Rarity tossed and turned in bed, she desperated tried to force herself to sleep, but her mind wouldn't rest. Thoughts of Fluttershy filled her head, thoughts of her killing Pinkie, and worst of all thoughts of her hurting Twilight. Rarity rubbed her dry sore eyes. She walked into her spare room to check in on Applebloom, she was fast asleep.
"I need a snack." She thought to herself out loud. She ventured into the kitchen, and decided to investigate the refrigerator. She quietly opened it, making sure not to wake Applebloom, she peeked back into the room, making sure she was still sleeping. She then finished opening the door all the way.
Rarity jumped back, slamming herself into the kitchen counter, sending several pans crashing to the floor. There on a plate in the fridge sat the bloody severed head of Twilight, staring at Rarity with a look of horror in her eyes. The loud noise immediately woke Applebloom with a startled jump. She hastily trotted into the kitchen to investigate the commotion.
"Rarity, what are you doing?"
"Applebloom dear! Please just stay there!"
She ignored Rarity and continued to investigate, she looked in the wide open refrigerator.
"What's wrong now? All out of your favorite salad dressing? This drama queen routine's really gettin' old Rarity." Applebloom rolled her eyes and went back to bed.
Rarity looked back into the fridge, a full cabbage sat on the plate, tightly covered in plastic wrap.
"I, wait a minute, I'm certain I... Applebloom, I'm sorry to have woken you. My mind must be playing tricks on me."
Applebloom just waved her hoof gesturing Rarity to go away, already more than half asleep.
Rarity shook her head back and forth, trying to calm down, her heart was still racing. A sharp pain filled her chest, she was more worried about Twilight now than ever. She looked back at her clock, it was already after midnight. She looked back at the cabbage and considered eating some, but couldn't bring herself to get near it. Sleep wasn't an option for this troubled mare. Instead she decided to go for a short walk around the block, hoping some fresh air would help settle her mind. She locked the door behind her, and headed out.
"Please come home soon Twilight." Rarity let out a deep breath, and watched it get carried away in the cold night air.
Constance and Twilight met back up outside the Department of Research. They had an abundance of medical books, a tape recorder, and plenty of ink and paper. Along with the supplies they had picked up dinner from a late night diner just across the street from the library. Twilight touched the metal plate on the outer door with her horn, it gave off a small flash and spark before unlocking and opening. Twilight held the door for Constance to walk in past her, and Twilight found herself resisting the urge to watch her flank as she walked by.
"Focus Twilight, think about Fluttershy." Twilight began to think about Fluttershy laying out across her desk, her mane dangling over one edge and her hooves resting on her gentle curves.
"Oh for Celestia's sake, come on!" She thought about the fact that she had actually been alone every night for almost a year. Twilight shook off her lapse in priority judgment and thought about what to do with Fluttershy for the night. She planned on taking her to a specialist in the morning, but all their offices are closed on weekends, so it'd have to wait another day. She figured it'd be best to document as much information on this as possible. Not many cases of Moriarty's syndrome have been observed before the affected pegasus was executed due to their violent crimes and killing sprees. This was an opportunity to write a new book, a book on the scientific approach to understanding and treating this rare condition. That was something that sparked both Twilight and Constance's interests more than the common pony would understand.
Twilight approached her office door, it was dark and quiet in the empty building. Nearly everyone had already gone home for the night, all that remained were Twilight, Constance, Fluttershy, and a couple janitors. The long hallway leading to the office was dark, only illuminated by the small amount of light escaping her door window. The two mares walked side by side carrying their supplies. Twilight unlocked her door, she nudged it open with her hoof. The first thing that she noticed was that Fluttershy was nowhere in sight.
"Fluttershy? Are you still here? We brought you some food, I'm sure you must be hungry." Twilight knew there was no way for her to get out. Only Twilight herself had the means to unlock her own office door.
Constance gave Twilight a worried glance, and took a few steps towards the door. Twilight decided to walk in and investigate. Fluttershy was still sitting patiently, waiting for her opportunity to strike. She saw Twilight walk in directly below her. She grinned at the thought of impaling her from behind, then leaped down with the letter opener tightly gripped in both hooves pointed at the back of Twilight's neck. Twilight heard the sound of Fluttershy kicking off the bookshelf, she turned around just in time to see a glimpse of yellow accompanied by a piercing pain. A levitating pile of books came crashing down to the floor, along with a few boxes of take-out.
