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A Little Me Time [Open]

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Lens relaxes back in his new chair, looking around the dull room he and his business inhabited, nestled in the Ground District of Los Pegasus, close enough to the tourist areas to have a constant bass-line thrumming, he smiled to himself; it was all starting to come together at last. He carefully hangs up a nice picture of Ponyville on the wall behind him, after all, he always got a memento from his adventures wherever he ended up, hence the various pictures on the walls, trinkets on his desk, and the rather lovely Canterlot coat rack by the door. He slides open the curtains to let some light shine into the room as he kicks his hooves up, finally having a chance to relax. Laying his large sunglasses on the table in front of him, he closes his eyes with a happy smile, whistling a tune to himself.

 

He thought back to the last set of adventures he ended up on, remembering all the times he nearly died and barely got out in time; he certainly seemed to have a knack for it, that's for certain, but even so, the thought still remained at the front of his mind; what if one day he didn't manage to get out of trouble, what if one day he let something go wrong; would anyone remember him? He chuckles, shrugging "But of course they would. I have a lot of friends." he grins before the grin faltered slightly; perhaps gambling partners didn't exactly count... But then again, no time for thinking like that; now he would enjoy some time to himself without getting interrupted by anypony, and he was going to use that time to snooze.

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Rarity wasn't in the habit of requiring the detective skills of somepony else. Indeed, she had quite ably got Rainbow Dash off of the hook for a crime committed by a former Wonderbolt, after all! But some situations were simply so dramatic and so beyond even her Shadow Spade inspired skillset as to require the aid of a more dedicated professional. She only wished it had been anywhere else other than Las Pegasus- a town s divided between flight and not meant there were simply some avenues of research she couldn't conduct quite as easily. She needed a local- or, if not a local, somepony with the proper attitude she needed to get the job down.

Her inquiries, panicked as harried as they were by her own admittedly unnerving manner, were rewarded with the location of some sort of private detective business. It didn't look like much. Perhaps it was nice? Needed a nice redecoration, something with a bit more noire grit and less...modernity, perhaps? She shook her head loose of such transient thoughts as she drew close. Now was not the time for such thoughts! Yes this place could use a new color scheme, preferably one that would reflect the faded light of the strip high above a bit better, but she had an emergency the likes of which she had never encountered.

She quickly knocked on the door, dressed in a black feathered dress which looked simply divine but did a poor job of articulating just how unhappy she was. “Oh, hello there? I hope you're open right now- I am in some dire need of help!” She said quickly, her voice carrying along with the knocks. She had not a moment to lose, to waste, to spend fruitlessly. Everything that had brought her to Las Pegasus was hanging by a thread, the very fabric of the day threatened by the fires of some terrible malfeasance. What exactly that malfeasance was she was not so certain on, but she knew for a fact it was certainly a tragic cause that any gritty stallion would be happy to champion!

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Lens sighs as his nap is disturbed with a rather insistent knocking on his door, and a voice that he could not place at all; must be a traveller or newcomer to the city. Even still, the panic in their voice was evident, and unfortunately for him, that meant he was needed again. He shakes his head with annoyance, sliding on his sunglasses as he rose from his chair, wandering over to the door "Keep your mane on, lass; I'll be right with ya." His mind still wondered at who this pony could be, having no peephole on his door meant all would be revealed as he opened it, but perhaps it was not a big deal, after all it was not like his visitor was one of the elements of...

 

He opens the door with a sigh "Of course. Well let's get this over with quickly then; huge adventure time." he grumbles as he gestures her in, leaning against his desk he shakes his head, pouring himself a drink and taking a sip "So then, you may as well tell me your predicament then. Not going to be allowed out of this until your issue is solved after all." he shrugs, setting his glass down next to a cute little model of the Golden Oaks Library, looking the pearl pony in the eye "It certainly ain't often somepony as big as you walks through those doors, so I'm guessing this is a big one, eh?" He seemed oddly unwilling, and yet somehow convicted to her cause in a strange duality that just made it seem like this pony somehow didn't want to help, but yet also knew he had no choice but to.

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Hmm, not bad so far! He certainly had the sort of attitude she would want from a noir-type detection. Perhaps a little bit heavy on the sighing. Better if he had a more gruff yet distant edge to the whole package. Too bad she couldn't truly appreciate the intricacy of his current characterization, as alarmingly charming as she found such hopelessly helpful and distant figures. She trotted on in with nary a hoof-beat to spare, her face distraught and melodramatically inclined with her head already tilted as if she had been flipping her mane but a moment earlier. She found a sofa- well, a couch, a desk, whatever best qualified- and flopped down on it.

“Oh Mister- what is your name, darling?- you have no idea! I. Am. RUINED! She bellowed, the back of the hoof to her forehead as she took deep, heavy breaths. “I would rather suffer a thousand nights in the dungeons of Canterlot or be exiled to the wastes of Saddle Arabia!” Oh and how true it was, awful and horrifying. Truly the greatest evil to have ever struck fell on her generously gracious shoulders, and she would be nothing without the kindness of strangers. Particularly this skilled one, tonight, not a second more could be wasted on anything else.

