Clear as Blood: A Detective Rarity Mystery

by RB_

First published

Why can't eccentric billionaires ever have normal cases?

The crime? Burglary. The stolen goods? Nothing—or so the obscenely wealthy Duchess Clearglass claims. The culprit?

Well, that's Rarity's job. Whether she wants it to be or not.

Reading the previous story is not necessary to enjoy this one, but will provide additional context.

The Distressed Duchess

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“Help! Help! She’s trying to kill me!”

It was eight o’clock on the morning of Thursday, May the 12th, and someone, somewhere, was being murdered.

“Oh, stop being so dramatic.”

It was not, however, happening here.

“Help! Murder! Arson! Jaywalking!” Rainbow Dash screeched, clawing at her throat.

“Really, darling,” Rarity said, squinting through her sewing glasses as she adjusted the neckline that Rainbow Dash was doing her best to ruin. “This would go a lot faster if you would just keep still!”

The two were in the main room of the Carousel Boutique. Unusually for the two, it was Rainbow who was wearing the dress.

“It would be easier to keep still if this fancy frou-frou straitjacket of yours wasn’t so tight!” Rainbow said. “Why did you need me to model this again?”

“Because it’s been special-ordered by a pegasus client who matches your build,” Rarity answered, unpinning and re-pinning one of the folds. “Why did you volunteer?”

“Because I didn’t know you were planning on violating the Geneighva conventions today!”

“Oh, hush.”

Rarity made one last adjustment, then stepped back. She ran her appraising eye up and down the dress, and once she was satisfied, she nodded.

“There we are; that will be all, for the moment,” she said. Her horn lit, and the dress floated off of Rainbow’s shoulders. “Now, was that so bad?”


A tinkling from the front of the shop interrupted their banter; the bell over the entrance, announcing a new customer. Rarity slipped the dress-in-progress onto a hanger.

“Just a minute!” she called out in that sing-song-y way of hers. “Feel free to browse!”

After depositing her sewing glasses and tape measure on a side table and taking a moment to coif her mane, she trotted out into the storefront. Rainbow Dash, meanwhile, took the moment to refill her lungs.

It had been a month since their little adventure at Blueblood’s manor, and barring an incident at Wonderbolts HQ involving a raccoon and a large bowl of ice cream, not a single interesting thing had happened since. And the Wonderbolts incident didn’t really count, anyway. It had been a Tuesday. Odd things always happened at HQ on Tuesdays.

No, life had been rather mundane for the two of them as of late. No adventures, no murders, and certainly no surprise visitors—

“D-Duchess Clearglass!” came Rarity’s surprised shout, drifting in from the front. “It’s an honor!”

Rainbow’s eyebrows rose. Well now, that was something. She walked over to the door to the front of the shop and took a peek.

The mare Rarity was talking with was a unicorn of above-average height who kept her head held high and her nose firmly in the air—the telltale manner of a member of the Canterlot elite. And she almost certainly was one, given the way Rarity was fawning over her. The two beefy-looking stallions in guard uniforms standing on either side of her was a bit of a tip-off, as well.

“Yes, it is,” she was saying. “I’m looking for a ‘Miss Rarity’, a dressmaker. I was told I might find her here.”

“Why, you’re speaking to her,” Rarity said.

The Duchess smiled. “Wonderful. I have need of your services.”

Faster than Rainbow could blink (which was quite fast, indeed), a pair of ribbon tape measures began orbiting the duchess’ figure, taking measurements both obvious and esoteric (though mostly the latter; high fashion remains outside the comprehension of most ponies for a reason).

“Wonderful,” Rarity was saying. “What did you have in mind? A light summer dress to combat this heat? Or something special for a formal event? You of course would look wonderful in a ball gown, Your Grace, but with your figure, I’d say you could pull off anything. Perhaps you’d like to try something more modern, to shake things up a little bit? That would really get the commoners talking—”

Her measures were pushed aside.

“I’m not here for a dress,” the Duchess said. “It is your other services that I need use of.”

“Oh,” Rarity said. “I see. Come back after hours on Thursday.”

“Not those services, either,” the Duchess said, and her next words made Rainbow’s ears stand on end.

“The services I require are those of a detective.”

Rarity blinked. Her lips pursed.


“You are the master detective who unearthed that ghastly murder at Prince Blueblood’s manor, yes?” the Duchess asked. “The nobility is awash with rumors; I hope I haven’t been led astray…”

“Well, I can’t say that you have,” Rarity said. “But I’m afraid—”

“Not a chance!” Rainbow said, choosing that moment to fly into the room. “Rarity’s an awesome detective!”

She landed beside Rarity, who was shooting her a glare that would have withered roses. Rainbow, an equine, was unfazed.

“Oh?” the Duchess was saying. “And you are?”

“The name’s Rainbow Dash,” she said. “I’m like her assistant—”

“Since when?” Rarity muttered.

“—and I can say from personal experience that whatever rumors you’ve heard about Rarity’s detective skills are one-hundred-percent true!”

“Wonderful!” the Duchess said. “Then you’ll hear my case?”

“I’d like to hear those rumors first—”

“Of course she will!” Rainbow said. “Why don’t you come to the back of the shop?”

“Four nights ago,” the Duchess said, “my estate in the western hills was broken into.”

“I’m sorry to hear that,” Rarity said. They’d retired to her sitting room, and the three of them had reclined into chairs, Rarity and Rainbow on one side and the Duchess on the other. Rarity had made tea, which two of them were partaking in and the third was ignoring. The Duchess’ guards had remained by the front door.

“They came in through my dining room window,” she continued. “They threw a stone through it, then climbed inside. It was quite a large window, and on the ground floor, too; it would have been easy to enter through.”

The Duchess looked at Rarity expectantly. Noticing an apparent lack of interest in asking questions in the mare, Rainbow asked one for her.

“What did they steal?”

“Not a thing,” the Duchess said.

This seemed to capture Rarity’s attention at last, her ears flicking over. “Nothing?” she asked. “You weren’t robbed?”

“Nothing at all.”

“But the culprits entered your home?”

“They did.”

“I see,” Rarity said, settling back into her chair. Nevertheless, her gaze remained focused.

“Well, I don’t,” Rainbow said. “If nothing got stolen, why do you need a detective?”

“Isn’t it obvious?” Rarity said. “Clearly the break-in has caused her a great deal of emotional distress, which she is now seeking to alleviate by finding those responsible.”

“The question has been rendering me sleepless these last four nights,” the Duchess said, nodding. “I have spent a lifetime surrounding myself with riches. Even my dishtowels are worth hundreds of bits. One could stroll into my mansion, stuff their pants pockets, and leave with a fortune.”

Her expression turned sour. “So why was nothing taken? Was it somehow not good enough? Did the burglars find my estate lacking in some way? I must know.”

Rainbow blinked. Never had she met a pony so upset she hadn’t been robbed.

“I suppose you’ve gone to the police with this matter?” Rarity asked.

“Of course,” the Duchess replied. “And they’ve been no help whatsoever. Probably too busy ogling the farmer’s daughters down by the village to do any real work. Buffoons, all of them.”

“What time did the break-in occur?” Rarity asked.

“Around one in the morning.”

“And how do you know this?”

“My security staff reported it.”

Rarity paused to take a drink of her tea.

“So there are witnesses, then?”

“Yes,” the Duchess said. “One. Hobble Hooves, my former head of security. He heard the sound of a window breaking, and when he went to look, he saw two stallions running for the hedges.”

Former head of security?”

The Duchess snorted. “I wasn’t going to keep him on after this! I replaced him and his staff the next morning.”

“I see,” Rarity said. “Is he still around?”

“He’s still in the local village, yes. Probably drinking. He always did strike me as a drunkard. He was probably intoxicated on the job the night of the break-in.” She tittered. “Yes, I’m sure of it; he was drunk.”

“If he was a drunkard, why did you—”

“A-hem,” Rarity coughed. “Well, your situation is very interesting, your grace. One of a kind, if I may be so bold.”

“Does that mean you’ll take my case, then?” the Duchess said, eagerness in her voice.

Rarity smiled.

“I’m afraid not.”

A beat of silence.

“…Excuse us for one second, your, uh, duchessness,” Rainbow said, taking to the air. She grabbed Rarity by the shoulders and began pushing her towards the door. “Professional, uh… emergency meeting.”

“What are you doing!?” Rainbow hissed, once her wings had carried them both safely out of earshot.

“Declining the duchess’ case,” Rarity said. “I’d have thought that quite obvious. What are you doing?”

“Stopping you!”

She set Rarity down on the ground, landing next to her. “Rares, you’ve been acting super weird since the Duchess said she was looking for a detective,” she said. “What gives?”

“’What gives’,” Rarity said, brushing off her coat, “is that she’s looking for a detective.”


“So, Rainbow, I am not a detective. I am a clothesmaker. I make dresses, not deductions!”

“You made some pretty awesome deductions when you took down Wind Rider!” Rainbow countered. “Not to mention the stunt you pulled at Blueblood’s mansion!”

“Those were different,” Rarity said.

“Yeah,” Rainbow said. “This time you get to charge for it!”

“I don’t want her money,” Rarity said. “Rainbow, do you know who that mare is?”

“She’s some duchess or something, right?”

“That mare, Rainbow, is Duchess Clearglass.”

“Yeah, I got that part,” Rainbow said.

“Then you should know,” Rarity hissed, “that if I take her case and don’t solve it, my career could be over!

“Which one?”

All of them!”

Rarity peeked through the doorway, where the Duchess was still sitting with her tea, none the wiser.

“The Duchess commands a massive sphere of influence among the upper crust,” she said. “Even a passing mention from her can make or break a business. And she already has expectations of me! She thinks I’m some kind of great detective!”

“Rares, you are a great detective.”

