• Published 30th Oct 2018
  • 1,182 Views, 582 Comments

Ponyville Noire: Kriegspiel—Black, White, and Scarlet - PonyJosiah13

War has come to Ponyville. As a criminal mastermind, a cruel pirate, and a mare with mysterious motives fight for control, Daring Do and Phillip Finder are put to the test with new cases and new foes.

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Case Eight, Chapter Three: The Griffon and the Butler

“I examined those jewels myself,” Twilight said, sitting in front of the coffee table in her home. “They do match the cuttings of the jewels on the statues, although they were missing four gems. This book gives very precise details.” She gestured at “Ancient Artifacts and Totems,” which sat on the coffee table in front of her. She, Spike, Flash Sentry, Daring Do, and Phillip Finder all sat around the table, having come together to discuss the evidence.

“So it might not be Shoe Shine that dropped them off,” Daring pointed out, scowling at the book. “Somepony else could’ve. Hell, it wouldn’t surprise me if Night Waltz is just straight up bullshi—”

“Language!” Twilight squawked, reaching over to cover the ears of the young dragon sitting on the couch next to her. Spike shot her an irritated glare.

“Straight up lying,” Daring rolled her eyes.

“Unfortunately, he’s not,” Flash grumbled, sitting on the star-spangled carpet to Daring’s left. He was curled up next to the constellation Capricorn, which had been completely restored to its former glory: there was no trace of any of the burns from a previous experiment involving Spike’s dragon fire. “I checked the pawnshop where those diamonds were dropped off. They had a surveillance crystal, and I did find an image of the pony who pawned them. They were wearing a rain jacket with the hood up, but it looked a lot like Shoe Shine.”

“You sure?” Phillip asked, sitting across from Daring, to Flash’s left.

“A unicorn with the same coat color and hair, from what you can see,” Flash commented. He frowned. “It could be somepony else…”

“Or an illusion spell,” Daring suggested.

“No, I thought of that," Flash shook his head. "Turns out it's one of the newer models; it's designed to see through illusion spells."

“It doesn’t look good for Shine,” Phillip stated. “Somepony was definitely out of the house while the Literatures were gone, and they could’ve taken the statues.”

“You didn’t say they went to that pawnshop,” Daring pointed out.

“But I can’t say that they didn’t,” Phillip replied. “I do know that our interloper went up onto that hill at some point. It’s possible they went somewhere else.”

“That griffon might be able to give us an alibi for them,” Daring said. “If we can get her to talk.”

“Who is she?” Spike asked.

“According to the PD’s records, her name is Dimmig Morgon,” Daring said. “She’s adopted; her parents are immigrants from Griffonia. She’s of legal age, but I doubt that we can get past her parents as long as she’s in the house.”

“Then we’ll have to get her when she’s outside,” Phillip said. “She might have something.”

“It’s still worth considering that somepony else might have taken the statues,” Twilight suggested.

“There’s no evidence of that,” Phillip shook his head.

“There’s something I’m still wondering,” Spike put in. “Why pry the jewels off and just sell those? Why not sell the statues wholesale?”

“They’d be too easily recognized,” Daring replied. “If it were me, I’d sell the gems at several separate locations, then melt the gold statues down and sell that separately.”

“Or maybe they wanted the statues themselves,” Spike suggested. “What’s so special about those statues anyway?”

“The Innsbeak Statues are nearly as old as Equestria,” Daring said, taking the book and flipping through it to a chapter late in the book. A black and white photograph displayed the four statues, each standing on a folding table in what looked to be an archaeological dig.

"I remember reading about them when I first researching them years back, when the Family got hired to find 'em," Daring reminiscned briefly. “Innsbeak was a village in the southeast of modern Equestria. According to records, in circa 150 AE, the village was struck by a series of plagues and droughts. A sculptor received a vision from the Old Gods that the plagues would stop if he built a statue of each of the four main gods, inlaid with jewels.”

“Who exactly are the Old Gods?” Spike interrupted. “They’re monsters, right?”

“The Old Gods aren’t real, Spike,” Twilight said. “They’re just ancient legends of pagan gods that were worshipped in pre-Equestrian times.”

“No, they’re not,” Flash said defensively. “The Old Gods ruled the world until the Holy Mother was born. They forced ponies to worship them and were constantly fighting each other; that’s why life was so awful for ponies back then.”

