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

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Chapter 4 "Murder She Done?"

Chapter 4

“Murder she done?”

I looked at Fenlock with a confused expression. “Dawnbird was a suspect in the murder case for her husband?”

My mentor nodded his head knowingly “It was about a year or two before we met. I was working homicide at the time over in Fillydelphia. Got a call that some poor sod fell in the nearby river, I get there and find this red unicorn lying face down in the river with a knife in his back” He took a drink from his mug of apple cider.

“Who was he?” I asked

“Guy by the name of Scarlet Mane, a minor league baseball player who never made it to the big time, poor sod suffered an injury just as he was about to be scouted for a major team. He was working at a grocery store before he died”

“Sounds like he traded wine for whisky…” I said

“You still use that old phrase?” Fenlock said chuckling

“You’re the one who ingrained it into my head old timer” I replied smiling.

He laughed “That I did, though you’re the pony who keeps it alive”

“How did the investigation go? Did you find magic dust on the knife?”

My mentor nodded “We did find powder but the river water contaminated the knife so we couldn’t identify it. We also didn’t have where he was originally killed so we couldn’t find any witnesses who saw the sod get stabbed. To say it went badly would be like saying the sky is blue”

I wrote all this down; Fenlock would’ve slapped me upside the head for not doing so. “How did Dawnbird become a suspect?”

Fenlock finished drinking hid cider and looked at me “Doll had a hell of a lot of motive. You’re aware of her daughter Cardinal?”

I nodded “That’s why I’m here in the first place, Dawnbird seemed…obsessive”

“That’s putting it mildly” He chuckled “One of the uniforms I sent to pick her and her daughter up came to the station with a black eye because he got within two inches of that kid and said that she looked a little shaky on her legs”

“She was going to lose Cardinal wasn’t she?”

He nodded “Her and her husband were going to file for divorce. Mostly because Dawnbird spent every waking moment with her kid and all the crazy lengths she went to prove to everypony her daughter was perfect. One thing led to another and the guy wanted out”

“What was the pre-nub? Who would’ve gotten custody of Cardinal?”

“Her husband” Fenlock said frankly “Dawnbird was a loving and doting mother but she was beyond obsessive when it came to the kid. Dawnbird would’ve lost the kid once the divorce papers were filed”

“And with Scarlet out of the way, Dawnbird would’ve gotten Cardinal right?”

“Yeah, and she did after this case was marked as unsolved. We had all the motive we could want but without proper evidence we couldn't charge her” Fenlock said simply.

I nodded slowly “You did what you could Fenlock, nopony would’ve asked anymore”

Fenlock looked at me with eyes he hadn’t used on me in a long time. He always used those eyes whenever he was about to teach me something “Private, every detective has that one case that keeps them up at night. This one is mine, and vice was yours”

I really wished he didn’t bring up vice. That one case brought down my entire career and faith in law enforcement. Fenlock was right, that case was the one that kept me up at night. My reasons for staying up were more for guilt then simple curiosity.

Fenlock nodded his white head slowly “Still gets at you eh Private?”

I didn’t meet his brown eyes “Yeah, still does even after three years”

I heard Fenlock’s voice speak “Private, you did what you had to. You followed your instincts and kicked those corrupt cops where it hurts them the most”

I turned my gaze to Larksong who was singing a song of blissful love to the crowd. “But at what cost?”

Fenlock looked to where I was looking and then looked back at me. “You think it was worth putting her dad in prison to break up that corruption?”

I looked back at my mentor wide eyed “Fenlock you know as well as I do that vice was corrupt! I did what I had to do to stop that corruption from spreading to the entire department!”

Fenlock smiled “I figured that would be your response. You remember that case you had about a week ago with the changeling?”

I slowly nodded my head “Of course I do”

Fenlock looked at me with those eyes again “Word on the street is that you let your obsession with the case get the better of you”

I knew for a fact that “Word on the street” meant: “Whatever the hell Larksong said”. I looked up at Fenlock not knowing what to say. I felt ashamed and embarrassed. Fenlock was the one pony I respected among anypony. I hated letting him down.

My mentor kept his brown eyes trained on me “Private, somewhere down the line you’re going to have to understand. Not every case is worth sacrificing for; sometimes you have to fight another day”

I raised an eyebrow at my mentor “What’s that supposed to mean?”

Fenlock chuckled and leaned back smiling. “Would I be a proper mentor if I explained everything outright?”

