Disclaimer: This story contains some blood and mild references to violence (in a comical context). If that makes you sad, then stop reading.
Twilight groaned in exasperation. She could practically feel the bags under her eyes as she changed position once again, so that she was facing the window. She wasn’t aware of this however, as the inky blackness that had invaded her bedroom obscured her vision, and her constant shifting had quite disoriented her. She pulled the sheet tighter around herself and screwed her eyes shut. Maybe if she just stayed like this for a while…
“...of course I’ll dance with you Rarity…”
Twilight shot a heated glare in the vague direction of her assistant, who loyally maintained his post in the basket beside her bed. She would have to do something about his sleep talking…perhaps there was a spell for it?
She tried to get back into the position she had been in previously, only to find that it now felt awkward and uncomfortable. Head-butting the pillow a few times served well to vent her frustration. She sighed and stared up at the ceiling, mulling over her situation. She had no way of telling how much time had passed, but if her body clock was at all accurate she had been awake for more than two hours. This, along with the fact that she had gone to bed considerably later than usual (due to an impromptu ‘study-fest’), led her to believe it had to be roughly one in the morning.
She just couldn’t bring herself to relax. Any position she adopted soon became uncomfortable and although her body was tired, her mind was abuzz with activity.
“…not as beautiful as you…”
Spike wasn’t helping either.
Twilight chewed absentmindedly on the inside of her cheek. Well, she did live in a library, perhaps a good book would help? Her eyes widened slightly as a thought occurred to her. Hadn’t something like this happened to her before? She vaguely remembered a much younger Twilight being unable to sleep due to eating too much sugar. She’d stayed up the entire night researching various topics, and hadn’t felt all that tired until the next night, in which she’d slept like a log. Twilight wasn’t sure that this tactic would work on her matured, less sugar-fuelled body, but the more she thought about it, the more the idea appealed to her.
The darkness was punctured by a soft, purple glow as Twilight selected a few books at random from the bookcase opposite her. She sat up and placed the books in her lap, keeping her horn illuminated so as to read the covers.
“Well then,” she thought with a smile. “Let’s see what we’ve got here.”
She scanned over the collection.
“‘Auntie Green’s Cookbook’, ‘The Alphabet – A reference guide’, ‘How to Interact with Other Ponies’, ‘Life is Worth Living’, ‘A Beginner’s Guide to Rock Farming, ‘The Dictionary’...”
Twilight paused, one in particular having caught her eye. The title of it was written in a foreign language she didn’t recognise, and the author’s name wasn’t ringing any bells. Intrigued, she carefully levitated the rest of the pile back into the bookcase.
“…Blueblood? What are ya doin’ round these parts…?” Spike mumbled, getting a firm grip on the carpet with one of his claws. “…keep your hooves off mah mare…”
Twilight rolled her eyes. She pulled the sheet over her head, the point of her horn causing it fall around her like a tent. She set the book in front of her and opened it. The first two pages were filled with quotes from various reviewers and authors praising the novel. Ponyville Confidential, the author of the Daring Doo books, Equestria Daily…it was quite the list. Encouraged by the critical acclaim, she quickly skimmed over to the prologue.
The premise was fairly clichéd: a young colt and his family move to a small village in the countryside, the colt is worried about fitting in, but befriends some of the locals and so on. In fact, the more Twilight read, the more typical the story seemed to become. Did this really warrant all the praise it had been receiving? Well…maybe she was being too negative. It was well written, and the protagonist was endearing. Besides, she was only on the first chapter; the story still had a lot of time to develop.
Twilight began losing track of time as she read, becoming more and more engrossed. She found her initial complaints vanishing as the story continued. Yes, it was clichéd, but lovably so. The jokes were genuinely quite funny, and (unbeknownst to her) she had a large, goofy grin plastered on her face during the more ‘cutesy’ scenes. So engaged was she, that she didn’t even notice when the first rays of sunlight began to seep through the curtain.
When Spike awoke, the first thing he noticed was how well rested he was. He couldn’t remember having that good a night’s sleep for quite some time. In fact, he couldn’t remember waking up of his own accord for quite some time either. Normally Twilight would be the one to awaken him; using the excuse that it was so he could ‘make the most of the day’. When, in actuality, she just wanted somebody to make her breakfast.
“Shows what she knows,” Spike thought, smugly. “I can get up myself no problem.”
It took a few seconds for his sleep addled brain to kick into gear.
“Why didn’t she wake me up today, anyway? Am I too early?”
He glanced out the window through a gap in the curtain.
“No…the sun’s up. It’s gotta be around midday by now. I must’ve overslept.”
His gaze moved to Twilight’s bed. Twilight’s occupied bed.
In a sudden rush, Spike hurried to stand, but his body was not ready for the sudden movement his brain demanded, and he promptly fell on his face. The resounding thud from the violent meeting of wood and scales gained Twilight’s attention. She lifted the sheet off of her head, and looked around bewildered.
“Spike! Are you okay?”
“Ow…yeah, I think so.”
Spike managed to regain his footing and rubbed his forehead with a grimace.
“What are you doing up so early, anyway?” Twilight asked, giving her assistant a healthy dosage of that look.
“Huh? No, Twilight, you’ve overslept.”
“Over…slept?” Twilight parroted.
“Yeah, and I remembered you saying you had to do something today, which is why I was in a rush to w-”
“OMIGOSH!” Exclaimed Twilight, scrambling to disentangle herself from the sheets. “The school!”
Spike was nonplussed.
“The school!” She repeated, anxiously trying to comb down her recently acquired bedhead. “Miss Cherilee is bringing her class here for a visit, and I completely forgot!”
She glanced briefly at the book that had consumed her night. She quickly marked the page and shoved it under her pillow. Luckily, the ‘stay-up-all-night-yet-somehow-not-be-tired’ rule from when she was a filly seemed to have carried over to adulthood. In fact, she felt surprisingly energetic.
“I have no idea how that works,” She thought, bemused.
“Come on, Spike!” She picked up the baby dragon in a magical aura and made her way downstairs. “We’ve got to preparations to make!”
After the last filly had been escorted from the library, Twilight let a relieved sigh escape her. It had been tough to manage that many excited foals at once; she doubted she would’ve survived long without Cherilee’s help. After the clean-up and quick trip to the market for dinner, she was surprised to find that the sun had set once more. It was only when she flopped back onto the bed that she realised the full extent of her exhaustion. Certainly, she’d have no trouble sleeping tonight. Something was pressing into the back of her head. She lifted the pillow and pulled the book out from under it, placing it in her lap.
“I wonder what the title means; it seems a bit too…fancy for this kind of story.”
She shrugged, and was about to place the book by her mirror but paused suddenly.
“Well…” She levitated the book back to her. “One more chapter wouldn’t hurt, I suppose.”
Twilight strategically muffled her giggles with a pillow. She was still very tired, but the novel provided a nice distraction from her body’s pleas for sleep. She couldn’t quite put a hoof on what was so engaging about the story, but she was loving it all the same. Besides, after this next chapter she would be done. Yes, she’d said that about the last one but this time she meant it! With much anticipation, Twilight turned the page.
“Hey, did we take the register this morning?”
“Huh…now that you mention it, I don’t think we did.” Cherry shrugged. “Cover teachers, eh?”
“Say, would you mind-” Cherry began.
“Way ahead of you.”
She gave me an appreciative smile. I trotted up to the front of the classroom and picked up the register. I glanced over the room, ticking who was in and crossing who wasn’t. I was done in about a minute, but as I made to put it back down again, something caught my eye.
“Hey, Cherry?” I called out over the noise of the students, beckoning her over.
She blinked. I held up the register so that she could see.
