• 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 3 "All Through the Night"

Chapter 3

“All through the Night”

Perspective: Twilight

I coughed out some water as my eyes opened. I looked up to see Fancypants standing over me. He smiled and looked over at Fleur, who was beside him. “Thank goodness that you two are all right,” Fleur said.

I jolted upright and cried, “Where’s Private?” I looked around and saw Private lying next to me on his side. I ran to him and put my ear to his mouth. Thank Celestia he was still breathing! He must just be unconscious.

“You’re lucky he came up when he did,” I heard a voice speak behind me. I turned to see the mare Private was talking to before. This was Private’s grandma? I could see the resemblance. “We managed to get the water out of his lungs, he should be awake soon,” she informed me.

“Thank goodness,” I said with a sigh of relief before turning back to him. Private’s breathing was soft, but even. He must’ve worked himself to exhaustion trying to save me… again.

I gave a small sigh; Private’s always throwing himself at danger. I looked over as Private’s grandmother bent down next to me. “You are Twilight Sparkle, yes?” she asked.

I nodded slowly and replied, “It’s a pleasure, but I wanted to meet you under better circumstances.”

“As did I, dear,” she said with a small smile. “Do not fear for Private, he will be find after some rest.”

“Okay,” I said, wrapping my magic gently around Private to carry him. “I’m going to take him to our cabin. Can you guys give me a hoof with the rest of his stuff?” I asked Fancy and Fleur who nodded and began picking up Private’s tossed aside gear.

I carried Private in my magic as we were led by a sailor to our cabin. He kept mumbling something in his sleep. Something about a thief or something?

Private, I’m sorry for being a burden…

_______________________________________________________

Fancypants and Fleur left for the evening as I put Private’s soaking wet trench coat and hat up to dry. Our cabin wasn’t anything too large; it had a pair of beds, a small bathroom, and a couch. Private still hasn’t awoken from whatever happened back there.

Just who was that mare? Why’d she save us? What is she exactly?

A thousand questions ran through my mind as I watched Private’s Grandma return from putting her grandson onto a bed. She looked over at me and said, “I know what you’re thinking, Twilight.”

“How do yo-“ I said in shock

“I know what it’s like to nearly lose somepony you love,” she said slowly. “Do not blame yourself for what happened, that storm came out of nowhere and surprised all of us.”

“But I,” I quavered and shook my head, “I shouldn’t have gotten caught by that tentacle thing. Private could’ve…” I fought back the tears in my eyes as the older mare gently rubbed my back.

“Dry your eyes, young one” she ordered holding up a handkerchief which I used to wipe my eyes. “If the situation was reversed, you would’ve dived in after Private, wouldn’t you?”

“In a heartbeat,” I said, folding up the hanky “He’s always getting hurt on these cases though. I can’t help but wonder if a part of it is my fault.”

She shook her head and said, “I don’t want to hear talk like that, young lady.”

She reminded me a little of Celestia. “But I…”

She put a hoof on my shoulder and said, “My grandson thinks the world of you, Twilight. You would’ve thrown yourself into the ocean if you thought Private was going to get hurt. Private would be the one sitting here as you are if that happened. In any relationship, both parties have to carry the weight, or one will get crushed.”

“You sound like Private’s dad,” I mused.

“I’ll take that as a compliment, dear.” She gave a small laugh and said, “Irenius was always a wise one.”

“You’re not at all what I expected,” I stated. “When I heard all those things about Adamus…”

“You figured I was just as evil?” she asked.

“No I-“ She gave me a look that told me to shut up.

“To be honest,” she said with a small sigh “I didn’t marry Adamus for the most…romantic of reasons.”

“Why did you marry him if you don’t mind me asking?” I asked, adopting a little of Private’s inquisitive tone.

She replied flatly, “I married him for his money.”

I blinked, not expecting that one. “You don’t seem like…” I paused trying to think of a polite way to word it.

