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Source

This story follows How About Because I Love You, but also stands on its own.


It was hardly a mystery that Rarity was innocent of murder. And, for Prince Blueblood, the true identity of the culprit was also easily surmised.

But the evidence against Rarity was compelling. Compelling enough, in fact, that a case would have to be built against the true murderer for Rarity to go free. The problem was that Blueblood had no idea how they’d done it, or even why.

With time running out, and both their lives on the line, Blueblood must find the true solution to the murder of Filthy Rich. For if he fails, his aunts will have no choice but to pass sentence upon one of their dearest friends… and upon him, as well.


Chronological note: this story takes place towards the end of Season Five, a bit over two years after Rarity and Prince Blueblood first met at the Grand Galloping Gala.

Comments note: by the very nature of the story, a lot of the comments discussing its unfolding plot contain potential spoilers. Some have been masked, some have not. Please be advised.

(This timeline continues in The Apple Jamboree.)

Part of the Elsequestria Continuity.

Chapters (24)
Comments ( 136 )

for some reason i cant explain i got a Sherlock homes vibe of blueblood

Nothing could go wrong on a day like this. He could feel it.

* * * *

“PRINCESS CELESTIA!”

:trollestia: "Okay, who's the wise guy who thought nothing could go wrong today?"

got her to Sweet Apple Acres through the tesser

You know, casual bit of hypergeometry so Twilight can see her girlfriend whenever she wants, no big deal.

And that end note... Oh, this should be very good indeed. Looking forward to it.

10258535
Wow. That was quick. :rainbowhuh:
Blueblood isn’t exactly based on S.H., but they do have some traits in common, certainly, and not by accident. :raritywink:

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.)

Depends on whether Second Person is on the staff, I think.

Brilliant bit of swan work. Furious effort under the surface to create the appearance of perfect placidity and grace. Looking forward to the tea itself.

The Royal Polycule of House Blueblood is a delight and a privilege to read about. I absolutely love your take on the stallion himself, and I can scarcely wait for the next installment.

10281449

Depends on whether Second Person is on the staff, I think.

Oh, darn it. Now I have more stories I need to read.
Darn it all to heck.
:rainbowlaugh:

so far my assumption would automatically go to spoil rich, but that would be to obvious, looking forward to finding out the details

Blueblood, for his part, had his own theory. It involved ponies who whispered such things being idiots.

Generally a safe assumption.

“You do have a talent for disruption,” she said.

Some say his mark is a compass rose. Some say the star of Chaos. One in particular just smirks and says "Why not both?"

I have several questions about the Graven Age.

“Up against the ceiling.”
She paused, looking at him quizzically. “I thought it was the wall?”
“Oh, good heavens, no, that’s not nearly radical enough.”

:rainbowlaugh:

“Nopony is trying to worship you anymore, they haven’t for centuries…”
“Only because I finally made it illegal,” Celestia pointed out. “Consider the irony of that.”

And in another universe, a Sunset Shimmer boggles at the idea. "That works!?"

The dynamic between Blueblood and Celestia is fantastic. Looking forward to more, though I regret we won't get more of this until the conclusion, if at all.

“Up against the ceiling.”

She paused, looking at him quizzically. “I thought it was the wall?”

“Oh, good heavens, no, that’s not nearly radical enough.”

Okay, right. That exchange sold me on this story.

Wonderful.

What nation's law is this based on?

Comment posted by Coyote de La Mancha deleted March 13th

Are you actually going to tell me that all of you would allow Miss Rarity to be wrongfully convicted and imprisoned, with all that implies, rather than tell. A single. Lie.

Well, if she'd be wrongfully convicted and imprisoned, then they may not need to. But the point is made.

In any case, this is doing a fantastic job of setting the scene and all of the ripples caused by Filthy's murder. Now to see what Blue has in mind... and just how far the Bearers are willing to trust him.

But... why didn't I find this until now? I've got to make up for lost time!

