Rarity wiped her eyes and got up from her workbench. She didn't know what to do with Sweetie Belle now. She had insisted that she be allowed to kill somepony! The thought that her desire to be like her big sister extended that far almost made Rarity want to throw up. The idea latched onto her brain like a parasite; infesting all the happy memories she had with her sister. The worst part was that Rarity felt that she was the one responsible for this whole mess. Well, she was responsible for all of it. There were no doubts in Rarity’s mind that if she wasn't a serial killer this would never have happened. Still, she wondered if her need to go comfort Sweetie Belle the moment after she had murdered the solicitor was what had potentially given Sweetie Belle her desire to kill Diamond Tiara. If Sweetie Belle hadn't experienced what it was like to have another pony's blood all over her then maybe she would have never felt like this.
As Rarity went upstairs to take a bath, she mused that maybe it wasn't that day when Rarity had killed the solicitor; maybe Sweetie Belle was born with the killer instinct. On that matter though, there was the question of if Rarity herself was born with the desire to kill or if it had developed when she endured the torture at the hooves of her bullies. She went back and forth on that.
"Well, Rarity, it has been a tough day, but now that it is over I hope we can both move on and Sweetie Belle will not let this affect her," she muttered to herself.
"Well, Rarity, I know that this is completely crazy, but what would be the harm of letting Sweetie Belle at least audit one of your kills?" Rarity dipped a washcloth into the water and draped it over her eyes. "Then she would see how horrible it is and she would never want to have anything to do with it again!"
"But you don't know that, Rarity! What if she wants to do it more than ever? What if she goes out and tries it on her own? She could get caught! The punishment for murder is death, there is no wiggle room on that. If she did kill and get caught, would you take the blame for it?" Rarity paused for a moment and pondered her question. She did feel responsible for how Sweetie Belle was acting right now, and if Sweetie Belle was caught trying to kill another pony, she may have to take the blame herself.
"I... I don't know if I would, Rarity. Even if I did admit my guilt, both of us get executed. You know that I've done my research on this. The death penalty has been given to foals before. The youngest one was eight years old, which is just how old Sweetie Belle is. Both of us would die for it!"
"Then that is a choice that we must accept in that instance, Rarity." Rarity lifted the washcloth off of her face and glanced in the direction of Sweetie Belle's room. "You just have to make sure that it never comes to that."
"Agreed. It can never come to that."
When Rarity got out of the bathtub, it was night time. It was time for a well-deserved sleep. Things would look better in the morning; they always did.
Rarity had just finished drying her mane when she heard the door to Carousel Boutique shut. Curious as to the source of the noise, she went downstairs and saw that nopony was there. It seemed that somepony had left her boutique but the only pony that could have done that was Sweetie Belle!
Rarity ran down to her basement and threw open her workbench. To her horror, she saw an empty space in the bench where her meat cleaver usually rested. With a yelp she bolted back upstairs and out the door, calling out into the night. "Sweetie Belle! Sweetie Belle, where are you?" She ran back into her home. Maybe Sweetie Belle was still in her room and it was the wind that had opened and shut her door. The idea was foolish of course, but she had to hope.
Throwing the door to Sweetie Belle's room open, she saw what she feared the most: Sweetie Belle's bed was empty, and her saddlebag, which was always hung on a bedpost, was missing too.
Rarity ran back downstairs and out the door. She wracked her brains trying to figure out where her sister could have gone with one of her knives. She wanted to hurt somepony; that much was certain.
Suddenly, it hit her: Diamond Tiara or Silver Spoon. She was going to go kill one of them! Rarity ran towards Silver Spoon's house, but stopped after a few steps and ran in the other direction. Rarity knew where both fillies lived, but she knew that with the head start that Sweetie Belle had, Rarity only had time to go to the house of one of them before Sweetie Belle tried to kill the unlucky filly that she had chosen as her first victim.
Rarity tried to think like Sweetie Belle would in this instance. Sweetie Belle could decide to go after the filly that had tormented her most first, but she may start smaller and go after Silver Spoon. The cogs in her head turned as she tried to figure out how her sister would act in this situation.