“Well...yes, if you believe in the Covenant Journal,” Twilight admitted skeptically. “But the archeological evidence indicates that before ponies discovered magic and were able to control the weather and the movement of the sun and moon—”

Daring pointedly cleared her throat, scowling. “Anyway, Innsbeak was eventually destroyed in a huge earthquake around 1095 AE that buried the town," she continued. "When the site was excavated in 1876, the statues were found, still intact. In fact, they looked almost pristine. It’s rumored that the statues contain great power. Naturally, they’ve never demonstrated anything, but rumors abound. The ship carrying them hit a storm coming up the Maresippi and sank, and the statues were lost.” She closed the book.

"Least that's what everypony thought until a collector found a journal from a crewpony that revealed that he'd stolen the statues and swam to shore," Daring continued.

"Swum," Twilight corrected.

"Whatever," Daring rolled her eyes. "Anyway, the journal said that he'd sold them to a friend, so the collector hired me to find them. It took me a month of searching and following that trail, but I found the statues in the back of this little antique store in Fillydelphia. Bought 'em for a song and brought them to the client. Guess he might've sold 'em or something."

“So maybe Scarlet wanted the statues themselves,” Flash suggested.

“We’re at the same spot we were in when we first arrived here,” Phillip stated. “Lots of facts, some theories, but no proof.” He got up and stretched with a groan. “We can pick this up in the morning after Shoe Shine cools his heels at the precinct.”

“In the meantime,” Spike said, turning his gaze to Flash. “You promised Twilight a date.”

“I did?” Flash said slowly, then blinked. “Oh, right, I did! Last week!”

Twilight blushed. “But...but, Spike, we’ve got work to do and—”

“Uh-uh,” Spike shook his head. “We agreed you wouldn’t do this anymore. You always bury yourself in your work and start fretting over everything, and you drive yourself insane. Not this time. There’s nothing you can do right now, so what you’re gonna do is go out, have fun, and give your brain a break. Right?”

Twilight stared incredulously at Spike for several seconds, then sighed and rolled her eyes with a weary smile. “Okay, Spike, I guess you have a point.”

“Good,” Spike nodded, then glared at Flash. “I want her back by no later than 10:30. Clear?” he growled, baring his teeth.

“Clear!” Flash replied with a salute, his face blanching and eyes widening in terror.

“Spike, don’t scare him,” Twilight chided, half-laughing.

“I’m just teasing you, dude,” Spike grinned at Flash, who managed to nervously smile back after a moment. “When you bring her back, I’ve got that Whinny Mantle card waiting.”

Flash’s eyes lit up. “Great! You coming, Twi?”

“Oh, all right,” Twilight said, standing.

The two of them exited the house, with Phillip and Daring following. Flash guided Twilight to the blue motorcycle with the clumsily-painted yellow lightning bolt and gently guided her into the sidecar, handing her a helmet. He clambered onto the bike and turned the ignition, bringing the bike to life with a growl. He gave Twilight a small grin and revved the throttle, causing the bike to roar. Twilight rolled her eyes at him with an indulgent smile. Both of them laughed as he pulled the bike away from the curb and sped down Golden Oak Street.

“You just wanted her out of the house for a while, didn’t you?” Daring asked Spike, smirking.

“Hey, she needed some time out to do something fun,” Spike said. “I’m looking out for her.”

Daring raised an eyebrow and Spike sighed. “And the latest issue of Spider-Mare just came in and I’d rather read that than spend all night organizing notes, which is what she’d normally be doing, and would end with us both being too tired,” he admitted.

Daring let out a bark of a laugh. “Enjoy your comics, kid,” she said, snatching Phillip up and taking off into the sky, ignoring his cry of protest.

“Yeesh,” Daring scoffed as they flew through the chill night air. “If we ever start acting like those two lovebirds, just shoot me.”

“Don’t think I’ll ever—” Phillip paused, turning. “Hey, there’s Fluttershy. And she looks worried.”

Fluttershy was indeed flying towards Twilight’s house, distress clear on her face. When she spotted Daring and Phillip, she diverted towards them.

“You have to help!” she cried, her eyes wide. “Rainbow Dash is gone! I think she’s gone after Scarlet Letter!”

“She what?” Daring asked.

