• Published 3rd Oct 2012
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Equestria Noir Case 11 "Picture Perfect" - Jacoboby1



A missing pony case set in Manehatten. Part of Equestria Noir series

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Chapter 1 "Fashion Week"

Equestria Noir

Case 11

“Picture Perfect”

Chapter 1

“Fashion Week”

The leaves of autumn fell on Ponyville’s grass everywhere. Last week’s running of the leaves basically knocked off whatever leaves that could fall. I made a mental note to buy a rake later as I sat in my office. Twilight was visiting Celestia this week and I basically had the entire place to myself.

I’ll admit the quietness was unnerving. Usually I had Spike or somepony to at least talk to when no case came about. It was about two weeks since the whole changeling incident here in Ponyville. Swarm fit in pretty well in pony society once he got Pinkie Pie to help out.

Occasionally somepony would try and blame him for what happened in Canterlot. But one threat from the party cannon was enough to shut them up. I was happy for the guy, even if he is a changeling he’s trying to do good for everypony.

My thoughts were interrupted when the phone rang. I turned away from the window behind my desk and picked up the phone “Private Eye Detective Agency: Solving crimes in the blink of an eye how can I help you”

“Well you can help by coming up with a better slogan Private Phelps Eye!” A rather loud and very familiar voice spoke on the other end. I couldn’t believe my ears when I heard that voice. So loud, so charismatic…and oddly easy to listen to.

“Sapphire Shores I can’t believe it’s you!” I said matching her voice’s tone “How you’ve been?”

“Never better hun! I couldn’t believe it when Shinebadge said you were still doing detective work! You know what I said to him? ‘This can’t be the same Private who used to pluck gems off my outfits just so that he could play with them when he was a foal’”

“Sapphire I was two!”

She laughed out loud on the other end “When ya got caught ya just gave me the sweetest little eyes Ah’ve ever seen” She laughed again “Hard to believe you’ve grown up, has it really been twelve years since I saw you last?”

“Yes mam” I said firmly

“Good that you still remember your manners! Now listen I got a bit of a favor to ask of you Private”

“Anything for mom’s best friend” I said smiling “What’s up?”

“You are aware what this week is in Manehatten?”

“Yeah, it’s Fashion Week; I was planning on going up this week to put flowers on mom’s grave”

“Celestia rest her soul, anyways one of Photo Finish’s models has gone missing. She’s just too damn prideful to ask you personally so Ah thought I could call up a detective myself. I didn’t expect Shinebadge to say that you were the best there was”

“You flatter me Sapphire. But who was the model?”

"Sweet little thing by the name of Sweetlight, only about seventeen. She was Photo’s newest model from little Hoofington. She’s been missing for the past two days so I thought to call the police about it. They sent out a search team but I’d feel better if you helped out. That and I want to see ya damn it! Ah wanna see how much you’ve grown!"

“I’ll be there as soon as I can Sapphire you hang tight. I’ll get on the train and head there immediately”

“Ya better hurry Private, Photo’s getting antsy over here and I don’t know who’ll get hit by the next chair thrown.

“See you there Sapphire, where should we meet up?”

“At the Javits Joe’s convention center over in Midtown, Ya can’t miss it if ya walked with yer eyes closed”

“Thanks I’ll be there”

____________________________________________________________

I walked to the train station with a bemused expression on my face. I hadn’t seen Sapphire shores since I was twelve. She and Mom were friends in high school, Mom went on to a career in acting, and Sapphire went on to a career in Pop music.

Since I was born Sapphire was always like a favorite aunt to me. Her energetic personality and friendly nature always made her a joy to have at the house. Sadly with mom’s death I hadn’t seen the pop star in so long. I didn’t try to contact her to help with Tailspin. She and mom were close and I wanted to give her time to mourn.

It was interesting hearing from her again. Even if the circumstances weren’t so great. How I wished I could’ve contacted her sooner but it was kind of hard to track down a pop star. She kind of has this habit of showing up out of the blue wherever she goes.

Either way, I couldn’t wait to see her again.

I made a mental check of everything before I boarded the train. I left Tailspin in the care of Pinkie Pie. Luca is staying at Fluttershy’s place. I locked up the office, and the house…

“Darling it’s so good to see you!”

I turned around to see Rarity walking up to the platform with a large pile of luggage behind her. She smiled wide upon seeing me “Where are you off to?”

I smiled at the white unicorn “Manehatten, I’m going to visit an old friend and help out with a case there”

“What happened? Did a murder occur there?” She asked curiously

“Nope, a missing pony case this time” I explained “Let’s hope we don’t find a dead body at the end of this road”

“Well isn’t that a coincidence?” Rarity said sitting beside me on the platform “I’m heading to Manehatten for fashion week to show off my latest designs. Do you think I could tag along on this romp?”