“Here, look. It says ‘Candid’ on this, but I haven’t met anypony with that name around here,” I explained. “Are they sick or something?”
My smile faltered when I saw Cherry’s expression. Her face had suddenly become devoid of emotion, her mouth a tight, thin line. She stared, her eyes boring into mine as if looking for something. I recoiled slightly, unsure how to react; I hadn’t known her to act like this before. The room had gone silent. I couldn’t tell if this was because I was subconsciously blocking out the noise or if the whole class was listening in. I had a sudden sense of eyes upon me. The silence was eventually broken by the sound of the bell. I turned, startled by the noise. When I looked back, I found that the register was no longer in my grasp; Cherry now had it clasped tightly under her wing. She was smiling again, but somehow that made me feel more uneasy.
“It’s time for class. We’d better take our seats.” Her tone was one of exaggerated perkiness. I hesitated, wanting to press the matter, but fell dumb under her gaze. Nodding, I turned around and trotted over to my seat, unable to shake the feeling of being watched.
Twilight blinked. That was certainly a change of pace.
Well, there had to be some sort of story arc, she supposed. And she’d be lying if she said that she wasn’t interested. She breezed through the next chapter, her initial optimism having disappeared by the end of it. The tone of the story was changing and she wasn’t entirely sure she was comfortable with it. She persevered however, in the hope the characters might return to their previous shenanigans.
“What’s going on?”
The Policepony sighed.
“Listen, kid. It ain’t nothin’ for you to be concerned with, go back to playing ball, or whatever the hay it is you do.”
“But, this is the road to my house,” I protested. “How will I get back home?”
I heard the sound of flapping wings and a soft crunch of gravel behind me. I turned, to see Cherry making a very poor landing. Why was she in such a rush?
“What’s up?” She asked, breathlessly.
“There’s been an accident,” The Policepony droned. “Nopony’s allowed through here.”
“Oh, that’s terrible,” Cherry said quickly, without any real conviction. Once again the feeling of unease flowed through me. “I guess you can’t get home, huh?”
“Well, I suppose no-” I began angrily, before a sudden thought occurred to me. “Say…do you know where Cinnamon Savour is?”
“She’s back at my place,” Cherry replied eagerly, grabbing my hoof. “Come on, let’s g-”
“Hey, wait a second!” My natural Earth Pony strength held out against that of her wings, and she was forced to desist.
“I was thinking, maybe she could just teleport me home with her magic. You could probably carry me over the road block, actually.”
“Nope, you’re too heavy. Fatso.” She laughed a loud, forced laugh. “Maybe you should just stay at my place for the night, Cinnie’s already over there. It’ll be fun!”
Before I could protest that I didn’t want my parents to worry, the Policepony chipped in.
“Listen to your marefriend, kid. This should all be cleared up by tomorrow; it wasn’t that big of an accident from what I heard. Go someplace else.”
Cherry shot him a grin, and resumed pulling me by the hoof.
“Come on, we’ve got lots of stuff to do!”
Once again, the scene was nothing like the ones previous. Twilight felt like putting the book down, but couldn’t bring herself to. The beginning of the novel had been so good; the rest couldn’t be completely devoid of merit, could it? The next few pages lived up to Twilight’s hopes. The trio messed around, played some games, Cinnamon Savour acted the fool again, earning a spout of giggling from Twilight. Things were beginning to look up. However, the one fateful paragraph made her stop dead in her tracks. She stared blankly at the page.
She read it again.
But, that was completely out of left field! Nothing else in the book had warned that the story would be…like that! She closed the book in a huff. Twilight had never really been able to deal with the more ‘dark’ stories that had been published. Luckily for her, due to the nature of Equestria (hail Celestia) very few ponies wrote about morbid topics, as nothing particularly morbid ever happened inside the borders. She could handle sad stories, or stories that were especially cynical in their depictions, but this…
The main character had just been informed that his parents had been killed in the very same accident from the night before. Whilst he had been playing with his friends, they’d been battling for their lives, and lost. It was just…no, she couldn’t take that. Maybe if they’d died peacefully or something, but that was just…just horrible. The author was horrible. The book was horrible. She slammed it shut and threw it to the corner of the room with a huff. Spike stirred at the sound, murmured something incomprehensible, then fell back to sleep.
Twilight sighed. So much for that. She blinked as the first rays of sunlight hit her eye.
“Oh, you have got to be kidding me…”
“Thank you, come again. Oh, hello, Twilight!”
Twilight gave Mrs Cake a smile as she dragged herself into Sugar Cube Corner. The smell of freshly baked goods was helping to clear her head, if only a little. She felt vulnerable to collapsing at any moment. Hopefully a sugary cupcake and a cup of coffee would remedy that.
“Hello, could I get a-”
“Hey there, Twilight!” Yelled Pinkie as she popped out from behind the counter. Twilight yelped in fright. Well that had certainly woken her up.
“Pinkie, what have I told you about scaring away customers?” Mrs Cake scolded.
“Sorry, Mrs Cake. It’s just that Twilight is here and Twilight isn’t normally here so when I heard she was I got super excited so I kinda forgot about what you said actually now that I think about it I forget about a lot of things kind of like that one time where I…”
Twilight blocked out Pinkie’s rambling and simply smiled, in a similar manner to one a parent would adopt when humouring a child. Mrs Cake on the other hoof, had entered a trance-like state, and was staring at the ceiling, her face contorted with suffering.
“…but he didn’t know that I’d switched our glasses so when he drank he fell on the ground and was really still for a while they get some ponies from the hospital to take him away but I’m sure he’s fine at least I hope so he was a really nice guy when he wasn’t trying to have me locked up.”
Twilight waited a few seconds to ensure that Pinkie was done before responding.
“That sounds…” Yawn. “…wonderful, Pinkie,” She said. Pinkie’s smile slipped down a scale on the happiness meter.
“You okay, Twilight?”
“I’m fine. Just haven’t got much sleep lately, that’s all.”
“I’ll say! Those bags under your eyes do kinda go with your coat though…”
Mrs Cake was finally roused from her trance by a helpful prod from her husband. She thanked him quietly before speaking,
“Pinkie, I don’t want to be too demanding, but there’s still a lot of work to do…you know…in the kitchen…” She gave the mare a pointed look.
“Trouble with the workload, hm?” Twilight asked, smiling. Mrs Cake hesitated.
“Yup!” Pinkie answered for her, skipping towards the back door. “Sorry, but I’ve gotta get to baking.”
“Is there any way I can help?”
Pinkie paused mid-hop.
“That’s okay, Twilight.” She replied with a grimace.
“Are you sure? I cou-”
Twilight took a step towards the kitchen, but Pinkie moved quickly to block her path.
“It’s fine, really.” She gave Twilight a large smile before hopping through the door and slamming it shut.
“Was there anything you wanted dear?” Mrs Cake asked. Twilight looked at the spot where Pinkie had been not seconds earlier, before shaking her head. That was Pinkie Pie for you. She returned to the counter and retrieved some bits from her saddlebag.
“Sure, could I…”
Twilight sat in the kitchen of her tree-home, gulping the last of her coffee. Spike had gone to visit Rarity and as far as she knew all her friends had prior engagements, so Twilight was alone for the day. She idly trotted up to her bedroom, wondering what she should do. A nap sounded good right now; unfortunately she wasn’t yet feeling the effects of the caffeine or sugar. And after all, she’d lost quite a few hours of sleep to…that book.
Twilight glared at the offending literary work, which still lay in the corner of the room to which she had thrown it. As if she’d read that again. She sat down on the bed, and considered her options.
