Mission: Implausible

by JohnPerry

Chapter 3: Secret Agent Mare

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“My, perhaps I should have stayed in Her Majesty’s Secret Service,” Con Mane said with a smile, his eyes tracing Octavia’s figure. “If I’d known they would be hiring mares as stunning as you, I never would have left. Canterlotian too, from your accent.”

The cellist scowled, tensing up under his gaze. “What in dear Celestia’s name are you doing here?”

“Speaking of that lovely old mare, how is Celestia doing?” he asked, his smug grin never leaving his face. “I imagine everypony in Canterlot must miss me. I certainly would,” he added, straightening his bowtie.

“You betrayed us,” Octavia growled. “Do you know how many agents it took to clean up your mess? And what’s more, you still haven’t explained what you’re doing here.”

“Well, isn’t it obvious? I’m in charge of operations here,” Con Mane answered, gesturing at the stacks of flour and sugar bags surrounding them. “You didn’t really think you got in unnoticed, did you? I figured my former employers would eventually take an interest in the cartel. In fact, I already knew they had their eyes on this warehouse. All I had to do was wait for you and your friend on the roof to show up.”

Octavia started. They weren’t just compromised, they had walked right into a trap. Any moment now, the guards would overhear their conversation and Vinyl may already be in danger. She lifted her sword in front of her, giving Con Mane a level stare. If they were going to have to fight their way out, so be it.

“Stand aside, or you will regret it,” the grey mare threatened, holding the blade up for him to see.

“I really hoped a sophisticated mare like yourself would have preferred to talk this over first,” the stallion suggested. “Perhaps over a nice candlelit dinner?”

“No thanks,” Octavia grunted.

“You’re right, it’s far too late for dinner,” Con Mane commented. “How about we cut to the chase and head back to my apartment?”

The cellist tensed and felt a shiver go down her spine at his remark. “I have a good mind to flay you alive for that comment,” she said through gritted teeth.

The stallion gave a heavy, theatrical sigh. “You know, I’d say I’m a lover and not a fighter, but the truth is...” There was a sudden flurry of motion as he charged at Octavia. The mare was just barely able to get her sword up in time before she heard a loud ‘clang!’ and looked down to see a metal dagger protruding out of the hoof end of Con Mane’s wristwatch, acting as a miniature sword and holding hers in place.

He cocked an eyebrow at Octavia, his face inches from hers. “...I’m really good at both.”

The mare pushed away, swinging her sword wildly at Con Mane’s head. He swiftly ducked and thrust his hoof forward, attempting to stab Octavia with his dagger. She leapt back before he could strike a blow, somersaulting backwards. The stallion’s horn glowed and he sent a nearby bag flying at the grey mare. Thinking quickly, she swung her sword and sliced the bag in two just before it could hit her, sending a giant cloud of flour into the air and showering her in white powder. Her vision was temporarily blinded by white, giving her barely enough time to dodge another stab from Con Mane’s dagger. She intercepted it with her sword as the stallion barreled through the cloud of flour, lashing out with his other forehoof and catching the mare square in the chest. She stumbled back, coughing from the combination of the punch and the flour coating her. Still standing on her hindlegs, she rose her forehooves and sword in a defensive stance, her ear twitching at the sound of approaching hooves; the guards had heard their fight and were coming. In a moment she would be outnumbered with no hope of escape.

Con Mane swung his dagger sideways, trying to strike a decisive blow, but Octavia skillfully parried with her sword, then crouched and swung low, forcing the stallion to jump into the air. He landed on his hindlegs and threw his forehooves down at the mare, trying to strike her with the dagger. She barely got her weapon up above her in time as sparks shot out from where the two lethal instruments struck, the stallion exerting enough force to knock the sword out of Octavia’s hooves.

Now the mare was on the defensive as Con Mane pushed his advantage. Stab, swipe low, uppercut. Sidestep, leap, roll back. Octavia was now crouched low on all four hooves, stepping back slowly as she kept her eyes on the stallion walking upright on his hindlegs, his dagger still held out in front of him.

She could now hear the sound of the guards speaking. “Hey! Hold it right th-”

Suddenly, everything stopped as the stack of crates nearest them burst apart in a violent explosion, followed by an incredible fireball that erupted into the air, instantaneously turning what would have been a huge cloud of flour into what looked like a wall of fire. Octavia was momentarily deafened by the noise, lying on the ground with her hooves over her head as fragments of wood, burlap sacks and metal rained down around her. The smell of burnt sugar filled the air as the mare looked up to see a massive hole that had been blown out of the wall. None of the flames had touched her, as the flour had simply burnt too quickly to do any real harm. But pieces of burning wood and burlap had landed on other sacks of flour, and Octavia did not want to be around long enough to see those go off. She rose to her hooves just in time to see a mare dart in through the hole, as white as Octavia herself now looked.