“Your flattery, while appreciated, is not helping, darling!” Rarity said, grabbing Rainbow by the shoulders. “If I take her case and disappoint her, I’m done! Ruined! My shops will be out of business before you can say ‘bargain bin’!”

“Alright,” Rainbow said, pushing her off. “So don’t disappoint her, then!”

“I can’t take that risk!”

“Hell yeah you can!” Rainbow said. “Rarity, I don’t know if you’ve noticed this, but you’re really good at this stuff! Like, too good! It’s kind of freaky!”

“I told you, darling, flattery—”

“It’s not flattery,” Rainbow said. “I am flat-out telling you: what you did at Blueblood’s mansion? That was awesome. You are good at this, pony. And just think about what you’ll get when you solve the case!”

“Shame on you, Rainbow Dash,” Rarity said. “Suggesting I take advantage of that poor mare’s plight like this.”

“That mare is anything but poor! Did you see that necklace she’s wearing?”

“Perfectly cut diamond center, inlaid into platinum,” Rarity said. “Probably the work of Counter Cut, the Manehattan jeweler.”

“…Sounds like you saw it more than I did,” Rainbow said.

“One does well to pay attention to the details in this line of work.”

“Detecting or dressmaking?”

“Both. It’s still immoral.”

“When has that ever stopped us before?”

Rarity opened her mouth… closed it… then opened it again.

“While I see your point, let it be known that I still object to it.”

Her gaze grew thoughtful. “But perhaps… something more suitable could be arranged…”

Rainbow punched her lightly on the shoulder. “C’mon, Rares, you know you love doing this stuff.”

“Fine.” She rubbed her shoulder. “You don’t have to resort to physicality.”

“Does that mean—”

“I’ll take her case,” Rarity said. “But only because you give such a good pep talk.”

“It’s the Wonderbolts training,” Rainbow said. “By the way, do you really believe her about nothing being stolen?”

“I’m not sure yet. She certainly seemed sincere, but it’s just so strange...”

“Agreed,” Rainbow said. “Also, what were those other services you mentioned? I didn’t know you had a side business.”

“Oh, just a little community service,” Rarity said. “We live in a small country town of mostly mares. There are certain needs that need to be filled. Oftentimes literally.”

Rainbow’s eyebrows raised. “Really? I never pegged you for being into that sort of thing.”

Rarity shrugged. “We all have our duties. Now! I do believe we have a client waiting.”

Rarity strode back into the room, new confidence in her step, Rainbow following after her. The Duchess looked up expectantly at their approach.

“After some… consideration with my friend here,” Rarity said, striding back into the room, “I have decided that I will be taking your case after all, Your Grace.”


“However,” Rarity continued, “as I have just been reminded, I am only a detective when it suits me. I will need to ask for some compensation if I am to help you in this matter.”

“Name your price,” the Duchess said, but Rarity shook her head.

“No, no; I’ll only name it after I’ve solved your case.” She peered at the Duchess. “You’ll have to agree blindly, I’m afraid. Is that okay by you?”

“Absolutely,” the Duchess said. “Within reason, of course.”

“Of course.”

“Then it’s settled.”

“Expect to hear from us shortly,” Rarity said, then closed the shop’s door, leaving just her and Rainbow alone. She flipped the sign that hung in the window to closed.

“I need to pack,” she declared. “I suppose that is the one good thing about all this; I can actually bring my costumes this time.”

“We need to pack,” Rainbow corrected. “I’m coming too!”

“Well of course, darling,” Rarity said. “I’d have thought that obvious, seeing as someone appointed herself as my assistant—who was that, again? Now, the Duchess lives several hundred miles to the west, near Tall Tale. We’ll need to take the train. Pack for a few days and meet me back here in an hour. And don’t you dare be late!”

“C’mon, Rares, I’m the fastest pegasus in Equestria. When am I ever late?”

“Usually between eight in the morning and eight in the morning,” Rarity answered. “Now get going!”

The Esteemed Estate

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“So who is this Clearglass pony, anyway?”

Rarity squinted at her.

“Darling, I’m not sure if I’m more concerned by the fact that you don’t know who she is, or by the fact that you’re only just asking this now.”

Rainbow shrugged. Two feet below her, the wheels of their carriage trundled along the dirt road to the Duchess’ estate.

“The Duchess Clearglass is one of the most influential and wealthy ponies in all of Equestria,” Rarity said. “Her family has been a member of the noble class since the days of Princess Platinum. She’s rich to the point of obscenity, and what she wants, she gets.”

She bit her lip. “The Duchess is also, erm… a few sequins short of a dress, shall we say.”

“She’s a loon?”

“She’s a loon, yes,” Rarity said. “But she’s the kind of loon where, if she heard I’d said that, I’d be sewing dresses for sewer rats the rest of my life because they’d be the highest clientele I’d be able to get. So, try and be polite.”

Rainbow mock-saluted. “You got it, chief.”

“And don’t call me chief.”

“You got it, ma’am!”

“Don’t call me—ah, we’re here! We’ll work on this later.”

The door to the carriage opened, revealing a long pathway through a verdant garden which led to the door of a massive house the likes of which Rarity had only seen once or twice before. Both were framed by a large wrought-iron gate.

“Is that… actual silver lining the roof, or…?” Rainbow asked, peering out over her shoulder.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if it were platinum,” Rarity replied.

As the two stepped out of the carriage, they were met by a pair of stallions in well-pressed brown uniforms, who had been standing beside the gates.

“Hello, ladies,” the pegasus on the right said. “Names and business, if you would.”

“Rarity, investigating a break-in,” Rarity said. “And this is Rainbow Dash…”

“I’m assisting!”

“She’s assisting.”

“Oh, you’re that lady detective,” the unicorn on the right said. He held out a hoof. “Duchess Clearglass has been speaking highly of you. She says you’re the best.”

“Well, I’m flattered she thinks so highly of me,” Rarity said shaking his hoof. “And you two are…?”

“Brass Knuckle, ma’am,” the one on the right said. “And this is Kosh. We’re part of the Duchess’ private security team.”

“I see,” Rarity said. She eyed the brass buttons on their uniforms appreciatively. “You have very nice uniforms.”

“Thank you, ma’am. Custom-ordered by the Duchess.”

“I can tell. Tell me, were you two here—”

“Detective Rarity!” came a new voice from inside the gate, a stallion’s—or so Rarity thought, until she looked towards its source and found it to be a beak.

The griffon spoke with a slight accent, and he wore a slightly more elaborate version of the uniforms worn by the guards, specially-tailored for his larger size. He was also carrying a covered silver dish on his back as he hurried down the garden towards them.

“I’ve been asked to escort you to the Duchess personally,” he said, coming to a stop. He gestured towards the doors. “Follow me, if you would. The servants will take your luggage to your room.”

“Certainly. Come along, Rainbow.”

They followed him down the path, hoofsteps crunching on the gravel.

“So, a griffon, eh?” Rainbow said. “Don’t see many of you guys in Equestria! Are you from Griffonstone? I have some friends there.”

“Oh, no, I was born here,” he said. He spoke quite pleasantly. “Not far from here, actually. My parents were immigrants. I’ve been to Griffonstone to visit a few times, but… well, if you’ve been there, you know.”

Rainbow nodded. She did know.

Soon enough, they’d entered the mansion. More guards were positioned at the doors; they nodded to the griffon as he passed. The front hall was large and spacious, with floors made of marble and two large staircases on either side, carpets the color of roses flowing down each. They led up to a second-floor balcony which overlooked the room. And, standing on the balcony, Rarity could see a mare and a stallion.

The mare, a pegasus, was looking down at them curiously, like a zoo-goer admiring an exotic specimen in a tank. And with his wild mane and unkempt beard, the unicorn stallion looked as though he might have been such a specimen.

At their approach, the mare spread her wings and flew down to meet them, her yellow sundress billowing behind her. “Hello!” she said. “Are you the new guests?”

“With any luck, only temporarily,” Rarity said. “This is Rainbow Dash, of the Wonderbolts, and I am Rarity, of Carousel—”

“Oh, you’re the detective!” the mare interrupted. Rarity blinked.

“Er… yes, for the moment,” she said. “And you are?”

“Oh, I’m sorry! Sleepy Hollow, I’m a guest of the Duchess’s.”

“And quite the accomplished actress as well, if I’m not mistaken,” Rarity said. “Or am I thinking of a different Hollow?”

Sleepy Hollow laughed. “No, that’s me! But I’m on an indefinite vacation at the moment. How long will you be staying with us?”

“Just for a few days at the most,” Rarity said. “I’m investigating that break-in from a few nights ago.”

“Oh, of course, of course,” Sleepy said. “Well, it will be nice to have a few more mares around to talk to. Besides the Duchess, it’s just me and Scribble up there, and he’s not much of a conversationalist.”

She nodded in the direction of the stallion, who was still watching them from the balcony.

“I see,” Rarity said. “Well, we were just on our way to meet with the Duchess—and I think our griffon friend here is growing a bit impatient.”

“Oh, don’t mind him, he’s a sweetheart under all those feathers,” Sleepy said. “But I’ll let you get on. Don’t be a stranger, now!”

“Of course.”

The griffon led them through the main hall, then to the right, and finally into an elaborate dining room. And sitting at the end of the table in the center of the room was the Duchess.

“Ah, Miss Rarity,” she said. “So glad you could make it. And in such a timely fashion, too!”

“Well, I’d hardly want to keep you waiting,” Rarity said.

“Please, sit, sit.”

“And your scones, your grace,” the griffon said, sweeping the dish off his back and onto the table. With one talon, he removed the cover, revealing a plate of the baked goods.

“Lovely,” the Duchess said. “Thank you, Godfried. That will be all.”

“Very good, ma’am.” He nodded and left, his lion’s tail sweeping through the air behind him. The dining room’s doors shut with a click.

“Who was that?” Rarity asked, taking her seat at the end of the table with Rainbow doing the same beside her. “I didn’t catch his name.”

