• Published 20th Oct 2011
  • 26,470 Views, 1,241 Comments

Death Note: Equestria - Nonagon



A deadly notebook called the Death Note lands in Equestria. Chaos ensues.

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Unfold

10
*Unfold*

Even after the individual’s name, time of death and death condition are filled out, the time and condition of death can be altered as many times as you want, as long as it is changed within 6 minutes and 40 seconds from the time it was filled in. Of course, this is only possible before the victim dies.

You sittin’ comfortably, Twilight?

I’m fine. Thank you for taking the time out of your day to talk to me, by the way.

Ain’t no trouble. Ah owe you, Twi’. Anyways... ahem.

Now, this is the story of the first golem and how it was created. It's a very old story that's been passed down among earth ponies for generations. Granny Smith told it to me, just like her granny told it to her, and her granny... well, you get the idea.

See, a long, long time ago, well over one thousand years, even before Nightmare Moon was banished, there was a civil war between the earth ponies and the unicorns. The humble, hard-working earth ponies were sick and tired of-

Applejack, I've studied pretty much all of Equestrian history. I know all about the civil war, you don't have to explain that part to me.

Sorry, Twi. It's just how the story's always started. Ah guess Ah can skip ahead... lemme think... all right.

So there was one town not too far from where we are now called Salt Lick City. It's all gone now, it was abandoned about eight hundred years ago, but way back then it was a great sight to behold. With no flat land around for miles, the settler-ponies had decided to build their town right in the middle of a swamp. Everypony said it was a dumb idea to build a town in a swamp, but they built it anyway, just to show them. It took four tries and many years, but with love and dedication the settlers were able to carve a whole town out of the swamp, as well as a few acres of farmland. The conditions weren’t the best for growing apples, nor oranges, nor many fruits of any kind. But what they did have was potatoes; miles and miles of beautiful potato fields, stretching all the way to the horizon in every direction. Unicorns and pegasi have a hard time appreciating the work that went into that swamp, but any hard-working earth pony would give all four of their legs to have such a wonderful farmland as Salt Lick City.

Now this little town was pretty far away from anywhere else, so in the early days of the war they were left pretty much alone. Little by little, though, the unicorns started advancing onto their land. With their magic they started stealing the crops of the townsfolk for supplies, and burning anything they couldn't use. The earth ponies tried to fight them off, but they were farmers, not soldiers, and they couldn't stand up to the unicorns' magic.

Now in Salt Lick City there lived one pony named Judas Loam. Judas was an odd pony to most; he was nearly thirty years old, and still didn't have a cutie mark. What was strange about this was that everypony in town, Judas included, knew full well what his special talent was. It was dirt. Ever since he was a foal Judas was most at home in the mud, digging in it, making things out of it, even eating it until his mother caught him. Because of his love for the ground and all things in it he grew up to be one of the best potato farmers the town had ever had, maybe one of the best who ever lived. But no matter how much time he spent digging and plowing and working away in his field, his precious cutie mark failed to appear. It earned him a few odd looks when he went to the market, but on the whole Judas didn’t mind. He spent his days doing what he loved and he didn’t need any mark on his flank to prove it.

When the unicorns started attacking, Judas sat down and thought hard about what to do about them. See, he knew that the ponies in his town were no match for the invaders, and if they tried to drive them out they'd only end up hurt or killed. But he also knew that if they allowed the unicorns to stay, they'd only steal more and more of their crops and get closer and closer until they started attacking the town itself. Judas knew that if that ever happened, everypony and everything he cared about would be in terrible danger. So in secret, he left the town with only a shovel and a week’s supplies and went out into Diamond Dog country. Diamond Dogs live in places where there are a lot of gems, see, and Judas was looking for a very special kind of gem. So he made his camp in a hidden place and started digging.

Most ponies would have given up after just a day or two, but years of working the potato fields had made him tough and used to working in the ground all day. After a full week of digging, he fell into a Diamond Dog tunnel. From there he crept around, avoiding the dogs' patrols and working his way deeper and deeper into the ground. The way was long and he got lost several times in the twisting tunnels, but Judas never gave up. After a full day of walking he finally found what he'd been looking for: the greatest treasure of the Diamond Dogs, a sparkling emerald the size of a small foal.

Unicorns don't like to talk about it, but pegasi and earth ponies are just as magical as they are. While a unicorn casts magic with his horn, pegasi can use their wings-

Applejack...

Oh, right. Anyways...

