• 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 3 "Amongst Liars"

Chapter 3

“Amongst Liars”

Rarity and I got back to the convention center where I saw Tri-Star with Columbia again. Both looked at me, and Columbia spoke, “Back for more, detective?”

“Yes, for more of your buddy here,” I pointed a hoof at Tri-Star. “Care to explain what your car was doing running off with Sweetlight two nights ago?”

Tri-Star’s eyes grew wide and he bolted. The grey earth pony ran about the booths trying to avoid me. I gave chase, jumping over a cart that blocked my path. Tri-Star kicked over a booth. I slid under it just before it fell in my path, keeping pace with him. “Give it up Tri-Star!” I yelled levitating out my gun.

Tri-Star kept running at first but stopped in his tracks when I fired my gun so it barely missed his head. He looked at me, his eyes wide with fear. I missed him on purpose, but he didn’t need to know that. “You got a bit of explaining to do…”

“Well Buck…” Tri-Star said as I held the gun to his head

__________________________________________________________

“Look, I want to see my lawyer before the interrogation begins!” He said, as I shoved him into a chair before me. We were in a broom closet and I locked the door behind me, turning on the light.

“Your lawyer can wait…” I replied, gazing at the earth pony. “Now you’re going to answer my questions before I have to resort to more drastic means of getting you to talk”

“Look, I didn’t know anything about Sweetlight getting captured…”

“Horseapples” I spat darkly, “You knew exactly what you were getting into. Now I want to know why you would go along with this and who hired you”

“I’m not talking! I didn’t do any of this! You’re crazy” He wasn’t going to give in…

Time for Plan R…

I opened the door and in came Rarity. She smiled at me and I winked at her. Tri-Star looked curiously at the white unicorn. Then I smiled slowly, “You two have fun”

I walked outside and closed the door behind me. I heard muffled complaining about Tri-Star’s behavior. I heard Tri-Star try to retort and insult the mare about her whining…

“Whining?!” Rarity said behind the door “I am not whining! I am complaining…do you want to hear whining?”

I was smart not to listen for the next ten minutes. They would drive anypony to insanity and have them set up shop. After those ten minutes Rarity knocked for the door to be opened. When I opened it, she trotted out with a smile on her face “Tri-Star will speak to you now”

I nodded and walked inside to find Tri-Star looking at me “Whatever you do, do not bring that mare back in here!”

“Then talk” I said simply, “Why were you in that alley?”

“Look, I just got a note that I was supposed to bring my carriage to the area”

“You just follow any note?” I asked inquisitively, “What was so special about this request that you would follow it?”

“It was…from Hoity Toity” He confessed.

“What does a fashion stallion have to do with this?”

The grey earth pony sighed, “A couple of days ago I heard that Sweetlight was having trouble with Photo. The two had a fight about Sweetlight getting more time for herself. Photo fired back and said, “Do you vant this or no?” That just caused Sweetlight to snap and run off. So I heard from some of Hoity’s crew that he was talking with Sweetlight about something. Something about taking Photo down. I was going to report it to Photo but Hoity intercepted me. He offered me a huge reward if I didn’t tell”

“You’re in bed with him?” I said darkly, “What happened after that?”

“The night Sweetlight disappeared I was told by Hoity to leave my carriage at that spot. He told me that Sweetlight was going to go back on the deal they made. She was going to betray him…I wanted to stop her from doing it. If word got out that Hoity was plotting against Photo, I would be found out”

“There’s more to it…” I said slowly

“What are you talking about?!” He asked defensively.

“You had more against Sweetlight then just that she could rat you out” I said circling him like a lion around prey, “Now come out with it. Why would you be willing help somepony take out Sweetlight if not to save your ass from being found out?”
He looked over at me, his blue eyes showing fury “It was Columbia! Damn it! I did it because Columbia liked her!”

“What are you talking about?” Then it hit me “You were worried that Columbia was becoming attached to her?”

He nodded, “Columbia always liked Sweetlight. Over time the two became friends and he was always there to comfort her. I grew jealous, okay? Columbia and I are practically brothers and I felt like she was stealing him away from me…”

“That’s awfully childish of you…” I observed, “You realize this could get you arrested for helping in the kidnapping?”

“I only thought Hoity was going to scare her or something” He said trying to stave off the guilt or whatever was needed to get the blame off him “I didn’t think he’d keep her for this long”

“Can I see the note he gave you?” I asked, holding out my hoof

He nodded and pulled the note out of his pockets. I looked at the note.