With that in mind she levitated whatever bottle it was he had just poured, a small glass, and poured herself a glass- well, a gentlecolt need not be asked to provide for a damsel clearly in distress! “I spoke with the guards but they don't seem concerned at all! Like this is no big deal, not the worst disaster to ever befall-” she took a sip, “hmm, it could do with a dash of salt, needs to really let the sourness reach its full effect,” back on topic, “-a creative mare such as myself! Oh, they told me they'd look into it, but I could see it in their eyes that they don't consider the theft of one of my sixteen suitcases I brought with me to be a big deal!” She shot up, clutching her chest. Devastation! It had my new, to-be-debuted-tomorrow Friendship Festival Celebratory Formal collection!”

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Lens had always dreaded that somepony important may come through his doors for help; it was a possibility and unfortunate certainty with his life that he had always hoped would just lead to one of the blunt and level headed ones, like the princess, or the apple one. But he had now found himself faced with the one that he knew from his friends on the fashion circuit. A fashion pony, of all the ones to work with, often are the hardest to get to understand severity levels of situations, nonetheless, she was one of the elements, so surely whatever was wrong would be well and truly terrifying. But he liked that; if something was openly terrifying then it couldn't get worse; it was the situations which can escalate that prove difficult. Shaking himself out of his internal philosophy just in time to hear her begin to speak, he replies to her question after wincing at her yelling, surely this really was something straightforward and dangerous, hopefully short therefore. "Name's Lensblot, a pleasure to meet somepony of your stature, ma'am. My friends in the upper levels speak very highly of your craft." he says calmly, hoping to get down to the bottom of things, and hopefully part as friends, even if fashion was never something he gave much heed to.

 

He listens to her lament and the start of her explanation, looking calmly at a Princess Twilight commemorative plate hung up on the wall; truth be told he did not entirely know what to say at this point; he had never had a customer in before quite so terrified about "A missing case....." he groans, opening a bottle of Flim Flam Brothers Cider, draining the bottle quickly, shaking his head in disgust at the taste, but it was cheap and what he could afford for now, especially with the brothers diving through so many businesses, picking up items from the past became a whole lot cheaper. "Fine, I'll help you, though I have to warn you in advance, if you went to anypony else you probably would just be dealing with a missing case. However the mere fact you ended up here will mean that case is tangled up in something much more complex and dangerous. Just to let you know." He sets the bottle down next to an Appleloosa Rodeo mug, pushing his sunglasses up again.  

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Ahhh, well, it was good to know that today's private detective had friends in the right places, the high places. And even better to know that her reputation hadn't taken a dramatic hit in Las Pegasus after the release of the friendship journal. Oh Celestia, what a disaster that had turned out to be! But far more than that, and to a much more important degree, was the fact he wasn't treating this like it was some simple case. Unlike the Guards who so rudely insinuated that this was no big deal and insisted she file a claim and simply replace the piece in question- a shocking ignorance of the creative energy and emotional toll any truly magnificent design took from the talent involved- he seemed to understand that this was a grave matter. It was almost worthy of the deployment of a full guard battalion to cob the streets, though she'd admit to a tad bit over-dramatic tension if that happened.

She got up quickly, fixing her mane and immediately taking a more excited, subdued tone compared to the heart-wrenching dramatics that had so recently conquered her every thought and deed. “Excellent to hear that somepony else is treating this with the critical eye and sense of urgency that it richly deserves!” She said, flipping her mane as she positioned herself towards the door. “Come now, we have much to discuss and not much time to do it!” Rarity said with determination, trotting out the door. When they were both out and about, she gave a heavy sigh. “Why couldn't it have been the Prêt-à-Porter pieces I had for sale? The true tragedy will be that nopony will see the most stupendous use of accents on such a difficult to work with material. A loss for the whole of Equestria!” She sighed heavily, rubbing her head.

“Still, nice to know I'm not alone in recognizing the seriousness of this. You have friends with good taste if they speak highly of my work. Rest assured, I am just as generous with my payment for a job well done as I am skilled in my craft. Now, I am sure you have all manner of questions. I know I would if I was being contacted about such a crucial mission! I am ready, able, and willing to answer any and all of them, my dear Lensblot.”

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Lens started to pace his room as he started thinking through possible starts and reasons for why somepony would want a case, and more specifically, the fact that the case that went missing seemed to be the most important one, which would suggest that the culprit must have prior experience with Rarity, or at the very least handled the baggage themselves. Next up was the set of options that could be accidental misplacement, in which case the aforementioned case would become a lot harder to locate, as depending on the sector of Los Pegasus, different kind of ponies would have their eyes set on what somepony else had lost, at which point he would most likely have to chase up his 'friends' for more help getting to location. The final theory going through his mind was that a pony could have accidentally damaged the piece, knowing nothing about fashion or the piece's importance to the show, in which case all he would need to do was a bit of dumpster diving, though that would be a last resort.

