"Get her downstairs," commanded one of the guards arresting Rarity. Two of the guards wrapped Rarity's forelegs in their magical glow and she was dragged away, still reaching for Sweetie Belle.
Sweetie Belle threw the covers off of her and bolted out of bed in a futile attempt to prevent the arrest of her big sister. "Get away from her! She didn't do anything wrong!"
A guard shot a shield spell at Sweetie Belle which immediately encased her, trapping her inside a light blue bubble. She desperately pounded on it, trying to protect her sister.
Rarity was dragged downstairs and placed on the ground in front of Shining Armor who was looking grimly at the whole scene. Rarity saw that Sweetie Belle was taken downstairs too, still encased in the shield.
Rarity looked up at Shining Armor with fear in her eyes. "Don't hurt my sister!"
"We won't hurt her, but I can't promise you that we won't take her with us." Shining Armor turned his piercing gaze to Rarity. "How much does she know?"
Rarity looked around frantically as guards continued to search her house. "Nothing!" Rarity insisted. "She doesn't know anything about today!"
"Rarity, what's going on?" Sweetie Belle whimpered.
"Your sister just attacked a minotaur named Iron Will." Shining Armor stared down at Rarity, unblinking. "She fatally stabbed him in the chest with a large knife."
The thought briefly crossed Rarity's mind to deny the charge but she knew that it was no use.
"Rarity..." Rarity heard a sniffle come from Sweetie Belle. "Did you really?"
Rarity turned back to her sister and locked eyes with her. Sweetie Belle's expression, it was one of terror and confusion but it wasn't one that she could lie to. Slowly Rarity closed her eyes and nodded.
Sweetie Belle whimpered and shrank back. "Don't kill her."
"Well we don't have all of the details of the case yet." Shining Armor closed his eyes and flattened his ears. His shoulders were slumped slightly. "We'll wait on what's going to happen to her until we've figured everything out."
Rarity flattened her own ears and looked at the guards who were tearing her boutique apart, looking for anypony else, or maybe evidence, like her murder weapon. They'd find it soon enough, and that would be all it took to convict her. She watched one of the guards put down a basket of sewing needles, then watched as he walked over to the closet door.
The closet door that led to her basement.
Rarity's mind flashed back to the dream she had those years ago. The guards knew exactly where to look to find her basement where she hid her greatest secret from the world. It still frightened her, and now that the guards ransacked her home, the irrational side completely took over.
The moment she saw the guard reach for the door handle, a single squeak escaped her lips.
With all of the focus on her, the squeak might as well have been a cannon shot. Shining Armor didn't miss it, and turned his head to where Rarity looked, then back to Rarity. The guard standing outside of the closet looked over at her as well. Shining Armor narrowed his eyes and tilted his head ever so slightly.
"What's in that closet, Rarity?" He took a few steps towards her and knelt down in front of her so that he could look her in the eye. "What are you hiding?"
Rarity began blinking rapidly and did her best to flinch away from Shining Armor. "N-nothing! Nothing, I swear! It's just an old piano! I use it for storage!"
Shining Armor snorted and straightened up before looking over at the guard. "Be extra thorough when looking through it. She's hiding something."
"I'm not, I swear!" Rarity cried. "It's just a piano, I promise!" Rarity glanced over at Sweetie Belle, who was covering her head with her forelegs and shivering. "It's nothing at all!"
The guard opened up the door, revealing, as promised, the piano. Rarity did her best to give a relieved smile. "See? Just a piano, like I said."
Shining Armor scoffed and ignored her. "Keep looking. I want every inch of that thing searched."
The guard saluted and walked inside. He looked behind the piano and shook his head. "Clear."
"Check the piano."
The guard nodded and knocked on the piano. He frowned at the noise it made, and tilted his head. "Hmm. Seems a little it hollow." He ignited his horn, and scanned the piano before looking up at Shining Armor. "Yeah, this definitely isn't a normal piano. I can't sense anything inside of it, so it might open something." The guard knocked on the wall behind the piano, and his frown deepened when he discovered that he hit solid wall. "I dunno. Something..." The guard knocked on the wall opposite the piano, and his eyes widened. He turned to Shining Armor.
