• Published 13th Jan 2013
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Equestria Noir Case 17 "Marked" - Jacoboby1



A mysterious thief, an even more mysterious artifact, a zebra population with a secret, all tie in to the latest chapter of Equestria Noir

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Chapter 6 "Kurudisha"

Chapter 6

“Kurudisha”

Seeker and I arrived at the warehouse in question just as Celestia was about to raise the sun to its zenith. My zebra companion looked at me and said grimly, “You enter first, I shall intervene when the opportune moment has arisen.”

I looked to the doors and nodded. “Alright, but don’t get too craz-“I looked to where Seeker had been standing but nopony was there. Sweet Luna this guy was good.

Using my magic I opened the warehouse doors just enough to walk in. I entered the rather spacious interior among boxes of fabric shipments. I saw a single light on in the center of the room. There was Cross tied to a chair with a rather thick rope. His lime green eyes opened wide upon seeing me. “Private!”

I was about to run to him when I felt a gun at the back at my head “Don’t move, Detective.” I heard a voice come from behind the boxes. I saw Gear Grinder emerging from behind and look at me grimly. He narrowed his eyes and said, “Your weapon, toss it here.”

I opened my trench coat and pulled out Blackbird. I could shoot Gear Grinder now, but the shooter behind me would get me as well. I couldn’t risk Cross in this situation. He almost got hurt once, and I didn’t want a repeat performance. I tossed Blackbird to Gear Grinder with my magic. He gave me a steely glare.

“Let Cross go,” I said firmly.

“Private, don’t worry about me!” Cross yelled “Just stop him!”

“Shut up, you brat!” Gear Grinder growled. “It’s because of you we’re in this stupid situation!”

“I’ll say it again, Gear” I said firmly, “Cross has no part in this. Your fight is with me.”

Gear turned his head, glaring at me, and said angrily, “You, you and your sniveling has cost me everything!”

“The rumor about you and Maua?” I shook my head “That isn’t enough to convince you to steal something like the Eye.”

“You want your ruddy Eye?” He reached in his back pocket and pulled the artifact out. “You can have it! I’m tired of dealing with the accursed thing!”

He threw it and I caught it in my magic. I stared at the artifact; it wasn’t too big, about the size of a hoof. The carvings in the stone had the eye with a single teardrop coming down it. It felt… right in my hooves, for whatever reason. I pocketed the artifact and glared at Gear Grinder. “Now explain to me what in Luna’s name are you doing with my cousin?”

“I’m getting back at Lazarus for all the bullshit he’s put me through,” Gear shouted. “Firing my workers, cutting our wages! All while forcing me to keep a big fat smile on my face! He sickened me to the point where I agreed to steal the damn eye, even without Hammerfall’s blackmail.”

“Don’t try and protect her anymore,” I said firmly.

“What are you talking about?” Gear shouted. “I hated Lazarus’ guts! For ten years I had to put with him! So many years of my life wasted at a factory with no future! I did everything he asked and now I'm sick of it!”

“Why are you trying so hard to put the blame on yourself?” I asked.

Cross gave me a look and piped up, “But Private, isn’t he the one who stole it?”

“He was not the pony who committed the act,” I explained. “In fact, it wasn’t a pony who committed the act at all.”

“Wait, don’t,” Gear begged. “Please!”

“Your relationship with Maua could’ve gotten you access to the spider slime easily. The problem is that you’re hardly the most agile of stallion” I said, as I pointed to his hooves. “You’ve worked your entire life in a factory, not training for thievery. You’re not the thief, otherwise your DNA would’ve showed up in the air vent.”

“The coin,” Cross said wide eyed. “The coin I found? It was evidence against Hammerfall?”

“Right, Cross,” I said with a nod. “It was left so that the connection could be made to Hammerfall, but it was really just an attempt to frame him.” The gun behind me shook a little, and I heard a sniff. “Somepony was trying to protect Gear.”

“Detective,” Gear said, his expression crumpling. “Please, don’t do this.”

I closed my grey eyes “Maua, I know you just did this to protect Gear Grinder. I know you’re standing behind me, and you’re no murderer.”

The gun fell to the floor, I looked to my left and there she was. Tears were in Maua’s eyes as she looked at her fiancé. “Gear, I’m so sorry.”