Now, there's something special about gems that you find deep underground. While you can find all sorts of crystals the size of your hoof on the surface, the deeper you go the bigger and the more magical they become. These days ponies are starting to realize that again, and that's why we have crystalvision; it's thanks to both earth pony and unicorn magic that we can send images around the world. Now, the Diamond Dogs' emerald was one of the biggest gemstones you could find back then, and it was brimming full of the magical energy of the earth. Judas knew that if he was going to stop the unicorns, he'd need all the magic he could get his hooves on. The problem was the emerald was kept under lock and key, and guarded at all times. If Judas had had more time, he might have come up with a better plan. But he'd just spent all day and all night walking through a cave with no food, drink or sleep, so when he rushed out to take the gem he was captured right away.

Now, relationships weren't so good with the Diamond Dogs as they are now, and that's saying something. If it had been anypony else they'd found sneaking in their cave, the dogs probably would have had them killed. But the three who ran the pack - they ruled in threes back then, same as they do now - were so impressed that Judas had made it so far down that they decided to listen to him and find out what he wanted. After he'd had some rest and a little water, Judas told them about the plight of the earth ponies back in Salt Lick City. And with his fancy orating skills, he became the first pony ever to make a deal with the Diamond Dogs. It wasn't pretty - he had to promise them a lot of potatoes, and to make sure nopony trespassed on their land ever again - but when they found out what he wanted to do with the emerald, they were just so darn fascinated that they agreed to let him borrow it for a little while.

The next day Judas walked out of the caves a free pony with the legendary emerald on his back. He was true to his word and sent them almost all the potatoes he had that very afternoon as a first payment, leaving him with barely enough to live on. Then right away he got to work. Out of the dirt and clay around him he built a creature made out of the earth. He shaped it as close as he could to a Diamond Dog to make it look big and frightening to his enemies. Then he set the emerald into the place where its face would be and carved a few runes above it. Once he’d done this, all the energies of the earth flowed out of the crystal and into the creature and brought it to life. He named it Mud and it became the first golem.

Mud was scary to look at, and at first the other townsfolk were frightened of it and ran away. When they learned that Judas Loam had promised the Diamond Dogs several harvests worth of potatoes in exchange for the emerald, they became angry and threatened to drive him out. But that afternoon, the town was attacked by a party of unicorns trying to steal supplies. That was when Mud finally made a move. You see, as well as the life runes, Judas had put some words on the golem's forehead, and they read: I will protect the earth ponies of Salt Lick City from the unicorns. That way, no matter what the golem was doing, defending the town was always the first thing on its mind. It drove the unicorns out of the town and away from the fields, scaring them with its huge size and strength. They tried to fight back, but the power of the emerald protected it from all their magical attacks. In the end the unicorns had to run away with their tails between their legs and Judas was declared a hero. That was when, after years of waiting, he finally got his cutie mark: a shining emerald, just like the one on Mud’s face.

For awhile, it seemed like everything had worked out for the ponies of Salt Lick City. It turned out that the payments they made to the Diamond Dogs every month were less than what the unicorns had been taking, so the town started to prosper again. The unicorn attacks got less and less frequent and eventually stopped altogether; the unicorns figured getting chased by an unstoppable golem wasn't worth a few potatoes. So a whole year of peace went by. Judas Loam went back to his farm and fell in love with a local girl, a pretty young thing named Royal Harvest, and they got married in the summer that year.

But all the while, Mud was left on his own. After the unicorn attacks stopped he didn’t have anything to do. Judas spent a lot of time with him in the beginning, but after he got married he had less and less time to spend just sitting and talking to a golem. Ponies tried to put him to work in the fields, but with his big feet and hands all he could do was crush crops and stomp the ground flat. So he ended up left alone, all by himself, with nothing to do but think. Thoughts came slowly at first, him being only a year old, but little by little he started to question why he was alive. His purpose was to protect Salt Lick City from the unicorns - he knew that because it was carved right there on his forehead. But since the unicorns had stopped attacking, he no longer had anypony to defend. So he started to wonder if he had any purpose at all any more.

In the winter, Mud was left outside on his own, since he was too big to fit into any of the houses. That year there was a wartime argument with the pegasi over weather regulation, so snow rolled in much thicker and faster than it had before. One day there was a big snowstorm that covered up most of the town. It took days to dig everypony out, and in all the excitement everypony plum forgot about Mud. He was left under a big snow drift in the middle of the town until the snow melted. This turned into a problem, though, as the snow worked its way into the runes on his head and shifted them. The hardened clay was softened and worked away by driftwater and the edges of the words started to get blurred. When Mud finally came out of his own accord, he was a changed golem. He could no longer read the words on his head, so he'd forgotten his purpose; he knew deep down that he had to protect the town, but he couldn't remember why or from what.

