• 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.

  • ...
82
 1,241
 26,470

Vengeance

12
*Vengeance*

Whether the cause of an individual’s death is suicide or an accident, if the death leads to the deaths of more than the intended victim, the pony will instead simply die of a heart attack. This is to ensure that other lives are not influenced.

Less than an hour after the strange pony had left the library, Twilight was startled by a frantic knocking at the door. She dropped the books she was attempting to stack up and yelped, blushing in embarrassment before cantering over to the door. "Oh, hello there." Twilight smiled warmly at the unexpected visitor. "What's up, Ditzy?"

"Derpy," the mailmare muttered under her breath as she pulled a red-stamped letter out of her saddlebags. "Priority mail for Twilight Sparkle!" she announced, holding the envelope out reverently. It had been stamped several times and with some haste, indicating that it was to be delivered immediately.

Twilight accepted the letter, but was barely able to get a "Thank you," out before the grey pegasus had zipped off down the road. She watched the mare leave with a puzzled expression before shrugging and taking the letter inside. Delicately tearing the envelope open, she discovered a single piece of paper with Pinkie Pie's recognizably haphazard scrawl covering it.

Hi Twilight!

Something really really big is happening at Carousel Boutique! I need you to please come here right away as soon as possible right now. It's really important!

-PP (That stands for Pinkie Pie!)

This was unusual on several levels. Pinkie Pie always preferred to deliver letters by hoof, not trusting the post service to provide the all-important song and dance while doing so. It was also unlike her to make demands; even in the worst emergencies, she would always find the time to ask politely. Twilight sighed and looked upwards. “Coming, Byuk?”

“Are we going out?” The dark god of death swooped down from his perch near the ceiling and read the paper that Twilight was levitating in front of her. “Hey, Pinkie Pie! I like her. What do you think this is, then? Some kind of surprise party or something?”

Twilight opened the door and shivered. A strong autumn breeze was blowing, casting the first hints of winter chill over the town. She picked up her cloak and gave a long, lasting look around the library. “I hope so,” she said simply before stepping outside.

---

Barely a minute later, a worried Derpy Hooves reached the town's park. She fluttered to a halt in the hidden grove of trees and stomped furiously, diving down the stairs to the base before the trapdoor was fully open. She burst through the iron doors at great speed and rocketed across the room, screeching to a halt just inches away from L's chair and drawing an envelope from her saddlebags. "Priority mail!" she warbled around the paper in her mouth.

L sighed, appearing distracted. She had grown her horn back and returned to her usual position in her unique chair, adopting the cold flatness that seemed to come with it. "Derpy, please do not interrupt your rounds on my account. Any mail for me must go through the proper channels."

"No." Derpy shook her head. She held the envelope forwards anxiously. "Priority mail... for you!"

"What?" The detective leaned forward and frowned, levitating the envelope out of Derpy's mouth and towards her. It was addressed specifically to "L, alias Harpy Chords, the circular grove of trees in Ponyville Park - just leave the letter there." "Who sent this? When did you receive this?"

"I don't know." The pegasus bowed a little out of habit; L's harsh tone made it sound like she was being chastised. "It was in the box when I gotted back."

The other ponies and dragon crowded around as the detective tore the envelope open. She read from the page aloud. "Dear L. Watch carefully. Love, D.E." Her frown deepened. At the bottom of the page were three circles, each a different shade of blue. "I recognize these colours."

"Is it a code?" Colgate looked over her shoulder at the note. "It looks like one of the early crystal codes."

"That is correct." L wheeled herself away from the group and towards the cluster of screens in the corner, still set up after Twilight's period of observation. "Before stratoscreens were released to the public, organizations like mine were the first to adopt crystalline technology. We used it to communicate during emergencies.” She pointed to the paper. “If one of my agents needed to contact me directly, this sequence, cyan, sky blue and midnight blue, was the magical frequency they would use to connect with one of my personal screens. After stratoscreens became commonplace, these codes fell out of use. However, it appears that somepony wishes to speak to me using these codes again." She reached out with her magic and manually set the largest stratoscreen to the correct setting. Instantly an image flashed up on to the screen. "As I thought. Some... somepony is transmitting on this frequency for us to watch." She shook her head. "However, I don't recognize this location."

The image on the stratoscreen was dark, only slowly coming into focus. The camera seemed to be situated on a wall somewhere high up, showing a wide view of a large, circular room. Spike climbed up on a chair to see and gasped. "That's the inside of Carousel Boutique!" he yelled, pointing. “But... why is it empty? And why is it so dark?”

Rainbow Dash spoke up. “Last time I saw Applejack, she said nopony had seen Rarity in a few days. Do you think this D.E. character’s done something to her?” She smashed her front hooves together and cracked her wrists loudly, making Locket wince. “Nopony touches my friends!”