“A gold-digger?” she asked with a laugh. “Oh I was back in my youth; I had stallions practically killing each other for my hoof. However, I had no interest in romance. I married Adamus for his title and station, expecting to live out the rest of my life as some trophy wife.”

“What changed?” I asked.

“I had Private’s father,” she said, smiling warmly. “When I held little Irenius in my hooves for the first time, I wept. Here was a young colt, who loved me not for my station or money. He loved me for me.”

I smiled and observed, “You seem to have become a better pony through that.”

“Indeed,” she agreed, “sometimes all it takes is one pony in your life to change your perspective on things.”

“Like Private with me,” I said, closing my eyes with a smile.

I felt somepony hug me and looked to see Private’s grandmother doing so. She held me tight and said, “Thank you for being there for him.” I hugged her back tightly.

After she left I glanced back to Private who was still sound asleep on the bed. I walked to the bed and climbed onto it, looking down at Private as I lay on my stomach. He was sleeping so peacefully. He was probably still exhausted from all the excitement. Private is usually a pretty rough sleeper, always moving around and grumbling. Nowadays he seems calmer though…and…cute…

I shook my head. Cut it out Twilight! Don’t think thoughts like that!

I watched him and noticed his ears twitching. I wonder if he’d notice if I…

I can’t believe I’m doing this! Private will think I’m weird or something! But, I just want to…

I scooted over to Private and gave one of his ears a quick lick. He didn’t react for a minute, and then he smiled a little in his sleep. He was saying something, “Mom…”

Was that the kind of dream he was having? About his mother taking care of him? I guess I would expect Private to have dreams like that. He always loved his mother dearly. However, she wasn’t here to take care of him anymore. So I decided to oblige. I gently gave Private’s ears a few more slow licks. He smiled more as I went on grooming him. He just seemed so content when I was taking care of him like this. I gently nuzzled Private's brown mane and I felt him move his head towards me.

Slowly his grey eyes tried to open “Twi,” he said drowsily.

“Shh,” I said, putting a hoof on his lips, “you exhausted yourself trying to save me.”

“Twi,” he said sleepily, “I’m glad you’re okay.” He moved himself so he was lying down on his belly. He set his head down on the bed and closed his grey eyes again. I never told him this but I always found them beautiful. I pressed myself into him and gently nuzzled his back. He let out a contented sigh and drifted off to sleep. I kept gently rubbing my muzzle on his neck as he did. He didn’t seem to mind I was doing it. In fact, I think he enjoyed me caring for him like this.

Private always gave a front of being an indomitable hero, but in reality, I think he’s lonely just like any other colt that lost his mother. Back when he stayed at the library with me I remember hearing him cry in his sleep sometimes. I wasn’t his marefriend at the time so I didn’t comfort him like this. Part of me still feels guilty about that.

Private was just as vulnerable and scared as I was on these cases. He may do a better job of hiding it but I could tell. He just wanted somepony to care for him; I was here to do that. I love him, I will always love my Preventus…

____________________________________________________________

Perspective: Private

Brother please!

You are no sister of mine, Crystallite!

Please Sombra! Let my people go! They don’t deserve this!

You sniveling brat! You expect to give orders to your king?

Just stop this, Sombra! Please!

Tell me where it is! Tell me where I can find it!

And see you destroy another kingdom with its power? Never!

Then I shall remove you, as I should have years ago!

Leave her alone, Sombra!

Eclipse! You should be dead!

She doesn’t have what you are looking for!

What have you done with it?

I’ve hidden it, in a place you can never find it! You will never abuse its power again!

_________________________________________________________

I blinked open my grey eyes and groaned as I felt every part of my body protest against moving. I felt something warm against me and looked over to see Twilight sleeping soundly. I’m guessing she was tired from yesterday as well.

