Twilight yawned, stretching in her sleeping bag. "Ah... a wonderful morning." She looked over to Rainbow Dash's sleeping bag, which was a jumbled mess with a big lump in the middle of it all. She chuckled a little and climbed out of her own, heading over to the kitchen to grab a quick snack. She could see Celestia's morning sun peeking at the horizon through the kitchen window.
Rainbow Dash had told her the night before that she needed to be out the door about an hour after the sun rose, because Fluttershy was expecting her that morning. Having a bit of time till then, she nabbed the book she'd been reading lately and opened it up to the marked page.
Dash woke up of her own accord about half an hour after the sun had risen. Twilight looked up from her book long enough to give her a goodbye as she left, before returning to her reading of the latest in the Daring-Do series.
"Spike, take a letter:
"Dear Princess Celestia,
"This week I've learned that everypony, even the more adventurous of us, has fears of some sort or another, and that sometimes we need somepony to share th--"
Twilight was interrupted by a blue blur bolting through the door and tumbling into her. She and the blur tumbled along the floor past Spike, crashing into a bookcase and knocking all the books on top of them.
Twilight groaned, sticking her head out of the pile of books and performing a restoration spell to heal her bruises. Rainbow Dash stuck her head out a few moments later, a look of shock on her face.
"T-T-Twilight! She... and I.... but....!"
Twilight cocked a brow. "Woah, slow down a bit, Rainbow Dash. What's the matter?"
"It's Fluttershy! Sh-she's dead!"
Coming up to the cottage outside of town, Twilight noticed a significantly abnormal state of abandonment in Fluttershy's yard. Not a chirp or squirrel sound could be heard, and the only animals to be seen were those that couldn't run off on their own, like the chickens, who were starting to fight each other in the coup. Rainbow Dash trailed ahead anxiously, having to fly in circles to keep from leaving Twilight in the dust.
"This place has never looked this sad," Twilight mused, walking along to the door. Rainbow Dash opened it ahead of her and they entered.
"So where did you say you found her?"
Rainbow Dash pointed to the stairs leading up to Fluttershy's bedroom before beginning to cry. Twilight climbed them and looked to her crying friend. Rainbow Dash crying was not normal, she thought, before opening the door with a glow of her horn and seeing the sad sight within.
On the floor lay a stool knocked onto its side. Twilight looked up a little, to see that Fluttershy's bedsheets were a mess, rather uncharacteristic of her. The thing that caught her as her gaze moved further up, however, was the body of Fluttershy hanging by the neck from a rope noose.
She gasped, slamming the door shut and running down the stairs. "Great Celestia! I-I wouldn't expect FLUTTERSHY to do this.... Rainbow Dash, did you notice a note lying around anywhere? Any reasons she might have done this?"
"N..." Dash sniffed, wiping her nose with the tissue in her hand. "No... but I didn't take time t-to look around eithe-er..."
"Could you help me look?" Twilight walked into the kitchen and glanced around the table and counters. Nothing. She looked at the fridge. Again, nothing.
"Nothing in the l-living room." Rainbow Dash still seemed to be crying as she searched.
Twilight sighed. She hated to admit it, but somepony was going to have to go look in Fluttershy's bedroom.
"Rainbow Dash, you keep searching. I'm going to write a letter to the Princess."
"Certainly, Princess Celestia. I look forward to it," Cadence finished, before leaving the Princess to her thoughts. Her 'thoughts' were short-lived, however, as a letter appeared in a puff of green fire before her. She lifted it up with a glow of her horn and began to read it.
"Dear Princess Celestia:
It would seem that I will have to postpone giving you my friendship report for this week. We need your help in ponyville right away. Fluttershy is dead.
Your faithful student,
The doors burst open, a panting gaurd stopping to catch his breath. "Y... Your Highness, there's an emer--Your Highness?" He looked around the room; she was gone, a letter on the floor before her throne.