“Easy, Rainbow,” L said calmly. “We were given this message for a reason. For now, all we can do is watch.”

Bon Bon touched L's shoulder. "Harpy, isn't that...?"

"I know. And no, I don't know why." She glared at the screen. Her voice fell to a whisper. "Diamond Edge, what are you doing?"

---

The streets were unusually quiet as Twilight approached the Carousel Boutique. It was strange, but the relative emptiness of Ponyville was actually becoming normal now; it was strange to think that the atmosphere of a place she'd lived in for so long could change so quickly. Everypony seemed quieter now, more afraid of strangers, less likely to go out if they didn't have to. It disheartened her. Was this her doing? No, she reassured herself, just a sign of the changing times. When all this is over things will go back to the way they were.

Nothing seemed to be the matter with the boutique as Twilight stepped up onto the front porch. Like the rest of Ponyville, it had fallen still and quiet. The door was unlocked. "Hello?" Twilight called as she stuck her head inside. There was no response. The thick curtains had been drawn all around the room, plunging the entire boutique into relative darkness. “I don’t like the looks of this,” she whispered over her shoulder. “Byuk, wait here.”

“What? Why?” the god complained. Twilight gave him a pointed look. Byuk folded his forelegs and sank to the ground with a pouty expression. “All right, fine. Go have your party on your own, see if I care.”

Twilight took a few steps inside, feeling around uncomfortably for a light switch. To her mild annoyance she couldn’t seem to find it in its usual place by the door. She slipped out of her cloak and tried to hang it up, only to find that the coat rack had mysteriously vanished as well. She was left levitating the garment in midair, laying it down after she felt an ache start to build up in her forehead - it seemed the sprain from the golem encounter hadn’t yet fully healed. "Pinkie, if this is another party, I'm not surprised."

With a loud crash the door swung shut behind her. Twilight yelped and turned around, eyes straining in the darkness. The inside of the doorway was now covered in locks and bolts, each of which was magically sliding into place as she watched. There would be no getting out through that door in a hurry. Twilight gulped, an edge of fear and panic rising in her throat. "Um. Hah?" A faint glimmer drew her eyes upwards. Mounted above the door was a large video camera, its lights set to record, the wide crystal lens pointed downwards and into the middle of the room.

A light went on. Twilight turned around and was once again stunned into silence. Far from a Pinkie Pie party, the grand display room was completely empty. The displays and racks of clothing had vanished, the stages taken apart and moved to somewhere else in the building. The posters and paintings had been torn down, leaving the walls bare. Even the decorative chandelier had been dismantled, only a single bare bulb remaining to illuminate the room. Without Rarity’s sense of style covering every surface the room felt stilted, lifeless, unnatural. With mounting horror Twilight realized the curtains hadn’t just been drawn on every window, but sewn together and nailed into the frame.

With barely any noise a door at the far end of the room opened. Hesitantly, a pink pony emerged. Twilight started forward and then stopped, gasping. Surrounded by a faint glow of telekinetic energy, a large pair of shears were being held open and pressed against the helpless pony's throat. Pinkie Pie stumbled towards Twilight, unable to look directly at her. Her hair had abandoned its normally fluffy structure and now lay flat and straight against her skull. "I'm sorry, Twilight," the party pony breathed. "She made me..."

"Pinkie?" Twilight gasped a second time as another pony stepped out, the light from her horn matching the glow around the shears. "Rarity?" Twilight's eyes widened in horror. "W-w-what are you doing?"

"Oh, you should already know that, Twilight Sparkle." The purple unicorn was rendered speechless as Rarity strode casually up beside Pinkie Pie and threw her foreleg around her neck in what might otherwise have been a friendly hug. Rarity’s mouth was set into a cheerful smile, one that did not reach her eyes. "Pinkie Pie and I have just been having a little chat, haven't we, Pinkie?" The party pony could barely mewl out a response, terrified of the cold steel touching her throat. "It seems that you and her were the only ones who knew Ray Painter's real name before the night of that dreadful party. The night when you murdered him." Rarity snarled these last words, causing Pinkie Pie to squeak. "Little Pinkie would never do such a thing, of course, would you Pinkie? But you, Twilight, on the other hoof... you are a different story."

"Rarity, w-what are you talking about?" Twilight stammered. She was keenly aware of the camera over the door recording her every word. "Are you saying... are you saying I'm Kira?"

"I know, it sounds absurd, doesn't it? I certainly didn't believe it at first." The unicorn clambered off of the trembling Pinkie Pie and strutted towards Twilight, keeping enough of her attention on her magic to maintain her connection to the scissors under the earth pony's chin. They were well-polished and sharp enough to cut through gems, and were already leaving a pair of hard red lines where they pressed against Pinkie’s skin. "But after my darling Ray died I took it upon myself to look through all the notes he'd made. I studied every file on Kira, checked over every possible suspect, and it all kept coming back to you. You," she pointed angrily, her face momentarily flickering into a mask of fury, "Twilight Sparkle. You murderer."

