• Published 12th Sep 2013
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A Shadow Hangs Overhead - BronyWriter



What would have happened in The Secret Life of Rarity had Rarity not become a serial killer.

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I Didn't Want This

“Think fast!”

Rarity screeched in pain as a bright red rubber ball slammed into her horn. She collapsed on the ground, wailing and clutching her horn. Through the pain she could hear her classmates muttering amongst themselves and Cheerilee shouting in anger at somepony. Rarity didn’t need to look to see who it was. The pain in her horn slowly started ebbing, and she rolled onto her back with a whimper. She groaned and looked over to where Cheerilee was yelling at three of their classmates.

“—deliberately hit her!” Cheerilee snarled. “What in Equestria is wrong with you?!”

One of them scoffed and waved his hoof. “Lighten up, Cheers. It just clipped her.”

“I won’t lighten up, Kicker!” Cheerilee snapped back. “Look how much you hurt her!”

“You’re being dramatic,” the second colt said. “She’s fine.”

“She’s not fine, Dug!” Cheerilee snapped her hoof down to point to Rarity. “It hurt a lot!” Cheerilee turned her glare to the filly in the trio. “You’re a unicorn too, Annie! You know how much it hurts to get hit in the horn!”

Annie rolled her eyes. “Yeah, but, we didn’t even really hit her. It’s not our fault she’s being a foal about it.”

Cheerilee began grinding her teeth, and she stomped up to Annie to go forehead-to-forehead with her. “That’s not true and you know it! You hurt her on purpose!”

“What in Equestria is going on here?” an adult voice said. Rarity weakly looked over in the direction of the new voice and saw their teacher rushing up to the commotion. “What happened to Rarity?”

“They threw a ball at her head and hit her on the horn!” Cheerilee said, pointing to the trio.

Dug’s eyes widened, and he shook his head. “What? No! We didn’t do that! It was an accident! We were just playing catch with each other and the ball got away from us.” He gave Rarity a sympathetic look and extended his hoof to her. “I’m sorry, Rarity. I didn’t mean to.”

“You literally shouted ‘think fast’ before you threw it!” Cheerilee said. “She wasn’t even playing!”

“That’s not true!” Kicker insisted. “He wasn’t saying it to her, he was saying it to me, and that’s when the ball got away from him.”

“Okay, enough of this,” the teacher growled. “You three in my office now.” She turned to Rarity with a sympathetic smile. “Are you okay? Do you need to go to the nurse?”

“No,” Rarity muttered, slowly getting up to a sitting position. “I’m fine.”

“See? She’s fine,” Annie said. “No harm no foul, right?”

“Office,” the teacher snapped.

The three foals all grumbled to themselves, but trudged into the schoolhouse with the teacher following close behind. Dug shot Rarity and Cheerilee one last dirty look before following his friends inside.

Cheerilee glared at them until they disappeared, but once they were gone, she sat down next to Rarity and put her hoof on her shoulder. “Are you okay?”

“Yeah,” Rarity muttered. “It doesn’t hurt so much anymore.”

“That’s good.” Cheerilee sighed and glared at the schoolhouse door. “When is Ms. Day going to actually punish them? I’ll bet they’re just getting a talking to.”

“It’s okay,” Rarity said as she slowly, shakily got back to her hooves. “Maybe this time she’ll really punish them.”

Cheerilee scoffed and got to her own hooves. “I don’t believe that, Rarity. She never really punishes them! They’re gonna just keep doing stuff like this if she doesn’t do something. They’ve been mean to you like this for months!”

“I know,” Rarity said. “Maybe if I don’t react, they’ll just get bored and leave me alone.”

“Rarity—”

“It’s okay.” Rarity turned to Cheerilee and forced a smile on her face. “Wanna go play on the swings?”

* * * *

The peaceful sound running water caused Rarity’s stress to wash away as she reached her usual spot at the creek that had become her one sanctuary since school had begun and she’d been tortured by her bullies for the first time. She leaned her saddlebag against one of the trees and collapsed next to it.

Rarity idly rubbed the base of her horn where she had felt most of the pain, and leaned back against the tree. Tears began welling up in her eyes as she realized that in twelve short hours she would have to go to school again. She would have to endure a whole other day of Dug, Kicker, and Annie poking her with metaphorical needles. Then it would be another short twelve hours before it happened again.

At least here she was safe.

Rarity walked over to her creek and fixed it in her gaze. Her eyes were puffy and her usually well-groomed mane was disheveled, making the pony in the water look quite unlike herself. A pair of tears rolled down her eyes and dripped into the water, sending ripples through the creek.

"Why doesn't Ms. Day do anything?" she whimpered. "She suspended them the first day, so why doesn't she just kick them out of school for good to make them leave me alone?"

Rarity sat on her haunches and closed her eyes, but the second she did the image of the three of them laughing at her flashed into her vision. A feeling of rage coursed through her body, and she slammed her hoof down in the creek, splashing both herself and the surrounding area with water. "I HATE THEM!" she screamed. "I WISH THEY WERE DEAD!"