I flicked my ears a bit, they felt, I don’t know, better. Did somepony groom them in my sleep or something? I shrugged and got out of the bed and gave my limbs a stretch. It was still night out, Luna’s moon hanging gracefully over the night air. I’m going to have to call somepony to watch Tailspin for the night.

I walked to a nearby phone and started dialing my home phone number. This phone was magically linked to the phone lines back home. This allowed me to contact Sparkler.

“Hello?”

“Sparkler? It’s me, Private”

“Hiya, Private, how’s the case going?”

I decided to omit the part about me nearly drowning and simply stated, “It’s fine, listen, can Tailspin stay over with Dinky for the night? I think this case may take a while.”

“Sorry, Private, I can’t. I got work tonight and Mom’s been sick all week. I don’t think she could handle watching two kids herself”

“Thanks anyway, Sparkler,” I said with a sigh. “I just don’t want Tailspin in the house all by himself.”

“I know, sorry I can’t stay.”

“You just focus on providing for your mom,” I said firmly. “I’ll worry about my brother.”

“Okay, see ya.”

I hung up and dialed again, if Sparkler couldn’t watch Tailspin for the night, maybe Raiden could? He’s always liked Tailspin. I dialed up Raiden’s home number and didn’t get an answer. I tried Rainbow’s place and got a female voice on the end.

“You’ve reached the home of the most awesome flyer in Equestria!”

“Hi, Scootaloo,” I said with a laugh.

“Hey, Private! It’s good to hear from you!”

“Listen, is Rainbow’s boyfriend around?” I asked.

“Yeah, Rainbow asked him to watch me while she’s at the academy. I’ll get him.”

“Thanks, Scoots.”

The phone was given to Raiden and I explained the situation. Raiden may be irresponsible, but he cared about kids. After explaining everything Raiden spoke up, “Sure man, I’ll get Tailspin now and we’ll make it a cool sleepover.”

“You’re a lifesaver, Raiden,” I said, sighing with relief. “I was hoping to contact Potso, but with his annual reunion coming around I can’t ask him.”

“I know, dude,” Raiden said firmly. “Don’t you worry about your little bro, he’s in good hooves.”

“Raiden, if you try and get my brother to do anything I wouldn’t approve of with Scootaloo…” I warned.

“Drat! So much for playing the responsible one…”

“Just keep an eye on them all right?” I said with a roll of my eyes. “I don’t want you trying to turn my brother into a mini you.”

“But fillies like mini me,” he whined.

“That only worked once and need I remind you I still get calls about that!”

“All right, dude,” he relented. “So, any progress with Miss Sparkle?”

I was hesitant to proceed, Raiden has been trying for months to convince me to “advance my relationship” with Twilight. I would explain how but there might be children reading this story. If so, go ask your parents about it, they’re better at explaining it then I am.

And that’s how you break the fourth wall folks!

Pinkie, get out of my narration!

All right…

I sighed and said, “Look, Twilight and I are just working on a case together.”

“Dude, where at?”

“The middle of the ocean.”

“No wonder she’s been all lovey dovey with you!” he said with a laugh. I heard Scootaloo snicker in the background as well.

“What are you talking about?” I asked.

“Dude, everypony knows that the ocean makes romantic encounters automatically 15% more likely!”

“This according to good studies or that column you write?”

“You never read my column.”

“Only to save my sanity and my integrity as a stallion.”

“Stick in the mud…”

“Pervert…”

“You’re still letting me watch your little bro?”

“So long as you don’t try and give him advice. Pinkie Promise on it!”

“Cross my heart, hope to fly, stick a cupcake in my eye…”

“That’s good, Raiden,” I said with a smile “Thanks again for agreeing to watch him.”

“Hey I like Tailspin. The little guy’s got a lot of heart. Kind of like his bro.”

“See ya, Raiden,” I said, before hanging up the phone. For all the ways he irritates me he still somehow finds a way to make me want to keep him around. I can never figure out why.