Twilight trembled. Her every instinct was screaming at her to save her friend, but with the threat of death so close she didn’t dare make a move. "Why are you doing this, Rarity?" she asked in a quivering voice. "We're your friends. Why would you... why are you..." She broke down into coughs, unable to finish her sentence.

"Because you're a murderer, Kira." Rarity forced herself back into a more dignified posture and took a few steps backwards. "And you're going to prove it." She pointed to the captive pony. "You see, the only way you can possibly save your dear Pinkie Pie... is to kill me."

Twilight blanched. In her rush she’d forgotten about the emergency scrap of the Death Note she kept in her cloak, now laying crumpled on the floor behind her. “Rarity...”

“Oh, one more thing, dearest Twilight. There are two things that you require to kill me, are there not? A face and a name. Well, my face you know, but despite what you may believe, my name is something you do not yet possess.” The white unicorn smiled coyly. “You see, I wasn’t always known as Rarity. Once upon a time, my life was very different than it is now. There were no dresses, no parties, and certainly no friends. Instead I studied espionage and the art of disguise, and served directly beneath the one you call L. In those days I was known by another name, my real name, a name I’ve so often wished I could share with you. That name... is Diamond Edge.”

Rarity waited for a reaction, but the other unicorn seemed too shocked to respond. Her expression turned cold. "So, there you go. You now have all that you require. I’m completely at your mercy. So do it. Kill me, strike me dead with whatever dark powers you possess, or Pinkie Pie dies." She tightened the shears by another fraction of an inch, causing Pinkie Pie to let out another squeal. Her face was contorted into a rare mask of fear, only sheer terror keeping her silent. "Do it, Kira. Do it... and let me go back to Ray happily."

Twilight held her breath to stop her knees from shaking. This isn’t good. Rarity... no, Diamond Edge seems to know more than she should. I need to shut her up, now. Under normal circumstances she could probably have knocked Rarity down with a magic pulse and rescued Pinkie Pie before the mare knew what hit her, but with her magic still hurting from the incident with the golem they were probably about equal in power at the moment. She glanced desperately around the room for anything that might help her, but Rarity had thought of this too; the floor had been completely swept clean, leaving not even a stick or a scrap of cloth that could be used as a weapon.

An unfamiliar sense of helplessness washed over Twilight. She’s too good. With Pinkie in that position I’m completely at her mercy. Her thoughts drifted to the cloak behind her, as well as the scrap of paper that lay within. No. That’s not an option right now.

Experimentally Twilight called up the barest glimmer of magic into her horn, hoping to prepare some kind of blast if the situation came to it. Unfortunately the sudden effort caused a spike of pain and made her wince, allowing a single spark to escape from the very tip of her horn. Instantly Rarity tensed up and tightened her mental grip on the shears. Pinkie Pie let out a yelp and started to cry silently. She felt a thin trickle of blood work its way down the right side of her neck. "Don't you move!" Rarity screamed, her composure all but forgotten. "Not a step, not a word, not a single spark of magic out of you or Pinkie Pie dies, right here, right now. Is that understood?!"

Meekly, Twilight nodded. Focus! I have to stay strong. No matter what happens, I have to keep it together or it’s all over!

Far away, on the other side of a stratoscreen, L ground her teeth and crossed her front legs. "Rainbow Dash, Locket," she barked. "Get to Carousel Boutique right now and put a stop to this."

Rainbow Dash, who had been watching the screen in a state of slack-jawed shock, took a moment to register the order. She shook her head rapidly and gave a sharp salute. "On it!" With a burst of rainbow light she rocketed towards the base's door, thankfully having the presence of mind to unlock the trapdoor before heading up.

Locket reacted more quickly, but hesitated before running off. "Um... are you sure, L?" She looked at the screen once more, then at the ground. "It's a good plan..."

"I see no possible way that this situation can end with Diamond Edge still alive," L shot back at rapid-fire speed. "We need to conclude this as quickly as possible."

"I thought her name-"

"Yes, Rarity! Go!"

Locket squeaked and dashed for the door, following Rainbow Dash's lead. Colgate glared and shifted a little closer to the detective. "Keeping me out of this again, huh?" she said bitterly. "What, are you trying to keep me underground forever?"

"Diamond Edge needs friends and allies right now. The appearance of the police would only antagonize her. We cannot risk harming any of the ponies in that room. The only thing that can save them now is the power of friendship." L spoke all this in the space of a few seconds, keeping her eyes focused intently on the white unicorn on the screen before her. "I'm sorry, Colgate, but this is not the time."