“She’s been acting like a vigilante,” Fluttershy explained, the words tumbling from her lips. “She’s been getting into fights with some of the criminals on the streets, and she’s been getting hurt. I’ve tried to tell her to stop, but—”

“What’s this about Scarlet?” Daring interrupted.

“She..she mentioned that she needed to do something to stop her,” Fluttershy stammered. “She said that if nopony else was going to do something, she would.”

“Fuck,” Daring muttered, then flew westward at her top speed, wind whistling past her ears.

“One of these days, you’re going to have to start carrying airsickness bags!” Phillip yelled, squeezing his eyes shut and holding onto his hat with one hoof.

It was a well-established fact that Scarlet Letter lived in a small cottage in the northwestern borders of Ponyville, not too far from the farmlands, but close enough to the city to still be a part of the richer part of the city. The single-story house was painted in faint reds and pinks, and a single lamppost stood post next to the walkway to the door, throwing a warm glow against the front of the building. The curtains were drawn and the lights were out, setting the building in a peaceful scene.

A figure dressed in a black hooded sweatshirt dove down from the clouds and alighted in the backyard. It crouched, fluttering its blue wings and panning its hooded head from side to side. Seeing nopony, it crept over to the backdoor, the boards of the porch creaking quietly beneath their weight. They reached for the doorknob with a hoof.

Without warning, a great weight dropped upon the intruder and wrestled them away from the door, clamping a hoof over their mouth. The would-be burglar struggled, letting out a string of muffled curses, but all in vain. The second interloper dragged them back to a low-hanging cloud and tossed them onto it, pinning them down.

“Are you fucking insane?!” Daring barked at Rainbow Dash.

“Let go!” Rainbow shouted, struggling beneath her. “Why are you stopping me?!”

“Because you were about to get yourself arrested or killed!” Daring said, getting off of Rainbow.

Rainbow Dash grunted and stood up, rubbing the foreleg that Daring had twisted behind her. “I’ve heard about what you said about Scarlet,” she stated, frowning at Daring. “And I know she’s been involved in that hit and run of that rich author or whatever. We both know she’s involved in something. This could be our chance to prove it!”

“By doing what?” Daring said. “Committing breaking and entering?”

“But—” Rainbow Dash started to protest, then her eyes lit up. “We could do it together! You and me, taking on the bad guys, fighting for just—”

“No,” Daring said firmly. “We are not doing this.”

“Why not?” Rainbow Dash asked, looking bewildered.

“Because it’s wrong, it’s stupid, it’s dangerous, and I said no,” Daring stated. “Go home, kid.”

Rainbow stared at Daring for a moment, then scowled. “What’s stopping you? She’s the bad guy, you’re the good guy! We have to stop her!”

Daring sighed and facehoofed. “Breaking and entering isn’t gonna solve anything. It’s just gonna get us in more trouble.”

Said the pony who broke into Silvertongue’s mansion, and was talking about doing this exact same thing, a little voice whispered in the back of her head. Hi, pot! I’m the kettle!

“But you’re Daring Do!” Rainbow Dash protested. “You’re an adventurer, a crimefighter! You’re not scared of her, are you?”

“I’m not, but…” Daring frowned at Rainbow. “Kid, you’re smarter than this,” she said, her tone one of heavy reproach. “What the hell were you thinking, trying something like this?”

Rainbow’s eyes widened as though she’d been stabbed, then her head lowered and her ears flattened against her head. Daring tilted her head slightly, a note of concern pushing its way into her anger and frustration.

“Look, kid, there’s something else going on here, isn’t there?” she asked.

Rainbow Dash sighed and sat down on the cloud. “I hear about you all the time,” she said. “So many stories about how adventurous and cool you are, how you never give up when things get hard. I mean, you stopped Tinderspark, you took down Monopoly and Silvertongue...remember when I helped you out with Monopoly?”

“Yeah,” Daring nodded, a small smile tugging at the corner of her mouth. “That was pretty cool.”

“It was!” Dash said. “You charged right in there, knowing how dangerous it’d be, and you got everypony out safely! We worked together on that! It was...so awesome! And I…” She sighed and looked down. “I wanted more. I wanted to be more like you.”

Daring felt her jaw drop slightly; the cursed brand suddenly felt strangely cold, an odd numbness spreading up her arm. A cloud over their head moved aside to reveal the waxing crescent moon; in its glow, Daring suddenly noticed the purple bruises across Rainbow Dash’s jaw.

