• Published 20th Oct 2011
  • 26,463 Views, 1,241 Comments

Death Note: Equestria - Nonagon



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

  • ...
82
 1,241
 26,463

Aftershocks - Interlude #1

13
(Interlude #1)
*Aftershocks*

Rainbow Dash was bored.

Doctor’s orders, as well as several long strips of cloth, were keeping her confined to her bed at the clinic. She was very lucky, Nurse Redheart had told her. Thanks to the position of her hooves as she crashed (flew, Rainbow corrected) through the window, most of the glass had been deflected around her. Still, her time spent thrashing about inside what was, essentially, a bag full of glass shards had left numerous long cuts all over her face and body. While most of these would heal within a few days, very few requiring stitches, the real problem was her wings; it was possible that tiny, razor-sharp fragments had gotten somewhere between her feathers, ready to shift and slice through the fragile stalks at the slightest movement. Nurse Redheart thought that she had found all of them, but just to be on the safe side she was going to groom Rainbow Dash one more time in the morning.

To this end, the protesting pegasus had had her wings bound shut with cloth and then been tucked firmly into bed, so that she wouldn't move and possibly dislodge any remaining shards of glass in her sleep. It was just for one night, but every second of it was torture. The clinic was suffocatingly sterile. Dash felt her wings straining against their bonds as she lay on her stomach, wanting desperately to get out of this stuffy building and fly.

She really needed to fly.

Rainbow Dash was the fastest thing alive. She knew this for a fact. Out there, in the open sky, she could go wherever she pleased, escape from anything that held her down. Pain, fear, regret, heartbreak... in the air, it was so much easier to forget them. So long as she kept moving, everything would be fine. But in here... Dash groaned, straining pointlessly against the fabric. In here, there was no escape. She was trapped, literally and figuratively, her mind forcing her to watch that same scene played out time and time again...

Both the nurse and Colgate had told her there was nothing she could have done. Between them they’d told her six times, in fact. That didn't take the edge off the memory, though. I get it! Dash screamed silently, pressing her hooves against her temples in frustration. I know it’s not my fault. I know I did everything I could. So why do I still feel like I let my friends down?

There was something on the nightstand beside the bed. Nurse Redheart had said that a "strange, cloaked pony" had brought it for her shortly after she'd arrived in the clinic. At first she'd discarded it as a stupid toy. Now, unable to rest and tormented by memory, she dragged the little device towards her. It was an abacus, the kind Jazz would probably call an "abacus mark one;" a simple child's toy, with ten straight bars and rows of large, brightly-coloured beads. A note slipped out from between the bars, written neatly in mouthwriting she didn’t recognize. It gave a simple rundown of how the device worked, as well as a few basic equations to practice with.

Rainbow pushed the tiny balls back and forth with a hoof. "Okay," she muttered. “Simple. Different rows make different numbers. Just like flying. Simple formula, repeated lots of times in different ways." She turned the device on its side, sending all the beads clacking down into the default position. Settling herself down for the long hours ahead, she started to calculate.

---

It is not easy to be Derpy.

Today was a sad day. Miss Rarity and Cupcakes Pony both went to a better place, and everypony was being sad and crying all afternoon. But then Miss Harpy said to everypony to go home for the night, and so Derpy is happy because Derpy gets to see Little Muffin and Best Friend again. There can be no being sad with Little Muffin, and Best Friend will make the treats that make everything better and everypony can be happy. That is why Derpy is happy as she skips home.

Lights are on when Derpy gets to Best Friend’s house, and Derpy knows that means that Little Muffin is not in bed yet. Derpy walks in without bumping her head on the door and yells hello. Best Friend’s living room is messy, which is strange because Best Friend is a very tidy pony. The tiny unicorn runs over. "Mommy!" Little Muffin runs jumps and big hug. "You came back!"

Smile for Little Muffin. Good smile for little one. "I got a holiday," Derpy says proudly. "One night home with you."

Carrot Top comes from the kitchen. Carrot Top is good pony for looking after Little Muffin. Carrot Top is Best Friend. "Well, look who finally decided to show up," she says. She sounds mad, but not angry. Best Friend never stays angry with Derpy. "This wasn't our deal, you know. I agreed to watch her for a couple of days, not forever. If Sparkler didn’t keep stopping by to help out we’d be in some real hot water right now."

Derpy puts Little Muffin down and gives Carrot Top a big hug. “You’re my best friend,” Derpy says happy.

Best Friend looks angry, but then Best Friend stops looking angry and looks sad. “Yeah,” says she. “Yeah, I am.” Then she stops looking sad and smiles and everything is okay again.

"Mommy, look!" Little Muffin runs back with paper. "I got another letter from Daddy!"