Onscreen, Twilight seemed to have recovered enough to find her voice again. "Think about what you're saying, Rarity!" she blurted out, managing not to cry. "It doesn't make any sense! I would never kill another pony, never! I can't be Kira, I just can't!"

“Yes, you always were a little goody-four-hooves, weren’t you?” Rarity said mockingly. As she paced back and forth her face alternated between cold, calculated calmness and animalistic fury. “Little miss perfect, little miss Celestia’s student, little miss can’t-dance-to-save-her-skin. A lovely little cover. But you can’t hide yourself from me, Kira. Learning that you knew my beloved Ray’s name was just the icing on the cake. I know about your disappearances, your studying that is not studying. I know all about Sharp Star.”

Involuntarily, Twilight’s eyes widened. Oh no. This is bad, bad, bad... I have to make her stop, right now! Pinkie Pie whimpered, drawing Twilight’s eyes to her. But I can’t... “It’s going to be okay, Pinkie!” she called across the room. “Everything’s going to be fine, I promise.” The party pony tried to put on a brave face, but didn’t dare nod. Twilight looked back to Rarity. “Please, Rarity, let her go. We can talk about this later, but please, just let her go!”

Seeing that she had finally garnered a reaction, Rarity smiled a little wider. “I went through all the records I could find,” she continued, ignoring Twilight’s request, “and the very first pony to die of a heart attack was Sharp Star. It seems he killed one of your old classmates... Moondancer, wasn’t it?”

In the distance a faint roaring could be heard, like a massive rush of air. Pinkie Pie’s ear twitched but the two unicorns ignored it. Twilight opened her mouth to respond to the accusation, only for Rarity to cut her off. “I asked darling Spike about the date, and do you know what he told me? The night before you vanished for a week, the very night Sharp Star was murdered, you took a secret trip to Canterlot.” Twilight winced, causing the white unicorn to leer triumphantly. “Admit it, Sparkle! You killed Sharp Star!”

The remaining ponies surrounding the stratoscreen gasped. “Spike, is this true?” Colgate asked.

The little dragon couldn’t immediately answer. He’d been shocked into a near-catatonic state, watching the love of his life threaten both his adoptive sister and favorite party pony simultaneously. Gradually, he forced himself to nod. “She asked me the last time I left the library, on my way back here,” he stammered. “I-I just told her the date... I didn’t think it was important!”

L nodded, looking almost sympathetic. She looked back to the screen, counting under her breath. “Rainbow Dash should have been there by now,” she muttered. “Unless she’s building up speed for something...”

Twilight gulped, fighting to control her breathing. Between Rarity’s accusations and Pinkie Pie’s pain she was very close to breaking down. I can’t hold out much longer. “I’m sorry,” she breathed, head precariously held high. The sound of rushing air was rapidly growing louder. “I’m sorry I didn’t tell you about Moondancer. That was wrong of me. But I promise, Rarity, I really promise, I didn’t go to Canterlot to kill Sharp Star. I really didn’t!”

Rarity said something in response to this, but her words were drowned out as the roaring from outside grew to deafening levels. Her wings whirring like jet engines, a cyan pegasus sent rainbow-coloured streaks flying through the air as she continued her downward spiral around the building. She put on a final burst of speed and angled herself towards the entrance, screaming out a name that was lost on the wind. “Piiiiiinkiiiiiiiie Piiiiiiiiiiiiiie!”

With a deafening thunderclap that echoed around the room, Rainbow Dash collided with the boutique’s door. The whole building shook at the impact, causing dust to drift down from the ceiling. But the bolts held, and the door stayed firmly shut. From outside there came a faint but audible, “Ow.”

Rarity was the first to recover. “You’ve delayed long enough!” she screeched, tightening her grip on the shears once again. “Choose, Sparkle! Kill me now or watch your friend die!”

From behind the door there came a soft flutter as Rainbow Dash pulled herself up and took to the air again. Twilight listened to her leave, panic rising. Oh no. What do I do now? What do I do? She flinched as the massive blades jumped upwards, causing Pinkie Pie to let out another squeal. A red wetness now made its way down both sides of her neck.

“Please, Rarity, you don’t have to do this,” Twilight begged. “It’s not too late. We can still walk away from this. We’re your friends, remember?”

“I’m not your friend, Kira,” Rarity spat. The words struck Twilight like a hoof to the face and she staggered backwards. Her rear hoof brushed against her cloak. “Now stop stalling and do it!” the white unicorn continued, snarling and stomping in fury. “You call yourself a defender of justice? Are you going to let this innocent filly die?”

Twilight flinched a second time. While her emotional self trembled at the blow, something at the back of her mind remained cold and detached. Funny, it remarked, I think the second part actually hurt more.