"Hollow, sir! There's nothing behind this wall."
Shining Armor nodded, and motioned for the guard to stand back. When he had, Shining Armor ignited his horn and dissolved the wall, revealing the secret staircase to the basement. Shining Armor nodded, and pointed at the guard in the closet, and another one nearby. "Check it out. I want to know what's down there." The two saluted and began walking down the stairs.
Rarity whimpered and did her best to cover her eyes with her forelegs. She couldn't watch it; she could watch the royal guards of Equestria find the evidence that would ensure her death.
The whole room was silent as everypony listened to the two guards walking down the stairs, each hoofstep getting quieter. Rarity's heart was skipping beats right and left, and she didn't even know if she was breathing anymore. She looked over at Sweetie Belle who was looking at Shining Armor fearfully.
Suddenly, everypony heard a loud shriek and the two guards who had been sent to explore the basement quickly bolted up the stairs. "What? What's down there?" asked Shining Armor wildly. One of the guards ran as far away from the basement door as he could but the terror of what he saw caused him to collapse onto his haunches, tears of horror falling from his eyes. He took his helmet off and put his head in his hooves. The other guard was rubbing his shoulder, trying to get him to calm down. "Would somepony please tell me what's going on?"
The second guard took a deep breath before responding. "I... I've never seen anything like it!" The guard shakily raised his hoof and pointed at Rarity. "I think she's a serial killer!"
Shining Armor's eyes widened and his jaw dropped. "What?"
"There were pony skins hanging on the wall as well as manes, hooves, and we even saw two cut off faces hanging on the wall," said the first guard.
"I... I..." The second guard finally broke down and he covered his eyes with his foreleg, sobbing hysterically.
Shining Armor looked at the basement and resolutely trotted down the stairs, followed by three other guards. Rarity forced herself to lower her foreleg to see what was happening. Her worst nightmares incarnate were what was happening to her now. The brother of her best friend, the captain of the royal guard, was mere seconds away from seeing for himself what Rarity was. She looked at the two who had seen it first. The first one seemed to be calming down a bit more while the second was still sobbing hysterically.
After a few minutes, Rarity heard Shining Armor's hoofsteps echo on the staircase as he came upstairs. He walked back into the main room, his face completely expressionless. The other three guards quickly ran up the stairs behind him. One bolted to Rarity's bathroom and vomited, another sat on his haunches and put his head in his hooves while the third merely leaned against the wall. Finally Shining Armor slowly walked up the stairs. His eyes held no emotion. "Sir? Are... are you okay?" asked one of the guards.
Shining Armor stared blankly at the floor for a brief moment before he worked up the willpower to respond. "No," he said. "I'm pretty bucking far from okay. I don't know if..." Shining Armor blinked and shook his head. "Oh holy Celestia."
"Is it that bad down there?" questioned the guard.
"Worse," responded one of the guards who had gone down with him.
Shining Armor nodded before turning back to Rarity. His forelegs were shaking, and he was blinking rapidly. "You are both under arrest for this."
Rarity's eyes widened as Sweetie Belle began crying again. "No! She didn't do anything! She's innocent!"
Shining Armor looked contemptuously at Rarity. "I can't know that for sure," he said. "Twilight has told me that she practically lives here, and if you've been doing that, I can't know that she doesn't know anything."
Rarity looked desperately at Sweetie Belle who had been taken out of the shield and was now having hoofcuffs put on her.
"Please don't!" Rarity begged. "Are those really needed?!"
"Rarity." Shining Armor's piercing voice cut through Rarity's horror that her sister was being chained up like a common criminal, and she turned her head up to him. "Does Twilight know about this? Do the rest of the Elements?"
Rarity paused for a second before shaking her head profusely. Unfortunately, Shining Armor picked up on the pause and Rarity saw tears forming in his eyes. He turned to his second-in-command and opened his mouth to say something before he shut it again.