Rainbow Dash finally made it to Appaloosa, She had been flying at a high speed basically nonstop since she left Sweet Apple Acres that afternoon. She made the two day trip in less than fourteen hours, needless to say, she was now exhausted. She found a small drifting patch of clouds just outside the school dorms where she knew Scootaloo was staying. She began going over a series of possible conversations she had imagined on the way over. She was worried about how Scootaloo would react seeing her after so many years. Rainbow Dash promised that she would take her to Cloudsdale Flight School as soon as she was old enough, which was over two years ago. Rainbow knew she deserved Scootaloo's anger, but lacked the confidence to confront her. She looked down at all the windows of the twelve story building. Not a single light was on, but one window had a Rainbow flag displayed. She decided to go have a quick peek in that window, if any of them were Scootaloo's, why not that one.
She flew down from her cloud and hovered outside the window. She looked through it just above the flag. Her heart began to pulse a bittersweet pain with every beat. She looked in and saw Scootaloo laying in bed fast asleep, her blankets and sheets on the floor next to the bed. Her wings were spread wide across her small bed, Rainbow shuttered thinking about how much bigger she's gotten, those wings were just little stumps the last time she saw her. She noticed something on her flank, it was a cutie mark, but it was partially covered by a sheet she was laying on. Rainbow pressed her face up against the window, trying to make out what it was. No luck, she thought maybe if she could make her roll over then maybe she'd have a clearer view. She tapped on the window, no movement. She tapped harder, next thing she knew Scootaloo sat up, startled by the strange noise. Rainbow retreated immediately back to her clouds, she peeked over the edge. Scootaloo was now at her window, she opened it.
Rainbow sat there, hiding on top of the clouds, her heart racing.
Scootaloo jumped out of her sixth floor window and gently fluttered to the ground. She was still a weak flier for her age, unable to actually take flight.
"Rainbow Dash, was that really you?"
Rainbow detected the joy and excitement in her voice, but couldn't bring herself to come out from hiding. Instead she just trotted away from the building on the cloud tops until she felt it was safe to take flight. She felt terrible for leaving Scootaloo behind again, but figured she could explain herself in the morning. She flew off towards another large blanket of clouds and decided to get some sleep before sunrise.
Rarity was slowly trotting around the block, painful worries clouded her mind, preventing her from enjoying the peaceful night.
"Applebloom's a big mare now, she'll be fine by herself for a while."
Rarity convinced herself that she absolutely had to go see Twilight immediately, and it was only about a twenty minute walk to the Department of Research.
"I know I'm worrying for nothing, I'm sure you probably just fell asleep at your desk or something." Rarity thought to herself, hoping for the best.
She continued down the quiet night street, losing herself from time to time in her vivid imagination.
"Twilight are you okay?!" Constance was standing over Twilight and struggling to hold Fluttershy back with her magic. Twilight's vision came into focus, she felt a sharp sting on her side. There was a shallow puncture on side just above her ribs. Blood slowly trickled down her side. She looked at Constance, two deep scratches were bleeding on her shoulder. Suddenly images of Fluttershy violently and rapidly slashing out at Constance with her crude weapon filled Twilight's mind. She realized Constance had received her injuries while attempting to protect her. Fluttershy was writhing around trying to escape Constance's magical grip. Twilight stood up and easily took Fluttershy's weapon away, forcefully throwing it into the side of the bookshelf. Then she levitated her into a chair, roughly forcing her to sit.
"I'm fine, are you alright?"
"Just some scratches, nothing I can't deal with." Constance put on a comforting smile.
Twilight angrily walked towards Fluttershy, but before she could lecture her she felt a hoof on her shoulder. Constance was behind her, she looked down and shook her head.
"It's not really her fault Twilight. She most likely felt that we had trapped her in here and the only way out was to eliminate the two of us. She has completely lost her ability to rationalize."
"You're right, I'm sorry, I just lost my temper when I saw you were hurt."
Constance blushed a little and tried to hide it by pushing her glasses up.