“Oh, Mr. Gentle? He’s the new head of security. And so far, he’s done a far better job than his predecessor!”

“Oh?” Rarity asked. “How can you tell?”

“Well, it should be obvious,” the Duchess said. “The break-ins stopped when I hired him.”

“I thought there was only one break-in?” Rainbow asked.

“There was,” the Duchess said. “And there hasn’t been a second since I hired Mr. Gentle. Scone?”

“I’d be delighted,” Rarity said. She took the proffered pastry. “Though I must say, I’m surprised you have your head of security delivering your tea.”

“Well, what else should he be doing?” the Duchess replied. “If I didn’t give him and the rest of the staff things to do, they’d just be standing around all day, wouldn’t they?”

Rainbow leaned in and whispered into Rarity’s ear: “No wonder there was a break-in—the gate guards were probably busy doing her laundry!”

Oh hush,” Rarity said, waving the snickering Rainbow away. To the Duchess, she said: “We passed two other ponies on the way in, a mare and a stallion. Who are they?”

“Oh, you must mean Scribbled Page and Sleepy Hollow. They’re guests of mine. They’ve both been staying at the estate for some time now.”

“I see,” Rarity said. “So! Shall we get to business, then?”

“Of course. Where would you like to begin?”

“Why don’t you walk me through what happened on the night of the break-in?” Rarity said. “Then you can show me where it occurred, and after that, I’d like to talk to the witness.”

The Duchess nodded. “Certainly.”

“It was four nights ago, and I had retired to bed at my usual time of eight o’clock in the evening. I was rudely awakened several hours later by a guard and told that there had been an incident.”

“When was this?” Rarity asked. She took another bite of the scone. Raspberry. Exquisite.

“Oh, it must have been around three in the morning.”

“And the break-in itself?”

“I was told it occurred half an hour earlier.”

“And that was when your previous head of security, Mr. …”

“Hobble Hooves,” the Duchess supplied.

Rarity nodded. “Yes, Mr. Hobble Hooves. That was when he saw the intruders running?”


“And what did you do then?”

“Well, I sent for the police,” the Duchess said. “I touched nothing until they arrived—so as not to interfere with the crime scene, you understand—but I did go to see what had been stolen, which is when I discovered that nothing had.”

“And you’re quite sure of that, yes?” Rarity asked.

“Absolutely certain. I’ve been through the entire mansion several times. Twelve, to be precise. And I had my servants go through seven more. There is not a single mote of imported dust unaccounted for.”

As Rainbow mouthed the words “imported dust,” Rarity nodded. “And the police, what did they do?”

The Duchess scoffed. “Why, barely anything! They had a quick look around the room in question, but when they found out nothing was stolen, they left without so much as an assurance that they would find the culprits!”

She set her teacup down on the table. “Why, it wouldn’t surprise me if they were in on it, the way they acted. Yes, now that I think of it, I’m certain this is their doing somehow! Miss Rarity, you must bring this conspiracy to light!”

“I will take your theory into consideration,” Rarity said. She popped the last of the scone into her mouth (daintily, of course), and stood. “Now, why don’t you show us to the scene of the crime?”

The sitting room was a nice, cozy place. Two chairs and a pair of luxuriously upholstered couches took up the middle of the room, arranged tastefully around a coffee table that looked to have been carved from a single solid piece of mahogany. The carpet was Purrsian, the wallpaper accented with gold leaf. An empty fireplace sat on one side of the room, grand and welcoming. Even in the summer heat, it seemed to invite a fire. Well-stocked bookcases lined the closer wall, glass cases full of various odds and ends the other.

A pity, then, about all the glass on the floor. Nothing quite ruins a cozy atmosphere like broken glass.

“I’ve left it just as it was four nights ago,” the Duchess said. “Not a thing has been moved, per my instructions. I’ve even kept the maids out.”

“Impressive,” Rarity commented. “Most ponies would have boarded up the windows, at least.”

“Ah, but I am not most ponies.”

“You sure aren’t,” Rainbow Dash said. “You’re one-of-a-kind, your duchessness.”

“Why thank you.”

When the Duchess wasn’t looking, Rarity shot Rainbow a glare. Rainbow shrugged and stuck her tongue out.

“A-hem,” Rarity coughed, drawing the Duchess’s attention before she could see. “If you wouldn’t mind leaving us to our work, your grace, it makes it much easier…”

“Oh, certainly, certainly,” the Duchess said. “If you need me, simply find one of the servants. I look forward to hearing your conclusions.”

She departed, leaving Rainbow and Rarity alone.

“You weren’t kidding about her,” Rainbow said.

“Of course I wasn’t,” Rarity said, starting forwards, being careful of where she trod. “Help me search, will you? But try not to disturb anything. We don’t want our patron’s efforts to go to waste.”

“Sure,” Rainbow said. She took to the air, hovering just above the ground. “What am I looking for?”

“Anything out of place, unusual, or otherwise odd,” Rarity said. “As I’ve said before, the devil is in the details, and in the details, we’ll find the devil. We must leave no shard of glass unturned!”

“…I thought you said not to touch anything?”

“It’s a figure of speech, darling.”


And so they began searching the room, Rarity working methodically along the ground and Rainbow making large sweeps from the air.

And yet…

“Rares, I’m not seeing any devils.”

“I told you, darling, it was a figure of speech.”

“No, no, I get that,” Rainbow said. “I mean I’ve gone over the whole room three times, and I haven’t spotted anything odd, unusual, or that other thing you said.”

“Unfortunately, the only thing I’ve found isn’t very telling, either” Rarity said, sighing. “Perhaps we should take a step back and look at the bigger picture.”

“Yeah, sure—wait, you found something?”

“Here,” Rarity said, gesturing at a patch of glass. “Someone—or someones—stood here. This glass is crushed into the carpet, here and here, and there’s some dirt and mud mixed in as well. There are a few spots like it; I suspect they were wearing boots.”

“Well, that’s something!”

“Don’t get too excited,” Rarity said. “I assume this is how the Duchess knew that someone had been in here, and the police probably found it, too. Assuming, of course, that the Duchess was exaggerating about their lack of efficacy. All this does is confirm what she already told us.”

She made her way over to the entrance, and was shortly joined by Rainbow, who touched down beside her. She gazed over the room in its entirety.

“Well, the window was certainly broken from the outside,” she said. “We’re on the first floor, though, so that doesn’t mean much.”

She frowned. “It must have made an awful noise when it shattered. Can you imagine? I’m surprised the Duchess didn’t wake up.”

“You think that means anything?”

Rarity just frowned harder. She continued to stare at the scene.

“Well, I can say one thing with almost complete certainty,” she finally said, “Our culprits were pegasi.”

Rainbow’s eyebrows raised. “How do you figure?”

“They didn’t bother to knock out any of the glass from the bottom of the pane,” she said. “An earth pony or a unicorn would have, so they could climb in without cutting themselves. Unless they can teleport, of course, in which case we might as well give up now.”

“But a pegasus could have just flown in,” Rainbow said.


“Then why didn’t they take anything?” Rainbow asked. She flew over to the display shelves. “This stuff all looks valuable… I mean, look at this!”

She picked up a beautifully stained wooden clock, with a pair of shining brass hands reading one thirty-five. One of many fine items on the shelves.

“That’s got to be worth something!”

“No doubt,” Rarity replied. “This whole situation gets odder and odder. Now put that back, before you break it!”

“Sheesh, fine,” Rainbow said, setting the clock back on the shelf. Then: “Hey, what’s this?”

She swooped down to one of the side tables. Rarity followed her with interest.

The table itself had several books stacked atop it—and, sitting atop one of them, a silver-coloured envelope. It was this which Rainbow snatched up. Her eyebrows shot up as she read the name on the front.

“It’s… for you,” she said.


“Yeah. Here.”

Rarity took the envelope. It was, indeed, addressed to her, her name written on the side in elegant cursive. Carefully, Rarity plied open the flap with her magic and pulled out the sheet of paper tucked inside.

“So?” Rainbow asked, hovering over her. “What is it?”

“Nothing of importance,” Rarity said, after a moment. She tucked the letter back into the envelope and left it where they’d found it.

“I don’t think we’re going to find anything else here,” she declared.

Alright, Rainbow said. “So, what next?”

“We shall head into town and speak with our witness,” Rarity said. “With any luck, he’ll have something new to add. But first…”

She got a giddy look in her eyes.

“It’s time to change!”

“Aren’t you hot in that?”

Rarity wiped the sweat from her brow.

“Of course not, darling,” she said. “Besides, if I’m going to be playing detective, I must look the part.”

“But, really?” Rainbow said. “A trenchcoat? At this time of year?”

“Trenchcoats are in style year-round, darling,” Rarity said. “Now, come; we have a witness to question.”

The two had just arrived in the village, having taken the dirt path there under directions from one of the guards.

“Rather rustic, isn’t it?” Rarity remarked, her hooves clopping on the cobblestones.

“No, Ponyville is rustic,” Rainbow said. “This place is backwater.”

“Well, I think it’s charming.” She spotted a local, sweeping his shopfront. “Ah! You there! Would you mind giving us directions? We’re looking for the abode of a mister ‘Hobble Hooves’.”

“Down this street, hook a left, it’s the inn on the corner,” the stallion said. “Can’t miss it.”

“Thank you!” Rarity turned back to Rainbow. “See? The locals are charming, too.”

“That’ll be two bits.”

Rarity blinked. “…Come again?”

“Two bits,” the stallion said. “For the directions.”

“Charming, huh?” Rainbow said, as Rarity reached for her purse.

“Here,” she said as she offered the bits, a look of mild disgust on her face. “And I’ll give you another two for any local gossip concerning the Duchess Clearglass.”

The stallion snorted. “Easiest four bits I ever made. Local gossip is that she’s a loon and that we all hate her. Can I relieve you of any more of your money? Maybe you’d like to know what time of day it is? The weather?”