I wonder why there was a sudden interest in helping out? Aw well, with Twilight gone I’m going to need somepony to help out. Besides it could be useful to have a pony as in the know about the fashion world as Rarity.

“If I need your help then I’ll ask for it Rarity” I said firmly “This might just be a simple lost pony who had too much to drink and woke up on the wrong side of the Horson”

“Anyways Darling I was hoping you could help me with something else” Rarity said ignoring the firmness in my voice. “You see I have a new line of tuxedos and I could use a…male model”

I didn’t like the look her eyes were giving me right there…

I shook my head “I’m not exactly the most handsome stallion in the world Rarity…”

“Oh you won’t have to do much” She said dismissively “Just let me do some measurements on you and you’ll just walk up and down a small path and you’ll be done”

___________________________________________________________

The Train came and before I knew it I was riding in a train car with the fashionata. Rarity managed to whine her way into getting us a private part of the car so that I could change and she could work. I discarded my trench coat and hat and Rarity began measuring different parts of me. I felt like she might’ve taken a little longer then I would’ve liked with some of the measurements. But I wasn’t about to deny helping a friend.

Rarity got me in a tuxedo that fit me and she held a mirror before me “Well darling what do you think?”

“Um…I like it” I said modestly

“Oh your just saying that” Rarity said

“No no!” I said waving a hoof defensibly “I do it’s…nice”

“Nice?” Rarity said frowning

“Nice” I repeated feeling a bit nervous

“If you don’t like then you should just say so!” Rarity said an edge developing an edge in her voice.

I started sweating a little “I really do like it”

“Like it or love it?” Rarity said her blue eyes looking like mine during an interrogation. Did I really look that scary?

“Um…both?” I said as she advanced on me.

“Which is it?” She said as I felt my rump hit the wall of the car’s wall.

“Please stop asking me like this…”

“Well just tell me what you really think darling”

“No that’s okay” I said sweating like a leaf. No wonder criminals crack under pressure from me. Rarity could probably make even the most assertive of criminals into crying heaps.

“Tell me!”

“No it’s fine…”

“Tell me!”

“I-I really like it…” I said

“Tell me! Tell me! Tell me!” She said, tapping on her hooves on the ground impatiently.

I was trapped; there was no way I was going to get out of this. I didn’t see any other way but to delve deep into my head. “Since you really want to know…” I took in a deep breath and spoke in a rather quick rant

“The button’s sewn loose, the ascot doesn’t go with the vest lapel, the hems are rushed and look machine stitched. The back is uneven, the fabric doesn’t breath. You used a catch stitch here when it clearly called for an invisible stitch or even a traditional hemming stitch. And the overall design is reminiscent of a Berman cotton and not true Bitallion silk style!”

Rarity’s jaw was simply hanging open. My ears flattened in embarrassment “My uh, Mom was really into this stuff…I may have picked up a few things…”

__________________________________________________

Through out the whole trip Rarity had me tryin on various outfits. I didn’t really plan on being a model but it was nice. It reminded me a little of when Mom would get her urges and make me an outfit for me to try on.

We arrived at the convention center and it was a buzz with activity. Thousands of Thousands of models, designers, and sewers come to show off their winter lines. This was one of two fashion weeks that graced Manehatten. One was for winter lines and one for summer lines that popped up in the spring.

I wasn’t looking for the latest boots though. I was looking for Sapphire, luckily she is rarely hard to find.

“Well look ere, if it isn’t Miss Rarity!” Rarity and I heard a voice speak behind us.

I turned and just smiled wide. Sapphire was just the most unusual looking earth pony you’ll ever see. She was crazy colored white and gold dress and an odd looking top hat on her head. Her blue mane was curly and her tail was high up in some kind of fabric. She was the only pony I knew aside from royalty that wore shoes on her hooves.

Rarity’s jaw just dropped again “Sapphire Shores!! You remember my name!!”

“Of course I do darling” She said her half lidded made up eyes looked at my white colored friend with friendliness “How could I possibly forget the mare who went out of her way just to make me those wonderful outfits?”

Rarity shook with obvious nervousness; I pretended to occupy myself with a tuxedo. I wanted to see if Sapphire recognized me. Rarity went on and laughed nervously “Why it’s so good to see you again Sapphire. How did that tour go?”

“Hunny it was an absolute disaster!” Sapphire said dramatically “Someponies just don’t understand what it needs to be sensational!!” She sang that last line and I laughed under my breath. “Though I guess that’s simply something to do with the times”

Rarity simply smiled and relaxed a little “I’m terribly sorry that it didn’t work out”

“Don’t worry about it hun” Sapphire said smiling “I just ne-who is this?” she gestured with a hoof at my back.