Two of the guards next to Shining Armor exchanged a glance. The first one leaned his head in a little closer to his captain. "Sir?"
Shining Armor began blinking very fast but he regained his composure. "I want..." His voice cracked. "I want you to place my sister and her friends under arrest under suspicion of conspiracy to commit murder."
"All five of them?" asked the guard incredulously.
Shining Armor nodded. "Yeah. All five of them."
"Please!" begged Rarity. "They didn't have anything to do with this!"
"I. Can't. Know. That!" yelled Shining Armor. "Do you think that this doesn't tear me apart inside, murderer?!" Rarity tried to stutter out an answer but she was cut off when Shining Armor lifted her into the air so he could look into her eyes. "My duties come before even my family, and if I have good reason to believe that Twilight is mixed up in all of this then it is my duty to arrest her!"
"But she didn't—"
"I have to arrest the other four too because of how close you all are! If Twilight knew then I can't guarantee that the other four didn't know anything!"
"But they don't!" Rarity insisted.
Shining Armor shook his head in disgust and dropped her on the ground. "Get her out of my sight," he snarled. "And get a team down here to go over the basement."
Four guards led Rarity and Sweetie Belle outside the boutique. A small crowd had gathered when they heard the commotion and they all gasped when they saw Sweetie Belle and Rarity being led away and placed in a police wagon. Rarity heard the crowd chattering amongst themselves. She scanned the crowd, hoping to pick up on some familiar faces so she could see them one last time.
She and Sweetie Belle were shoved inside the wagon and the door was slammed shut behind them. Rarity heard the guards talking to each other. "We gotta go pick up the other five before we go back," said one.
"Are they all gonna fit in there?" asked another.
"I think so," said the first one. "But if not, who cares?"
"But one of them is the captain's sister!" a third guard pointed out as the wagon pulled away.
"Well, my hooves are tied," said the first one. "If they go quietly then we'll have no problems."
Rarity stopped listening and turned her attention to her sister who was huddled in a corner, shaking violently. She moved closer to her sister and gently put a hoof on her mane. "Sweetie Belle," said Rarity quietly. "Sweetie Belle can you hear me?"
Sweetie Belle nodded slightly. "Why did you keep that stuff down there?" she whispered. "Why didn't you get rid of it?"
Rarity sighed and began gently stroking her sister's mane. "Sweetie Belle, do you remember when I said that my friends cleansed me with the Elements?" Sweetie Belle nodded. "Well, it didn't work."
Sweetie Belle looked up at Rarity. "You mean... you've still been killing all this time?" Rarity nodded. Sweetie Belle whimpered and tried to shrink down as small as she could.
Rarity placed a hoof on her shoulder. "I'm so sorry Sweetie Belle. I'm so, so sorry."
Rarity looked up and noticed that the carriage had stopped. She looked through the bars and saw Sugarcube Corner in front of the wagon. Rarity's eyes filled with tears once more. "Not Pinkie Pie." Rarity gently placed her hoof on the bars of the wagon. "Please don't do this to Pinkie Pie."
She saw four guards knock on the door of the confectionery which prompted a very tired looking Mr. Cake to open the door. his eyes widened when he saw both the guards and the police wagon outside. Rarity strained her ears and found that they were close enough to hear everything. "Uh, good evening officers, what can I do for you?" said Mr. Cake.
"We have an arrest warrant for one 'Pinkamena Diane Pie.' We've come to arrest her on suspicion of conspiracy to murder."
Mr. Cake gasped and Rarity vaguely heard Mrs. Cake ask what the problem was. She saw Mr. Cake motion for his wife to stand back before turning towards the guards again. "Look, officers, there must be some kind of mistake!" he said. "Pinkie Pie wouldn't harm a fly!"
"Is she here?" asked one of the guards.
"What's going on?" asked a distinct high-pitched voice that undoubtedly came from Pinkie Pie. "The twins are trying to get their rest and all of this banging is... oh..." Rarity's heart sank as she heard Pinkie Pie abruptly stop talking.
