• Published 28th Jun 2012
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A New Hero - Alex The Lone Wolf



What if there was another pony who joined the pony gang? (Look at longer description...)

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The Winded Turnabout

"If she thinks she's going to break my record, she's got another thing coming."

Slipping a letter under the door to a room in the northwest wing of Canterlot Castle, the culprit begins to depart the scene of the soon to come crime.

"Say goodbye to your days of being a Wonderbolt, kiddo."


After Midnight – Canterlot Ballroom


"I think that I can safely that the dinner was a success." Twilight told me with beaming look of accomplishment on her face. "Except…when Ditsy accidentally broke the chocolate fountain…" The memory of that scene seemed to strike a point out of from her imaginary perfect score, having her grow weary about it.

Earlier on, Derpy, also known as Ditsy Doo, got a little too excited about the chocolate fountain they had for everyone on the dessert table. None of us knew how, but she managed to somehow keep it from running, and it ended up being taken out of the diners' choices for repairs. Nevertheless, there was still a plentiful variety of other desserts, so not all was lost for those who hadn't had any sweets to follow with their meal.

Derpy had also been a part of the mess that the chocolate fountain had caused, causing me to take her to the washroom and help her clean up. She had felt guilty about what happened, of course, but fortunately, I had been able to convince her to rejoin the dinner. The other Wonderbolts didn't seem to take it as a big deal. They couldn't let a missing chocolate fountain ruin their attitudes anyway.

What was Derpy doing at a Wonderbolts dinner in the first place? Well, seeing as certain guests were allowed, I decided Derpy would be the perfect pony to bring to such a dinner. After all, she was my partner back when Rainbow practically forced me to go along with her at the academy for willing Wonderbolts.

"You shouldn't worry about it so much." I assured her. "You know Princess Celestia actually prefers to have some 'excitement' in her events from time to time, remember?"

"I didn't know breaking a chocolate fountain is considered 'excitement', but whatever floats your boat I guess…" She responded, retaining her face. Nevertheless, she noticed the one other pony left in the ballroom besides us. "She's really enjoying the food, huh?"

Spirit had been keeping herself distracted with the leftover cake. She probably didn't even need to worry about eating too much of anything…

"Yeah, I think you know how she is when it comes to sweets. She's just like another Pinkie Pie." I commented at the sight.

"Hehe." Twilight returned. "Speaking of her, I don't think I've seen her much lately. Is everything alright?"

"Yeah, I think so." I answered. "She had told me she was thinking of taking of break from being 'outside'. I guess I can't blame her. After all, she's spent all this time inside me, I suppose it wouldn't be all surprising if she doesn't stay outside permanently."

"I guess you're right." Twilight said. "You're the only one out of all of us that knows most about her."

"I'm not totally sure of that." I responded a bit embarrassingly, knowing that Spirit could still be a major mystery at times.

"Well, we should probably head to bed." Twilight suggested, getting ready to head to her quarters. "It's super late. Thanks for your help tonight!"

"Yeah, no prob." I answered. "Night."

"Night." She waved before she left the area.

I approached Spirit next.

"You ready to get to bed?" I asked.

"Man, this dinner was so good, I wish I could eat it every night…" She replied, finishing the last of the cake she had.

"There'll be more." I patted her back. "Come on."

"Kay."


After Midnight – Canterlot Hallway – East Wing


On our way to our room for the night, we bumped into Rarity in the middle of the hallway. She had actually been Rainbow Dash's guest to the dinner, and I hadn't even noticed until I found her chatting with a Pegasus named Wind Rider, whom was apparently a "living legend" according to Rainbow Dash, after the chocolate fountain had broken.

"Oh, heading to bed, darling?" She asked.

"Yeah. I'm surprised you're still up, Rarity. Watcha been doing?" I asked.

"Taking a moment to admire the décor." She pointed towards the walls, pillars, and drapes. "I can't pass on an opportunity of coming up with a fabulous new design in my sleep."

"Well, don't stay up too late. You don't want to miss out on your beauty sleep." I slightly teased.

"Nonsense." She returned seriously. "In fact, I was just about to return to my room when you came along."

"Alright then. Goodnight, Rarity."

"Goodnight!"

With those words said, we went on to finally call it a night.


Mid-Noon – Canterlot Bedroom – East Wing


I yawned when I was able to finally to prop myself up from bed and snap myself out of sleeping any more than I needed. I suppose the late night had me sleeping in later than I wanted to, but I guess there was no real harm in doing so anyway. I didn't believe I was scheduled for anything today.


Mid-Noon – Canterlot Ballroom


I noticed Twilight speaking with a few Wonderbolts. However, with the looks on their faces, I believed it was a good guess to say whatever they were talking about wasn't exactly pleasant. As I approached them, Twilight must had noticed me in her peripheral vision and turned to face me.

"Alex! Hey, there you are. You haven't seen Spitfire lately, have you?"

"Spitfire? No. I actually just woke up. Why?" I returned.

The Wonderbolt she had been talking to spoke up to explain the situation. "All we know is that Spitfire told Soarin late last night that she needed to go take care of her mom because she was sick. Problem is, her mom was watching our practice this morning and said she never told Spitfire she was sick. We thought Spitfire would find out and come back, but apparently, she hasn't been back since she left last night."

"That's so strange." Twilight commented on the subject. "What do you think happened?"

"Obviously, Spitfire's mom isn't sick. And there's talk that the note Spitfire got was a set up for somepony else to take her spot on the show."

"What?! Who would do that?!"

"Let me ask you two somethin'. Were any of you watching Rainbow Dash last night?" She brought up suddenly, causing for the mood to darken.

"Rainbow Dash?" Twilight questioned with concern. "Why would we be watching her?"