“Maua,” he said, shaking his head as small tears came to his eyes, “you know they’ll put you away.”

“I know,” Maua replied, tears slowly dripping down her face. “I left the coin in the hopes that Hammerfall would take the fall. I tried to stop this hell from happening. I’m so sorry; I only did it for you, my love.”

“No!” he cried, pulling a gun from behind the chair that Cross was tied to. He aimed the gun at the colt’s head. “Somepony else has to take the fall! Get Lazarus in here! Have him take the fall!”

Cross sweated and looked at me pleadingly. I gave him an encouraging look and spoke pleadingly, “Gear, you don’t want to do this.”

“Why should Lazarus go unscarred while Maua goes to prison?” Gear shouted. “Lazarus has done all of this! He should be the one punished, not Maua and not me.”

“Kidnapping and threatening an innocent changes nothing,” Seeker said stepping out from the shadows. He stood mere feet from Gear and said softly, “Cross did no wrong.”

“But I…” Gear looked at Seeker for a moment

“I understand that you fear for your beloved,” Seeker said with a hint of sympathy, “but do not try to bring Lazarus down like this. Revenge is not a reason to do any wrong. Don't let this child be your weapon of revenge. You will only regret the blood you will carry on your hooves forever.”

Gear looked a long time at Cross, before finally dropping the gun. He slumped on his haunches and just started crying. Maua ran past me and held her love tenderly. I heard sirens outside, the police were there.

Seeker used his chakrams to cut Cross free. The colt wiggled out of the bindings and ran to me, hugging my leg. I gently ran a hoof on his bare back. He didn’t have his trench coat on anymore. It must’ve been left behind when he got kidnapped.

Cross looked up at Seeker and said, “Thank you Seeker, you saved my life!”

“Merely doing my duty,” Seeker said with a smile at the young colt.

I looked up to see Lazarus coming in, a pair of his bodyguards beside him. I’m guessed the police were still outside. He opened his forelegs wide and cried, “Son! Thank heavens you’re alright!”

Cross was about to run to his father before I stopped him. He looked up in confusion as I walked forward. I spoke something that shocked all but two people in the room. “Lazarus Eye, why did you start this?”

“What are you talking about?” Lazarus exclaimed in shock. “I’m here to get my son back!”

“You mean the colt that destroyed your scheme?” I asked venomously. “How many other lies are you going to tell?”

“What are you talking about?” Gear said, looking up from his beloved “You’re saying he had something to do with all this?”

“Everything,” I looked at my uncle with a steely expression. “I first started getting suspicious when you tried to stop Cross from entering the air vents. It could have simply been a father being concerned for his son. Once he found the coin however I noticed your expression of shock. This eventually led us to find Hammerfall, as you know. The rich client who wanted the theft committed? That was you.”

“This is preposterous!” Lazarus exclaimed. “Why would I want my own artifact stolen?”

“Why is still a question up in the air,” I said firmly, “but the coin cleared Gear as the thief. You wanted Hammerfall to force Gear Grinder steal the eye. That way Gear would take the fall once you ‘procured’ some evidence. Then you tried to have Cross taken away just before a shootout? I found that a little too convenient.”

“This is all insane!” Lazarus exclaimed, before looking directly at Cross “Cross! Come here now!”

Cross slowly walked forward, then his father’s eyes grew wide as he saw the cutie mark on the colt’s flank. Cross tried to hide it with his tail when he saw his father’s reaction but the deed was done. “Dad, I wanted to tell you…”

“So this is what you were hiding from me?” Lazarus shouted. “You were wearing that stupid trench coat to hide your cutie mark!” He spoke condescendingly to the colt, “Did you think me stupid?”

“No Dad!” Cross said defensively. “I just was worried how you would react. I’m so sorry.”

Lazarus’ eyes turned cold and he snarled; “Now you really are useless to me.”

“Dad?” Cross’ voice quavered as he looked at his father with tear filled green eyes.

“Sewing? What kind of talent is that?” Lazarus shouted, unaware I was fighting every urge to punch him. “You really have ruined everything it seems!”