"Are you Pinkie Pie?" asked one of the guards.
The guards nodded and shoved Mr. Cake aside. "Pinkie Pie, you are under arrest under suspicion of conspiracy to commit murder."
"I'm telling you, there has to be a mistake!"
Rarity's heart broke as she heard Pinkie Pie whimper in fear as hoofcuffs were placed on her forelegs. In a few seconds, Rarity saw Pinkie Pie being led out of Sugarcube Corner with a look of utter confusion and terror on her face. The Cakes looked on fearfully as Pinkie Pie was placed into the police wagon.
When Pinkie Pie saw that Rarity and Sweetie Belle were in the wagon too, she completely lost all control. She wrapped her forelegs as best as she could around Rarity and began violently sobbing into her shoulder. "Rarity, what's going on?! Why are they doing this? They said that I might be a murderer, but I've never hurt anypony in my entire life!"
Rarity didn't know how to calm down her friend so instead she just opted for stroking her mane as the wagon moved on to its next destination.
Pinkie continued crying throughout the entire ride before the wagon stopped once again. Rarity's heart skipped a beat when she realized that they were in front of the library. The guards knocked on the door once more. Rarity saw a sleepy Twilight open it and once again Rarity had to watch as one of her friends was arrested and put into the wagon.
When Twilight was put into the wagon, she saw a sobbing Pinkie Pie holding a frightened Rarity with Sweetie Belle silent in the corner. "Rarity..." She tried to move closer to the two, something made more difficult by the hoofcuffs. "What is going on? Why are we all being arrested?"
Rarity reached out her hooves and put one of them on Twilight's shoulder. She locked eyes with her, a grim expression on her face. "They know, Twilight."
Twilight's eyes widened and she shook her head. "No, no this isn't happening! We cleansed you with the Elements; there is no way that they could have found out!"
"Then why are we here?" Sweetie Belle whimpered.
Rarity flinched back and flattened her ears. To hear Sweetie Belle's weak, helpless voice and to know that she caused it hurt her to the core. But she wouldn't hurt Sweetie Belle much longer. She wouldn't do anything bad to her ever again. She wouldn't hurt anypony anymore in what little remained of her short life.
* * * *
The wagon moved slowly towards Canterlot in the dead of night, its occupants as silent as the night itself.
The seven ponies all sat silently in the carriage, pondering what was going to happen next. Each of the ponies had hoofcuffs on, something that Rarity found inexcusable but she was not in a position to argue it, and was looking contemplative.
Applejack's arrest had been as simple as Twilight's. The guards had knocked and they arrested her as soon as she answered. She looked confused when she saw Sweetie Belle, Rarity, Pinkie Pie, and Twilight had been arrested too.
Fluttershy's tears hadn't stopped since her arrest, which came directly after Applejack's and even the efforts of Angel and some of the other woodland creatures hadn't deterred the guards from arresting Fluttershy.
Since Rainbow Dash lived in the sky, Rarity and the others hadn't seen her arrest. They only saw Rainbow flying towards the wagon, flanked by two guards. Immediately after that they had all been sent to Canterlot.
At the moment, Sweetie Belle was still curled up in the corner while Twilight did her best to comfort her. Pinkie Pie was still holding on to Rarity but her tears had stopped for now. Rainbow Dash was trying to comfort a sobbing Fluttershy while Applejack simply stared out the window, waiting for their arrival.
Rarity wondered if she should say something, but what would she say? She had just gotten her best friends and her sister arrested for crimes that she herself had committed. They were all innocent in this.
All of them except Sweetie Belle.
Rarity's eyes widened as she remembered that fateful day in the basement with Scarlet Tomato. Rarity hadn't been the one to kill Scarlet Tomato that day. No, it was Sweetie Belle who had done that. If the guards found out then Sweetie Belle would be executed, just as surely as Rarity was about to be! Even though Twilight has erased the memory of her actually committing the deed, she still remembered being down in the basement while Rarity mutilated her victim. That still meant death if the guards ever found out.