A few days later, little fillies from the town started to... to...

Are you okay?

Ah... Ah’m sorry, Twi. Jus’ got a little choked up for a moment, that’s all.

We can stop if you want.

No, Ah’ll keep going. Ah owe you that much.

Little fillies from the town started to... to turn up dead, in all sorts of odd places. At first everypony thought that the unicorns had returned and were sneaking into town to take their children away. But then, one day, Mud came out and stomped on one of the farmers right in the middle of the town square. It seemed that without unicorns to direct his anger at, Mud had decided that anypony he didn't like was an enemy of the town. Everypony was afraid, so they turned to Judas Loam for help; he'd built the golem, they thought, so he would know how to stop it. But no matter what happened, Judas couldn't bring himself to help. He'd built the golem with his own hooves and he loved it like his own foal, no matter what. So he only said that Mud couldn't be stopped and they should all do their best to stay out of his way. After all, he wouldn't harm the town itself, only those ponies he took a particular dislike to. So for a little while everypony simply stayed away from Mud and avoided even looking in his direction, afraid that a face full of fear might be interpreted at a threat.

But even then, Mud wasn't satisfied. See, just as Judas Loam loved him like a foal, in his own golem way he loved the earth pony like a father. Once they'd spent all their time together, until another pony had come and taken him away. That pony, of course, was Royal Harvest. In what passed for Mud's mind, she'd come and taken his daddy away from him, and that made him really, really mad. So the next time she passed by in the market, he raised up his arms and chased her out of town. A year ago that might have been enough, but he kept on chasing and she kept on running. She was a sprightly young thing and a lot faster than the golem, but the earth never gets tired and every time she slowed he would always be right behind her. So she ran across the country for a full day and a night, never stopping for rest, until finally she fell down from exhaustion and died before Mud could even reach her.

Now, word of mouth travels faster than any hooves, so it wasn't long before Judas heard about what had happened. He retired to his bed and he cried all night, because he finally understood that he'd done something terrible. Awful guilt about what had happened to his wife and the other ponies filled him, and he knew that something had to be done.

When Mud walked back into town the next night, Judas was ready. He covered himself with a cloak and crept up on the golem, little by little. He carried only a shovel, the same shovel he'd used a year ago to dig into the tunnels of the Diamond Dogs. When the moment was right, he leaped up onto the golem's back and climbed onto his shoulder. Before the golem could react he pounded it across the face with his shovel, wiping out the words he'd written and the runes that had given the earth life. For the last time, the golem fell still. Then he used the shovel to pry the great emerald out of the golem's face. As soon as it was free, all the magic drained out of the golem and it crumbled back into ordinary dirt, gone forever.

Life returned to normal for Salt Lick City after that. The great emerald was returned to the Diamond Dogs safe and sound, and the two groups never troubled each other again. The unicorns had learned their lesson and never came back, and the war ended without a bit of magic seen near the town. But Judas Loam could never live with himself after what had happened to his wife and the other ponies around town. He gave up potato farming and went into the mountains, where he became a dollmaker. That's where he stayed, cold and alone, until the end of his days. And while wars have come and gone, no golem has ever been seen in Equestria ever since.

---

Applejack took a deep breath as she finished her story. "Until now," she said glumly. "Ah always thought the story was jus' an old pony's tale. Ah never thought it could be..."

Twilight mulled over what she'd just heard. "It's... possible," she said at length. "If you could find the right kinds of gemstones, it's possible that the latent magical energies could be redirected into another body. I don’t know if runes would work, though, and I wouldn't have guessed that you could use it to make something animate, but after what we saw..."

Applejack shook her head. "Ah don't get it," she said. "The whole moral of the story is how ponies shouldn't try to play Faust. Why would anypony want to make somethin’ that would... carry off fillies?" She choked up for a moment. "Ah don't want anything to happen to mah family."

"Nothing's going to happen." Twilight held her friend comfortingly. "If golems are dangerous, then we'll get to the bottom of this. Don't worry, Applejack. We'll be fine, you'll see."