“Ever since I moved here from Cloudsdale with Fluttershy, I’ve had to get used to looking the other way, to nopony caring or doing anything about the crime, and I’m sick of it. I wanted to try to do something good, to fight back against the bad guys,” Rainbow continued, not looking up. “That’s why I came here: I thought maybe I could do something that would prove to everypony that she was a crook.”

Daring stared at Rainbow for a few moments of silence, then sighed. “I get it, kid,” she said quietly. “I can’t blame you for wanting to help, to try to clean up this city a little. But picking fights, sneaking into ponies’ homes: that’s the wrong way to do it. Looking for trouble isn’t brave, it’s stupid. And it’s going to get you arrested or killed. Get me?”

Rainbow Dash looked up, a glimmer of defiance in her eyes. “But I can’t just stand by and do nothing,” she protested.

“Doing nothing is better than doing stupid shit like this,” Daring answered. “That’s gonna end with you in a cell at best, in the Maresippi with a concrete block tied around your neck at worst. Do you wanna do that to your friends?”

Rainbow scowled for a moment, then sighed and shook her head.

“Go home, kid,” Daring repeated. Rainbow morosely spread her wings and took off, flying south. Daring watched her fly off, then flew over to where she’d left Fluttershy and Phillip, a safe distance away so they wouldn’t be seen with her if things had gone badly.

“I think she needs a friend to talk to,” Daring said to Fluttershy. Fluttershy nodded, then flew after Rainbow Dash.

“Let’s go home,” Daring said to Phillip, gently picking him up in her forelegs. Her right fetlock was still numb and heavy, as though encased in ice; the cursed brand felt like a great weight tied to her hoof, pulling her down.

She flew low and slow over the ground until they reached 221 Honeybee Bakery. Phillip unlocked the door, prompting the windows and doors to briefly flash lavender as the wards deactivated. They stepped inside, and Phillip relocked the door, reactivating the wards.

“What’s wrong?” he asked her as they tossed their hats and vests onto the coat rack in the front hallway.

Daring stared down at her cursed brand, forever burned into her hoof, a reminder of her past, of who she was at her core. A single thought turned over and over in her mind, brought on the waves of cold pain that raced up her foreleg: Why would anypony ever want to be like me?

“Ugh, fuck it,” she muttered, wandering into the kitchen. She pulled out a bottle of Manticore Rare, unstoppered the top, and poured a healthy dose into a glass. “It’s too late for philosophical musing,” she muttered, downing the entire glass in one go.

“Daring…” Phillip started to say.

“I don’t—” Daring started to snap at him, but stopped herself when she saw him flinch. She took a breath, poured herself another shot and drank it down, and sighed. “I don’t want to talk about it now,” she said in a calmer tone. “I just want to go to bed.”

Phillip nodded. “Okay.”

They retreated up to their room and Daring crawled into bed, allowing the weight of the alcohol on her head to start to drag her down into the mattress. Phillip crawled in behind her and wrapped his forelegs about her barrel, gently pulling her into his chest. A small smile widened across Daring’s mouth as she felt his lips gently brush against her cheek.

“Be here if you need to talk,” he muttered sleepily.

“I know,” she murmured, snuggling into the warmth of his embrace and closing her eyes.

His soft breathing against the back of her neck soothed her, and bit by bit, the pain of the brand faded away. Before long, sleep stole up and claimed her.

“I’m not saying I trust Night Waltz, because I don’t,” Red Herring said the next morning. “Frankly, I don’t trust him any further than I could throw an oil tanker. I’m saying that the evidence doesn’t look good for Shoe Shine.”

“And I’m not disagreeing with you,” Phillip said tactfully. He glanced to his side, looking through the one-way mirror into the interview room. Shoe Shine sat at the desk, dark shadows beneath his eyes and his mane in disarray. He stared down at the plastic cup of water in front of him, his pupils glassy from lack of sleep. Trace Evidence sat across from him; Shoe Shine answered his questions mainly in monosyllables, never looking up. “I am saying that there might be more to this.”

“He is still denying that he stole the statues,” Red stated. “But when we ask him about that griffon you mentioned, he just kind of shuts down. He knows something, that’s for sure, but he won’t say what.”

“Daring’s watching Morgon,” Phillip reported. “If we can get her away from her parents, she might be more willing to talk.”