I'm rather interested to see which scene we follow next - Blueblood's dinner with Rarity or Sweetie chasing after Diamond.

Finally getting around to reading this. Your Blueblood is very different, but I'm loving this so far. Quite a unique dynamic you're setting up.

Whatever else I need, at least at the moment, I imagine your attorney will have it.

"... Please tell me Pinkie Pie is not your attorney."
"Why would she be?"
"I find it useful to imagine the worst-case scenario in these situations, and that one sprang at me wielding a seven-layer cake."

Don't mind me, comedy's something of a reflex when it comes to heavy narrative atmospheres. Plus, the Twilight-Blueblood interactions were fantastic.

In any case, we have some concrete facts. As much as a mare who was nowhere near the murder can offer, anyway. I have to wonder how Rarity even became the prime suspect. I suppose with no one else there, the suspicion falls on Filthy's business partner. We'll see where this goes from here.

I love a good murder mystery. I love good character interactions. I love the old jerk-with-a-very-poorly-hidden-heart-of-gold trope. Needless to say, I adore this story. Your writing is absolutely mesmerizing in its patter.

10440433

"... Please tell me Pinkie Pie is not your attorney."
"Why would she be?"
"I find it useful to imagine the worst-case scenario in these situations, and that one sprang at me wielding a seven-layer cake."

:rainbowlaugh::rainbowlaugh::rainbowlaugh::rainbowlaugh::rainbowlaugh:
Oh, believe me, I don’t mind in the slightest. That may or may not have made my entire day.

As for the rest, I will say this: Pinkie Pie is not Rarity’s attorney.

Even before Rarity's outburst, I would have figured the two of them would draw stares. What with Rarity accused of a rare and dire crime.

Through the magic of polyamory Rarity has a chance at having legal representation.

Sour Sweet is bound to liven up the proceedings, that's for sure. I wouldn't put it past her to pull a Blackquill and bring a katana and a trained attack falcon into the courtroom.

refreshing to see fic where rarity admits she was in the wrong to, and yet still have it end with blueblood being a ass :rainbowlaugh:

I may have called some layers of Blue's mark, but I never would've guessed that particular meaning. Brilliant work. Even sticking his hoof in it felt perfectly in character for both parties.

So of course Her Solar Majesty doesn’t play with toys in her bath. What a ridiculous question. She meticulously plans out marine strategies on how best to defend her subjects against unknown enemies, every night. With sound effects. Because she is just that dedicated to her ponies.

Hmm. On the one hand, I love this idea. On the other, I also love Georg's take on the Royal Baths. You know, the one with the small volcano in the middle. I know there's no reason I can't incorporate both in my headcanon, but it feels like they're competing with another for top billing.
In any case, I'd like to think that Celestia's students have gotten to participate in these maritime strategy sessions over the centuries.

He’s studied law, and he’s the best negotiator I know. It’s only a small hop from that to barrister.

:facehoof: Celestia, you absolute buffoon.

Ah. So easy to forget that most ponies aren't eidetic supergeniuses.

“We’ve got this,” she smiled. “Rarity’s as good as saved.”

Well, yes, probably, but it's not going to be a simple matter.

This promises to be quite the trial. And I do hope someone has a few spare moments to box that public attorney's ears. Just because you think the cavalry's arrived doesn't mean you can abandon your post.

10441680
At the very least, I expect a Franziska von Karma. Bullwhips feel more appropriate for a pony-populated courtroom.

While I very much like whenever Blueblood's not an utterly insufferable Hate Sink... there's the risk of tipping so far into the opposite direction that it raises the question of just why he was as he was during the Gala when he's actually a decent fellow.

... I don't think I get it.

Is Blueblood saying he saw something wrong with Rarity's behaviour, and therefore he treated her badly? Without saying outright what it was? Is that it?

Because that makes it even worse, since HE approached HER that evening, meaning that if he knew and disagreed with her infatuation, he did so to deliberately stomp on her feelings.