 

Having come to his decision about a plan, he looks over towards Rarity, noting the drastic change in behaviour compared to the microseconds earlier, perhaps she truly was as on the spot as everypony said. Certainly this whole friendship diary thing had made a lot of ponies in Los Pegasus think very oddly of the unicorn in front of him. Of course he had one of the first released copies on a shelf above the door, which he had delved into once or twice, but as a pony who reads the diaries of others for a day job, quickly got bored by the tedium of it. And yet all of these thoughts happened in the minute space of time in which he was being led out the door in which he tries to listen to her worries again, unfortunately for him it came out as a lot of fashion lingo that a pony such as himself did not quite understand, very much the opposite, he had no idea what made fashion fashionable, and just went with what was cheapest most of the time, hence his slightly threadbare suit jacket, and the scratched lenses of his shades. "A loss for you especially, I am sure." he says, stretching a bit "But it won't be lost for very long. What happens in Los Pegasus, stays right under somepony's nose. It's just a case of finding the right pony to talk."

 

"Friends may be a bit much I suppose, mainly just another source of information and contacts, I suppose. Don't really have anypony who enjoys my company openly enough to want to spend time off the job with me. Generous payment huh? You had my interest, but now you have my attention." he grins, pushing his shades up "Only questions I really have are which hotels you stayed in, and what the case looks like, any labels or special features." 

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Lens' self-assuredness was very comforting. Rarity was worried that she would lose the piece and have to whip something up on critically short notice. Could she? Well, she was Equestria's greatest designer if she said so herself, and she did, so she knew she could. But it was the principle of the matter. She had spent so long on it, spent considerable sums and a not-insignificant amount of personal experience helped inflame the passion behind the design. Even if she were to create a piece worthy of the moment and herself however it would never be able to replace the affection and emotion that went into the previous work. "Well, with you on the case I am sure we will retrieve it. I will perish any thought otherwise," she replied with frank joy, pleased and delighted that the directions she had been given with a bit of a joking tint had turned out so well. "I am sure your nose for the truth and hard-bitten ways will come in well for us on this journey," she added, ascribing to him all the traits of the private investigator from a rather rote crime drama.

 

Payment wise, she would keep coy about the specifics for now. She was a generous mare by her nature and this was very important to her, two factors which made for a lucrative reward for services rendered. But there was a vital list of questions being asked and she was going to be as thorough as possible. "I had reservations for the Princess suite of the Royal  Grande, one of the most prestigious and, I believed, secure hotels in the city. I had checked in at around noon, ahead of schedule but I was simply so excited I had to get relocated and focused before I could dream of going forward with the rest of my work. The suitcase in question is a dull blue suitcase with a number lock to prevent access, and purple tassels to distinguish it from my other dull blue suitcase with a number lock which has green tassels," she answered in even tones. As she did so they got into a carriage and, in relatively short time, they arrived at the hotel.

 

It was one of the largest hotels in a city famous for them. Several security ponies stood out front with a list, not allowing entry to anypony not on it. There was a hustle and bustle of staff as they met with clients outside of the doors, taking luggage in through a smaller door marked security. Rarity waved towards all assembled. "When I checked in, I remember very clearly it going into that security door. It never left, yet the security supervisors said it never even arrived!"

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Lens looks up at the hotel with a whistle, he had never been near this one before; even getting this close was something normally only done by the big shots of society, the heroes and hugely successful, briefly looking over the construction as they walk up towards it, he also studies the paths and ponies around them, until they stood still near the entrance, he sighs "Okay, enough sightseeing." he starts focusing on the areas Rarity points out for him, trying to neglect the fact that this place probably had bathrooms bigger than his current home. 

 

In his mind he pictures all the elements, the case at the top, linked to both the hotel, and the other case, he then factors in the security door, and the fact that would separate the case from its owner, and a second was all it took a talented pickpony to make off with goods, the tassels on it would almost certainly attract attention, however the only way to be sure of what was happening was one he was very annoyed about; he knew this would not be an easy task, but it just turned into an adventure. He turns to Rarity "Alright, here's the plan. I reckon there is a pony on this security team who is using their position in an area with so much wealthy luggage to sneak some off site whilst nopony is looking, our perfect target is somepony either low in the chain, or the pony in charge of the top of the chain, as they are the only ones with nopony glaring over their shoulders. I need one large attractively expensive looking bag, I'll hide in it, and you go to check it in, if luck isn't on my side, which it never is, the bag will be swept up by our mysterious thief, and I will be able to take it from there, I shan't ask you to accompany me on this part, it would not be right to put you in such a legally compromising position." 

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His accusations and theory weren't off-base, Rarity believed. While it was usually impossible to fathom a single suitcase out of many getting targeted by some manner of rogue security agent especially considering the vetting process this place had on-hoof, the manner in which her concerns were handled made anything possible. Of course somepony higher-up may be involved. It would make sense then that they could be bought off by somepony, a competitor perhaps, to take her designs. But if that was the case, why that specific one? Only she knew what was in there. Only she could open it. And, frankly, only that one mattered. It didn't seem to make sense for that one of them all to be taken if there was some sort of targeted operation against her, but it HAD happened. And she wasn't a believer in anything less than the most dramatic possibility.