"Cause she's the prime suspect right now."

"What?!" Twilight exclaimed.

I don't know about Twilight, but all of this was brought up to me way too fast. The only way I was ever going to possibly get a clear picture of what the hay was going on was by starting to ask my own questions.

"Let me get something straight." I began. "So, Spitfire got a note last night and that's how she found out her mother was supposedly sick? But from this morning, it turns out she wasn't sick at all and now Spitfire is nowhere to be seen?"

"That's what we got so far, yeah. And Rainbow Dash isn't lookin' so innocent if you ask me."

"Why do you guys suspect Rainbow Dash? What did she ever do to catch your attention so quickly when there's a bunch of other Wonderbolts on your team?"

"It's simple really. When Spitfire hadn't come back in time for practice this morning, Soarin had to ask Rainbow Dash if she could take her spot, at least until Spitfire came back. It wasn't until we found out that Spitfire's mom was alright when we started suspecting her. After all, I'm sure you two know how much it would've meant to her to fly in the show, right?"

Twilight and me exchanged a brief glance of uncertainty for a moment.

"And she's always wanted to be a Wonderbolt for the longest time." I refuted. "She's never done anything like that in the past to get to where she is now."

"I get where you're comin' from, but see, the fact is that Spitfire is missing. Her mom's here, so if she went to go see her mom, she would have realized she wasn't sick. So, somepony must have intentionally set her up. And from what we've got, it's to keep her from flying in the show. Either way, no one knows where she is, so we have no idea how or where to find her."

I suppose I had to admit that these Wonderbolts knew more and had a better idea on what might have happened than I did, but the next thing I had to ask about was the evidence they had.

"So, what about the note?" I questioned. "It might have mentioned where she went."

"We tried looking for the note, but all we found was the envelope. That and…"

"…and?" Twilight requested her to finish her sentence.

"A tuft of Rainbow's hair."

I had nothing to say that. Everything was all too sudden, and I didn't know where and how to approach this. I released a sigh, due to the stress that had already been overwhelming me from this development.

"We need to see Rainbow. Where is she?"

"She's at the Wonderbolts' dressing room. It's right where the show is supposed to be."

"Got it. Let's go, Twilight." I gestured towards her.


Late-Noon – Wonderbolt Dressing Room


"Me?! I would never do that to Spitfire! Why would you think it was me?" We heard her voice question as we made our way in.

"I did see you and Spitfire leave the dinner together." One of the Wonderbolts pointed out with full suspicion.

"We were room neighbors in the castle!" Rainbow answered.

"And you did say you'd do anything to fly with Wind Rider." Another stated.

"Yeah, but I didn't mean anything."

"Spitfire came by my room and told me she had to go see her mom at around midnight." Soarin spoke up. "Where were you then?"

"I was asleep at midnight... having this totally amazing dream. There I was at the arena flying with Wind Rider and the Wonderbolts, like I've always wanted to—" Rainbow suddenly stopped when she realized her story didn't make her look any less suspicious. "—ah, eh, never mind. Not helping."

As the others began to crowd around, away from Rainbow Dash, to speak in private, it appeared it was the best time to address the situation.

"Everypony!" Twilight announced. "We heard about what happened and we're here to investigate."

"Oh, thank you, thank you, thank you!" Rainbow Dash shook Twilight excitedly when seeing that she was on her side. "You've gotta help me! They all think it was me who sent Spitfire that note."

"You don't have any proof or witnesses that can say you didn't, do you?" I asked.

"Well, no…" She responded. "I mean Spitfire can! She can tell you that I went straight to bed after leaving together!"

"Spitfire's not here." Soarin spoke. "That's the whole point."

"…right." Rainbow Dash reluctantly agreed.

"Listen, Rainbow Dash, if you can prove that somepony else is behind Spitfire's disappearance before the start of the show, then you can still fly with us. In the meantime, Misty Fly, Blaze, head over to Stormy Flare's house and try to find Spitfire and bring her back." He directed two others before he turned seriously back to Rainbow Dash. "I have to warn you, if you sent that letter, the bylaws are clear. I'd have no choice but to ban you from the Wonderbolts forever. Understand?"

With a defeated sigh, Rainbow Dash agreed. "I understand. But how am I gonna prove I didn't send a letter that I didn't send?"

"With me!" A voice suddenly announced itself out loud from within the shadows. At this point, a pony walked out and revealed herself in a fashionable getup that still managed to be suitable for investigating. At least…it was something you'd see in mystery novels… "Detective Rarity is on the case, and we are going to get to the bottom of this faster than my costume change!"

"Yeah, what's with the getup?" Rainbow Dash inevitably asked.

The volunteering detective had been none other than Rarity, and she proceeded to explain herself. "Obviously, I am channeling Shadow Spade through these gorgeous garments, and she would say that the best way to prove that you didn't send the letter is to find out whoever did. First stop – the scene of the crime!"

"Hold up." I suddenly stopped as I found myself in another situation where things were spiraling too fast out of control than I could understand clearly. "You're going to help Rainbow Dash, Rarity?"

"Why not?" She asked, adjusting her hat as perfectly as she could while sending me a ladylike glance of confidence.

"We should help Rarity, Alex!" Twilight immediately suggested. "After all, it wouldn't be our first time solving a mystery…" She returned a soft giggle along with a grin, causing me to remember back on the train and the MMM cake.

"Yeah…but this is a little bigger than a simple cake."

"Either way, the concept's all the same. We need to find the pony or even ponies who did this! If you ask me, someone's obviously trying to frame Rainbow Dash."

"Don't worry." I assured. "I agree with you that we need to get to the bottom of this. And we will."

