• Published 15th Aug 2012
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Equestria Noir Case 5 "Bonds of Madness" - Jacoboby1

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Chapter 3: "Pointing Hooves"

Chapter 3

“Pointing Hooves”

Spike gently laid the little filly on ground. Everypony in the crowd was whispering and some we’re fighting to get a better look at the body. I looked down at Cardinal’s body; the right side of her head was hit bad enough to kill her. She had on her school saddlebag.

I opened the saddlebag and found a small picture book inside. I opened it and discovered that it had lots of writing on the inside over the words. “My first book?” I said reading the title aloud.

Applejack looked at the book over my shoulder. “Ah remember readin that book to Applebloom when she was just a foal”

I looked at the writing; a lot of the words in the regular print had their letters rearranged into some kind of code. A lot of the words were backwards or put in patterns that made them practically unreadable. It was like Cardinal was trying to translate the words into another language, one that I’ve never seen before.

I closed the book and looked out at the crowd. “Everypony, I’m going to have to ask you all to remain calm while I get to the bottom of this”

A cream colored mare with a blue and pink mane spoke up “Is the filly…”

I slowly nodded and many ponies in the crowd lowered their heads in mourning. Lyra came out of the crowd and put her hoof around the cream colored mare. The gal must’ve been a friend of Lyra’s. I turned my grey eyes to the crowd “Did anypony see what happened?”

All shook their heads one by one until a small voice was heard from the crowd. “I saw it…”

The crowd slowly parted to reveal Dinky standing there her yellow eyes in tears. She walked up to me trying to avoid the gazes of the other ponies. Some whispered about her but they were silenced by a glare from me. This young filly didn’t need to become a gossip subject. She was a witness, and she needed to be treated with respect.

I lowered myself to Dinky’s level “You saw what happened Dinky?”

She nodded “Yes mister…”

I pulled out my notebook “Could you describe what happened?”

Dinky looked at me and I smiled reassuringly. She seemed to relax a little and then spoke in her tiny voice. “I was going to visit Pipsqueak, a friend of mine, but I heard yelling coming from over here. I ran by to investigate, and then I saw…”

“Get away from her!!” A voice shouted from the crowd. The crowd parted again and I saw Dawnbird push her way through the crowd. She ran to Cardinal and held her child protectively. She was glaring at Dinky “You just stay away from her!”

I turned to Dawnbird, Dinky was hiding behind me. “Ms. Dawnbird, I’m Detective Private Eye, I’m here to investigate what happened” I gestured to the corpse of her daughter. “I’m going to have to ask you to please step away from the body of your daughter”

She glared at me, her eyes filled with white hot rage. “What’s there to investigate?! We all know what happened here!”

I raised an eyebrow and Rainbow went about silencing the murmuring crowd. “You believe you know what happened here mam?”

She glared at Dinky “That thing killed her!”

Dinky hid behind me and started sobbing into my hind leg. I let her sob as I glared back at the grieving mother. “Mrs. Dawnbird, I understand that you are grieving, but do you honestly have any proof to back up what you are accusing Dinky of?”

“That family of theirs is crazy! Her grandmother went and killed all but one of their children when she was alive! She has the same look in her eye!”

Rainbow was about to tackle the mother but I held up a hoof to stop her. Dash gave me a look then went back to keeping the crowd calm. I looked back at Dawnbird “Mam, you’re obviously not thinking rationally. I will personally investigate this matter and will come to a conclusion”

Dawnbird fired back “That thing was always jealous of Cardinal! My perfect daughter couldn’t hope to compare to her! She had motive and she was here! What more proof do you need?!”

I got right into the mare’s face and my grey eyes matched her determination. “Mam…take my advice and leave before I have to arrest you for obstruction of justice”

Dawnbird slowly set Cardinal’s body down on the grass and glared at me. Then she glared at Dinky “Don’t think this is over for a minute…”

Dawnbird shoved her way through the crowd. Lyra made a strange gesture with her hoof at Dawnbird as she passed. Her cream colored friend simply groaned and facehoofed. The crowd slowly began to disperse as I turned back to Dinky, the poor thing looked terrified.