With a flash of magic, Princess Celestia appeared in Twilight's library. Twilight reeled back, caught a bit off gaurd, as Spike crash into a bookcase and was buried in a pile of books.
"Princess! I knew you'd get here fast but I didn't expect you to show up this fast!"
"This is serious business, Twilight. Can you please show me where you found her?"
Rainbow Dash hadn't done any more searching since Twilight had left. When she and the Princess came in, Dash had relapsed to crying on the couch.
She looked up at them and saw the Princess give her a sympathetic look before moving on up the stairs. Twilight gestured to Fluttershy's bedroom door before backing up, not wanting to see the inside again.
Stepping inside, she took a quick look around, before addressing the elephant in the room. Coming closer to Fluttershy's limp, hanging body, she looked the poor mare over. Besides the obvious ropes around her neck and wings, something that caught the Princess's attention was that there were bruises in a few places, such at just above her forehooves.
Something was up. If this were suicide, there should be no bruising. Also suspicious was the lack of a note, and the fact that Fluttershy had plans for the day with Rainbow Dash. Celestia decided to go ask Dash a few things, heading downstairs, though not before removing the mare's ropes and laying her on the bed.
"Twilight, go get Rarity to help you move Fluttershy's..... well, just go get Rarity. Also, go fetch Applejack while you're at it, please."
"Sure thing, Princess." Twilight trotted out.
"Rainbow Dash, what was the last thing Fluttershy said to you?"
Dash's crying had reduced to whimpering shudder-hiccups by now, making it easier for her to answer. "That last thing she said? Umm... -hic- She said she was looking forward to seeing me today... -hic- And that....." Dash began to blush. "Do I have to tell? -hic-"
Celestia nodded, now close to the mare in an attempt to further calm her down.
"She said.... she would be glad.... -hic sniff- to be my marefriend....."
Celestia blushed a light shade of pink at this. She hadn't meant to intrude on Rainbow Dash's privacy. "Was that all?"
"Thank you Rainbow Dash. And don't worry, I won't tell anyone that last bit. Your secret's safe with me." Celestia winked, hoping to reassure the poor mare.
"Sweetie Belle, can you come down and help me with this dress?"
"Sure thing, sis, just hang on a sec!"
Rarity rolled her eyes. Her little sister didn't appreciate fashion as much as she herself did.
"Sorry for making you wait, sis. I was finishing up a project for school."
"Oh really? What sort of project? Oh, and I need you to stand here a bit for me," she said, gesturing to an open space beside her.
Somewhere in the middle of her working a knock came at the front door. "Hang on Sweetie Belle, let me get the door."
Sweetie Belle, who was in a position of standing on two opposite hooves, winced. She wouldn't be able to hold her balance much longer.
Rarity opened the door to find a distressed-and-tired-looking Twilight Sparkle. "Yes, Twilight?"
Twilight took a moment to catch her breath. "Urgent.... Fluttershy.... she's--" Twilight looked into the boutique to see Sweetie Belle falling to the floor into a mess of fabrics and ribbons, then lowered her voice to a whisper. "Fluttershy's dead."
In the bushes off to the side a mysterious cloaked figure rushed off, towards Everfree Forest.
Note: So I said I'd have this ready in a week, and I gave it to you in a day. I've had an amazing writing streak today. Most of the time, however, I won't be getting updates out this often. Just a foreword. Also, I'm almost certain this chapter will seem rushed. Then again, as they say, "You are your own worst critic." I hope you all enjoy chapter two of the Mare Do Hell.
"Citizens of Ponyville, we come here in solemn remembrance of the late Fluttershy..."
Ponies from all over town had come to pay their respects to Fluttershy. Weeping and tissues were abound; Fluttershy's kindness had gained her the respect of many. Many, including...
"Trixie! What are you doing here?" Twilight Sparkle stood before the blue mare, on her gaurd, giving the fellow unicorn a glare.