“Time to go!” Vinyl yelled, gesturing frantically outside.

Octavia nodded and turned around. All of the guards and Con Mane were lying on the ground some distance away, having been flung across the room by the explosion. The grey mare had only remained in place by the fortune of being the only one crouched low to the ground while everypony else had been standing upright. She spotted her sword and quickly sheathed it, racing outside as the guards slowly came to terms with what had happened.

Vinyl and Octavia were silent as they dashed out into the night air. Already, sirens were going off as they rounded a corner only to halt abruptly once they saw armored guards galloping straight at them.

“Looks like we’re leaving by water!” the white mare yelped as she turned tail and ran for the water’s edge behind the warehouse. Octavia followed closely, both leaping into the air and over the edge of the dock as the unicorn members of the guards fired magical blasts in their direction. Each shot missed as the two agents hit the water, plunging deep into the murky depths.

Octavia was bitterly cold and utterly blind. It was pitch black underwater, owing to the darkness of the night, and the saltiness of the water made her eyes sting, making keeping them open a very uninviting proposition. She swept her hooves back, pushing herself through the water, but with no way of seeing what was around she had no sense of where she was going or how far she was from the pier, all while trying to hold her breath.

A pair of bright green orbs suddenly illuminated in front of Octavia and she started, wondering if it was some sort of sinister marine specimen that hunted at night. But as they turned slowly towards her, the cellist realized they were the same shape and proportion as Vinyl’s goggles, the green light of the goggles’ night vision cutting through the murk. The DJ spotted her friend and waved, reaching into her saddlebag and pulling out a silvery, cup-like instrument attached by a tube to the inside of her bag. Before Octavia could figure out what it was, Vinyl ripped off the grey mare’s mask and thrusted the instrument over her muzzle, causing her to gasp in surprise. It took a second for her to realize that her gasp hadn’t involved a sharp intake of water, but of air from a special oxygen holder within Vinyl’s saddlebag. Octavia took a grateful breath and nodded at her friend, pulling a pair of straps that secured the mask to her muzzle. Vinyl pulled another mask out of the saddlebag and placed it on her own face before turning around, pushing through the water with wide sweeps of her hooves as Octavia followed.

Knowing their air supply was extremely limited, the two swam as quickly as they could. Time was difficult to keep track of and Octavia focused on following the twin beams of green light that swept across the expanse of water in front of her. The occasional small, silvery fish darted out of the way at their approach. Though the swimming kept her muscles moving and the cold from overwhelming her, the chilly water still bit at her. Finally, after what could have only been a few minutes but felt much longer to the two mares, Vinyl started making for the surface and a grateful Octavia swam after her.

They broke the surface, careful to make sure nothing was nearby before removing their masks and taking a breath of fresh air. They looked around to see that they had swam past a couple of piers and were now close to a wharf where a fleet of boats rested. A few touristy seaside restaurants overlooked the water, but none of the diners were paying any attention to the view, instead pointing at the rising flames from the warehouse Vinyl and Octavia had just escaped from. Taking advantage of the distraction, the two discreetly swam past, heading for a ladder that would get them back onto dry land.

“Sorry ‘bout the big bang, Octy,” Vinyl whispered, tapping the side of her goggles to turn off the night vision and pushing them up to her forehead, giving Octavia a view of her eyes. “Once I found out the scouting mission was actually a trap, blowing up the trap seemed like the right thing to do.”

“We’ve got bigger problems,” the cellist replied. “Con Mane is behind all this.”

“Yeah, I know,” Vinyl answered. “I was listening in the whole time, remember?” She reached the ladder first and began climbing up. Both reached the top, dripping wet but fortunately unnoticed by anypony as all eyes were on the distant burning warehouse and the loud sirens that heralded the arrival of the fire trucks.

“Wonderful,” Octavia scowled, pulling off her soaked bodysuit. She carefully wrapped it around her sheathed sword and gripped it in her mouth while Vinyl undid the enchantments that disguised her hair and cutie mark. The two proceeded down a side street, quietly leaving the scene as they started the long, uphill trek back to their hotel on Cob Hill.

