Princess Celestia receives a warning to stop the Grand Galloping Gala, so she gets Sherclop Holmes on the case. The game is a hoof!
A letter warning Celestia to stop the Gala. A list of names targeted for death. Sherclop Holmes and Dr. Trotson is on the case! (Disclaimer: This Sherlock will be like the one from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's original mysteries, not the one from the Elementary series, just letting you know. )
(Disclaimer: I don't own anything except my OC's. MLP belongs to Hasbro and Sherlock Holmes belongs to the Estate of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle)
The last rays of light began to dim as Luna’s moon rose into the sky. Princess Celestia sighed as she looked out upon the city of Canterlot.
It had been busy the last couple weeks, and it would just get busier. The Grand Galloping Gala was in just two days and there was still work to be done.
She trotted back inside, wanting to do a bit of reading before she had to go to bed. Celestia went to her reading room, a cozy room with comfy-looking sofas and a crackling fire.
She lay down on one of the sofas and levitated a newspaper over to read. As she was just about to get started, one of her servants, an older yellow Pegasus with a book cutie mark, trotted inside the room and cleared his throat.
Princess Celestia sighed. “Yes, Sage Star?”
“Your majesty, my apologies for interrupting you, but I have a letter of extreme urgency,” Sage said, holding out an envelope.
“Who is it from?” Princess Celestia asked with a tone of concern.
“We are uncertain of who sent it, but even more troubling is the message in the letter itself,” Sage Star responded.
Princess Celestia raised her eyebrows as she levitated the envelope to her face and opened it.
This is not a threat, this is a warning.
If you do not stop the Gala, many will die.
Below I have written the names of those targeted for death.
I cannot tell you the name of the killer, but heed my words, you must stop the Gala!
Princess Celestia sat stunned as she read the letter once, and then again. Those targeted for death were prominent individuals.
Nothing even close to this had happened at the Gala before.
“Well, your majesty, what are we going to do?” Sage asked.
Celestia cleared her throat. “Could you summon Princess Luna to me at once?”
“Yes, princess,” the Pegasus replied as he cantered in the hallway.
Princess Celestia started pacing back and forth nervously. If it was in her power, she would stop the Gala, but there was so much red tape surrounding the matter that it would take weeks to stop it and by that time the Gala would have come and gone.
She would have to solve the mystery, but she couldn’t do it without help.
Celestia glanced at the newspaper she had set down on the table.
'And I know just where to get some help,' Princess Celestia thought to herself.
It was a foggy day in Trottingham, so thick that one couldn’t see the end of their own muzzle. On this particular day, two stallions, who were roommates and best of friends, sat in their flat reading the newspaper and smoking their pipes. It was peaceful until a headline caught the eye of one of the stallions.
‘Inspector Lestrot Captures the Jewel Thief’
‘The great inspector captures the miscreant with some assistance from Sherclop Holmes.’
“What a load of rubbish!” exclaimed a light brown Earth Pony with a blond mane and moustache.
“What is, Dr. Trotson?” asked a light purple Earth Pony with a bored look on his face.
“Look at this article!” the one called Dr. Trotson said as he handed the other stallion the paper.
The purple pony took the newspaper and began reading the article.
“Well?” Dr. Trotson asked with a hint of irritation. “What do you think about that, Sherclop?”
Sherclop sighed. “I don’t see what the big issue is,” he replied calmly.
“Really?” Trotson exclaimed. “The newspaper made it seem like you did next to nothing to solve it, when you practically figured out the whole ordeal yourself.”
“Dr. Trotson, did we or did we not, get our payment for solving the case?” Sherclop asked sarcastically.
“Well, yes,” Trotson said sheepishly.
“Then there is nothing to be upset about.”
Dr. Trotson cleared his throat. “Sorry about that, I suppose that I acted ungentlecoltly.”
“Yes, you did,” Sherclop responded.
Dr. Trotson shook his head, grinning from Sherclop’s curt yet honest response. He had been roommates with Sherclop for almost two years, and yet Trotson still didn’t fully understand him.
Dr. Trotson remembered back when he first met Sherclop Holmes.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _
Almost two years ago
Dr. John Trotson limped down the corridors of the Trottingham General hospital.
Having recently been discharged from the Royal Army due to a foreleg injury, Trotson was looking for comfortable living at a reasonable price. One of his friends had told him that a pony named Sherclop Holmes was looking for someone to share a flat with.
Trotson remembered his friend’s words.
“He’s pleasant enough, but just warnin’ ye, Sherclop’s a bit of a odd fella,” his Scoltish friend had said.
Dr. Trotson shook his head and went into the room where he was told Sherclop was at.
When he entered he saw a most peculiar sight. There was a thin, light purple stallion with a dark brown mane and a bee as his cutie mark. That wasn’t unusual. What was unusual was the fact that this stallion was hitting a cadaver with a stick.
“What in Faust’s name are you doing?” Trotson asked with a tone of shock.
