• Published 16th Feb 2013
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Equestria Noir Case 19 "Womb of the Ocean" - Jacoboby1



A murder mystery in equestria starring the lost tribe of ponies.

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Chapter 2 "There will always be a Lady Fair"

Chapter 2

“There will always be a Lady Fair”

I broke the embrace with my grandmother and simply looked at her. “Eleven years,” I said to her slowly, “Eleven years without hearing from you.”

She closed her green eyes and said guiltily, “I wanted to contact you sooner, but I couldn’t. I had your grandfather hunting me down at every turn.” She shook her head. “Adamus, he’d give stubbornness lessons to a mule. No offense, deary,” she said to a nearby mule.

“None taken, Ma'am,” the mule said as she walked off to enjoy the party.

My grandmother studied me and adjusted her glasses. “You’ve been quite busy over the past half a year,” she remarked.

“As have you, according to some of the tabloids,” I said with a small smile. “Can you believe one said that you were in a passionate relationship with a diamond dog?” I blinked and eyed her wearily, asking, “That’s not true is it?”

“Of course not,” she answered.

“Phew,” I said, wiping my brow.

“My relationship with dear Earthfang is strictly professional.” She gave a small smile and added, “Though, it was never unpleasant to be around him, he’s quite a gentleman.”

I blinked and just decided to move on. “So, what are you doing here?” I asked curiously.

“Duke Tailwind is a friend of mine,” she explained “When I heard his son was planning on announcing his engagement I couldn’t resist coming.”

“What can you tell me about Duke Tailwind?” I asked.

She thought for a moment then said, “He was always a kind but prideful soul. His wife died a few years after North was born. He doted on the boy and loves him dearly. In matters of business, however, he's shrewd and not afraid to use underhanded tactics to get what he wants”

“What about Northwind?” I asked, writing everything she was saying down.

“He’s a sweet boy; however, he is hardly the romantic. I was surprised he would put on such an elaborate display to announce his engagement. He and Shellheart were together for a while, though.”

Another thought crossed my mind and I asked, “What about Reeflet?”

“Such a sweet girl, a little odd though,” she said, tapping her chin. “I once caught her trying to use a fork as a comb. She was absolutely fascinated with my watch and anything else I had on me too.” She shook her head bemused.

That was definitely odd. “Have you noticed she looks a bit wobbly on her legs?” I asked.

“Always a keen observer,” she said, with a smile. “Yes, I have noticed that, but every time I ask, Northwind tells me she has always walked like that.”

“How long have they known each other?” I asked.

“About a month,” she answered. “She just kind of showed up at the castle on the shore and wouldn’t leave Northwind’s side. They’re good friends from what I heard.”

“Thanks, Grandma.” I closed my notebook and said, “I’ll ask the captain where Shellheart’s cabin is. Maybe I can find something there.”

“Before you leave,” she said with a mischievous grin, “You’re going to tell me all about that lovely unicorn you came with.”

I blushed bright red and rubbed the back of my head sheepishly “That’s um, Twilight Sparkle, my marefriend,”

“Oh, my dear grandson has fallen in love,” she teased, with a laugh that reminded me all too well of her son. “And with Princess Celestia’s personal student no less.”

“Grandma,” I groaned.

“I was in the crowd when you examined the body,” she continued, grinning wider. “I’ve seen the looks she gives you; she thinks the world of you, Private.”

“Grandma!” I cried, my blush evident.

Her laughter died down and she recalled fondly, “Your father used to have the same reaction when I teased him about your mother.”

“Dad was that nervous, huh?” I asked, glad to change the subject.

“Oh, he was a hopeless romantic,” she reminisced, “after meeting her at that play he spent nearly every waking moment with her. I remember catching him at night writing love letters to her. I still have a couple of his first drafts.” She made a small laugh “He had such a sweet way of stating his love for her.”

I smiled a little, knowing that Dad went through similar pains in falling in love. Granted he didn’t have to fight Nightmare Moon or anything like that. My grey eyes went down a little, Dad loved Mom so much, was I ever in the way?

I felt a hoof on my cheek and saw Grandma; she gave me a small smile. “You’re wondering whether you took time away from your parent’s romance. I’m telling you now, Private, that you are the embodiment of their love for one another.”