Where is she?” Octavia fumed to herself as she sat in her room. It was the next morning and the two agents were planning to make their way to a neighborhood to the south where they hoped to find their contact with the info on the cartel. Given the events of the previous night, Octavia had insisted on disguises to wear in public. She had opted for a classic dress suit while doing her mane up in a neat bun; simple, but effective and still conveying professionalism for when they met their contact. Vinyl, however, still hadn’t arrived and the cellist was getting impatient.

Octavia walked over to the curtain and peeked outside, looking down at the street in front of the hotel. Sure enough, she was still there. The orange mare who had been following them yesterday was sitting on a bench across the street, watching the hotel entrance. She was wearing a wide-brimmed straw hat and holding up a newspaper, but it was definitely her. Their disguises would come in handy, but just to be safe Octavia and Vinyl would have to find a different exit out of the hotel.

At last, there was a knock at her door and Octavia strode across the room to answer it. Pulling open the door, she stood still for a moment, taking in the white mare on the other side. It didn’t take her long to find the adequate response to what she was seeing.

No,” Octavia said firmly. Vinyl‘s mane and tail were now in every color of the rainbow, with a particular emphasis on green, red and yellow. Strings of colored beads hung around her neck and were wrapped around each of her hooves, and a black short skirt covered her cutie mark. She had removed her goggles, giving Octavia that oh-so-rare glimpse of her actual eyes.

“Uh...no what, Octy?” Vinyl replied, nonplussed. “You said I should wear a disguise, so this is what I’ve got! Like it?”

“N...No!” the grey mare yelled, pulling her friend inside and quickly shutting the door behind them. “Are you crazy?! The idea is to blend in, not draw even more attention to ourselves! Where do you even find this stuff, anyway?”

“I brought it with me!” the DJ said cheerfully before catching the expression on Octavia’s face. “What? You said you wanted a disguise! What’s so bad about this one?”

“You seriously intend to present yourself as an agent of the Equestrian government to our contact today...wearing that?” the cellist asked incredulously.


“...Take it off. Now,” Octavia said flatly, pointing a hoof at her bathroom.

“What?! But Octy!” Vinyl whined, pouting at her friend.

Now,” the grey mare growled through her teeth, narrowing her eyes and giving Vinyl a vicious glare, unmoved by the puppy dog eyes her friend was giving her. The white mare sighed and made her way into the bathroom. “And put this on while you’re in there,” she added, tossing her other dress suit at Vinyl, which landed on her head.

“Okay, now this can work,” Vinyl said, grinning as she stepped out of a clothing store and rejoining Octavia, who was standing outside on the sidewalk. After complaining loudly and bitterly about the suit, the DJ had found a shop on their way to meet with their contact. Her mane was once again blue and she was now sporting a pair of dark shades and a black fedora in addition to her suit, smiling broadly at her friend. “Oh yeah,” she laughed, looking at her reflection in the shop window. “I make this look good.

“If you are quite finished,” Octavia grumbled as she took her friend by the hoof and began leading her down the street, “we should find our contact. As far as I can tell, we haven’t been followed, so let’s keep it that way.”

They walked several more blocks, with the cellist checking a map every so often as they proceeded. “Alright. We should take a left down...this street,” she said, looking up at a street sign labeled ‘CASTROT.’

“Oh ho ho...” Vinyl chuckled. “This should prove interesting.”

“Why?” Octavia asked, confused. “Do you know about this place?”

“You’ve never heard of the Castrot? Then this will be interesting.” Vinyl had a sly grin as she spoke. “It’s a neighborhood that attracts...how should I put this? It draws in ponies who...swing for the same team.”

Octavia had a blank look on her face.

“You know...sexually speaking?” Vinyl hinted.

The grey mare’s expression remained blank. “So...this is a red light district?”

“Well...I mean, sorta...” the DJ stammered. “But, you know, for fillyfoolers.”

Now Octavia looked really confused. “Filly-foolers? You mean...clowns?”

Oh for crying out...GAYS!” Vinyl cried out in exasperation. “You know, ponies attracted to other ponies of the same sex?”

“Oh. ...Oh...” the cellist answered, her eyes widening as realization finally dawned on her.

“And finally she catches on,” Vinyl muttered, her tone half amused and half exasperated. Castrot Street didn’t look much different from any other busy street in San Franciscolt, with the exception of the occasional business geared towards the more eclectic tastes of its residents, to say nothing of the residents themselves.