“I am merely seeing if a body can bruise after death,” the odd stallion stated calmly, as though it were the most natural thing in the world.
The light purple Earth Pony stopped hitting the corpse and took a close look at it with a magnifying glass.
“Fascinating,” he muttered.
Trotson cleared his throat.
“My name is Dr. John Trotson, you must be Mr. Holmes.”
The light purple stallion looked up from his examination.
“You would be correct, Dr. Trotson,” he said, turning to face Trotson. “How were the sands of Saddle Arabia when you were posted there on army duty?”
“How in Equestria did you know that I worked for the Royal Army?” Dr. Trotson asked with surprise. “Or the fact that I was stationed in Saddle Arabia for that matter?”
“Well, it was written all over you,” Sherclop said with a smile. “You have the air of a military pony, your build, the way you carry yourself, etcetera, and judging by your rough hooves and your sun burnt skin, I’d guess you were not in temperate Canterlot. You were honorably discharged after you got injured in what I would guess to be a tatzelwurm attack, correct?”
“Amazing,” Dr. Trotson muttered. “You are correct on all counts.”
Sherclop scratched his chin. “Although I am curious as to why you have sought me out, Dr. Trotson,” he mused.
“Oh, right, I forgot!” said Trotson as he facehoofed. “Are you still looking for somepony to share a flat with?”
“Hmm, well that depends,” Sherclop said as he started packing his tools up. “Do you mind if I practice my violin?”
“Oh no, I rather like the violin, when it is played well!” Trotson said, chuckling.
“That’s nice,” Sherclop said. “But I’m afraid I am not that good at playing it.”
“Oh,” Dr. Trotson said as he mulled it over in his head. “Well, I suppose that’s alright.”
“Excellent!” Sherclop said enthusiastically. “If you wish, we could take a look at the flat now.”
“That sound like a bully idea, Mr. Holmes!” said Trotson as he followed Sherclop to his new home.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _
Back in the present
Dr. Trotson smiled at the memory. Since he had met Holmes, they had gone on some interesting adventures.
A knock on the door interrupted his reminiscing.
“I’ll get it,” Sherclop said as he made his way to the door.
Upon opening the door, he saw a Pegasus in Royal Guard armor.
The Pegasus looked at Sherclop and asked, “Are you Sherclop Holmes?”
Sherclop was taken aback for a moment, but recovered quickly.
“I am he,” he responded.
The Pegasus handed Sherclop a letter. “This is for you, then.”
Sherclop took the letter and said a quick ‘thank you’.
The Pegasus nodded and trotted away.
"I wonder why a Royal Guard came to our flat,' Sherclop wondered to himself as he closed the door.
“Who is the letter from?” Trotson asked.
“Well, let’s see,” Sherclop said as he opened the letter.
Sherclop read the letter in silence.
“Well, what does it say?” Trotson asked excitedly.
Sherclop said nothing, but held up two golden tickets.
“A-are those…” Trotson stammered.
“Tickets to the Gala? Yes,” Sherclop stated calmly.
“That’s incredible, Holmes!” Trotson said excitedly. “How in Equestria did you manage to get those?”
“I didn’t,” Sherclop said, shaking his head. “We have been summoned to go there.”
“By whom?” Trotson inquired.
“By Princess Celestia herself,” Sherclop said with a twinkle in his eye. “Apparently, we have a case.”
“A case from the Princess herself?” Dr. Trotson asked nervously. “That is quite the honor!”
“Come along, Trotson, we have a train to catch!” Sherclop said.
The two stallions packed their bags and boarded the train to Canterlot , ready to start what would probably be the greatest case of their lives. ���
Sherclop and Trotson sat in the lounge car, both pondering the details of this new case as the train sped towards its destination.
“I say, Holmes,” Trotson began. “This whole ordeal troubles me.” Trotson took a long drag from his pipe. “Something just does not feel right.”
Sherclop nodded. “I’ve looked over the names on this, this hit list; however, I cannot find a correlation that ties them together.”
“Perhaps we could look them over once more?” Trotson suggested. “Maybe something will come to us then.”
Sherclop looked around, and upon seeing that the lounge car was empty, he pulled the Princess’ letter from his coat pocket and spread it out on the table.
Trotson leaned over to get a better look at it. There was five on the ‘hit list’. The names on that list were individuals of prominence, but most of them didn’t have a thing in common.
Filthy Rich was a business pony, Lord Ember was a dignitary representing her kingdoms, and Coloratura was a popular figure, but none of them had any substantial connections to each other.
“Sigh I don’t have much to go on and that frustrates me to no end,” Sherclop said with a hint of annoyance.
“Cheer up, old chap!” Trotson said with a reassuring tone. “I am sure that we will have something to go on when we get to Canterlot. “
_ _ _ _ _ _ _
A few hours later
“I can’t find a single thing to go on!” Twilight Sparkle said, clearly stressed.
The Mane Six were gathered in Canterlot Castle’s dining room. They had been up most of the day, trying hard to figure out anything about the case. The large table was covered in papers, each one having a different theory about the mystery.