Rarity opened her mouth to let out another anguished scream, but it died in her throat when the full weight of her words hit her. "What did I just...?" she whispered to herself. She turned her attention back to the creek. The ripples combined with how wet she was distorted her appearance even more. Her mane clung to her neck, giving the impression that she was wearing seaweed.

Rarity blinked once and then looked around the clearing. "Do I really?"

Rarity tried to push the taunts of the bullies that echoed through her mind out of it, but the more she tried, the louder they became, and the more appealing their deaths were to her. She grabbed her head in her hooves and moaned.

'Stupid little rat. You gonna be a chicken and tell teacher?'

"Shut up!" she screeched.

'Look at the poor little rat. What's it like living with your kind in the slums?'

Rarity screamed and pounded the ground with her hoof. "Just leave me alone!"

"Bet that hurt when you got hit. Is the poor foal gonna cry now?'

"I SAID SHUT UP!"

With one final scream she grabbed a nearby rock and slammed it into a tree. The adrenaline mixed with her rage and fear increased her drive, and the blow took a chunk out of the base. Had she done something like that before she met the three of them, she would have likely found herself horrified by her actions, but now it felt amazing to hurt something, even if it was just some silly tree.

As she continued to pound away at the base of the tree the question flickered in her mind for the briefest of moments of what it would be like to do it to hurt them for real.

* * * *

Later that week was more of the same for Rarity. She went to school in utter silence and did her best to ignore the torment that the bullies inflicted. None of it mattered. Nothing she or anypony else said did any good. Her teacher had suspended the three of them on more than one occasion, but the last suspension was a month ago, as Rarity had stopped telling her about it.

After the five hours of torture that was school, Rarity once again found herself back at her creek. She dejectedly leaned her saddlebag against a tree, stopping only to run her hoof over several large gash marks that she had inflicted on the trunk. She looked around the clearing where many of the other trees had similar marks on them.

Rarity sighed and laid down in the cool grass next to the trickling stream. She wanted to pick another tree to attack, but for whatever reason today of all days had left her feeling blank, and she didn't feel that it was worth the effort today.

"So, this is where the poor kid comes to hide like a chicken. Good job finding her, Annie," cackled an all too familiar voice. Rarity's heart sank as she heard the malicious laughter of the three bullies. She bolted up and any hopes that she was just being paranoid ended there. Dug, Kicker, and Annie all stood in front of her, laughing at the cornered filly.

Rarity whimpered and took a small step backwards. No, they can't be here! I'm safe here! They couldn't be here! "No, please, just go away!" she pleaded.

An evil smile spread across Dug’s face. “What’s the matter, Rat? We just wanna talk to you.”

"Yeah,” Kicker added as he flanked Rarity on the right. “We never did thank you for all of those times where you tattled and got us kicked out of school.”

"No, just go away! I don't want you here! Just leave!" Rarity begged.

Annie circled to Rarity’s left. “We just wanna talk, kid.” Her hoof tapped on the ground, and Rarity imagined Annie pouncing for an attack.

Rarity cowered at the sound of Dug slowly popping the joints in his neck. “Let’s show her what happens to rats in this school!”

They all took a step forward, closing in on Rarity. “Keep away from me!” Rarity squealed, backing away further. Her eyes flickered around the clearing looking for something, anything to defend herself with. Her eyes landed on a large rock a few hooves from where she was standing. It would have to do if they came closer.

"Or what?" Dug said with a scoff as he advanced closer with each retreating step that Rarity took. "It's just you and us out here. Nopony can save you now! If you try to tell anyone about us beating you up… well, let's just say that nopony cares too much about the poor kids. Not when our parents actually have money!" Rarity jerked backwards when she noticed Kicker and Annie had advanced right up to her sides. "We're not in school; Ms. Day can't suspend us for this!"

Rarity's eyes darted around looking for a way out, yet always ended up on the rock. It was as if something was telling her that there was no other option. Still, there was another part of her that didn’t want to do it. She continued to plead with them to leave her alone.

As Rarity tried to get away, she felt a new emotion bubble up in her. It was like what she felt when she hit the trees with the rock, but it was more potent. Beneath the unadulterated fear, something else was creeping up. It rose with her heartbeat. It was like anger, but still different. She whimpered and tried to push back the new feeling for fear of doing something foolish.

She saw Dug’s hind legs uncoil as he lunged forward. “Get her!”

“I said leave me alone!” Rarity yelled. The fear drove her to protect herself; the suppressed rage instantly overtaking her. She used her magic to pick up the rock, slamming it as hard as she could into the side of Dug's head. He collapsed without uttering a sound, almost as if strings holding him up had just been severed.

In that instant, time seemed to stop for all three. Dug was lying on the ground motionless, his eyes wide open. A large pool of blood was forming around his head, flowing from the large gash that the rock had made when it smashed into his skull. Kicker and Rarity simply stared silently at the corpse while Annie instantly burst into tears.