"Even the Great and Powerful Trixie has respect for the dead, Twilight. But I wouldn't expect you to know that, being a simple Ponyville pony."
"Now you watch it! I don't want you trampling on Flutter--"
"What'n tarnations is goin' on here?" Applejack butted in, coming up to the pair.
"Oh, Twilight here was just asking how the I'm doing. And you are..... Applejack, correct?"
"Mhmm. You uh.... learn yer lesson last time you showed up here?"
"Why of course! The I'm not one to be stubborn, as I'm sure you know."
"Uh-huh," Applejack gave a doubting look. "Well, Ah'm sorry you had to show up at a time like this, what with our.... losses.... 'n'all."
"Oh, I don't mind. I actually came to pay my respects for Fluttershy."
"You did, did you? Well, you got a place to stay?"
"Why, yes. Thank you for asking. Travelling ponies do have wagons sometimes, you know."
Celestia spoke up now, surprising all three mares as they hadn't known she was nearby. "Twilight Sparkle, I need to have a meeting with you and your friends in the library, immediately."
"So let me get this straight, you think Fluttershy was murdered?" Rarity spoke for all five of the surprised ponies.
Celestia nodded solemnly. "There were bruises on her body that should not have been there. Twilight, I'd like you to accompany me to Fluttershy's house. I need to do some investigations."
"Good. I want all of you to be on your gaurd. If it really was murder, the killer may still be out there."
Pinkie Pie shuddered a little. "Why would anypony want to do such a thing to nice good kind Fluttershy?" Pinkie's hair was flat, as opposed to its usual poofyness.
Celestia sighed. "I don't know, my little pony. Twilight, let's go."
Fluttershy's house was creepier on the second visit. Most of the chickens had either fought to death or found a hole in the fence and escaped. The various few animals that couldn't escape lay still in their cages and houses, and the air was still and quiet. Deathly quiet. Twilight shuddered, though Celestia seemed unfazed.
It having been two weeks since Fluttershy had been found dead, her old house was beginning to look more abandoned. One of the shutters was hanging only from the upper hinge. The door creaked as they entered. Fluttershy had always made sure to keep it greased and quiet. Her old couch was collecting dust fast. Most noticeable, however, was the smell. Something dead had been left to rot in here. Twilight looked around, quickly finding the source of the smell. It almost made her puke when she saw it: A familiar rabbit, laying dead on the kitchen floor. Angel. Apparently the poor rabbit must have stayed around, in denial of the fact that his caretaker was dead. Starved to death. Perhaps it was his choice; perhaps he simply couldn't handle being without her around.
Twilight's train of thought was broken, along with her stare, when the rabbit's body glowed with magic and began to float. She shook her head to bring her attention back to reality. Celestia could tell that she was still dealing with the loss of her friend by the dazed, awestruck look on her face. "Princess, we need to have a funeral for Angel, too."
About half an hour later, they had finished burying Angel in Fluttershy's back yard and paying their respects. Returning to the task at hand, Celestia took the lead in climbing the stairs to Fluttershy's bedroom.
"I... I'm still not sure I want to see what's in there, Princess."
"Relax. It's just a room, Twilight," Celestia said, opening the door with a glow of her horn.
The inside was just the same as it had been left. The sheets were still a mess, the stool on the floor still upturned. The only thing different was that the ropes had been laid on the bed, which was the Princess's doing.
Celestia stepped into the room and looked around. She walked over to the trashbin in far corner of the room, looking into it.
Twilight watched from just outside the door's threshold as the Princess levitated what looked to be a bunched up rag from the trashbin. The Princess looked at it closely for a few seconds. "Hmm.... this rag looks like it was used for a gag. I should say it might be something kinky, except that if it were, it should not be in the trash. Twilight, any ideas?" The Princess obviously knew what the rag indicated, but she wanted her student to give input.