Behind Rarity, Pinkie Pie’s nose twitched. Her left ear fluttered, then her right, then both of her front knees shook involuntarily. Only Twilight noticed as the filly’s eyes darted back and forth and she began to mouth words. It took the unicorn a few seconds to realize she was counting down. Four... Three... Two...

Twilight turned and dived for her cloak.

With a loud crash Rainbow Dash burst through the window beside the door, showering glass onto the floor. Twilight raised her cloak over her head just in time to shield herself from the raining shards. As the pegasus passed through a large section of the thick curtain tore off the frame and wrapped around her, sending her tumbling to the ground in a disorganized heap. Rarity shrieked. The light from her horn went out, her concentration finally broken, and the fabric shears fell from around Pinkie Pie’s neck.

As often as she tried to forget them, the events of the next few seconds would be burned into Twilight’s memory for a long time to come.

Free from her restraint, Pinkie Pie bounded away from Rarity and towards Twilight. The white unicorn lifted a hoof to trip her, but the nimble pony simply hopped over it. Rainbow Dash struggled and swore in the middle of the room, trying to disentangle herself from the curtain. In a blind panic Rarity grabbed for her shears, opened them wide and telekinetically launched them towards the escaping earth pony. With the nimbleness and precision that came from years of stitching fabrics together, the blades lanced across Pinkie Pie’s throat- and snapped shut.

“Pinkie Pie!” Twilight screamed, though she couldn’t seem to hear her own voice. She ran forward as Pinkie fell, feeling like she was moving through water. Her cloak fluttered to the floor behind her. Her hooves quickly became sticky with the blood rapidly pooling on the floor. A calm voice in the back of her mind coolly noted that there wasn’t nearly as much as she would have expected. She knelt down and cradled her friend’s head in her front hooves, wincing in horror at the size of the gash across her neck. “Pinkie Pie!” she repeated - she couldn’t seem to do anything else - and wrapped the mortally wounded pony in a tight embrace.

“Twi... light.”

The pink pony’s breath was hot against her cheek. Twilight pulled away slightly and stared in amazement. Despite the gaping hole in her throat, Pinkie Pie was somehow forcing air up to her mouth - one last implausible feat for a seemingly impossible pony. Before Twilight’s eyes her hair changed shape, rising seemingly of it own accord before settling into its natural shape; bouncy, bubbly, untameable, just like the rest of her. “Hah.” Pinkie Pie coughed throatily and forced out a toothy grin. “Hah.” With much effort she threw a hoof over Twilight’s shoulder and snuggled close to her, closing her eyes. “Hah.”

Then, with a smile on her face and her best friends all around her, Pinkie Pie finally lay still.

Twilight didn’t really register what had happened at first. She stared blankly, tracing her friend’s face with her hoof. She looks so peaceful. Out of the corner of her eye she saw Rainbow Dash emerge from the curtain surrounding her. Her own face was bloody, covered in tiny nicks and scratches from the shattered window pane. She surveyed the scene calmly before turning to Rarity, who was frozen in place with her mouth open in horror. “What have you done?” Dash hissed, putting into the words every ounce of hate and malice Twilight wished she could feel right now.

Rarity finally seemed to come to her senses, stammering and starting to back away. “I... I only...”

WHAT,” Dash repeated, “have you DONE?” She snorted furiously and stomped at the ground. Raw anger seemed to envelop her, threatening to set the very air around her on fire. “Why did you do that? Huh? WHY?

The white unicorn began to hyperventilate. “I didn’t mean to! I just...” Her eyes darted to the bloodied shears, now lying on the ground in a sticky red puddle. Quick as a flash her magic enveloped them and they flew to the side of her head, pressing the point against her temple. “I’m sorry!”

Dash’s eyes widened. “Wait. Don’t!”

There was a crack, then a thud.

Footsteps sounded from outside. As the magic on the locks faded Locket kicked open the boutique’s door, gasping for breath. “I’m here!” she panted, staggering inside. “I’m...” She looked around and nearly fainted dead away. “Oh.”

---

As the sun set, Luna faced east. From her position at the top of the Lunar Tower she felt the energies of the sky change as the glowing sphere slipped below the horizon behind her. With a practiced ease, she nudged her own celestial orb into the sky to take its place. She sighed. This was one of the two times in the day she and her sister were awake at the same time any more. She had tried to break her own schedule to see her sister during the day, but each time she’d been turned away. Celestia simply had no time for her any more. The last time they’d spoken had been when the older sister had burst into Luna’s bedchamber, and that hardly counted as a conversation. The lunar princess grimly lifted her head and finished raising the moon, setting it gently onto the path it would follow for the next twelve hours until it grazed the mountains to the west.

“Luna.”