Dear Tri-Star,

Bring your carriage this Tuesday to the alley by the Prancing Dragon. Leave it there and we will take care of your Sweetlight problem.

H.T.

It was very refined hoof writing. I looked at Tri-Star “Tri-Star, I’m charging you with assistance in the kidnapping of Sweetlight. I hope Columbia can find it in his heart to forgive you one day.”

I left Tri-Star to his guilt over the situation. I couldn’t condone his actions here. I had very little tolerance for anypony who accepts bribes like that. His motive for betraying Sweetlight was petty greed, and revenge. I remember far too many cops who were bribed for even more petty reasons…

I put them all away when I left the department.
_____________________________________________________________

“I can’t believe he would do something like that” Columbia said as he sat on a bench in the Convention Center. He shook his yellow head, “Tri-Star and I always got along. I didn’t think he felt threatened by Sweetlight.”

“There is such a thing as caring too much about somepony” I said simply “Did you know about this at all?”

Columbia shook his head again, “Not at all. Tri-Star and I tell each other everything. It’s such a huge shock that he would go behind my back like this” He punched the wall in anger. “Sweetlight doesn’t deserve this!”

“You love her…” Rarity observed

Columbia nodded solemnly “I do, but she was so busy with Photo we never got the chance to really date” He sighed “I tried to convince Photo to give her some time off but that was like trying to break a brick wall with a toothpick”

“Photo is awfully tough on her models” I observed “Why is that?”

“Because she knows how hard the life can be”

I turned around and saw Stella walking towards us. Her aloof eyes looked at me with a mixed expression, “She was once a model herself you know. Very beautiful. in fact, she was going on to become one of the greatest models of our time”

She reached into her pocket and pulled out an old black and white photo of Photo. Only this Photo was much younger, I’d say early twenties. Her eyes were absolutely dazzling in the picture. I looked up at Stella and asked “What happened?”

“Eye surgery that went wrong” Stella said frankly, “Photo undertook a very risky surgery in the hopes it would allow her eyes to change color to fit what outfit she was wearing”

Rarity shook her head “I heard about that, none of the surgeries actually performed as advertised. It causes the victims to have eyes of pure white”

So under Photo’s glasses were colorless eyes. No wonder why she hides them all the time. Stella put the photo of Photo back in her pocket. “Since then Photo has had to work on the sidelines. She’s harsh on her models because she just wants them to achieve their dreams. Mostly because she couldn’t reach hers”

Without another word Stella walked off. I looked to Columbia, “What is Stella’s position on the design team exactly?”

“Manager” Columbia answered. “Pretty much anything that needs to get done Stella is the mare to talk to. She has been working with Photo for years. In fact, it was thanks to Stella that a lot of Photo’s designs got off the ground”

“Anyways,” I said to the guard “Do you know where I can find Hoity Toity?”

“He’s usually at the Mile High Club about now” Columbia answered. “I’ll bet my right hoof he had something to do with all this”

________________________________________________________

The Mile High Club was just as you would expect. Situated at the very top of a sky scraper, the club was home to the rich and famous of Manehattan. I remember Dad bringing me along during my younger days. Mostly I would just get bored and try and discern whether or not a mare was actually rich by the quality of her jewels.

I walked out of the elevator with Rarity at my side. She was dressed in a very nice evening dress to blend in with the nobles present. I was glad she wasn’t drawing too much attention to us. I would hate for any of the nobles and corporation giants to recognize the son of Irenius Eye.

I looked over at Rarity, “I’ll go talk to Hoity”

Rarity then noticed me turning my head to allow a noble couple to pass me by. She raised an eyebrow “Private, why did you avoid those ponies?”

“Because I…well I was born into old money…” I said slowly

Rarity’s eyes grew wide as dinner plates, “You’re rich?! Handsome, smart, endearing, and a noble!” She let out a sigh “Truly you are a stallion crafted by Celestia herself…”

I didn’t like the look she was giving me. I felt like she was trying to imagine me under my trench coat. I looked around for any sort of distraction. Luckily, I found my target.

He was a stallion about the same age as my father. He did everything he could to hide it though. He was a dark grey stallion with a silver mane up in a high hair cut. His eyes were covered by a set of sunglasses and he wore a suit for the evening.

This…was Hoity Toity

I looked at Rarity “Stay by the door in case anypony makes a run for it”

She nodded, heading to the table near the door, “I’ll pretend to be getting some refreshments.”