"A gag?" Twilight finally entered the room, looking closely at the rag. "Yes, yes it does. Hmm.... if I were a murderer in the night, I'd want my victim to be quiet, wouldn't you? But then, why bother removing this after the deed was done? Perhaps....." Her eyes widened.
"Perhaps it was made to look like suicide!"
"But why in Equestria would anypony want to make that look like suicide? Ah' mean, besides even askin' why anypony would wanna do it to Fluttershy of all ponies," Applejack posed, walking over to the hot tub and climbing in. It was spa day for the mane... five, as it were now.
"What are you ponies talking about?"
All five of them turned their heads in surprise, all speaking in unison. "Trixie?"
The blue unicorn was without her hat and cape; this was a spa, after all. She walked forward and climbed into one of the hot tubs as she spoke. "Fancy seeing you all here. I couldn't help but notice you were talking about dear Fluttershy. It's such a shame she of all ponies should die."
Twilight Sparkle gave Trixie a wary look for a second. "Yeah, we were. Not that it pertains to you."
Trixie sighed. "Right. I'll just leave you ponies alone, then. I guess..."
Rarity spoke up. "Now wait just a minute! Just because we may have had a conflict in the past doesn't mean we can't become friends now!"
Trixie smiled. "Thanks, Rarity."
Applejack woke up early the next morning to get an early start on her daily apple bucking. Before that, though, she needed to restock the trough for the pigs with hay. She headed for the barn as the sun began to rise.
A few minutes later, Big Mac woke up. After getting washed up, brushing his teeth, and having a quick breakfast, he went out to check on his sister.
She wasn't to be seen bucking apples. Remembering that she'd sometimes feed the pigs before beginning on the orchard, Big Mac went over the the pig pen. The trough was empty. He headed towards the barn, beginning to worry.
When he opened the barn doors, the sight he saw caught him off gaurd. The well-known Mare Do Well had Applejack pinned to the wall with magic. A rope muzzle was over his sister's snout, and she looked scared out of her wits.
Author's note: This chapter may make you assume you know the ending, but please, don't give up on the story. Also: You may see things that look like plot holes. They're not. They're there to make you think.
Twilight yawned and stretched, sitting up in her bed. Spike was still asleep, as usual, but then, the sun hadn't even risen yet. She gave a morning sigh, getting up out of bed and going to her mirror to brush her hair.
Spike woke up about an hour later to the sound of books being thrown against the wall in the next room. Twilight could be too obsessed sometimes. He sighed, looking out the window at the day that, for many, had already started, before climbing down the ladder and going to see what mess Twilight had made.
Quite one, she had. This time, nearly all the books had been upturned from their cases. Twilight herself had stopped trashing the room and was obliviously reading a book on the floor now. Spike facepalmed.
"Twilight, you really must stop throwing these books around. I mean, almost as soon as we get them put back up, you trash them again."
While Spike was speaking, a knock came at the door. Twilight glanced up before returning to her book. "Spike could you get that please?"
Spike grumbled, trudging to the door. It was Applejack and Big Mac, both of whom rushed in as the door opened, slamming the door, and Spike with it, into the wall.
"Twi'! This is urgent! That pony that killed Fluttershy—Ah think she's goin' after all the Elements!"
Twilight looked up at her, wide-eyed.
"Did you see her?"
"Eeyup. It was the Mare-Do-Well."
Twilight cocked a brow. The Mare-Do-Well? Who who would be disguised as a symbol of good while murdering people? She could only think of one unicorn that could use such a disguise.
"I'm going to confront Trixie, okay? This has to stop."
The Elements of Harmony, minus Twilight, gathered at the edge of Everfree Forest
"So what's up, Applejack?" Rainbow Dash was hovering around, looking towards the forest every now and then in curiosity.
"We need Rarity here before I can tell you."
"Sorry I'm late, I had to make sure Sweety Belle got to school on time," Rarity said, coming up to the group.
Rainbow Dash rolled her eyes, muttering something about prissyness.