“Grandma…”

“You look so much like your father,” she mused, “but your eyes, sharp pegasi eyes, meant for seeing the tiniest of details from the air, are all your mother’s.” She smiled and continued, “Your parents wouldn’t trade you for anything, Private.”

“Thanks, Grandma,” I said, putting my hoof on hers, “I really miss mom, though.”

She pulled me into a tender hug and replied, “I miss her too, dear, but I’m happy she lived long enough to give me such wonderful grandchildren.”

“Tailspin doesn’t know about you,” I said, as I looked at her, “should I…”

She shook her head and said regretfully, “The time will come when I reveal my existence to him, but not today, you have a job to do.”

I nodded; about to walk off, then I looked back at her and said, “The Judge did it.”

“And then there were none?” she replied with a smile. “You always did love Agrippa Cantly.”

I smiled and went away, giving her the ending of the last book she read before Tailspin came into my life, and my mother left it…

___________________________________________________________

The captain, a sea dog by the name of Dutch Flyer, led me and Twilight into Shellheart’s cabin. It wasn’t large but it was well decorated with several paintings and flowers on the walls. That wasn’t what caught me, though, the place was torn apart, with chairs knocked over, drawers open, and even the desk was flipped over.

The Captain gave both Twilight and I a look. “I told ya two the place was trashed,” he said.

Twilight looked at the mess and frowned. “Somepony was looking for something would be my guess,” she speculated.

I nodded and turned to the Captain, asking, “If it’s not too much to ask, could you arrange for cabins for my partner and I? Just in case this lasts more than a day.”

“Well,” he said, with a small snicker, “I’ll see bout arrangin' a lover’s suite fer ya two.”

“Not that’s no-“He was gone before I could correct him. I face hoofed and turned to begin searching the room. Looking under a nearby desk I saw a small picture. I picked up with my magic and saw it was ripped in half with Shellheart on the side I had. “Looks like somepony wasn’t exactly happy for her.”

I slipped the picture in my pocket and started digging through the drawers. My grey eyes grew wide as I saw a small revolver inside it. I carefully lifted the revolver to my eyes and opened the chamber. “No shots fired, she must’ve been expecting trouble but couldn’t get to it in time.”

I set the revolver in a plastic bag and heard, “Private, come look at this.”

I looked over to see Twilight near the closet. She was pointing to something on the ground. I got a closer look and saw it was a small plastic bag filled with the same kind of quills like the one stuck in Shellheart’s neck. I held them up with my magic and asked, “Twilight, do you know these kinds of quills?”

She shook her head and replied, “I don’t think I can tell you any more than Sherrie could.” She face hoofed and exclaimed, “I should’ve brought that book on marine biology!”

I patted her on the shoulder and said soothingly, “Hey, it’s okay, Sherrie will probably be able to identify it.”

I slipped the quills in a plastic bag and put it inside my trench coat with the other items. “So,” I said to myself, “we’ve got poisoned quills, a ripped photograph, and a gun with no shots fired.”

“You think Shellheart knew what was happening?” Twilight asked. “That would explain the gun.”

“I think so,” I replied with a nod, “but the question is, where’d the other half of the photograph go?”

“I’m starting to think Reeflet is involved somehow,” Twilight threw out there. “You saw the guilty expression she had. If she didn’t have some involvement than at least she can tell us what’s going on”

“We'll talk to Northwind first,” I said firmly. “Let’s ask for directions to his cabin.” I was about to walk out when Twilight spoke up again.

“Private?”

I looked over at her as she walked to me, her violet eyes betraying concern. “That lady you were with earlier, who was she?”

“You followed me?” I asked.

“Well, yeah,” she admitted. “I just, I don’t want you to leave me during a case.” She looked down at her hooves. “I almost lost you too many times…”

I saw her expression and my heart broke at the sight of it. I knew she was worried about me; I’d be worried if I was in her hooves as well. I gently lifted her face to meet mine. “I’m not going anywhere Twilight, you’ll remain right by my side through this whole thing,” I reassured her.

She smiled and kissed me gently on the cheek. “Sorry, I’m just kind of anxious, so who was that mare?”

“That was my grandma,” I replied.