10453334
(nods) It’s even worse.

I based Blueblood’s actions on what a variety of celebrities have been said to have done in the past, ranging from Mikhail Baryshnikov to Hunter S. Thompson. That is: when faced with an annoying or clingy fan, to act like a complete jackass until they leave.

Had he simply done that much, that would have been problematic enough. But in Blue’s case, he saw Rarity’s intentions (i.e.: her deponification of him) and figured something like, Well, no sense putting this off, is there. So rather than waiting for the ‘inevitable,’ he tried to get it over with by giving her a come-hither and getting into character immediately.

Which is, beyond all doubt, a massively dick move on multiple levels. He wasn’t speaking poetically when he referred to what he did as inexcusable. As you and he both pointed out, he could have said something. And this is Rarity, after all. She would have listened, if he’d been cool about it. Hell, it might have even marked the beginning of a friendship.

Mind you, what he did wasn’t evil. He didn’t try to plunge the world into eternal night (Nightmare Moon); try to enslave worlds while under the influence of a magical artifact (Sunset Shimmer); or use mind magic, time travel, or powerful cutie mark manipulation to control ponies or strip them of part of their identities (Starlight Glimmer).

But it was a horrible thing to do just the same. He’d been an unthinking, self-righteous git, and an apology and explanation was the very least he could do. Because he wasn’t trying to stomp on her feelings so much as failing to consider them at all... which, one could argue, might have been even worse.

…and then he stuffed his hoof in his mouth and got splashed with wine for it. :facehoof: Which, completely independent of his other mistakes, I agree with him that he roundly deserved.

10441660
In this Equestria (and in some fantasy depictions of London, Paris, and other such mythical places), the advantage of being such a hoity-toity place is that the patrons would not demean themselves by staring.

(Gossip? Most definitely. But certainly not staring.)

Meanwhile, the staff are so trained to take everything in stride that a demon from Tartarus could probably dine there without undue attention so long as it had a reservation. :moustache:

10442030

In any case, I'd like to think that Celestia's students have gotten to participate in these maritime strategy sessions over the centuries.

Oh, count on it. I suspect that all the princesses have very fond memories of that bathtub. :trollestia:

10466118
To be honest, part of my confusion comes from how the talk between them flows. Here's the way I understood it so far:

Blueblood: "I'm sorry for treating you badly at the Gala. You see, I can see ponies' intentions."
Rarity: "Apology accepted! I also treated you badly, I objectified you, and now knowing you could see my intentions..."
Blueblood: "Of course. I saw your intentions."
Rarity: (grows angry and throws wine at his face)

I feel like I'm missing a crucial detail. Did Rarity not get what he was telling her? Why did she grow angry then and not before?

Comment posted by Coyote de La Mancha deleted Oct 12th, 2020

10477912
(nods) Understandable. It wasn’t so much the literal statements he made so much as the cavalier attitude towards the end. When he so casually gave his “I’m never wrong about these things” bit, it transformed his side of the conversation from “I could see your intentions” to something which was easily taken as an attitude of condescension and self-satisfied superiority. Thus, it was the attitude to which Rarity was responding far more than the literal words themselves.

You know, when I first saw the synopsis, I thought Blueblood was the one who got murdered, not Filthy Rich.

10490338
Oh, dear. After re-reading it, though, I can certainly see how you might. I hope you’re not disappointed by his survival thus far. :raritywink:

There's a lot to unpack here regarding both the case and Equestrian law.