"You seem to have things under control here so I'll go get a first aid kit for these cuts."
Fluttershy stared at Twilight with a blank face, her eyes still looking straight through her, not making any eye contact. Seeing her like this brought a kind of pain Twilight had never experienced before, this pain was only amplified by the fact that she knew even with the best treatments available, Fluttershy would never be herself again.
Constance returned with some supplies, her wounds were already cleaned and dressed. Twilight grabbed some materials to begin cleaning her own wound.
"Here let me do it, I insist." Constance knew her magic was much weaker than any other unicorn she had ever met, but with that also came a came a sense of delicacy and precision that most ponies would gladly trade their right hooves for.
The cloth Twilight was holding with her magic became encased by a strange blue stream of magic, and Constance began treating Twilight's injury. Twilight flinched a bit when she coated the outer area with an antiseptic, but the soft warmth of the magical aura soothed her almost simultaneously. Twilight looked back into the mare's brilliant purple eyes as she intently focused on her task. A small whisp of blue magic brushed across Twilight's cheek, causing her spine to tingle. Constance simply smiled at her sensitive friend.
"That should do nicely, all done."
"Thanks for that Constance, I couldn't have done a better job on my own."
"Don't mention it, now let's get to work here, we have a lot to cover before the nights over, then we'll have to take her to your house or something if you still intend to keep our little operation quiet."
"We'll decide on that soon enough, for now let's eat and get started. So Fluttershy, are you hungry?"
Fluttershy looked down at the still closed boxes of food on the floor, then nodded slightly.
"Good, now eat up and try to keep yourself under control."
Twilight gave her a box of grass and sunflower pancakes. She then opened the blinds on her window, and led Constance out of the room. She looked back inside, trying to notice any changes in Fluttershy's behavior. She's just sitting there, slowly nibbling at her meal.
"I brought you out here because I'm not sure if we should keep doing this, Fluttershy's much more dangerous than I originally thought."
Constance walked closer to Twilight, placing one hoof softly on her shoulder. "You don't need to worry about me Twilight, I can handle myself. What's important right now is learning and recording as much as we can. This research could potentially save lives and change everything we know about pegasus psychology. I want to be a part of this, and I want to share it with you, you're my best friend Twilight."
"You're right, this is too important to pass up. And I can't think of anyone I'd rather be here with right now." Twilight gave Constance a tight hug, she gave her a soft kiss on the cheek, closing her eyes to enjoy the sincerity of the moment. When she opened them, she saw a heart broken Rarity staring at her from across the hall, a few tears dripping to the floor.
Twilight felt a painful pit in her stomach, she knew this didn't look good. Rarity turned around and trotted out the back door, then she went into nearly a full gallop as she ran home. Twilight pulled away from her friend and attempted to chase Rarity, her side began to burn as she tried to run.
"Rarity wait! It's not what you think..." Twilight's call went out in vein.
"Ugh, stupid, stupid. That's probably what she expected me to say." Twilight put a hoof to her face, feeling awful for allowing herself to end up in this situation.
Constance walked up behind her, placing her hoof on Twilight's shoulder.
"If you have to go, I can handle Fluttershy til you get back."
"No, no. Rarity will be fine, this needs my full attention right now."
The two mares headed back inside to start their long night. As they approached Twilight's office, they realized it was strangely dark, then once again horror struck. The office door was left wide open, and the lights were all shut off. They heard a soft chuckle at the end of the hallway, but it was too dark to see. Twilight shot a ball of light down the hall illuminating it dimly. As it reached the end, it revealed the blood soaked lifeless body of a large brown janitor. Another grim chuckle echoed from around the corner, Twilight and Constance both turned around and headed for the exit. As they rounded the corner they heard Fluttershy speak. "Where do you two think you're going? You wouldn't want me to hurt this poor old family stallion would you?"
"Please help me! I have a wife and three kids that need me."
Twilight cringed, blaming herself for this mess. She felt that she had to help, but urged Constance to leave.
"I'm not leaving you alone here Twilight, don't be stupid. We can figure this out, remember her state of mind."
Twilight nodded, then the two mares walked back, preparing to face an unimaginable evil. The Fluttershy Twilight once knew and loved was no longer here, this was a monster.