I spoke in a gentle voice “Can you tell me what happened Dinky?”

With tear filled eye she shook her head violently “No, I don’t want to talk about it”

I didn’t want to push the filly further then she was willing to go. I nodded and stood up gesturing for Dash to come over. I spoke quietly in Dash’s ear. “Get her home and tell Ditzy what happened, also tell them I’m inviting them to dinner”

Dash whispered back “Why are you inviting them to dinner after what just happened?”

“Because Rainbow, Dawnbird made a serious threat against them. I could practically taste the venom in her voice. I’d like to keep an eye on them in case Dawnbird tries anything crazy”

Dash nodded in understanding and began talking to Dinky. I turned to Spike who was still staring at the body of Cardinal. He looked at me with his slited green eyes. “To think I didn’t know she was dead until after I carried her up…”

I put a hoof on the little dragon’s head. “Spike, I need you to focus now”

Spike nodded at me “What do you need me to do?”

I gave him my office key “I need you to run to the office and look up everything about Dawnbird. Her financials, career, anything that could be useful. By the time you’re done I want you to be able to tell me what her favorite brand of wine is”

Spike nodded and took the key. “You got it Private, I won’t let you down!”

I turned to Applejack as Spike ran off. I handed her a phone number “This is Forceps' phone number, tell him what happened and tell him to take care of the body”

The country mare nodded her head and looked me right in the eye. “Ah will sugarcube. What are you going to do?”

I looked towards town. I could see the library from here and I started walking towards it. “I'm going to try and get another friend on board”

____________________________________________

I stood in front of Twilight’s door as the sun reached its highest point. I knew I would have to face her eventually. I knew in my heart of hearts that I needed Twilight if I was going to solve this case. Part of me still held a grudge against Twilight for forging that evidence. But I was going to swallow my pride now and face the mare I’ve grown to care for.

I reached to knock on the door when it opened by itself. I stared at Twilight as she opened the door and stared back at me. I stared into her amethyst eyes and they seemed to twinkle a little at the sight of me. I reached up and removed my hat. I never removed my grey fedora unless I was at home or off duty. I was neither, I was hoping for an apology.

“Twilight” I said simply staring at the lavender unicorn.

She slowly walked closer to me and met my gaze with her own. “Private...I heard you were back in town. I was going to see you”

I nodded “Twilight, I came to apologize”

She answered by simply nodding and saying “I wanted to apologize too”

I raised an eyebrow “You want to apologize to me?”

She nodded again her violet mane moving with her. “I’m…sorry for forging evidence to try and get my brother off the hook” She turned and sat down with her back to me. I could hear her sobbing a little. “It’s just…I was just so mad at you. I couldn't believe my brother could be accused like that” She reached a hoof up to wipe her eyes that I knew now we’re wet. “I should've trusted you, you were the professional. You knew what you were doing. I was just a meddler in the whole affair”

I shook my head and sat by her side. “Twilight, I’d be lying if I said I knew what I was doing” I looked at Twilight who looked at me. Her violet eyes red with tears. “I shouldn’t have accused your brother like that. I wasn’t thinking outside the box like I should’ve. I just looked at the evidence and not the ponies involved. I should've trusted you and listened to your opinion”

Twilight then smiled a little. I felt my heart fill up with butterflies at that smile. It was what I missed most about Twilight. I missed her at my side like this, just being with her made everything worthwhile.

I sighed and spoke pleadingly. “Truth is Twilight…I’ve missed you so much”

Her eyes went wide at this “You missed me?”

