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Pony Noir Ep. 1: Strange Illusion (Attn: Pressie, Leocat)


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The coffee was old and sour...just the way I like it.


I set the mug down on my desk and sat back. How long had a been in the office? I had no idea. Two, three days? Of that detail I couldn't be sure.


I reached back, pulling a window blind down so that I could peer outside. A shaft of afternoon light pierced the gloom inside and I recoiled my hoof.


Never really liked daylight...maybe there's some aerion in my blood? Speaking of aerion...


The detectives should have been my office ten minutes ago. I'm not surprised, those guys tend to work at their own pace. If it was the regular officers I would have been prepping to give them a piece of my mind but these guys were different.


The aerion, well, he had his good days and his bad days. But on any day he was one of the best detectives the department ever hired. Not that I would ever tell him that of course. Not really my thing to butter a stallion up, or anypony for that matter. But I digress, let's suffice to say if anypony could help in cracking the case we were going to be up against it would be this guy.


The other guy...hang on, gotta quell my girlish tendencies. What I wouldn't give to run a hoof over his withers. Mmmhmmm... It was a good day when he entered the ranks of the esteemed MPD. Granted I might have a thing for this guy, it wouldn't do not to mention his record. Guy's clean as a whistle, knows his job and gets it done. He may be quirky but hay, who's not these days?


Anyway, they were both late. Didn't matter as long as they showed up before the fasionista bombshell came my way...

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Sometimes keeping appointments was more than a little hard, especially when you're me. Since I was a colt I loved to help ponies and that hadn't changed in the entirety of my career. Even when ya met with the darkest of ponies I always tried to see that light in them. Wasn't always easy, but what path worth taking is easy? 


Sweet Celestia, I got myself introspecting again instead of galloping like I should be. Not only was I late for an appointment with the boss but I just -had- to stop and help out that griffin girl who lost her pet ...I think it was an armadillo? Well it hardly mattered now, Being allergic to half of the creature I'm helping out wasn't gonna impede my progress and even though I was in a mad dash to make it to the office in time... because it turned out that finding a place where I didn't feel like I was gonna pass out from a respiratory attack or something.  

Finally my galloping paid off and I burst into the office, huffing and panting like a pony who'd just been trying out for the Olympics. I opened up the door. The chief's office door alwys made the characteristic droaning squeak. In all the time I'd been in this apartment it'd grown familiar enough I was sad to hear it fade when it got oiled... but give it time and it'd be back. It seemed I was the first to arrive. It wasn't really a bad thing; it was nice to be able to see the chief. I always admired her care for her job and seriousness in how she made sure to approach it with... even if she seemed to ask a bit silly around me. Maybe my cheer was catching on? 


"Evenin' Chief!" I spoke up and raised my hoof to salute her, "I'm sorry ta keep ya waitin' so long... A griffin girl needed help corraling an armadillo and well you know how I am with... Well half of griffins." I laughed, hoping to just get a bit of a chuckle out of the chief. 



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It’s a balmy summer outside. And somewhere in the underused crevices of the department towards the back, a bat pony sat in the dark, where the only source of light was thin rays of dim sunlight that snuck their ways through the cracks of the blinds. Each one of them laid parallel to one another across the desk.  The light was already pitiful due to the neighboring sky scrapers… but it was a good office none of the less. A bat pony sat behind the desk. His hind hooves kicked up over the surface, and he was feeling particularly hard boiled this evening.


And Hard Boiled is his name. Detective Hard Boiled.

The Aerion had a stack of files pulled from the department archives. Folders with cases that have no closures. Unsolved. Some dating back a few years, some that were filed this month. Each one of these files just looked pitiful to him. Ponies whom have been wronged have not been delivered the justice they deserve. Arson, Homicide, theft, the works.


He had been sitting in the office for the better part of an hour or two like this. His green eyes scanning over the details of a single file before he finally looked up to the clock. Tcht, seems like he was a bit late with meeting the chief for something.

Best to get at it… don’t want to tempt the girl with forcing a high noon on his shift. The stallion lazily tossed the file back onto his desk and pushed his way out of the door.


His fedora was on his head as quickly as he left the door. But he was clearly in no rush. He just stalked his way down the halls, with a trench coat slung over his back. And the white stick of a sucker flicking about between his lips and teeth.