“Or we could try a direct route,” Red suggested. “I could get a subpoena and—”

Phillip glanced up at the sound of hoofsteps. “No need. She’s here.”

Red looked up to see Daring walking towards them. Behind her was the young griffon. Dimmig Morgon walked lightly on her paws, head lowered slightly and eyes flicking back and forth nervously. Phillip’s eyes went to five distinctive bruises on her foreleg.

“Where is Shoe Shine?” she asked, her voice carrying the light, slightly sing-song accent of Griffonia. “I saw in the newspaper that he was brought here. Where is he?”

“He’s in there,” Red said, nodding to the window. Dimmig moved to enter the interrogation room, but Red held out a hoof and stopped her. “First, we need to hear what you know,” he stated calmly.

“But—” Dimmig protested.

“Miss Morgon,” Red said, his voice firmer, his face harder. “Shoe Shine is currently a suspect in a robbery that may be connected to a murder. What you know or don’t know is important. So, please, let’s start with what you have to say, starting about Sugar Hope Hill.”

Dimmig stared at Red for a moment, fear flickering in her eyes as she took a single step back.

“Red, ease off,” Daring said coldly.

“This is me being nice,” Red replied, not taking his eyes off Dimmig.

Dimmig stared at him for a moment, then took a shaky breath and nodded. “I sent him a note asking him to meet me at Sugar Hope; it’s always been our favorite meeting spot. But I sent it four days before the funeral: I do not know why he didn't meet me until then."

“You two are together?” Red asked, his eyebrows raising.

Dimmig nodded. “For over a year now. We met in the market; from the moment we laid eyes on each other, we were in love. I needed to meet with him to tell him something important.”

“Which was?” Red pressed.

Dimmig looked down at the floor for a moment, her eyes flicking from side to side, then sighed and spoke. “I am pregnant. With his child.”

Everypony’s eyebrows raised in surprise.

“I know it is rare, almost unheard of, but it is true,” Dimmig admitted, her eyes glistening. “I did not know what to do; my parents do not trust ponies, and if they knew that I had a child with a pony, they would kick me out of my home. Shoe Shine assured me I had nothing to worry about; he would take care of the money and our living conditions.”

Red frowned a bit. “Did he steal the statues?”

“He would never!” Dimmig cried, looking up, her eyes wide with shock. “He considers the Literatures as close as family to him, and they look upon him the same! To steal from them would be unthinkable!”

Red’s brow furrowed in thought. “Wait here,” he muttered and entered the interrogation room. He walked over to Trace and bent down to whisper in his ear, using a wing to shield his muzzle. Trace looked up at Red, face lit up with surprise, then looked at the bemused Shoe Shine. The two whispered back and forth for several seconds, then seemed to come to an agreement.

“Mr. Shine, you’re free to go,” Trace said, standing up and tucking his files away. “But please don’t skip town for a while. We might need to talk to you again later.”

“I…” Shoe Shine stammered, looking slightly taken aback, then recomposed himself. “Thank you,” he nodded, standing and exiting. He spotted Dimmig in the hallway and paused.

“My love,” Dimmig breathed, striding forward. He embraced her and they shared a deep kiss.

Shoe Shine nuzzled the griffon, then turned to Phillip and Daring. “I would appreciate your discretion in this matter,” he said quietly, his eyes full of pleading. “For her sake, if not mine. I swear, once again, that I did not steal the statues, but if the Literatures learned that I had been keeping secrets from them, it would hurt us both.”

“I’m not paid enough to get mixed up in family drama,” Daring rolled her eyes.

“We won’t say anything,” Phillip said. “But you should come clean with them.”

Shoe Shine stared at him silently for a beat, then exited with Dimmig. Trace and Red both exited the interrogation room. Daring started to turn to Phillip to speak, but Phillip held up a hoof, his head cocked to listen to the departing suspects' conversation.

"My love, why didn't you meet me when I sent that note?" Dimmig asked quietly.

"I didn't receive that note until the morning of the funeral," Shoe Shine protested quietly. "It was at the hollow tree on the corner that morning, but not the day before."

Dimmig made a soft sound of pondering as they exited the building. "Hmm," Phillip muttered, quickly repeating the conversation back to the others.

"So if they're using that tree to drop off messages every day, why didn't he get that note until then?" Daring mused.

"Somepony could've intercepted it," Phillip stated.