Rarity reached over and poked Twilight. She looked up, worry etched across every line in her face. Rarity leaned in and she was glad to see that Sweetie Belle had actually fallen asleep. "Twilight, what did you do in terms of a memory spell with Sweetie Belle?"
Twilight took a deep breath before answering. "I... I cleared her memory of her doing anything. She just remembers being down there, that's all."
Rarity closed her eyes and leaned her head back on the wall of the wagon. "But that's still death for her if they find out about that."
A tear rolled down Twilight's face and she nodded. "I promise to make sure that they don't. If I have to fight Princess Celestia herself, I promise that I will not let them kill Sweetie Belle as long as I have breath in my lungs."
Rarity subtly nodded, and her eyes trained down to Pinkie Pie who had also thankfully fallen asleep. She sighed and decided to try to get some sleep herself... somehow.
* * * *
She awoke after what she surmised was a few hours to discover that they had arrived in Canterlot. She saw through her window that a bunch of Canterlot ponies were looking confusedly at the police wagon that was being pulled towards the royal guard headquarters. She looked around to see that the others had fallen asleep as well. Good, they would need their rest if they were to deal with what was to come.
After twenty more minutes, the wagon screeched to a halt in front of the headquarters. The sudden movement woke the other six ponies up and they groggily sat up. The door opened to reveal a dozen guards motioning for them to exit the wagon. One by one, the seven ponies filed out of the wagon and were led inside the headquarters.
They were directed towards a room that turned out to be an interrogation room of some sort. There were nine chairs and a large table in the room, meaning that it was kind of cramped, and each of the ponies sat down at one. The guards left them alone in the room.
The group sat in silence for only a moment before Rainbow Dash spoke up. "Okay, does anypony here know what's going on? Why are we all being charged with conspiracy to murder and who are we supposed to have supposedly murdered again?!"
Rarity looked over at Applejack who was looking around at the others confusedly. When their eyes met, Rarity saw a look of comprehension cross Applejack's face followed by one of pure horror. Rarity merely nodded. However, the others didn't pick up on the subtle exchange so they kept talking. "I don't know!" said Fluttershy. "I can't see how they would think that any of us would be capable of something so terrible!"
"I've never hurt anypony," said Pinkie Pie. "What did I do to deserve this?"
Rarity gave her friend a comforting smile and put a hoof on her foreleg. "Pinkie Pie, you didn't do anything. I know for a fact that you will be released and that it'll just turn out to be a big misunderstanding."
Pinkie Pie nodded glumly. "I know you're right, but this is really scary!"
"I know this must be hard for you all," said a powerful, yet serene, voice that could only have come from one pony in all of Equestria.
The seven ponies looked up to see none other than Princess Celestia walk into the room, followed by a trio of ponies in suits.
"Princess Celestia!" Twilight tried to stand up to question her mentor further, but Celestia raised a hoof and motioned for Twilight to remain seated. Twilight shrank back and flattened her ears. "What's going on?"
Celestia stared silently at the group, scanning their expressions for a moment before she turned to the ponies in suits. "Based on their actions thus far, I am confident that Pinkie Pie, Fluttershy, and Rainbow Dash know absolutely nothing about what is going on. I order you to release them."
Pinkie, Fluttershy, and Rainbow all breathed a huge sigh of relief as the ponies took off their cuffs and led them out of the room. They stopped briefly to look at the other four ponies. "Why aren't they being freed?" asked Rainbow Dash.
"Because I believe that the four of them know exactly why they are here," said Celestia.
"Applejack didn't do anything either," said Twilight.
Celestia turned her piercing gaze to Applejack. "But she does know why you are all here, yes?"
Applejack sighed sadly and adjusted her hat on her head. "Ah... Ah think Ah do know what's goin' on." Applejack flattened her ears and looked at the ground. "No... no Ah know exactly what's goin' on."
"But she didn't do anything wrong!" Twilight insisted. "She only found out after the fact, when she was too late to do anything about it!"