And did Detective Boiled reach the office on his own time. Shortly after boots had appeared, the stallion pushed his way in and lazily pushed kicked the door closed behind himself. He let out a high pitched but soft chirp as a sign of his presence.

His eyes danced over the Chief’s office, taking in every detail. And if there’s anything he can describe this as… it’d be as filthy as the southern projects. Heck, he could hear the ants marching along the floor under the desk.

The stallion shook his head lightly, and swirled the sucker in his mouth. A moment later, he had pulled it out with a claw of his wing and spoke up with a voice that could be described as suave. “Sorry I’m late chief, catching up on a bit of homework. And… uh… speaking of home.”

He casually gestured to the office with a raised brow. His green slitted eyes settled themselves firmly on the mare, “Chief… this looks bad. Considered a vacation? "

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Darn that door. More than one train of thought had been derailed by that obnoxious squeak. Not that the janitors would do anything about it...they didn't do anything about my entire office. Probably because I would chew their heads off if they so much as ruffled a paper in here. I made a mental note to grease the hinges "in my spare time" before m mind was entertained by other thoughts.


"Evenin' Chief!"


I had been hoping for a few minutes alone with detective Boots. His cheery nature pretty much made me sick but for some reason I can't get enough of the guy. Helping a filly with her pet huh? Sounded like something "Office Do Good" as I tend to call him (not to his face of course), would do. I nodded to a chair after returning the salute and tried to speak casually.


"The files do say you have your particulars Detective Boots," I tried to maintain a casual demeanor. "You, me, a couple glasses of cider...Let's see where the evening takes us..." That's what I wanted to say. I found myself reaching for words, my mouth had suddenly become dry.


Then Hard Boiled made his entrance. The obvious indifference of this character displayed in his words and manners.


“Chief… this looks bad. Considered a vacation? "


My eyes catch the array of crumbs scattered over the papers on my desk. After absently brushing them onto the floor for my pet ants I give the aerion a frosty gaze.


"A vacation? Believe me Detective Boiled this office is paradise compared to some of the rat houses I've been assigned to."


After both Detectives were seated I took a breath and rattled out the details.


"I'll keep this brief gentleponies." I reached to a pile of papers on the floor and slapped a manila folder in front of them. Inside was the case file and a few snapshots. I point to a aqua maned mare. "This is Miss Coco Pommel, trusted assistant of the famous designer Rarity." I gesture to a model shot of the fashionista. Not like ti was needed. No stallion didn't know what Miss Rarity looked like. "Miss Pommel went missing four days ago. She hasn't been heard from since."


I glance at the door. Good, she wasn't here yet.


"Long story short, we're short on details. Leads can be figured out of course, and the problem is really that there are too many motives right now. I've asked Miss Rarity to join us to give her details. From there we can construct our plan of action. You're free to give you speculations before our guest arrives."


I kick back in my chair, ready to listen to the immediate thought from my detectives.


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The mention about my particulars got my face to heat up a bit and rub the back of my neck nervously. When Miss Martingale took her seat at her desk, I stiffened up a bit in place. For a few seconds my eyes were caught on the smooth line of her coat over her legs and haunches. I had to turn away a moment so as not to let my whole head go beet red. For a second the chief seemed like she was going to say something but something caught her tongue.


Then in came boiled. The stallion was a blessing in disguise enough to keep my mind off of any workplace inappropriate thoughts about the boss. 


There he was, the other great detective in this department: Hard Boiled. I've had more than a few interesting outings with This guy. I wasn't a big fan of his outlook but I respected it in someway. Sometimes you need another way of looking at things to crack a case. I may sometimes... well miss a piece of evidence if I think it was way too out and out... evil to have actually been used but, sometimes ponies could surprise you with how vicious they could be.


"Detective Boiled. You feelin better since that last um... encounter?" I asked, hoping his friend's headache and exposure to that weird cloaked pony's gizmo hadn't messed him up at all. It was approaching night time so at least he'd be more affable in a while.


"Oh yeah... that fancy new place. I heard Miss Pommel was dealing with a pretty nasty head cold that during the opening of it." I took a look at the mare in the photo and blinked, "I ran into her in a cab a week ago. She still wasn't fully over it but she seemed kinda drowsy... but she went straight back to her apartment and I saw her go in." I tried to appear a bit dignified as I went over the info I had just off the top of my head.