"Alright, now that we have everone here, listen up. Everpony, Ah saw the murderer mahself this morning, and so did mah Bubba. Big Mac saw her running off to this forest this morning. Ah looked around here and found some tracks leading into the forest." She gestured to a set of tracks set in the mud.
"Ah didn't want to follow them in until Ah had all of you with me to help. Is everypony ready to go in?"
They all nodded in unison.
The tracks went a short ways into the forest before stopping in the middle of the path.
"That's weird. Applejack, didn't you say that the culprit used magic?"
"Yup. She was a unicorn, darn sure."
"Then why do the tracks stop all of a sudden? They couldn't possibly be a winged unicorn, could they?"
"Nope. I'd'a noticed if she were, fer shure."
Pinkie Pie spoke up now. "Maybe they floatied away! I mean, if I was them I think I would have floatied to keep somepony like us from finding me, and if I was a unicorn I would be able to do it!"
"That sounds logical," Rarity mused, hoof to her chin. She seemed to make a decision, putting her hoof back on the ground. "Everypony, we need to start looking around. Try to find clues about who it might be."
Twilight eventually found Trixie's travelling wagon near Sweet Apple Acres after asking around town. She knocked on the door, not too softly, to get a muffled reply of
"Hang on a sec, please!" Trixie opened to the door a few seconds later, free of hat and cape.
"Twilight? What are you doing here, of all places?"
"I know what you're up to. I'm not stupid. You tried to kill Applejack this morning!"
Trixie looked shocked. "Me? Kill Applejack? Why in Equestria would I want to do that?"
"You want to get rid of the Elements of Harmony. Fess up!"
"I'm afraid I don't know what you're talking about. What's going on, Twilight?"
"Don't play stupid with me! I know what you're doing, and I won't stand for it!"
Trixie looked dumbfounded. "Well—I—no! I'm not going to tell you something when it's not true! Now if you'll excuse me, I have places to go." She walked back into the wagon, grabbing her cloak. She looked around, not seeing her hat, but couldn't find it anywhere. She looked at Twilight. "Where's my hat?"
"Found something!" Rarity was the first to speak, breaking the long silence. "It's.... it's Trixie's hat! Oh no, not her!" She held up Trixie's familiar hat. "Twilight warned us not to trust her. I guess we should have listened."
"Now wait just a minute! The Mare Do Well was most definately NOT wearin' that hat! And Ah coulda' swore Ah checked that bush already."
Rarity looked at Applejack. "Then why is this here?"
"Ah.... Ah don't know, but don't go jumpin' the gun, okay?"
"Hey, why don't we all take a break, guys?" Rainbow Dash clearly wanted to stop the bickering.
Pinkie Pie wasn't sure what to think. She wanted to think that Trixie had changed, had become a better pony, but what about her hat? It's true that the evidence was against her. Pinkie Pie decided to push her worries aside, however, as she opened the door and grinned. "I'm heeeeere—Trixie?"
Trixie turned from her chat with Mrs. Cake to look at the pink party pony at the door. "Yes?"
Pinkie noticed that her hat was, indeed, missing. So... she was the killer!
The pink mare glared. "Nothing. Nothing at all."
"Gosh Pinkie Pie, you don't look too well," chimed Mrs. Cake. "You sure you're alright?"
"I told you, I'm fine." Pinkie Pie went on to the kitchen, giving Trixie a glare.
"What's wrong with Pinkie Pie?" Trixie looked a bit confused at this point.
Rarity sighed as she shut the door to the beautique behind her. She had her work cut out for her, that was for sure. It took all she could muster to pretend not to hate Trixie. Thankfully the others were still oblivious to her act. She hoped Trixie wasn't missing her hat yet. She'd stolen it overnight.
She looked over at her workstation. Cloth and ribbons were strewn about, designs and patterns everywhere. Then she looked to the stairs.
"Sweetie Belle, time for school!"