---

Rainbow Dash studied her opponents carefully. They both stared back, one looking nonchalant, the other frantic. Spike was beginning to crack; she could see it in his eyes. The faint twitches, the tell-tale wrinkles at the corners of his mouth, Rainbow knew all the signs. He wouldn’t last much longer. It was the older, more composed player who worried her. Despite the strain as the game reached its final stages he looked perfectly calm, bored even. The self-assurance he possessed was overwhelming. Jazz knocked impatiently on the kitchen table, gesturing to the pile in front of them. Rainbow Dash narrowed her eyes. He really thinks he can win, huh? Fat chance. Sure, he’s got more game than I thought, but good enough to beat me? Nopony can beat the Rainbow. Nopony!

She picked up a large marshmallow between her hooves, peeled her lips apart and shoved it through to join the sugary, partially-melted mass inside her mouth. She gagged slightly and forced herself not to swallow. “Ten chubby bunnies,” she painfully choked out.

Jazz nodded. Without prompting he took his turn, effortlessly passing a marshmallow between his teeth. “Ten chubby bunnies,” he echoed. Despite the now enormous mass in his mouth the words flowed out clearly, as though completely unobstructed.

Spike clapped in amazement. “Da’s amazinf, Shazz!” he garbled around a mouthful of candy. As a dragon he’d been given a hefty penalty for his disproportionately large mouth, which was now nearly full to bursting. A thin line of white drool slid down his chin with every word but he didn’t seem to notice. “Haow do you do id?”

The unicorn gave a rare smile. “When one spends any amount of time around Harpy Chords,” he said with jaw-dropping precision, “there are certain skills one is forced to acquire. And when one’s larder is stocked in the way that she prefers, there are no end of opportunities to practice these skills.” He looked around the kitchen and scowled. Every drawer and cabinet had been flung open and their contents strewn untidily across the counters, a seemingly unlimited selection of sweets, candies and sugary snacks. With the fridge still empty from the other day’s fiasco, the other two at the table had pressured him to help search the kitchen for anything of actual nutritional value, only stopping when they discovered the giant bag of marshmallows under the sink. “This,” he concluded, “is why I keep my own supplies in my room.”

“It’s crazy,” coughed Rainbow Dash with a minimum of spluttering, determined not to be outdone by a pony easily twice her age. How old is this guy, anyhow? “Doesn’t she ever eat anything healthy?”

“In theory she must, but I have never observed her doing so.” Jazz turned his attention to the third player at the table. “Spike, I believe it is your turn.”

“A’aight.” The little dragon picked up two marshmallows, one in each hand, and drew them nervously towards his face. He puckered his lips and slid them inside, one after the other. By some miracle he was able to keep them in, momentarily struggling to breathe before righting himself. He took a deep breath and stood up on his chair for effect. “Tenny... chu... twenny chubby b-UUUUUUUUUURP!” Spike let out an impressive fiery belch, sending the contents of his mouth rocketing forth in a wide arc. Most of the marshmallows he’d been holding onto slammed into the far wall and stuck, leaving sticky trails as they slid downwards. Worse, the ensuing force of the flame not only bowled over the massive pile of marshmallows in the middle of the table but also roasted them, sending a wave of goopy and slightly crispy goodness crashing across the table and onto the floor. A ribbon-bound scroll winked into existence in front of him, floated gently down, and landed right in the middle of the mess with a faint squelch. “Uh.” Spike looked around and grinned sheepishly. “I lose?”

At the first sign of danger Rainbow Dash had taken to the air, knocking over her chair and saving her from the wave of projectiles. However, the sudden shock had made her choke on her own marshmallows, causing her to cough them up in a sticky mess onto the floor. Jazz’s reflexes had not been as quick; he’d turned his head to shield his face from the flames, but one side of his body was now coated in white and sticky blobs. Despite this, he was smiling as he turned back to the other two. “It seems the game is mine,” he said. He spat his still-intact lump of ten marshmallows onto the table, adding it to the lightly-toasted mass covering the surface. “Now if you’ll excuse me, this suit is very expensive and I need to wash it before it stains.” With a quick flash of unicorn magic, the stallion vanished.

Spike peeled his scroll from the goopy mess on the table, smiled apologetically at Rainbow Dash and rushed from the room. The mare righted her chair and sat down sulkily. “That was cheating,” she grumbled. She followed the trail of white with her eyes from Spike’s chair to the far side of the room. “And I’m not cleaning this up.” She put a hoof in the lightly browned sludge in front of her and drew it to her lips, her eyes lighting up in surprise and delight. “Hey, what do you know. Toasted to perfection.”