“That doesn’t necessarily give him an alibi,” Trace noted as they walked to the window and watched the stallion and the griffon exit. “She could be covering for him.”

“But we still don’t have anything solid on either of them,” Red pointed out.

“You get anything about that truck?” Phillip asked.

“Detective Rubber is still working on it,” Red said. “Turns out there’s a surprising number of Chevroneigh trucks in this city, and a lot of them have white paint and hood ornaments.”

“And he’s got a big workload,” Trace added. “Traffic’s always been a difficult unit…”

Phillip had tuned Trace out. He was staring out the window, watching Shoe Shine and Dimmig standing at the curb, talking.

And then he spotted the Chevroneigh pickup truck idling on the side of the road, its windows tinted, its headlights dimmed, a tarp covering the contents of the back. A hood ornament of a knight with a spear stood at attention on the fresh, bright red coat.

Daring spotted it, too: he felt her tensing up as danger raced down her spine. “Guys, something’s going on!” she shouted, already flying out the window.

But even as she shouted it, the truck suddenly started forward with a roar, stopping in front of Dimmig and Shoe. The back doors opened and ponies in masks poured from them, seizing the griffon and the unicorn. Dimmig shrieked and clawed at one of her attackers, only to be seized in a chokehold from behind. Shoe Shine froze in horror, barely resisting as he was thrown into the back of the cab.

“No, you don’t!” Daring shouted, diving towards the cab.

But as she flew down, a tarp in the back of the cab was flung aside and the pony beneath revealed himself, a huge dark red earth pony with a massive yellow grin. He hefted a big Thrussian machine gun with a pan magazine, swinging the barrel around to aim at her. With a massive chattering like a humongous typewriter, bullets flew from the barrel, zipping past Daring. She was forced to dive and roll in midair to avoid the streaks of hot air that zipped inches away from her.

Gritting her teeth, Daring chased after the vehicle, flying high over the streets, cutting corners to keep up. The gunpony in the truck’s bed kept her at a distance with bursts of fire, which she tumbled and weaved in midair to dodge.

Daring reached for the pistol in her holster, but immediately reconsidered: one bad shot and she’d hit Dimmig or Shoe Shine. Instead, she pulled the boomerang out of her back pocket and cocked it back. If she could stun the gunpony long enough to close in…

With a grunt, she snapped the weapon out. The carved stick spun through the air, but her throw was too short, barely scraping the back of the truck. The boomerang arced back up, but missed her by a large distance. “Dammit!” Daring snarled, putting on speed to keep up with the truck.

The gunpony pulled a glass jar from his pocket, then threw it through the window of a house as they passed by. The crashing of glass was followed by the crackling of flames as smoke began to pour from the window; screams sounded from within.

"Celestia dammit!" Daring turned and bucked down the front door, rushing inside. The living room was already being overwhelmed by flames: a trio of ponies was crouched in the corner, pinned by the fires, the mother trying to shield her two children.

Coughing on the smoke, Daring flew over the line of flames and began to flap her wings forward, sending jets of wind that pushed a tunnel through the fire. “Follow me!” she shouted. The unicorn mare scooped her twin foals beneath her forelegs and followed Daring forward through the tunnel, their eyes burning. The fire roared at them, as though trying to block their progress. Gritting her teeth, every breath burning her throat, Daring pressed forward, continuing to blow a path forward. She flicked her tail back into the mother’s face. Taking the hint, the mare bit her tail and used that to stay close to her.

The door appeared in front of them, still hanging off the hinges. With a final lunge, Daring pushed forward and shoved the family ahead of her. All of them exited the house, hacking and coughing, tears stinging at their eyes. The sirens of approaching fire trucks and police sounded in the air.

Daring wiped her eyes with a wing and looked around. There was no sign of the Chevroneigh truck. She growled beneath her breath.

“You okay?” she asked the mare. The unicorn checked her two wailing charges and nodded, coughing as tears ran down her face.

“Good,” Daring sighed. “I gotta get back to the precinct.”

She took to the sky and headed back, eyes narrowed.

Author's Note:

"When in doubt, have a man walk through the door with a gun." --Chandler's Law.

Or my variation, "Have a bunch of thugs with guns drive on scene in a truck."

Publishing this one a bit early as a special treat to my lovely readers, and because I've got a busy day tomorrow and didn't want to forget.

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