I heard something moving outside. I slowly levitated Blackbird out of her holster. I gently pushed open the door and excited the cabin. I looked up and saw Reeflet standing there. A notepad in her mouth, my fury took over “You!” I shouted.

She recoiled at my harsh tone.

“What the hell was that?” I shouted “Twilight could’ve gotten killed! Why did you abandon us?”

She shook her head and held up the pad. On it read in misspelled words…

“I’m zory.”

I raised an eyebrow at this “You can’t write well, can you?”

She shook her head and set down the pad. Writing again and saying “I did not meen for her to get hurt.”

I blinked, and then asked, “Why did you abandon us?”

She wrote again, “Father waz mad. I did not want him to find me”

“Your father?” I asked “What does he have to do with this?”

She turned to a new page and wrote, the pencil in her mouth moving with a bit awkwardly “Father did not want me to leave, father sent the storm. I’m zory.”

I blinked, she looked genuinely sorry. But how could anypony send a storm cloud so quickly? I asked slowly, “Did you have anything to do with Shellheart’s death?”

She shook her head, her eyes almost in tears. She wrote again, her lips quivering. “She did not understand, I luv Northwind, she did not understand…”

I looked at her in shock. She was in love with the guy! That explained why she wasn’t going to separate from him. I gave her a look “I ask again, what happened last night? Did you kill her?”

“No,” She wrote. “No, I did not, I only defended myself and put a Sea Sleeper quill in her neck. She tried to hurt me, she said so many mean things. Instead of her going to sleep though, she only said more mean things.”

I raised an eyebrow and asked, “Sea Sleepers?”

She nodded. “A kind of quill fish who’s spikes can be used as a sleeping aid. Only I didn’t know it could make ponies madder,”

“So, just who are you?” I asked. “You’re obviously not a pony…”

She looked at me for a moment, then wrote down again “Go to the island and find Clamshell cove, my sister will meet you there and explain everything…”

“But why can’t you say it?” I asked, desperate for answers.

She wrote one last sentence on her notepad “Because, I don’t want to go back…”

I watched her leave, seeing the sadness that hung over her. Somewhere in my heart pity was found. There was a good reason she didn’t want to tell me what she is. She wasn’t happy about hiding it, but she had to for whatever reason. I decided to give her the benefit of the doubt and see what her sister had to say.

__________________________________________________________

Twilight and I managed to get a small boat to the island where it wasn’t difficult to find the morgue. Shellheart’s body was on the table in front of me. Her eyes closed in an almost sleep like state.

Sherrie looked up from the clipboard she had “I did find traces of a type of poison in her blood like you said.”

“What kind of poison?” Twilight asked, “I thought it was a sleeping aide like Reeflet said.”

“Well, it was originally meant as a sleeping aide,” she said holding up one of the quills in her magic “Problem is, this comes from a type of quill fish nicknamed the predator’s minion.”

“Not very flattering,” I said, looking at the quill. “How’d it get the name?”

“From its habit of putting to sleep smaller fish,” Sherrie explained. “In order to avoid sharks and other predators it would stab smaller fish to use as bait. That way the fish would get away and the shark would get lunch.”

“This was used as a sleep aide?” I said warily “I wouldn’t want to stab that into my neck.”

“It’s not very common,” Sherrie said, putting the quills down on a trey “Only rich ponies really use the stuff, it was banned by the EHA because of its side effects.”

“Would going into a rage by the result of it?” I asked

“With the right dose, it's possible,” she said with a nod, “however, in order for an effect like that to happen, you’d need to supercharge the drug with magic.”

Twilight levitated one of the quills and did a small scanning spell “Yep, somepony definitely used magic on these, a very powerful enhancing spell,”

“Reeflet isn’t a unicorn,” I pointed out, putting a hoof on my chin “She couldn’t have used magic on it.”

“Not unless she got some pony to do it for her,” Sherrie said.