“Yawn When we all were called by the Princesses, Ah didn’t know we’d havta try and solve some big case,” Applejack said, very tired from the long day.
“Ugh We’ve been over this a hundred times now!” Rainbow Dash said with an annoyed tone in her voice. “And we still don’t have a single thing to go on!”
“And the Gala is tomorrow!” Rarity exclaimed. “If we do not solve this soon, those ponies will be in danger!”
“What I don’t get is why we don’t just warn those ponies and dragon, not to come?” Pinkie asked.
“It’s not that simple, Pinkie,” Twilight began. “Lord Ember might think that we are an unsafe country, and therefore might cut ties with us entirely.” The purple alicorn shook her head. “Plus, if the killer really wants them dead, they will be killed anyways.”
Pinkie shrugged. “Well, it still sounds like lazy writing,” she said.
“Wait, what?” Twilight exclaimed.
She was about to ask Pinkie about what she just said, when the doors opened and Princess Celestia walked in.
“I have some good news for you all,” Celestia said with a gentle smile. “I have brought in some professional help.”
Two stallions entered the dining hall behind Princess Celestia, both carrying luggage. One was a light brown Earth pony, with a blond mane and moustache. His cutie mark was a smiling face, and he was wearing a green suit coat with a brown vest under it.
The other stallion was a tall, light purple Earth pony with a brown mane and a bee for his cutie mark. He was wearing a plaid overcoat and, surprisingly enough, a matching deerstalker cap.
“This is Dr. John Trotson,” Celestia said, motioning to the mustachioed pony. “He was formerly a Royal Army medic.” She then pointed to the taller stallion. “And this is Sherclop Holmes.”
Twilight gasped. “You’re the Sherclop and Trotson?” she asked with a big smile on her muzzle. “The famous detectives from Trottinham?”
“Ah, so you’ve heard of us?” Sherclop said with an amused look on his face.
“Oh, where are my manners?” Twilight said, facehoofing. “My name is Twilight Sparkle.”
“Ah’m Applejack,” AJ drawled out.
“Um, I’m Fluttershy,” the yellow Pegasus mumbled.
“Hi!” Pinkie said, popping right in front of Sherclop and Trotson .
The two stallions staggered back in shock.
“H-how did you do that?” Trotson stammered out.
“I am not sure, really,” the pink pony said, scratching her chin. “My name is Pinkie Pie, by the way.”
“The name’s Rainbow Dash, proud member of the Wonderbolts!” the prismatic-maned Pegasus stated, puffing her chest out.
“Humph, the aerial “fighters” that never have to actually fight,” Dr. Trotson muttered under his breath.
“What was that?” Rainbow Dash queried.
“And my name is Rarity,” the white unicorn said, interrupting the cyan mare.
“Now that the formalities are over, I should like to get down to business,” Sherclop said. “I am here for a case, not to make friends.”
Princess Celestia chuckled. “Well, I believe you can do both,” she said, “but I understand. “ She turned to Twilight. “Will you help him with whatever he needs? I have some affairs I need to attend to.”
“Of course!” Twilight replied.
“Thank you, Twilight,” Celestia said, trotting out of the room.
Twilight turned to the light purple stallion. “Now, what do you need?”
“I would like to see the original letter, if I may,” Sherclop responded.
Twilight levitated said letter over to him. “Here you are."
Sherclop took the paper in hoof. The paper was new, seeing as there was no yellowing in the parchment. He took note of the watermark in the corner of the page. It was a bat with its wings spread out.
“What do you make of this, Trotson?” Sherclop asked his partner.
Trotson looked over Sherclop’s shoulder. “That looks like the symbol for the ‘Midnight Publishing’ company."
“What does that mean?” Rainbow Dash asked.
“This paper is very high quality,” Sherclop stated. “It's also costly. This means that whoever wrote this was probably a bit richer than most.” Sherclop shrugged. “It’s not much, but it’s a start.”
He looked over the note, then read the list of names targeted for death.
“Filthy Rich, Coloratura,” Sherclop read aloud.
“Otherwise known as Ra-Ra,” Pinkie interjected. Applejack ribbed her lightly, and nodded for Sherclop to continue.
He cleared his throat and resumed reading. “Fancypants, Dragon Lord Ember, and Upper Crust.”
Sherclop stroked his chin, deep in thought. “I still cannot see a connection between them,” he began. “However, reading the original letter has proved useful.”
“In what way?” Twilight asked.
“Well, if you look at the wording of the letter, you can tell that whoever wrote this was educated,” Sherclop stated, “but the penmanship of the writing itself looks like that of a younger pony. I am guessing that whoever wrote this is in high school, and judging by the slant of the words, I would say that they are right hoofed.”
“Incredible!” Rarity exclaimed. “You can tell all that just from reading that letter?”
Sherclop chuckled to himself. “It was nothing, really,” he said. “Just simple observations.” A frown spread across his muzzle. “However, this does not tell me who wrote this letter, nor who the killer will be and it is frustrating.”