"HOLD IT!"

Another voice suddenly shouted out of nowhere. When we looked to see the pony responsible, we found Spirit taking part of the group with an intense look of determination.

"I wanna be a part of this!" She demanded.

"Forgive me…" Rarity answered as politely as she could. "As much as I appreciate everypony's enthusiasm, I don't think it's quite necessary to have everyone involved in this case. Twilight and Alex are enough, darling."

"But…!" Spirit tried to refuse with puffed cheeks.

"That's okay." Twilight unexpectedly said. "She can take my spot. I could check out other places in the castle, ask around, all that jazz."

Meanwhile, I felt as if this mood had been drastically changed to an unsuitable one over the time we've been trying to get on the same page. "This isn't a game, you know…" I mentioned wearily.

"Yeah!" Rainbow Dash agreed with me for once. "My dream of being a Wonderbolt is on the line here!"

Twilight faced Rarity and me. "Take Spirit along. I'll see if I can find anything out from anyone. But if you guys get stuck somewhere, you make sure you come and find me!"

"Yeah, okay. But I have to ask, why are you giving up your spot so easily?" I inquired.

With a slightly embarrassed look, she answered. "I was with you the first time. I think it's only fair to, you know."

"I guess." I accepted even though I still didn't clearly understand. Either way, we had more important matters to attend to before we were out of time. "As Detective Rarity puts it, let's head to the scene of the crime."


Afternoon – Canterlot Castle – Spitfire's Room


"So this is the place…" I announced with the four of us here. Despite Rarity already scanning areas with her magnifying glass, I began our investigation. "Let's get looking. Now to start off…where's that letter that Spitfire got?"

"I believe you're stepping on it, darling." Rarity suddenly answered, pointing at what my hoof was on with her magnifying glass.

"Oh. Okay." I simply said and lifted my hoof.

Rarity decided to pick it up with her magic and take a look at it first.

"It's empty." She informed.

"That's what the Wonderbolt who was talking to Twilight and me said. But they said they found—"

Rarity had sniffed the envelope for a moment before shaking it out onto her hoof. "Hmm. These look like hairs from a rainbow mane!"

Rainbow immediately gulped. "That's not good."

"Can I take a look at that?" I asked.

"By all means." She sent them my way.

I held them up with my magic, immediately finding something about them off. There was something about them that didn't look natural…

"You haven't been secretly trying to get a piece of Rainbow's hair, have you, Alex?" Spirit asked.

"What?!" I spat out almost in a stutter. "Why would you ask something like that?!"

"You look pretty interested in them." She tilted back and forth with her hooves.

I remained silent and only returned a sigh in response.

"It was just a joke." She felt the need to clarify.

"Yeah…" I simply answered.

I turned towards Rarity and presented them to her. "Hey, you notice something off about these?"

"Of course I do." She quickly responded. "They were cut off."

"Huh? What makes you so sure?" I asked out of intrigued curiosity.

"When you align them, darling. See how the ends here are straight? Even a foal knows that hair doesn't fall out like this."

"I'm not sure that's entirely true…" I referred to her latter comment. "But now that I see it, I entirely believe you. Nice work, Rarity."

"Hm, hm, hm." She chuckled before turning to a mirror and seemed to take a liking to her reflection.

I placed the hair back into the envelope to keep it in a safe place until we possibly needed them in proving Rainbow Dash's innocence. However, Spirit had suddenly snatched the envelope.

"Tuft of Rainbow's Hair and Envelope addressed to Spitfire added to evidence." She weirdly stated.

"Huh?"

"I'll make myself useful and hold onto this for you." She mentioned. "Let's see… Tuft of Rainbow's Hair: Found in the envelope that was addressed to Spitfire. It was obviously cut off. Envelope addressed to Spitfire: Found at the scene of the crime. The note that was inside is missing."

"Good to see you're taking mental notes…" I commented before glancing around.

"What are you doing?" Rainbow Dash asked Rarity who had been gazing at her reflection with the mirror in the room. She must had been searching elsewhere.

Rarity stammered as if she had been caught off guard. "Just thinking thoughts." Rainbow simply rolled her eyes and left. After tinkering with her appearance a bit, Rarity turned around to face me. "It doesn't look like the note is anywhere here, darling. It seems that's all there is now. Let's take a look outside in the hallway.

"Okay, sure." Honestly, Rarity kind of seemed to sort of know what she was doing. Even though she looked…distracted…she was able to spot the envelope we were looking for, and she deduced instantly that the hair we found was cut off. The cut hair proved Twilight's theory. Somepony must be trying to intentionally frame Rainbow Dash.


Afternoon – Canterlot Castle – West Wing Hallway


The first we heard was an enthusiastic comment from Rarity referring to the drapes.

"Ooh! The damask pattern on these curtains is exquisite! Oh, and this velvet rope-holder – oh, it's just—"

"We don't have time to look at the décor!" Rainbow scolded. "They're gonna kick me out of the Wonderbolts unless we solve this thing!"

"Well, you never know if there might be clues on the décor in the first place, Rainbow." I came to Rarity's defense. "Any evidence that'll prove your innocence won't just be right there waiting in front of you."

"I can assure you that I know what I am doing Rainbow, and I'm on this case like a charm on a bracelet!" Rarity stated with confidence.

As I was given time to analyze the curtains that Rarity had pointed out, I realized that something else was off about it too. "Hey… Have they always been like this?"

"Out of the rope holder? That indeed begs the question." Rarity looked like she figured this out before I did yet again. "However, before we divert our attention to these curtains, we must first seek answers to something else. Here's what I'm thinking. Somepony had to bring Spitfire that letter, which means somepony must have seen them!" She had walked a few steps towards the exit of the West Wing Hallway before coming to a stop and pointing at the fellows at the door.