“No, thank you,” Rarity said. She looked him over, frowned, then peered past him into his shop. “Perhaps you’d like to know why you receive more customers when your wife runs the till than when you do?”

The stallion blinked. “How’d you know…?”

“I’m a detective,” Rarity said. “Do you, or don’t you?”

“Of course I do!”

“It’s because she knows better than to mix burgundy with light green,” Rarity said, tapping the stallion’s vest. “I’m also a fashion designer. That’ll be four bits.”

“Okay, so perhaps not quite as charming as I’d imagined,” Rarity said as they walked away, putting her restored purse back in the pocket of her coat as she did so. “But at least we know where we’re going now. Ah, and here we are!”

After a quick chat with the inn’s clerk, the two climbed their way up to the second story, where Hobble Hooves’ room stood. Rarity rapped on the door.

“Mr. Hooves?” she said, when no one answered after a few seconds. “Are you home? We’d like to ask you a few questions…”

Still no response. Rarity glanced over at Rainbow.

“Maybe he’s out?” Rainbow said, shrugging.

Frowning, Rarity tried the handle. It turned easily in her magical grasp.

Once again, Rarity shot Rainbow a look. This time it was one of concern.

Slowly, she turned the handle. Then, on some unannounced signal, she threw open the door.

The two of them stopped dead.

There, lying on the floor in a puddle of dried vomit, empty bottle of liquor at his side, unseeing eyes open and staring glassily up at them, was what remained of the pony they’d come to see.

Rarity stared dumbly at the corpse for a few moments.

“Well,” she said. “I do believe things just got interesting.”

The Drunkard's Deception

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“Is he… dead?” Rainbow asked.

“It certainly smells like it,” Rarity coughed. Her pale face began turning the colour of pea soup. “Perhaps you should ask the swarm of flies crawling over him, I’m sure they’d… urp… know.”

They stood there for a moment, just staring.

“Well, uh… after you,” Rainbow said.

“No, after you darling. I insist.”

“You’re the detective!”

“And I thought you were my assistant?”

“I quit.”

“Fine, fine,” Rarity said. She pulled a handkerchief from her coat pocket and held it over her nose and mouth. “I’ll… see about opening a window. Or something.”

Taking a deep breath (and a moment’s hesitation), Rarity plunged into the room.

Hobble Hooves’ home could have been described in many ways, but ‘luxurious’, ‘opulent’, or ‘lived-in’ would not have been any of them. In fact, the two-room abode was very sparse, containing only the kind of furniture one would expect to be provided by the inn, with only one or two personal touches that easily blended into the surroundings.

Aside from the bottles, of course.

Strewn about the room were empty bottles of liquor, whiskeys of a variety of heritages. Rarity had to take care not to trip over them as she staggered, eyes bulging, over to the only window.

Flipping the latches open with her magic, she yanked the window open as wide as it could go and thrust her head into the open air. The sounds of retching filled the room as Rainbow began flapping her wings, creating a breeze and forcing the stench of death and vomit out.

“Geez,” she remarked, still flapping. “I guess the Duchess was right about his drinking. Just look at this place! It’s worse than Twilight’s castle on Hearts and Hooves day!”

“Or your house on Hearts and Hooves Day,” Rarity replied weakly, pulling her head back through the window. “Ugh… Has Cherry Berry forgiven you for raining vomit on her roof yet?”

“She still throws pits at me every time she sees me,” Rainbow said. “Which she does every Wednesday. Because she flies her balloon up to my house. With a bucket of cherry pits. She’s figured out how to hit me through the walls now, you know.”

“Good aim, that mare,” Rarity said. “It’s a good thing we don’t live in glass houses, hm?”

“No kidding—hey!”

Rarity chuckled. “Now, let’s see about that body—hello, what’s this?”

She was referring to a plant, set in a pot on the windowsill. Horn glowing, she picked a leaf off and crushed it, then held it up to her nose and inhaled.

“Basil,” she declared. A curious look ran over her face. She dipped her hoof into the plant’s soil; it came out smudged black.

“Uh, Rares?” Rainbow said. “Dead body?”

“Right, right.” Wiping her hoof off with the handkerchief, she left the window and walked over to the body. Lowering her head to his chest, she listened for a heartbeat.

“He’s dead,” she said. She sniffed—and gagged. “And he smells like a distillery. Honestly, have some ponies never heard of a breath mint?”

“A what?”


“Looks like he had a little more than he could handle,” Rainbow said.

“It does indeed. Look, his fetlocks are bruised, as well.”

“Probably knocked into something,” Rainbow said. “On account of being drunk out of his mind. How much do you think he had in him?”

“Far more than he should have.”

After another moment, Rarity stood up. She took another glance around the room—and then something caught her eye.

It was a silver flask, a hip flask, with an elaborate pattern imprinted into the side. Rarity strode over to the nightstand that it sat upon and lifted it into the air. From inside it came the sound of sloshing liquid.

Frowning, Rarity unscrewed the cap. She took a sniff of the contents, then lifted it up to her lips and took a sip.

“Tonic water?” she said. “What kind of alcoholic keeps tonic water in their hip flask?”

“This kind, apparently.”

Rarity’s frown deepened.

“I think,” she said, “it’s time we fetched the police.”

“Poor bastard,” the Constable remarked, watching as two stallions carried out the body.

It was a short while later, and Rainbow had fetched the local policeman. While Rainbow had been gone, Rarity had taken the opportunity to speak with the neighbors—who, unfortunately, had not been around to answer.

The constable was a very spherical fellow, with round cheeks and an even rounder belly. His face had plenty of laugh lines, but he wasn’t making use of them now.

“Loses his job, now this,” he said. “Poor bastard.”

“Did you two know each other well?” Rarity asked.

“As well as any two village boys can,” the Constable said. “He was a good stallion. Never thought he’d go out like this.”

“Oh?” Rarity said. “What makes you say that?”

The Constable looked at her oddly. “What’s that supposed to mean?”

“Well, I was just wondering,” Rarity said, innocently. “If he had this much of a drinking problem, you might have suspected—”

“Drinking problem?” the Constable said, outraged. “I should have you arrested for saying that! I’ll have you know, Hobble never touched the stuff!”

“Uh… dude?” Rainbow said. “It sure looks like he did to me.”

The Constable grew flustered. “Well… this must have been new. Probably picked it up after he got fired. Lord knows that if I had to spend as much time with Clearglass as he did, I’d have stuck my head down a bottle’s neck a long time ago.”

“Funny,” Rarity said. “She seemed to be under the impression that he already had.”

He shook his head. “He hated the stuff, and that’s a fact.”

“What makes you so sure?”

“I was the one who bought him his first pint!” the Constable said. “No stallion could fake the expression on his face when he drank that down. Poor guy looked like he’d taken a drink from a toilet he’d forgotten to flush!”

Rarity gagged.

“Yes, like that, exactly!”

“Anyway,” he continued. “From the way you speak of her, you must be one of Clearglass’s ponies.”

He eyed her up and down. “Should have known, dressed like that.”

“There is nothing wrong with wearing a trenchcoat in the middle of the summer!” Rarity snapped. “And we aren’t one of anyone’s. The Duchess has hired us to look into a matter, that’s all.”

“So, what, you’re some kind of detectives?”

“Something like that,” Rarity said. “My name is Rarity; this is my assistant, Rainbow Dash.”

Recognition flashed in the Constable’s eyes. “Hang on a minute—you’re that lady detective, the one who solved that case at Blueblood’s mansion!”

“Oh?” Rarity said, surprised. “You’ve heard of me?”

“A cousin of mine helped make the arrests,” he said. “Word travels fast between family. You’re here on a case? Is this about that break-in up at Clearglass’s last week?”

“Indeed it is.”

“Well, then I’m sorry you had to waste your time,” he said.

“You sound as though you’re familiar with the case.”

He snorted. “I was one of the officers sent up there when it happened. And let me tell you, it wasn’t worth the overtime.”

“Really? The Duchess claims you did very little.”

The constable snorted. “Oh, did she now? Then I suppose the seven hours I and the rest of the boys spent up at her mansion combing over the entire grounds for any sign of her ‘burglars’ didn’t count to her, then?”

“It seems not,” Rarity said. “And did you find anything?”

“We found a broken window,” he said. “And that’s about it. We figured it was probably just a couple of boys from one of the nearby villages committing some harmless mischief.”

He sighed. “Honestly, I was hoping you were here on more serious matters.”

“Like what?” Rarity asked.

“Rumor has it the Malarkey Crew’s been seen in this area.”

Rainbow crooked an eyebrow. “The what?”

“Darling, you really must start reading the papers,” Rarity said. “They’re a gang of crooks, professional thieves. They’ve been making a living robbing ponies blind across western Equestria for the last few months.”

“A gang of super thieves?” Rainbow smirked. “Sounds like a load of mal—”

“Time and place, darling,” Rarity said. She turned back to the Constable. “Do you think they could have had anything to do with this?”

“With the break-in, you mean?” He snorted. “If only! It’d certainly get the Duchess off our backs if we could say it was. You know, she’s been sending ponies down here at all hours of the morning, demanding we take another look around in case we missed something? If she wasn’t who she is, I’d have thrown her in a cell for harassment!”

He put his hoof down. “No, this was too messy to be one of theirs. They’re professionals, you see. It doesn’t match their MO.”

“Still, it’s certainly a big coincidence,” Rarity said.

“And that’s all it is,” he said. “And—”

“Excuse me!” came a voice from the doorway. They all turned and looked. It had come from a mare Rarity recognized as the Innkeeper.

“Could someone be a dear,” the Innkeeper said, “and please tell me why a dead body was just dragged through my lobby?”

“Sorry, Wick,” the Constable said. “Hobble drank himself out.”