The dark princess gasped. She turned, scarcely daring to believe her ears. As she did she was surprised by a pair of pearly white legs as her older sister wrapped her in a powerful embrace. “Celestia?” Luna struggled to return the hug. If anypony had been watching they might have called it an awkward sight; instead of caressing the smaller princess with her wings, as was tradition, the solar princess had opted to wrap her forelegs tightly around her sister’s torso. The pairs’ solid, long-legged Alicorn bodies were not built for such an action, but at the same time it provided a sense of closeness that both were rarely able to enjoy. “What brought this on?”

“I love you, little sister.” There was a great sorrow in Celestia’s voice. She burrowed her face into her sister’s starry mane with something approaching desperation. “I love you so much.”

“What?” Something is wrong, very wrong. Luna regretfully pushed her older sister off of her and looked her in the eye. Celestia’s expression was dark and unreadable. “Sister, what’s wrong? What’s happened?”

The pair stayed that way for several long moments before Celestia shook her head. “I’m sorry, little sister,” she murmured. “I can’t lose you again.”

Guessing at the meaning of those words, outrage flooded Luna. “How dare you!” she gasped. “Do you really thing that I would become that creature again because of this?”

Celestia shook her head. “No, Luna, I don’t think that. But I spent a thousand years without you. Every night I had to watch you staring down at me, knowing that I loved you and you despised me, and I don’t want either of us to have to go through that again.”

Luna glared. They’d agreed long ago never to discuss her banishment again. “Is that what you think of me?” she said spitefully. “Somepony who despises you? Sister, this is absurd. We have no reason to quarrel.”

“I know. And I’d like to keep it that way. That’s why, for now, we must go our separate ways.” A page fluttered out from behind Celestia’s wing and made its way over to Luna. “Read it,” the solar princess said flatly. “I’ve already sent my response. He will want to hear from you as well.” For a second her breathing quickened before it was brought under control. “Sister... I’m sorry. But there are things I have to do on my own now. I can’t trust your little detective any longer.”

The lunar princess stared, baffled, as her sister turned and walked away from her. “Sister, where are you going?” Infuriatingly, Celestia didn’t even look back. “What are you doing? What are you hiding from me?” Luna stomped angrily, sending a crackle of thunder across the sky, and slipped into her raised voice. “ANSWER ME!”

The solar princess finally paused at the edge of the tower. “I love you, Luna,” she repeated. “Whatever happens, wherever we go from here, I want you to remember that.” She spread her angelic wings and leaped off the tower, disappearing in a flash of light.

Luna stared at the space where her sister had been, lips curling in frustration. She raised the letter to her eyes and began to read.

---

Several hours had passed since the incident at the boutique. Less than ten minutes after Locket’s panicked entrance, Colgate and several medical ponies had arrived. Rainbow Dash had been rushed away to be treated for her injuries and the two bodies had been quickly covered up. It had taken three ponies to prise Twilight away from Pinkie Pie and clean her up. They’d dragged her back to the library and, after coaxing her into removing the lock on her door, had put her into bed to rest. She remained that way, unmoving, long after the sun had set.

Byuk hovered uncertainly over the bed, watching over the unicorn below. She’d assumed a position common of young foals, scrunched up in a ball with her head between her legs and her face hidden beneath her tail. Tired of waiting, he spoke up. “Hey.”

Twilight didn’t respond.

“I know you said to wait, but, uh... I peeked.” Still nothing. “Must be hard, huh?” Byuk fluttered uncertainly. He settled himself at the end of the bed and reached out a hoof, not quite touching the unicorn’s mane. “I lost a friend once too, you know,” he said. “Even gods can die, sometimes. I know you think I don’t appreciate death, but I do understand how you feel right now.” Still no response. Byuk slowly withdrew his hoof, feeling foolish. “Maybe we’re not as different as you think,” he tried. “It’s different when you can’t see it coming, isn’t it?”

Twilight finally stirred. “It’s my fault,” she moaned, her voice hoarse from hours of crying.

“Hey, don’t say that,” Byuk soothed. He tried to copy what the police pony had done downstairs and stroked her neck comfortingly. “You couldn’t have known your friend would do something crazy like that. It could have happened to anypony.” He paused, realizing what he’d just said. “Okay, maybe not anypony. But some ponies. Ponies who have crazy spy friends.”

“No.” A hint of irritation creeping into her voice, Twilight raised her head and pushed the god’s hoof away. Despite her bawling earlier her eyes were now dry. “I killed Rarity... with the Death Note.” Before the startled shinigami’s eyes Twilight sat up, still clutching her tail to her chest. “You see, when Storm Seeker gave me a folder showing the names and faces of ‘all the EBI agents stationed in Ponyville’, it also included a file on Diamond Edge.”