“Right,” Rarity said, eyeing up her detective, “a suitcase. Well, I can't use the ones I've already had run through security. I doubt they'd be so blind as to escape noticing that, especially considering the hullabaloo I have caused regarding the dreadful seizure of my personal property. I don't suppose we can simply purchase one from any old store, either,” she trailed off with her mind lost in thought. What could she do? The answer came to her slowly, but in time, it came completely. “I've got it,” she leaned in, whispering, “I'll use one of my checked in suitcases, but strip away the sealing and cover materials and do a bit of impromptu redecorating. All things being equal, it should look chic, magnifique, and comfortable too. I'll just be back with the suitcase and some materials- meet me in the alley,” she said, nodding decisively and trotting off.

Minutes later she was in the alleyway. She opened a suitcase revealing various designer materials and tools, from fabrics to sewing machines, tucked neatly inside. She quickly went to work tearing the suitcase to pieces and then rebuilding it. The work was short and to the point but by the end she had a custom-suitcase to show for it. It was a fetching purple and gold piece with the same lock as on the others, this time with bright white tassels to clash enough for it to receive special attention. It was lined with fine silk and a few expertly placed air holes. “Well, I believe we're ready!”

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Lens listened to her plan carefully; it seemed pretty foolproof, and even better, it seemed cheap. It was now that he started wondering who could be behind all of this and why; he knew a majority of the Los Pegasus underworld just from personal experience, and he had never taken any of them for the planning types; it could have been spur of the moment however everything about this seemed plotted in advance, a pony with actual competence and strategy, and even worse, connections. This could go all the way to the top, or all the way to the depths, and awaken something onto him that he did not want knowing of his existence. For a long time he had been told about a council of criminals operating in the underworld of Los Pegasus, running complex schemes and plans, taking what they needed and then a bit more, ponies so awful they waited for tragedy with baited breath to reap the rewards of broken ponies. He shakes himself back to reality, carefully walking off towards the alley, keeping a careful eye out as always.

 

He eventually arrived in the alleyway, watching Rarity set to work on her suitcase redesign; it was true what others said about her skill; he certainly had never seen anypony able to work that quickly or efficiently in an environment like this, he blinks as he looks upon the completed suitcase "Wow... Okay that was very fast. Well guess it's time to see if my hunch pays off. I get the feeling it will work too well..." he carefully climbs into the case, making himself as small as possible "Let's do this."

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She tried to hide her pride at his words but indeed, that wasn't one of the skills she had truly conquered yet. “Oh, this was just something I whipped up! You should see what I can do with more time and materials. Speaking of- make sure that the suitcase you're looking for feels soft to the touch but doesn't bulge when you press. And remember the code 5-4-6-3- as you can see, you can tell what numbers are on the outside from inside, and can get out if needed," she offered one last bit of information before he made himself home in the suitcase. After he was done she sealed him in there all nice and tight and sighed. This was a patently ridiculous idea and one she wasn't the biggest fan of in terms of how awful it would appear if it failed, but alas, she was committed. Anything for her art!

She lifted the heavy suitcase with her magic, walking out of the alleyway as of nothing was wrong. Spotting a hoof-cart out front currently unused, she put it down and breathed a sigh of relief. “Well, nopony said all those gemstones from Maude Pie would be easy to pack, hahaha,” she laughed out out for anypony nearby to see as she sauntered up to the front. “Hello there,” she started off pleasantly enough, the lead security pony at the door rolling his eyes.

 

“Ma'am, we already told you we forwarded everything we have to the city guards-”

She put her hoof on his mouth.
“Darling, I'm sure you're doing everything you can! I...apologize for my recent behavior. It was uncouth of me to lash out at you. You're just doing your job! Can you find it in your heart to forgive me?” She asked, eyes afluttering.

He nodded after a moment's thought.

“Excellent! I have another suitcase I needed delivered to my room. It contains very precious gemstones- be careful with it, please.”

“Understood, ma'am. Please leave it next to the security door, it will be taken by an agent. You may continue inside.”

“Well, I do want to make sure it reaches them. Mind if I stand by it until it is taken?”

A sigh.
“Of course not. That will be no problem.”

The hoof-cart was pushed next to the door. After a few moments-

“Hello there! Coming to take my beautiful suitcase?”

“Yes, Ma'am. Excuse me-”

“Do be careful with it, darling. It is very important and crucial to my work!”

“Of course, Ma'am. Excuse me,” the attendant said and took the cart into the security room.

Rarity trotted on in through the doors, awaiting it on the other side.

 

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"Soft but sturdy, 5, 4, 6, and 3. Got it." he nods, starting to have second thoughts on the nature of his plan; there was so much that could go wrong, and so much that could go right in a bad way; what if the cases were actually just being used as fuel for fire, or what if they were being sold on to the highest bidder? No, he had to stop panicking here; one frightful thought was enough. This would work, for no other reason than the fact it was him in the case. Something big would be uncovered. He settles his breathing, going silent as he stays perfectly still.