Her hoof flew to her mouth. “That’s horrible! He still owed me for the last three nights!”

“Ma’am, would you mind if I asked you a question?” Rarity said, stepping forwards. “Did you see anything unusual this morning? Any odd characters lurking about, anything?”

“Hm?” The Innkeeper tapped her hoof to her chin. “Well… there was one pony. Came in here with a crate on their back. I assumed it was a delivery for one of the guests.”

“What did they look like?” Rarity asked. “Mare? Stallion?”

“I can’t say,” the Innkeeper replied. “I wasn’t paying much attention.”

Rarity sighed. “Well, thank you anyway.”

She turned to the Constable. “We’ll be heading back to the estate; send someone up if you find anything else.”

“I don’t think this was an accident,” Rarity declared.

She and Rainbow were back on the dirt path that led from the village to the estate, this time headed towards the Clearglass residence.

“Well, yeah,” Rainbow said. “Kind of hard to down half a distillery on accident.”

Rarity shook her head. “I don’t think it was intentional on Hobble Hooves’ part, either.”

“What do you mean?”

“Well, it’s inconsistent with his character,” she said. “Unless we follow the Duchess’ opinion of Mr. Hooves, of course, but I’m more inclined to believe the Constable’s. Then there’s the timing of it. It’s too perfect.”

“Go on…”

“Well, he died this morning,” Rarity said. “Quite possibly while the Duchess was visiting us. That’s too much of a coincidence.”

“Hold up,” Rainbow said. “How do you know he died this morning? Did you smell that place? He must have been there for days!”

“The summer heat and lack of ventilation can account for that,” Rarity said. “Besides, there’s the basil on his windowsill.”

“The basil?”

Rarity nodded. “Basil is a very delicate plant, especially when kept in small pots. It needs to be watered several times a day to keep the soil moist or it will wilt. If Hobble Hooves had been dead for very long, the plant would have been in much poorer condition because there would have been no one to water it. Additionally, the soil in the pot hadn’t yet fully dried out, even with this heat.”

“…Huh,” Rainbow said. “How do you know all that?”

“One of the many benefits of growing up in an earth pony town,” Rarity said. “But you see what this means, yes?”

“That maybe I should pay attention next time Applejack gets into one of her farming monologues?”

Rarity scoffed. “Oh, heavens, no; Applejack may be a dear, but she’s no horticulturist.”

“Why do you say that?”

“Darling, she harvests her crops by kicking them.

“Point taken.”

Rarity nodded curtly. “Now, as I was saying: the timing of his death indicates that Hobble Hooves was almost certainly killed to prevent us from talking to him, which means whoever was behind it knew that we were coming. Which, of course, means that whoever may or may not have robbed the Duchess is likely still around.”

She came to a stop, the wrought-iron gate of the mansion in sight up ahead.And what’s more, I’d be willing to bet they’re inside the estate!”

“No way!” Rainbow said, her wings fluttering. “Then… you think it was that mare, Sleepy Hollow? Or that other stallion who was on the balcony?”

“We shall see,” Rarity said. “For now, I think we have some new suspects in need of questioning.”

She shivered. “But first, I think I’ll need to take a shower. A very long shower. With lots of little soaps.”

“Good idea.”

The Residents' Ramblings

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“Could you give me a quick summary of your activities today?” Rarity asked, mane freshly washed and curled and smelling slightly of lavender.

They were back in the estate, in the same dining room they had met the Duchess in earlier. However, it was not the Duchess they were talking to now.

“Certainly,” Sleepy Hollow said. “Let’s see… well, I woke up around nine, and had breakfast… I was alone then, no one else showed. After that, I decided to go down and spend some time in the village.”

“So, you visited the village this morning?” Rarity asked. “What for?”

“Well, I thought I might do some shopping… some of the Duchess’ staff were bringing a wagon down there to pick up groceries, you see, so I rode with them. That’s where I got the idea.”

She sighed. “This estate is lovely, but one does get tired of all the finery after a while.”

“I couldn’t agree less,” Rarity said. “Did you buy anything while you were there?”

“No, unfortunately,” Sleepy Hollow said. “In fact, I only visited one store, and then I decided I’d had enough.”

“Really? And why is that?”

“The owner,” Sleepy said. “He was very rude to me, especially after I mentioned that I was a guest of the Duchess. And he had just the ugliest vest on…”

“Yes, I do believe I can relate,” Rarity said, distaste dripping from every syllable. “After you left his shop, what did you do?”

“Well, I decided to walk back to the estate to clear my head.”



“And what time did you arrive back?” Rarity asked.

“Eleven o’clock, on the dot,” she said with confidence. “I remember because the clock chimed just as I walked through the door. After that, I went to my room and read until lunch, when the Duchess announced that we’d be having a visitor.”

“You mean me,” Rarity said.

“Well, I didn’t know it at the time,” Sleepy Hollow replied. “The Duchess was rather secretive about who it was—but yes, she meant you.”

“Really?” Rarity said. “And she hadn’t mentioned me before?”

Sleepy laughed. “Oh, no, she talks about you all the time! Well, for the last week or so, anyway. In retrospect, it should have been obvious who she was inviting. She’s quite enamored with you, I think.”

“I don’t know why she would be,” Rarity said. “Flattering as it may be.”

“The Duchess has a habit of… fixating on extraordinary ponies,” Sleepy said. She smiled. “Before you, it was me. She saw a performance of mine, some time ago; the next day, I found a little silver envelope in my mailbox. I’ve been a frequent guest of hers ever since. Once you’ve caught her interest, she’ll do anything to have you in her circle.”

“And when did she… fixate on me?”

“I believe it was at the party she hosted, two weeks ago,” she said. “Lots of guests from the nobility. Who, as you probably know, are notorious gossips. You came up.”

“I… see,” Rarity said. “Well, I’ll just have to make the most of it, then. You say you are a frequent guest of the Duchess’s? Were you here on the night of the break-in?”

“I was.”

“Could you go over what happened, then, from your perspective?”

Sleepy Hollow took a sip of her drink.

“Well, I’m afraid I slept through most of it,” she said. “My room is the furthest from the sitting room, so the commotion didn’t wake me. I only heard about it the next morning. You should ask Mr. Page; I believe he was awake.”

“I plan to,” Rarity said. “What about after?”

“One of the servants woke me,” she said. “The police were taking statements. They wanted to speak with everyone present. Not the most pleasant of wake-up calls.”

“What was your opinion of the investigation?”


“And since the break-in, what have you been up to?”

“Lounging around the estate,” she said. “Pardon me, but I can’t help but notice you’re asking a lot more questions about me than you are about the actual case, Miss Rarity. Do you suspect me of something?”

“Should I?”

Sleepy scoffed. “Of course not! I had nothing to do with this.”

Rarity smiled. “Then you have nothing to worry about.”

“So,” Rarity said. “Your name is?”

“Scribbled Page,” the stallion with the unkempt mane said. She suppressed the need to do something about that. There would be plenty of time for it later.

“My friends call me Scrib,” he added. “Or, well, they would. Are you really that detective everyone’s been talking about?”

“I see you’ve heard of me as well,” Rarity said.

Scrib nodded. “The Duchess says you’ve never failed to solve a case.”

“Technically true,” Rarity said. “But I am here to ask you questions, not the other way around.”

“Oh. Sorry.”

“Right,” Rarity said. “Mr. Page, could you tell me a little about yourself?”

“I’m a poet,” he said.

“Oh? And what kind of poems do you write?”

“Bad ones.”


He cleared his throat.

“There once was a pegasus from Cloudsdale

Who had a magnificent rainbow tail.

Then her forehoof got nicked,

When her cobbler, he slipped

She died of tetanus from a rusty shoe nail.”

“You’re right,” Rainbow said. “That is an awful poem.”

“Indeed,” Rarity nodded. “The rhythm is off in the second line. How do you know the duchess?”

“Always the second line,” Scrib muttered. To Rarity, he said: “She’s a patron. My only patron. On account of the bad quality of my poems, you see.”

“I do see. Could you walk me through your day? A simple summary will suffice.”

“Well, I awoke at six, as usual,” he said. “I worked straight through breakfast—I had a stroke of inspiration, you see.”

“The only good kind,” Rarity said, nodding. “Can anyone corroborate that?”

He blinked. “Well… I suppose not, no; I didn’t leave my room until almost noon.” His features brightened. “Wait, no! The griffon, what’s his name…”

“Mr. Gentle,” Rarity supplied.

“Yes, that’s him,” he said, nodding. “He brought me breakfast, under the Duchess’ instructions. He can confirm I was in my room.”

“When would this have been?”

“Oh, around eight, most likely,” he said. “This isn’t the first time this has happened.”

“I’ll make sure to confirm it with him, then.”

“Why is it important?” Scrib asked. “I assumed you’d be asking about the night of the break-in. Or is that not what you’re investigating?”

“It is,” Rarity said. “Now, why don’t you tell me all about it?”

“I was awakened by a crash in the middle of the night,” he said. “It sounded like breaking glass; my room is just above the dining room, and I like to sleep with my windows cracked open.”

“I imagine most ponies do, in this sort of weather,” Rarity commented.

“Quite. Well, I got out of bed and went over to my window to see what had happened. I could hear shouting, but by the time I blinked the bleariness out of my eyes, the only one out there was the former head of security, dashing for the back wall.”

“No one else?”

He shook his head.

“What then?”

“I went down to see what had happened, of course,” he said. “I found the sitting room just as you saw it. I tried to get the story out of one of the old guards, but he knew even less than I did. Then the police showed up, and, well, that was the rest of my morning.”

“I see,” Rarity said. “Mr. Page, as a unicorn, do you know how to teleport?”

“Teleport?” he scoffed. “Miss, the most advanced spell I know is the one I use to hold up my quill.”

“One last question.”


“Why do you pursue poetry if you feel you have no talent in it?”