Twilight nodded in agreement. “I know that this is troubling, but maybe if we sleep on it, something will come to us?”
Dr. Trotson glanced outside to see the moon shining in through the windows. “It is getting late, Sherclop. And we all need some rest so we can focus on the task on hoof.”
“I suppose that you are correct,” Sherclop replied. “Well, goodnight everypony.”
The group said their goodnights and each went to their own rooms.
Sherclop Holmes stayed awake, mulling over the case for the rest of the night.
_ _ _ _ _
Canterlot, the capital and pride of Equestria itself. Ponies would come from far and wide just to take in its beauty. In fact, there was a pony walking down the cobbled street right now, which was unusual, seeing as it was very late.
But this particular pony wasn’t here for the sights. This pony was here on business. And, for them, work was murder.
John Trotson’s eyelids fluttered open as rays of sunlight began shining in his face. He was thankful that the Royal Sisters had graciously provided a guest room for him and another room for Sherclop. Sherclop had a tendency to snore rather loudly.
Trotson sat up and looked about the bedroom. It was a simple, yet cozy room with a bed and a nightstand. There was an adjacent bathroom with a shower next to it. Trotson decided that he should clean himself before leaving the room. After all, a gentlecolt ought to always look their best, especially when meeting with royalty.
After a quick shower and throwing on a collared white shirt with a brown vest, he decided to head on down to Sherclop’s room and see if he was awake yet. Upon arriving at the room, he discovered Sherclop sitting cross-legged on the floor, smoking his pipe. His eyes were bloodshot and had heavy bags under them. Strewn around Sherclop were scraps of paper with his writing on them.
“Hello, Trotson,” Sherclop said, sounding very tired. “I was just reviewing the facts on this case, but I have yet to find--“
“Holmes,” Trotson interrupted with a tone of concern in his voice. “Did you get any sleep last night?”
“Bah!” Sherclop said, waving his hoof dismissively. “Solving this case is far more important than getting my rest.”
“If you don’t get some proper sleep, you won’t be able to think straight at the Gala this evening,” Dr. Trotson responded. “So as your friend and your doctor, I order you to get some rest.”
“But, nothing,” Trotson stated flatly. “You won’t be able to help this evening if you collapse on us.”
“Very well,” Sherclop grumbled as he began picking up his notes.
“Good,” Trotson said with a smile.
He closed the door and began trotting down to the dining hall. Sherclop was nothing if not persistent. When he started a case, he wouldn’t stop until it was solved.
Upon arriving at the dining hall, Trotson was greeted by the Mane Six, along with two others, a young dragon and a pink unicorn with a purple and teal mane.
“Hi there!” the purple dragon said. “The name’s Spike.”
“And I am Starlight Glimmer,” the pink unicorn said with a smile.
“They are here so that they can help us on this case,” Twilight explained.
“And because we had tickets to the Gala,” Spike stated flatly.
“Where is Sherclop?” Rarity asked Trotson.
“He is sleeping,” Trotson replied.
“Still?” Rainbow Dash asked, sounding suprised. “I would think somepony like him would be up already.”
“Well, he never actually fell asleep last night,” Trotson explained.
“So, he was up all night?” Fluttershy asked. “That doesn’t sound healthy.”
Dr. Trotson sighed. “I know, but Sherclop sometimes gets this way on important mysteries,” he said. “Once Sherclop takes a case, he sees it through.” Trotson stroked his mustache. “A few months ago, I had to give him sleeping pills after he had been awake for five days straight working on a foalnapping case.”
The group gave a collective gasp at what the doctor had just said.
“That is …” Twilight struggled to find the words.
“Dedicated?” Applejack suggested.
“Yeah,” Twilight replied.
Their conversations continued, the group talking about their adventures and misadventures until evening came and it was time to get prepared for the Gala.
_ _ _ _ _
One hour before the Gala
In the downtown part of Canterlot, there sits a hotel that has been there for years.
It had many visitors staying there for the Gala, diplomats, musicians, even the King of the Changelings was staying there. But this was the first time the hotel has had a professional killer stay there.
In one of the rooms was the killer in question. They sat before a mirror, dying their mane a different color. They leaned back and chucked.
'Not a bad disguise, if I do say so myself,' they thought to themselves.
The plan was simple. Go to the Gala in this disguise. Kill the targets. Slip out during the ensuing panic.
'This should be easy,' they thought. 'And if I do this right, I’ll get a nice big pile of bits.'
The killer looked at the clock.
A smile formed over their face.
'Show time,' they thought.
_ _ _ _ _
Meanwhile, at the castle
“So, let’s go over the plan one more time,” Sherclop said. “Each one of us will keep close watch on each of the targets and if any of us see anything odd, do not hesitate to take them out of the danger zone.”
The rest of the group nodded their heads, following along.