“What about Shellheart?” I asked. “Was she in a drugged state when she was hung?”

“Yes” Sherrie nodded “The poison was still in her blood stream when she was killed. So, the drug was still active on her when she was killed.”

“So, somepony altered the drug’s properties,” I said, “but who would do that?”

“Where can you find the puffer fish that has these quills?” Twilight asked.

“At the bottom of the ocean,” Sherrie answered.

_________________________________________________________

Clamshell cove wasn’t hard to find on O’hay Island. In fact during the evenings it was a big luau spot. Tourists come to the island for its rich scenery, the warm climate, and the beauty of the ocean. I was tempted several times during the journey to just stretch out on the beach and soak some sun.

However, I had a job to do and as a result Twilight and I walked the shore line of Clamshell cove. The waves were calm in the early morning and gave a nice sound. I could fall asleep listening to those waves.

What would I give to live where you are…

“Private, do you hear that?” Twilight asked her ears perking up.

I nodded and closed my eyes to focus on the sound.

What would I pay, to stay here beside you?

“It’s coming from over there!” I cried as I pointed to a spot on the shore, hidden by some tropical foliage. Twilight and I ran into the cover and followed the sound.

What would I do to see you, smiling at me?

The voice was a soft melodious tone. I was reminded a little of Moongale’s singing voice. Although this voice sounded older than my friend was.

Where would we walk? Where would we run?

“Where could we stay all day in the sun?” Twilight sang along to herself. I gave her a look and she looked back at me in shock, “Princess Celestia used to sing that to me when I couldn’t sleep!”

I moved aside the last bit of foliage and came onto a secluded part of the shore. There, sitting on a rock was the strange pony from before. Twilight and I stared in awe at her. She was just so exotic, her sea weed green coat shone in the light of the morning. I noticed that where her hind legs where the fish tail was scaly and sparkled in the light.

She looked at us with a soft smile, and then continued her song, “Just you and me.”

Twilight smiled and continued, “And I could be…”

Both girls sang in perfect harmony, “Part of your world.”

I stared as the girls laughed at having finished their song. I knew Twilight could carry a tune, but to hear her bounce off such a good singer. That was something else.

The strange pony gave us a small smile, rolling onto her belly, “You are the ponies Reeflet told me about?”

“I guess,” I said, just taking it all in. “Just what are you?”

Twilight nodded and said, “I’ve never seen anything like you before.”

“My name is Raequa,” she answered, “I am a seapony.”

Twilight and I dropped our jaws in shock. Seaponies were an old legend, they were said to have lived under the sea. I remember mom reading me stories about them when I was a kid. However, to see one before our very eyes.

I shook my head and asked, “You are Reeflet’s sister?”

Raequa nodded, a little sadly, and said, “Yes, although I wonder if I should even call her that.”

“What happened exactly?” Twilight said, her voice comforting.

“About two months ago Reeflet was like any normal sea pony.” Raequa explained, “She was always father’s treasure. She was sweet, kind and had the most beautiful singing voice under the sea.”

How can you sing under water? I got a jab in the ribs from Twilight. That kept me from over thinking it.

“The problem was that Reeflet always wanted to go on shore,” she said with a smile at us. “She was truly fascinated by your kind.”

Reeflet was starting to sound like Lyra, only with a pony obsession instead of humans. Which everypony knows is a total myth.

“One day she saved a pony from drowning,” Raequa went on “Over the course of a month she visited the shore in secret. To see the pony again, I tried to tell her to stop, that it was too dangerous.”

“Something tells me that she couldn’t keep this under wraps forever,” Twilight added.

“Indeed,” Raequa repaid. “When our father found out he was furious with her. He utterly destroyed all the pony items she had. I tried to warn Reeflet it would come to that, but she wouldn’t listen. Then she went and visited a sea witch, she made a deal with her that she would become a pony for a month.”

“A month?” I asked.

“What?” Raequa gave me a look. “You expect him to fall for her in three days?”

