‘D’s first thought was locked on the smell. What was that? Something behind the scent of spices and sugar... he followed Pinkie and Rainbow Dash, looking for some kind of weapon; this could only end in a fight, after all. Pinkie’s grunts filled the dark room, apparently still not aware of his presence. Didn’t they keep lights in this place though? Besides that unusual scent, the smell of aromatics and spice was definitely in the air; storage room, maybe?
“Pegasi shouldn’t... be this... heavy!” Pinkie grunted, still dragging the unconscious pegasus through the stands.
“And people shouldn’t be knocking others out with weird cupcakes,” ‘D’ replied, no longer wanting a response. ‘D’ felt cold all of a sudden as the stands around him blurred ever more into the shadows... was there something down here? Not just something, but something infectious.
“The poison should work for a while... she won’t wake up until I’ve set everything up. Hopefully,” Pinkie whispered to herself, “Have to remember to make this as painful as possible... no matter what.”
Painful? So she was planning something. ‘D’ looked around; all the stands seemed sturdy and clean, even in the near non-existent light of the room. That strange smell became stronger as they moved deeper into the dark. A squeak from overhead caught ‘D’s attention, but a look upwards yielded nothing but endless black. How does a pony walk around in here? And what is that smell, anyway?
The sound of hoofsteps just seemed to bounce off the empty space, like the black had solidified into walls and a floor. The smell became stronger still, something between a trash bag that’s been left out in the sun for a week, and a drunkard’s old ditch vomit. It turned ‘D’s own stomach as it creeped around him, his focus on saving Rainbow pushing him forward. There had to be a way to get the pegasus out! Just, apparently he couldn’t get his hands on the pink mare... but there had to be a way despite that. Just had to be.
Eventually, the pink pony stopped. She sniffed, a tear quickly running through her coat as she hefted Rainbow up onto her hind legs, and pushed her into something. Binds were quickly tied around the pegasus’ legs, and the table was leaned back into a horizontal position. Panic welled up in ‘D’; time was running out, he had to find a weapon, or something! He went to Rainbow’s side, looking over the binds in the dark; at least there was enough light to see the silver binds on the straps...
He moved to grab it, but his hand phased through it, which only served to piss him off more. A lamp suddenly turned on overhead, the light crushing the darkness like a fly under a work boot. ‘D’ shielded his eyes, looking around.
So that’s what the smell was...
All around him, that freaking smell was coming off rotting skulls and eyes. A stand of moss-covered cupcakes stood on a table. Those were green, but they were never going to be as good as that green burrito. Anything that looked like that was just going to kill someone!
Macabre decorations hung around the room, a banner on the wall saying ‘Life Is A Party!’; like hell it is, if the party ends like this... it was something he wanted no part of. Clanking of metal on a tray caught his attention, and when he looked down, he saw the chance he needed.
Weapons, and not just one, tons of them. He smiled, furrowing his brow; this is it, and he could take down a murderer as well as saving the lady in distress! His eyes moved back to the pink pony walking into the center of the light, now wearing a strange costume; a leather dress covered in colorful designs, very patchwork. Six wings stood at attention to her side, and horns hung on a string around her neck.
“You have done this before... that should make this easy then,” ‘D’ whispered to himself, edging out of the pink pony’s line of sight. She simply sat there in front of the unconscious Rainbow, mane and tail still straight. He creeped over to the table, eyeing a very nice looking butcher’s knife, and made to grab it.
His hand went through it! So what, the world wants this pegasus to die!? He grabbed at it again, now flailing his hands at the table. Every single time, he couldn’t make contact, hands simply melting through the handle of the blade, the table, even his own cloak at times. His heart rate rose with every pass through of the weapon, his flailing slowing down as a realization crept in.
“Ngh,” Rainbow shivered, coming around. Pinkie’s mane and tail immediately puff back out, her smile returning just as quickly.
“Good morning, Dashie!” Pinkie’s voice shook for a bit, but she quickly regained her composure. ‘D’ charged at her, throwing a punch, only to have his fist, arm, and entire body pass through her. He stumbled, passing through Rainbow and the table. She takes a deep breath, shivering as he passes through her; guess she’s awake now.
“P-Pinkie, where is this?” Rainbow blinked some of the sleep out of her eyes, looking around.
“Pinkie, your name’s Pinkie, right? Don’t do this! You don’t have to do this!” ‘D’ shouted at Pinkie, running back around the table. She just wasn’t listening! ‘D’ proceeded to throw punch after punch at her.