“Spike and Starlight, you will watch Lord Ember, Applejack and Princess Sparkle, you will watch Coloratura, Rarity, you will keep an eye on Upper Crust, Fluttershy and Pinkie will watch Filthy Rich and Dr. Trotson will watch Fancypants. Rainbow Dash, in case of an emergency, you will assist in the evacuation of everyone.” Sherclop took a deep breath.“Everypony understand?”
The group gave affirmation that they did.
“Any questions?” he asked.
Rarity raised her hoof.
“Yes, Miss Rarity?” Sherclop asked.
“You aren’t going to wear that, that hideous hat to the Gala, are you?” she asked, disgust in her voice.
Sherclop glanced at his deerstalker cap.
“Any other questions?” he said, irritated. When he heard silence, he nodded.
Dr. John Trotson looked about the ballroom. To say it was packed would be a gross understatement. Trotson was quite certain he had never seen so many ponies in one place! He felt a bit of uneasiness knowing that one of them may be a killer.
Trotson glanced at the pony he was told to watch over. Fancypants was his name. Trotson had spoken briefly with him, and he could tell Fancypants was different from the rest of the Canterlot elite. Not pretentious or condescending, but truly polite. And Fancypants’ wife, Fleur De Lis, also seemed quite pleasant.
Dr. John Trotson’s thoughts were interrupted by a very apprehensive cry of, “How dare you!”
He looked about until he found the source of the outburst. It was Rarity, who seemed to be in quite the heated argument with a white unicorn with a blond mane. The stallion had a haughty air about him, and it seemed Rarity was on the verge of losing it.
Trotson realized he must act quickly or there might be a scene. He grabbed a glass of punch and trotted over to the two unicorns.
“I swear you are the most uncouth pony in Equestria!” the blonde pony exclaimed.
“Uncouth? You of all ponies dare to call me uncouth?” Rarity practically shrieked. “Even though you are a prince, I ought to…”
Rarity was cut off by Dr. Trotson spilling his punch all over the white stallion.
The now dripping stallion looked at the doctor with anger in his eyes. “Do you realize what you have done, you oaf?” he said furiously. “This is a two thousand bit suit!”
“Oh, sorry,” Trotson said, struggling to hide a smirk. “How very, ahem, clumsy of me.”
The stallion stormed off, muttering obscenities. Rarity glanced at the doctor.
"Who was that?" Dr. Trotson asked.
“That was just Prince Blueblood, Princess Celestia's nephew,” Rarity said, rubbing her temple as if she had a headache. Smiling at Trotson, she continued, "Thank you for doing that, you are such a gentlecolt."
“Oh, it was nothing,” Trotson said, lightly blushing. “The stress of this case is getting to us all.”
Dr. Trotson glanced around.
“Speaking of which, where is your target, Rarity?” he asked.
Rarity pointed her hoof over to Upper Crust, who was currently talking with Fancypants and Fleur De Lis.
“He is over there,” she said. Frowning, she continued, “I do hope that Sherclop can solve this whole ordeal, it is simply dreadful.”
Dr. Trotson smiled calmly. “Don’t worry, he has solved a lot tougher cases than this,” he said. “I am sure Holmes can solve this one too.”
_ _ _ _ _
Sherclop Holmes was sitting near one of the stairwells, thinking. He stared out at the crowd, as though he were trying to decipher their thoughts.
“One of you is a killer, but why?” Holmes muttered.
He had a feeling that once the who was revealed, the why would also be revealed. But first, he had to find this killer and stop them. He had to think.
Sherclop closed his eyes and took a deep breath, and when he opened them, he began analyzing everything that he could. Even the smallest of details could reveal this killer. He then noted the light green unicorn mare trotting up the stairwell, carrying an umbrella, which some would think is unimportant.
‘But there hasn’t been any rain in the past few days, and no rain is scheduled for tomorrow either!’ Sherclop thought to himself.
He began following this pony, keeping just out of sight. He noted her gray mane and tail, the limp, and her cutie mark, a ball of yarn.
To the untrained eye, she would just look like somepony’s grandmother. But Sherclop was not untrained. The gray looked too rich to be from age, and the mark shone in the light too much, as though it were painted on.
‘A disguise!’ Sherclop thought. ‘Clever mare.'
The pony stopped at an interior balcony that overlooked the guests of the Gala. She glanced about, and Sherclop had to duck behind one of the castle’s columns to stay out of sight. When the unicorn mare was certain that there was no one watching, she pulled the cloth off the umbrella revealing it to be a rifle of sorts.The stock had a rounded wooden grip, so as to appear as a regular umbrella when covered.
‘Rifles are quite rare in Equestria,’ Sherclop thought to himself. ‘It is probably a griffin make.’
As the pony began to screw on a suppressor and make some adjustments to the rifle, Sherclop realized he had to act fast before she took the shot. Quietly, he slipped out of his hiding place and began to creep up on the unicorn mare.
_ _ _ _ _
The mare glanced about the ballroom, confirming the locations of all the targets. 'From up here, I can see all of them!' She thought to herself. 'I'll need to shoot quickly, before the guards realize what is happening. Fortunately, with this suppressor, combined with the noise of the crowd, I should be able to do this!