I turned around and dramatically bowed “Detective Private Eye, at your service Sapphire”

Her gold eyes went wide and she laughed “Private Phelps Eye is that you!?”

Rarity’s jaw dropped again “Private you know Sapphire Shores!?”

“Of course he does darling” Sapphire said walking past her and looking at me “I was his momma’s best friend. Let me get a good look at you Private”

I spun around for her to look at me. She smiled approvingly “By golly you sure grew into a fine looking stallion. Look at you, all grown up and making a name for yourself”

Rarity blubbered something and fainted on the ground. I laughed out loud “Looks like you still have that effect on ponies”

“That I do Private” She said proudly “Listen I’m glad you could come so soon. Photo is going to throw a fit if we don’t find Sweetlight soon”

I pulled out my notebook “Could you tell me more about Sweetlight?”

“She’s Photo’s newest model. Ever since that doll Fluttershy quit Photo has been recruiting models left and right. Sweetlight is the newest recruit and she’s lasted the longest out of the new bunch”

Rarity, having recovered from the shock of the entire situation got up and looked at Sapphire “I heard Photo was having trouble but how much trouble are we talking about?”

“Photo was always a bit of a tough love kind of designer” Sapphire explained “If ya ain’t worth her time she won’t give you it. Not exactly the friendliest pony but she does make models”

“Where is Photo right now?” I asked

Sapphire gestured towards the corner of the stage floor “Probably working over at her booth. She should be over there for you guys”

I nodded “Thanks Sapphire, we’ll talk more after this whole business is cleared up with Sweetlight”

“I hope so” Sapphire said as she walked away “I do want to catch up with ya”

When the pony of pop left Rarity just stared at me “Private, you know Sapphire Shores personally!”

“Yeah, she was like a favorite aunt to me” I explained “She and my mom went to the same high school”

“Oh Private you never cease to amaze me!” Rarity said with glee “You simply must introduce me to any other celebrities you know!”

“Later Rarity, I got a case to complete” I said walking past her…why did Rarity look so somber?

__________________________________________________________

I walked to Photo’s booth (no pun intended) and found two ponies standing outside. They were both earth ponies, one a dark grey with a spiky blue mane and the other a yellow with a short brown mane. The grey one looked at me “You the detective Sapphire said she was going to get?”

“Yeah, I’m here to see Photo” I said to them

They both nodded and gestured for me to pass. I walked into the booth and saw the mare herself. She was about my age with a light blue coat and a white mane styled almost like a helmet. Her outfit was black and white striped with purple markings on the skirt. Her eyes were obscured by black sunglasses with magenta lenses.

She looked at me “You!” She ran up to me with speed reminiscent of Pinkie Pie “You are Private Eye!”

“Yes Miss Finish I-“I was cut off when Photo Finish held up a hoof for me to be quiet. Well she’s not very polite is she?

“I…Photo Finish! Have called you because I have a problem! Sweetlight has gone mizzing and we cannot find her!” She held up a photo of the pony.

I levitated the photo to eye level. The pony in question was an earth pony of soft pink. Her mane was a long and shimmering blond and her eyes a soft emerald. She looked not much older then maybe eighteen.

“When was the last time you saw her?” I asked

“It vwas two days ago” She explained “We were finishing up a new line and she for some reason looked anxious” She shrugged “I don’t know what zat was about but she was closer to my stylists anyway”

“Did Sweetlight have anypony she was in competition with? Another model perhaps that wanted to take her out?”

“Who would dare strike a model of Photo Finish!?” She said indignantly “Probably that Hoity Toity scoundrel! He has always been jealous of my success with models!”

I had heard of Hoity Toity, not a lot of good things. Supposedly he was the stallion of the hour when it came to fashion. But honestly the guy was an absolute snob in conversation. I remembered way too many arguments he and my Dad got into over what my mom’s outfits looked like. Hoity Toity was not one to mince words.

I nodded “I’ll talk to the designers, where was Sweetlight going to go last night?”

“Vwatever models do on their free time is not Photo Finishes’ concern” She said frankly “So long as they are ready to do…ze magics!”

“Ze magics?” I said with a raised eyebrow

“Let me show you!” She looked past me at the guards at the front door “Columbia! Tri-Star! Get over zere!”

Suddenly both of the guards at the front door stood on either side of me. I got a feeling of dread…

“We must show this stallion…ze magics!”

I was picked up by both of the guard stallions and was being dragged into the stylist’s area. One thought plagued my mind…

Not again…