“She was your grandma!” she exclaimed, her jaw dropping. “I didn’t know you even, wow”

“She generally likes to keep her distance,” I explained. “That’s why you probably haven’t heard of her before.”

“I would like to meet her once this is over,” she smiled. “You got to meet my parents after all.”

I laughed a little and replied, “Yeah, I guess that’s true. She’d like you.”

“Well, we’ve got a case to complete first,” she said, sounding official and marching out. “Come, Private, the game’s ahoof!”

I rolled my eyes at the reference and watched Twilight walk outside. Was it just me, or was she swinging her tail just a little more than…

Private! Don’t become Raiden!

_____________________________________________________________

“She loved the sea,” Northwind said, looking out a window towards the ocean outside. “I remember when we were children and she’d always run into the sea every day. Just to have an excuse to get into the water,” he said, with a sigh as he returned to his seat in front of Twilight and I, “but now, she’ll never get a chance to see it again.”

“Prince Northwind,” I said seriously, “Can you tell us about the last time you saw her?”

He sighed again and said, “Last night I was hosting an engagement party in celebration of Shellheart accepting my proposal.”

“How long have you two known each other?” Twilight asked.

“Since we were children,” Northwind explained. “She was the daughter of one of my maids. We grew up together and became close friends. I fell in love with her when she sprouted into truly a beautiful mare.”

“Forgive me for asking,” I spoke delicately, “but did she have any enemies you know of? We found a gun in her drawers.”

He shook his head and answered, “Not that I know of, she always got along with everypony. I couldn’t imagine her needing a gun.”

“Maybe she thought somepony was threatening her?” Twilight asked. “You know, a prince is an awfully good catch.”

He gave a modest chuckle and said, “I thank you for your flattery, I can understand where you’re coming from. Now that you mention it, she did seem apprehensive around Reeflet.”

“Apprehensive?” I asked.

“She never really like Reeflet for whatever reason,” he said with shrug. “I always found her charming, despite her rather… odd ways.”

Twilight and I looked at each other than back at the prince. “Okay, now that we’ve got that settled,” I said. “What happened to you last night?”

The Prince recounted his story, “After the party I decided to head back to my cabin. I was on my way back when I heard yelling coming from Shellheart’s cabin. I was about to investigate when Shellheart ran outside and down the deck. I chased after her and she said that Reeflet said something horrible and she wouldn’t stop crying. I thought she was being hysterical so I took her to my cabin for her to calm down. I went to get some drinks but when I came back she was gone.”

“The next time you saw her…” Twilight said.

“Was this morning,” he said sadly. “I had hoped to ask her what was wrong today, but, I now I’ll never get the chance.”

“We’ll find the pony or ponies responsible,” Twilight said firmly. “We can promise you that.”

The Prince nodded as Twilight and I got up. As we walked out I couldn’t help but notice him eyeing Twilight. The kind of look Onyx gave Celestia. I fought every urge to sock the guy in the jaw.

Nopony looks at Twilight like that on my…

What the hell was that all about? I shook my head and followed Twilight out to the deck. I looked over and saw Fancypants walking towards me, Fleur by his side. “Did you find anything out, dear boy?” he asked.

“That apparently Reeflet was having an argument with Shellheart the night before she was murdered,” I explained. “What did you two find out?”

“That Duke Tailwind knows how it got started,” Fancy said gravely.

_______________________________________________________

“I told him it was a bad idea to marry so soon,” Duke Tailwind said inside the party hall of the ship. He sighed and took a swig of wine as Fancy and I stood in front of him. “Maybe none of this would’ve happened if I hadn’t talked to Shellheart.”

Twilight and Fleur were speaking to some of the other nobles nearby. I kept my focus on Tailwind and asked, “You spoke to her before she died?”

“I tried to tell her that they shouldn’t get married now.” Tailwind shook his head and said, “It was around eleven o clock when it happened. It was shortly before the party ended. I pulled Shellheart aside and asked her if she was serious about all this.”

“Was she?” Fancypants asked.

Tailwind sighed and said, “Yes, she was, and she was utterly determined to marry Northwind. No matter what I said.”

“Isn’t it good that your son was getting married?” I asked.

“Under normal circumstances, yes,” Tailwind said with a nod, “but you see Northwind has been acting quite odd since he almost drowned about two months ago. I find it odd that he would have an engagement party on the sea after such a traumatic experience.”