“Oh, you don’t need to worry about that! You’re gonna help me bake cupcakes!” Pinkie bounced around like a child about to get a Christmas present. ‘D’ raced over to Rainbow’s binds, flailing to get them off, sweat pouring down his face from the continuous effort.
“Uhhh huh...i-it’s gonna be kinda hard for me to help you...with me being tied to a table and all...right?” Rainbow blinked, looking around.
“Nope! You’re gonna help me way more if you stay tied up there!” Pinkie smiles, going through her supplies and tools.
“Uh, w-what’s that smell? Pinkie, what- oh my g,” The words caught in Rainbow’s throat as she saw the three decapitated heads, eyes going wide. “You’ve gotta be kidding me... no, ohhh no... you’re not serious, are you!?”
“Oh, those three? They were three sweet little foals fighting for their Cutie Marks!”
“I’m kidding, it’s not Scootaloo and Applebloom and Sweetie Belle! They’re on my list though!” Pinkie smiled, standing behind the heads. “Nope, these were just three foals I came across! They tasted really good, too!”
“You sick son of a-!” ‘D’ held back his curse, doubling his efforts towards releasing Rainbow. He wanted nothing more than to belt this stupid mare straight in the face and strangle her till she turned blue!
“Pinkie, how could you!? Let me go!” Rainbow yanked at her own binds, flailing on the table; oh good, someone else wants out of here too!
“No can do, Rainbow. Your number came up, and it’s time for one last party,” Pinkies brow fell then, her smile disappearing. Clanking metal echoed through the room as she pulled a saw off the table, a look of determination on her face. “I’m sorry things have to end this way... if there was another way, I’d take it in a heartbeat.”
“Pinkie, what’re you talking ab- Ahhhhh!!” A blood curdling scream shook the room as the saw met the base of Rainbow’s left wing, teeth slicing through the flesh. ‘D’ ran around the table and grabbed for the saw, curling his fingers around it and pulling. Actual contact! He could touch it! Every tug resulted in the same reaction however; he was completely at the mercy of the pink murderer’s strength.
But it was progress! It was something good! Maybe he could use a weapon now!
The screams continued until a wing fell to the ground. The table shook under the force of the pegasus’ flailing, blood spraying out of the open wound. “P-Pinkie, I swear to Celestia, I’ll break out of here and-!”
“And what?” Pinkie glared at her, saw in her hooves. “This is the way things need to go, Dash, you and I both know that.”
“They don’t need to go this way! I don’t even know what you mean!”
“I’ve been watching you, Dash... and the things I saw were horrible.” Pinkie averted her eyes, lowering the saw. She grimaced, as if trying to find some reservoir of inner strength before she continued.
“I... I don’t wanna die, Pinkie! Just let me go!” Rainbow bashed at the table with her back, yanking away at the binds. ‘D’ ran over to the table, looking over the assortment of tools; syringes, scalpels, the butcher’s knife! He grabbed it by the handle and pulled with all the force he could manage; it felt like it was glued to the table!
“Leave her alone, witch!” ‘D’ shouted, pulling harder and harder on the knife. It was like trying to move a mountain with your pinkie finger!
Pinkie remained silent as she moved around the table and placed the saw at the base of Rainbow’s other wing. “First, your troubles,” she whispered, her tool slicing through flesh. The flailing from her prisoner became far stronger, the support under the table creaking under the immense beating as she screamed at an impossible volume.
‘D’ struggled against his metal adversary, and as the handle just managed to come up off the table, the wing hit the floor. C’mon ‘D’! You can do this! Pick up the Goddamn knife and kill her!
The table whipped up into an upright position with a bang of metal against metal; the murderer was losing her patience! The knife moved slightly with a scrape, and ‘D’s spirits jumped to his throat; he can do it it, damn it!
“Pinkie, why!? Why’re you killing ponies!? Why’re you hurting me?!” Rainbow shouted, banging her head against the table.
“Because, I hate to see a friend in pain. It’s been happening for the past while, Dashie... your smiles are hollow, and your laugh has no spirit to it. I can see it in your eyes, clear as day... the world’s dead to you, so I’m going to try and make your exit as quick as possible,” Pinkie tossed the saw onto the table, it slamming with a clatter onto the other tools. A syringe shatters under the impact, clear liquid flying about the room.