“On second thought, a nap seems like a waste of opportunity. I can’t think of anything else though. I could take a walk maybe…no, not in the mood. Hm. I wonder what the others are doing right now. Come to think of it, what would the Princess be doing? Oh! I could send her a let- Oh yeah. Darn Spike and his puppy love!”
“I wonder what the title means…”
Twilight mentally backpedalled.
“Just out of curiosity, of course.”
There was a pause.
“Well…I guess…I’m kind of curious about who Candid is…and what’s going on with Cherry…and how he’ll deal with his parents death and-”
She sighed once more. The book glided over to her on top of a fine purple aura, before falling down into her lap.
“There’s nothing wrong with trying new things…and I’ve already invested a lot of time into it, so…”
She got herself comfortable, found the page where she’d left off, and began to read.
I stared blankly down at the floor, the sound of rain hitting the roof above me providing a constant white noise to the night. The moon was the only light source I had, it’s dim blue-ish glow casting shadows throughout the room. The tears had stopped a while ago, but I couldn’t muster the will to do anything other than nothing. It was hard to wrap my head around what had happened; I still couldn’t believe that I’d been living in the house alone for two days now. I hadn’t yet mustered the willpower to enter their room. The police had been saying something about a foster program of some sort, but had yet to actually do an-
A sudden thud derailed my train of thought. I turned to the direction of the noise. I saw a small stone fly up and hit my window, the collision creating a similar sound. I walked to the glass and peered through. It took a while to see through the darkness and the rain, but a distinct pink glow gave her away.
It was Cinnamon Savour.
She was stood in the middle of the road outside my house, a small bag on the floor next to her. Her mane and fur was soaked with rain; it appeared she hadn’t brought anything to protect herself from it. In fact, just how wet she was caused me to wonder how long she had been standing there. She had been holding a collection of small rocks with her pink aura, but dropped them once I came into view. She wore her trademark sweet smile and, even though the darkness of the night and tint of the window should have made it impossible, was looking me directly in the eye. Without losing her smile, nor breaking eye contact, she levitated the bag up to her and reached into it with her mouth, taking something out and holding it up for me to see. It was a large sheet of paper, with some words I couldn’t make out hastily scrawled on its face. I squinted, trying to read it through the darkness.
Cinnamon Savour’s smile didn’t falter, nor did her gaze. The paper had quickly become wet and now sagged in her grasp, but she paid it no mind. I felt I should open the window, call out to her, invite her in…but, for some reason, the idea did not sit well with me. As I backed away from the window I shook my head. What was I thinking? She was my friend. I couldn’t let her stay out in the rain. I grabbed an umbrella from the wardrobe, and was making my way toward the door when I noticed something in my peripheral vision. Something was sitting on the kitchen table.
I stared at the confectionery. Indeed, it was in fact a small square cake, complete with white icing. It was hoof-made, by the look of it. It appeared the baker had tried to write something on the top in icing, but had given up halfway through and settled for a mess of red scribbles. There were, for whatever reason, also several lines cut into its sides. If its appearance held any relation to its taste, it was likely to make me very ill. I didn’t remember buying such a thing, nor anypony giving me one, how had it…? Then I noticed a small note lying beside it, imprinted with two letters. ‘C.S’.
As the penny dropped, I rushed back to the window. She was gone. I rushed downstairs to the door and checked the locks, nothing was out of place. But I had been here all day, how had she gotten in and out again without me noticing? Why didn’t she give it to me in person? Shaken, I returned to the kitchen. I hadn’t yet eaten dinner…and it was a kind gesture…
I procured a knife from the drawer and made the first cut. Not caring for table manners; I was the only one here, I simply picked the slice up in my hoof and took a bite. It wasn’t so bad after all. I started my second bite, but recoiled when a sudden pain tore through my mouth. I dropped the slice and hissed some choice expletives. The inside of my mouth was burning. I quickly walked to the counter and poured myself a glass of water. When my lips touched the surface of the liquid however, I paused. There was now a fine red mist floating in my drink. I abandoned the glass and spat the remaining blood out into the sink. The roof of my mouth continued to throb. I groaned. I looked to slice of cake on the floor and felt a chill pass through me. A small, reflective object was sticking out of it, and although it was marked with blood I could still identify it. A razor blade.
The aforementioned mare literally jumped off the bed out the sudden noise, landing painfully on her back.
“Twilight, are you okay?” Spike rushed over to help her up. “I was trying to talk to you but were just staring at that book and shaking…is that sweat?”
“What? I- Yes; it sure is hot today, huh?” Twilight carefully rose to her feet.
“Are you alright?” Spike asked again, concern obvious in his tone.
“I’m fine, just a bit of…intense reading.” Twilight chuckled sheepishly.
“If you say so.” Spike muttered, unconvinced. “Want me to make you dinner?”
Twilight blinked in surprise. “How time flies…”
“Yes, please. Something…transparent.”
Spike raised any eyebrow at the request, but upon seeing she wasn’t joking, he shrugged and did as asked.
Unfortunately Spike was unable to make anything completely see-through, so she settled for a sandwich, which she could easily see into. After the dinner she returned to her bedroom, taking a glance out the window. Night had fallen surprisingly quickly. It wasn’t raining, but the looming black clouds overhead would soon fix that. She was tired, so very tired…
However, as she walked over to the bed, she caught herself subconsciously picking up the book with her magic. She paused. Looked from the bed, to the book and back again. On the one hoof, she really needed to sleep. On the other, the mystery of the story was intriguing and she genuinely cared for the main character. She also hadn’t read a story quite as…exhilarating as that before. She had to know what happened. She had to know. Face set with determination, she dived under the sheets and continued.
I knocked on the door. I could no longer see the sun, only its dark orange aura which continued to descend below the village in the distance. I considered myself lucky that this colt lived far out from the village; I didn’t want to chance running into the towns folk. I knocked on the door again, coughing. It seemed desperate to seek help from a stranger I’d only briefly met, but he was the only one who would acknowledge that something was wrong; that I was in danger. I frowned, knocking once more, but with force. As my hoof made contact, I felt the door move backwards. I tentatively pressed against the door and pushed it wide open. Did he forget to lock it?
I took a few steps inside, looking around.
The sun’s light now illuminated the corridor a dark red, reflecting off the glass of a family portrait hanging from the wall. The door furthest from me was slightly ajar, and I could see a shadow on the floor on the other side.
“Hello? It’s me – we met in by the bakery this morning. You told me to come see you here, remember?”
I walked down the narrow corridor, reaching forward to open it.
“You should really get a better lock, you never know who might-”
The words died in my throat. There was a large circular table in the centre of the room, the colt I’d met (I recognised his cutie mark) was sitting at it, facing away from me. The first thing I noticed was how the odd position in which he was sitting – with his back legs touching the floor, his front legs resting at his sides and his stomach facing forward. The second thing was how his head was leaning to one side, his mane unkempt. The third was what was on the table. Various items were scattered in front of him. Used syringes, a scalpel, a hammer, some nails, a wooden block with tooth marks embedded into it, and several other tools I couldn’t identify. Finally, I noticed the blood.
I took a step back, breathing heavily. Later on, I would be thankful that I couldn’t see his face, but right now I was focused on getting out of there. Fast. I turned ran back down the corridor and out the door. I didn’t know where I was going. I couldn’t leave the village by myself that was for sure; there was no other civilisation for miles. I had nowhere else to go, and the pony who had seemed willing to help me was now…out of the picture. With no real goal, I continued to run, all the while listening for the sound of hoofsteps behind my own.
Twilight had the book pressed unnecessarily close to her face, her eyes abnormally wide. She could hear her heart beat loudly in her ears and was subconsciously clenching her teeth. She was immersed, to say the least. The subject matter was horrifying, but she was so enamoured with the story that she pressed on, waiting with baited breath to see how the plot would progress.