---

Spike arrived in the main chamber, licking the last of the marshmallow goop from his fingers. Across the room the stratoscreens were still showing footage from Mayor Mare’s office, though nopony was paying much attention to them any more. With Rainbow Dash at lunch and Derpy Hooves still on her mail route it had fallen to Locket to keep a cursory eye on her, though her main screen was turned to a local news station. In the nearer corner, L and Colgate sat side by side in what was now their usual positions, eyes fixed on their own screens. It was towards these two that Spike walked, coughing loudly. Neither seemed to notice him as he approached. Curious, he glanced over their shoulders at the screens. The display currently showed Twilight at her desk, different screens capturing her image from different angles. She seemed completely absorbed in a book, not unusual for her. What was unusual was that the book was full of pictures, large and brightly-coloured watercolours showing happy ponies playing in front of a big red barn. "What's Twilight doing reading a little kid's book?" Spike asked.

"It's The Legend of the Earthen King,” Colgate answered. She looked at Spike with an obviously forced smile; the strain of spying on her friend was beginning to show. "She's looking through old earth pony stories for references to golems. I don't think she'll have much luck with fairy tales, but maybe she's running out of options." She sighed and lowered her gaze, for the first time noticing the scroll Spike was holding. "Great, news!" she said, snatching the paper from his outstretched hand. She frowned. "Spike, this is sticky." She sniffed the paper, looking puzzled. “Did you drop this in something?”

"Uh, yeah. I kind of..." Spike blushed and looked down. "It’s a long story."

Colgate rolled her eyes and poked L on the shoulder. "You're a bad influence," she teased. When the detective gave no response to this she unrolled the scroll and quickly skimmed over the page. A huge smile broke out, genuine this time. "Harpy! Look!" She waved the scroll in front of the unmoving pony's face. "We just got the latest report on Kira from Canterlot. Ponies have still been dying of heart attacks over the past few days!"

L blinked slowly. "So?"

"So," Colgate continued, a little taken aback, "since Twilight hasn't done anything in the time we've been watching her, it means that she couldn't have been the one who killed them. Therefore, Twilight isn't Kira."

"Irrelevant," L said. She finally looked up at Colgate's shocked face. "Have you forgotten that Kira can manipulate the times of death? For all we know she could have orchestrated these weeks in advance."

Colgate trembled. She twitched and threw the scroll onto the ground, sending Spike reflexively scrambling to pick it up. "Then this is all pointless!" she yelled. L ignored her. "What's it going to take, huh? What will it take for you to admit Twilight isn't Kira?"

"L!" Locket called, breaking into the conversation. Her gallop across the room slowed to a crawl as everyone looked at her and she blushed at her own outburst. "Um... there's something you should see. It’s on the news right now."

L gave a long stare at her monitor before twisting a dial on the side until the Ponyville local news station appeared on the screen. A mustard yellow filly with a dazzling platinum blond mane was standing in front of Davenport's alcohol/writing implement/furniture store, speaking very quickly into a microphone. Behind her a half-circle of large ponies had surrounded the door, looking around anxiously. "According to eyewitnesses, the pony in question is one Berry Punch, a local mare.” Sunny Days gave a dazzling smile and motioned to somepony off camera. “Lucky, can you tell us what you saw?"

A nervous-looking blue-grey pony walked into the frame. "Well," he said, a little louder than he needed to, "I was just walking by on my way home when I heard shouting coming from inside Beer, Quills and Sofas. I looked inside and I saw Berry Punch yelling and waving a broken bottle around. There was a really bad smell and she seemed a little disoriented. I tried to ask what was wrong but she just waved the sharp end at me and started shouting some more, so I ran out and yelled for help. That was just a minute ago."

"Berry." Colgate stood sharply and started towards the door.

"Colgate," L said coldly, "where do you think you're going?"

"To help my friend!"

"Stay where you are."

The blue mare froze. She turned back to face L, her eyes wide. "What?"

"This is the opportunity we've been waiting for. You are not going to interrupt it." As Colgate’s jaw dropped L looked towards the other team members with her. “Spike, please move to the other station and observe the mayor closely.”

“Yes, ma’am!” Elated at being singled out, Spike gave a quick salute and rushed to the other corner of the room.

"Let's see if we can get closer," Sunny Days was continuing. Despite the tenseness of the situation the filly sounded positively giddy at the opportunity; since these kinds of reports usually went to her older colleagues, perhaps any break from weather reports and market prices was a welcome change of pace. She motioned to the camera and crept closer to the door.

From this range voices could be heard from inside. Over the shoulders of the ponies standing tensely by the door a very drunk Berry Punch came into view near the checkout. The cash register had been kicked over and broken glass crackled beneath her hooves as she swayed back and forth, waving the jagged edge of a broken bottle towards the frightened earth pony behind the counter. "Jus' gimme!" the intoxicated mare slurred, slightly inconvenienced by the bottle stem between her teeth. "You've gotta have somethin' under there. Lemme have it!"

