• Published 29th May 2020
  • 549 Views, 136 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 1: A Royal Invitation.

It was one of Blueblood’s favorite dining rooms, and where he usually liked to break his fast. Cozy, perhaps ten by twelve, lined in black oak and with a thick, comfortable dark blue rug spanning nearly the length of the floor. There were no windows, but a friendly fire crackled in the fireplace as he dined. Above, ornate beams complimented one another with engravings of various creatures to be found throughout the realms.

It was also one of the few rooms in his apartments with no mirror. While he enjoyed admiring himself, and could even cheer himself up from the deepest funk simply by looking at his own reflection, he drew the line at watching himself chew.

There was a knock at the room’s only door.

“Yes?”

The young mare who had brought him his breakfast re-entered. “Are you done with your meal, Your Grace?”

He nodded, pouring himself another coffee. “I am, thank you.”

As she approached the table, the yellow mare proffered a small silver tray she had brought, the small fold of parchment on its center sealed with an ornate wax stamp.

“Oh, look, your Aunt Celestia’s written you a letter,” the maid cooed. “How sweet.”

Intrigued, Blueblood put down his coffee and reached for the letter.

“She must want something,” she hissed.

After the briefest of hesitations, Blueblood reached over and accepted the missive. He wasn’t completely certain exactly when he’d lost control over his household’s alleged ‘staffing,’ but he suspected it was around when his so-called ‘servants’ had first started to outnumber him.

So, that would be…

He smiled to himself. Yes, almost immediately.


At first, it had been just Hepzibah and himself. He’d have married her in a heartbeat if she’d wished it, but the lady’d had no interest in matrimony. Which, while curious, was something he had certainly been willing to honour. Instead, Hepzibah had enjoyed playing the servant, at least up to a point. And while that was also curious, if it pleased her, then it pleased him as well.

Then, he and Akane Apple had fallen head over heels for one another, and so he had introduced her to Hepzibah. And, much to his surprise and delight, they’d fallen for one another, as well. Shortly after that, following some negotiations he had not been privy to, somehow both mares had ended up wearing frilly aprons and keeping house.

Each of the trio, for a time, had enjoyed having two significant others. And while that had been unexpected, none of them saw fit to question the treasure they had discovered together. So, for a time, life was filled with love and romance, and remained relatively simple for all three of them.

Then, Akane had gained a new coltfriend in Spaghetti Squash. Spaggi loved to cook, and after some more negotiations – which Blueblood had also not been privy to – the young prince had awakened one fine afternoon to find an amazing breakfast being served to him by his new chef.

That had been six years ago. Now, the royal polyfamily had quietly expanded to contain something over a dozen various stallions and mares, and quite a few more foals. Some of the adults were in single relationships, some were in multiple, some as switches and some as hubs… all of them, regardless of the details, family.

Publicly, of course, Blueblood was just spoiled. The ultimate over-privileged upper class unicorn, keeping a host of incredibly well-paid servants to indulge his over-privileged whims.

Meanwhile, according to rumor, Prince Blueblood was keeping his specially-picked servants to serve as his own private herd. A rumor which, while unconfirmed, simply added another layer to his semi-scandalous popularity.

Privately, Blueblood suspected that what had started as a game between the two mares he adored had simply swelled into an out-of-control running joke that no one involved wanted to bring to an end.

The irony, of course, was that he was the one pony in the household who was seeing exactly no one, his relationship with Akane and Hepzibah having mellowed into an intimate friendship around three years ago.

The maid before him now – Sour Sweet – was the latest member of the family, being in a relationship with…

(Actually, now that Blueblood thought of it, he wasn’t completely certain just who she was with.)

But regardless, she’d joined the family while they’d all been in the Crystal Empire on business a few weeks ago. And he had to admit, the days were certainly brighter with her there, for all that conversing with her contained a certain element of perpetual whiplash.

So, ultimately, Blueblood had been enjoying his increasingly complicated and improvisational life for some time, quietly riding the waves from one private adventure to another. The days were pleasant, the nights were long, and rare, indeed, was the occasion that demanded his attention on serious matters.


Now, examining his aunt’s missive, Blueblood frowned somewhat.

.

Nephew,

While I am of course looking forward to our monthly dinner together, something urgent has come up which I would discuss with you. Would you be available sooner? Time is a factor.

Your loving aunt,

--Celestia.


Sour Sweet’s voice and eyes were uncertain. “Um, Blueblood? You know I didn’t mean it like that, right? I mean, okay, I sorta did, but…”

The mare sighed and looked away, adding, “I can kinda be a bitch sometimes.”

Absently, still studying the letter, Blueblood shook his perfect golden mane.

“No, it’s quite alright, my dear,” he said. “It’s just that Auntie seems distressed about something. She never likes to show such things, of course. But if you know what to look for, you can tell. And with her phrasing, doubtless something’s worrying her. And that’s…”

He gave the note a sour look as he unfolded its last crease.