The sun had set by the time I reached the front gate. I slammed the door to my parent’s…my house shut, quickly locking it. I checked the backdoor to the garden and all of the windows before stumbling into the bathroom. I ran the tap and splashed my face, trying to even my breathing. It had to have been them – my ‘friends’. It had to be; there was no way this was a coincidence. Cinnamon Savour, Cherry…they were trying to kill me. They’d killed my parents, made it look like an accident, and now they were going to do the same to me.
I closed my eyes, resting my forehead on the edge of the sink.
For I knew the whole town could be in on it; it would explain how they always seemed to know where I was. I looked up at myself in the mirror. My mane was slick with sweat. I was so pale I bared more resemblance to a corpse than an actual pony. I shut eyes, shaking my head. This wasn’t helping. I had to do something. Take action. But how? The image of a knife appeared in my mind. Violence? Sure. Fire against fire, eye for an eye. If that’s what it took, then I’d do it. I just needed a weapon. Then, the next time one of them came for me, I’d be ready. There was a niggling doubt at the back of my mind that I wouldn’t have to guts to use it when the time came, but I ignored it. I walked out of the bathroom and headed for the kitchen; I’d feel a lot more comfortable with a weapon…
I paused. I thought I heard…hoofsteps? I was immobilised. I listened desperately, heart thumping. There was silence…but then I heard it…the solitary creak of a floorboard.
How did she know I was here? How did she get in?! My eyes shot about the room, looking for anything I could use. Finding no adequate means of defence I ran to the cupboard, jumping inside. I shrunk into the corner. I had left the door open by a fraction, so I could see into the room outside. I could hear the sound of hooves hitting the floor - my fears were confirmed. I hid with bated breath, in the vain hope she might leave of her own accord. I saw the door to the room swing open.
I closed the gap, leaving myself in pitch blackness. I could just barely hear her moving about the room above my thundering heartbeat. Then it fell quiet.
What was she doing? I held my breath and listened. Complete silence. Where was she? Had she left? Was she still in the house? I raised a shaking hoof, and gently pushed the door open a fraction. I looked through the hole. She looked back at me.
That was enough for tonight. She set the book down and sighed. It was only now she realised how dry her throat was, she needed a drink. Quietly, she pawed her way out from under the sheets, and stood up. Lighting the way with her horn, she crept over the door. She was careful not to wake Spike, whose light snores punctuated the silence and provided momentary comfort. Twilight found herself at the top of the staircase. Perhaps it was her sleep-deprived mind playing tricks on her, but the room seemed whole lot darker than usual; as far as she could tell, she was standing on a podium in the centre of a black void. With some effort, she conjured a small sphere of light, which floated to the centre of the ceiling and illuminated the room below. She briefly noted how it was taking more effort to cast spells than usual, no doubt it was a side effect from her recent nocturnal habits.
As she descended she felt herself calming down. It was just a book. Nothing to get so worked up about. In retrospect, she couldn’t believe seriously it had affected her. She’d have a drink, go to bed, and laugh about this in the morning. She trudged over to the kitchen, taking a glass and filling it with water. She glanced out the window. When had it started raining? It was only now that she actively listened for it, that she could hear the drops hitting the wooden exterior of the library. She could just about make out the path that ran by through the darkness. Huh. If she had been looking out from the top floor rather than the kitchen, and somepony had been standing on the path it would be just like-
No. Don’t think about that. Drink, then sleep.
She quickly downed the water. It didn’t really help, but she just wanted to sleep at this point. She hadn’t actually slept properly for, what, three days now? She turned to head back upstairs, and was halfway across the room when the light suddenly vanished. She froze completely, holding her breath. The rational side of her would’ve pointed out that the orb had dissipated, and she could easily conjure another, but she was too overwhelmed with panic to acknowledge this. The darkness was pressing in on her. She could’ve sworn she just felt somepony’s breath on her neck. Her eyes darted over to the window. She’d just seen something move. Was there somepony outside? Were they trying to get in?!
If she used her horn for light, she would be exposed. She had to be careful. She had to hide.
She could see the vague silhouette of the bathroom door in her peripheral vision. She inhaled deeply. With no small sense of trepidation she sprinted over to the door, slamming it shut behind her. In a panic she backed up against the wall, horn glowing at the ready for when her pursuer burst through the door. When no such thing happened after a few seconds, Twilight began to calm. It was silent.
“I can’t hear anything, have they gone or…or are they standing outside waiting for me to come out?!”
The panic made a comeback in full force. She was trapped inside her bathroom, a killer lying in wait outside the door and she had no idea what to do. Her mind, which had long since rebuked any sense of reality due to her exhaustion and fright, showed her horrific images of her own demise. What was she going to do? What about Spike? If only her friends were here…
She sniffled. Rainbow Dash wouldn’t be stuck in here feeling sorry for herself; she’d go get Applejack and they’d both find whatever was bothering them and kick it into the stratosphere. Rarity could probably figure out a way out of this without breaking down. Fluttershy…well…And Pinkie would just laugh it off, do some physics-defying stunts and come out unscathed. They’d be there for her, of that she was certain…
Or would they?
Twilight felt a sudden sense of revelation strike her. This was just like in the book. The main character is stalked by the killers and they break into his house, just like what was happening now. More importantly, though, the killers were his friends. That could very well be the case here, too. That could be Rainbow Dash out there, or Applejack, or Rarity, or Fluttershy, or…Pinkie.
Twilight was no longer afraid. She paced up and down in the small bathroom, the impending doom completely forgotten.
She’d been acting strangely. Twilight hadn’t really paid much attention to it, but Pinkie had seemed very reluctant to let her into the backroom of the bakery. Why was that? That must be where she’s hiding the bodies! The cakes had to be in on it too, that would explain why Mrs Cake had been acting so strangely. Twilight’s mind reeled, trying to keep up with the sudden flow of information. She hadn’t seen Scootaloo around lately, she hadn’t even turned up with the rest of the school during the library trip. Pinkie must’ve killed her and hid the body in Sugar Cube Corner! But why?
…of course! Scootaloo loves Rainbow Dash, and Pinkie wanted Rainbow all to herself so she took her out of the picture. And why should it stop there? She’d go around killing all of her friends’ loved ones so that we’d be forced to spend time with her! It all made sense! The sense of achievement soon faded as she posed herself a new question. What should she do? Well, she wouldn’t let Pinkie kill anypony else, that was certain.
Twilight’s eyes were unhealthily wide, her pupils dilated. Her breathing was ragged and her mane cast a shadow on her face, so that only her far-too-wide smile could be seen. She spent several hours locked in that room, muttering and giggling to herself as she formulated a plan.
“Time to get up, Spike!”
The dragon in question blearily opened his eyes, yawning.
“Hey, Twilight. You sleep well?”
“Oh, I didn’t sleep last night. I’ve been setting something up in the lab.”
Spike’s vision finally focused, and his eyes widened slightly.
“Well, maybe you should take a nap or something,” He suggested, chuckling, “No offense, but you don’t look so good.”
“I’ll worry about my appearance later; I’ve got some more pressing matters to attend to.” One of her eyes twitched. “Could you send this letter to Celestia at some point today without reading it beforehand?”
“I- Um…sure,” Spike agreed, taking the scroll. “Any special reason I can’t read this one? I’ve read all the others you’ve sent.”
“You can’t read it because this friendship report contains some very personal information, Spike,” She explained, patting her assistant on the head in a condescending manner. “You probably wouldn’t understand it anyway.”
“Hey, that’s no-”
“AnywayI’vegottogotakecareofeverythingbye!” Twilight vanished in a puff of purple smoke.