Scrib sighed.

“It was my mother’s wish, before she died,” he said. “She arranged the patronage with the Duchess, who has kept me in the business ever since.”

“But you have no love for the art?”

“Well, no, I never said that.”

Rarity nodded. “I understand.”

She glanced over to the window. The sun had descended below the treeline some time ago, and the sky was dotted with stars.

“It’s getting late,” she declared. “I won’t keep you. Thank you for your cooperation, Mr. Page.”

“Never a problem,” Scribbled Page said, slipping off his chair. “Perhaps it’ll inspire a poem.”

“Let’s both hope it doesn’t,” Rarity said, as he left the room.

“So, what now?” Rainbow asked. “Ready to nab the criminal?”

Rarity sighed. “Not quite. You should probably head to our room, Rainbow. I’ll be joining you shortly.”

“Why? Are you going off to do cool detective stuff without me?”

“No,” Rarity said. “Simply getting a little something to help me sleep.”

“Here we are,” Mr. Gentle said. Rarity stepped off the narrow staircase that lead down into the cellar and glanced around.

Lined with brick, the storeroom wasn’t all that big. Shelves lined with all sorts of jars and bottles stood like soldiers, taking up most of the space.

“There’s quite a lot down here,” Rarity remarked. “How often does the storeroom need to be restocked?”

“Once a month,” Gentle replied. “Or so I am told by the kitchen staff.”

“I see,” Rarity said. She began to stroll down the main aisle. “And do you buy locally?”

“Not at all,” Gentle said, following along behind her. “We import from all across Equestria. The Duchess will tolerate only the finest, you understand. We have everything delivered to the village. I believe the whiskey is kept over here.”

He gestured to the shelves to their left. Rarity followed, spotting quickly a shelf covered with bottles.

Well, perhaps ‘covered’ wasn’t the right word.

“Not much of a selection,” Rarity remarked, looking over the few bottles that remained.

“My apologies,” Gentle said. “If you’d like, I can see if we have anything else—”

“No, it’s perfectly all right,” Rarity said. She pulled one of the bottles off the shelf and scrutinized the label for a moment, turning it over in her magic.

“This one will do,” she said. “Thank you.”

“Just doing my job, ma’am.”

“We both know that’s not true,” Rarity said. “Oh, as you’re here, could you confirm something for me? Scribbled Page claims that you brought him breakfast this morning, is that true?”

He nodded. “Around 8 o’clock, if I remember correctly.”

“And he was there?”

He nodded.

“Any particular reason the Duchess sent you specifically?”

“I was available.”

“You should ask for a raise,” Rarity said. “If she’s going to make you play butler, she might as well pay you for it.”

“She pays me more than enough as it is,” he replied, smiling. “Is there anything else I can do for you?”

“You could show me to my room,” Rarity said. “It is getting late, after all.”

“As you wish.”

“Hey,” Rainbow said from the bed as Rarity entered the room.

“Hey yourself,” Rarity said. She set the bottle of whiskey down on a small table by the door as she passed, making her way over to the closet. The sash holding her trenchcoat closed began to undo itself.

“Soooo,” Rainbow said. “Have you figured out who did it yet?”

“Patience is a virtue, darling,” Rarity replied, levitating her coat onto a hanger.

“Yeah, and honesty is an element, so spill it.”

Rarity sighed. “Not yet.”

“Oh,” Rainbow said. She nodded. “That explains the whiskey.”

“Not quite, darling.”

Rarity shut the closet doors, her coat securely hung inside.

“I need some time to think,” she declared.

“…Is that what the whiskey is for?”

“No, Rainbow.”

“Because you probably shouldn’t drink if you’re trying to solve a case,” Rainbow said. “Or… wait, is that why the PI’s in the movies are always…?”

“The whiskey isn’t for me!” Rarity snapped.

“Oh. Gotcha.” Rainbow thought for a second. “Sooooo… can I have it?”

“If you must.”


As Rainbow descended hawk-like upon the bottle, Rarity pulled out a chair and sat down. She steepled her hooves together in front of her face, closed her eyes, and focused, her brow furrowing.

“I think it was Sleepy Hollow,” Rainbow said, as she poured herself a glass of the golden liquid.

“Why do you say that, darling?” Rarity asked. She kept her eyes closed.

“Well, she was in town today, right?” Rainbow said. “Around the same time you think Hobble Hooves died. If you’re right and it’s one of the ponies in the estate, then she’s the only one who could have done it. Plus, she’s a pegasus.” She set the bottle down and held her glass up. “Cheers.”

“Cheers,” Rarity echoed. “I admit, that is somewhat suspicious… but why would she stage a break-in? Especially such an odd one? By all accounts, she and the Duchess have been friends for some time.”

Rainbow set her glass down and began to pour herself another. “Huh, I didn’t think of that… maybe it was just a prank? A prank that got really, reeeeally out of hoof?”

“If so, then it’s not a particularly funny one,” Rarity said. “There’s also the issue of the bottles. How could she have snuck all those bottles to the village without anyone noticing?”

Rainbow downed her second. “Wait, so… the bottles came from here?”

“They’re all exotic brands,” Rarity said. “Some of them matched the ones I saw when I paid a visit to the storeroom just now. A storeroom that is noticeably low on whiskey.”

“Gotcha,” Rainbow said. “So it must have been Scribbled Page, then, right? He didn’t sound like her biggest fan.”

Rarity’s brow furrowed farther. “It’s the same problem. Besides, how could he have killed Hobble Hooves if he spent the entire morning in his room?”

Rainbow swirled the liquid in her glass around before drinking it down in one gulp. “Then… maybe they worked together?”

“It’s possible, but… why?” She let out a sigh. “I’m telling you, Rainbow, the key to this mystery is in the motive. Why would someone want to fake a break-in, and why do it in such an odd manner?”

Rainbow had no answer to give, so she went back to her drinking with double the enthusiasm to compensate. Meanwhile, Rarity continued to think.

Ten minutes went by. Twenty. Half an hour.


There’s a special kind of smile that only a predator can wear. It’s the smile a cat wears when it’s cornered a mouse. The smile a tiger wears, right before it pounces.

Rarity was not a cat of any size. But she was a businessmare, and a detective, and that was close enough.

Rarity smiled, that special predator’s smile, and she opened her eyes.

“Rainbow,” she said, “is there any whiskey left?”


Rainbow picked up the bottle and swished it around. Half an inch of liquid sloshed about the bottom.

“Yeah, why? And why are you smiling all creepy like that?”

“Pour me a glass.”

“Sure,” Rainbow said, doing just that. “But I thought you said you didn’t want any?”

“That,” Rarity said, “was before I solved the case.”

The Guilty Gathering

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It was eight o’clock in the morning on Friday, May the 13th, and someone, somewhere, was having a very earnest conversation with the police.

“Sleepy, would you be a dear and pass the eggs, please?” Rarity asked.

They were not, however, having it here.

“Sure,” Sleepy said, doing just that. The sounds of moving cutlery laid out a backdrop to the meal. It was breakfast time at the Clearglass estate, and all the current residents were present for once.

Well, most of them, anyway.

“You’ll have to pardon my friend’s absence,” Rarity said, nodding towards the empty chair to her left. “Being a professional athlete, she has a strict regimen she must adhere to. She’ll join us once she’s finished her morning exercises.”

“Perfectly understandable,” the Duchess said. “Now, Miss Rarity, what progress have you made on my case?”

“Quite a bit,” Rarity said. She allowed herself a small smile as she began unpeeling the boiled egg on her plate. “In fact, if you’ll excuse the expression, I believe I’ve ‘cracked’ it.”

“You mean to say you’ve solved it?” the Duchess said.

“That is exactly what I mean to say.”

The room fell silent for a few moments.

“Well, don’t keep us waiting!” Scribbled Page exclaimed.

“I’m afraid I must,” Rarity said, continuing to attend to her meal. “I will reveal the culprit of this ‘fowl’ crime, but only after my assistant returns.”

“Why not now?” The Duchess asked.

“Because that’s just how these things work,” Rarity said. “It’s part of my method.”

“Your method seems half-baked to me,” Scrib said.

“I think you mean ‘hard-boiled’,” said Sleepy.

“Enough of these rotten egg puns!” the Duchess snapped. “Miss Rarity, I am very anxious to have this matter resolved, and while I have full faith in your methods, I must insist that you reveal the culprit at once!”

Rarity held up a hoof. “In due time,” she said. “I assure you, I do everything for a reason.”

“In the meantime,” she continued. “I would ask you for a favor, Your Grace. Would you mind calling your security staff? In their entirety, please.”

“Of course not,” the Duchess said. “But whatever for?”

“Well,” Rarity said, “we wouldn’t want the culprit slipping away, now, would we?”

Another moment of silence, this one more dire.

“Hold on,” Sleepy Hollow said. “Are you saying the robber was one of us? That’s ridiculous!”

“All will be revealed soon enough,” Rarity said.

Though clearly shaken by this information, the Duchess called over one of the servants hovering on the edges of the room. Soon enough, the security staff arrived, led by the griffon, Mr. Gentle. Rarity quickly filled them in on the situation, at which point they stationed themselves around the room, two of them (the gate guards, by the looks of things) taking up posts by the doors. Gentle, too, left to take a position, but Rarity caught him by the shoulder.

“I ask that you stick close to the Duchess,” she murmured to him, too low for anyone else to hear. “Things may get a smidge… messy. I wouldn’t want any harm to come to our patron.”

Gentle raised an eyecrest. “Do you think that’s a possibility?” he asked.

“It may well be.”

“Then I won’t leave her side.”

She released him. Nodding grimly, he took up a post at the end of the table, standing just behind the Duchess’s left side.

Shortly afterwards, there came a knocking on the door; Rainbow Dash had returned.

“Welcome back, darling,” Rarity said as she entered. “How went your morning exercises?”