I walked to Hoity’s table and he lowered his glasses to look at me with those blue eyes of his. “I don’t remember them letting commoners in to the Mile High Club” He sat back in his booth as I took a seat opposite him.

“No, but they will let detectives in” I said flashing my badge. He pushed his sunglasses back up.

“And what, pray tell, can I do for you, detective?”

“You can start by telling me about her” I said sliding Sweetlight’s picture onto the table. He barely seemed to glance at it.

“Ah yes, I remember her. Sweetlight is her name? She’s one of Photo’s models.” He smiled a little “A sweet thing, a little distraught, but she did compliment some of my designs”

“You know her a bit more then that, Hoity” My grey eyes narrowed. “Tri-Star told me all about the deal you made with him”

“What is this deal you speak of?” He asked in a voice so smooth it made my skin crawl.

“Tri-Star told me that you paid him to look the other way. Then you sent him this note, telling him to have his carriage there to kidnap Sweetlight” I slapped the note on the table.

Hoity twitched only a little then he smiled “What does this prove?”

“What?”

“First of all, if I was the kidnapper, why would I make such a silly little mistake like this? I wouldn’t send a note to him to keep him in the know. I would’ve told him personally what to do."

“But-“

“Another thing,” he continued with a smirk, “This isn’t even my hoof writing. I never sign with my initials”

He was right…This note wouldn't prove anything.

“Look, Sweetlight is a darling girl far from home. I could gain quite a bit from her disappearance, but you obviously lack proof. This note is a fake. I don’t know who wrote it and I don’t honestly care” He frowned then “What I do care about is ponies sticking their muzzles into my business.”

Before I could put two words together I was grabbed by his security minotaurs. They dragged me outside the club and tossed me in the elevator. Rarity got inside with me just as the minotaur slammed his fist on the down button. The elevator went straight down to the first floor. A reflection on us ending up back at square one…

_________________________________________________________

The sun was sinking low as I walked the streets of Manehattan with Rarity at my side. She looked over at me with eyes of sympathy “Private, I’m sorry we didn’t find the proof that we need”

“I can’t believe I could make such a stupid mistake!” I said frustrated “I knew there wasn’t enough proof for all of this to work. It was such a rookie mistake of-“

“Private, we seem to have company” Rarity interrupted, suddenly stopping.

Three police carriages surrounded us. I looked as they stopped and the door opened. Out stepped Vegas. His white and black spotted coat glinted in the sunlight. He bore a smug grin on his face as he stepped out “Well, this is a surprise”

“Vegas…” I growled, my voice low with contempt. “What the hell are you doing here?”

“He’s here with me”

I turned and saw Shinebadge exit his carriage. The chief of the ERPD was an older earth pony stallion with a short graying mane. His white coat bore a police badge cutie mark that he earned from a long career in law enforcement. Right now he kept his dark eyes trained on me.

I shook my head “What’s going on here, Shinebadge?”

“I was told by Vegas here,” He gestured to my former partner, “that you used Foundra to get information without my consent.”

“I needed the info, and I didn’t want to wait three years for a warrant” I replied flatly.

“Private, we have ways of doing things here in the department,” His dark eyes remained trained on me, “and I can’t have some crazy detective mucking everything up.”

Rarity was about to retort but I held a hoof up for her to stay out of this. “I’m investigating a case here! I would very much appreciate it if you got out of my way”

“We can’t have you doing that,” Vegas smirked, lighting a cigarette. “See we were already investigating the situation before you came along”

“You wouldn’t have even known about Tri-Star’s deal if it weren’t for me!” I retorted

Shinebadge growled low for me to be quiet “Private, you’re off this case”

“You can’t take me off a case!” I yelled “I’m a private detective now! My client is my employer, not you!”

“We can’t officially take you off a case” Shine said low “But we can keep you from solving it. You let us handle this, Private”

“Bullshit!” I cursed. “There’s something else isn't there! You guys only came when I tried to prove Hoity had something to do with this!!”

“You can’t go around accusing every noble you find, Private!” Vegas said almost spitting out his cigarette in the effort.

“This is just like Vice all over again!!!”

“Private Phelps Eye, stand down!!!” Shine's voice boomed loudly. “We will find Sweetlight. We will bring her home, our way. Until then, you are off this case!”

“You can’t do this to me…”

“You may have left the force of your own accord last time” Shine said “But this time I’m making sure you don’t make the same mistakes you made years ago!”

“You forgot one thing, Shine”

“What’s that?”

“I wasn’t the pony that made the mistakes…”

I walked off and didn't look back.