She held the grip in her magical aura, making the final adjustments to her rifle. 'Ugh, griffin rifles are so unreliable,' she thought. 'But, it will get the job done.'
She noted that two of the targets were close to each other. A grin formed over her face. 'Must be my lucky day'
She took steady aim, breathed deeply, and was about to take the shot when, suddenly, another pony tackled her to the ground! The impact caused her to drop the rifle and the stallion swatted it out of her reach. She began to grapple with him, trying to get the upper hoof. She decided to use a spell that caused a blinding flash of light. It temporarily blinded the purple stallion and she managed to throw him off. She picked up her rifle with her aura and took off running.
_ _ _ _ _
When Sherclop's vision returned, he caught a glimpse of the mare's tail as she ran around the corner.
Sherclop yelled down to Trotson on the first floor, "Trotson, I have found the killer!" and immediately took off after her.
Sherclop Holmes considered himself to be in good shape. But even he was having a rough time keeping up with the lithe unicorn mare. His heart was pounding as he sprinted down the vaulted marble hallways.
Suddenly, the unicorn stopped and turned around, pointing the rifle in Sherclop’s direction. Sherclop gasped and jumped behind one of the marble columns as the gun fired, barely dodging the round that ricocheted off the wall behind him. He peeked his head back out, and the mare shot again, this time nicking Sherclop’s ear.
'She’s a bloody good shot, that’s for sure,’ Sherclop thought ruefully, holding a hoof to his now bleeding ear.
Sherclop saw the guards galloping around the corner, and he called out, “NO! GET BACK!” The mare fired off two rounds at the approaching guards, but fortunately, they heard Sherclop’s cry and managed to duck behind cover, barely dodging the two bullets that hit the wall behind the guards.
The unicorn mare then turned down a set of stairs, and Sherclop took off after her, trying to ignore the pain from his ear. The mysterious mare turned right at the bottom of the steps and ran through a set of doors that went into the courtyard, Holmes staying as close as he could get. The unicorn sprinted up to an older brown stallion with a worn-out hat that was tending to some of the plants and grabbed him with her foreleg. She then raised her rifle with her aura, leveling it with the stallion’s temple.
“Don’t you take another step!” the mare yelled at Sherclop. “If you do, Gramps ‘ere will find lead in skull.” The poor gardener looked terrified, shaking in the mare’s grasp.
“Alright, I'm stopping!” Holmes replied, stopping in his tracks.
The unicorn grinned evilly. “Good, good. Now, I intend to trot away from ‘ere, with Gramps as my insurance policy,” the mare said, slowly backing her way past a fountain.
'If I lose her, we’ll never get to the bottom of this blasted affair!' Sherclop thought to himself.
“Wait!” he called out. “If I were you, I would look right behind you.”
The mare rolled her eyes. “You must take me as some kind of fool. You don’t-oof!” the mare grunted as Dr. Trotson rammed into the unicorn, knocking her into the fountain.
The blow also caused her to let go of the gardener and drop her rifle. Sherclop trotted over to it and quickly picked it up.
“Excellent timing, old friend,” Sherclop said with a grin.
“Just in the nick of time, I’d say,” Dr. Trotson replied. He then limped over to check on the gardener.
The mare sat up in the fountain, sputtering. The water was turning grey from her hair dye.
Sherclop leveled the rifle at her as Royal Guards galloped up beside him.
“Now, I do believe we have some questions for you,” Sherclop said with a grim stare.
Cold Case, Canterlot’s local forensics expert, carefully examines the unusual rifle that the would-be killer had. Considering the fact that Canterlot had very little real crime, the young, blue-maned unicorn only worked on call, and he spent most of his evenings with a cup of Earl Gray and some old novel.
But tonight was different. For this was the first time he had been summoned by the Royal Sisters.
“Note where the stock and grip would usually be on this rifle,” Cold Case said, gesturing to the Wingchester Lever-Action rifle that was lying on the steel table in front of him and his companions. The stock was removed and the grip was rounded to look like an umbrella’s handle.
The aforementioned companions were the police chief, Sherclop Holmes and Dr. Trotson. Cold Case was totally professional when he met Sherclop Holmes, even though his papers and thesis on the intermingling of science and deduction were what inspired Cold Case to go into the profession of forensics. Cold Case did not squeal like a fanfilly when he met Sherclop, and he didn’t ask for Sherclop’s autograph. After all, he is a professional.
“What do you recommend for ringing ears, Dr. Trotson?’ the police chief, Chief Bluecoat, asked Dr. Trotson. “I didn’t know a stallions pitch could go that high.”
“I think the noise will go away in about five minutes or so,” Dr. Trotson replied. “It usually does for me.”
Cold Case blushes a bit, embarrassed. “Okay, maybe I wasn’t a complete professional,” he thought.
“Hmm, judging by the way this grip looks, I deduce that our mystery mare probably made this herself,” Sherclop said, scratching his chin. “I can’t think of too many places that would make a grip of such a unique shape.”