I nodded “Yeah” I looked down at my hooves “Asking you to leave was the worst mistake I’ve ever made in my life. It was at that moment when you left I realized” I felt hot and embarrassed. I looked away trying to hide my grey face turning scarlet. It was then that I felt something lean against my shoulder. I turned and saw that Twilight had put her head on my shoulder.

“I've realized it to” Was all she said as she closed her eyes and smiled warmly.

She felt it to? Sweet Celestia she cared for me as I cared for her! I felt myself sweat as I looked at the beautiful unicorn laying her head on my shoulder. I then relaxed and put my chin on top of her head. I was taking in her scent, everything about her I was just drinking like sweet sweet honey. She smelled of…lilacs. I smiled in bliss as I took in her scent.

She gently took her head off me and we simply looked into each other’s eyes. She then smiled at me “I’ve been wanting to do that for a while…”

I returned her smile “So does this mean you’ll work with me again?”

Her eyes grew wide with joy “You’ll let me help you with a case again!?”

I nodded “Of course, I’ll need somepony who can perform magic like you can if I ever want to solve this. You heard about what happened?”

Twilight nodded and set to work preparing for the case “Cardinal fell down the well? Yeah I heard about that from my friend Colgate. She said you took on the task of finding out what happened”

“Right, we’re going to talk to Cherilee first. I want to find out more about Cardinal”

She filled her saddlebags with all her gear then she came up to me. “Thanks for letting me back on Private”

I smiled at her “Anytime”

She then reached up and wrapped her front legs around my neck in a hug. I turned scarlet at this but then I returned the hug. She was a little awkward with hugging me. I could tell she hadn’t been with a stallion like this before. Her legs didn’t really know where to put themselves but I didn’t care. Simply having her here with me made all the waiting to see her again well worth it.

____________________________________________________

We entered the school and found Cherilee grading papers once again. When she saw me and Twilight her eyes told me she knew. She tried to put on a brave face in front of me.

“Ahh Private, I wasn’t expecting to see you here on a Saturday” She said a little forced.

I spoke frankly “You’ve heard about what happened Cherilee?”

Slowly the teacher nodded “Yes, I heard about Cardinal” She fought tears herself “Such a waste, she had so much life ahead of her”

I levitated out my notebook as Twilight put a hoof on the teacher’s shoulder. “I have some questions to ask you Cherilee”

She nodded and looked at me “Yes Private, ask me anything at all”

“Could you tell me a little about Cardinal?” I said writing down in my notebook.

Cherilee nodded “Well, she wasn’t always the best student but she did try to get along with the other kids. I never once had a behavior problem with her”

I reached into my trench coat and pulled out Cardinal’s book. “Does this belong to her?” I levitated it in front of Cherilee who took it and looked it over.

She looked at me “Yes this is a book I’ve always seen her carry around”

Twilight looked over the book with a raised eyebrow “I used to read this book back when I was in magic kindergarten” She seemed to shudder a little at the memory. Her hoof then pointed at Cardinal's handiwork with the book. “But what’s with all the writing on here?”

Cherilee shrugged “I could never understand it; sometimes I would see her writing in that book. Crossing out words and replacing them with…gibberish”

I levitated the book back and analyzed the writing. A lot of the words we’re respelled backwards in crayon. I remembered my thoughts earlier about her retranslating the words into another language. What if maybe she was but with a language that only she could understand and see?

Then it hit me. I looked at the teacher inquisitively “Has Cardinal ever been tested for dyslexia?”

Twilight looked at me then at the book “That would explain why all her words are backwards. It’s the only way she could read them”

Cherilee shook her head at me “I never had the chance to officially test her but I had my suspicions”

I tilted my head “How come you never tested her? There are a lot of ponies with this condition that have been helped by professionals. They could’ve helped her work this out”

Cherilee replied with a huff and a roll of her green eyes. “I tried to get her tested the first couple of times I got a test that I couldn’t read at all. But every time I remotely suggested a test to be done on Cardinal I would get an earful from her mother”

“Dawnbird” I said firmly “Have you spoken to Cardinal’s father about this?”