As each second ticked by, her stomach clenched more and more and she knew that each second she wasted increased the chance that she would next see her sister covered in blood and surrounded by police ponies. Rarity whimpered, but decided that she could only guess.
She ran towards Diamond Tiara's house. It was a large house on the outskirts of Ponyville as her father was very rich. Sweetie Belle would have a very hard time getting into that house without being spotted.
After ten minutes of running, Diamond Tiara's house appeared on the horizon. With each step it came closer. Each second possibly bringing her sister committing the ultimate sin. Each moment increased the moment that Rarity was too late.
When she approached the house, she began searching for her sister around the grounds, desperately hoping that her eye would catch a glimpse of her sister, but she saw no trace of her.
With each passing minute without a single trace of Sweetie Belle, Rarity became more and more sure that she had chosen wrong; that a young filly had died tonight because of her actions. Rarity knew that Silver Spoon's house was on the other side of Ponyville, and that there was no way for her to get there in time to prevent Sweetie Belle from murdering the defenseless filly in her sleep.
Panic swept through Rarity's mind as she imagined what this would mean not just for Sweetie Belle but for her entire family. If Sweetie Belle was caught then Rarity would also turn herself in, leading to both of their deaths. Her parents would lose their jobs for sure. Nopony would want to buy items from a couple that had raised two murderers.
As Rarity scanned the grounds of the house, her panic levels rose and she became acutely aware that she had guessed wrong. Even as slow as her sister was, she would still have made it to Silver Spoon's house by now. She had failed.
"Oh no, Sweetie Belle. Please no," she whispered. Tears began welling up in her eyes as she imagined her filly sister murdering her tormentor. She had imagined that scenario before, but tonight it had become reality.
Just as Rarity turned to trudge back to her home, she saw a flash of white in the corner of her eye. She wheeled around just in time to see a small filly turn a corner to another side of the house. Rarity ran after it and to her relief, she saw Sweetie Belle sneaking around, looking for the best way into the house. "Sweetie Belle," Rarity hissed. "Come here at once!"
Sweetie Belle jumped a bit and let out a startled squeak. She wheeled around and her ears flattened when she saw her sister standing behind her "How did you find me?"
"Lucky guess," she deadpanned. "You must come home at once. I won't let you do this!"
Sweetie Belle's moth twisted into a snarl, and she stomped her hoof on the ground. "You can't tell me what to do! I'm doing this whether you want me to or not!"
Rarity bit her lip. She had to make a decision and fast, as Sweetie Belle was going to do this whether Rarity was okay with it or not. Even if Rarity managed to drag her sister back to her house without waking up its residents, Sweetie Belle would likely try this again until she was successful, or worse. Rarity sighed as she realized what she had to do to keep her sister safe.
"Sweetie Belle if you come home with me now..." Rarity exhaled and closed her eyes. "I'll let you audit my next kill."
Sweetie Belle's eyes widened and her jaw dropped slightly as her sister's words registered in her mind. A small, open-mouth smile crossed her face. "Do you really mean it?"
Rarity averted her eyes and scowled. "Yes I do, but you must come home now!" To Rarity's relief, her sister nodded happily and the two quickly made their way back to Carousel Boutique.
When they arrived, Rarity wordlessly beckoned Sweetie Belle into the kitchen and sat her down at the table. "Now, can you tell me what you did wrong tonight, Sweetie Belle?"
Sweetie Belle's smile faded, and she flattened her ears and looked away uncomfortably. "Well, I broke into your basement, I took some of your stuff without permission, I—"
"Despite the fact that that is all true, that is not what I am talking about."
Sweetie Belle cocked her head. "What do you mean?"
"Well, what do you think I mean?" Rarity replied.
"Uh, what I did wrong with the kill?" she guessed. Rarity nodded. Sweetie Belle frowned and scratched her head while looking contemplatively at her saddlebag. "Well, I don't really know. I've never done this before."
"Precisely. And as a result you almost definitely would have been caught. Do you know what they do to ponies who even try to kill another pony?" Sweetie Belle shook her head. "Attempted murder is life in prison without the possibility of parole. Successful murder is death. There is no wiggle room for either sentence."
