• 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 20: A Fireside Chat.

It wasn’t Blueblood’s favorite study. But since his preferred room was filled with indecipherable masses of paperwork, it would certainly do.

The fireplace was empty, the breeze wafting through the open windows perfect for the summer months. Above the mantle sat a portrait of his father, Vladimir Cordon Bleu. Blueblood had few memories of his parents, and fewer pleasant ones; they’d always been distant at best when alive. But shortly after he’d moved in, Aunt Celestia had found what was, in all likelihood, the only surviving picture of the old chap. It had hung there ever since.

Taking it down just seemed rude.

He glanced at the scroll on the nearby table with irritation. Apparently, Filthy had actually included mention of the museum’s assets in his will, since he had either personally acquired or helped to find so many of them. According to Filthy’s will, the sum of his contributions were now Rarity’s… in addition to a massive fund dedicated to seeing to the museum’s completion, with Rarity as its sole executor.

Which helped her case exactly none at all.

Blueblood gave a sigh of great annoyance. Without motive, he had nothing. No real evidence, unless the murderer volunteered to provide the murder weapon for inspection. Nothing to interrogate her with, not even enough for a good bluff. She’d just laugh at any confrontation he could muster, knowing he was grasping at ghosts.

The unicorn frowned in thought. The more he considered the matter, the more of a tangle it became. The whole affair made no sense. He’d known who the killer was from the start, of course. That part had been easy. And now, he finally knew how.

But why? The silly git had no motive, no possible reason to have wanted Filthy Rich to die. He’d been certain that knowing the murder weapon, and how she’d gotten it, would have by default have filled in the rest. But now…

His reverie was broken by a knock at his chamber door.

“Yes?”

The door opened slightly, and Akane’s face poked through.

“Y’all takin’ visitors, Yer Grace?” she asked. “I wasn’t sure.”

Blueblood smiled.

“Actually, I think I could use the distraction,” he said. “Please, show them in.”

As Blueblood stood, Akane opened the door again with a gesture of welcome. As his small guest entered, the prince blinked in surprise. While the two of them had always been friendly enough, they’d exactly never been close.

“Well, good evening,” Blueblood said with a nod. “Please, come in.”

“Thank you, Your Grace,” Spike replied.

“You’re most welcome,” the stallion said as the door closed behind Spike. “Though I confess I’m a bit puzzled by the sudden formality.”

“Yeah, well. You know,” the dragon said uncomfortably. “Weird times. Plus, it’s been a while.”

“They are indeed.” Blueblood agreed, retaking his seat as he gestured for Spike to be seated as well. “And it has. Far too long, come to that. Speaking of which, however did you get here? Not that I’m not glad to see you, but isn’t Twilight with you? Surely she’s alright?” The idea of Spike travelling the train from Ponyville to Canterlot alone, while not impossible, certainly seemed out of character for Twilight’s protectiveness.

But the young drake grinned as he hopped up into a stuffed chair. “Greenfire, remember?”

Blueblood opened his mouth, then closed it.

“You can do that?” he asked.

Spike’s grin broadened. “You’d be amazed. Far as Twilight can tell, a dragon’s breath varies depending on what hatches ‘em. So, parents who want hatchlings who breathe frost keep their eggs in the tundra, if they want fire they hatch ‘em in volcanoes, that kind of thing. So, yeah.”

“And you were hatched by magic,” Blueblood realized, nodding slowly. “Some of the most powerful that Equestria has ever known.”

He had heard some of the tales told about Spike the Brave in the Crystal Empire, of course. Tales of both his courage and his power. Even Sour Sweet had mentioned him. But he had always assumed such stories were exaggerations.

More fool, me, he thought. What might Spike be capable of in a hundred years… or even in ten?

“Well, that answers that,” he nodded. “And very impressive, by the way. Please consider me boggled, in the best possible fashion. But if you’ll forgive me, I sense this is no social call?”

The young drake’s grin vanished.

“It’s not,” he admitted. “I just really needed to talk to you. Twilight mentioned you’d found the murder weapon, and I thought about how much time is left, and, well… look.”

Spike drew in a deep breath, then let it out.

“I remember the night you and Rarity first met, at the Gala,” he said, staring down where sat. “I was really upset that night. Not just because I wasn’t going, though, you know, that was part of it.

“But Rarity’d made no secret about what kind of night she’d been hoping for,” Spike went on. “Finding some handsome noblepony to sweep her off her feet and carry her off in style. She went on about it for a while. Then, once, she let slip the word ‘prince.’ I knew then who she was hoping for.

“I’d never felt so down in my life. I mean, if it had been anypony else, I could at least have been angry, you know? And in a way, I guess I was. But mostly, it just…”

Spike sighed. “I spent the night trying to drown my sorrows in cupcakes.”

Blueblood gave him a sympathetic frown. “Extra sprinkles?”