  • In most settings, Rarity's motive would be difficult to disprove, but not here. You could just bring in any random changeling, have them turn into Filthy Rich in front of Rarity, taste what she feels, and report it to the court.
  • Psychometry seems weird. It could check Filthy's writing, but not detect non-unicorn magic at the scene? The fact that it's acceptably commonplace as evidence despite this is crazy. That's the equivalent of only white people having fingerprints to brush for. As such, it would be nice if Twilight could invent DNA testing over the next few hours.
  • I'm guessing invoking blódsihtan means that Blueblood will share Rarity's eventual sentence, whatever it may be.
  • An average earth pony could have easily bucked the sewing weight through Filthy's chest. Above average ones can pull entire houses and yeet boulders over the horizon. We also don't know where the other weights ended up, which could prove critical.
  • Having magical oaths be unusable is asinine when they exist. A third party unicorn casting a truth spell on the defendant seems like the fastest and easiest method to check guilt. That or mind reading. Yes, there's the whole ethics dilemma, but better that than sentencing an innocent pony to die.
  • Filthy's optometry only made apparent the last pony he saw was a mare he thought was beautiful and loved. More so than Rarity, the best fit for that description would be his wife.
  • In conclusion, the culprit is clearly Spoiled Rich. As we all knew already.

10491043
(nods) There is, indeed. I love your comments, and I was hoping you’d show up here. In this instance, please allow me to answer your points in order:

* (double-checks chronology to make sure I didn’t make a silly mistake, then starts typing) This tale takes place around the start of season five, so Chrysalis is still in charge of the Changelings.

EDIT: Sorry, it’s towards the end of season five. Silly mistake confirmed! :rainbowlaugh:

Additionally, while an emotion-sensing spell can be taught so as to allow for a cross-check between experts, or (better yet) placed into equipment, a species-based ability (outside of someone like Twilight researching something special for the occasion) cannot.

There is also the (future) problem that within the prejudices of pony culture, skills that can be taught - even if only among the same tribe - are currently considered more trustworthy than specific non-pony racial powers that are non-transferable. The ponies are cool people, but still a wee bit ethnocentric.

And as far as emotion-sensing spells during trial go, that raises still more questions. After all, who is to say why someone would be feeling a certain way during trial? Not to mention, there’s the question of whether present emotions should be taken as proof of past motives. That would come perilously close to having ponies on trial for their thoughts. Equestrian laws have been structured, over the centuries, to avoid this.

Modern Equestrian law is certainly not perfect. It is a precedent-based system, which also means that the prejudices and fears of past ponies may influence the system used by present ones, with all the merits and flaws that might imply.

*Psychometry is capable of detecting magic and emotional impressions. Had Rainbow Dash done the back stroke through the air, or Apple Jack been growing zap apples, it would have been detected. There was literally no magic use aside from Rarity’s detected within that building for the past week. No unicorn sorcery, no earth magic, zip. Of course, the vital word in this instance may be ‘detected.’

Meanwhile, emotional impressions left in the room and on its objects - especially the note - were difficult to read because stronger psychometric impressions tend to drown out weaker ones. The trauma of being murdered is one of the strongest impressions one can make (and one of the rarest, and therefore least studied / understood). Discerning the psychometry of a crime scene can be quite challenging when there are a variety of impressions, all of different times and strengths, to sift through.

Thus, there are police ponies who make a living through their specialized expertise in psychometry for this very reason, and it is their expert testimony which is at hand. The more intimately associated objects were to Filthy’s body at the time of his death, the harder they were for the investigating ponies to read. Anything on (or in) his body was essentially impossible.

*:scootangel:

*The weight was, according to theory, singed by whatever force propelled it. Regardless of how we measure earth ponies’ strength, they don’t usually put forth so much force that the resulting heat can char even a soft metal like silver. Usually.

*When dealing with the very real threat of memory plundering or mind control magics, or anything that might seem vaguely close to them, the Equestrian legal system errs on the side of “don’t.” There are plenty of arguments on the wisdom of this within Equestrian society.

Additionally, a “truth” spell would be at least as subjective as optography, perhaps even more so, but with the added risk of seeming more reliable than it actually is. Much like the lie detectors of our world, though for different reasons.

The forbiddance of such spells in court may also be a reaction to past legal practices, which will be touched upon in the next chapter.