“I’m not in pain! The only reason I’m screaming is because you cut off my wings!” Blood splattered on the wall as Rainbow bashed her back against the table again.
“You are, and I’m trying to release you from that pain. Just let me do my job, Dash... this hurts me more than you’ll ever know,” Pinkie turns to the table and looks over the tools, taking a scalpel in her hooves. ‘D’ grabs at it, his hand slamming into the scalpel, but passing through Pinkie’s hoof. It jerked slightly in her grip.
She screeched and dropped it, backing away from the ghastly implement. Now’s your chance, ‘D’! He grabbed it, pulling with all his might. It felt like his arm was going to tear from his shoulder, but the scalpel rose into the air; slowly but surely, he had his weapon.
“You aren’t releasing anyone... but I’m gonna ‘release’ you, and pay you back for what you did,” who was he kidding with that, though? Either the ponies just ignore him, or he can’t be heard at all. Plus, the scalpel felt like thirty anvils cutting into his knuckle!
Pinkie grimaced, walking over and stomping on the scalpel. That did it, the blade was torn from ‘D’s grip, and he flew backwards through the air, grabbing his arm as a searing pain shot up through it. Everything was too damned heavy! He crashed to the ground and slid up against the wall, staring forward at Pinkie as she picked the scalpel up off the ground.
“Well, that was weird,” Pinkie blinked several times, staring at the ghost scalpel. “I’ll have to look at these tools later... for now,” she turned back to the pegasus on the table, “I have to finish this.”
"Pinkie, stop! Things don’t have to go like this! You need help!” Rainbow shouted as ‘D’ got back on his feet.
“Just shut up... think of what it’s like for me here.”
“Exactly! I don’t wanna put all this on you! Murder is horrible, Pinkie... it’d be like me putting a knife in your back! It’s betrayal!” Rainbow flailed on the table, staring at her killer. “Please... don’t do this... I don’t wanna leave you behind...”
“We all cross the veil eventually, Dashie... it won’t be long until I pass on. I’ll beg for your forgiveness then, but for now, I can’t leave you with regret,” Pinkie furrowed her brow further as ‘D’ ran to her side, grabbing at the scalpel again. He got a hold of it, but it refused to move, despite wild jerks from his injured arm. He grabbed it with both hands, trying to keep the razor blade away from the sky-blue coat of the pegasus.
When blood was first drawn from that immaculate body, all manner of resistance just faded from him. His hands fell away from the blade as those horrible screams filled the space, and he just fell to his knees.
He couldn’t save her. He couldn’t stop the pink murdering witch... he couldn’t even wield a weapon to save his life. He was useless... an observer forced to watch a killing take place.
“I’m sorry,” ‘D’ whispered as he got up and stepped away. He couldn’t do anything, so there was no point in sticking around. He gritted his teeth and turned away from the blood-curdling shouts for mercy, and the light sound of flesh splitting on a blade. What he saw next was a shock.
“Greetings...” Another pony? And he noticed ‘D’? Black cloak...scythe...hood up and a very toothy smile.
“Who in the seven Hells’re you?” ‘D’ stepped back; this pony was dangerous, way more dangerous than Pinkie was at the moment! He held his ground, though the screams drowned in his mind’s own shouts to run away.
“I go by many names, though my real one is Reid. I guess you could call me the Reaper,” That smile didn’t disappear throughout that... that sickeningly wide, knife-filled smile that glinted in the light. Two burning red eyes stared out from under the hood.
“Grim Reaper, huh? That’s a load of it, ‘Reid’.”
The screaming... w-where’s the screaming?
‘D’ turned around again, and the sight before him caused his stomach to backflip; the pegasus was cut to shreds. Her throat was slit, belly cut open, revealing her guts and organs, and her head was hung down, mane half-covering lifeless eyes. “Oh my God...”
“You’re right about being useless,” that damn p- wait, how’d he get beside Pinkie? And what was that clinking sound? ‘D’ looked around, trying to find the source of metal clinking against metal, before locking on a set of chains hanging outside Rainbow’s body... all connected to a second Rainbow?
“Time to reap another soul,” Reid chuckled - freaking chuckled over the death of another - and reached to his back for his scythe.
“Stop!” ‘D’ shouted, running over and grabbing the scythe handle. He tore it off Reid’s back and held it in his hands, raised over his head. “I’m not letting another one of you bastards touch her.”