Hi, girlfriend,” said a pegasus mare with a light violet coat and spiky white and sky blue mane, leaning against a lamppost on the street and gazing at Octavia. She had a companion standing beside her with similar colors, though with her mane down and a pink bow atop her head. It took Octavia a moment to figure out the greeting had been directed at her.

“Um...hello,” she replied uncertainly.

“Love the suit,” the mare complimented, looking over the cellist. “Not so sure about the mane, but I can see the appeal. It matches you well.”

“Oh. Well, thank-” Octavia began, only to feel herself being pulled away by Vinyl.

“Trust me fillies, she’s way too straight for you. Heck, she’s too straight for me sometimes,” the DJ shouted behind her shoulder as she led an embarrassed Octavia down the street.

“The residents of the Castrot seem rather...open-minded,” the cellist muttered, before frowning. “Castrot...Castrot...” she murmured, listening to the word as it came off her tongue. “Is that some sort of nickname?”

“I think it’s just the name of the street,” Vinyl answered with a shrug. “Why?”

“Do I really have to point out the irony that a place so accepting-” Octavia paused as they walked past an adult bookstore, proudly advertising a wide and varied selection of ‘pleasurable’ literature. “-neigh, encouraging of all manner of sexual activity has a name that sounds like ‘castrate’?”

Vinyl shrugged again. “I guess that’s San Franciscolt for you.”

The pair found the address they were looking for after a couple more blocks of walking. They now stood before a long set of row houses, each a few stories tall and painted in bright, friendly colors, with a staircase that led from the sidewalk up to the front door. Vinyl and Octavia trotted up the stairs and saw a set of doorbells, one for each apartment, all occupying separate floors of the building. Octavia pushed the button for the second floor, which let out a harsh buzzing sound.

After a moment, the door opened to reveal a cream-colored mare with a curly mane and tail that was equal parts dark blue and brilliant pink, with a cutie mark showing three wrapped candies. The mare stood in the doorway, taking a long look at Vinyl, then over at Octavia before speaking.

“Okay, basic rate is thirty bits an hour for the each of you, but if it’s a three-way you’re looking for I do offer a discount-”

“We’re here for the cartel info, idiot,” Vinyl interrupted, taking off her shades and stowing them in her pocket.

Ssh!” the mare whispered urgently, looking around quickly to make sure nopony had overheard them. “Somepony told me you were coming. Are you Symphony and Wubs?”

“That depends,” Octavia answered, pulling a small sheet of paper out of her suit pocket. “Are you...um...” She frowned at the piece of paper in her forehoof. “...‘Sweet Flank?’”

“Yes!” she answered quickly before catching the expression on the grey mare’s face. “Err...cause of the candies, see?” she added, gesturing at her cutie mark, but receiving only an awkward silence in return. “...Never mind, just come in.”

She stepped aside to let Vinyl and Octavia inside and quickly shut the door behind them before leading them up a steep, narrow staircase to the second floor. They emerged onto the landing as the mare opened an adjacent door into a cramped but rather cozy flat. They passed through a small entryway, which was mostly taken up by a couple of hat and coat racks, into a simple kitchen with a dining table sitting in the middle atop a checkered floor. Various knick-knacks and furnishings occupied the walls, including a spice rack, a clock with lollipops for hands and every number replaced with the word ‘sweets,’ some photographs, a couple of posters and a cross-stitch depicting a lyre.

Vinyl and Octavia sat down at the kitchen table while their host walked into the next room, out of sight. A moment later, she returned with a mint-green unicorn with a messy, white and pale blue mane, which was jumbled and sticking up at odd angles, as if she had just woken up. She gave a tired glance over at their two guests sitting at the table.

“Aw, Bon Bon,” she groaned. “You didn’t tell me we were having company.”

“Lyra, these two are here about the cartel,” Bon Bon said in an undertone. Lyra’s eyes widened and she looked far more alert as she took a seat opposite the two agents. “This is my partner Lyra,” the cream-colored pony continued, turning to Vinyl and Octavia. “You can trust her. I’ve told her everything I know, in case I vanish.”

“...Vanish?” Octavia repeated, confused.

“The cartel’s made a lot of ponies disappear,” Lyra explained as Bon Bon opened a cupboard and pulled out a stack of paper, setting it out on the table before taking a seat herself. Vinyl and Octavia glanced at the stack, seeing that it was made up of notepaper, newspaper clippings and copies of documents.

“There’s a lot to go over here,” Bon Bon muttered, digging through the stack. “How much do you know about the cartel?”