* (nods again) Yeah, there’s a reason this story doesn’t have a ‘Mystery’ tag on it. Equestrian society has murders rarely enough that immediate family just aren’t obvious suspects to them. After all, why would a pony ever murder someone they loved? Preposterous!

As for the motive and means, much less proving the matter... well, we’ll see. This isn’t exactly a murder mystery for us, after all, only for the ponies. For us, it’s more about the ride, rather like an old TV series that would show the crime being committed at the start of the show. I’m hoping it continues to be enjoyable.

10491737
All this makes sense. Some things that would be obvious to the characters about their own world simply aren't to us, the readers, until you spell it out. Our perspectives are very different. Appreciate the elaborations!

I'm enjoying the story, but you've invoked one of my pet annoyances: bad color descriptions. Azure is #3d87cb, which really is much more the shade of Rainbow's coat, eh? Rarity's mane is far more an iris in the show, although the hue is deeper in shadow (obviously).

:shrugs: I dye fiber, it's a thing for me.

My money is it was the prosecutor and Spoiled.

For Spoiled, well its pretty obvious the motive. Money & revenge. Filthy was likely on the edge of seperating from or, or even divorcing, her due to her emotional abuse of Diamond - the one pony he loves more than Spoiled. For somepony with an obsession for wealth & status, going from having it to being a destitute no pony would be a fate literally worse than death. But if he was to die before he could rewrite his will, well then its likely the entire fortune passes to her plus she can do pretty much whatever she pleases to Diamond. As a bonus by framing Rarity she gets back at Sweetie Belle for wrecking her plans to turn Diamond into the "perfect" key into the nobility via marriage.

Other factors against Spoiled? As his wife she would almost certainly know his schedule and when there were no other ponies present in the building. From there its a simply matter to carry something like a small crossbow modified to shoot a blunt object in a basket into the building. After all, who questions a wife bringing a later dinner to her husband? The actual weapon? Probably deep sixed in a creek or tossed into the Everfree. Since its mechanical no magic to detect save what was build up in the object itself if any.

Now where would she get the weapon & more important the entire plan? Well thats were Janus comes in.

His motive for murder? Pure greed. He's old and a lawyer. He knows there are up-and-comers who will eclipse him eventually so he's looking to retire while he's at the top and can leverage that fame into other careers (ex. politics). He just needs a case that will cement his name forever. And what better case for that than convicting a national hero of a sensational murder? As an obviously high-placed lawyer in the gossip capital of Equestria he could certainly have been aware that all was not right in the Rich family. Especially if family members in Canterlot didn't care for Spoiled and talked out recent events, or maybe he saw paperwork to schedule a divorce with the name Rich on someones desk. Spoiled being a neurotic mess it would be easy to suggest Filthy was planning to divorce her and from there push her to drastic measures. Which also leads into the whole "rush to judgement" for on a case that any decent prosecutor is going to want everything ironclad, triple-checked, and given a complete cavity search for possible flaws. He wants the case done now while he's got the defense attorney's who could rip his "case" apart cowed by threats of retaliation from the Rich family and the public into a frenzy.

That is why Blueblood invoking what sounds like the principle of "master speaks for the servant" or the noble in whose domain the accused resides may speak on their behalf, caused Janus such obvious distress. Instead of a tidy farce of a trial & a conviction based on false evidence and emotion, he's going to have to find evidence to prove what doesn't exist. And do so against someone whose ability, authority, resources, and connections far exceed his own. I almost pity the loser. Almost.

Blueblood, send that old nag to the glue factor. 😈

10491867
You have a far better understanding of colour than I do, then. I had thought that azure was the deeper hue. I appreciate the feedback, and will try to bear it in mind in the future! :twilightsmile:

10491942
You write stories, I mix animal-safe dyes & come up with colorway names, it's just a different focus. :twilightsheepish: Thanks for reading in the spirit meant. :)

so blueblood going to prove her innocent or go to hell, well that dedication at least

In front of it all was the section of open floor simply called the well, monitored closely by humorless guard ponies who would tackle or worse anypony who sought to approach the bench, stand, or seat uninvited.

