• Published 29th May 2020
  • 566 Views, 141 Comments

Murder at the Rarity Boutique - Coyote de La Mancha

When Rarity is accused of murder, there is only one stallion who can prove her innocence. And yes, he is exactly the pony you’re thinking of. But he isn’t who you imagine him to be.

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Chapter 14: Nocturnal Matters and Crystal Dreams.

The old clock in the study chimed midnight, startling both ponies.

They stared at one another, blinked, then re-examined the files before them.

“Wait,” Blueblood frowned. “Didn’t we already do this one?”

“No, we… um,” Sour Sweet shook her head to clear it, then closed the file, re-reading its cover paper.

“Maybe?” she concluded with a frown of her own.

“I’ll send for more coffee,” Blueblood muttered, reaching for a red silk rope that hung in the corner. “Sorry, I’m not accustomed to being so tired this early…”

But Sour Sweet shook her head.

“Everypony’s asl…” a yawn interrupted her. “hhhhh… mmm …asleep by now,” she finished.

Blueblood, meanwhile, had already made his way to the rope and started fumbling for it.

“You missed,” Sour Sweet muttered.

Blue sighed and hung his head. “I just… damn it all, the stakes are too damned high! I don’t feel right about stopping.”

“Ugh!” Sour Sweet exclaimed at the ceiling. “We’re not stopping! We’re taking a break so we’ll be worth a damn!”


“C’mon,” she muttered, nodding towards the door. “No more arguments.”

Sighing again, Blueblood bowed slightly. “Very well. I yield to your superior logic.”

“Good. Fine. I’m thrilled,” she yawned again. “Just… hum! ...no more bowing. S’too weird.”

“I shall make a note.”

Somehow, they made their way to the master bedroom.

“Here’s your stop,” Sour Sweet muttered. Looking further down the hall, she stared, bleary-eyed, at the stairs that led to her own room. Well, eventually they would. There was another hall first, and more…

She wobbled for a moment, then shook her head again, frowning. It wasn’t that far.

Meanwhile, Blueblood had opened his own door, then turned back to her.

“You know,” he said, “you’re more than welcome to—”

Immediately, Sour Sweet flinched back, eyes wide.

“…to, um, stay on the divan, if you’re too tired,” he finished lamely.

“Oh, right,” she said, looking down. “Sorry.”

“No, no apologies, please,” Blueblood said. He reached out to her, but she winced away again as though he’d held a brand.

“Sorry,” she said again. Then, miserably to the floor, she repeated, “Sorry. Sorry.”

“No, please, don’t be,” Blueblood answered. “I should have been more careful of your feelings. At the very least, I should have… well, look,” he sighed. “We’re probably both too tired for this right now. I know I’m certainly not thinking very well.

“So, please, just let me say that you don’t have to do anything. You never have. And if I ever gave the impression that there were any expectations placed upon you, I repent myself of it, completely and utterly.”

One of Sour Sweet’s ears went sideways as she frowned in puzzlement.

“Um… what?” she managed.

Blueblood half turned, resting one hoof on the ornate wall nearby.

“I know my reputation,” he said. “I can only imagine what you might have been told when other ponies found out you were coming here. It just didn’t occur to me until now…”

“Wait,” Sour Sweet interrupted, holding up a hoof.


“No,” she snarled over him. “Stop talking. Cease. De-sist. In other words, before we go any further down some comedy of errors route, shut it.

Blueblood shut it.

Sour Sweet closed her eyes for a moment to focus, then began to speak.

“I overreacted, I way overreacted, because of something other than you. And yes, Blue,” she added with an eye roll, “Sometimes it isn’t all about you. And no,” she emphasized as he opened his mouth, “there’s no way you can help, thanks anyway. It’s just…”

She slumped slightly. Whether it was the momentary burst of adrenaline fading, or merely the burdens of her own heart, Blueblood couldn’t be sure.

“Sombra ruled over the Crystal Empire for a long time,” she sighed. “It might not have seemed so long on the outside, and in history books it’s just a number. But… we were slaves. All of us. And nothing slows time more than bondage.

“Then, right when it couldn’t get any worse, Equestria attacked. It was war.

“So, we were mobilized. All of us. We were armed, armored… and driven forward by our worst fears. All to fight against the princesses and their magic.”

She looked away, her voice turning quiet.

“For most of my fellow crystal ponies, the nightmares stopped around when Spike the Brave saved us all. The Crystal Heart isn’t just an artifact of protection, after all. It’s a focus of love, and healing. It’s the heart of the whole empire. But for me…”

She swallowed. “For me, the bad dreams just never went away. That’s why I had to go. I had to go somewhere, anywhere but where I was surrounded by nothing but memories.”

For a moment, she was silent. Then, turning to face him again, Sour Sweet said, “I never heard the rumors about you until after I’d already signed on, and by then… well, okay, I didn’t really know you, but I knew you were okay.”

She gave a rueful smile and added, “Kind of an idiot, maybe, but basically okay.”

He smiled as well, and she continued in a slightly cheerier tone, “So, it’s not because I think you’re evil or anything, okay? I’ve seen evil. It’s just… no.”

She swallowed, her smile fading. “Just no.”

Blueblood nodded. “Of course. Forgive me.”

“Will you cut it out? You didn’t—you know what, never mind,” she said suddenly. “Never. You fucking. Mind. I’ll see you tomorrow. We’ll have breakfast, we’ll kick ass, we’ll take names, and we’ll save ponies. Good night.”

And with that, she managed an uneven trot down the hall, and up the staircase towards her own room.

Blueblood watched her go until she was well and truly out of sight. Then he entered his own chambers at last, closing the door gently behind him.

It was hardly a surprise that Sour Sweet was so quiet over their shared breakfast the next morning.

For his part, Blueblood had awakened around ten, sitting in one of his comfy chairs, apparently not having made it to his bed. Akane and Hepzibah had exchanged concerned looks as they woke him, but said nothing of the matter. Instead, they simply helped him dress, informing him that Miss Sour Sweet was also awake and readying herself for breakfast.

Shortly thereafter, he was sitting across from Sour Sweet, both of them ravenously attacking plates of flapjacks, muffins, fruit, and coffee. Especially the coffee.

His sleep had been dreamless, so far as he could recall. Hopefully, hers had been as well.

Finally, the lady spoke. It was a fairly trivial, day-to-day conversation. Safe, and certainly nothing personal. And Blueblood, taking her lead, responded in kind.

Finally, the meal was done, and it was time to continue their research. As they rose, Blueblood said, “Would you excuse me a moment? I have something to attend to before we begin today.”

She shrugged, a deliberately nonchalant gesture. “Sure, whatever. I’ll start sorting the next box.”

Minutes later, Blueblood was in a different study. His features partially lit by a candle’s mystic green flame, he dipped his quill into the inkwell and carefully began to write.

Dear Aunt Luna,

Please forgive the intrusion, especially with so much else going on. It is my hope and intention that you will simply wake to find this missive awaiting you when you rise tonight. But regardless, I have encountered someone whose situation may not be able to wait…