“Not much more than the vague generalities our employers told us,” Vinyl answered. “They’re a baked goods cartel that have lots of power in this city. We noticed how expensive pastries are in this town.”

“That’s how Bon Bon found out about them,” Lyra said, smiling at her partner. “She has a good mind for these things.”

“It’s more of a hobby, really,” Bon Bon replied, blushing. “Ever since I got my cutie mark I wanted to be a baker. But sugar, flour and all the ingredients you need to bake are so expensive, it’s really hard to raise the kind of capital you’d need to start a business. So I wound up going into police work instead, but I still like to keep up with my true passion in life.”

Bon Bon pulled out a notebook and flipped it open, revealing pages and pages of numbers scribbled in neat rows and columns. “I’ve been studying this for a while now. Sugar wasn’t always so expensive here, you know,” she explained, looking for a specific page. “When prices started going up, I noticed some strange patterns, so I started taking notes. Now these,” she paused to show Vinyl and Octavia a table of data, “are the prices for all the different brands of sugar from several different stores around the city. Now tell me what you notice.”

The two agents leaned over and examined the table for a while, but nothing immediately jumped out at them. “They seem pretty similar to me,” Octavia commented.

“Exactly!” Bon Bon exclaimed. “They’re all virtually the same! Now, certain brands will be slightly more at one store and slightly cheaper at another, so to the average pony the prices look different. But when you look at the city as a whole, the overall pattern...” She paused again, pointing at a row labeled ‘overall average price’ which had the cost for each brand, all of which were equal. “...is that they all cost exactly the same.

“What’s more,” she continued, turning the pages of the notebook and pointing out other pages, “they all raise the prices on the exact same day. Any one of these brands would need at least a day to see what price its competitors were selling at and change their price, but that’s not happening. The only possible way this could keep happening is if they knew ahead of time that the other brands were going to raise their prices.”

“So they’re fixing the prices,” Octavia surmised, rubbing her chin with a forehoof.

“Okay, but we wouldn’t get called out to San Franciscolt for something as simple as a price-fixing scam,” Vinyl said. “What else is going on here?”

“I’m getting to that,” Bon Bon answered. “So once I realized I might be onto something, I showed it to one of the detectives on the force. He promised me he’d look into it. But a couple of weeks later I checked back on him and he was gone.”

“...Gone?” Octavia asked, expecting Bon Bon to elaborate. “What do you mean by ‘gone?’”

“I mean gone! He just vanished off the face of Equestria! Nopony knew where he went! We put out a search for him, but after awhile with no leads it started to look pretty hopeless.”

“Could just be a coincidence,” Vinyl pointed out.

“See, that’s what I thought too,” Bon Bon said, nodding. “We all thought it was just a sad tragedy and decided to try and move on. So I took all my info to a different detective and she said she’d look into it, and then she goes missing. Left behind some note saying she was going to jump off the Galloping Gait Bridge, but we looked and never found a body. Not that that proves anything mind you, it’s just that...well, she never seemed like the suicidal type to me.

“So then I go to the commissioner with this, telling her everything I know. And I swear, she gets this scared look on her face and she tells me to drop this. Just forget all about it; don’t ever bring it up again. At that point, I knew something was up. So I had to try somepony outside the force, since whoever I was dealing with had gotten to the commissioner. That’s when I went to the district attorney’s office. I talked to him for a while, and he said he’d look into it.”

“And he vanished too?” Vinyl guessed, raising her eyebrow.

“No, but the next day a couple of ponies came to the office, asking for me. I wasn’t there, but my co-worker told me they were big, tough looking guys. I was so scared, I stopped going to work and the commissioner suspended me. I think she was just looking out for me; she seemed to know what was going on. Money’s been a little tight lately without the police work, and I don’t go outside much ‘cause I’m worried somepony will recognize me. So I make bits where I can,” she finished, looking sheepish.

“Well Ms. Bon Bon, I’m glad you made contact with the authorities in Canterlot,” Octavia said, giving her a reassuring smile. “Rooting out corruption is a speciality of ours. However, we’re going to need more info from you. Who exactly is running this cartel?”

“Well, there’s three different companies: Sugar Daddies, Sweet Exquisite and Giaradelli,” Bon Bon explained. “Each of them started out as bakeries in town, but in the last decade they took over the local industry, buying out other bakeries and all the local producers of ingredients. All three of them now produce their own flour, sugar, baking powder, etc; everything they need to have complete control over their goods.