"I think we should save some of the questions and speculations for Miss Rarity. Like you said, Chief. There are a lot of suspects with good motives to want her gone... There's never a shortage of cutt throat fashionistas in this town."

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No pony could ever think that the awkwardness in this room could grow more palpable in it’s current state. And Boiled was not the sort of pony to leave something like this go unnoticed. Oh yes, the agitation in the mare’s face was like embers clinging to life in soot. And Boots? Well… when was he not an awkward pony. That is to say never.


Boots, to Hard Boiled, was one of those ponies that you’d call a little brother. He struts about with a layer of untainted innocence and a merciless grasp on that Duddly-Do-Right attitude. He’s a good cop, and one that’s far more than earn the bat’s respect. But that hero trait of him will be his downfall if a convy with half a brain picked up on it. Worse said in the event of a real psychopath.


And the chief? Could do a better job at taking care of herself. Seems like the only company she keeps around are the ants that’s carrying off half a mug of cold and sour coffee to Faust knows where. Poor girl needs to learn to be more blunt. Half the department had already began placing bets on the relationship of Boots and the Chief in the hush hush sort of way. Hard Boiled used to not care, now he’s just wishing the two would get it out there already.


“Mmm… Chief, might want to be careful on that,” The bat chirped as he moved a wing to pick up a nearby mug. He gave it a light shake to see if there was anything in there. It did have weight, but nothing moved. Heck, he swore this stupid thing was speaking to him now. The stallion clicked his tongue and set it back down before continuing.

“I heard Shutter Island institute is a lovely place during the summer. But ya might want to settle for the beach. Take boots with ya in case someone’s cat is drowning.” He didn’t chuckle, but he met the mare’s tense gaze with a sly smile. Stay frosty Chief, heh. Just as he began to slip his sucker back into his mouth, he mumbled something that was borderline inaudible and incomprehensible.

“Never know, might convince him to rub some sun block on your pale back.”


"To answer your question. I'm healthy, and just as mentally jacked as I ever was."


Once that was done, he plopped down into a nearby seat, and listened to the small exchange.

“Coco Pommel huh,” the Aerion hummed, and then let out a low whistle. “Well, if you’ve caught her only a week ago. And the time of her reported missing was four days ago. Then she’s probably still sick when she was taken.”

“There’s a number of motives I can come up with off the top of my head that’d give us a starting ground. And a few we can rule to a lower ranking. Sadly though, they can’t be educated guesses till we get some ground. Though I’m certain we’re not dealing with the next Montary Jack’la Ripper. So no psycho’s starting up a serial spree.”

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My "good cop" didn't have much to offer right off the bat. That didn't bother me. Waiting for all the info to be presented before offering too many ideas left things fairly uncluttered. I was really starting to wonder what sort of info this Rarity mare would have to offer. I certainly hoped she wasn't what I thought she might be... a fashion designer star with brains for her business and that was about it. Time would tell...


I took a breath in slow like as the bat got down to brass tacks. I knew he'd have more to offer... he always did whether I wanted to hear it or not. I let his comments about the beach and sunblock slid off my mind. Wasn't worth it to let me emotions rise to the bait of a canny detective. Of course, I'd store the ideas for later. Girl's gotta day dream sometimes am I right?


I adjusted my hooves up on the desk, eyeing Boiled as he set my mug back where he'd found it.


"I'd appreciate you not moving my artifacts detective." I glanced down. "Not sure my pets appreciate it either." The ant train was growing in size, going guns blazing after the crumbs I brushed their way.


I was about to comment on the aerion's spot on speculations when a curt rap sounded on my office door.


I took a breath. Here goes... "Come in!"




"Oh! I didn't realize there would be so many of you..."


The broad glanced from side to side, obviously intimidated by what she saw.


"Take a seat Miss Rarity." I try not to sound off putting while offering her the remaining seat. The arrangements of my office left lots to be wanting. The two detectives would need to adjust their chairs in order to get a good look at her. I suddenly found myself wishing they wouldn't. i knew when I was outclassed in the looks department. Good thing this was the police department. I used that fact to steel myself.


"Why thank you dear. Heh hmmm..."