"For the last time, I just don’t have any more beer! Pinkie Pie cleaned me out until Monday." A spark momentarily glimmered in Davenport's eye; even under the circumstances, even in the face of death, some hope still remained. "...wanna buy a sofa?"

Berry Punch waved her head in frustration, making threatening motions with the sharp end of the broken bottle. Colgate started to back up. “I can’t do this,” she stammered. “I’m the chief of police. It’s my responsibility to be there right now.”

“Your responsibility,” L retorted sharply, “is to this investigation. You would do well to remember that. Weren’t you the one who was so eager to clear your friend Twilight’s name?”

For the second time in as many minutes Colgate was rendered speechless. Locket quietly nudged L. "Um..." The mint unicorn shushed her.

“Hey!” Berry Punch gave a sudden lurch towards the front of the store. “Is that a camera?” She took several steps forwards, causing the ponies gathered outside to nervously retreat. “You better not put me on the news!”

“We already are!” Sunny Days called cheerfully, seemingly oblivious to any danger. Several of the ponies around her facehoofed.

Berry Punch stomped furiously, alternately opening and closing her eyes. Colgate’s lip trembled. "Berry, stop," she whispered. "Please, don’t do this."

The purple pony paused, then opened her eyes once more. A mad rage filled them. “I’ll bucking kill you!” she screeched, diving forwards and swinging her bottle wildly. Sunny Days jumped to the side and knocked against the camera, sending it tumbling off the camera-pony’s shoulder and onto the ground. The screen cut to black. The words “Technical Difficulties. Please Stand By.” faded into view.

Locket covered her mouth with her hoof. Colgate whimpered. L stared. Twilight Sparkle turned a page. For sixty long seconds, they waited.

As quickly as it had gone, the screen flashed back into light and sound. “-so awesome! Is it on? Did you fix it? Okay, great!” Sunny Days composed herself and flashed another smile to the camera. In the background four colts were desperately holding the screaming Berry Punch down. “For those ponies just joining us, local pony Berry Punch has been detained after attacking several innocent bystanders while attempting to hold up Beer, Quills and Sofas. Nopony was seriously injured, though witness Lucky sustained a small cut on his shoulder. The police have been sent for, and-”

“She’s dead!”

Words caught in the newsfilly’s throat. “Huh?” She turned, stunned.

The four ponies were backing away from the now still Berry Punch, frozen on the ground with an expression of terror on her face. Two of them turned tail and galloped away. “I didn’t do anything!” Lucky blurted, shaking his head wildly. “I hardly touched her! She just... she just died!”

“W-what?” In seconds all the professionalism drained from the filly’s voice. She stared back at the camera, but for once found herself at a complete loss for words. Without warning her face scrunched up cartoonishly and she began to cry.

For the second time the screen cut to black. L leaned forwards and turned the stratoscreen off. “An interesting turn of events,” she mused. “Does this satisfy you, Colgate?” The police pony gave no answer.

Spike jogged back across the room to join the others. “I watched everything,” he said breathlessly. “Mayor Mare didn’t move the whole time. But... but that was amazing! Right, guys?” He glanced around at the others, stopping when his gaze reached Colgate. “Uh, Colgate? You all right?”

The blue pony was trembling. Her breath came in short, quick gasps and her face was contorted in the same way Sunny Days’ had been, struggling to contain herself. Locket nudged L a second time. "L, I really think you should know..."

"Yes, I am fully aware." The detective spun around to face the blue unicorn. "Colgate, you and Berry Punch were more than just friends, weren't you?"

The others stared in shocked silence as Colgate began to tremble more violently. "You... you knew?" she said falteringly. Her left eye twitched. “You knew the whole time?” She suddenly broke down into sobs, tears flowing freely, and took a step backwards. She spun around and ran towards the great iron door.

"Colgate." L spoke quietly, but somehow her voice carried across the entire room. The blue unicorn paused just as she reached the door, her hoof raised to throw it open. "Colgate, I need to know that I can rely on you. If you leave now, you will no longer be a part of this investigation."

The police pony stopped. Slowly, with many small convulsions and hesitations, she lowered her hoof. Her muffled sobs began to fade. Keeping her head down, she began to trot towards the bedrooms. Locket stepped forward and reached out as she walked past. "Colgate, I-"

"Just give me an hour," Colgate choked out. "Just one hour, that's all I ask."