“Huh?” Rainbow said. “OH! Oh, they went great. Really, uh, stretched those pinions!”

“Wonderful to hear.”

Rainbow took her seat at the table. With everyone now assembled, Rarity was ready to begin.

“I think the place to start,” Rarity said, sitting now at the foot of the table, opposite the Duchess, “is with Hobble Hooves’ death.”

“Hobble Hooves is dead?” the Duchess asked.

Rarity nodded. “I’m afraid so. Rainbow Dash and I found him on the floor of his room at the inn yesterday. It appeared as though he’d drank himself to death.”

She stood up and laid her front hooves on the table.

“But there was one crucial detail that immediately contradicted that theory,” she said. “That being that Hobble Hooves was not a drinker!”

“What?” the Duchess said. “But I’m certain—he had a hip flask! I caught him drinking out of it on the job!”

“You were wrong,” Rarity said. “I have it on very good authority from one of his closest friends that he barely touched the stuff. And his hip flask? Filled with tonic water, not whiskey. Which made me immediately suspicious of two things!

“The first was that his ‘suicide’ could have been a murder. Given his age and condition, someone, or someones, could have held him down and poured alcohol down his throat until he croaked, an idea supported by the bruising on his legs and the impeccable timing of his death. The key witness to a crime dying the very morning a detective is summoned to investigate it? I refused to believe that was a coincidence.

“And, secondly,” Rarity continued, “that—if I was correct, and he had been murdered—whoever had done it had likely gotten the idea from you, Your Grace! And what’s more, this is also supported by the time of his death, as only someone close to you would have known that you had gone to meet a detective yesterday in the first place!”

“My word!” The Duchess exclaimed. “Then… it really was one of you!”

“Now, wait just a minute,” Scribbled Page said, sitting up in his chair. “Not to be unfair to you, Miss Rarity, but this all seems very circumstantial. And, killing someone in such a cruel way—it’s just absurd! Is it not possible he could have recently started drinking?”

“Of course,” Rarity said. “And of course, I considered that—but there was one detail that that line of thinking failed to account for, and that is that the bottles that we found in Hobble Hooves’ room—the bottles that presumably ended his life—came from the estate!”

“What do you mean, came from the estate?” the Duchess asked.

“I mean that they are precisely the imported brands and prime ages that I expect match those that are missing from the estate’s storeroom,” Rarity said. “Which is conspicuously empty, given that a supply run to the village was made just yesterday morning.”

“Maybe he stole them,” Scribbled Page countered.

“Ah, but there wouldn’t have been anything to steal until today,” Rarity said. “Due of course to the large party that was held here only two weeks ago. The stores would have been empty to begin with.”

“Well… then…”

Sleepy Hollow gasped. “Then… it must have been you, Mr. Page! And why you didn’t come to breakfast yesterday! No wonder you were so desperate to poke holes in Miss Rarity’s deductions!”

“What?” he said. “No! Never! My poems may be crimes, but I’m no criminal!” He turned to Rarity. “Look how quick she was to try and pin this on me! She must be the real culprit!”

“What!? No!”

“Quiet, both of you,” the Duchess said. The two immediately fell silent.

“Detective Rarity,” she said. “Please, if you know, tell us who did this.”

“With pleasure, Your Grace,” Rarity said. She lifted one hoof straight up into the air.

“The culprit was…”

Her hoof fell. Everyone in the room held their breath.


The hoof stopped, pointing straight down the length of the table.

“M-me!?” cried the Duchess. “You’ve lost your mind!”

“Er, no, not you, Your Grace,” Rarity said. She shifted her hoof a few inches to the left. “The griffon sitting next to you!”

Gasps filled the dining room.

“And,” Rarity continued, swinging her hoof around so it covered the entire room, “his entire security team! Who in reality are not a security outfit at all, but rather a gang of thieves!”

Gentle’s chair squealed as he stood, a scowl on his beak. Some would imagine it impossible to scowl with a beak, but Gentle pulled it off beautifully.

“Slander and lies!” he shouted. “My men and I run an honest business! You can’t honestly expect anyone to believe this… this… this load of—”

“Malarkey?” Rarity said, fluttering her eyelashes innocently. “Is that what you were going to say?”

Gentle’s expression soured.

“Hey!” Rainbow hissed. “That was my joke!”

“Time and place, Rainbow Dash,” Rarity said. “And now’s the time, and this is most definitely the place.”

She turned back to her suspect.

“You, Mr. Godfried Gentle,” she said, flinging out an accusatory hoof, “are in fact none other than the leader and mastermind of the Malarkey Crew, the gang of professional thieves that has held western Equestria in its grasp—or should I say talon?—for the last year! And your men are just as party to it as you are!”

“But… how?” Scribbled Page blurted out. “Why!?”

“Allow me to lay out their plan,” Rarity said. She stood up from the table and began to pace across the front of the room.

“After many successful operations in the past, you, Mr. Gentle, set your eye on the biggest target in the western hills: the Clearglass Estate. You knew that even a small robbery would gain you incredible riches—but you were greedy. You wanted it all, but with the Duchess’ security staff, and the local police on high alert due to your presence, this would take something more complex than a simple burglary.

“Five nights ago, you staged a break-in,” she said. “It was easy enough for you, or some of your men, to slip onto the grounds undetected, given your profession. However, you knew that if you stole anything, it would alert the police to your location. They would have descended like vultures, and you’d never have your chance. So, you did the opposite: you stole nothing.

“This served your purposed threefold. First, it helped to camouflage you. A simple act of vandalism would fall below the suspicion of the local police, masking the true intent behind it.

“Secondly, it helped to discredit the Duchess. Like any professional, you must have spent some time scoping out the local village beforehoof. Or, perhaps you weren’t lying when you said you had been born around here. In either case, you would have known about the strained relations between the townsfolk and the Duchess.”

“Strained relations?” the Duchess said. “What on earth do you mean? The village loves me!”

“They might like you more if you bought local,” Rarity said. “In any case, you guessed that giving the Duchess, with her rather… insistent personality, a reason to brush up against the police would worsen her relationship with them, to the point where they would want nothing to do with her—and you were right! Perhaps this would come in handy if something went wrong.

“And, finally,” Rarity said, “It gave the Duchess a reason to hire new security staff.

“You knew that a mare like the Duchess wouldn’t tolerate so grand of a failure by her old staff. She would want to replace them—and that’s exactly what she did!”

“You’re right!” the Duchess said. “And I don’t regret it—but how did you know I replaced the entire security staff? I only ever mentioned Mr. Gentle!”

“It was simple enough to tell, once I’d begun to suspect it,” she said. “Their uniforms are brand-new, and custom-tailored. You wanted every trace of the old staff removed, even down to the uniforms. It was the most logical conclusion. And besides, the first thing one does after a break-in is change the locks.

“With the old security staff out of the picture, you knew the Duchess would be looking for a new company to replace them—and so you posed as one, or perhaps took over an existing one. In either case, you maneuvered yourself to be in just the right place at just the right time. The Duchess hired you immediately.

“With you and the rest of the crew in place as security guards, the Duchess distracted, and the police none the wiser, the stage was set for the heist of the century. You needed simply to wait for an opportune moment to pull it off.”

She stopped pacing and looked straight at Gentle.

“Unfortunately for you, the Duchess threw a wrench into your plans,” she said. “And that wrench was me.”

“You would have known from the moment the Duchess left for Ponyville that she would be bringing in a detective. After all, she’d been talking about me—and you were worried. There was still one loose end you hadn’t accounted for, hadn’t been worried about: Hobble Hooves. But, if I was as good as the Duchess said I was—and I am, I can assure you—perhaps I could find some incriminating detail in his testimony that the police had missed?

“You couldn’t take that chance, so you hatched a new plan. Luckily for you, yesterday was the day the supplies were to be picked up—and, given how the Duchess works her security staff in the same manner as any other servant, it was easy for you to arrange for your men to make the run to the local village. Miss Hollow tagged along with them; would you be so kind as to tell me if I’m correct?”

“They were guards,” Sleepy Hollow said. “They had the uniforms and everything.”

“As I suspected,” Rarity said. “You had them go down to the village, but while they were there, they performed an additional task.

“You see, I told a little fib earlier, when I said that the bottles of alcohol came from within the estate. While they do match the expensive, imported varieties found in the estate’s storeroom, the fact of the matter is that they never actually made it there. They were the bottles ordered to refill the supply following the large party the Duchess held here several weeks ago, and they were picked up by the guards shortly before they were used to murder Mr. Hooves!”

“And that,” Rarity said, slamming her hoof on the table, “was your big mistake! Because rather than making the case impossible to solve or scaring me off, your little stunt put me right on your leonine tail!”

“You see, before the murder, I had arrived at the same conclusions as the police: that this was nothing more than an act of vandalism, perpetrated by a pair of perturbed pegasi from the village. But after finding the body, and realizing just when he was killed, I saw that it was too much of a coincidence—and that whoever had perpetrated the break-in had to still be around, and had to be in a position close enough to the Duchess to know just who she was going to meet that morning!

“So, thank you, Mr. Gentle,” Rarity said, “because without your assistance, my perfect record would have bit the imported dust.

“After that, it was a simple game of who and how and why. And you, my feline friend, were the one in the right place, at the right time, at every point of the case. And, not to come across as racist, but you do appear to be half magpie.”

She nodded, satisfied with her own conclusions. “Put simply: it could have been no one else.”

With her explanation finished, Rarity fell silent, and so did the others in the room. All eyes were on Gentle.

“You’ve put forth a lot of conjecture,” he said, speaking carefully, an edge to his words. “But what you claim is incredible. Besides, everything you’ve just suggested could be lobbied against the duchess, as well. We are her employees.”

“Not quite,” Rarity said. From her coat pocket, she withdrew a silver envelope.