She gave a nervous little chuckle but took the offered seat willingly enough. For a moment nopony said a thing. I adjusted my position, kicking my hind legs back under the desk and leaning forward towards our "guest" in one motion. I fixed her with a gaze for a moment, sizing her up.


Yeah, she was the real deal.


"I don't need to remind you you're going to be on record for all of this? We need your truth as best as you can tell us. It's the best intel we have in finding Miss Pommel."


"Oh dear..."


At the mention of Coco, Rarity sucked in a quick little breath. She was quelling her emotions. I could tell she was a buisnessmare and was trying to be professional. Good for her.


"Go on..." I offered the slimmest of smiles while hoofing my notepad in front of me...



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I really hoped that Boiled wasn't going to bring up anything about that Monterey Jack'la Ripper case once Miss Rarity came in... Having a friend and co worker was hard enough to deal with emotionally. Having to hear that some deranged maniac might have taken a friend and they might never be seen again, that was downright painful. Thankfully I always have faith in this guy and he hasn't let me down.


When the chief invited Miss Rarity in, I couldn't help but admire that dress on her. The way it clung to the shape of her... Er, um forelegs! Lovely design on those sleeves! "Don't let your mind wander, Boots! She's a client and she's vulnerable... "I chided myself internally. I did have to think about exactly how vulnerable vulnerable was to a multiple time savior of Equestria, in the end though that didn't matter. She was still someone not to be drooled over.


I slowly approached the fashionista, "Don't worry, Miss Rarity. I understand the situation is a bit delicate looking, but please tell us all that you can recall as best you can." In such situations like this, I preferred the 'soft touch'. I offered the mare a pack of tissues if she needed them, the pack was half empty thanks to an incident earlier but there was enough there to wipe tears or blow noses if needed. 


"I managed to see Miss Coco a few days before she dissapeared. She looked a bit under the weather still, likely from a cold. We think that depending on how long she was getting over it... she may have been taken when she was ill. We can start with an easy question or two, Alright?"  I steadied myself and took a deep breath. "Was Miss Pommel still ill when you last met her five days ago? If What I heard is right she was getting over a nasty cold... and is there anyone in particular you can think of who might not want her around more than most?"

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“Oh sure, I wouldn’t want to anger your pets chief,” the detective nickered as he took a step away from the shelves. “Though I believe they wouldn’t mind a little help when it comes to cleaning, aye? Even ant’s are clean.” The stallion’s eyes dipped down to the train of ants that were marching dutifly to… where ever their nest may be with food for tonight.


The stallion’s ears perked up when he heard something take a step behind the door, and he promptly turned his attention to the door. It seems their contact had arrived. And now that the Bat pony thought about it… this was his first time seeing one of the Mane 6 in person.

And Rarity was the mare he was lucky enough to see. Boiled eye’s took a moment to study, his partner. Mentally frowning when it was clear that Boots had been distracted with other… processes. He then turned his gaze back to the mare.

She was one of those ponies who took great care of their appearance. Not a single strand of hair out of alignment, and her coat was brushed with attention to the way it contours to her body. Yes… this pony had an incredible eye for detail. And if memory served correctly, there were rumors of her stopping random pedestrians to fix fashion disasters… even when they aren’t that blatantly obvious. A pony like her could make a terrifying force, luckily her history prevents her from ending up on Boiled’s suspicion list.

Still… it won’t hurt to ask some very specific questions. Chances are she would have picked up on these.


The stallion pulled out a small recorder from his jacket and flicked the switch. He then placed it on the desk and waited patiently for the mare to answer the other’s question before interjecting.

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I saw the way Boots' eyes went when Rarity took a seat. It was all to obvious she was an attractive mare. The way gave he her a once over happened in a split second, which just so happened to be all the time I wanted her in my office. A mare like me didn't need competition...and I'd certainly loose against this dame. She was charming, sweet, demure, and she made me well up with jealousy that I had trouble keeping to myself.


"Ehem..." I cleared my throat casually enough as Boots asked her about Pommel. We were here to be professional.


"Hmmmm, why yes darling,"


She turned to bat her eyelashes at the officer who had provided the question. 


"She had been suffering from a nasty cold for a few days before, poor thing. I think she said she was feeling a bit better but still under the weather."


She stopped, reaching for the tissues. Don't tell me she was going to cry so soon. She looked like a professional, I wondered if she could act like one.