“He almost drowned?” I asked in astonishment.

“Yes,” Tailwind said, looking slightly guilty, “it was his birthday party when a terrible storm hit. We managed to escape onto lifeboats but North went back to save one of the sailors that got trapped in the ship. I thought I lost him when the ship capsized after he saved the sailor, but he got trapped himself and ended up in the ocean.”

“Quite a dangerous situation,” Fancy commented. “How did he survive?”

“He claims somepony pulled him to shore,” Tailwind mused. “I’m sure he managed to save himself, he was always a strong swimmer. However, he insists that a young mare saved him from drowning.”

“A mare?” I asked as I raised my eyebrow. “In the middle of the ocean?”

“That’s what I said,” Tailwind replied, “I asked if it was a Pegasus who flew him out, but he said she had no wings. Only the most beautiful voice he ever heard in his life.”

This was definitely odd, I’ve never heard of ponies popping out of nowhere in the middle of the ocean to save drowning sailors, let alone princes that tried to save said sailors.

“What about Reeflet?” I asked, “What do you know about her?”

“Not much, to be honest,” Tailwind said, tapping his hoof on his chin. “We found her on the shore and she couldn’t tell us where she came from. She has barely left North’s side since she got here. North seems to like her, so I decided to open up my home to her. She’s a charming, if strange, young lady.”

“Where is she now?” I asked.

“I think I saw her up at the bow of the ship,” Tailwind said with a smile. “She always liked looking out at the sea.”

“You seem to like her quite a bit,” Fancy observed.

“North just seemed happier around her,” Tailwind mused, but then he frowned. “Though, he has been acting strange since he met her.”

“Aside from wanting his engagement party on a ship?” I pointed out.

“Yes,” he replied, “ever since he met her he’s stuck to her like glue, hardly ever interacting with anypony else. He’s also been short tempered with some of our servants.”

The way he looked at Twilight it’s a wonder I didn’t lose my-

I shook my head and refocused. “Thanks for the info, sir; we’ll get back to you if we have more questions.”

Fancy and I walked off before Fancy asked, “Private, are you all right? You kind of faded away for a minute there.”

“I’m fine, Fancypants,” I lied. “It’s just, maybe I’m becoming too clingy towards Twilight, I thought I saw North look at her in a way I just…”

He put a hoof on my shoulder and smiled. “I know exactly how you feel, dear boy, but I can assure you, you’re merely caring about Twilight.”

“I guess,” I said with a sigh. “I just don’t want to seem like I’m being overprotective of her or something.”

Fancy shook his head and repaid, “To be honest, now you probably know how it feels for Twilight.”

“What do you mean?” I asked.

“I remember back when were in Trottingham,” he reminisced. “She made similar comments when that one stage hand tried to offer you a… back stage tour.”

That was back when we were helping Moongale rehearse for her debut. Twilight did say she was worried about me leaving her for the first mare I saw. Maybe it was just part of being in love I guess. I sighed and said, “You’re right Fancy.”

“Of course, dear boy,” he smiled. “Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a dinner date to prepare for.”

I looked at my watch; it was almost 6:30? Dang, I guess the questioning and running around the ship must’ve taken longer than I thought. I nodded and looked over at Fancy, asking, “You and Fleur getting together tonight?”

He gave a sheepish smile and nodded. “Yes, quite right, she wishes to discuss, um,” he paused, trying to recompose himself, “foal names.”

I laughed and said, “I’m going to get Twilight so we can talk to Reeflet.”

______________________________________________________

“I’m really happy for them,” Twilight said as we made our way to where Reeflet was supposed to be. “They just want to be together so much.” She brushed her coat against mine. “I hope we can be like that.”

I smiled and laid a kiss on her horn, “We are, aren’t we?”

She blushed a little and said, “Well, yeah.” She met my eyes for a moment, before looking out at the setting sun. She rested her forelegs over the railing, staring out at the open waters. “Private?”

“Yeah, Twilight?” I asked, putting my own forelegs over the railing.

“Remind me when I get the time; I want to have a place here. Just an island home where we can retreat too.” She scooted over and pressed her coat against me and added, “Just the two of us.”