Cherilee shook her head “I can’t because…he died when Cardinal was only a foal”

Twilight looked inquisitively at the young teacher “How’d he die?”

Cherilee shrugged “Nopony knows; only that he was killed years ago when the couple lived in Fillydelphia”

“He was killed?” I said my eyes showing my interest

She nodded “I never asked Dawnbird exactly what happened but yes, he was killed a number of years ago”

I tapped my hoof to my chin then nodded. “Back to Dawnbird, you said she gave you trouble whenever you tried to help Cardinal?”

She frowned at this “That mare is impossible, every time I try and suggest that Cardinal should get help she gets in my face about it. She insisted that her daughter was perfect in every way. That absolutely nothing was wrong with Cardinal and I should learn to be a better teacher” She groaned after saying that. “It was like beating my head up against a wall”

___________________________________

“And here I thought Applejack could be stubborn” Twilight mused as we walked down the street in Ponyville.

I nodded in agreement “There’s just something so irrational about the whole thing. Why would Dawnbird be so convinced that her daughter was perfect in every way?”

“Most mares don’t want to admit that there’s something wrong with their children” Twilight said looking at me “It’s like admitting that something is wrong with the mare that gave birth to the filly”

“I never thought of it that way” I replied “Still, you’d think Dawnbird would’ve sought help”

“Speaking of seeking help” Twilight inquired “You’re sure your contact can help us find out about this case?”

“Yeah” I said firmly “He should be able to tell us about Dawnbird’s husband’s murder”

“Who is he exactly?” Twilight said raising an eyebrow “You speak awfully highly of him”

“He’s Fenlock, Fenlock Rusty”

Twilight’s eyes became wide “THE Fenlock Rusty?! One of the greatest detectives of all time!? That’s who we’re going to meet!?”

I smiled a little “Don’t call him that to his face he already has an ego as big as Rainbow’s”

“And how do you know him?” Twilight asked still reeling over this sudden revelation.

“He taught me everything I know about being a cop. He’s the original owner of this” I gestured to my fedora “He gave it to me when I made homicide. I owe everything to this guy”

“You must really respect him Private” Twilight observed “You look like I do whenever I think of the princess”

I smiled a little “I guess you could call Fenlock my version of Princess Celestia”

___________________________________________

I entered the Violet Rose alone. Twilight insisted on boycotting the place ever since she launched a campaign to provide non alcoholic drinks there. I scanned the tables in search of Fenlock. I found the old stallion sitting alone in a booth seat.

He was about as old as Forceps, his grey mane was a testament to that. He had a pure white coat with a brown trench coat covering most of it. His brown eyes found me and he smiled at me. “Well if it ain’t my old student”

I smiled and shook Fenlock’s hoof vigorously “It’s good to see you to old timer” I said cheekily.

He grinned back at me as he shook my hoof “I ain’t that old ya damn rascal”

We both laughed and I took a seat opposite him. He looked at me with those brown eyes “How long has it been Private?”

“Almost 3 years sir” I said smiling

He frowned “I’m retired Private, ya don’t need to call me sir”

I nodded and said grinning “Okay old timer”

“Okay now you’re just being an ass like usual” He retorted

We both turned to a nearby donkey and said at the same time “No offense”

The donkey simply replied “None taken”

Fenlock smiled at me “So what can I do ya for kid?”

“I want to talk to you about a case you had” I said as I began explaining what happened. Fenlock didn’t speak much beyond asking me to elaborate on something. When I was finished I spoke firmly “And that’s why I’m here, I want to know if her husband’s death is somehow connected”

Fenlock nodded and spoke sagely “I can think of one way this could be connected”

“And that would be?” I said leaning forward slightly”

My mentor looked at me his eyes casting a serious glance “That doll Dawnbird? She was a suspect in the murder”