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20 March 2012 @ 01:56 am
Recipient: Wynn
Gift Giver: Dracobolt

The last vestiges of sunlight had dipped below the horizon, and Rarity was hard at work that autumn evening on laying down a pattern for a new dress. She was in her zone of inspiration, blissfully sketching the lines of a gracefully sweeping train, when a knock came at her workroom door.

"Rarity! I'm done with my homework!"

Rarity sighed to herself. Since the Sisterhooves Social, she had been allowing Sweetie Belle to sleep over a couple of times a month for sisterly bonding, and she didn't regret it, but sometimes her sister could interrupt most inconveniently. "That's nice, Sweetie Belle. I'll come see you off to bed when I finish this-"

"You promised we'd read a story before my bedtime," said Sweetie Belle, opening the door and trotting inside. "C'mon, Rarity!"

"Very well," Rarity said. "Why don't you go pick a book, and then-"

"I already did." Sweetie Belle gave her sister a stern look. "I didn't want you to get caught up in your work again while I was looking for something."

Doing her best not to let it show on her face that that had been exactly her plan, Rarity smiled. "Very well, let's go. What book did you pick?"

"I found it in a box under the guest bed," said Sweetie Belle, holding up a dusty hardcover. "'Prancy Clue and the Fashion Show Fiasco.' It looked pretty cool."

Rarity felt a tug in her chest. Seeing that book in her sister's hooves brought back so many memories. "I- I suppose we can read a few chapters," she said.

Sweetie Belle skipped down the hall to the guest room, Rarity following, her thoughts distracted by the past. The sisters settled onto the bed, and Rarity cracked open the book. An old bookmark fell out, adorned with stickers of the Powerpuff Ponies, a popular series when Rarity had been younger.

Sweetie Belle cleared her throat, and Rarity turned to the first page. "Chapter One. The invitation was waiting in the mail that afternoon when Prancy came home from school. She opened it eagerly; perhaps it would contain a case! Instead it held something different but no less exciting: an invitation to a fashion show in Canterlot for Prancy and two friends as the guests of Duchess Dainty Hooves, an elderly heiress whom Prancy had saved from ruin when her wicked nephew had made her believe her house was haunted."

The bell rang for recess, and Rarity made a beeline for her friends, dragging them to a quiet corner of the playground. "Look! I got the new one!"

"Prancy Clue and the Fashion Show Fiasco," Cheerilee read, taking the book from Rarity. "'Sabotage and secrets abound at a Canterlot fashion show, and it's up to Prancy Clue and her friends to solve the mystery and save the day.' Cool! Can I borrow it when you're done reading it?"

"Sure!" said Rarity. "I stayed up late last night finishing it. It's so good! I wish I could go to a fashion show one day."

"Maybe you should be a fashion designer, then," suggested Cheerilee, turning to chapter one.

"A whole mystery about fashion? Sounds boring to me," said the third member of their little group.

"Really, Applejack, you think everything feminine is boring," said Rarity. "Anyways, it's a Prancy Clue book, and they're always exciting."

"Ah guess so..." said Applejack. "Is there any action like in Prancy Clue and the Riddle of Hoofstone Ranch?"

"Well, Prancy and Merry have to chase down Silver Styles, who-"

"Stop!" cried Cheerilee. "Don't spoil it!"

"Sorry," Rarity said. "But I promise you'll like it, Applejack."

"Well, Ah guess Ah'll read it when Cheerilee's done," said Applejack.

"I wish there was another book already," said Rarity. "It must be so exciting to be like Prancy! She gets to solve mysteries and go all sorts of places with her friends."

"Wouldn't it be fun if we could solve mysteries together?" said Cheerilee.

"Hey, now that sounds like fun," Applejack said. "Sheriff Applejack and the Zap Apple Thieves!"

"How come you get to be the main character?" Cheerilee giggled. "Why not Cheerilee and the Case of the Cutie Mark Counterfeiters?"

"Maybe we could look for real mysteries here in Ponyville!" said Rarity.

"Ah have to go straight home after school an' help with chores," Applejack said reluctantly.