“Speaking of whom, has our attempted murderess said anything useful?’ Dr. Trotson asked the police chief.
Chief Bluecoat chuckles, his horseshoe moustache quivering a bit with his laughter.
“Oh, she has said plenty,” he said. “Just nothing useful, unless you think her opinions on the police, the Royal Guard, and just about anything else that annoys her is useful.”
“Not particularly,” Sherclop muttered. “Have you made any progress in finding out her identity?”
Chief Bluecoat shook his head. “I have sent officers to hotels in the surrounding area, seeing if any of them recognize her. No luck so far.”
Sherclop took a closer glance at the rifle, and there seemed to be something that caught his eye. “Mr. Case, have you made a note of this aura dust?”
Aura dust is what is left over after a unicorn has handled an item with their telekinetic grasp. Every unicorn’s aura dust is unique, with a different color and a different symbol inlayed in the flecks of dust.
“Yes I have! It was a rather rare color as well,” Cold Case said. “It was a shade of light orange.”
Sherclop whips out his magnifying glass to take a look at the dust. After examining the rifle, Sherclop stood up straight and shouted, “EUREKA! I have it!”
Chief Bluecoat rubs his ear again. “Dr. Trotson, the ringing is back.”
“Sherclop, what do you have?” Dr. Trotson asked.
“The pattern on the dust flecks is a cross!” Sherclop said with a manic grin on his face. “Don’t you see it, John?”
“Not particularly, no,” Trotson muttered.
“Remember that Prench businesspony a few years back? The one who was shot through the head while he was on his morning jog?”
“Yes, I do. And I remember that a cheap Wingchester rifle was found in a dumpster about a kilometer away,” Trotson said, beginning to understand what Sherclop was talking about.
“And the firearm was covered in orange aura dust that had cross symbols in the flecks,” Sherclop said, nodding with approval.
“So this mare is the same one that killed that Prench fellow!” Trotson exclaimed.
“But what motive could she possibly have?” Cold Case butted in.
“That is the question of the hour.”
While the trio was discussing the case, a policemare trotted in and handed a note to Chief Bluecoat. After reading it, the chief cleared his throat to get the attention of the three stallions.
“We’ve got something. One of the workers at the Buckeley Hotel recognized our mare. They said that she checked in under the name Cloverbelle.”
“Cloverbelle,” Sherclop muttered.
“Does that name sound familiar to you?” Chief Bluecoat asked.
“I believe so.”
“Do you care to elaborate?” Chief Bluecoat pressed.
“Not until I am absolutely sure,” Sherclop said, shaking his head. “Is there any way I could talk with our culprit?”
Chief Bluecoat scratched his chin. “Normally we don’t allow civilians to talk with our detainees, but you are working on behalf of the Royal Sisters. Come with me.”
As Chief Bluecoat and Sherclop began trotting out of the room, Trotson called out, “Sherclop, what makes you think that she’ll talk to you?”
Sherclop turned around and gave Trotson a wry grin. “Call it a hunch, old friend.”
Chief Bluecoat trots down the marble hallway of the Canterlot Police Department, his hooves clicking with every step he takes. Following close behind the royal blue coated stallion is Sherclop Holmes, who seemed to be lost in his own thoughts.
"You seem preoccupied, Mr. Holmes," Chief Bluecoat said, glancing at the detective. "You haven't said a word since we left the forensics lab."
"What?" Sherclop muttered, shaking his head to refocus. "Sorry about that, just mulling the case over in my head."
"Understandable," Chief Bluecoat replied. "You said to Trotson that you have a hunch. Care to fill me in?"
"Not until I'm absolutely sure. Talking to the culprit may give me the information I need, or it may not. Frankly, this is a bit of a longshot."
Chief Bluecoat sighed. "Well, considering that our suspect is not saying anything useful, a longshot may be the only shot we have."
They walked up to a metal door at the end of the hallway. It was locked tight from the outside. Muffled voices came from within.
"Here's the interrogation room, Mr. Holmes," the police chief said. "Just past that door, our suspect is waiting."
"Is there anything I should know about her before I go in there?" Sherclop asked.
"She's got quite the mouth on her," Chief Bluecoat chuckled. Then his brow furrowed a bit as he added, "Also, she hasn't requested a lawyer yet, which is a bit odd."
"Curious," Sherclop muttered.
The police chief pulled a set of keys from off his belt and unlocked the door.
"Good luck, Holmes."
After a deep breath, Sheclop and the police chief stepped through the door into the interrogation room. The room was small, with only a steel table and two chairs as its furniture. On the left wall, there was a two-way mirror.
Occupying one of the chairs was the suspect. Her coat was light green in color, and her mane and tail were a bright yellow. Her eyes were amber and held a glint of amusement, almost as though this interrogation was nothing more than a game for her. Her cutie mark, which was the first thing Sherclop took a glance at, was a four leaf clover. There was a smug expression plastered on her face.