"The guards? You don't think whoever the pony that sent the letter would easily let themselves be seen by the guards, do you? They stand and keep watch like twenty-four seven." I mentioned.

"You might think that they stand watch with no interruptions whatsoever, but are we sure that's what happened?" Rarity replied.

"You have a point, I guess. I just don't know what would 'interrupt' them. I've never seen them move away from where they're supposed to be on the job."

"Oh guards!" Rarity called for the guards' attention, beginning to walk towards them, making me believe she was going to work her charm now to try to get some information.

Nevertheless, Rainbow Dash still didn't look too trusting of what appeared to be Rarity's tactics on the case. Despite this, she followed after Rarity to see what the guards would say.

Before I joined them, Spirit called me over to the curtains.

"Hey, Alex. Do you think whoever the pony was hid behind these?"

I took a good look over the size and how far the drapes could possibly stretch. "Yeah, that's a possibility. I think Rarity knows that though, and that's why she wanted to ask the guards if they might have seen the pony that could have hid behind these first. But I want to know at what point that pony would have hid behind these. If the guards did see the pony, what reason would he/she have to hide? And if they did hide, then that probably means that the guards didn't see him/her."

"Well, better add that to our list of evidence then! Loose Drapes: Only set of curtains that aren't tied with the rope holder. Looks like somepony could have possibly hid behind them."

I turned around and noticed Rarity already escorting the guards out of the hallway. What? Is she taking them somewhere else for questioning?


Afternoon – Canterlot Castle – Empty Room


I don't know how Rarity found this room, but it was oddly fitting as an interrogation room, considering that all three guards sat at a table in the middle with the one light above them.

"I just have a few questions for you, and I'm sure once we get some things cleared up, we'll—"

"Come on, Rarity, we don't have all day!" Rainbow Dash prevented Rarity from speaking, due to her dwindling patience. "Where were you on the night of last night at midnight?!" She confronted the guard to her right.

"We were here, guarding the hallway entrance like we were supposed to." He answered.

"A likely story." Rainbow doubted.

"I'm telling you, we were there all night, and no one went in or out of that hallway." The same guard assured.

Unexpectedly, I heard Spirit gasp to my side. However, I continued listening for what the guards had to say before talking with her.

"Except for you." The guard in the middle stated after thinking back on it for a while.

"What are you tryin' to say?!" Rainbow quickly grew defensive.

"Just that there are only two rooms in the northwest wing: yours and Spitfire's. So the only other pony who had access to that wing was you."

Rainbow Dash had nothing to say. Instead, she looked as if she only dug her own grave deeper after that pressing on the guards.

"Spirit, did you notice something?" I asked, referring to her gasp.

"Yeah…" Spirit responded. "That one guard." She pointed to the one on the right. "I don't think he's telling the whole truth."

"What makes you think that?"

"It's hard to explain but…he looked…like he didn't even know if what he was saying was true."

"Uh…huh…?" I questioned, unable to understand how Spirit was able to get that when I didn't. I don't remember seeing the guard look doubtful as it seemed Spirit was trying to say.

"Here, I'll show you." She returned with determined eyes. "Ask him about guarding the hallway, and don't freak out because you'll see what I see." After that, without letting me question her any further and forcing me to only rely on trust, she disappeared. Back into me, that is.

"Um…you." I pointed the guard I was supposed to ask the question to. "Could you repeat what you three were doing last night?"

All of a sudden, my vision changed. Everything else besides the guard faded away, forcing me to look only at him. Not only that, but for some reason, simple colors were introduced to what I saw. In this case, a shade of yellow seemed to resonate around him. But that wasn't all. As soon as he began speaking is when I realized what Spirit meant.

"W-e w-e-r-e t-h-e-r-e a-l-l n-i-g-h-t." His speaking had slowed down. What the heck?! Was anyone else seeing this?!

Shut up! Look at his eyes!

I heard Spirit's voice echo in my head, causing me to shake my head and pay deep attention to his eyes.

"B-e-s-i-d-e-s R-a-i-n-b-o-w a-n-d S-p-i-t-f-i-r-e, n-o o-n-e w-e-n-t i-n o-r o-u-t o-f t-h-a-t h-a-l-l-w-a-y." It was at the end of that statement where I saw where Spirit getting at. His eyes had been twitching to the left instead of being directly on me. That's why Spirit thought he wasn't sure of himself!

"Gotcha!" I screamed out before my vision returned back to normal.

The guards were extremely surprised at my outburst, causing them to look among themselves. "Huh…?"

"Are you really sure that no one else went in or out of the hallway while you were there?" I asked. "You avoided direct eye contact when you say that. If you're so sure, then why do you look so…unsure?"

The guard now furiously looked to his left and right while sweating bricks. "I don't know what you're talking about."

"Let me guess…" I tapped my chin. "You three weren't guarding the hallway the entire night like you were supposed to, were you?"

"Gah!" The three of them flinched so much to the point where their helmets hit against each other, disorienting them.

"What'd I tell you?!" Spirit told me with a face of accomplishment.

"If that's the case…" I continued pondering about. "You three couldn't be sure that no one else went in that hallway besides Rainbow or Spitfire. However…the question remains… What made you stop from guarding the entire night?"

"N-nothing!" They responded nervously. "We were there guarding the entire night, I swear!"

"Come on guys." I decided to mess with them a bit in order to see if they gave in. "I don't think Princess Celestia is going to appreciate her own guards not doing the one job they have and then lying about it."

"Please! Don't tell the princess any of this! We beg you!"

"How about this?" I offered. "You tell us everything that happened that night, and we'll call it even and not mention a word about this to the princess."