Derpy gasps. “That’s wonderful, Muffin!” Looks at Best Friend. Best Friend smiles again, but it is not a happy smile. “What does it say?”

“Daddy found a new tribe of zebras in Brayzil,” Little Muffin says proudly. “There was a mean old grumpy warthog who was bullying them and making them sad but Daddy chased it away and made everything better because Daddy is the best adventurer in all of Equestria and Zebrica and Neighpon and Prance and everywhere else!” she says in one big breath.

“That’s amazing!” Derpy claps. Little Muffin smiles and claps too. Derpy is so happy to see her happy. “Will you read it to me?”

“Yay!” Little Muffin cheers and Little Muffin and Derpy sit down on the floor together to read the letter from Daddy. Derpy puts a wing around Little Muffin to hold her and keep her warm while she reads. Best Friend smiles again and leaves the room to make treats and snacks and drinks for everypony. Little Muffin scrunches up her face real tight and looks hard at the first line. “Dear,” she starts. “Dinky...”

Little Muffin is a good reader. Little Muffin can read almost as good as Derpy now. But Little Muffin is still very little, so she does not see the mouthwriting is Best Friend’s. Some day she will notice, and Derpy will have to explain that Big Muffin is not making adventures in Zebrica. Instead he is locked up in a bad place in Stalliongrad, where the police are mean to ponies like Derpy and Big Muffins are not allowed to see their little fillies. The rules are a lot worser there, so Big Muffin will be locked up for a very long time. But some day Big Muffin will be free, and then he will come home and there will be no need for the letters and the lies and the old travel books and they will all be happy and together again.

Derpy knows she is not a clever pony. A lot of ponies have told Derpy that she is not a clever pony. But Derpy knows that Kira is making death with bad ponies, and the police think Big Muffin is a bad pony. Derpy does not have to be a clever pony to know that Big Muffin is not safe right now. So Derpy can not rest until the bad pony who makes death with bad ponies is locked up and Big Muffin can come home and be with Little Muffin and make everything better again.

“Mommy, you’re squeezing me.” Little Muffin wriggles and Derpy sees she has wrapped her wing around her very tight. She lets go and Little Muffin looks up, but something is not the same. “Mommy?” Little Muffin asks. “Are you okay?”

Put on a brave face for Little Muffin. Put on a smile for Little Muffin. “Everything is okay,” Derpy says, and kisses Little Muffin on the top of her head. “Everything is wonderful.”

---

Spike tossed and turned fitfully in his basket.

This was his spare bed, pulled up from the basement, and he was starting to outgrow it; his toes stuck over the lip at the end, and he could practically feel the wooden weave through the thin mattress. Frustrated, the little dragon rolled onto his side once again and stared into the darkness around him. Unfamiliar emotions rolled around inside him. Half-formed thoughts bounced around his head, some screaming, some whispering, none of them saying anything concrete. There was only one thing he found himself able to hold on to. Rarity is a murderer.

It still didn’t seem real. Even after the tears had finally stopped, even after the long walk home, even after Twilight had put him in bed and sung him a lullaby, some part of him was still convinced that this was all some kind of terrible nightmare. He rolled over again and groaned. I have to sleep, he commanded himself. I need to sleep if I want to help tomorrow.

But Rarity is a murderer.

In the end, it was no good. Something throbbed in his chest like a second heart, sending alien pulses of frustration through him. Spike pulled himself from the basket and stretched, feeling a faint ache echoing across his limbs. He tiptoed over to the open window and stared out at the night sky. Clouds passed slowly over Luna’s perpetually full moon, casting long shadows over Equestria below. He yawned and rubbed his eyes, trying to think of something else, anything else, to distract him. For some reason, he settled on his childhood.

On the whole, Spike knew very little about dragons.

He knew that growing up around ponies had changed him. If he’d been born in the mountains or the far oceans, by this age he would be expected to leave the nest and set out on his own. Dragons were supposed to be proud and independent. In the wild he would be searching for his own cave and his own hoard, not worrying about the problems of others. But ponies had changed that. Making friends, being mothered by Twilight, having a real family; the feeling of being with others had overpowered his dragonic instincts. It was stunting him, holding back his natural growth spurts, delaying the rise to maturity. Somehow, the magic of friendship was keeping him artificially young.

Maybe that’s not a bad thing, he reflected. Most dragons didn’t have a proper childhood, at least as ponies understood it. Life was expected to be short and brutal for most hatchlings, and those who were unable to adapt to the harshness of the world seldom lived long. How many grown dragons got to play with toys as a kid? Or talk to other kids their age, or eat fresh-cooked hay fries, or to work with the most beautiful unicorn who ever...