The clearing was silent for a few minutes. Rarity was trying to register what she had done and what to do about it now. She was surprised to find that she didn't feel upset with herself or even horrified with her actions. In fact, she had gotten quite the rush when the rock had collided with Dug's head. It was one of the greatest feelings she had ever experienced. It was as if raw power had coursed through her veins in the moment that she had attacked Dug. Her fear had vanished instantly; the months of torment instantly forgotten. She let out a breath she didn't know she was holding in. "That was..." She blinked once and looked down at the rock. "Amazing."

She saw the blood starting to trickle into the stream, tainting the clear water. Tainting. His blood was tainting the pure water, just as the three of them had tainted her spot. Rarity had never really liked filth, and avoided it when she could, but growing up in poor conditions meant that she was surrounded by uncleanliness, so she had trained herself to tolerate it to the best of her abilities. With what had just happened, she realized just how horrible it was when filth was allowed to taint something so innocent and pure.

She looked up at the two remaining ponies who were still staring in shock at the lifeless body of their leader. Annie was shaking and crying. Her head was turned so that she had to look sideways to see the body. Her eyes occasionally flickered away as if she was trying to tear her eyes away completely, but her gaze remained fixed on Dug. "Is... is he dead?" she whispered.

Rarity didn't even try to suppress the all-consuming rage this time. This time she enjoyed it bubbling up inside of her. She had no sympathy for the creature in front of her. Annie wasn't a pony; she was filth. Filth needed to be cleansed, or else it would destroy her world.

Kicker uneasily bit his lip and shakily got to his hooves. He slowly trotted up to Dug's body and uneasily poked it. His friend didn't move, and Kicker’s legs shook as he put his ear next to Dug's chest to check for a heartbeat. Finding none, his head snapped back up and he looked at Annie with fear in his eyes. "He's dead! The rat killed him! She─"

His words were cut short when the rock smashed into the side of his head, sending a resounding crack echoing throughout the clearing. Kicker fell to the ground and the second he hit it, Rarity smashed his head with the rock again, and again, and again. She was getting splashed by specks of blood, and her pristine coat was becoming dirty, but for once in her life, she didn't care about that. The only thing that mattered to her was cleansing the filth.

Rarity put the rock down and looked up towards Annie. She was filth too. She had made her life horrible too, and she needed to pay for that.

But Annie wasn't there.

Rarity's eyes widened as the sound of screams coming from the direction of the town faded away into the distance. Rarity shot to her hooves with a terrified squeal and ran after Annie, but even now she knew that it was too late. Annie's screams faded away completely, causing silence to reign in the forest once again. Rarity let out a small whine as she stopped running and leaned against a tree. Tears began welling up in her eyes and she collapsed onto the ground, softly sobbing as she did.

"I didn't mean to!" she whimpered. "I... I j-just wanted them to leave me alone."

Rarity stood up and began running into the forest. Maybe she could get away and nopony would find her. She could go back to her parents, and pretend that she hadn't been in the forest. Somepony else had killed Dug and Kicker. Not her, though.

She ran for a few minutes until the adrenaline of what she had done faded away, and she looked at her surroundings. It was true that she hadn't gone far into the forest, but the trees around her were unrecognizable. She turned back around, hoping that she could see light coming in the direction of her clearing, but nothing was there. A quiet whine escaped her throat, and she began running in circles, hoping to see something familiar that would lead her out of the forest.

"Oh no," she whimpered. She leaned against a tree and curled up at the base. "M-Mommy. Please come get me, Mommy." Rarity wiped her eyes. "I j-just want to go home."

Rarity laid at the base of the tree and cried. She didn't know how much time was passing, nor did she care. She could see the sky growing darker, and that only increased her fear. She was lost, afraid, and covered in blood. Her fear was made worse when she heard the sound of a twig snap. She raised her head, and saw something large coming right for her. With a squeal, she shot to her hooves and bolted in the opposite direction.

"There you are," said a voice from behind her.

Rarity let out another wail and tried to run deeper into the forest. She only made it a few hooves into one of the denser areas before she felt one of her hind legs encased in a magical aura, preventing her from moving forwards. She tried to struggle out of it, but she soon felt herself in the powerful forelegs of a stallion. She attempted to wiggle out of his grasp, but he held on tight.

"Just leave me alone!" Rarity cried. "I d-didn't mean for this to happen! I didn't mean to kill them!"

"Hey, calm down, kid," said the voice of the stallion holding her. "We're not going to hurt you, okay? Just calm down. I don't want to put hoofcuffs on you, but if you don't stop struggling, I might have to."

Rarity whimpered, but stopped struggling. She went limp in the police officer's forelegs, but she was surprised when he started stroking her mane. "That's it. You're okay."

"I want my mommy," Rarity moaned. "I don't wanna be here anymore."

The police officer sighed and squeezed Rarity tighter. It wasn't to keep her there, but a little stress washed away as he held her. "Shh. I know, kid. We'll get you your mom soon, okay? We're going to have to take you down to the station to ask you a few questions first. I promise that we aren't going to hurt you."