I sighed “I guess not, thanks for your help anyway. By the way…did you find anything unusual about the body? Any detail can help me find the killer?”

Fenlock tapped his hoof in thought “I do remember the body smelling like olive oil though. It was a faint scent thanks to the river but I could smell it alright”

“That’s it?”

He shrugged “All I can remember now. I’ll call ya if I find anything else”

I got up from the table and smiled at my mentor “Thanks for coming around old timer”

He smiled in turn “I gave you that hat for a reason Private…don’t let me down”

_____________________________________

“Well it looks like the evidence points strongly towards Dawnbird” Twilight said as she began shifting through papers on her desk in my office. She looked at me a frown on her face “I hope Spike gets here with that file the police have on her”

We both looked up as Spike opened the door with a huge file in hand. He set it down on my desk breathing heavily “You wouldn’t *huff* believe *huff* the lines at that place *huff*”

“Thanks Spike” I said as I opened the file “What did you find out?”

Spike cleared his throat and caught his breath “Quite a bit actually, Cherilee wasn’t the only teacher that Dawnbird went all ballistic on, she’s done the same thing for five different teachers at each of the five schools that Cardinal went to previously”

Twilight looked up from where she was working “Five? She really didn’t want anypony thinking anything was wrong with Cardinal”

“There’s doting and then there’s plain obsessive” I said flipping through the file.

“That’s not all” Spike said in a tone very similar to mine when I’m entrenched in a case. “I looked into her records and found out that Scarlet’s parents were going to sue her for custody rights to Cardinal”

Twilight frowned “I guess they must’ve gotten suspicious about his death as well. It just seems too convenient for Dawnbird”

I nodded “You’re right, it is too convenient. There’s nothing we can do really until Forceps gives us the autopsy tomorrow”

Spike looked up at both of us “What’s too convenient?”

I looked at the baby dragon “I mean it’s too convenient because of the custody battles. I find it a little strange that Cardinal died when this custody battle started showing up. Scarlet also died when he tried to win custody rights”

Twilight looked at both of us with concerned eyes “You don’t think she killed Cardinal to keep her from being taken from her do you?”

“I hope not” I said grimly “I remember seeing all that grief in her eyes, as much as I hate to say it but we’re reaching a dead end unless we find a clue”

Twilight looked outside as the moon was about to rise for the night. “It’s getting late guys; we should call it a day”

I nodded and Spike walked out. I turned to Twilight “Thanks again for helping out Twilight, it’s good to have you back”

She smiled and nuzzled me on the neck causing my face to turn scarlet. She smiled at me as she turned to walk out “It’s good to be back”

_________________________________________________

I sat on the coach as Tailspin and Dinky were doing their homework on the floor. Tailspin was not the best student in the world and I caught him trying to peek at Dinky’s paper a couple of times. I would punish him myself but one look from Dinky was all it took for Tailspin to feel guilty about what he did and go back to doing his own work.

I was more occupied with the smell of muffins wafting in from the kitchen. Ditzy insisted that she make some to thank us for letting me look after them. I was looking forward to them personally. I was always a fan of muffins. For some reason she got really offended when I tried to compare her muffins to English muffins though. What’s up with that?

Just then I felt a tap on my leg. I looked down to see Dinky looking up at me with large yellow eyes. She was holding a paper in her hoof that I guessed was her homework. She smiled and spoke in a kind and sweet voice “Mister Private, could you look over my homework since mommy is busy?”

I smiled and levitated her paper to my eye level “Let’s just see here…” My grey eyes scanned the simple math problems that Dinky had to do. I was quite impressed, for a filly her age she had gotten all of the problems right without errors at all. “Very good Dinky, I’m used to seeing errors all over the place and I can’t find a single one”

“Hey!” Tailspin retorted as he was still doing his work.

Dinky smiled at me “Mommy says I’m very smart for a filly my age”

I levitated the paper back down to Dinky “That you are Dinky, keep sharpening that mind of yours and you’ll go far”

“Muffins are ready!” I heard Ditzy call from the kitchen. I watched as Dinky and Tailspin made a beeline for the kitchen. I chuckled at their enthusiasm and then followed. The two foals were already digging into their muffins. I took one off the tray and went to sit by Ditzy at the table.

She looked at me with those crossed eyes of hers “Private, I’ve been trying to get Dinky to talk about what happened but she won’t talk about it”

I nodded and took a bite out of the muffin. (Which was delicious I might add) “Ditzy, can I ask you something personal?”