L nodded. "Of course." Without another word Colgate vanished down the long corridor.

Spike gulped and spoke up in the ensuing silence. "Well, uh... look on the bright side, right?" He forced out a smile. "This clears Twilight's name for sure. I mean, that just happened right now, and look! Twilight hasn't done anything at all!" It was true; throughout all this the lavender unicorn had barely moved a muscle, only shifting her head from side to side to turn pages with her horn. "She's not even near a screen, so she couldn't have even known this was happening. That means that Kira has to be somepony else! Right, L?" The little dragon turned to the detective expectantly.

There was a pause. "It's strange," L muttered, apparently to herself. "Before Kira, crime rates in Ponyville were as low as they'd ever been. But now, with rates everywhere else dropping, more and more crimes are taking place here every day."

"What are you saying, Harpy?" Locket asked. When the unicorn didn't answer she took a step forward and pressed the issue. "Spike's right, you know. I don't think it's possible for Twilight to be Kira."

"Yeah! So we can stop spying on her now, right?" Spike looked up at L, worry showing on his face. "Right, L?"

There was another long pause. Both dragon and pony held their breath, waiting for an answer from the detective. L slowly closed her eyes. "All right," she said at length. "Once Twilight has left the building I will ask Jazz to send out the return signal. The woodlice will return to the place where they were originally dropped. Locket, I will ask you to go and retrieve them after this." Locket nodded. "We will do the same for Mayor Mare's office. Afterwards, we will regroup and come up with a new plan."

L spun away from the screens and stared at the ground. While her face was still set in its usual blank position, Spike felt his triumphant smile slip a little as he looked at her. "Hey, are you all right?" he asked gently.

"I am fine, Spike." L didn't look his way. "If you haven't already, you should finish your lunch."

As if on cue a gasp of horror echoed out from the direction of the eating area. "My kitchen!" screamed Bon Bon.

"Then again, perhaps it would be better if you were to wait."

---

"Twilight! Twilight!" Byuk bounced up and down in the air as the purple pony entered through the library door. "The bugs are gone! They're all gone! Somepony came while you were out and took them all away!"

A half-smile on her face, Twilight pointedly turned away from the god and laid her saddlebags down by the door. "Are you sure?" she said quietly, drawing a large red apple from her bag. "Because I've got a nice juicy apple here to celebrate with if they are."

Byuk's eyes widened and he licked his lips. "Gimme!" he cried happily, lunging for the precious fruit.

Twilight twirled the apple in the air, keeping it just inches away from the shinigami's grasping claws. "Are you absolutely certain they're all gone?" she teased. "Because if there's even one camera left over, just one tiny bug, then I can't give this to you. And it would be such a shame to let it go to waste..." She opened her mouth wide and drew the fruit closer dramatically.

"No! Don't do it!" Byuk threw up his hooves in desperation. "I... I'll go check! I'll check everywhere!" He zipped over to the nearest wall and stuck his head directly into the wood, looking every which way for traces of the crystallized insects. Twilight chuckled and laid the apple down in the middle of the floor, then trotted over to the kitchen to prepare her own dinner.

A few minutes later the god reappeared in the doorway, munching happily on the apple. He smiled widely, rolling up his eyes in bliss. "I looked everywhere," he grunted between mouthfuls, "and there's no trace of any cameras. Nopony's watching anymore. Oh, I've missed this taste..."

"Excellent," Twilight said with a smile, sitting down with her own garden salad. "It looks like everything went according to plan."

"So you really did it? You tricked L?" Byuk settled down over the counter, licking juicy remnants from his claws. "How? He was watching you the whole time."

"Not in the Everfree Forest." She turned towards Byuk and launched into her explanation, meal already forgotten. "While I was with Applejack I was able to write down two names without her noticing. As far as she knows I didn't do anything suspicious, and since she's the Element of Honesty nopony has any reason not to trust her. After that, all I had to do was wait."

Berry Punch, heart attack.
At 12:00 tomorrow, drunkenly attempts to rob Beer, Quills and Sofas in Ponyville. She is loud and physically threatens anypony who tries to stop her. At 12:10 she has a heart attack and dies in front of the store.

"You made a pony rob a store for you?" Byuk asked in astonishment. "I thought your goal was to get rid of crime, not make more of it."