Rarity sniffled and wiped her eyes with a foreleg. "Am... am I going to go to jail forever?"

The police officer was silent for a moment, something that caused a tightness to well up inside Rarity's chest. The officer sighed and gave her another squeeze. "Let's just wait until we've figured out what happened, okay?"

Rarity sniffled and nodded as the officer put her down. She felt herself being encased in his telekinesis, and she was lifted into the air. The sight in front of her brought forth a fresh wave of tears as she saw a large group of police officers around the bodies of Dug and Kicker. They were taking pictures and putting objects into evidence bags, her rock included. A pair of officers were chatting with each other as they watched Dug and Kicker being placed into body bags. They stopped talking and looked at Rarity when they approached.

"You found her," said one of the officers. "Where was she?"

The officer holding Rarity motioned to the forest. "She wasn't hurt or anything. She's just scared."

The other officer sighed. "Yeah." He gently placed a hoof on Rarity's head. "Don't worry just yet, okay?"

"Wait... is that blood?" The first officer frowned. "I know the other kid said it was her, but I didn't really believe her."

"I didn't mean to," Rarity whimpered. "Th-they made me so scared."

Rarity sniffled and tried her best to curl up into a ball. She looked over at the officer holding her, and he noticed her looking at him and gave her his best attempt at a comforting smile.

Rarity's ears swiveled when she heard the sound of more ponies coming towards them. She turned her head and squealed when she saw three more stone-faced officers coming towards them; two flanking one in the middle. The one in the middle had a large badge pinned to his uniform that read 'Captain Formation.' The three officers saluted the captain.

"Captain Formation," said the officer holding Rarity, "we've got things pretty much under control here. We've got a team looking at the crime scene, and the victims have been readied for transport to the coroner."

The captain nodded and looked over at Rarity. "And she is the killer?"

"Uh..." The officer hesitated for a brief moment before nodding. "Yeah. She has their blood on her, and she was running from the crime scene. The witness confirms her as the perpetrator. She says that she didn't mean to do it, so I'm thinking that this may be an accident that got out of hoof."

"Very well." The captain motioned over to Rarity. "I want her hoofcuffed, muzzled, and her horn blocked. We have a wagon prepared to take her to the station."

Rarity squealed and began thrashing about as the two officers flanking the captain took hoofcuffs off of their belts.

The officer holding Rarity took a step backwards, and raised her a little higher in the air. "With all due respect, sir, she's just a filly. She's not a monster, and we don't need to treat her like one!"

The two officers walking towards Rarity stopped and looked towards the captain who had raised an eyebrow. "She's not a monster, you say?" The captain scoffed and walked over to the pair of body bags lying on the ground. He unzipped one with his magic, revealing what was barely recognizable as Dug's face. The captain lingered on the image of the slain foal, and there seemed to almost be a hint of sadness in his eyes. He reached a hoof towards Dug, almost as if he was going to pat him on the head. He leaned down and whispered something into his ear. Rarity couldn't hear exactly what he was saying, but it sounded something like 'we got her for you, sport.'

The captain straightened back up and turned his head back to Rarity. Any sadness behind his eyes was replaced with a subtle glare. "She's not a monster? You could have fooled me." He shook his head and zipped the bag up. "Hoofcuffs, horn blocker, muzzle, station. Unless, of course, you wish to just let her go."

The officer holding Rarity tightened his jaw, but didn't say anything. The two officers with hoofcuffs out walked up to Rarity and secured her fore and hind legs. Rarity began sobbing as the muzzle was placed over her mouth, and the officer holding her began stroking her mane again. "It's okay," he soothed as a nullifier ring was slipped over Rarity's horn and locked into place, "we're not going to hurt you. Just try to relax, okay?"

The captain scoffed. "One would think that you sympathize with her, Storm Chaser. You seem to forget that she's the first murderer Equestria has seen in three hundred years."

Storm Chaser deeply exhaled and continued stroking Rarity's mane. "That she may be, sir, but she's also, what, seven? Eight? She's just a scared filly."

"Killer first, scared filly second," Captain Formation snapped. "Get her out of here."

Storm Chaser saluted, but there was a hint of a glare in his eyes. "Yes sir." He moved Rarity a little closer to himself and walked towards the edge of the forest, flanked by the two officers who had come in with the captain. Rarity was shivering as if the air around her was freezing, despite the fact that it was a warm day. A large police wagon was parked at the edge, and one of the guards next to Rarity used his magic to open up the doors. To make matters worse, a large crowd had gathered around the edge of the forest, and they were being held at bay by a line of police officers. Rarity flinched back when she saw flashbulbs going off, and heard the chattering of reporter ponies.

Even in her frightened, tired, blood-stained, and mentally drained state, Rarity knew that life as she knew it would never be the same. Things could never go back to the way they were before the event of the past hour. On one hoof, those bullies wouldn't ever bother her again. She wouldn't have to be afraid of them anymore. On the other, she was scared that she would have to spend the rest of her life in a cell barely large enough for her to live in. She reasoned that that's what they did to foal murderers.

