• Published 24th Aug 2012
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Murder on the Mind - totallynotabrony



Vampire Cheerilee tracks down a serial killer

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Chapter 1

Author note: This is a sequel to The Adventures of Vampire Cheerilee and The Night Shift.
Art by Doctor Whooves
Please enjoy.

Murder on the Mind

The small house was located in a suburb of Fillydelphia. The For Sale signs had recently come down and a young mare had moved in.

The other residents of the street had quickly introduced themselves to the lavender earth pony. Her name was Cheerilee and she taught school in the city. She seemed good-natured and pleasant. It wasn’t long before an invitation to the local homeowner’s association found its way into her mailbox. Had the neighbors realized what the mare was actually doing on their street, they would have probably conducted a torch-and-pitchfork mob instead.

With the blinds shut, very little light made its way inside the house. Cheerilee hadn’t gotten furniture to fill the spaces yet, and the emptiness only made the place feel darker and less welcoming.

The mare’s green eyes didn’t have a problem seeing through the darkness. Cheerilee rested on the floor, looking expectantly at a small mirror in front of her. Contrary to the old stories, vampires did have a reflection. As she watched, her own image distorted and was replaced by that of another.

“Hello Princess,” said Cheerilee.

The dark blue newcomer smiled a greeting. “Are you ready to begin?”

Cheerilee nodded. “I think so, but I’ve never taught at any school other than Ponyville Elementary. It’s a big change.”

Princess Luna laughed. “You’ve come to Fillydelphia to hunt for a serial killer, and you’re most worried about adapting to high school?”

Cheerilee couldn’t hold back laughter of her own. Around the Princess, she didn’t have to hide her fangs. A little more calmly, she said, “I take my job seriously. Both of them.”

Luna nodded, her expression again businesslike. “I trust you to be the best schoolteacher and best agent of the Crown that you can be. As always, you have my support.”

“Thank you, Princess,” said Cheerilee, bowing her head. Luna said goodbye and the mirror once again displayed Cheerilee’s reflection.

The magic mirror was an inconspicuous and secure way to communicate. It had served Cheerilee well in the few years that she’d been working directly for Princess Luna. She pushed it to the side, her thoughts planning out the next day.

Cheerilee hadn’t felt so nervous about the first day of school since she’d been a student herself. Compared to joining a new school, searching for a murderer seemed easy. At least she’d done that before.

Her second career had begun shortly after being turned into a vampire. Twilight Sparkle, protégé of Princess Celestia, had stumbled upon the secret and promised to help Cheerilee. That involved sending a tell-all letter to her mentor.

The Princess was always busy with Equestria’s public affairs, however her younger sister Luna was content to run things behind the scenes. Love and tolerance were preferable, but direct action was occasionally the better option. Princess Luna had accepted the responsibility to do whatever was necessary to protect Equestria and its citizens. Cheerilee had become her weapon of choice.

The schoolteacher glanced out the window. Night was falling, and there was work to be done.

▼▼

“Well, that’s Fillydelphia High. What do you think?” asked Blossom. She was a yellow unicorn with a leaf-green mane. The young mare’s bubbly personality had eased some of Cheerilee’s misgivings about the new school, and she found herself genuinely liking the other teacher.

“It’s different than I’m used to. Canterlot is a much larger school.” Cheerilee’s official story was that she had moved from the capitol, rather than tiny Ponyville. Lying was unfortunately an essential part of her other job.

“I’m sure you’ll manage,” said Blossom.

Cheerilee faked a laugh. “Right. Well, I’ll see you later.” She turned to go into the classroom she had been assigned to.

“Can I meet you for lunch?” asked Blossom.

Cheerilee stopped, frowning. “Sorry, I usually prefer to be alone. I think it’s important to relax in the middle of the day.”

“Oh, no problem.” Blossom turned to go. “I’ll see you later then. Good luck on your first day!”

Cheerilee entered the classroom. Blossom was a good, honest mare with a great personality. That made her a risk for Cheerilee. Letting anypony get too close was something she couldn’t allow. Even a simple lunch would have been bad. Blossom would have eventually asked why Cheerilee wasn’t eating, and the explanation I can’t consume anything that didn’t die a painful death wouldn’t have gone over very well.

Speaking of, she would have to go hunting soon. Cheerilee had been reluctant to kill somepony’s pet, and had gone hungry the previous night. The Everfree Forest near Ponyville had been a good place to stalk wild animals, and Cheerilee was concerned that maybe moving to a big city wasn’t such a good idea.

Those thoughts were brushed aside as the door opened and the first student came in. He was a pale blue earth pony with dark strands of mane falling in his eyes. On his flank was a pad of paper.

“Oh, hi. I’m Note,” he said, glancing at Cheerilee’s name written on the chalkboard.

“It’s nice to meet you,” responded Cheerilee. The young pony took a seat at the back of the classroom. Cheerilee turned to greet other students that began to come through the door.

The first bell of the day rang and all the students found seats. Cheerilee cleared her throat. “Good morning class, and welcome to the first day of a new year. I’m afraid that I don’t know any of you, so why don’t we go around the room and you can each talk a little about yourselves?”

It was an ice-breaking tactic that Cheerilee had used before when meeting new classes. As the students introduced themselves, a little of her nervousness began to fade. Vampire or not, she was a teacher. It was her job to know the students and be comfortable in front of them.