"Aw..." Cheerilee said.

"Cheerilee and I can look for mysteries, and if we find one we'll get you," Rarity decided. "Your parents will have to let you come if it's something that important."

"Ah guess..." Applejack said, but she sounded more cheerful.

"Maybe we'd even get our cutie marks as detectives!" Cheerilee added.

"Aren't we too young for cutie marks?" asked Rarity.

"I guess, but you never know. We could be special and get them early!"

"That would be an interesting special talent," Rarity admitted.

"Then it's decided!" said Cheerilee. "We're going to be Ponyville's detectives."

"Prancy let out a gasp. A phantasmagorical apparition loomed in the catwalks ahead. Could this be the culprit who had been sabotaging the fashion show? There was only one way to find out. Prancy trotted-" Rarity broke off and looked to her side. Sweetie Belle lay peacefully asleep, a smile on her lips. Rarity smiled as well and gently slid off the bed, doing her best not to wake her sister. She set the novel on the bedside table, then picked it up again and retired to her own bedroom.

Rarity stretched out on top of the covers and looked at the closed book. So many memories. Back before Rainbow Dash's Sonic Rainboom had linked her and her five friends. Back before Rarity had gotten her cutie mark, when the idea of being a fashionista had been only a vague inkling. Before Applejack’s parents were gone. Back when she and Cheerilee had still been close. Perhaps...

Rarity returned to the guest bedroom and carefully used her magic to pull the box from under the bed without disturbing her sister. Returning to her room, she rifled through it. Sure enough, there was the long-forgotten case book, filled with childish scrawl. Notes of suspicious ponies and clues and maps, even the detective club motto. Rarity put a hoof to her mouth. She hadn't thought of any of this in years, but it was... nice. Very nice. Rarity lifted more items from her keepsakes box, reliving memories long into the night. At some point she fell asleep.

She awoke the next morning to somepony hammering on her door. "Hey, Rarity!" Sweetie Belle barged in. "Mornin', Sis!"

"Hm? Wha-? Sweetie Belle?" Rarity rubbed sleep from her eyes and patted her mane, chagrined at having fallen asleep without completing her nightly beauty rituals.

"Do you have the Prancy Clue book, Rarity?" Sweetie Belle asked. "Hey, here it is!" She grabbed it from the bed. "I want to show Apple Bloom and Scootaloo. We can read it together and then maybe go find some mysteries like Prancy."

"Oh. Of course." Rarity cleared the lump in her throat. "Yes, that sounds like a splendid idea. You run along and show them. Perhaps I'll see you later." Sweetie Belle took this as a dismissal and tore out of the room to go play.

Perhaps she would see Sweetie Belle later. After all, today's schedule now included a stop at Sweet Apple Acres to visit Applejack. Maybe she'd run into Cheerilee on the way there.

Rarity flipped open the notebook. Looking up at her were three crudely-drawn fillies with "Best friends forever!" written under them. Rarity smiled and closed the book. It was time to revisit some memories with old friends – but not before she spruced up a bit.
Karen: Nana Smilewynndfae on March 20th, 2012 11:51 am (UTC)
That was awesome! Being that I'm the only Wynn here, I really liked it! Thank you! Prancy Clue, eh? Dead clever! I also like how you've hinted at Rarity, Cheerilee, and AJ being the first Cutie Mark Crusaders.

Saving this! Thanks! :D
gravity.not.included: he's so FLUFFY!grav_ity on March 20th, 2012 12:48 pm (UTC)
This is excellent. I love the flashback. Your tone is spot on. :)
Brent "Chip" Edwardschipuni on March 20th, 2012 05:29 pm (UTC)

I can see Rarity, Cheerilee, and Applejack being a prototype to the CMC! This idea is now part of my headcanon.

Well written and lots of fun!
Jenn Shatterpathshatterpath on March 26th, 2012 06:53 pm (UTC)
Lovely tale! Well thought out and clever with a lot of information and characterization. It also gives a nice explanation to Cheerilee's patience with the CMC and Applejack's old clubhouse. I could totally visualize this whole tale and I loved it!