Storm Chaser hopped into the wagon and gently placed her on the floor. The double doors slammed shut, causing Rarity to flinch back. She crawled under one of the benches as best as she could with her hoofcuffs, and curled into a small ball on the ground. She moaned when she felt the feeling of being encased in magic again, and she slid towards Storm Chaser who wrapped a blanket around her shoulders.

"I know, kid. I know this has got to be hard." Storm Chaser wrapped Rarity in a comforting hug. "I don't think you're a monster, kid, and I don't think that most of the other cops do either. Nopony does something like that without a reason."

Rarity began shivering again as the wagon lurched forwards, but she calmed down slightly when Storm Chaser gave her a comforting nuzzle. "I'll make sure you're okay, kid. I'll make sure nopony hurts you. You're going to be okay. I can even take your muzzle off for a little bit. I'm gonna have to put it back on when we get to the station, but I can take it off until then, alright?"

Rarity weakly nodded, and relaxed slightly when Storm Chaser slipped her muzzle off. He squeezed her tight again, and she leaned her head into his shoulder.

"There. That's better, isn't it?" Rarity sniffled and nodded. "Good. What's your name?"

"R... Rarity," she whispered. "My name is Rarity."

"Rarity, huh? Pretty name for a pretty filly. I'm not going to let them hurt you, okay? I promise."

Rarity subtly nodded and tried to wipe her eyes with a foreleg, but her hoofcuffs went taut, and she had to raise her other foreleg to wipe her eyes.

"What's going to happen to me?" Rarity whimpered.

Storm Chaser sighed and shook his head. "To be honest, Rarity, I don't really know. We're going to take you back to the station to ask you a few questions about what happened, but from there I can't say. It all depends on exactly what happened."

Rarity looked up at Storm Chaser with wide, watery eyes. "Am I... am I a bad pony?"

"No," Storm Chaser said sharply, "I don't think that you're a bad pony. I think that something bad happened to you, that's all. I mean, think about it: if you could go back right now, would you kill them again?"

"NO!" Rarity burst into tears again and wrapped her forelegs around one of Storm Chaser's "Th-they were going to hurt me, but I didn't mean to kill him! He t-told them to beat me up, and I hit him with a rock! I didn't mean to kill him! I d-didn't mean to!"

"Hey, it's okay," Storm Chaser soothed. "Shh." He began gently rubbing her back. "You're not a bad pony, Rarity. Like I said, you just had something bad happen to you. I don't think that you're going to go to jail for the rest of your life, okay? I don't think that you're going to be executed either."

Rarity's eyes widened, and she looked back up at Storm Chaser. "I-is that what they do to ponies who kill other ponies?"

"It's..." Storm Chaser bit his lip. "It's what they have done, but they're not going to do it to you, so don't worry about that."

Rarity was about to respond, but she felt the wagon stop. She squeezed Storm Chaser's foreleg tighter. With a burst of his magic, Storm Chaser smoothed out a few loose hairs in Rarity's mane before levitating the muzzle. "Okay, I'm sorry, but I have to put this back on you. I'm not going to make it too tight, alright?"

Rarity tearfully nodded, and did her best to hold back a whimper as Storm Chaser put her muzzle back on. The doors of the wagon opened up, and Storm Chaser lifted Rarity into the air with his magic again. He gently carried Rarity out of the wagon and into a big gray building with the words 'Ponyville Police Department' emblazoned on the front. The doors were opened, and Rarity was carried inside. She was greeted with the sight of dozens of police officers, all chatting with each other and sitting at desks. Most of them stopped what they what they were doing and stared at Rarity as she came in. Most of them gave sympathetic glances, but some glared at her.

Rarity was carried to a large desk where another police officer with a big badge was sitting. She looked up as they approached, and her eyes landed on Rarity. "This the murderer?"

"Yeah," said one of the officers.

The mare behind the desk nodded and began filling out paperwork. "Put her in a solitary holding cell. Princess Celestia will probably want to deal with this personally. She's already been contacted about it." The mare hoofed a key ring over to one of the officers. "Keep the hoofcuffs and the muzzle on. Captain thinks she could still be dangerous."

"With all due respect, Lieutenant, I have to disagree with that,” Storm Chaser said. He scoffed and inclined his head in Rarity's direction. "I mean look at her: does she look dangerous to you?"

The lieutenant glared at Storm Chaser. "I've seen the pictures of the murdered foals, Storm. I don't exactly like the idea, but I think that captain may have a point. Just get her to a holding cell for now until Princess Celestia gives further orders, okay?"

Rarity flattened her ears and squeezed her eyes shut as she felt herself being carried through the police station. She couldn't bear to see all of the stares, and she wished that she didn't have to hear the whispers in her direction. A pony said something to Storm Chaser about pictures for evidence, and Rarity heard the sound of a camera clicking before Storm Chaser continued. She heard a door open in front of her, and she felt the air become heavier around her. Even though her eyes were closed, she knew that they had entered a place that was darker than the rest of the station. The police officer's hoofsteps echoed throughout the hall, and Rarity knew that she would be alone in this place. She cracked an eye open, but squeezed them shut again when she saw row upon row of jail cells. One or two of them even had ponies in them, just sitting around.