Spike took a few seconds to process what she had said, before groaning.
“Great, just great. I get to tend to the library all by myself...”
“Hello, Twilight! Would you like something?”
Twilight dragged herself into the bakery, the several days without sleep taking a heavy toll on her body. But she wouldn’t let that stop her; she had a mission to complete.
“As a matter of fact, I’ve come to see Pinkie,” She said, inwardly cringing at how forced her tone sounded.
Pinkie burst out from underneath a table.
“You have?!” She squealed, commando-rolling over to her unicorn friend. “Oh that’s so-”
“I’m sorry, but Pinkie’s awfully busy right now,” Mrs Cake interrupted her, putting heavy emphasis on the last four words.
“Oh, yeah! Sorry, Twilight.” Pinkie smiled apologetically.
“Don’t worry about it, Pinkie. I was actually wondering if you wanted to come round to the library tonight.”
Pinkie gasped. “A sleepover!?”
“Everypony else is coming, you can come anytime you’re free.”
“Okie-dokie, Twilight! I’ll be there, see you then!” Pinkie beamed, waving with such force that Twilight wouldn’t be surprised if she achieved flight.
The unicorn smiled and waved in return, heading out the door. She briefly checked nopony was looking at her, before quietly slipping behind the hedges nearby. To her relief, the equipment she’d left here whilst on the way to Sugar Cube Corner hadn’t been stolen. Now all she had to do was sit and wait…
Twilight had been sitting there for several hours now. She had often been tempted to sleep, but resisted, knowing she could miss her prey. The sun was setting now; she had to be coming out soon. Sure enough, Twilight could hear somepony humming a merry tune as they bounced past. She stood up. Her joints clicked painfully from being in the same position for several hours, but that didn’t slow the unicorn down. Carefully, she crept out from the bush and followed her target, keeping enough distance between them so as not to be noticed. She had placed her equipment in a rucksack, which was floating merrily alongside her, to ensure that she did not to arouse suspicion from the townsfolk. She just had to wait until they were alone together, then she would act.
Spike chuckled evilly, a small pile of gems in his lap. Today had provided an excellent time to search for where Twilight hid his favourite food, and sure enough he’d found it in a chest at the back of one of the bookshelves. Well, there was no way he wasn’t going to take advantage of the opportunity; she’d left him to tend to the library all by himself for a whole day, after all. He deserved a reward. Munching hungrily, he noted it was getting close to evening. He should probably send that letter. He looked it the scroll over. It didn’t look any different for the other letters he’d sent, but Twilight had made a point of telling him not to read it, so there had to be something. She’d been awfully condescending when talking to him, now that he thought about it. Well, screw it. If she wouldn’t respect him, then he had no reason to keep to his word. He unfurled the scroll, and the library was once again filled with maniacal laughter.
Twilight slowly gained on Pinkie, keeping her hoofsteps quiet. The earth pony had taken a shortcut through an alley; this was the perfect time to make her move. This monster had to be taken out before she could hurt somepony else. All she had to-
“Gah!” Twilight yelped and fell backwards, hitting the stone path with a thud.
“Why are you being so sneaky? Are you playing hide and seek?”
Twilight growled, trying to jump back to her feet but only succeeding in falling over again. Pinkie offered a hoof which Twilight slapped away.
“Are you ok, Twilight?” Pinkie asked, genuine concern etched in her features. “I could-”
“Ok?! You should be more worried about yourself, Pinkamena!” Twilight shrieked, a manic gleam in her eye. “I know what you’ve done, and now I’m gonna take you out.” With that said, Twilight took out the contents of the rucksack and flailed it wildly in Pinkie’s general direction.
“Twilight, why do you have a plank of wood?” Pinkie was easily avoiding Twilight’s swings, mainly because the plank was too short to actually hit her from this distance.
Twilight let out a ferocious war cry, eyes screwed up with effort. Pinkie watched the display for a few seconds, before stopping the plank mid-swing with her hooves. Twilight opened her eyes.
“What are you doing?” Pinkie cocked her head quizzically.
“Well…this…this is my party stick.”
Pinkie raised a single eyebrow.
“Yes, my party stick!” Twilight continued. “You see, I have to hit people on the head with this stick to declare that the party has officially started. How else would they know?”
Pinkie’s eyebrow quivered in its held position. Twilight gulped. Maybe this wasn’t such a good idea. She was dealing with a murderer after all, Pinkie could easily overpower her. The fear from last night returned in spades. She was going to die. She’d had her chance, she’d blown it, and now Pinkie was going to kill her with a razor-cake to the face. Why hadn’t she thought this thro-
There was a pause.
“Hit me with your party stick,” Pinkie elaborated, letting go of the plank, “Let’s do this thing!”
Twilight blinked, shrugged, and then swung. With a loud thunk the wood collided with the earth pony’s skull. However, instead of being knocked out as Twilight had intended, she smiled.
“Yay, the party’s started!” Pinkie hopped up and down excitedly, seemingly oblivious to the large red mark on the side of her head.
“Wait just a moment,” Twilight said, raising the plank again, “I don’t think there was enough fun in that first swing.”
“Yay, more fu-” Twilight struck Pinkie a second time. The board hit in the exact same spot as it had done before, but Pinkie didn’t so much as flinch.
“Did that one have enough, Twi-” Twilight swung again.
“Hey, Twilight, this really tickl-” And again.
Twilight raised the board high and swung as hard as her exhausted body would allow. This time it bore different a result, unfortunately not the one she had hoped for. Twilight stared at the broken plank in confusion. Not only had she wasted a perfectly good plank, but Pinkie (although dazed) still wasn’t unconscious. Twilight panicked. Her plan was failing; time to improvise.
“So, can you feel the fun, Pinkie?” Asked Twilight, trying her best to sound enthusiastic.
“Yeah, that crack in my skull is really letting it flow through me!” Pinkie giggled.
“Then let’s head to the party.”
Pinkie staggered forward, leading the way to the library. A perplexed Carrot Top looked on as they walked. Twilight mimed drinking from a glass and shrugged. Carrot Top nodded in understanding.
“At least I don’t have to worry about explaining this to anypony now.” Twilight thought bitterly, holding back a yawn.
Spike reread the letter again, trying to make sense of what had been written. He had long since abandoned the gems, which now lay forgotten at his feet. He just couldn’t make sense of it. It wasn’t a friendship report that was for sure. Spike jumped when the door to the library burst open. Pinkie zigzagged across the room, muttering something about ‘fun being more painful than she remembered’. Spike was too preoccupied with being confused by Pinkie’s behaviour to notice the other pony entering the house.
“Spike,” Said a low, menacing voice which made Spike’s non-existent hair stand on end, “Did you read my letter?”
“Uh, kinda,” Spike admitted sheepishly, turning to face the unicorn. “But to be honest, I’m glad I did. You can’t send this to the Princess, Twilight. I mean, it makes no sense! I can barely read half of it, and why did y-”
“Boo!” Exclaimed Twilight, waving her front legs. Spike emitted a feminine cry of alarm and involuntarily let loose a lick of green flame. Once the smoke cleared, the letter had vanished. Spike opened his mouth to speak, but was interrupted as he vanished from existence.
“Woah, I didn’t know you could do that!” Pinkie remarked as leant against the wall for support.
“Come on, the party’s happening downstairs. You wouldn’t want to be late, would you?”
Twilight forcefully pushed Pinkie down into the laboratory, grateful that the murderer was oblivious to her intentions; that would make things a whole lot easier.