Diamond Edge, Suicide.
In response to her lover’s death, she lures the prime suspect to the Carousel Boutique in Ponyville with the intent of exposing them. To do this, at 9:00 this Friday she takes a hostage and forces them to write a letter to the suspect asking to meet at the boutique. At the same time, she contacts the police force in Ponyville and asks them to observe her actions. At 12:50 she confronts the suspect while physically threatening the hostage. A distraction lets the hostage try to get away, but she stops them. Facing her actions, she approaches madness and immediately commits suicide.

“I knew right away that she would have to disappear sooner or later,” Twilight continued, some of her old confidence returning to her voice. “Anypony who used to work for L is too dangerous to let live, especially one so close to me. I was going to have her killed as soon as I found out, but I waited because... well...” She paused momentarily. “Because she was my friend. But after awhile, I worked out that I could get rid of her and turn her death to my advantage.”

She gently stroked the fibres of her tail, her voice taking on a slightly mocking tone. “Two of my best friends are dead now, indirectly because of Kira. I’ve never been so angry in all my life. I need to avenge them, and protect my remaining friends. There’s no way Princess Celestia would stop me from joining L’s team now.”

Byuk was silent for a minute. “That’s cold, Twilight,” he eventually said. “Brilliant, but cold.”

“I know.” The brushing intensified. “In the end, my one mistake was underestimating her. I didn’t anticipate that she would know so much about the case, so I gave her far too much time to talk. When she dropped Sharp Star’s name on me it nearly gave the game away. If Rainbow Dash hadn’t come in when she did, she might have succeeded in unmasking me after all.”

“Hey, wait a minute.” Byuk frowned. “I thought we agreed that you can only take one life per name written down. But Rarity killed Pinkie Pie as well as herself. So your plan shouldn’t have worked, since you caused another pony to die that you didn’t intend.”

The brushing stopped. “Oh, Byuk,” Twilight sighed. “You should really know me better than that by now. I plan for everything.”

Pinkamena Diane Pie, Murdered.
At 9:00 this Friday, is involved in a kidnapping and forced to write a letter to her friend, asking to meet at the Carousel Boutique in Ponyville. At 12:55 a distraction allows her to attempt to escape from her captor, but she has her throat slit by a pair of fabric shears. Dies of blood loss soon after.

“Y-you see?” Twilight said quietly, her voice starting to tremble. “It’s j-just like with Flat Iron. I never specified that the deaths had to be related; these could have been two completely different kidnappings happening at the same time. But because of the way it’s set up, it made the most sense for it to happen this way, so that’s the way the Death Note made it happen.” She looked up at the shinigami, almost pleadingly. “You see? It’s clever, right?”

Byuk sighed, a raw, dusty sound. “You’re worse than a god of death, Twilight Sparkle,” he said. There was no anger in his voice, nor sadness, but the usual childlike sense of excitement was gone. “Pinkie Pie truly loved you as her friend. So did Rarity, towards the end. Didn’t you feel anything for them at all?” Twilight didn’t answer. “No living thing that claims to have a heart, not even a god of death, would ever hurt their own friends.” He began to drift away.

“Byuk, I want to die.”

The god stopped. He turned back around to face her. “What?”

“Byuk, I loved them.” Twilight sniffed, her facade of self-confidence breaking down in seconds. She tried to choke out a sob, but no tears would come. “My friends... my friends are all that I want to protect in this world. They’re loyal, honest and kind, and full of laughter and generosity. They mean everything to me. Without them, life doesn’t seem worth living any more. Don’t you get it, Byuk?” She stared mournfully into the shinigami’s eyes. “It hurts, it hurts so bad. Knowing that they’re gone, and that it’s my fault, it’s tearing me apart inside. All I want is to confess everything and die, die so I won’t have to feel this way any more.”

The god actually trembled. “Then... why? In Death’s name, why did you do it?”

“Because in the end, what I want and what I feel don’t matter.” Twilight gave a final, hacking cough and wiped the teary crust from her eyes. She slowly rolled off the bed and got shakily to her hooves. “It’s like... it’s like what I realized after you talked to me about Sunny Days. Sometimes, a pony has to do bad things in order to do the right thing. Equestria is depending on me. Creating a new world, one where justice prevails and the wicked are punished, that’s more important than feeling good right now.

“When I became Kira, I gave up the right to be a good pony. I’m a terrible creature, Byuk. I’ve done terrible things. I don’t deserve friendship, or love, or happiness. But if the end result of all these horrible crimes is that the world becomes free of crime, that no pony should ever suffer Moondancer’s fate ever again... then I’ll do it. I’ll do whatever it takes, even if it destroys me. Equestria needs me to do it.”

After some thought, Byuk drifted a little closer. He placed a clawed hoof on the purple pony’s shoulder, and this time she did not move away. “You keep talking about what Equestria needs,” he said gently. “But are you sure that this is what Equestria wants?”