“The possibility that it could have been the Duchess did cross my mind,” Rarity said. “Perhaps engineering a crime in order to have the chance to see me in action. A bizarre crime occurring just weeks after she first heard about my exploits? That couldn’t be overlooked.”

She opened the envelope and pulled out the piece of paper inside. “But you see, she was already planning to invite me to the estate. I found this letter in the sitting room. It’s an invitation, addressed to me, abandoned where the Duchess had left it on the night of the break-in to preserve the crime scene. There was no reason for her to have gone through such theatrics if she was going to invite me anyway.”

The Duchess scoffed. “Of course. Why would you even consider such a thing in the first place? I’m no lunatic.”

Rainbow Dash stifled a snigger. Meanwhile, Gentle began to speak again, keeping his dead stare locked on Rarity.

“But what evidence do you have that it was me?” he asked.

“Oh, I don’t have any evidence,” Rarity admitted. “But then again, the Duchess doesn’t seem like the kind of lady who needs evidence, does she?”

“I most certainly am not!” the Duchess said. Standing, she strode with much indignation up to Gentle, stopping with her face just inches from his beak.

“You and your men are dismissed!” she said. “Immediately! With no severance pay! Leave the premises at once!”

Gentle didn’t move. The Duchess grew even more incensed.

“Did you not hear me!? I said to leave, or I shall—”

“You shall what?” the griffon said slowly. “Call for your guards?”


And then it sank in.

“Oh dear.”

Gentle brushed past her. Behind him, two of the guards slid in front of the door.

He stopped in front of Rarity.

“It seems you have made a horrible mistake, Miss Detective,” he said, towering over her.

“Did I, now?” Rarity said, showing no signs of caring. “And what would that be?”

He let a smile set over his features. His very sharp features.

“You’ve locked yourself in with your prey.”

He turned to one of his underlings. “Loot the place. Load it all into our wagons. Leave nothing behind. I want everything down to the silverware!”

“You got it, boss!” the stallion said, then ran off with a few of the others, the two guarding the door letting them pass before stepping back into place.

“I must give you credit, Miss Rarity,” Gentle said. “You’ve impressed me. I did not think anyone would be able to unravel that little scheme.”

“I nearly didn’t,” Rarity admitted. “You were a worthy adversary… almost.”

Gentle grinned. “Then it is such a shame the two of us will be parting ways so soon.” From his coat pocket, he withdrew a short knife, razor sharp and well-polished. “Surely you did not think I would leave you all alive after this?”

Quick as a flash, Rainbow leapt from her seat and landed between him and Rarity, lowering her head and spreading her wings in a protective stance.

“Back off, beak-brain,” she growled.

“So you admit, then,” Rarity said, “that you and your men are in fact the Malarkey Crew, the gang of professional thieves that have been plaguing western Equestria as of late?”

“I would have thought that would have been obvious at this point,” he said, advancing forwards with the knife.

“And you admit that it was your men, under your orders, who murdered Hobble Hooves yesterday morning?”

“Perhaps you’re not as smart as I was led to believe,” Gentle said. He took another step forward; Rainbow was forced to take a step backwards, and Rarity as well.

“Yes, we were the ones who killed Hobble Hooves. I didn’t want his testimony getting out; we took enough of a risk leaving him alive as it was.”

He took another step forward. They took another step back. Rarity’s back hoof hit the wall. Nowhere left to run.

Not that she needed to.

“Wonderful,” she said, raising her voice. “Oh, Constable, did you hear that? He confessed. You can come in now!”

“What?” Gentle said, his eyecrests raising in confusion just as the doors burst open.

“Sure did, Miss Rarity!” the Constable said, as blue uniforms began flooding into the room. “And so did the rest of the department!”

The guards didn’t have a chance to react before the police were upon them, subduing them with little resistance. Out in the hall, the stallions Gentle had sent out only moments ago could be seen, handcuffed and gagged.

“No!” Gentle cried, watching helplessly as his men were subdued. He glanced at the knife in his claws, then at Rarity. He snarled, curling his back legs and lunging forwards with the knife outstretched.

With characteristic speed, Rainbow swung about on her forelegs, brought her hindlegs up, and bucked him straight in the face. He flew backwards, right into the waiting hooves of the police. He was in handcuffs before the knife even hit the floor.

“Ha!” Rainbow laughed. “Take that, worm-breath!”

“Thank you darling,” Rarity said, patting her on the shoulder. She strode up to Gentle, currently pinned against the floor by two stallions.

“I believe the expression the Abyssinians use is ‘trussed up like a turkey’?” she said, looking down at him.

“How,” he sputtered. “I don’t understand.”

“Oh, it’s quite simple, darling,” Rarity said. “I knew that if I revealed your true identity here at the estate, it would be far too easy for you to take advantage of the situation, given your superior numbers. And I knew that if I didn’t, you would become suspicious and alert your men.

“So, I sent my dear assistant down to the village this morning, with a message for the police to come to the estate at a specific time and wait outside the dining room for my signal. Meanwhile, I gathered all of the guards here under the guise of catching the thief, when in reality it was to keep you all in one central location to prevent your escape. And, of course, I needed your confession—I had no evidence, remember? You were trapped from the very moment you entered this room.”

Seeing his expression of shock, she laughed. “As I said, a worthy opponent… almost. Boys? Take him away.”

Rainbow walked up beside her, watching as Gentle was dragged out of the room.

“’Take him away’, huh?”

“I’ve always wanted to say that.”

“Miss Rarity!”

They turned around to see the Duchess walking up to them, carefully stepping around the police officers and their charges on her way. She looked a bit shaken, but otherwise unharmed.

“Apologies, your grace,” Rarity said to her. “We needed it to appear authentic.”

“Yes, well, if you ask me, it was a little too authentic,” she said. “Nevertheless, thank you. You’ve not only solved my case, you’ve prevented an even greater crime. Why, when I think of what that monster was planning to do…”

She shivered.

“I am in your debt.”

“Well, that’s good,” Rarity said. “Because I believe now is the time to talk about my payment.”

“Yes, of course,” the Duchess said. “I’ll go get my chequebook. No price is too high for what you’ve done for me today.”

“Oh, no, I don’t want your money,” Rarity said, shaking her head. “What I want is a favor. You, Duchess Clearglass, are going to wear one of my designs to the Grand Galloping Gala.”

The Duchess blinked. “I am?”

“You are.”

“That’s it?”

“That’s it.”

“Well, then it shall be so,” the Duchess said. “And I’ll make sure to tell everyone I meet about what you did here today.”

“I’m sure you will,” Rarity said.

“Hey. Psst. Rares.”

Rarity turned. “Yes, Rainbow?”

“You sure that’s all you want?” Rainbow whispered. “A dress? C’mon!”

“The Duchess is one of the most influential ponies in Equestrian high society,” Rarity whispered back. “If she’s seen wearing one of my dresses, my sales will triple overnight, and I’ll be the talk of the high fashion circles for months. I get renown, she gets a wonderful new dress, and we both come out of it with more than we started.”

“Oh,” Rainbow said. She stepped away. “Carry on.”

“So,” the Duchess said. “Will you be staying for lunch? I could have a veritable feast prepared. Or perhaps you’d enjoy a longer stay?”

“No thank you, your grace,” Rarity said, shaking her head. “While I appreciate the offer, I really must get back to my shop.”

She looked disappointed. “I understand. I shall have a carriage prepared to take you to the train station, then.”

“Thank you,” Rarity said. “That would be lovely.”

“Well, that was fun,” Rarity said. Their carriage, the Duchess’ finest, trundled down the road, back towards the train station.

“See?” Rainbow said. “I told you.”

“Well, I never said you were wrong.”

A few seconds passed.

“Truth be told, I was somewhat… afraid,” Rarity said, “of taking such a bold step in my life. All I’ve ever really wanted to do is be a dressmaker, to run my shop, and to make ponies beautiful. Playing detective is… well, it’s wonderful, exhilarating, fun as all get-out, but it’s also new and strange, and I worried it might consume me. I was afraid of committing to that.”

“I notice you’re saying ‘was’,” Rainbow said.

Rarity chuckled. “Yes, I suppose I am.”

They trundled on in silence for a few moments more.

“I’ve decided that there’s room in my life for two passions, after all,” Rarity said.

Rainbow leaned in, a twinkle in her eye.


“So, I think I’ll be requiring more of your company in the future, darling,” Rarity said. “If only so I can stand having to deal with the loons. I assume you won’t mind?”

“Won’t mind? Are you kidding? You wouldn’t even have to pay me!”

“Good, because I have no idea how profitable this little venture is going to be,” Rarity said. “I’ll have to carve some space in my shop—perhaps I can convert part of the basement into a proper office. Oh, and I’ll need to have a new sign made… and new costumes!”

She laughed, in that sing-songy way she often did when excited, and Rainbow couldn’t help but smile.

“Oh, this is going to be so much fun, darling!” she said.

Rainbow chuckled.

“You bet!”

It was eleven o’clock on the morning of Friday, May the 13th, and someone, somewhere, might have been being murdered. Or robbed. Or kidnapped. Or been the victim of any one of an ever-growing list of crimes.

But if anyone wanted closure, revenge, or simply to know why, all they had to do was take the train down to a little village named Ponyville. Because there, in a building shaped like a carousel, lived the greatest detective in the world.

And she was finally open for business.

…When it suited her, anyway.

“Hey, Rarity?”

“Yes, Rainbow?”

“What about your side business?”

Rarity blinked. “Oh. Well, I suppose bridge night may have to be postponed every once in a while—”

“Bridge night?”

“Yes, of course,” Rarity said. “Ponyville is a small country village of mostly mares. As a rule, every village has to have a bridge club. We meet on Thursdays; I host and provide snacks.”

After a moment of confused silence, Rainbow began to laugh.

“What’s the matter, darling?”

“Don’t laugh?” Rainbow said. “I thought you were—”