"Alright! Alright!" The first guard surrendered and then sighed in defeat before he began his explanation. "The truth is, we were guarding the entire night, but you see, somepony left us a cake, so we felt it wouldn't be such a big deal to take a break to eat it. After we finished the cake, I swear we went back to guarding the hallway nonstop!"

"Cake?" I questioned. "Who would leave a cake out of nowhere?"

"I don't know, but it must have been somepony nice who appreciated how much time we put into doing this job."

Or somepony who just wanted to slip by you to commit a crime…

"Hold it!" Rarity suddenly intervened. "What kind of cake was it?"

"Cherry with a custard filling."

"Was the frosting vanilla or chocolate?"

"Chocolate."

"Was the base of the cake decorated with buttercream rosettes?"

"It was."

"Ugh, who cares how it was decorated?!" Rainbow Dash revealed her impatience through yet another outburst.

"Rainbow Dash was questioning my methods. But I knew what I was doing." Rarity oddly must have thought out loud.

"Do you?" Rainbow questioned.

"Oh, oh, oh. Did I say that one out loud?" Rarity realized embarrassingly.

"I mean, even I think I'm guilty at this point! I really did want to fly in that show! What if I wrote that note when I was asleep?! Do you know what I do when I sleep?! Because I sure don't!"

"Oh, calm down, Rainbow Dash. We'll get to the bottom of this. There's only one bakery in Canterlot that makes a chocolate cherry cake with custard filling and buttercream frosting rosettes and that's... Cinnamon Chai's Tea and Cake Shop!"

"Nice one, Rarity!" I congratulated. "If the store pony knows who the pony is that bought that cake, we can probably find the real culprit!"

"It all comes down to attention to detail, my friends." Rarity bowed before she excused the other guards. "You may leave."

"Yeah, and try not to let yourselves be distracted on one of the important jobs here in the castle." I added, considering that something possibly worse could happen the next time should this occur again.

"We won't!" They returned an honorable salute.

"Chocolate Cherry Cake with Custard Filling and Buttercream Frosting Rosettes added to the evidence list. Cake that was given to the guards in order to distract them so the culprit could slip past them. Cinnamon Chai's Tea and Cake Shop is the only store in Canterlot that makes such a cake." Spirit took down before we left for said shop.


Afternoon – Canterlot – Cinnamon Chai's Tea and Cake Shop


"Hello, how can I help you?" The storeowner greeted us as we approached the front.

"I've heard you have the best chocolate cherry custard cake with buttercream frosting rosettes in town!" Rarity brought up.

"Ah, you travel in the right circles! We have the only chocolate cherry custard cake with buttercream frosting rosettes in town!" She responded as she cleaned a dirty cup.

Rarity took a gander at the store window to find a cake missing. "Oh, no. But somepony's already bought it! Who was the lucky pony?"

She took a moment to think and came back with a shocked expression. "I can't even say!"

"Why? Because it was somepony famous?" Rarity stepped forward and guessed.

"No... because it was hard to tell!" She explained. "She was wearing a trench coat, sunglasses, and a scarf around her head that covered most of her face. But I do remember she had a really deep, raspy voice."

"What do you mean, raspy?" Rainbow Dash asked quite unnecessarily.

"Well, kinda like yours."

As Rainbow grew nervous, Rarity moved forward with her investigation. "If there's anything else you can remember, dish." She encouraged as the two sat at a table.

"Well, have I got a story for you! The pony who bought the cake threw a big fit when she accidentally got chocolate ganache on her scarf!"

"That's terrible! What color was the scarf?"

"White! No, maybe more an ivory..."

"You don't say!"

"I can't believe you're talking fashion at a time like this!" Rainbow cut into her talking yet again.

"Could you let her finish for once, Rainbow?" I asked. At the same time, I didn't really blame her. I knew on the outside, it looked like Rarity was getting sidetracked by unrelated subjects, but in reality, these details could be absolutely crucial to the case. Honestly, I couldn't see how at the moment, but it definitely was worth noting certain pieces of the disguise the pony wearing. After all, since Rarity was an expert in fashion, maybe she could find out who this disguised pony was in the first place.

"Rainbow, don't panic. I need you to trust me." Rarity requested.

"Trust you?! You've spent more time changing clothes than trying to help me! I'm doomed!"

"No, you're not! Come on!"

"H-huh?!" I was quite surprised as it sounded Rarity had all she needed. "Is that all you needed, Rarity?"

She came closer so she could whisper in my ear. "Rainbow's not going to like it, but I know who the culprit is."

"Y-you do!?" I almost blurted out.

"Shh!"

"W-who…?" I returned softly.

With a smug smile, she only returned a vague answer. "You'll see."

"The culprit: Accidentally got a chocolate stain on her scarf." I heard behind me as we moved away from the area.


Late Afternoon – Wonderbolt Dressing Room


It had begun raining by the time we arrived at our destination. We stopped at the Wonderbolt Dressing Room, and remembering what Rarity told me, it seemed she was ready to confront the culprit. Does this mean the real suspect was a Wonderbolt too?

In unison with the crack of thunder above, Rarity threw open the door and pointed out at those inside. "I have found the culprit!" Everyone inside only looked at each other with unreadable expressions due to their suits. Soarin merely took a large gulp of his big apple pie. Nevertheless, Rarity had the floor. "Allow me to explain. Somepony sent Spitfire away and framed Rainbow Dash for it. And that pony was none other than... Wind Rider!" She singled out a pony in the room to which every one of the Wonderbolts exclaimed out in surprise for.