"Are you kidding?" Twilight snorted derisively. "Have you met Berry Punch? I've lived in Ponyville for over three years now and I've never once seen her sober. She has a string of petty offenses as long as your leg, and the way she treats that foal of hers... ugh! This would have happened eventually. At least this way it actually ended up meaning something.” The unicorn rolled her eyes. “Of course," she continued, "even that wouldn't be enough on its own. Just because I had somepony committing a crime for Kira to stop doesn't mean that L would see it. No matter how loud Berry Punch can be, I couldn't leave it to chance that it would be noticed in time. So to that end I wrote a second name as well."

Sunny Days, suicide.
At 12:00 tomorrow, arrives at Beer, Quills and Sofas in time to witness and report on a robbery. Afterwards she gradually becomes depressed and, 23 days from now, kills herself.

"I had to be careful with this one. I needed to manipulate somepony into putting Berry Punch on the news, but I couldn't get involved myself or kill them right away or L would become suspicious of the whole affair. So I gave Sunny Days as much time as the Death Note allows, 23 days, in accordance with the 23-day rule. That was last night when I wrote it, which means that Sunny Days still has 22 days left to live. By then L's eyes should be off of her and her disappearance will go unnoticed.

“With those two in place, all I had to do was wait.” Twilight closed her eyes and sat back, smiling smugly. “Berry Punch would appear to commit a terrible crime, and Sunny Days would report on it. All I had to do was not watch any news all day and I would be proven completely innocent.”

Byuk’s eyes widened in realization. “Oh, I get it. To L it would look like Kira was reacting in real time to something he couldn’t possibly have prepared in advance. So while you were here reading all day, he would have to be somewhere else watching the news to see it.”

“Exactly.” The unicorn nodded proudly. “A one hundred percent foalproof plan.”

"Interesting." Byuk stroked his chin thoughtfully. "And what did Sunny Days do to deserve to die?"

Twilight blinked and her eyes refocused. "Huh?"

"Well, you're the one who keeps going on about morality," the god said, stretching lazily. "And it doesn't sound like she's done anything wrong or threatened you in any way. So why her?"

"Because..." Twilight's lips moved for a few seconds without making a sound. "Because she was always saying bad things about me on the news. She was misusing the name of Kira, that's it. She was trying to turn everypony against me."

"Well, you did kill her sister's coltfriend."

"Whose side are you on!?" the unicorn snapped, her voice rising in volume. "I did what I had to do, okay? Are you going to keep hounding on me for that?"

"Whoa, whoa." Byuk raised his front hooves defensively. "I was just asking, that's all. It just seemed like a strange move from you."

"I..." Twilight frowned. Her left eye twitched rapidly. "It's L's fault," she said slowly, keeping her voice under control. Don't cry. "It wasn't supposed to be this way. Kira was supposed to be a hero of justice. I was going to keep the good ponies safe from the bad ones, restore good and righteousness and punish those who do wrong. That's all I wanted, to make everything better. But then ponies like L keep trying to stop me." She swallowed hard, keeping her expression in check. Don't cry. "It's because of him that I had to kill those EBI agents. It's because of him that I have to make ponies do bad things. In a few weeks a little filly is going to kill herself, and it will be all his fault. Because if they ever catch me, Equestria will go right back to the way it was. Is that what they want?" Twilight half shouted this last sentence, her stony expression starting to crack.

Byuk drifted a little closer. Something that might have been concern flashed across his eyes. “Twilight, are you crying?”

“Shut up!” Twilight rose from her seat, shaking her head. “Just... just leave me alone! It’s your fault I’m in this mess. It’s your stupid book!” Before the shinigami could react she ran from the room, tearing up the stairs and slamming her bedroom door behind her. She took a few seconds to breathe, trying to fight down the emotions welling up in her. I’m a defender of justice. I’m not a bad pony. I’m not.

She trotted over to her desk and pulled out the Death Note. Though her magic meant that she didn’t have to touch it at all she stroked the notebook tenderly, having missed the feel of its pages under her hoof. Laying it carefully on the desk, she turned it open to the last entry. Page after page of names stared up at her. Each belonged to a bad pony; ponies who killed, ponies who destroyed, ponies who made life worse for those around them. Equestria would be better off without them. She knew this. But Sunny Days...

Twilight laid her head on her desk. “I’m so sorry,” she whispered.

For Moondancer.

“L.” Twilight gritted her teeth. “This is your fault. I had to do this because of you.” She straightened up and pulled a quill towards her. So much work to do. “Sunny Days will die because of you. Her blood is on your hooves. So for that, I’m going to find you.” Her eyes shone in the darkness. “And I’m going to make you pay.”

---

Dear Princess Luna,

We've done a terrible thing.

Romana.