“Dad!” Cross was openly crying now. “I’m sorry; I didn’t mean to cause trouble. I only wanted to help Private.”

“By ruining me?” Lazarus growled. “If you had just listened to me you wouldn’t have gotten into this situation, but you had to go run off with your detective cousin! The very pony that ruined our family’s good name!”

“That’s enough, Lazarus” I said slowly, getting between him and Cross “You’ve said plenty. Cross was an unwillingly party in this case. He had no idea that he was destroying your little scheme. With Gear in jail you would be able to make your little puppet Hammerfall head of the union. I don’t know your reasons why, but I am going to fix everything.”

“Just how will you do that?” Lazarus growled.

“I’m returning the eye to its proper owner,” I said simply, looking over at Seeker, who gave me a small smile. “The zebra.”

“You can’t!” Lazarus called. “The eye belongs to our family; it has been for several generations!”

“To be returned,” I said, pulling the artifact from my pocket. “It was meant as a symbol of trust between ponies and the zebra, but Jeremiah died before the deal could be complete. Now I will do what he couldn’t. I’m returning it to the zebra, the true owners of the Eye.”

“You can’t do this!” Lazarus shouted. “First my son and now the eye! You plan on stealing everything from me!”

Cross hugged my hind leg and begged, “Please, Private! Stop all this! I didn’t do anything wrong! I didn’t mean for any of this to happen!”

“I know, Cross,” I said sympathetically, “but the evidence stacks up against your father.” I opened my trench coat and showed the bug inside. “I’ve recorded this entire conversation.”

Lazarus’ green eyes grew wide, and then he smirked. “Now I have an excuse to get rid of you once and for all!” he cried maniacally as he pulled a gun out of his suit jacket. In a flash Seeker was in my uncle’s face with one of his chakrims at the stallion’s neck.

His blue eyes met Lazarus’ green ones, and he announced, “You have the right to take my life, but know, that in my dying moments I will take yours. Then as you burn in Tartarus I will look down on you and know that I stopped you. So, make your choice Lazarus, an honorable defeat, or a dishonorable death?”

Lazarus saw that Seeker wasn’t going to back down, and he dropped his gun just as the police came inside. I glared at Lazarus and said, “I’m placing you under arrest for corruption, blackmail, theft, and whatever the hell else I can get you on.”

Lazarus simply glared as the cops went about their work. He knew he had lost, both his scheme, and whatever respect his son had for him.

________________________________________________________

I looked at Cross as he sat on the sidewalk, a blanket over him and some hot chocolate in his hooves. I looked at him sadly and said, “Cross, I’m so sorry. I didn’t want to arrest your dad, but, in the end, I had no choice.”

“I know,” Cross said, with equal sadness. “I just can’t believe he would do all that.”

I hated to put Cross in the same position I was ten years ago, but he deserved to hear the truth with his own ears. Still nothing would change the guilt in my heart over all of this. I'd just arrested the father of my biggest fan. This whole mess, nopony really came out on top. Everypony was scarred over what had happened.

“What’s going to happen to Maua and Gear Grinder?” Cross asked.

“They’ll go away for kidnapping and theft,” I replied honestly. “I hooked them up with the best lawyer I know, though. He’ll try his best to lighten the sentence as much he can.”

“Dad?” Cross asked softly, unable to meet my eyes.

“He’ll have a team of lawyers to try and worm his way out,” I explained. “Again, I’m so sorry about your dad.”

“I just wish I knew why,” Cross said, finally looking up at me. “What could drive him to use all those ponies for his own stupid desires?”

“Acceptance.”

I looked behind me and to my shock there stood my father, Irenius. Beside him was Zecora, who walked off after giving me a nod in greeting. I figured she was going to look for her nephew.

My father walked up to me and put a hoof on my shoulder. “I heard about what happened, this whole situation shouldn’t have happened.”

“What did you mean by acceptance?” I inquired curiously.

“You remember your grandfather, Adamus?” he asked.

“Of course I do,” I replied, not bothering to hide my contempt. “What does he…” I paused, piecing it all together, "Oh."

“What is he talking about?” Cross asked.

Dad looked down at the colt and said guiltily, “Lazarus has always tried to impress our father since the day he was born. As the second son he had trouble getting attention from him, however. Adamus put everything into me, Lazarus got everything second hoof. This whole scheme, was probably so that he could impress our father.”