“Lyra’s actually seen the heads of the companies,” she continued, turning to her partner. “She’s a fine musician and gets invited to perform at all their fancy parties. In fact, they’re having one tomorrow evening, right?”

“It’s the district attorney,” Lyra corrected her. “He’s up for reelection and the cartel are big donors to his campaign. So chances are they’ll be there.”

Octavia turned to Lyra, now smiling as a plan formed in her head. “I’m something of a musician myself. Is there any way you can get me into that party?”

“...And you are?”

“Um, Octavia, sir!” the grey mare said with breathless excitement. “And I have lots of experience. I frequently play in Canterlot and have performed for the last four Grand Galloping Galas, and I would be so honored if you could take me in, sir! I heard you might have another space available!”

“Hmmm...” said the elderly stallion who ran Lyra’s musical group and was currently examining Octavia’s resume. “You do seem to have plenty of experience...” he trailed off, looking thoughtful.

“I promise you I will do my best!” Octavia added in an eager tone. “I just really need a job right away because money is tight and-”

“It’s okay, you’ve sold me,” the band leader said, smiling kindly at her. “Your experience checks out. Welcome to the group.”

“Oh, thank you!” Octavia cried out gratefully. “You won’t regret it, sir!”

The stallion smiled warmly and turned away, exiting out of the elegant ballroom they were currently occupying, which was to be the center of festivities for the district attorney’s party, held at his lavish mansion in the Cinchmond district. Once the band leader was out of sight, the grey mare’s expression promptly went from eager and excited to its normal calm and composed nature. Lyra, who was standing nearby tuning her lyre and had seen the whole thing, gave Octavia a knowing smile. “Nice one,” she mouthed at her.

The cellist gave Lyra a smug smirk. “When you’ve been in this business as long as I have, you figure out the right buttons to push.” She raised her foreleg to her face, discreetly whispering into her communicator device. “Wubs, are you there?”

“Read you loud and clear, Symphony,” Vinyl’s voice came back through the speaker. “I’m right across the street and the guests are already starting to show up. Geez, the district attorney has a huge house.”

“Seems he may have some wealthy funders,” Octavia commented. “When we’re done here, we might wind up taking down a couple of politicians along with the cartel.”

“Looks like his office is on the second floor,” Vinyl continued. “Once the party gets going, I’ll sneak in there and see what I can find.”

“Heads up,” Lyra whispered to Octavia. She looked up to see the other band members and their leader stroll into the room, carrying their instruments with them. The cellist could already hear the sounds of the guests making their way into the mansion as Octavia briefly greeted the other band members and they prepared their instruments. Soon, the strains of classical music were luring ponies into the room. The crowd here was similar to those of a standard Canterlot gala: well-to-do and excessively chatty.

Octavia relaxed as she fell into her usual rhythm. Her bow played gracefully across the strings of her cello, working its magic for the attendees of the party, but the grey mare paid her music no mind. She closed her eyes, tuning out the sound of the band surrounding her and listening intently to the conversations taking place on the floor before her. She was in her element, eavesdropping on powerful ponies who never thought of their surroundings or the ponies who supposedly were there only to entertain them. Either the attendees were simply ignorant of the servants or figured they must be too occupied with the task of tending to such important ponies as themselves. Most of it was mindless chatter, but a few times Octavia had heard things she was never meant to hear. It was how she eventually worked her way into the leagues of Her Majesty’s Secret Service.

“Mr. White Collar, what an honor to meet you! I just want to wish you all the best on your campaign!”

“The district attorney’s wife is looking absolutely stunning this evening, if I do say so myself!”

“I say, did you witness that spot of bother on the docks the other night? We were able to see the flames from our balcony!”

“Mr. White Collar, it’s a pleasure as always.”

Octavia almost missed a note as she heard that last statement. The voice it belonged to was alarmingly familiar. Opening her eyes, she found that her ears had not deceived her; greeting the district attorney was Con Mane, still wearing the same smug grin he had on the other night. The cellist forced herself to remain calm. “He won’t recognize me. After all, I was disguised when we fought,” she thought to herself.

“The pleasure is all mine, Mr. Mane,” the district attorney replied good naturedly. “And who is this fine mare?”

Octavia glanced back over at Con Mane and started, actually missing a note this time as she caught sight of the familiar orange-colored mare who accompanied Con Mane.

“Mr. Collar,” Con Mane began, “this is my companion for the evening, Ms. Golden Harvest.”

Next Chapter: I Left My Part(ner) in San Franciscolt Estimated time remaining: 1 Hour, 2 Minutes
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