The hoofsteps stopped, and Rarity heard the jingling of keys. A cell door slid open, and she felt herself being carried inside and gently placed on the floor.

"Do we seriously have to keep her like this?" Storm Chaser grumbled. "She's locked in a jail cell. We can at least take the muzzle off."

"No can do, dude." The voice of another officer scoffed. "You saw the captain. He's not going to tolerate anybody disobeying orders regarding the foal."

"Doesn't mean you have to like it," Storm Chaser grumbled.

"Who said I liked doing this?" said the other voice. "This whole thing sucks, dude. It's going to suck worse if we piss the captain off."

The cell was silent for a brief moment before Storm Chaser deeply exhaled. Rarity felt him pat her on the shoulder. "You're going to be okay, Rarity. Just try to calm down, and we'll get somepony to come talk to you."

He walked out of the cell, and Rarity flinched when she heard the cell door slam shut. It wasn't until the voices and hoofsteps of the guards faded away that Rarity allowed herself to open her eyes. The first thing she saw was the bars that kept her inside the cell. The spaces between them looked wide enough that Rarity could slip through, but she dared not try. They'd probably break her legs for that.

The cell itself was quite small. Her room back at home was larger than this, though only by a little. Rarity spotted a sink in the corner, and shuffled over to it, using it to wash off the blood covering her. The cold, concrete floor beneath her made her start shivering again, but her eyes landed on a small cot against the wall with a pillow and a thin blanket on top. She shakily pushed herself up to her hooves and took small steps toward it. Only as far as her chained forelegs would allow.

She reached the cot and, after a few tries, she managed to push the pillow and blanket off of the cot. She nudged the pillow underneath the cot, and clasped the edge of the blanket in her hooves and did her best to pull it over herself. The blanket provided little warmth, but it was better than nothing. She curled up into a ball and laid her head on the pillow, turning her back on the cell door.

* * * *

Rarity was awoken some time later by somebody banging on her cell door. She quickly sat up and saw the police captain tapping a nightstick on the bars.

"Up and at 'em, missy. You have a special guest who wants to talk to you."

Rarity whimpered and scooted into a corner of the cell, curling up into a ball and flattening her ears against her head. The captain scoffed and opened the cell door. Rarity was encased in a magical aura and lifted into the air by the captain.

"Now I know you're a murderer and all, but try to be on your best behavior," the captain growled. "We aren't going to tolerate you trying anything funny."

Rarity covered her head with her forelegs as best as she could, and squeezed her eyes shut again. The thought went through her brain that this was all a terrible nightmare, and she would wake up in her mother's forelegs. She would comfort her, telling Rarity that she was safe now, and that she wouldn't let anypony hurt her. Maybe she would tell those bullies to go away, or they'd be expelled. It had to be a dream. Surely police officers wouldn't really do this to a filly, even if she had committed murder.

No. It wasn't a dream. Even as Rarity tried to wish that it was, the reality of her situation forced itself into her brain. This was really happening to her. She was probably going to go to jail forever, if they didn't kill her in retribution for what she had done. Maybe that's who her 'special visitor' was: the hangmare.

Another door opened, and Rarity was set down on a hard metal chair in a slightly warmer room. She opened her eyes, and saw that the room was plain white with only a large mirror on the wall, and a metal table with matching chairs as distinguishing features.

Two of the police officers saluted the captain, and went outside of the room to stand guard by the door while the captain himself sat on the chair in front of Rarity. He lifted a manila folder out of a saddlebag he had strapped to his side, and he opened it up. He scanned the contents for a brief moment before clicking his tongue and setting it down.

"Normally in situations like this, I ask the perp if he or she knows why they're here." The captain rotated the folder and pushed it in front of Rarity. "In your case, I think it's pretty obvious."

Rarity only gave the contents a brief glance before she squeezed her eyes shut. The damage was done, and the images of Dug and Kicker's bloody bodies burned themselves into the forefront of her mind.

"Hmm." The officer slid the folder back over to him and shut it. "You don't take pride in your work. I guess that says something about you. Do you regret what you've done?" Rarity vigorously nodded. "I see. That may help you, but you saw the pictures. Regret isn't going to change something like that."

Rarity opened her eyes, but flinched away under the captain's piercing gaze. She tried to make herself as small as possible, but she couldn't escape his sight.

"Did you know that the colts you killed have families? Those families are devastated right now." The captain scoffed. "You didn't think about that while you were beating them to death, did you? You didn't care about anything but satisfying your twisted urges. Did you know that I had to tell Dug's parents about it? I've never seen my sister cry so hard in all her life as when I had to tell her face-to-face that her son, my nephew, had been beaten to death for pretty much no reason."

Rarity wanted to yell back that Dug and his friends had tried to beat her up. She had only defended herself when she killed him, but the captain had refused to take her muzzle off. She could only sit in silence.