Spike suddenly found himself in the orchard of Sweet Apple Acres, or more specifically, on top of a tree in the orchard of Sweet Apple Acres. Why had Twilight teleported him here? Why had she teleported him at all? Something strange was going on, he knew that much. And he needed to do something about it, just as soon as he figured out how he was supposed to get down from here…
The final clasp clicked into place around Pinkie’s left leg. Twilight was surprised at how well this had gone. The electric chair she’d made had yet to fall apart, and Pinkie was still offering no resistance. All in all, this could’ve turned out a lot worse.
She sighed in exhaustion. She’d just be glad when this was over, so she could finally sleep.
“You look tired, maybe you should take a nap,” Pinkie suggested. She giggled as Twilight secured the metal dome on her head.
“You’d like that wouldn’t you?” Twilight muttered.
“Twilight, why are you making that face?”
“Face? What face?”
“That face where your eyes are really wide but your pupils are really small and you’re smiling a lot but it’s not a happy smile although I guess it is in some ways because you are happy you’re just happy about something bad which can be quite scary sometimes if you know what I mean…”
Twilight ignored the earth pony’s rambling, instead moving over to the length of metal wire she’d attached to the restraints. With a giggle, she touched the end of the wire to her horn, and shot a bout of electricity into it. The magic travelled through the conductive material and straight into Pinkie, who gave a cry of alarm. Twilight’s grin widened.
Twilight’s grin faded.
“Do it again, do it again!” Pinkie was giddily bouncing in her seat. Frowning Twilight placing her horn against the wire again, but nothing happened. Twilight doubled her efforts, managing a small spark, but nothing more.
“I…can’t…” Twilight realised. She didn’t have enough energy to cast the spell. She’d gone through all that effort for nothing. She slowly set the wire down, sat on the floor, inhaled deeply, and cried. Like a filly. Quick as a gunshot, Pinkie popped out of her restraints and knelt beside the unicorn, wrapping her in warm hug.
“It’s ok, Twilight,” She cooed, “Pinkie’s here.”
“I- I just wanted t-to kill you,” Twilight gasped between sobs, “And i-it was all going so well and, a-and it was really hard but I t-tried my best and I h-had to make an electric chair to k-kill you with and that was really h-hard to do because I’ve n-never made one before a-and eeurraghgha!” Her speech devolved into mindless wailing, and she buried her face in Pinkie’s fur.
“It’s alright, Twilight.” Pinkie somehow managed to lift Twilight up with her two front legs, and carried her upstairs. “There’ll be plenty more opportunities to kill me, I’m sure.”
“B-but, now you’re going to,” Sniffle “Kill somepony else, a-and you’ll p-put nasty stuff in my food and kill my p-parents.”
“Now, where did you get such silly ideas, hm?” They had arrived in Twilight’s bedroom, and Pinkie carefully put the unicorn down onto the bed.
“Now, it seems to me that somepony needs a good night’s sleep,” Said Pinkie in a motherly tone.
“No ‘buts’, young lady. You need sleep, that’s why you’re so cranky. Would you like me to read you a bedtime story?”
Twilight sniffled, tugging the sheet around her. Taking that as an affirmative, Pinkie picked up a book and began to read aloud.
“The night was calm. Breeze rolled in through the window, caressing my skin with its cool embrace. I sighed, wiping my brow. It had been tough, but I had pulled through.”
The unicorn sighed contently, nuzzling her pillow. She could already feel herself drifting off.
“The blood coated knife lay at my hooves.”
Twilight’s eyes snapped open again.
“I had done it. I had killed my friend. She was propped up against the wall opposite me, had her eyes been intact I was sure they’d be boring into mine. I inhaled deeply. I had to get used to this, if I wanted to survive. I didn’t know who else was in on this, but one thing was for certain. They all. Had. To die.”
“I’m not sure this is suitable reading material for you, Twilight,” Said Pinkie, casually throwing the book over her shoulder. “This sort of stuff can give ponies weird ideas, y’know…hey, where are you going?”
The unicorn ran down into the bathroom, breathing heavily. How could she have been so stupid? She couldn’t let her guard down. Pinkie had probably been planning to kill her whilst she slept. So what if she didn’t have magic, she could still take her down. Twilight’s eyes came to rest on the piping attached to the sink. She took a hold of its midsection and pulled with all her might. Through sheer determination, the pipe came free. Water sprayed across the room, the droplets hitting Twilight’s face. She paid it no mind. She made for the door, her impromptu weapon clasped tightly between her teeth. She couldn’t trust anypony, not even her friends, any one of them could be in on it. But before any of them, she needed to take care of Pinkie.
Five sixths of the elements of harmony walked through the streets of Ponyville, Spike leading them. Spike had been stuck in that tree for quite a while, but with some persuasion he had managed to enlist Rainbow Dash’s help in getting him down and rounding up an impromptu rescue team of Ponyville’s bravest citizens. Fluttershy was there too.
“I still don’t see why you need us to come with you,” Rainbow Dash muttered, “Can’t you sort this out yourself?”
“Now, Rainbow, I’m sure Spike wouldn’t ask for our help without good reason,” Rarity assured her friend with a smile.
Rainbow opened her mouth, most likely to protest, but changed her mind when she saw somepony approaching them.
“Pinkie! Have you seen Twilight around?”
They all followed Rainbow Dash’s line of sight, and sure enough, saw the pink pony running towards them. Pinkie caught up to them, out of breath.
“Twilight…gone crazy…gotta run…” She gasped.
“Oh my goodness! Darling, what happened to your head?” Rarity walked over to inspect the bruise.
“And what exactly do ya mean by ‘crazy’?” Asked Applejack, looking sceptical. Her question was answered when Twilight came careening round the corner. Her eyes were wide, unnaturally so; her pupils dilated to the size of pinpricks. Her mane and fur were slick with moisture, droplets of water hanging to her face and dripping from her hair. She was smiling widely around the lead pipe she held in her mouth, and although the bags under her eyes claimed the opposite, she appeared to be bursting with energy as she ran full pelt towards them.
“Pinkie, what did you do to her!?” Rarity exclaimed, shooting a disapproving glare her friend’s way.
“It wasn’t my fault!” Pinkie protested. “I was just reading her a story and she went nutso on me!”
“Why were you readin-” Rainbow Dash began, before stopping herself. “Ah, never mind.”
Applejack adopted a scowl. “Rainbow, fly back to my place and get my rope.”
The pegasus gave her a salute and shot off into the distance. The unicorn was getting closer.
“You don’t think she’ll attack us will you?” Fluttershy asked nervously.
“Well, she attacked me if that tells you anything,” Said Pinkie with a shrug.
“Alright, I’m gonna try to talk to her. Everypony stand back.” Applejack jogged towards Twilight, putting on a smile.
“Hey there, Twi’. Whatcha doin’ round here so late a-” The farm pony felt something fly over her head, and was suddenly aware of having lost her hat. “Never mind,” She said quickly, running back to the others. “Everypony run!”
The group scattered. Rarity placed Spike on her back and followed Pinkie down the street to the right. Applejack grabbed an immobilised Fluttershy and dragged her through an alley to the left. Once they were out of Twilight’s line of sight, Applejack dived behind a bush, dragging the yellow pegsus with her. They both hugged the ground.
“Did…did we lose her?” Fluttershy whispered fearly.
“I dunno,” Applejack replied. “We don’t even know if she went after us; she could’ve gone for the other three.”
“I hope they’re okay.”
“They will be if I have anythin’ to say about it. We just gotta wait ‘till Rainbow gets back with my rope, then we can take her down.”
Fluttershy’s eyes widened. “Take her down?” She repeated, looking shocked.
“Don’t go gettin’ the wrong idea,” Applejack said hastily. “Maybe the others can talk some sense into her, but if not, we've always gotta have a backup plan, right?"
Fluttershy didn’t seem entirely convinced, but didn’t press the matter. “What do you think is wrong with her?”