Spike managed a slight smile. “Yeah, well, I was really depressed. And like I said, if it had been anypony else…”

The drake sighed again, adding, “But with you two, it seemed so natural, so inevitable. I mean, what did I have to offer her? I wasn’t even grown yet… heck, I’m not even a pony.

“And you weren’t just some stranger. I couldn’t look at you and think, ‘he’s not good enough for her,’ because, come on, I know you. I mean, we’ve never been friends exactly, but, um, wow, you’re… really… not… getting this, are you?”

Blueblood continued to look at his guest with concern and curiosity. “Well, I’m not sure,” he admitted. “I can understand your worry for her well-being; it’s plain that you love the lady. But why were you so upset, if it wasn’t for your exclusion from the Gala?”

Spike facepalmed. For several moments, he said nothing, holding his head in his claws. Finally, he sighed and looked at his host again.

“Not everypony is like you, Blue,” he said. “Sometimes, the pony you love isn’t just someone to spend your life with. They’re somepony you want to treasure, to keep safe, to… to…”

“Hoard?” Blueblood suggested confusedly.

Spike leapt off from the chair and began pacing, making wild gestures in the air. “No! Yes! Maybe, kinda…? I don’t know!”

Still puzzled, Blueblood spoke quietly. “You do realize that, even if Miss Rarity had come to stay here, if your own relationship with her had grown…”

Spike clutched at the sides of his head. “Dude! Don’t make this weirder than it already is!”

“Well, I only meant once you’d come of age, of course—”

“Not helping, Blue! Not helping!”

“Sorry.”

An uncomfortable silence filled the room.

“Look,” Spike sighed at last. “I’m… I’m sorry. I’m really messed up, about all of this. And it’s worse for my knowing that I can’t help directly, because of my connection to Twilight.”

Looking down, he went on. “I just wanted to say that for all that we’ve never really been close, I know you’ll do right by Rarity. Even at my lowest, even in my most immature moments, I always knew that.

“And now, finding out about that whole blood-letter thing, well… I mean, I’ve been thinking about this. I know most of the time ponies kinda forget about me a little. I’m younger than Twilight, and smaller, and, well, like I said, I’m not a pony.”

Then, looking up at the prince before him, he added, “But I’ve done things before. Heroic things. I have made a difference. Not just at the Crystal Empire, but other times, too. And if it ends up that there is anything, and I mean anything, I can do that might help Rarity, all you have to do is ask.

“Anything. Ever.”

For several seconds, Blueblood did not react, simply staring into space with that same thoughtful frown. Spike had started wondering if the unicorn had even heard him when Blueblood nodded slightly.

“I believe you,” he said. “Absolutely. And I’ll remember what you’ve said. Further, should I see an opportunity for you to offer the lady further protection from danger, be it now or a hundred years from now, rest assured that I shall call upon your power.”

The young drake smiled. “Thanks, Blue.”

Then, he frowned. “Wait, ‘further protection?’”

Blueblood nodded again, his expression still thoughtful as he stared into space. “Absolutely.”

For a brief time, neither of them spoke. Then, Blueblood suddenly turned to Spike with a smile.

“In any event, I’ve been a terrible host,” he said. “Please forgive me, I’ve been distracted. Might I offer you some refreshments? Some juice, or perhaps some jewels? Or, I could have one of the guest rooms prepared…”

Spike grinned. “Nah, I really should be getting back. Twilight’s expecting another shipment of law books and scrolls tomorrow, and she’s got a new plan for re-organizing the library. Plus, I guess she’s got a meeting with the head of palace security…?”

The drake paused, frowning, then shrugged. “Anyway, it’s a full day.”

Blueblood chuckled. “I can imagine. Well, please give her my best. And please, feel free to drop by any time you wish.”

Rising, the stallion extended a hoof, adding, “Friends are always welcome, after all.”

Spike hesitated a moment, then leaped into a hug with him, which was immediately returned. Then, the dragon hopped down and sauntered towards the fireplace.

“You mind?” he asked.

“Please,” Blueblood smiled.

Spike had just reached the mantelpiece when Blue said, “Oh, and Spike? One question.”

The drake paused, halfway into the fireplace as the stallion considered him carefully.

“You’ve… never tried transporting yourself before tonight, have you?”

Spike looked down, all his bravado evaporating in an instant.

“Please, just get her out of this,” he said.

With a grim smile, Blueblood knelt down, put a hoof on the drake’s shoulder.

“You have my word,” he said.

Spike gave him a look of gratitude, and Blueblood stepped back as the young dragon stepped the rest of the way into the hearth.

There was an exhaled burst of heatless emerald fire, and Spike was gone.

Blueblood considered the fireplace for a moment, then made his way back to the chair he’d been in when Spike had first arrived. Then, taking out pen and parchment from a nearby drawer, he began to write, his words illumined by the nearby candle’s mystic green flame.