Celestia's eyes narrowed slightly. "Nevertheless, she should have told me once she found out. She should have—"
"What would you have done in her position?!" Twilight snapped.
Princess Celestia returned Twilight's angry glare before she gave a frustrated sigh. "Release Applejack too. The other three are going to stay here."
Applejack rushed over to join her friends as the four ponies were led out of the room.
Princess Celestia used her magic to remove a few of the chairs before her, and the three ponies she was with each took a seat across from Twilight, Rarity, and Sweetie Belle. She focused her attention on Rarity first. "So, you're a serial killer," she said sadly. Rarity nodded. "Why?"
It was all Rarity could do to meet her gaze, but she forced herself to. "What do you want me to say? Does it really matter why? We all know that I'm guilty, and we all know what that means."
Celestia looked contemplatively at Rarity before turning to Twilight. "I take it this is the reason that you needed the Elements of Harmony that night?"
"Yes. Princess Luna thought that it might work if we used the Elements to cleanse her of her need to kill."
Celestia's face flashed with anger. "Luna knew about this and she didn't tell me?!"
"She only wanted to help her!" said Twilight. "She didn't want to see her die any more than we did!"
"So you thought that if she was cleansed then it wouldn't matter that she had been a serial killer?!" Celestia's glare hardened. "Cleansed or not, ponies still died by her hooves.
"Besides all of that, why in Equestria did you think that it would even work?"
"It did work for a time!" Rarity blurted out.
Celestia turned her gaze to her. "It did?"
"Yes, I went almost two years without killing anypony!"
Celestia frowned and looked between the two Elements. "But who wielded your Element?"
"Luna did," Twilight answered.
Celestia sighed and looked at Twilight sadly. "Even then Luna did not have the control over the Elements that she thought she did. Her hold on them was so weak that I'm surprised that they worked at all."
"But it did work!" Rarity insisted. "I immediately felt like I didn't have to kill anymore!"
"It was the Placebo Effect," said Celestia with a wave of her hoof. "Nothing more. You believed that you had been cured and so you were for a short while."
"Please don't blame Luna, blame me!" said Twilight. "She was just trying to return the favor of freeing her from Nightmare Moon!"
"I don't see that as an excuse," Celestia growled. "I see that as a betrayal. She should have told me!"
"What would you have done in our position?!" Twilight snapped. "Rarity is like my sister; would you have willingly let your sister be killed for her crimes?!"
"I did have to make that choice," said Celestia.
"And you couldn't bring yourself to kill her!" said Twilight. "You merely banished her to the moon. Well, we didn't want to kill her either, so we tried to cleanse her with the Elements!" Celestia's furious look slowly melted into one of sadness at Twilight's words. "In our own way, we did exactly what you did for exactly the same reason: we couldn't just let her be killed so we put all of our chips on the Elements of Harmony."
Celestia sighed and Rarity was surprised to see a tear fall from her eyes. Celestia used her magic to take off Twilight's hoofcuffs before she looked at Sweetie Belle. "What is her role in all of this?"
"For all intents and purposes, the same as mine. She found out about it but she couldn't bear to let Rarity die, so she let us hit her with the Elements."
Rarity tensed up, hoping that Celestia would believe the lie. Celestia nodded and removed Sweetie Belle's hoofcuffs as well. She turned back to one of the ponies in suits. "They are free to go," she said. The pony nodded and he led Sweetie Belle and Twilight out the door.
Now it was just Rarity alone in the room with two other ponies and Princess Celestia herself. it was all Rarity could do to meet Celestia's gaze. "Before we begin, just know that this hurts me more than anything I have had to do in centuries. You wielded and Element of Harmony and brought my sister back to me as well as defeated Discord. I feel that you could have been so much more, Rarity."
Rarity grimaced and looked to the two-way mirror in the room. She was a complete mess. Her mane was disheveled and her eyes were red from crying. "I've always been this way."
Celestia frowned and tilted her head. "What do you mean?"
Rarity sighed and flattened her ears. "I first killed three foals when I was eight years old."
Celestia's jaw dropped. "What?"