The captain tapped the folder with his hoof. "No reason." He clicked his tongue. "Yeah. My nephew and his best friend died for no reason. It was a senseless slaughter, really, and you were the one who brought it about. Kicker's mother just collapsed onto the floor and laid there in a near-catatonic state. Can't imagine that she's any better now." Captain Formation sighed and crossed his forelegs. "You really don't care about anything other than yourself, do you? You probably enjoyed it. I saw the look on my nephew's face. He looked really scared, did you know that?" He sighed and shook his head. "Well, I'm sure his in Paradise now; away from evil little fillies like you. You'll probably join him in death soon, but I'm thinkin' you'll be going the other way."

"CAPTAIN FORMATION!"

Thecaptain shot to his hooves, and Rarity slid off of her chair as a tall, white alicorn stepped into the room, glaring daggers at Rarity's tormentor. He bowed low to the ground, his ears folding against his head as he did. "P-Princess Celestia."

Rarity huddled into the corner, whimpering when Princess Celestia's gaze landed upon her. A frown was still on her face, but her eyes were softer than when she looked at the captain.

"When I was told that a double murder had occurred in Ponyville and that a filly was involved, this was not what I was expecting." Celestia turned her attention back to Captain Formation. "Captain, would you mind explaining to me why the filly huddling in the corner is muzzled, has both her fore and hind legs hoofcuffed, and a magical nullifier ring on her horn?"

"Princess Celestia, she is a murderer!" Captain Formation bowed lower until his muzzle touched the ground. "We had to be sure that she would neither escape, nor cause harm to others. Who's to say she wouldn't try something like that again?"

"I see." Princess Celestia walked up to Rarity, who was curled up in the corner. "Answer me this, Captain, does she look like she's willing or able to escape and kill again? I am aware that a horn blocker is policy, but she is in a police station. Unless she has mastered the art of stealth at the age of eight, or knows powerful martial arts attacks that would defeat your officers, or even can pick the locks of her hoofcuffs and turn invisible, I don't see why anything other than the horn blocker is necessary."

"Yes, Your Highness."

Princess Celestia ignited her horn, and Rarity's hoofcuffs and muzzle fell away from her. Rarity rubbed her forelegs to try to get some feeling back into them while Celestia turned her attention back to Captain Formation. "Give me one good reason why I shouldn't put you on leave for this behavior. Yes, what she has done is inexcusable, but you seem to forget that she is a mere foal. Besides that, your actions have clearly been influenced by the death of your nephew." Celestia put a hoof on his shoulder and gave him a small, sad smile. "I am sorry that it happened, Captain Formation..." Celestia's smile fell away, "but your words to her were not warranted. Take the rest of the week off. That's a royal order." Celestia sighed and shook her head. "I know this hurts, Captain. I can't imagine what you are going through. Your paid leave isn't a disciplinary action, it's for you to clear your head. Go be with your family. Comfort your sister. They need you, Captain."

Captain Formation tightened his jaw, but slowly nodded. He took a deep breath and trudged out of the interrogation room, shutting the door behind him. Princess Celestia stared at the door for a brief moment before turning to Rarity and giving her a comforting smile. Rarity covered her head with her forelegs. Princess Celestia was here to put her in jail forever; she was sure of it.

The door to the room closed, and for the umpteenth time that day, Rarity felt herself encased in a magical aura and lifted into the air. She felt a pair of powerful wings wrap around her, providing her with a warmth that was far more comforting than the thin blanket in her prison cell.

"I've been told that your name is Rarity. Is that correct?" Rarity sniffled and gave a subtle nod. "Good. Now Rarity, this is very important, so I need you to be truthful with me. What happened today?"

Rarity took a deep breath and dove into her story. She told Princess Celestia how excited she was to go to school, and how happy she was when she met Cheerilee. She told her about how Dug, Kicker, and Annie had made her life miserable for no reason, and how she dreaded going to school every day. She told her of the creek that was her sanctuary, and how they had come there to hurt her.

"And then... Dug said that they were going to beat me up, and because my parents were poor nopony would care. They didn't think that they'd get in trouble because we weren't in school." Rarity leaned her head into Princess Celestia's chest. "I hit him with the rock when he went up to beat me up. I didn't... I didn't mean to kill him, but I did!"

"I believe you." Princess Celestia began stroking Rarity's mane. "It was self-defense. You acted to preserve your well-being, and his death was a regrettable consequence, but I am not angry at you for it. If you could go back, would you stop yourself from killing him?"

Rarity vigorously nodded. "Yes! Yes, I would! I... I would probably still hit him with the rock because he was going to hurt me, but not in the head."

"As I said before: I believe you." Princess Celestia folded her wings back at her sides, and gently set Rarity down on the floor. "But now is the time to be very truthful with me, no matter how bad you feel about it. Was Kicker going to attack you?"

Rarity looked down at the floor and drooped her ears. "N... no," she whispered.

"Then why did you kill him?"