She slowly nodded her grey head “Yeah, what is it you wanna know?”

I looked over at Dinky who was talking excitedly with Tailspin about the latest episode of “My Little Human”. I still didn’t understand the appeal of a show meant for little fillies and why Tailspin has developed such an interest in it. But I spoke seriously to Ditzy “Dawnbird obviously holds some kind of a grudge against Dinky and you. Could you elaborate as to why?”

Ditzy looked at me then flapped her wings in acknowledgment “Dawnbird and I, we both liked the same stallion. His name was Cobalt Masquerade. He’s Dinky’s dad”

I looked over at Dinky and then back at her mother “He was a unicorn?”

The grey pegasi nodded “Yeah, he was my first real friend in high school. He was dating Dawnbird at the time. She was always really mean to me because me and Cobalt were friends”

“I can gather that it became more then that” I said knowingly.

“When Cobalt found out about Dawnbird being very mean he broke up with her. Then me and Cobalt started dating and…Dinky is the result”

“Where is he now?”

A tear came to Ditzy’s yellow eyes “He…died a long time ago…when Dinky was two…” She started crying and that brought her daughter over. Dinky hugged her mother and spoke reassuringly to her. Ditzy hugged back and smiled. I couldn't help but smile as well when I saw just how close the mother and daughter were. Ditzy in a way, reminded me of my own mother.

“Mommy its okay” Dinky said assuring “You don’t need to cry”

Her mother smiled and wiped away a tear “I’m okay Dinky, thanks for being here…”

After we finished eating Ditzy insisted that she clean up. I made a precaution to remove anything flammable or destructible from the kitchen. Dash has told me way too many stories about Ditzy’s “antics” for me not to do so. Tailspin decided to turn in early for the night and I found Dinky sitting alone on our coach. I smiled at her and sat by her. “Seems like keeping the family together is a team effort”

She looked at me and smiled that sweet smile of hers “Mommy does get very sad sometimes. Mostly whenever she thinks about daddy”

“It’s good to know she has somepony like you to look out for her”

She nodded “It’s my job to make sure mommy is okay!”

My grey eyes looked at her seriously “Dinky, if you want to help your mom stay safe, then you need to tell me what happened”

Dinky looked down at her hooves and ran a foreleg along the fabric of the coach. “I don’t want to get anypony in trouble…”

I nodded “Dinky, if you don’t tell me then whoever hurt Cardinal could hurt other ponies as well. I need you to tell me what happened at that well”

Dinky looked up at me with large yellow eyes. She then nodded slowly “Okay, I told you I was going to visit my friend Pipsqueak right?”

I nodded and started writing what she was saying down. “Yeah, continue”

She went on “I was walking near the well when I heard the shouting. I thought that somepony was getting hurt so I ran to investigate” She hugged herself as she recounted what happened “I saw Dawnbird there, she was yelling at Cardinal very loudly. She kept calling her stupid and said other bad words that mommy says I should never say”

I tried to imagine this little filly saying a bad word and a “Does not compute” message appeared in my brain. I gestured for her to continue.

“Then Cardinal got on top of the well and started yelling back at Dawnbird. I didn’t really hear what she said but then…” She started crying as she recounted the death. “Dawnbird leaned over to her and…Cardinal slipped”

“She slipped?” I said “Dawnbird didn’t push her or anything?”

Dinky shook her head “No, it looked like she slipped on the well or something and then she fell down the well…” She covered her ears suddenly “I can still hear her scream!”

I patted her gently on the head “There there, it’s alright nopony is screaming right now”

She nodded and went on “Then Dawnbird saw me, she started saying lots of mean things to me and I ran off”

“Do you remember at all what she said to you?” I said leaning in close to the filly.

She shook her periwinkle colored head “No, I don’t remember what she said. Only that she called me something very very mean”

“I won’t ask you to repeat what she said Dinky. I’m happy you came forward like this” I said with a smile on my face.

Dinky gave me a small smile and nodded “Thank you so much for believing me Private”

I nodded “Anytime Dinky, anytime”

__________________________________________

It was in the middle of the night when I heard it.

Crash!!!

A rock came through my bedroom window and landed on my floor. I levitated my revolver from under my pillow and opened the window to look out. It was dark and I didn’t see anypony leave. I looked down at the rock and lifted it. Written on the back in what looked like paint were two simple words.

She’s next!