Sitting across from her was an Earth Pony police mare, who was looking increasingly irritated by the second. Her partner, an unshaven Pegasus stallion who was leaning against the two way mirror, looked mildly amused by the whole ordeal.
"Now listen here, Cloverbelle," the police mare started. "I don't know what you're up to, but if you have any common sense, you'll fess up! You were caught in the act! We just want to know why you did it!"
Cloverbelle chuckled a little bit.
"You're the detective 'ere, you figure it out," Cloverbelle said. "Maybe while you're at it, you can figure out where to find a decent hairdresser, you stupid rozzer!"
The police mare growled, her teeth grinding against one another.
"So help me, I'm going to-"
"Easy, Miss Copper Top," the Pegusus drawled. "Y'all need to calm down before you go an' do something foolish."
"I am calm, Crackdown!" the mare who was not calm at all snarled.
"That's right, listen to the country bumpkin ," Cloverbelle remarked.
"You know what? You are making me extremely peeved!" Copper Top shot back, slamming her hoof on the table. "And if the next words out of your mouth aren't an apology or a confession, I will plant my back hoof up your-" Copper looked over and saw Sherclop and Bluecoat standing next to her. "Oh, Chief Bluecoat! I, um..."
"It sounds like you could use a break, Officer Top," the police chief said with a slight smile. "Detective Crackdown, you should take one too."
Crackdown stood up straight and nodded.
"Come on, Miss Copper. Ah think there's some coffee in the break room."
"Coming," Copper muttered, getting up out of her seat. "I can't believe I transferred from Manehattan for this."
The two ponies walked out of the room, leaving Sherclop, the chief and the suspect.
"Chief Bluecoat, may please I be left alone with the suspect?" Sherclop inquired.
The police chief glanced between Sherclop and Cloverbelle.
"Well, you are working on behalf of the princesses. I'll give you ten minutes alone with her."
"Thank you, sir," Sherclop replied.
Chief Bluecoat glanced at Cloverbelle one last time, then trotted out and closed the door behind him.
Silence permeated the air for a minute, with only the sound of the heating unit kicking on to provide background noise.
"Well, what do you want, you bizzy?" Cloverbelle asked, breaking the silence.
"Language is a fascinating thing," Sherclop said, looking the mare in the eyes and making her squirm a little. "You can tell a lot about a being based on their accent and what phrases they use."
"What does 'at-"
"I wasn't finished yet," Sherclop interrupted. "As I was saying, language is truly fascinating. And very telling. Based on your Cockney accent, I guess that you grew up in Trottingham."
"La dee dah, you can tell one accent from another ," Cloverbelle said, rolling her eyes. "It's a neat skill, but it doesn't-"
"I'm still not done."
Cloverbelle folded her forelegs, getting rather tired of this whole charade.
"Bugger all, you don't shut up."
Sherclop began pacing about the small room.
"How old are you?" Sherclop queried.
"What sort of bloody question is 'at!?" Cloverbelle shouted. "I don't have to answer 'at!"
"It's no matter," Sherclop replied calmly. "I deduce from the 'Gallopvayne's Grooves' you have on your teeth that you are approximately thirty to thirty-five years old. That means that about nine years ago, you would be anywhere from twenty-one to twenty-six years old."
"Uh, what's so important about nine years ago?"
"Nine years ago was when the 'Coltenwell Crime Syndicate' was taken down. Numerous arrests were made, but even still, some members of the organization managed to slip away. One of whom was named 'Lucky Shot'. She was described as a green unicorn mare and a 'darn good shot', pardon my language. According to what records we could find, she was one of the syndicate's hit ponies."
"S-so?" the mare stammered. "There are a ton of green unicorns in Equestria."
"One of the members of the syndicate was going to testify in court. Unfortunately, while he was in a police carriage on his way to the trial, he was shot through the head from a nearby rooftop. Upon investigating it, they found a four-leaf clover, which was Lucky Shot's calling card. A four leaf clover, like the one on your cutie mark."
For a few moments, there was silence.
"S-speculation," the mare spat out, eyes darting back and forth. " 'At's all this is. You're just fishing an' looking for a reaction!"
"Maybe it's just speculation. But I know for a fact that your aura dust was found on a rifle in Prance, a rifle used to murder a businesspony. That is an unalterable fact."
There was another moment of silence.
"I know that you wouldn't have any real motive for attempting this crime unless you were hired," Sherclop said, looking the unicorn in the eyes. "Considering the high profile nature of this crime, your employer must have offered you a sizable reward, otherwise you wouldn't even dream of doing this. I deduce that the pony that hired you must be decently wealthy. Probably influential as well, considering they were able to get you Gala tickets."
"What's the point of all this?" the suspect asked. "You seem to have all this figured out. What do you need from me?"
"I need a name," Sherclop said. "The name of the one that hired you. If you do that, I'm certain that you will receive a lighter sentence."
After a moment of quiet contemplation, the unicorn looked at the two way mirror.