 

He listens to Rarity talking to the doorguard as she went to the door; he was acting oddly hostile all things considered, even if she did rant at him; the final thing to trigger his interest was the sigh when she said she wanted to wait for the case, that was it, everything needed in that one conversation; pony avoiding answers, check, redirecting conversation, check, trying to get the victim away from the goods to avoid suspicion, check. And now that she was insisting on being near, Lens knew that they would kick their plan into play early, and hopefully trip up along the way, the game was ahoof.

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The suitcase was handled perhaps more gently than expected. After a few more moments it was lifted up, and a red ambient light shone on it. Not that the occupant could see it, of course.

“Strange. Liner prevents visual access. Should we open it?” A mare said. Hoofsteps, some movement.

“Hmm...no, it belongs to the occupant of Suite 13. I think that is fine,” a younger stallion responded.

“Please don't lose track of this one, fillies and gentlecolts,” the exasperated voice of the front door security guard could be heard. “Whatever happened to the last one, the guest is more than a little displeased. Tag it and move on.”

“Sir, that is against regulation. We need to inspect every piece of luggage that came through, especially with the threat we received!”

“Shut up about that! That is on a need to know basis only. And besides, the guest is Miss Rarity. I doubt we need to worry about her smuggling anything in that could be trouble. Tag it. Move on.”

Something hit the suitcase and then it was placed down.

“Okay. Does she want it delivered to her room?...Go find out then.”

A few seconds passed.

“Sounds fine. Just do it quick. She is mad enough already.”

“Understood, sir. Mane, want to handle it?”

“I suppose.”

A thump. The suitcase was now being wheeled by something, Several minutes of travel later, a knock on a door.

The door opens, hitting the suitcase.

“Oh by Luna's grace, another one? Sweetie, I appreciate the sentiment but I'm not even done with the last one. Just put it over there,” an older mare said. The suitcase was wheeled some more. It was then picked up and tossed into something else- more clasps were sealed, loud and audible.

“I swear that Rarity is going out of my way to make my life difficult. If she would simply comply and make this easy she would benefit so much! Alas, such ponies alays have their head high in the clouds. Here, twenty bits. Bring me anything else that she is keeping protected behind locks. The client needs to know.”

"Thank you, ma'am."

Door shut and the sound of light magically after-effects were all that remained, Rarity's new suitcase situated in some other holding container.

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Lens holds his breath as they discuss whether they should scan the suitcase or not, relaxing as he remembered himself; this wouldn't stop at such a safe point, and with that the next big section of information came in, a threat to a establishment like this. Made him wonder what exactly it could be, but that was before the guard started telling them to take it to Rarity; here was the moment of truth, and as he expected, he was taken by this 'Mane' which means what he would be after next is any guard roster to see who this pony was, especially as the next voice which rung out certainly was not one that belonged to Rarity, and this voice triggered a few alarms in his head. What kind of pony would swear out to Luna? Not that he wasn't fond of the princess of the night, it was more that those who viewed her higher quite often performed activities which needed the shroud of darkness to do. And the fact she was not even done with the last one, meaning she had purpose to this. And finally her talk to herself about Rarity failing to comply with her, he may have stumbled across some freelance cat-burglar. Funny really that the greatest threat to this hotel was right under their noses, and now the threat to her was right underneath hers.

 

Lens tries to peek through the holes in the case to see what was outside; looking for any paperwork that could be laying around on the floor, or any other cases or ponies that were nearby; at this point information was key, and so he hoped that they were messy enough in their own headquarters for him to take advantage of. 

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Tick, tock, tick, tock. Time passed and the only sound available to Lens with the light murmur of a pony speaking to herself and the sound of a glass being raised and lowered. The shimmering of a horn and the rustling of fabric. Otherwise the soundscape was unremarkable. When he moved to get a look, he would struggle mightily only to get a rather boring view. The suitcase was in a container and the interplay of fabrics created conditions that made it hard to see. Over the lip he could see the same magic powered light as found in most hotels, and the same white on white paint scheme found in most as well. For all of the exciting possibilities inherent in the profession this had to count among one of the most common such a private investigator would see.

The whole landscape was bound to change soon enough, however. “Useless! Uggh. At this pace we won't know if this is corporate espionage, personal espionage, international espionage, or a simple mistake before the show!” Frustrated mare tossed a book at the wall and got up. She was easier to see now, an elderly tan mare wearing a simple yet elegant dress. She walked over to what looked like a small mini-bar and poured herself a drink. A frustrated sigh. “Okay. No, you still got this Glass. Might have been a few years since a case, but a little fashion never hurt you anyway. Some evidence that Miss Rarity stole designs, but no hard evidence, and it can all be explained away- but is that because she is a great liar, or is there something more ahoof?”

Another sigh.
“I guess there is only one way to find out. I hope this final suitcase can answer my questions- going to have to do something more underhoofed at this rate...”