In the words of a great griffon lawyer, the bailiff will tackle you.

I can only imagine what Janus Serpentine's parents were thinking when they named him. Colt was going to be either a lawyer or a supervillain.

I also appreciate the courtesy you’ve shown in having your manes styled into the proper peruke for your anticipated roles in court. Well done.

Heh. There's a mental image.

I do hope Celestia hears about the judge's ruling. It's not that I want Rarity to go to jail, I just appreciate Tia getting the occasional reminder that her self-assurance can fly in the face of reality.

...

Okay, I really should know better than to underestimate her. :twilightsheepish: You have to get up very early indeed to get one over on the mare who raises the sun.

I’m not some rogue member of a nigh-omniscient race that transcends time or anything. I just play one on TV.

Yeah, Q's the one with the law degree. Discord can't help with a trial almost by definition.

Darting forward to press her muzzle against Discord’s, eyes locked, she vowed in a low voice, “And one day, your knowledge will be harnessed!”

:fluttershysad: "Do you two need some... alone time?"
:twilightoops: "I— What— You— What!?"
:yay: "I understand. This is a very stressful situation, Discord has a certain way about him—"
:facehoof: 'I can't believe I'm about to say this, but Fluttershy, I need you to stop talking."

Oh. A solid thimble. I see. This answer does raise other questions, especially given which mirror Sunset went through, but it's still an answer. The problem is that it's an outside-context solution that will be very difficult to determine in-universe.

But… but I’ve been accused of homicide!

Equicide, surely. No Homo.

In any case, the stakes have been established. Now to see what Blue has planned... assuming he has any plan at all.

Equicide, surely. No Homo.

:twilightoops: Ack! I mean, um... that’s not a... I mean... it’s ‘homo’ like in ‘same,’ like in ‘homogeneous,’ or, um...

:rainbowderp: . . .

Yeah. Good heavens, where would I be without you? :rainbowlaugh:

Though, as I think of it, perhaps that term should be something like sapientcide? Hm.

:facehoof: 'I can't believe I'm about to say this, but Fluttershy, I need you to stop talking."

This made me laugh out loud. :twilightsmile:

Anyway. As for the rest, not having this be a murder mystery for the readers does give me certain freedoms. So, we shall see what we shall see. :moustache:

10494064

In the words of a great griffon lawyer, the bailiff will tackle you.

Hee! Yes. I confess he was one of my main sources.

And the pony naming convention is one that I do find interesting. Early on, I had toyed with the idea that naming in Equestria might run something like in Suzette Haden Elgin’s Planet Ozark series, in which the naming of infants was a borderline magical act performed by a certain class of ponies... with the dark side being that the children in question were expected and pressured to conform to their names throughout their lives.

But ultimately, I think pony parents have an intuition for their children’s potential, and so perhaps the act of naming might be a form of deep magic, like friendship. And, of course, name changing seems to be a relatively simple matter in pony culture even in canon (like when one of Granny’s relatives changed her name to Applesauce). So, to me, for example, the implication of Fizzlepop’s assertion that Tempest wasn’t her real name was a statement that that wasn’t who she really was... or perhaps, wasn’t anymore...

*forcibly pulls self back to the subject at hand, more or less*

In the case of ponies like Janus and Stygian, it’s also fun to consider whether they were given those names or took them for themselves, and what the implications of each could be.

10494082

You have to get up very early indeed to get one over on the mare who raises the sun.

Well, she didn’t know what exactly would happen, only that Blue was the best pony to help Rarity. You can bet she wasn’t expecting him to put himself on the line like this, and I haven’t decided yet whether to show Luna’s thoughts on the matter when she finds out, or to leave that to the imagination.

Of course, Blueblood also has other family...

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