"Because... because." Rarity whimpered and covered her head with her forelegs. "Because w-when I hit Dug in the head... it felt really good to me. I d-didn't h-have to be afraid of him anymore. Now he was scared of me, and I liked that. I had a good feeling in me when I hit Dug, and I wanted that again."

"I see."

Princess Celestia sighed and stared down at Rarity for a moment. Rarity closed her eyes and repeatedly wiped the tears away with a foreleg. "Am I a bad pony?" she whimpered.

"I do not believe so." Princess Celestia put a hoof on Rarity's shoulder. "But you need to understand something, Rarity. You did a bad thing. A very bad thing. There will be consequences for that. I do not think that you are an evil pony, but I need you to understand that what you did was bad, even though you didn't wish for it to happen."

"They keep saying that I'm a murderer." Rarity looked up at Princess Celestia with wide, watery eyes. "Am I a murderer?"

"I'm sorry, Rarity, but I'm afraid so."

"What's going to happen to me? Are you going to put me in jail forever?" Rarity flinched back. "Are you going to kill me?"

Princess Celestia took a deep breath, but shook her head. "Given the nature of this case, and the fact that they threatened to hurt you, I will not imprison you, nor will you be executed."

A small smile crossed Rarity's face, and for the first time since her arrest, she felt a small feeling of hope inside of her. "Does that mean that I can go home to my mommy and daddy?"

"Rarity..." Princess Celestia sighed and shook her head. "I'm afraid not. It is as I said, you did a bad thing, and there are consequences for that. I have decided that we are going to take you to a hospital where we'll make that feeling that made you like doing what you did go away."

Rarity squealed and grabbed one of Celestia's forelegs in her own. "But it is gone! I-I told you that I would go back and not kill them! I didn't mean for it to feel good when I hurt them!"

"I'm sorry, Rarity." Princess Celestia scooped Rarity up again and gave her another wing hug. "I'm so sorry that this all had to happen to you. I'm sorry that you were bullied by them, I'm sorry that you had to protect yourself, I'm sorry for the way these police officers treated you, and I'm sorry that this must be done. I'm sorry for everything that's happened to you today." Princess Celestia rubbed Rarity's back. "You will not be harmed. I will make sure that you are respected and treated very well. If anypony treats you like these police officers treated you today, I will make sure that they are severely punished. You will still be able to see your mother and father, as well as your friends. You won't be alone."

"I just want to go home," Rarity whined. "I wanna go back to my mommy."

"I know, Rarity." Celestia leaned her head down and nuzzled Rarity. "I know you're scared, and believe me when I say that makes me sad." Celestia nuzzled Rarity again and began humming a gentle lullaby as Rarity sobbed into her shoulder.

And so the two stayed like that; one comforting, the other crying. Each wishing that the events of that day could be erased, and that everything would be okay again. Reality was not as kind as that. Eventually the lullaby ended, and Princess Celestia materialized a hoofkerchief and wiped Rarity's eyes.

"Do know that this hurts me, Rarity. You have to go back to your cell while I make the arrangements for you to go to the hospital. Your mother and father should be here soon. If they don't know, I will make sure that they do."

"I don't know if I want that," Rarity mumbled. "I don't want them to know."

"Rarity, they are your parents. They will love you all the same; I'm sure of it."

Rarity took the hoofkerchief from Celestia and dabbed at her eyes. "It's not that. I know Mommy and Daddy love me, and I love them, but I don't think I want them to see me in jail or in the hospital. I don't want to make any more ponies sad. Mommy would cry, and I don't want that."

"Rarity, I assure you that if you have your mother and father to support you, then it will be easier to get through this." Celestia nudged Rarity to her hooves. "They'll be happy to know that you are safe."

Rarity slowly nodded, and allowed herself to be herded out of the room by Celestia. She whimpered and nuzzled up next to Celestia as they passed the two officers, who both began following Celestia. They walked back to the row of cells, and the officer on Celestia's left opened up the cell Rarity had been in. Rarity walked inside, not even trying to resist. Princess Celestia had assured her that it was temporary, so maybe she would be out of there soon.

The cell door closed behind her, and Rarity jumped slightly when she heard the lock click.

"I'll have food and drink brought to you, Rarity," Celestia said. "Maybe I can find some books for you while everything is put in order. Would you like that?"

Rarity subtly nodded and sat down on the floor with her back to the bars. She heard the sound of three sets of hoofsteps fade away. She didn't move until she heard the door at the end of the hall close and lock. She might have begun crying again, but she had no more tears to shed. She moved back over to her makeshift bed under the cot, and laid down on the pillow. Her now free hooves allowed her to wrap the blanket tighter over her. She reached up a hoof to feel the magic blocker attached to her horn, and her hoof flinched back when she felt the cold metal.

Rarity curled up into a ball and nuzzled deeper into the pillow. She tried to force the reality of that day out of her mind, but the images of her attacking them, along with the pictures of their bodies, had burned themselves into the forefront of her mind. She whimpered softly and closed her eyes. Maybe sleep would make them go away.