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Lens memorizes every word the pony said, keeping in time with the ticking and tocking to keep track of the time it was said, his ears detecting the sound of a glass; which could be used as a possible weapon against him, or even better, as part of a distraction for him. He takes in the few lights he could see; he knew from this that he was in a room in the hotel somewhere, which means these cases were snuck through security and into the hotel through a different way, possibly a staff entrance; whilst this pony was quite obviously a guest; which meant he would need to sneak himself out and find a guest register; it was a fancy hotel; they would keep track surely.

 

The next part confused him though; 'we'. Usually when somepony said 'we', they would be meaning themselves and their bosses; he had hoped this was the highest in the chain, but perhaps it went even further. He hears the dull thud and rustling of paper as the book hit the wall, letting him know it was a book; evidently this was a pony who preferred keeping her composure in public, but had quite an impatient streak in reality. He notes her appearance; it was very odd that an old mare was taking so much interest in something like this. And so he listens again; getting that somewhere in her name was 'Glass'. And then the next bit hit him; she was looking for evidence to incriminate Rarity, and it sounded like she was doing it on the clock. She must be working for another pony; if he got caught now he could risk letting the entire trail go cold; he could save the suitcase, but Rarity could still be in trouble, unless he could persuade this mare; after all it seemed like they were both investigators; just this one got led on a wild witch hunt.

 

He hears her getting ready to move over to his case, which is when he made his move, timing it so the moment her back was turned on her minibar, he used his magic to carefully knock a couple of bottle onto the floor, crashing and smashing as they hit the ground; hoping this mare had the investigators way of wanting to clear up any messes to avoid paying for cleaning.

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The mare walked over to the suitcase, her hoofsteps heavy and slow. She was aged- that much would be clear from voice and movement alone, even if she hadn't been out of the game for long. As she approached the suitcase something fell from the mini-bar, the sound of something shattering gaining her attention. her eyes shot to the area of impact- a few bottles, nothing too major. Her first inclination was to clean it up as she didn't have the money nor the inclination to pay for the cleanup. But she was far more concerned about the fact that something fell when she had nothing to do with it, as if it had been manipulated. Her horn lit up a light blue and scanned over the area. thin aetheric lines appeared to her, her eyes glowing white as the magic scanned the area. The thin-lines of magic led back to the suitcase.

 

"Hmm...appears we have something, or somepony, inside of this," she said. Then she gave the suitcase a light kick. "Okay, the jig is up. I'm not sure what game you're playing at but I'm no fool. You can either get out of that and we can talk like gentlefolk or I can miniaturize this suitcase and all of its contents so much that you'll live on the atomical level," she threatened, though her tone carried less threat and more resigned annoyance.

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Lens grits his teeth as he hears the steps approaching; knowing that the bottle was his last chance to get this done silently, and that now it was time to leave the classic method behind and start using his method. That strangely particular one that was a combination of skill, improvisation, and a heavy dusting of luck, both good and bad. In a split second his mind went through all kinds of possible plans, considering that he was no princess of magic; he did not have the combat skills in that department to deal with this; and a teleport would most likely put him out of action. However if he let this mare open the case, then he would also be on the back hoof, which left only one reasonable option that he could use and keep the upper hoof on his opponent. 

 

He pushes himself upwards as he shoots a beam of magic at where the zip and lock were located, shattering them allowing his jump to launch him out the case, aiming slightly back so he could get extra distance from the mare as he faced her, he adjusts his shades, his tone as cocky as always "Okay so we can add threatening a civilian to the list of charges now. Along with theft, sabotage with malcontent, and for interrupting the workspace of this fine hotel. You've got one minute, lass. you better have a silver tongue and as much luck as I have. And a warning ahead of time; if you move towards that door to run, I will just show these cases to onsite security. It's obvious you are no fashion designer." he was throwing a load of his cards up early, however; when against somepony else who knew the system, there was an unwritten rule to not act like they wouldn't know the usual routine, so it saved time to just skip it. "You obviously have a similar work background to me. So you know exactly how bad this looks on you, stealing from anypony is bad. But from an element shortly before the pieces are needed for a show, and persuading that poor Mane pony to take the cases here; they could lose their job over something like this."

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Glass watched with an amused expression on her features as the occupant of the suitcase- an unusual thing to say, that- jumped out and then started prattling off things. He started off with a list of alleged crimes she had committed. How terrifying they sounded! Sent a chill down her spine, along with a smirk. He started to play his hand with aggression reserved for the desperate and he deservedly didn't have the demeanor of a private investigator worth his name. For while she may have been somewhat of a mystery to him he was known to her. Most ponies in the field knew him. His actions were loud enough. He tried to lay it out there as if she was in the wrong, as if the ordeal was implicating her. He was in for a rude awakening.

She rolled her eyes at him, their hazel nature sharp and undulled by age. “Kid, you're as threatening as a poodle. Want a drink?” she said as she trotted on over to the minibar, pouring herself a glass and levitating another over to him. As she did, she spoke. “So, lets set the record straight here. I was hired by the Equestrian Fashion Society, of which Rarity is a member mind you, to investigate claims of artistic theft and possibly industrial espionage involving trade secrets being given to the Fashion Alliance of Equestria,” she sat down at the desk, resting her hooves on the desk. “In order to spare Miss Rarity's feelings in case she is innocent, I am trying to do my investigations out of her sight. Her last suitcase is over there-” she threw her head towards the items on the desk, “-and I was hoping that a second locked suitcase might provide more clues.”

