedian. Well done, my dude.

Please continue this series, my good sir. I’ll be on the l🔎🔍k out!

9068663
The idea is to be gone and without witnesses. The police would know something happened, they'd know it was the Malarkey Crew, but they'd still have no idea where the Malarkey Crew are. It was his best bet in a desperate situation.

Login or register to comment