“I’m not sure, but if this is anythin’ like that time with the doll, I reckon we can solve this no problem.” Applejack gave her friend a reassuring pat on the pat on the back. “Here’s hopin’ the Princess doesn’t have to get involved in it this time, eh?” She added with a chuckle.
Princess Celestia reread the letter again, making sure she had interoperated it correctly. It seemed rushed, the writing an untidy scrawl, and the paper was ripped around the edges. There were several spelling and grammatical mistakes, and some sentences had been hastily scribbled out for whatever reason. There were doodles in the free space around the paragraphs, the most notable of which being a crudely drawn unicorn (supposedly Twilight) wearing a superhero costume being worshipped by an adoring crowd.
Deer Princess Celestia,
Firstlee I would like to apolijze for not writing to you for the last few day. I’ve have had been very busy with things. However the letter is rely important, and it require your immediate attenshun. As you may or may not no, pinkie pie (a.k.a the elemnt of honesty) is an complete psychopath. She has broke into my house last knight and she is proobibly will kill me. Mrs and mrs cake are in on it as wheel. An I think all my friends would be also.
As a right this, I am settings my planned in motion to feel with pinkie…perminently!!!!!! (by killin her). Im not sure I wont make it, so if I dye, please send Hooeelishiushs to a gud home. Also, fed my pet dragon (her favorit food is rocks ((wat a freak, am I wright?))).
If I don’t die then compleet unregard this letter.
Dear you’re fathfilled studenn,
The Princess cast the letter aside and stood, determination apparent in her expression.
“Sister? Sister, where are you?” Luna poked her head in through the door. “Ah, there you are. You look very determined tonight,” She noted, walking over to the alicorn.
“Luna, I need you to run things for me.”
“Well, it is night, so you I probably would’ve done that anyway.”
“My student is in danger!” Exclaimed Celestia. “I have no time for your shenanigans!”
The Sun Princess unfurled her wings and made for the window. Luna looked on in alarm.
“Sister! You’re going to fly to Ponyville in the dead of night? You won’t be able to see! It’s not safe!”
“I know the risks, Luna,” Said Celestia, “But I’ve got a good student down there who needs me. Tell her it’s ‘not safe enough’!”
“But, Sister, I can prepare the carriage. My guards can see in the dark, they’ll take you. It will literally take five seconds t-”
“You tell Twilight that you can ‘prepare the carriage’!” Celestia passionately declared. “Me? I’d rather get down there and tell her myself.”
She unfurled her wings once more, taking a few steps back so she had a better run-up.
As her sister sprinted past, Luna pleaded, “At least take one of the guards for protection!”
“There’s probably no time!” Celestia yelled, bravely jumping through window and soaring off into the night sky.
“You speed, sister,” Luna whispered, a single tear of pride running down her cheek.
Rarity, Spike and Pinkie burst into the Carrousel Boutique. The ponies were already out of breath. Rarity quickly levitated a cupboard in front of the door to block Twilight’s entrance.
“Do you think we lost her?” The unicorn asked, worriedly.
“I dunno,” Replied Pinkie. “For a pony that hasn’t slept in days she sure has a lot of stamina.”
“Can’t she just teleport in here?”
“Nah, I think she’s used up all her magic or something.”
“Well, at least something works to our advantage.”
“I just don’t understand,” Spike wailed. “Why would she do this?” Pinkie placed a hoof on his shoulder.
“Because she’s nutjob,” She said sympathetically. “And we’re probably going to have to put her down.”
Spike gasped in horror, his eyes welling with tears.
“Pinkie!” Rarity exclaimed indigently. “How could you say something so horrible?”
The group fell silent when they heard a noise from upstairs. Was it…laughter? Rarity’s face fell.
“We shouldn’t have come here,” She muttered, “I completely forgot that they were here…”
Before anyone could question her, a loud bang was heard from the other side of the door. They looked on in horror and backed away as the noises continued. An abrupt silence fell. Then the window exploded, showering the room with fragments of glass. A pipe landed on the floor, the metallic clang it produced ringing in their ears. Twilight climbed in through her D.I.Y entrance, her grin impossibly wide.
“I have you now, my pretties…” A demented giggle escaped her.
“Twilight, darling, think about this.”
“Quiet!” Twilight shouted, silencing her friend. “I know what you’ve been planning. I’m one step ahead of you, and I won’t let you hurt anypony else. Now…face the wrath of my Perilous Pipe for Pelting Ponies!”
She grabbed the P.P.P.P in her mouth and charged. Rarity yanked the stand out the stand from one of her mannequins and blocked the blow with surprising ease. Twilight fell back a few steps, before charging once more. She lifted the pipe into the air and swung downward. Rarity grabbed it before it made contact and tore it from Twilight’s grasp, throwing it across the room. Twilight ran to pick it up again, but Pinkie intervened, sending the pipe flying back to Rarity with a swift kick.
Spike watched the violent game of ‘piggy in the middle’ with equal distress and awe. He felt bad for not helping but was unsure of how he could. He hoped the others were alright…
“Applejack, look!” Fluttershy pointed to a familiar cyan speck above them, wings spread in excitement. Applejack called out to Rainbow Dash, waving her front legs to make herself more visible. Soon enough, the pegasus flew over to them,
chucking a rope down to the farm pony.
“I think I saw Twilight running to Rarity’s place,” Said Rainbow Dash, not showing any signs of exhaustion from her flight.
“Oh Horseapples,” Is what Applejack wanted to say. Unfortunately, due to the rope in her mouth, it came out more like, “Awwhh oorrruggghhaaahhooeess.” The two pegasi gave her blank looks. Applejack frowned, gesturing wildly with her front hooves for them to follow her, before breaking into a run down the road. Her powerful legs maintained a swift pace, but despite this, Rainbow Dash took off ahead of her and led the group. Fluttershy lagged behind the two of them, her breathless pleas for them to slow down going unheard.
“We’re almost there, girls!” Rainbow Dash informed them with a grin. “We got this!”
“Awwrruhhhe hhuun.” Applejack cried in assent.
The pipe soared over to Rarity. Twilight ran to it. Rarity passed it to Pinkie. Twilight ran to it. Pinkie passed it back to Rarity. Twilight ran to it. The pattern was getting old fast. Whilst the pipe flew through the air once more, Twilight jumped up and punched it, sending it crashing to the floor. Pinkie dived for it and grabbed it in her teeth, but Twilight was close behind her. She snatched the pipe from Pinkie, kicking the earth pony in the chest with all her strength (which admittedly wasn’t that strong). Regardless, it was enough to wind the pink pony and immobilise her temporarily. With a triumphant giggle, Twilight aimed for Pinkie’s head, only for the swing to be halted by Rarity’s mannequin stand. Twilight turned to her and snarled.
The fashionista narrowed her eyes and adopted a fighting stance. “En garde, vous lâche!”
They could see the Boutique not too far away in the distance. Rainbow Dash gained speed, accelerating ahead of the group and levelling herself with the broken window. She shot through it like a bullet; how she managed to stop before smashing into the wall opposite, nopony would ever know. Applejack wasn’t too far behind. The many hours of practising for the rodeo allowed her to pull off the manoeuvre gracefully, although she did wonder why Rainbow Dash hadn’t simply used the door. Her hooves hit the floor of the Boutique with a satisfying thud, and the farmpony looked up to one of the most bizarre things she’d ever witnessed.
Twilight and Rarity were locked in an intense sparring match, the former equipped with the same pipe from before, and the latter wielding some pole Applejack couldn’t identify the original use of. Rarity was very much on the defensive, only ever moving to block or parry Twilight’s blind advancements. Pinkie had somehow acquired a banner declaring her support for Rarity and was cheering loudly. Spike just stood there, watching with an undefinable expression.