She takes a drink.
“Of course I didn't expect somepony to be in there. Made sense with how heavy it apparently was! So, let me guess. Rarity hired you to find her lost suitcase and doesn't have the faintest clue as to why anypony would ever want to steal from her?” She said in a mocking tone discussing Rarity, shaking her head. “Element of Harmony or no, she isn't perfect. Nopony is! Whether she is a criminal or not is up for debate. But I intend to find out and if you actually care about your client you'd let me do my work. If she is innocent then that means somepony else is attacking the Society and trying to frame her for it.”

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The moment she started talking, he immediately knew what kind of a investigator he had come across here; a Tinkerbell. The kind that would always maintain a composure no matter what was thrown their way, and which worked by making your opponent so frustrated that they would let something slip, ones that would leave it until the last second to lead everypony into the parlor to discuss their theories and point the hoof, when in fact they knew since about halfway through, but instead was waiting for the right parlor. His style was a little more time focused; he charged by the case, not the hour. He knocks the drink away "Thanks but no thanks. I'm on the clock." regardless of knocking it away, he caught the glass and drink with his magic, putting it back on the counter; he had already broken one bottle today. "Well I'm sorry, but I don't care what some stuffy council of wrinkled and grumpy ponies may or may not think about secrets and investigations. It is not their job to request shadow investigations, and is protocol instead to question the member directly themselves, besides, just because she is generous, does not make her a fool. She immediately knew there was something afoot, did she not?"

 

His eye twitches slightly "Oi! And I was hired to get her suitcase back so that the outfit inside can be used at her fashion show. Although now that you have given your speech, how am I supposed to know that you are the only one here? If I were trying to incriminate somepony else in my organisation, you know what I would do? I would set up an investigation into that pony, so that I know where everything is happening, then I would slip something else in to incriminate the pony in question, and be able to get away scot free. So I can bet we'll find something unusual in that case. But I can also wager that if we give it to Miss Rarity, she will happily open it for you to show. It's scammer's code 101, if you want to get away with murder, you put the blood on the hooves of somepony more important than you. Everypony is happy with a high profile arrest, the media, the detective, and the true culprit. Nopony would bother looking down in the chain at the pony in the middle. Besides, it is evident that you have standing issues with the pony you are investigating, you should know as well as I do, you don't hire somepony who would assume the party they are looking into to be guilty. So how about this, you give me the location of the one who hired you, and I will look into them, and I'll give you Rarity's location, so that you can get that case opened."

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He was a talker. Maybe talking worked well for him? She was an investigator of the old school. You spoke at length when you had something important to say. He seemed to speak whenever a thought appeared in there. Still he was fast and that was always beneficial. If he kept at it and didn't allow his mind to be wasted on simple tasks like this one, he could make a fine detective. He made several decent points but they were all predicated on the mystery of the suitcase remaining just that. She assumed that with all of his theatrics getting out of the suitcase that he would have something approaching respect for another professional's skills, but she supposed he was so busy focusing on the small things that he failed to grasp the bigger ones. A few seconds passed after he finished speaking, Glass finishing her drink with a mighty gulp at the end. She'd have to lay her hand down now as well.
 

Glasses down for Glass. 

“I've already ruled out an inside job vis a vi the Society. The reason is simple,” she flipped the suitcase on the desk around and opened it, revealing the contents, “because somepony trying to frame Rarity would have given me something more to work with. I have studied the contents. The results are decidedly inconclusive. I have been given reams of data regarding the cuts and fabrics and trademarks involved, as well as acknowledged contacts between members and whathaveyous. If somepony was trying to frame her, then I'd have a smoking gun. I'd have a smoking gun and you wouldn't be here because she would have been informed of the results of this investigation an hour or so ago,” she levitated the design up, keeping it straight and gentle.

 

“If she was innocent however, then I wouldn't have evidence of fabrics trademarked by a new member of the Alliance. A murky middleground. One could believe that she had contacted this fellow before he joined the Alliance and that it is a perfectly pleasant arrangement. If that is the case, seeing a design of hers from the same collection, for the same show, to be premiered at the same time, but drawn up at a slightly later date, would help clear her entirely. She has already said she designed the main piece before the rest- could be a cover of course, but if that is true, the fabric will show. These fabrics in question by the way aren't things you can purchase at a store, nor something you can legally create for public display yourself. These are patented and trademarked magical creations at play. Thousands of bits in fines for use alone.

 

I am under very strict orders. If I find evidence to exonerate her, then Rarity's suitcase will be returned with a story regarding mishandled baggage. All will be well for her and she won't have any of the stress. If I have misgivings, another story will be provided to buy more time until the last possible moment before the show. As for having something against her, quite the opposite. I have respect for her and her friends. But as a rule I don't like anypony, and I especially don't like ponies with a sense of overdramatic intent.”