“I have to wonder why you care so much, and why you just took my weapon. Seems rather strange, considering you’re dead yourself,” Reid blinked at ‘D’, smile growing slightly at the look of shock on ‘D’s face. “You must be joking... you mean to tell me, with that face, that you didn’t know?”
The world just... stopped then. Dead? But, there wasn’t supposed to be an afterlife! T-There wasn’t supposed to be anything at all after your heart stopped! Your heart stops, the brain stops working, and you just kind of... vanish! But here he is, talking to a midget Death, threatening the pony with his own damned scythe!
Nothing made any sense!
“No, things don’t usually make sense. Can I have my scythe back, please?” Reid’s smile vanished, eyes half-closed, “Or do I have to take it back?”
“Hell no! I’m not letting you reap her! Or whatever you do to dead people!” ‘D’ leaned back and swung down hard, the blade impaling itself in the ground. Something landed on his head, and he froze as a sub-zero chill ran down his spine.
“Now that’s hardly polite... trying to kill another pony in front of the mare here. You should be ashamed,” Reid chastised, grabbing ‘D’s head and turning it rather forcefully towards Rainbow’s corpse. The mare stared back at him, hanging in the air, wings spread like an angel.
“What...w-w-what’s going on!? Where- oh holy Celestia!” She jumped back after looking at Pinkie, trying to get away from the pink mare. Her chains snapped taut and pulled her back. “P-Pinkie!”
“Yes, that is indeed Pinkie Pie. And you are Rainbow Dash, fastest flyer in Equestria,” Equestria? That’s not a country ‘D’s ever heard of... “And you, my unfortunately lost soul, are a long way from home,” Reid looked down at ‘D’, pulling his head around to stare into his eyes; contorting his neck like this couldn’t be good for a ghost’s health.
‘D’ just stared up at Death, the shadows not giving way for any features beyond those blood red eyes. He gritted his teeth and clenched the scythe in his hands. “I’m not passing on... no way.”
“Given the frankly idiotic rules of this universe, I can’t force you to. I can certainly make you wish you could pass on, though, so I suggest you simply do so,” Reid hissed back, clenching ‘D’s head harder.
“As if I’d wanna pass on after finding out just now that I’m dead!” ‘D’ flung up the scythe at Reid, slicing through air. That damnable cloaked pony pops up by Pinkie again, staring into her eye.
“This mare is rather intriguing, however... she’s like a mortal copy of me,” Reid’s smile returned, glaring at Pinkie.
Now’s the chance you need, ‘D’, take it! He jumped over to Rainbow and raised his scythe. With as much strength and purpose as he could muster, he swung the blade down across her back, thankfully missing her wings.
The rusted chains shattered under the force of the blade, and Rainbow took it as her notice to leave. With a single flap of her wings, and ‘D’ grabbing her by the tail, they were gone in a flash. Left behind are a depressed Pinkie, a furious Reid, and the scythe that tears souls.
Pinkie looked up at her friend’s corpse, tears now flowing freely. Her mane burst like a balloon, much like her spirits, and she simply collapsed to the floor. How many was that now? How many lives had she taken before stealing Loyalty from the world? Just how many lives did she curse with the drawing of a blade across her throat?
Yet seeing Rainbow so distraught, so... empty, it tore into her. That day when her dreams were shattered, and all her friends learned about it... she looked over at the far wall to a tally scratched into the wall: seven. Rainbow Dash was the eighth to be killed... to be saved through Pinkie’s own suffering.
She got up off the ground as Reid disappeared in black flames, looking up at her friend’s dead body. “I’m sorry, Dashie... believe me, I really am... I just... I just couldn’t live to see you go on another day without laughter in your life. You always put on a brave face, but not even one of my special parties would make you smile!”
She shook as the tears became a river, sniffing hard. “Why?! Why did everything have to happen like this!? Why does nothing short of killing somepony fix their sadness!?” she pounded the ground with her hooves, fully breaking down.
It wasn’t fair. Ponies shouldn’t be sad, and here she was, destroying more lives than she saved! By killing ponies, she was sending them off to a better place, any place that wasn’t the real world... she killed herself a little more with every throat she cut and every corpse she ate, just to make sure they wouldn’t come back. All she could hope for was forgiveness... and she couldn’t even hear the ponies forgive her, or curse her name, or try and drag her down with them!
It just wasn’t fair... why was death the only option? Parties didn’t work, jokes didn’t work, pranks didn’t work! Nothing worked!
Why did things go wrong for Rainbow? Why did her world fall apart that day?