“If the coin was never found,” I said slowly, “Lazarus would’ve had me conclude that Gear Grinder was the thief because he had motives. Then he’d swoop in saying he knew it all along and taking the credit for solving the problem. All just to impress Adamus.”

“That’s so sad,” Cross said somberly.

“Your father loves you,” Dad said comfortingly. “He just wanted the best for you in the end. Maybe he thought if he could beat me, and then he would gain favor in your eyes.”

Cross didn’t look totally convinced, but then Seeker came up with Zecora beside him. I smiled at both of them, and asked, “What are you doing here, Zecora?”

She replied in her typical rhyme, “I had to help your friend, Twilight, she and Trixie got in a magic fight. I trained her as best I could, and kept Ponyville from being enslaved for good.”

“Trixie came back?” I exclaimed.

“Yes,” Zecora nodded, “she gained a powerful amulet of the Alicorn, created long before anypony alive was born. The magic corrupted her very nature, but after her defeat I kept it to insure, nopony will ever use it’s power, to bring about Ponyville's final hour.”

That’s Twilight for you; I guessed I should say hi to Trixie when I got back In the meantime the question remained. “So, what took you two so long?”

Dad answered, “I was already on the train when Trixie put a dome around the town. For some inexplicable reason, all of the wheels disappeared when the dome appeared.”

That’s weird; I thought but decided to move on. I reached into my pocket and pulled out the Eye of Truth. “I believe this belongs to your people, Zecora.”

She took it reverently in her hooves and looked at Seeker, “You have aided my friend in this duty, and you have performed with absolute beauty.”

“Aunt Zecora!” Seeker groaned like a teenager. I guess even he can be embarrassed.

“Seeker, your duty has been done,” Zecora said firmly. “Now, I have something of my own to give this one.”

Zecora held her hoof in front of me. I looked at Seeker who mimed me bowing. I complied and bowed low in respect before Zecora, removing my hat as I did so. She closed her eyes and laid her hoof on the top of my head. “From now on, you will be known as Kurudisha among us. Despite its inconvenience, you have done what is just.”

I rose at her indication and she smiled at me. Dad smiled proudly at me as Seeker drew closer, a faint smile on his face. “You will always be welcome among the zebra, my friend.”

I returned his smile and asked the nagging question, “What does Kurudisha mean?”

“Reclaimer,” Seeker replied, with a smile. “You have found what is lost, and returned it to our people. Words cannot express what this means to us.”

“You were never one for words anyway,” I said with a laugh.

For the first time in my life, I heard Seeker chuckle. He then walked away before I could express my shock. But then Zecora looked at me gravely, and then walked to my ear. She spoke in a hushed tone…

The drums will sound again,

When this world faces its end,

You must stand and face your fear,

But even you must keep clear,

For the green eyes are upon you,

They tempt you with mists of blue,

But green eyes are what you should fear most of all,

For if you falter, they will cause you to fall.

I gave Zecora a look before she walked away, her cryptic prophecy ringing in my brain. Just what did it mean? Green eyes are upon you?

It was vague to be sure, how did she hear it?

I left these questions in the back of my mind as Dad came up to me. Cross looked up at me as well, his eyes still shining in admiration. “That was so cool! You got accepted by the zebra! Should I call you Kur, Kura…kuras…?”

“It’s Kurudisha,” I said with a smile, “but I’ll always be Private to you.”

“So what should we do about Cross?” Dad asked, and then he looked at my cousin “Shall I take you home?”

Cross shook his head and said, “I don’t want to go back. If dad gets out of prison, he’ll be there. I don’t want to be there when he gets back.”

“Then what will you do now?” Dad asked, with a tilt of his head.

Cross pointed to his cutie mark and said proudly, “I’m going to make something out of this mark. I want to use my special talent to help ponies. I’m going to show dad that I’m not useless!”

“That’s the spirit,” I said, ruffling Cross’ mane affectionately, causing him to laugh.

“The only question is,” Cross mused, tilting his head in thought, “where am I going to find a sewing teacher?”

“I think I know the perfect candidate,” I replied with a smile.