“…troubling...”

At a glance, it looked as though his aunt had added a postscript on the bottom of the letter. Which was preposterous, of course. He’d never known his aunt to put quill to parchment without already knowing precisely what she was about to write.

But then he recognized the small, neat letters, black ink in contrast to Celestia’s blue:

.

B,

Please hurry.

-R.


“What’s wrong?” she asked. Then, as an afterthought, she added a rather sarcastic, “My Lord.”

Blueblood stood, dabbing his mouth daintily as he did.

“I don’t know, but it’s serious,” he said. “I think I’ll have her over for an early tea. As soon as she can get here, in fact. After all, if Celestia has a problem of some kind, the very least I can do is solve it for her.

“Now, don’t look at me like that,” he admonished gently at her suddenly wide eyes. “I know what you’ve heard about the kinds of missions my aunt sends ponies on. But magical adventures and saving the day are what Princess Twilight and her friends are for.”

As he crossed the room majestically, he continued, “I, on the other hand, am a fabulously brilliant stallion with far more money than brains – which is saying something, by the way – but no great sorcerous talent, who happens to be on call whenever his dear old auntie needs him. It’s probably just some diplomatic upset or other, or some puzzle she can’t quite put her hoof on. I’ll smooth the waters over and be back before you can say Silverlock.”

As he reached for the chamber door, Sour Sweet jumped forward involuntarily, blurting out, “Silverlock!”

Blueblood’s smile grew fonder.

“Well, perhaps not quite that fast. But I’ll have everything sorted out in no time,” he promised. “And then we can all go back to our various happily ever afters. But now, do forgive me, my dear. Must dash.”

She watched the door close after him, then sighed, turning and sitting with her back against it.

“Sure,” she sighed. “Life’s just full of happy endings.”

Then, falling forward into a more prone position, she rested her chin on her hooves, snarling, “After all, that’s why I came all the way to fucking Canterlot.”


For his part, Blueblood fairly galloped down the large hall and burst into the kitchen.

Spaghetti Squash looked up from his gravies with alarm. “Your Grace--?”

“Tea,” Blueblood said. “With all the trimmings. In the main tea room. How soon?”

“I, uh, well…. five minutes?” the chef managed.

The prince nodded. “Perfect. Send the ladies to my chambers immediately.”

“Of course…” But the unicorn was gone again, leaving Spaghetti to expertly clear a large board and begin chopping with professional speed. Behind him, a tea kettle began to boil, having been filled and put on by his elder daughter. The kitchen’s other exit had already opened and closed, the younger Squash daughter running down a different hall, calling for Hepzibah and Akane to attend His Grace at once.

They arrived at his chambers shortly after he did. This time, there was no knock. The two mares simply entered, their faces anxious.

In their experience, Blue asked, never told.

He answered their unasked questions immediately.

“Something’s wrong and Celestia’s upset and needs help. I need to be about to sit down to afternoon tea when I happen to reply that she can come immediately…”

There were no further words. The two worked like clockwork, attiring him perfectly in appropriate shirt and waist coat. Casual, but not too casual. The collar, just a touch old-fashioned for style’s sake. Mane combed. Cologne applied. A pocket watch, neatly wound. Cuff links chosen for the time and season.

There was no detail too small. No triviality ignored. The Lady of Day, alas, was a highly observant pony.

Neither mare could claim the familial bond with Princess Celestia that Blueblood did, of course. None of the polyfamily could. But just the same, she was their princess. And whatever was the matter, whatever had disturbed her so, their princess was by all the powers going to enter a realm of calm happenstance in which no, in fact, nopony had gone to any trouble at all but of course you are absolutely welcome and I was just having a nice calming cup of tea and couldn’t I tempt you?

In the kitchen, the kettle screamed. Water into the pot. Now, the tea. One spoonful for each cup to be poured, and one for the pot itself.

Silver gleamed. Cucumber sandwiches were cut and perfectly arranged. Biscuits and scones on their serving trays, with butter, cream and jam nearby and ready. Meanwhile, foals arranged flowers on the table, giggling in their haste.

With a swiftness that surprised him, Blueblood found himself fully and properly attired, carried bodily into the tea room and firmly planted in one of its comfy chairs, the very image of nonchalance. Candles were lit, and extraneous family members exited, shooing their foals with them.

And then, there was only himself, Akane, and Hepzibah.

Blueblood took out the missive he had written while being dressed.

.

Aunt Celestia,

As it happens, I was just sitting down for some tea.

I don’t suppose you could join me?

--B.


With deliberate casualness, he applied the note to the candle’s fire. It burned green for an instant, then vanished.

A few seconds later, there was a flash of silver light.

“You know,” Celestia smiled, “tea does sound lovely right about now.”

Blueblood rose, returning her smile, even as the mares to his either side curtseyed.

“I’m so very glad,” he said.