I smiled and nuzzled her gently. “Maybe one day, I’d like to see what you look like in a swim suit anyway,” I said teasingly.

Twilight’s face turned as red as a tomato, then she blubbered “I, um well, I mean, I haven’t, well…” She rubbed her hooves together nervously.

I smiled and kissed her on the cheek, saying, “I’m only teasing.”

“Private,” she said, looking at me, “do you think I’m… pretty?”

“Where is this coming from?” I asked.

“It’s just,” she said with a sigh, “I’ve noticed you’ve been staring at me a lot more lately. I was wondering if it was because you found me,“ she paused, blushing deeply “attractive…”

I blinked at this; I have been looking at Twilight a lot more. I guessed I’ve never really thought about that before. I mean, I say she’s beautiful, sure, but this was on a different level. I regarded Twilight for a minute, looking from her horn, to her mane that was a fine shade of purple, to her face which stared at me. I then looked down lower, to her rather skinny yet well curved body that seemed very soft. I felt the urge to run one of my hooves along where her cutie mark was…

Then I snapped back to reality and nodded. “Um yes, I find you attractive, I mean,” I said, rubbing the back of my head in embarrassment, “I’m your coltfriend after all.”

She gave a small smile and then kissed me on the lips. “So, there is a crack in your shell after all.”

I gave a mock gasp of shock and accused, “You were trying to get me to get all flustered like you get!”

She giggled and replied, “Not my intention, but you looked so bashful when I asked you and, it felt… nice when you looked at me like that.”

I fought a very strong urge between my legs, but then I heard a low rumble. I looked over towards where the sun was, but it was gone. A bunch of storm clouds seemed to have come out of nowhere.

I grabbed the railing just as a large wave hit the ship with full force. I held on for dear life as I looked over at Twilight and yelled, “What’s going on?”

“I don’t know!” Twilight cried, as rain started pouring down on us. “There wasn’t a call for a hurricane in these parts!” She let out a yelp as a wave hit us both hard. I flew back and found myself against the door of a nearby cabin. I looked up and saw Twilight was hanging onto the side of the ship, her body dangling over the side.

“Private!” She yelled.

I was about to get up when I saw that standing between us was Reeflet. She stood over where Twilight was. Instead of helping her up though, she looked at me with guilty green eyes. They seemed to say, “I’m sorry…” Before she ran away.

“Wait!” I cried, slipping on the wet surface of the deck. I fell on my stomach and groaned in pain. I looked over at Twilight who’s hooves were slipping from where they were gripping on the railing. Right before she slipped I reached out with my hooves and grabbed hers. She looked at me and exclaimed, “Private, don’t let me go!”

“I won’t, Twilight!” I struggled and tried to pull back when I felt a big pull on Twilight. I looked down and saw a black tentacle wrapped around her leg. Twilight screamed as I tried to pull against it, but the tentacle was too strong and my grip slipped on Twilight. She fell into the water yelling for me.

“Twilight!” I cried as I removed my trench coat and hat. I was a decent swimmer, having taken classes at school. I left my gear on the ship and dived in after her. I landed in the choppy waters and saw Twilight getting pulled down by the tentacle.

I swam after her and fired a magical bolt at the tentacle. I heard a screech underwater as another tentacle reached and wrapped around me. I struggled against it, I couldn’t bite it for fear of losing air. I tried to zap it again but the squeezing on my stomach caused me to lose concentration.

I looked over at Twilight. She looked over at me, we were both running out of air. She reached over with her hoof and touched mine. If we were going to die, it would be together…

Recéde bestia!!!!!!

Suddenly a blast of sound hit the creature below. I covered my ears as the sound rang in them. The scream was like a banshee yelling into a megaphone. I looked down and saw a strange sight, there was a seaweed green colored pony. She had hooves on her forelegs and a horn, but she had no mane, instead she had a flat head with some kind of crest on it. She also had no hind legs, but a long fish like tail.

She bit into the tentacle and I felt it go lax around my stomach. I saw her swim over to Twilight and help her get free. I noticed that the weird pony had gills on her neck. She took Twilight in one of her forelegs, then reached over for me, and we started swimming for the surface. Right before my vision faded to black, I thought I heard a voice say,

Thief….