"They were schoolyard bullies that had cornered me in a creek that was very sacred to me. They were going to beat me up and I defended myself with a rock. I didn't mean to kill the first one, but the blow to the head was fatal. I killed the other two soon after with the rock. I got rid of the bodies of the colts by throwing their remains into the Everfree Forest and I buried the filly alive."
Celestia closed her eyes and had to pause for a moment to regain her composure before she returned to the conversation. "So you killed in self-defense the first time. Why didn't you simply tell somepony about what had happened? Why did you have to kill the other two as well?"
"I suppose that I panicked," Rarity admitted.
Celestia believed Rarity's lie and subtly nodded. "So why did you keep on killing?"
"I think that I just got a taste for the power that I felt when their lives were in my hooves." Rarity turned her head back to Celestia and a pair of tears streaked down her face. "I didn't mean for it to happen that way, but it awoke a craving inside of me and I became addicted to that feeling."
Celestia sighed and nodded. "Very well."
The room was silent for a brief moment before Rarity spoke up. "So... what now then?"
Celestia paused for a moment before answering. "Rarity, I have to be honest with you; this is, for all intents and purposes, your trial. This case is so open-and-shut that we don't need to go to official court with this." Celestia glanced back at the door. "Nor do I think that a public trial would be beneficial for either Equestria or your family."
"But they'll all know anyway, won't they?"
"Yes, they will." For a brief moment Celestia's intimidating stance faded, and it seemed to Rarity that she looked almost tired. "Many years ago, I made the mistake of publicly trying and executing murderers. It was painful for everypony, I think. I do not wish to do that to an Equestrian society that does not fully understand murder. Your actions will pain the nation, Rarity, but I hope to ease the blow by making this a quieter affair."
Rarity slowly nodded and managed a small smile of gratitude. "Thank you," she whispered.
Celestia fixed Rarity with a subtle glare. "I am not doing it for you. I am doing it for my subjects." Celestia raised her head slightly. "We shall discuss this no further. At this moment, I wish to get the hard part out of the way."
"What do you mean 'hard part'?" asked Rarity.
Celestia turned to one of the ponies and nodded. The pony opened up his briefcase and dumped what turned out to be a gigantic stack of photographs on the table. Rarity frowned and cocked her head. "These are the pictures of all of the ponies that have gone missing in Equestria for the past twenty years. I want you to tell us which of them you are responsible for."
"I suppose that I can try," she said. "I don't know if I remember all of them."
"Just do it," Celestia commanded.
Rarity nodded and used her magic to pick up the first photo. She examined it to see that it was a photo of the solicitor that she had murdered that fateful night with Sweetie Belle. She nodded and gave it to Celestia. "Him. I killed him."
The other pony took the picture and jotted something down on a notepad. Rarity picked up the second photo and examined it before shaking her head. "I had nothing to do with this one."
The other pony took the picture and put it back in his briefcase.
* * * *
Over the next four hours, Rarity looked through each of the photos to find her victims. Trixie, Scootaloo's parents, Scarlet Tomato, Cherry Bomb, Sweet Tomato, Janice, Trixie's Parents, they were all in there as well as many more. Each conformation seemed to make Celestia sadder and she looked to be on the verge of tears.
However, eventually Rarity finished looking through the photos and the two ponies organized them and put them in their respective briefcases to fill out the reports. Rarity looked up at Celestia and saw that despite herself, Celestia was crying. Not openly, but there were unmistakably tears falling from her face. She waited until her companions were ready before she stood up and began walking out the door. Before she reached it, she turned around and looked deep into Rarity's eyes. "Rarity, I sentence you to be executed by lethal injection at ten o' clock tomorrow for your crimes against ponydom. I wish there was another way."
Celestia left the room and within a few second, a guard came in and escorted Rarity to a secure cell. She gave no resistance and walked in, allowing the guard to shut the heavy barred door behind her. Despite the chilliness of the cell, Rarity only cared about the bed at this moment. She dragged herself over to it and laid down on it, too scared to even cry.