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!"