“No I guess not,” I said.

“In order for the change to be permanent,” Raequa explained, “the pony had to kiss her, and confirm his love for her in turn. If she does so, she would remain a pony forever. However, if she doesn’t, she’ll turn back into a sea pony.” She started tearing up a little. “She was so desperate she gave up her beautiful voice as payment.”

“Then how come Reeflet doesn’t just say she’s the one who saved him?” I pointed out. “It would’ve saved her trouble.”

“I was planning on asking the sea witch herself,” Raequa’s voice had some confidence, “but, since you want to find answers as well. I’ll take you both with me.”

“Um,” Twilight pointed to our necks, “how are we supposed to breathe?”

“Never underestimate a little sea pony magic,” she said, as her horn glowed, and I got a weird feeling on my legs.

____________________________________________________________

It was a little disorienting at first, having to adjust to having a big tail instead of hind legs. I looked around under the water; my eyes could move all they wanted without getting hurt by sea water. I felt the gills on my neck breath water in and found air for me to breath.

I looked over at Twilight who was laughing brightly while swimming around. “Private, this is great!” she called, swimming around me. “I could do this all day!”

I watched her have fun while swimming in the waters of the ocean. I smiled at her as her violet mane moved with the currents. She looked as if she was flying, utterly flying underwater.

I looked over at Raequa who was smirking. “What do you think?” she asked.

“How long does this last?” I asked, looking down at my tail.

“Bout two hours,” she explained. “Now come on! We have a sea witch to find!”

Twilight and I followed our sea pony friend. She led us through huge coral reefs, sea weed forests, and even over sunken vessels. I swam to keep up with Raequa and asked “So where is the rest of your kind?”

“Attrotica,” she said with a smile, “the city under the sea.”

“I’ve never heard of anything like that in textbooks,” Twilight said, swimming to Raequa’s other side.

“That’s because it’s only been under the sea for about a thousand years,” she said, “or so my grandfather said. Plus we like to keep hidden from surface dwellers.”

“Do we really scare you that much?” I asked.

“Well, a long time ago we were much friendlier,” she explained “Mother tries to make us friendlier by having us sing our ancestor’s song”

“What kind of song are we-“

Shoo be doo, shoo shoo be doo!!!

Suddenly we were surrounded by dozens of Seaponies. All of various colors, some didn’t sport horns but had larger fins on their backs. I’m guessing that was the undersea version of pegasi. The inhabitants were all smiles and one spoke up “Hello, Princess Raequa! Your father was worried about you.”

“Forgive me, Waverly,” Raequa answered. “I was just passing through.”

“Who are your friends?” a larger male sea pony asked.

Twilight spoke in a very diplomatic tone, “I am Twilight Sparkle, personal student to Princess Celestia; we are honored that you would welcome us.”

Several whispered among themselves, many gave excited tones. A younger sea pony spoke up, “You’re the student to the surface Princess?”

“Yes, I am my little seapony,” Twilight smiled. “We come in peace and simply wish to pass through.”

“What about him?” one seapony asked, getting closer to me.

Suddenly the seapony gasped as he met my eyes. I tilted my head and asked, “What’s wrong?”

“The grey one!” he shouted. “It’s the grey!”

“What?” Twilight asked, looking at Raequa. “What are they talking about?”

Suddenly Raequa swam a little bit away and cried, “You, you are the grey, I hadn’t noticed before…”

“What’s wrong?” I repeated. “What are you all talking about?”

“He wields the foul magic,” one cried. “I sense it in him!”

“Foul magic?” Twilight asked looking at me “Private, what are they talking about?”

I have no idea, why did they suddenly, lash out at me like I’m a criminal?

“He’s in him!” one shouted. “He’s got the tyrant’s magic in him!”

“The very same power that sunk our city in the first place!” another cried, pulling a smaller sea pony behind her.

Well, this was going well…