"But she worked the full day for me the last day I saw her. Miss Pommel is the absolute epitome of a hard worker. I asked her if she would like to go home early, but she declined."


I could tell Boiled had some questions. This sort of thing was one of the bat's fortes. For the moment I'd keep quite and just offer the fashionista my level gaze.  

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Hard Boiled listened intently, his eyes flicked down to the tissue for merely a moment, before returning his gaze to the other’s eyes. Once her answer was finished, the stallion was slumped in his chair. Both of his forehooves were pressed together in thought at this point. His brows furrowed together in thought as he now allowed his eyes to dip to the floor board to watch the ants march along in a train.

The mare still had a cold… might not be a cold then. Might have been something much worse if it’s shaking her up that badly. Or the mare’s immune system has a history of being weak. A small trip to the hospital could inform him of any emergency, siblings, or friendly contacts if Rarity doesn’t know that much about her.

The stallion cleared his throat after his hat tipped back now, once again revealing his eyes to be set back on the mare. He rose from his seat and pulled his hat off of his head and placed it down onto the train of ants. And then dropped one of his personal suckers down for the line to grab as a tip. It seems like it’s a well practiced occurance as the ants took the payment, and began to move his hat to a coat hanger across the room.

“Now… from what I can gather Rarity, your attention to detail is remarkable. You look like the type of person that would spot a fashion disaster from a mile away. Plus, the rumor mill has claimed that you’ve even caught onto some barely noticeable clues. Let me ask you something…”

The stallion began, he chose his next words carefully, keeping it open ended to get as many clues as possible, before they settle on something.

“Did you notice anything out of place, Miss Rarity?”

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While Miss Rarity was definitely an incredibly pretty mare... I couldn't help but find that fluttering of the lashes a bit suspect. I'd heard that despite being the element of generosity, she had a knack for finding things out herself from officers or getting what she wants with sweet look. It was a bit off putting and this was hardly the time for flirtations... no matter how much I might be enjoying that attention.


I was about to speak up but... it seems that Hard boiled had it covered and I was left standing beside Miss Rarity, as she (hopefully) answered his question. I had some queries of my of my own... but best not to bombard an already anxious mare with questions. Instead while our Fashionistic friend was responding a took a look to see how the chief was thinking of this situation. I had to fight back to urge to wince when I couldn't help but feel this weird somewhat irritated vibe comign from her... she must have noticed his momentary making of eyes at Rarity. She was right to be mad, it was stupidly unprofessional of me. All I coudl do was offer an apologetic smile to the chief while Rarity was speaking...




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I eyed Officer Boots when he offered me a little smile. What was that supposed to mean? Geez, were my emotions so obvious that he could tell what I was feeling towards the white bombshell in the chair across from me? No way I was going to give him the satisfaction! My eyes narrowed and I lifted my eyebrow at the officer. What was he playing at? Speaking of which, what was it that Rarity was saying?


Rarity let a small exhale escape her muzzle as she thought through events from previous days. "Hmmmmm, well let me think." She tapped a perfectly hooficured hoof against her lips as she tried to recall detail. "Ah! Well my boutique is quite new to Manehatten and as you may know when have a rather thriving fashion industry in this town." She glanced down for a moment.


"Go on..." This was no time to start staring at my pet ants.


"Yes, of course. As far as out of place what I can say is different from what I'm used to is the animosity between various fashion production lines in Manehatten. Canterlot's crowd is one thing but some of the boutique owners seem to be downright...forgive me...nasty towards new shops. I did have a small confrontation on the same day that Miss Pommel went missing..."


She stopped talking again. What was it with fancy dames and their inability to control their emotions?


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  • 1 month later...



I was a bit taken aback by that stern glance the chief gave me. She seems pretty irritated so If figured it might be best to get right back into the moment with out client. I took a deep breath, focusing myself and letting my ears take in every syllable that came from that beautiful fashionista's lips. One detail was a bit confusing, probably it was that vagueness she was seeming to keep while she spoke. We needed detail...


"Please don't be worried about sharing this mare who insulted you's name with us. If we're to find Miss Pommel we'll need a good lead and right now this is the best one we have. I've heard some of the stories about the cutthroat nature of your industry and kidnapping a designer and asset to a rival... sounds like somethin' some of them might try for someone with such talent."

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