I took a look at who was supposed to real culprit. I didn't believe I had really met him before, but apparently, Rarity had. By the way he was dressed, he seemed like he played a big part in the Wonderbolts. It was a good thing Rarity was in charge, seeing as I didn't have most of the scoop on this case as she did.

"Rarity, I can't believe you would accuse Wind Rider of framing me! He's a living legend, for pony's sake!" Rainbow detested.

"All the evidence points to him!" Rarity stated with serious tone.

I turned to Spirit who looked like she was going over all the evidence in her head and trying to piece it together.

To be honest, the only piece of evidence I was able to connect him with was the scarf, but I didn't see any chocolate stain…unless he was hiding it. Either way, is there something you're not letting me in on, Rarity?

"Peh! What evidence could you possibly have? All you did was ask about cake, admire décor, and change outfits a gazillion times!"

"Let me explain." Rarity silenced her by placing a hoof to her lips and proceeded to clarify for her actions and reasoning. "I never believed you would send Spitfire away. When we found the rainbow hairs in Spitfire's room, I could tell they didn't fall out. They... were cut! Nopony loses hair in a chunk. And look at the ends. It's a straight line! They were clearly cut with shears, which means somepony planted it! Then when we were examining Spitfire's room, I smelled something on the envelope. Juniper Phoenix, Wind Rider's cologne of choice! Then, in the castle hallway, I noticed some of the damask curtains fell out of their velvet rope-holder, indicating that somepony had been hiding behind them! Perhaps after they dropped off the fake letter?" She ended by eyeing the so-called Wind Rider suspiciously.

"Juniper Phoenix is a very popular fragrance, and anypony could have moved those curtains." He refuted.

"Precisely why we questioned the castle guards! They were at their post at the entrance to the hallway all night, except for a small window of time when somepony brought them cake. A cake that was ordered by a girl pony with a raspy voice! Whoever ordered the cake got a chocolate stain on her ivory scarf, and I couldn't help but notice that Wind Rider's scarf is tied in a tight Windsor knot instead of its usual loose slipknot! And why is that? Is it to hide the chocolate stain?!" She unraveled his scarf, providing a dirty chocolate stain for all of us to see. Everypony proceeded to gasp.

You did it, Rarity! You are one ace detective!

"Ah, this is preposterous. Wonderbolts, you don't believe a word of this, right?" He refused to come clean.

"Just admit it – you're as guilty of framing Rainbow Dash as you are of ruining that ivory scarf!" Rarity pressed her accusation.

"No way…!" Rainbow Dash looked to be in a state of disbelief. "Why? Why would you do such a thing?"

As every Wonderbolt leaned forward to hear his answer, he merely sighed in what sounded more of frustration rather than disbelief.

"This is surely disappointing. I never believed any kind of aspiring Wonderbolt would come to this."

"What are you talking about?" I asked, willing to hear him just confess already.

"Let me remind you all of something that happened last night at the dinner. I strictly remember hearing that Rainbow Dash said she could never beat my record when the question was brought up. So, here's what I just figured out. Not only did Rainbow Dash want to take Spitfire's spot at the show, but she also wants to indoctrinate me with such an unfathomable crime and bogus speculation. She wants to ruin my reputation and therefore tarnish me as the record holder. And she got her friends to help her do it. Doesn't it make sense, Wonderbolts?"

All of them looked amongst each other and soon began whispering. The fact that they were even thinking about this was out of line.

"What?! No way! I can't believe you'd say that!" Rainbow Dash expressed both her disappointment and frustration.

"Then, why don't you explain the reason behind the chocolate stain on your scarf!" Rarity demanded.

With a smug smile, he closed his eyes as everypony stood in still silence for his answer.

"It's simple. Back at the dinner, there was a chocolate fountain. Am I right, Wonderbolts? I don't think it's unreasonable to say that I accidentally stained my scarf with it, because that's exactly what happened. Simple as that. As for those other things you ponies found, it's just like I said: It could have been anypony else. And I think that pony is Rainbow Dash, considering the motivation. It's a shame really."

"No…waaaaaay!" Rainbow could only nervously draw out.

"What? He's totally lying!" Spirit told me, drawing her shoulders up in anger. "He just made that up!"

"Rarity, please tell me you've got something else! You've got to!" Rainbow begged.

She couldn't answer for a moment. "Well played, Wind Rider."

I couldn't stand there any longer and possibly wait for things to grow only worse. I knew for certain that it couldn't have been Rainbow, and based on the kind of villainous vibe I got from this guy, I just knew in my gut that he was the pony who did it. Spirit was right. He had to be lying, and I had to expose that lie!

"Hold it!" I objected, having everypony's attention directed to me. "Mr. Wind Rider. If you really are innocent, then tell us. Tell us what you did that night."

He released another sigh. "If it'll convince everyone, that's fine by me." He turned towards the other Wonderbolts to begin addressing his side of the story. "I attended the dinner, just like all of you. I met with Rarity and Rainbow Dash at one point, which was when Rarity noticed I had been wearing one of my favorite fragments: Juniper Phoenix. Sometimes afterwards, I had the misfortune of getting a stain on my scarf. It was then that I had to excuse myself early to try to clean it out. As you can all see as of right now, I had no luck. Since it was running pretty late, I decided I'd go to bed and see what I can do about it the day after. The end."

I'm not going to lie…if I was a Wonderbolt, I'd probably find that convincing…. How were we going to prove that he was lying from that? Did we even have enough time to? Could we even do it even if we did have the time?!

"Well, there was a chocolate fountain at the dinner. That I know of for sure!" One of the Wonderbolts pointed out, leading the others to agree and nod their heads.

"This isn't good…" I mentioned under my breath.

"I guarantee you he's lying!" Spirit acknowledged.