There was the sudden sound of hooves from upstairs, Rarity’s face fell and she shared a worried look with Applejack. The shadows of three fillies could be seen descending the stairs.
“What’s going o-” Sweetie Belle stopped herself, gawking at the scene before her.
“Woah!” Exclaimed Applebloom wearing a similar expression.
Twilight froze, staring at the fillies. Rarity quickly stood between her and them, snarling, “Oh no you don’t! There’s no way I’m letting you near my sister!”
“Aaaaghs Wrrraugh!” Applejack agreed angrily.
Twilight didn’t listen.
“Scootaloo is…still alive?” She eyes widened. “But…but that means-”
Rainbow Dash took advantage of her friend’s preoccupation and swooped down on the unicorn, wrestling the pipe from her grip. Rarity promptly dropped her makeshift weapon and smothered Twilight in a magical aura, freezing her in place. As Rarity strained to hold the spell, Applejack leapt forward an tied the rope around Twilight’s legs. The aura vanished and the farmpony pulled on the rope, tightening the knot and sending the unicorn falling to the floor. Twilight struggled against her bonds for a moment, before sighing in defeat. Pinkie cheered loudly, clapping her hooves.
“Um…what just happened?” Scootaloo cocked her head quizzically. Rainbow Dash chuckled.
“We’ll explain later, ok?”
The fillies looked at each other, shrugged, and went back upstairs as if nothing out of the ordinary had just occurred.
“Oh my gosh!” Pinkie squealed in delight. “That was awesome!”
“Heck yeah!” Rainbow Dash agreed. “Where’d you learn to do that, Rarity?”
Rarity smiled and smoothed her mane proudly, “It just came to me I suppose.”
“Well, that’s that.” Applejack grinned. “We did good girls, real good.”
“And most importantly, nopony got hurt,” Spike added. Pinkie nodded enthusiastically in agreement, wiping the blood from the side of her head with a hoof.
“All in everypony!”
The group all put their hooves (and claw) on top of each other’s, Pinkie’s landing on the top with a wet smack. They lifted their front legs as one and cheered as Fluttershy watched forlornly through the window.
“So, what happens now?”
As one, the group’s gaze came to rest on Twilight.
“How ya feelin’, Twi?” Applejack began cautiously. Twilight glared.
“Why do you care? You’re just going to kill me anyway.”
Rainbow Dash frowned. “Kill you? Where the hay did that come from; you’re trying to kill us!”
“Yes, I was trying to kill you, but only because you were trying to kill me,” Twilight explained calmly. “But now that I can’t move, I’ll just have to accept my fate.”
“Maybe we should take her to a hospital?” Rarity suggested.
“Medical or mental?” Asked Rainbow Dash wryly.
“Neither obviously.” Twilight scowled up at her. “I’m not injured so I there’s no reason for to go to a regular hospital and mental hospitals are for crazy ponies.”
Spike approached her nervously. “Say, Twilight? If, in a completely hypothetical scenario, somepony started trying to kill their friends without any real reason how would you describe them?”
“Well, they would have some issues, I suppose. What does this have to do with anything?”
“So, that ‘pony with issues’ is kinda you from our perspective right now.”
“But I had a reason for killing you! Pinkie killed Scootaloo!”
“What? She was here literally seconds ago – you saw her!”
“But…” They could practically hear the wheels turning in her head. “If Scootaloo is still alive…then Pinkie can’t be a murderer. But then why wouldn’t she let me into the back room?” Twilight tried to point an accusatory hoof at Pinkie, her efforts rendered useless by the rope binding her. “She was hiding something from me!”
Pinkie scoffed. “You mean a few days ago, when you were offering to help at the bakery?” Twilight nodded. “I wasn’t hiding anything from you. Remember when Applejack got all sleepy, and then she made all of those baked bads? I figured that, because you were really sleepy too, if you helped me and the Cakes with the cooking, all our food would turn icky.”
Twilight digested this information.
“So, you aren’t hiding any bodies then. But if you aren’t hiding bodies, then Pinkie isn’t a murderer…and if Pinkie isn’t a murderer, then all of you can’t be working with her, so you’re not murderers either…and if you’re not murderers then you wouldn’t be trying to kill me…and if you’re not trying to kill me, then there was no reason for me to attack you…
“Does this mean I’m…” Twilight’s expression became one of fear. “A bad pony?”
“Yup.” Rainbow Dash affirmed.
“And that I was just being paranoid?”
“And that you’re going to have to lock me up?”
“And that Princess Celestia is going to come down from the heavens and have me bear the brunt of her divine wrath?” Twilight’s eyes were welling up with tears.
“I think that might be a little excessive, dear,” Rarity said, trying to negate her friend’s panic.
There was a loud crash from outside. The room’s occupants all turned to the door, just in time to see it (and the cupboard blocking it) being blown across the room, its edges smouldering. A bright light filled the doorway, and a single figure stepped through it and into the room.
“TWILIGHT!” Princess Celestia cried, running towards her student. Her face fell once she saw her condition. “Are you alright?” She asked in a quieter tone. Twilight didn’t answer; she had fainted.
“P-princess!?” Spike gasped. “What are you doing here?”
“More importantly, why did you feel it necessary to hogtie my student?” Applejack received a scathing look from Celestia.
“Uh, let’s not be so quick to blame anypony.” Applejack gulped. “I can explain – we can all explain. I reckon we should probably take Rarity’s advice though.” She poked the unconscious unicorn gingerly. “Twilight’s gonna need some seein’ to.”
“So, what have you learned?”
“Not all works of fiction are synonymous to real life; in some cases, the fact that they aren’t realistic is what makes them
“I shouldn’t jump to conclusions without having empirical evidence, and I shouldn’t always trust my senses if I’m not in my right mind.”
“Very good, Twilight.”
Said unicorn smiled warmly at Celestia and her friends, all of whom stood on the other side of the glass wall of Twilight’s cell.
“So, any idea when I can get out of here?” The unicorn asked. “This straightjacket isn’t very comfortable…”
“They have got to make sure you’re fit for re-entering society,” Celestia explained sympathetically. “I know it’s frustrating, but really, you probably should have gone through this process the first time you went…well…you know what I’m talking about.”
Twilight nodded. “So, Spike. Has the library been cleared yet?”
“Well, we got most of the water out,” Spike sighed. “I still don’t understand how removing one pipe was enough to flood the whole library.”
“You learn something new every day,” Twilight joked. She quickly sobered. “Thanks for coming to see me, everyone.”
“Aw shucks, Twilight. It ain’t nothin’ special, just lookin’ out for a friend,” Applejack reassured her with a wink.
“Don’t worry,” Rainbow Dash chipped in, “You’ll be out before you know it, and everything will be back to norm-”
“I spoke to my doctor yesterday,” Pinkie said abruptly. Her face was equally as monotone as her voice, and she stared at the floor as she spoke. “He said it’s possible that that hit to the head has given me brain damage. He doesn’t know how serious it is yet, but he said that the initial results don’t look promising.”
There was a pause.
“Pinkie Pie, you are so random!” Rainbow Dash guffawed. Everypony assembled burst into laughter save Pinkie, who continued to stare at the floor.
“Let’s just hope nothing like this ever happens again,” Said Twilight, to murmurs of assent. “I’d hate for anypony else to go crazy.”
“I can’t believe they didn’t invite me to come see her. They’re always leaving me out, always forgetting about little old me! They didn’t even want me in their victory celebration. They don’t appreciate me or anything I do for them. Well, do you know what? I’m not going to take it. I’m going to make them pay alright…make them pay big time!”