Slowly, painfully, Twilight broke into a small smile. She chuckled. “You’re a good friend, Byuk,” she said, nuzzling the god’s foreleg. His matted fur smelled like ash. “But you’re no pony.”

A light knocking sounded at the door. Twilight gave a final smile to her shinigami companion before trotting over and opening the door. Colgate peered inside, wearing an obviously forced smile. “Hi, Twilight,” she whispered. “I heard you talking to yourself. Is everything okay?”

Twilight blushed. She gave the blue pony a nervous look, but couldn’t see anything but concern on her friend’s face. “I’m fine, Colgate,” she whispered back. “I just needed some time. I’m okay now.”

“Good. That’s good.” Colgate smiled again, more convincingly this time. “There’s somepony downstairs who wants to see you. If you’re up to it, I mean.”

Twilight groaned inwardly. Celestia. I should have known. “All right.” She left her room and the pair began to descend downstairs. Now, what would be the best thing for her to overhear me saying right now? “Colgate, I want to join the team,” Twilight said loudly.

Colgate winced. “Twilight, the Princess specifically said you couldn’t.”

“I don’t care what the Princess thinks!” That should shock her. “Two of my friends are dead because of Kira. You can’t expect me to just sit by and watch any longer!”

A new voice spoke up, one that didn’t belong to Celestia. “Yes, I quite agree.”

Twilight froze. They were now low enough to see the whole of the first floor of the library, and her mentor’s characteristic glow was notably absent from it. Instead, this new voice came from a young green unicorn in a chair by the door - not leaning forward like a normal pony, but sitting on her back like a bipedal creature with all four of her legs dangling. “Miss Sparkle,” the visitor continued with a warm smile. “It’s lovely to see you again.”

Colgate rushed to the green pony’s side while Twilight stood still, frozen in surprise. “L,” she stammered out.

L beamed in delight. “Such a clever pony! I always knew you were.” She swung her front legs in a wide arc and rolled off the chair, landing on all four hooves. “I have already been in contact with both of our fair princesses about the events of this afternoon. They agree that you are too closely involved to be left out and that your intellect should be put to good use.” L raised a hoof. “So, miss Twilight Sparkle, I would like to personally invite you to join our little band of thinkers and schemers.”

Twilight could barely contain her excitement as she rushed down the stairs and shook the proffered hoof. I’ve done it. By Celestia and all the great powers, I’ve done it! “It would be an honour, L,” she said sincerely, staring into the mint pony’s eyes. Oddly, she could read nothing in them but cold professionalism. I have you exactly where I want you, L. You’re mine! “I promise, I will do everything... I...” She trailed off as her gaze drifted upwards. “Your... your horn!”

“Hm? Oh, that.” L chuckled. The pair released each others’ hooves and stepped back. “What you saw earlier was a clever party trick, nothing more. I assure you, this horn is genuine.” She tapped the protruding structure proudly. “You should get as much rest as you can tonight. I’d like to move you into the base as early as possible tomorrow morning. Spike will show you the way; he should be arriving shortly. I thought his presence might be comforting to you.”

Twilight could only smile and nod. Colgate leaned forwards. “Now apologise,” she hissed into L’s ear.

L smirked back at her. “My dear Colgate, this is hardly the time,” she whispered back. “Let her enjoy this moment.”

As the three unicorns made their plans below, a dark mass watched from the ceiling with eager eyes. Byuk whistled, impressed. “It really worked,” he said aloud in awe. “She really fooled L. Which means...” He twirled around and clapped his clawed hooves together excitedly. “They’re going to work together! Mortal enemies, working side by side!” A smile neatly split his face in two. “Oh, this is going to be so much fun!”

---

Dear Princess Luna,

I feel that I finally understand the method behind L’s madness. I do not believe that she has the capacity for love and kindness; I don’t believe that she feels for her fellow ponies at all. To her we are just pieces in the game of life, objects to be used, not cherished. Under any other circumstances I would label her a deeply ill individual and pass her off to the closest available professional.

However, after observing her over the past few days, I think I see why she is suited to this line of work. She is driven by nothing more than her desire to win, no matter what the cost. Nothing personal or emotional motivates her, and that’s what gives her her strength. In this game we are surrounded by death and suffering, the likes of which would cause even the strongest of ponies to hesitate or give up hope. L has no such fears. Nothing can shock or traumatize her, which allows her to carry on without pause where others could not. That is a great power to have, invaluable in the face of Kira.

I have decided to continue in this investigation by L’s side. No matter what terrors lie ahead, no matter what she deems necessary, I will persevere. Today I have seen that none of us are free from the horrors that Kira has brought, and no matter what, one way or another, this madness has to stop.

Your loyal servant,

Colgate