 

Her horn lit up. The design went back in the suitcase and it slammed shut. Then her horn lit a different color and the number dials went crazy for a second.


“Also, tell her that numerical locks are very easy to break for ponies with certain magical skillsets. She is lucky I've simply changed the code and not broken it for good. Now, seeing as you're quick of hoof, I'd be willing to accept your help in this matter. She'll get her suitcase back by the end no matter what. And if she is innocent you can tell her a brave tale of intrigue and...whatever it is you like to say. But if you prevent me from doing my job to its completion, then Rarity will lose far more than a design and a suitcase and you'll be known as the detective who got his client humiliated in a very public manner.”

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Lens smiled, at least he did on the inside, on the outside he had the same expression that he had been maintaining most of this encounter; she certainly seemed to think she had him all figured out, which was perfect; when you thought faster than most ponies could speak, you could still speak more than most ponies and yet hide certain elements, something which always led others to underestimate him, which was at the base of all his work; being underestimated was a great advantage, for if everypony thinks you are starting on the back foot, you can start moving exactly when they feel most confident. However this mare was becoming an issue; she was what every PI hated; diabolically slow and over-calculating, when she got to her comments on the ins and outs of the theories she had he was just about ready to fall asleep, except when she mentioned the fabrics were trademarked by a member of the Alliance, which was the one she was investigating against; perhaps the backbone to this case relied on finding this pony, who he had no doubt had talked to this mare already, however she did not seem like the one to encourage much of a truthful response, moreso she seemed like the kind of mare one would just half do the answers if it meant getting at least five lengths away from her again.

 

His horn ignites, though nothing comes of it, he waits for her to talk through her 'strict orders' and finish off her speech before the magic fades again; it seemed like working with her would be the best thing for now, at least he may be able to start building up his own case against her should her threats come to light, plus she seemed far more powerful in magic, so for safety reasons alone, working with her may be the best idea "Alright fine, you stay here drinking and grumbling about the good old days; I'll see what information I can gather from this Alliance pony you spoke of, just stay here though, I don't think your presence would do much to warm anypony towards telling the truth; I'm having a hard time keeping my words friendly around you; and I actually know the tactic, so yeah. Just keep seeing what leads you can gather, and I'll chase them up. And if I find you to be starting to go against our code of morality for your employers; you will find yourself and all those who hired you sharing the same street corner. So now that we have eachother's promises, let's get to work." He shakes his head "And ramble about fabrics to somepony who looks like they can afford to dress nicely; I don't need to know who they side with or what part of the line the fabric is from. I just need to know who to be pointed at, and that's it."

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All insults and bluster. It was the trademark of the young Private Investigators of this age. When help was offered and an alliance presented itself they were too stubborn and prideful to look for the truth. It tended to leave them failed and wanting in the eyes of true professionals and discerning clients. Why go for the hothead failures when calm, cool, collected, and successful investigators were a call away? Alas, by deigning superiority he was making clear his inferiority as an investigator. Oh well. He was young and spry and she could use some young muscle on this job. If it helped clear his client then that would benefit the both of them. As he finished blathering, she smiled. At the every least she knew he was going to help, even if he couldn't help but allow his arrogance to show.


"Excellent. I was hoping you might see reason. Now, I was able to bring up Miss Rarity's personal business arrangements vis a vi custom designs and delivery. As luck would have it, there is a stallion in town whom she has done business with who received a design that would fit our criteria. His name is Jackpot, and he runs a local casino. A bit of an eccentric fellow. If we could get him to reveal the design and analyze it then we could solve this matter entirely. While you buddy buddy with that one, I have another lead to run down. Promising. Fun. If everything works as intended, anyway. Meet my where the dusk wakes, Lens. Then we'll have our answers," she replied quickly, getting dressed in her fineries as she did so. She wasn't one to send others to do the dirty work but Jackpot was...a piece of work, and she needed to be someplace else anyway. "Questions?"

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This mare was starting to annoy him the more that she spoke; not that he couldn't see where she was coming from, very much the reason he found himself so annoyed by her is that he could see exactly where she was coming from, and unfortunately for him it seemed like the direction that he was heading in, in which the case is the most important thing above all others and anypony who got in the way of the work was simply an annoyance to use to their benefit. After this case he was going to have a serious heart to heart with himself; he didn't like the idea of this route now that he had seen where it could lead him. Luckily there was no time to dwell on it now, it appeared she wanted to learn things from a local casino owner, of course casinos were where he spent most his time anyway when he was off duty, he had probably met this pony before, and even if not, they were easy enough to learn information from.

 

"Alright, seems simple enough. Everypony is this city is eccentric in their own twisted ways. I'm sure I'll have fun getting to know this 'Jackpot' if I don't already know him, and I think I already have an idea of how to work him. A 'fun' lead? Didn't realise you old timers knew how to have fun." he comments jokingly, putting his sunglasses in his pocket as he takes out a small map, looking over it "Okay, casinos by owner, alright then just north of here, let's get going, we're burning hours." he says, heading to the door quickly "And my client doesn't have hours."

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