"Even for fillies?" asked Sweetie Belle.
"Yes, even for fillies. The youngest filly ever to be executed was eight years old which, if you recall, is just how old you are. Celestia wouldn't care about your age."
Sweetie Belle poked at the table. "Oh."
"Now..." Rarity opened Sweetie Belle's saddle bag with her magic and dumped the meat cleaver onto the table. "Your first problem is that you picked the wrong weapon entirely. What were you planning to do with this anyway?"
"Well, I don't really know," Sweetie Belle admitted. "I just grabbed the biggest knife that I could find. I guess I would have just... cut her or something."
"Sweetie Belle, I use this knife to hack off limbs if I want to do it quickly. I do not use it for slicing ponies open." Rarity pushed the meat cleaver over to Sweetie Belle. "Pick it up; feel the weight."
Sweetie Belle slowly grasped the handle of the meat cleaver and lifted it. She was thrown off by its weight and it clattered onto the table. She looked back up at her sister and blushed.
"That's what I thought." Rarity pulled the meat cleaver towards herself. "You don't have the strength or magic to use this properly. On top of that, this isn't a weapon that lends itself to instant kills unless you hit the perfect spot with just the right amount of force, something you just proved you are incapable of doing. The second you cut her she would have begun screaming and you would been caught in seconds."
"I guess so," Sweetie Belle mumbled.
"Also, do you even know the layout of Diamond Tiara's house? Do you know what room she sleeps in, what floor she is on, what the quickest way to get to her room from the outside is, how to get inside the house in the first place, where her parents sleep, or anything of that nature?" Sweetie Belle flattened her ears shook her head. "That's what I thought."
Sweetie Belle perked her ears up, her eyes wide. "I just wanted to be like you."
Rarity scoffed quietly. "Sweetie Belle, even I don't kill ponies in their homes if I can avoid it."
"But you've done it before?" asked Sweetie Belle.
"Only twice and those were special circumstances. I never do it for a casual kill."
"I guess that makes sense," Sweetie Belle muttered.
The two sat in silence for a moment before Sweetie Belle spoke up again. "So, when are you going to do it next?"
Not for a while if I can help it, Rarity thought. I can wait until Sweetie Belle forgets all about this nonsense. Being unable to say that out loud, Rarity opted for a shrug instead.
The ghost of a smile crossed Sweetie Belle's face. "But I still get to help right?"
Rarity ignited her horn and picked her meat cleaver up. "You can watch."
Rarity froze for a moment, almost dropping the meat cleaver. She half-stuttered out some unintelligible words, and almost flinched back as Sweetie Belle's scrutinizing gaze turned angry. Rarity grunted and leaned her head against her hoof. "Pinkie Promise," she muttered, making the motions that went with the promise.
Sweetie Belle smiled before getting up and hugging Rarity. "You're the best big sister in the whole world!" she squeed. "But, I think it's time for me to go to bed. It's been a long... weird day."
Rarity gave a slight nod and a small smile before Sweetie Belle went up the stairs to her room. Sweetie Belle's words stayed with Rarity for a moment. She thought that Rarity was the best big sister in the whole world, but she doubtlessly would not think that if she actually saw her sister kill.
Rarity decided that she had better get to bed too, and, after taking a drink from the sink, she went up the stairs to her room. She passed Sweetie Belle's room and heard a strange noise coming from it. She opened the door a crack and peeked in.
Sweetie Belle was lying on top of the covers on her bed and curled up in a ball.
She was crying her eyes out.
* * * *
Sweetie Belle laid in her bed, curled up in a ball and stroking her tail, which she was clutching as close to her as she could. Tears dripped onto the pillow she was resting her head on, and she was trying to stop herself from crying. "Rarity isn't a bad pony," she whimpered to herself. "Sh-she just does bad things sometimes, but that doesn't make her a bad pony. She doesn't seem too sad about it, so it must not be that bad. I-it must be pretty easy if she can do it and be okay."
Sweetie Belle sniffled and wiped her eyes with her foreleg.
"She's not a bad pony. She's not a bad pony."