"I believe you, Spirit, but the real problem is proving to everyone else that he is. We almost had him…but because of that stupid chocolate fountain, he was able to convince everyone else out of the one piece of evidence that directly linked him to the crime. The one piece of evidence that mattered the most."

"…" Spirit remained silent as she glared angrily at Wind Rider.

"If you ask me…" He continued. "All of the evidence that was found today points to Rainbow Dash of her crime of taking Spitfire's place in the show and attempt of tarnishing my reputation. Wouldn't it make more sense if she cut her own mane and planted it in the letter instead so it seems she was framed? All it needs is a spray of the same cologne I wear. Do any of you think I'm really that incompetent?"

"He loves rubbing salt in the wound…huh?" I muttered beneath my breath.

"Did he really…?" Spirit mumbled.

"Huh?"

She turned to me with undying determination. "Is it even possible that the stain he has is from the chocolate fountain?"

"Possible…?"

"If you can prove that it was somehow impossible for him to get the stain from the chocolate fountain, then the proof we have still stands!"

But how…?! It's not like there wasn't a chocolate fountain.

Wait a minute…

At one point there wasn't…

Could that mean…?

I might just have an answer!

I need to get my thoughts straight. First things first, there was a chocolate fountain present at the time, I won't deny that. And like Spirit said, if we can rule out the possibility that his stain was from said fountain, then getting the stain from the cake still stands! But could I possibly rule out the fountain?

When.

I remember. At one point, Derpy accidentally broke the fountain, making it unusable for the rest of the night and put away to receive repairs. But the question is… Did Derpy break the fountain before Wind Rider even got close to it?

It had to be! I just need to think! What happened after Derpy broke the fountain?

I took her out from the dinner to help her clean up. And after that…?

Hold on… I remember finding Rarity and Rainbow Dash after we came back! They were talking to somepony at that time… Who was it…?

At that point, I realized…

It was Wind Rider!

But the final question remains… Could he have possibly already been hiding the stain with how his scarf was tied?

And I couldn't help but notice that Wind Rider's scarf is tied in a tight Windsor knot instead of its usual loose slipknot.

That's it! Rarity didn't notice Wind Rider's scarf tied in a different knot until today, which means he must have had it in its usual knot while they were talking during the dinner! In that case, with the spot where the chocolate stain should have shown openly for everyone to see at that time, there's no way Wind Rider could have stained it with the chocolate fountain because it had already been put away at the time!

"Nice try, Wind Rider." I half-said out loud. "But you're not getting away from this one."

Everypony looked at me, and I was more than willing to call him out on his bluffs.

"Pfft. You're telling me you've got evidence to prove me wrong?" He responded with certain disbelief.

"I do, actually." I crossed my hooves in confidence. "Actually, everyone in this room does. And that proof is their memories."

"Huh?!" They immediately began whispering and talking amongst each other.

"Shh! Shh!" Rarity shushed loudly, eager to hear what I had to say. "Let him speak!"

"There was a chocolate fountain at the dinner, Wind Rider. I'll give you that. But there was no way you could have stained your scarf with it." As he raised an eyebrow, I retracted my hoof to the side of my body and shot it outwards as hard as I could like an arrow. "Because the chocolate fountain had already been broken at the time!"

I heard everypony gasp at the fact that had been forgotten just come to everyone's realization.

Nevertheless, Wind Rider played it off by laughing. "You're really trying to pull a fast one on me, aren't you, kiddo? Obviously, I got the stain before it broke."

I couldn't help but smug confidently at this liar's pathetic attempt of an escape. "No, I think you're the one pulling a fast one on me. If there's one thing I can remember clearly, it's when the fountain broke and when I saw you speaking with Rainbow and Rarity. However, in order to refresh everypony's memory, I'll explain the events in the order they happened. That night, a pony had the misfortune of dunking her head into the fountain out of excitement. Whatever she did while doing that cut the flow of the chocolate from the fountain and eventually caused quite a mess at the table. It was then that the fountain had to be taken out so it could be repaired later, and by later, I mean another day, not in the same night. I took this pony out of the dinner to clean her up, and when I came back was when I saw something interesting." I turned to Rarity and Rainbow Dash. "Rarity, Rainbow, I'm sure you remember seeing me bringing said pony back during your talk with Wind Rider, correct?"

"Yes, yes I do!" Rarity enthusiastically nodded.

"B-but of course they would say they remembered things like that!" Wind Rider was now at the point of stammering.

"They're not the only ones, Wind Rider. I remember a pair of Wonderbolts standing right by you. One was Spitfire, and the other was…"

"Me!" One of the Wonderbolts listening raised her hoof. "I remember telling Rainbow Dash that Wind Rider was coming out of retirement to take the spot of honor in the center of our aerial flower formation!"

"Precisely." I continued. "And I'm pretty sure other Wonderbolts that was were walking around us remember the exact same thing. Actually, I'm pretty sure you just didn't see Wonderbolts that dinner either." I paused for a brief moment to notice him sweating bullets now. "I distinctly remember you greeting Princess Celestia after the fact. If you even think your Wonderbolts are remembering wrong, I'm pretty sure we can all take a trip to see the princess. Seeing as she was there the entire dinner, I'm more than sure she'll say that she remembers seeing you after the chocolate fountain had been broken, not to mention that she'll especially remember you wearing your scarf in your usual loose slipknot. At that moment, unless everypony's memory is wrong, your scarf was definitely clean at that time. What do you say to that, Wind Rider? You have any more fake excuses for us?"

He was definitely speechless at that time. I suppose he couldn't come up with anything at the time, leading me to believe he had planned to use the chocolate fountain as an excuse should the stain on his scarf ever come up. And without his precious fountain, he's defenseless!