“I’ll tell you a little about me,” said Cheerilee. “I moved here from Canterlot. I wanted to try a change of pace with a different school. I hope we’ll all learn to work together and make this the best school year that any of us has ever had!”

Her enthusiasm was not completely returned by the students, but there was polite applause. Note raised his hoof. “Were you in Canterlot for the Changeling attack a few years ago? What was that like?”

“It was scary,” said Cheerilee, turning towards her desk. Cover story aside, she actually had been there during the battle. What the general public didn’t know was that the Princesses had assembled a small fighting force beforehand to counter the Changeling threat. The effort had been too little too late, and Canterlot had been invaded anyway.

The Changelings had been aided in their infiltration by Prince Blueblood, who was a vampire and had been killed in the caves beneath the castle during the battle. In the chaos and confusion, Cheerilee had been turned.

She’d only been there to protect a couple of her students that had been trying to get cutie marks in monster fighting. The sudden transition from Cheerilee’s old life to her new one left her feeling lost for a while until Princess Luna had offered her a job. After that, she’d become fully committed to her new role. She still didn’t like talking about Changelings, though, the lovesucking freaks.

Cheerilee glanced at the lesson plan on her desk. “Part of the required curriculum is about basic health. Some of you might grow up to be doctors, but it’s good for everypony to know something about how their body works.”

The students dutifully got out their notebooks and Cheerilee lectured on skeletal structure for a while. She had decided to save the other parts of the body for a time when she wasn’t starving.

▼▼

By the end of the day, Cheerilee was actively avoiding looking at anypony for too long. Their heartbeats reminded her of dinner bells and her mouth was practically watering. It had been a stupid idea to come to school hungry.

The mare hurried home, knowing there was little she could do until after dark. Her bare mattress hadn’t yet been installed in a bed frame, but to save her energy Cheerilee fell onto it and lapsed into sleep. She’d noticed that as a vampire she didn’t require so much rest and could fall asleep at will. Twilight, while doing research on vampirism, had said that it was a version of hibernation.

Cheerilee’s eyes slid open shortly after sundown. Her primary mission in Fillydelphia was to find the killer that was on the loose, and she didn’t want to take time to leave the city to find something to eat. She decided to push forward for as long as she could.

The previous night had taken her to a few of the crime scenes. Part of the reason that the public wasn’t on high alert was that most of killings either resembled accidents, or the victims hadn’t been somepony who would be missed. Cheerilee hadn’t asked how the Princess had learned of the serial killer, but suspected that Equestria had a network of ponies that worked in the shadows. She was just the final link in the chain.

The schoolteacher peered out the window at the gathering darkness. It was time to go. She went out the door, pulling a destination from memory. Equestria might not have the same problems with crime that other countries had, but every large city in the world had a place where the locals locked their doors at night in fear for their lives. Fillydelphia was no exception, and that part of the city was where Cheerilee was headed. While there was nopony in Filly that the mare feared, she couldn’t appear too confident. A vampire looked like a pony, and had to act like one, too.

The dark alleys and narrow city blocks kept Cheerilee out of sight for the most part. Ahead was an apartment building where one of the killer’s victims had lived. Unlike most of the other murders, this one had been messy and well-publicized.

Cheerilee was surprised to see all the windows dark and a banner hung over the front door. Renovations by Timber Construction Had the entire building been closed for repair?

A few of the windows had been removed and cloth covered the empty holes. Cheerilee slipped inside through one of them. Tools and construction equipment littered the floor, and the air smelled like sawdust.

From another part of the building, there came a quiet scraping noise. Cheerilee stood as still as a statue, curtailing her breathing. There was the sound of somepony moving quietly towards the room in which she stood.

Moving to the side of the door, the mare waited. Seconds passed, and a stallion poked his muzzle into the room. Spotting a wood saw propped against the wall, he stepped through the door and made for it.

Cheerilee had already decided that the pony didn’t belong in the building. If he’d been some kind of guard, he wouldn’t be acting so cautious. She cleared her throat.

The stallion spun around, but Cheerilee was already moving. She planted his face on the floor, using leverage gained by pulling one of his front legs backwards. Then she broke it.

The bone in the lower part of the stallion’s leg fractured sharply and tore out through the skin. Cheerilee pressed down harder, muffling his screams against the floor.

“Tell me why you’re here, and I won’t hurt you more.” Cheerilee knew there was a fine line between convincing pain, and torture that would render a victim incapable of speech. She hoped that she hadn’t already crossed it.

“Are you bucking insane?” screeched the pony.

“All you have to do is answer the question,” Cheerilee said patiently. “Are you stealing things?”

“Yes, okay!” The stallion had begun to sweat, anguish clear on his face.

Cheerilee glanced at the blood spurting from his injury. She asked, “What do you know about this construction site?”

“It opened after that murder last month. Their security isn’t very good.” He swallowed hard. “I feel light-headed. I think I’m bleeding to death.”

“You have a few minutes,” Cheerilee told him. “If you make yourself a tourniquet, you may even last long enough to get to a hospital.” With that, she heaved him up and out the window. He hit the ground with a yelp, but got up and began hobbling away as fast as he could on three legs.

Cheerilee took a moment to taste the blood pooled on the floor. It wasn’t filling, but took the edge off her hunger. The room was dark enough that the thief probably didn’t have a clue what she looked like. He definitely wouldn’t be back soon, either. Still, it was probably a good idea to search the building and get out as quickly as possible.

She finished cleaning up the blood and left the room.