"Grrr." He had been biting down onto his scarf ferociously like a dog. When he must have realized that there was no way out, he then lost it and broke down. "Graaagh!" He tore apart his scarf in half, leaving everyone in silence. "Okay! I did it! You caught me!"

"How could you Wind Rider?!" Rainbow Dash looked absolutely disappointed, which was understandable when she had been defending the pony accusing her all because he was a 'living legend'. "Was it because I took the last broccoli at the dinner and you really, really wanted it?"

"No." Rarity took it on from here as she was supposed to. "It was because he was afraid that you would break his long-distance Wonderbolt record! I heard him when Spitfire said you were close to breaking his record. He said, and I quote, 'Heh-heh'. That's the polite but disingenuous laugh you make when you want to seem happy but really you're not."

"I thought if I could get Rainbow Dash kicked out of the Wonderbolts forever, my record could be preserved." He explained his actions.

"Really? That is so not cool." Rainbow realized for herself now. "And I thought you were the coolest Wonderbolt ever. Until now."

"I did what I had to do to protect my record! Sometimes you gotta play dirty to be the best!"

"That's not what being a Wonderbolt is all about!"

"She's right!" Soarin defended. "Wonderbolts look out for each other! Which reminds me, where is Spitfire?"

"I sent her the letter pretending to be Stormy Flare. I told her I had Pegasitis, and the only cure is the ice iris in the Crystal Mountains." He said while looking disgustingly smug about it.

"No wonder she's been gone so long. Ice irises are almost impossible to find in spring!" Rainbow mentioned.

"The Crystal Mountains are too far for anypony to make it there and back before the royal garden opening! Rainbow Dash, we need you to fly in Spitfire's place!" Soarin requested.

"But Spitfire shouldn't have to miss this!" She objected. "I'm gonna get her!"

"But you'll never make it in time!"

"Then there's no time to lose!" Rainbow dashed out of the room without question, leaving us to have no other choice but to wait in unresting silence.


Late Afternoon – Wonderbolt Dressing Room


As we waited for Rainbow Dash, Twilight managed to find us back in the dressing room. She couldn't find much information to help, but to her relief, we had told her everything that had happened and who the real culprit was.

Twilight had sent a nasty glare over to Wind Rider, but he had been pretty much avoiding anyone's dirty looks by looking away.

Finally, we heard the door swing open, and somepony new walked in gasping for any breath she could get.

"Spitfire, you're back! I can't believe you made it!" Soarin approached her.

"I wouldn't have, if Rainbow hadn't found me so fast! Gave me enough time to fly back!"

In the meantime, Rainbow Dash approached us with an apologetic look on her face. "I couldn't have done it without you guys. And I'm sorry I doubted you, Rare. But why didn't you tell me what you were doing?"

"Well, I didn't want to get your hopes up until I was sure, and I couldn't be sure until I saw that chocolate stain." Rarity explained. "I'm just so grateful Alex was here to remind us all about the chocolate fountain breaking. I have to admit, I'm not so sure if I would have been able to catch that in time…"

"I'm just glad it's all over…" I felt a sudden wave of exhaustion hit me.

"Thank you all for believing in me, even when I was doing a lot of doubting. I'm some friend, huh?"

"Actually, you're quite a good friend." Rarity acknowledged. "You went to get Spitfire, even though it meant you couldn't fly today."

"Of course!" Rainbow emphasized. "I couldn't just leave her there." She paused for a brief sigh. "I'll get my chance one day."

"Or today!" Spitfire flew by Wind Rider. "How'd you like Wind Rider's spot in the show?"

"Uh, w-w-what?" He stammered in response. "Y-You can't do this to me! I'm one of the greatest Wonderbolts there ever was!"

"Not anymore. For attempting to frame Rainbow Dash, I hereby strip you of your Wonderbolts status!" She forcibly removed the symbol off his jacket and pointed him out the door.

"And we'll make sure it doesn't stop there, right Twi?" I turned to Twilight.

"For all the trouble he's caused, he's going to have to answer to Princess Celestia!" She assured.

"So, would you like to fly with us?" Soarin made the offer official towards Rainbow Dash.

"Would I?! Woo-hoo!" She cheered and proceeded to celebrate with all she had in the air. "Yeah-yeah-yeah-yeah, uh-huh, uh-huh, yeah, aww yeah—"

"Uh, Rainbow Dash?" Soarin cut her cheering short.

With a short show of embarrassment, Rainbow flew after Soarin and Spitfire who were exiting the room. "Coming!"

"You guys did great!" Twilight congratulated Rarity, Spirit, and me. "Looks like you didn't need me at all!"

"To be honest…" I spoke. "I think Rarity had it all in the bag. After all, she was practically on everything from the evidence to the talking. I just helped a bit here and there."

"Oh, nonsense, darling." Rarity disagreed. "You were just as helpful. I was actually planning to work some of my charm on getting those guards to admit that they hadn't been watching the hallway the entire night, but you beat me to it!"

"What…?!" Twilight looked like she wanted to burst out laughing. "You're telling me Alex used his charm into getting information out of the guards?!"

"What?!" My brain short-circuited for a second there. "No! Not that! I just talked to them! Right, Spirit?" I turned to her for help.

"Huh? No, I think you were sure sweet talking the information right out of them!" She stated with a teasing grin.

"Oh, come on! No, I didn't!" I practically yelled to get my point across. Spirit, why you betray me?!

Twilight was now laughing out loud. "Alex, the sweet talker! No wonder all his friends are mares!"

They continued laughing and poking fun at me. I felt the equivalent to an inflated balloon, and when they hit me with the sharpest poke, I could no longer keep it in.

"OBJECTION!"


The End.

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