Spike’s face darkened and he turned away from the window. I guess every childhood has to end eventually.

Spike’s box sat in its usual position behind his basket. He pulled it towards himself. L had confiscated most of the letters within, but everything else remained untouched. He’d insisted on bringing it home for the night, even leaving behind his basket for the sake of getting it to the library faster. He lifted the lid and stared contemptuously at the contents.

Magazines. Newspaper clippings. Pictures of Rarity. This was everything the fashionista had ever been in, from full features to casual mentions, or at least as many as his obsessive mind had been able to find. With trembling features he reached down and lifted up the edition at the top of the pile, holding it out the window to allow moonlight to illuminate it. This one was an old edition of Pose! magazine from last year with an image of Rarity featured on the cover. This had always been one of Spike’s favorites, not because of the stunning gown she was showing off but because of her smile: as well as her outfit, the unicorn was wearing a look of pure joy. She beamed up at him from the page, perfectly content, perfectly in her element, perfect in every way. He remembered how happy he’d been for her.

He liked her. No, more than that. He loved her. But it wasn’t love that he was feeling right now. It wasn’t pain that was gripping him, it wasn’t heartbreak that was tearing him up, it wasn’t loss that flooding his every thought. It was anger.

She killed Pinkie Pie.

He breathed in.

A jet of fire lanced out into the night. Not Spike’s gentle magical flame, but real fire, a searing heat that burned almost white as it leaped forth. In an instant the magazine ignited and crumbled into dust, blowing away into the night air. Spike breathed heavily for a few seconds, then closed his mouth and let his arms fall to his sides. Instantly fear and regret returned, along with a feeling of wrongness, the same guilt he felt when Twilight caught him lying or stealing gems from the kitchen. But above all that, overpowering everything else, was a cold, primal satisfaction. Spike balled up his hands into fists and grinned. That felt... good. He reached down and picked up another magazine, not even bothering to look at the cover. There was no time to think, no time to feel. This time, when he opened his mouth, he compulsively let out a roar.

One by one, the pages from the box burned away. As more and more of Rarity vanished from his life the flames grew hotter and brighter, each burst blazing longer than the last. After the very last clipping was gone the box burned too. Then went his comic books, the posters from his wall, the childish adventure stories he’d written about himself. He nearly burned one of Twilight’s textbooks before collapsing onto the floor, completely spent.

---

Locket had long since given up on sleeping.

She spent an hour rolling fitfully back and forth on her side of the bare mattress before giving up and rising to pace back and forth around her small apartment. She passed the time by counting the number of steps it took to cross from one side of her room to the other. The answer never changed, but for a few moments on each pass it let her take her mind off the question that had been haunting her all evening.

Am I a bad pony?

Locket leaned against the wall and sighed. Of course not, she tried to console herself. I know that what’s happening in Ponyville is wrong. I know that what Kira is doing is wrong. I’m doing everything I can to make things better. Doesn’t that make me a good pony? If anything, shouldn’t just trying make me a good pony?

And yet...

Unbidden, her mind jumped back to the scene at the boutique. Two Elements of Harmony lay dead, and two more looked like they wanted to die. Twilight was sobbing, and Rainbow Dash wasn’t much better. There was blood everywhere. The rational part of her brain knew that such a scene would leave her deeply shaken, but after the initial shock was over a cold stillness had descended and she’d simply stood, unmoving, unable to react. Even hours later, the eerie calmness remained. Why can’t I feel anything? Locket thought angrily. Wouldn’t a good pony feel bad right know? Or sad, or scared, or something? Wouldn’t a good pony care? She groaned in frustration and resumed her weary pacing.

Aside from the bed, the apartment was almost completely bare. Most of the furniture had belonged to Green Grapes, and when he’d moved away she’d insisted he take all of it with him. Appleloosa is a new town, she’d reminded him. You don’t know how long it will be before you can get more. That had been over two years ago, and she still hadn’t managed to replace any of it. The monthly payments she received from L gave her barely enough for rent and food. Of course, that money was only meant to be a gift for services rendered, on the understanding that Locket would support herself between jobs for the detective. The blue pony hadn’t had a real job in a long time.

Almost without noticing, Locket made her way over to the corner where she kept the one other thing that Green Grapes had left behind. It was a small steamer trunk, a gift from her late grandfather and one of the few things she’d ever been able to hold on to. She gently stroked the wooden surface before opening it. On top of the pile inside were letters, both to and from Green Grapes: stories of his adventures in the wild west, details of apple farming, the occasional terrible love poem. The rest were from her, neatly organized and catalogued but never sent; postage to Appleloosa was expensive. Over time fewer and fewer letters had arrived each week, then each month, until she’d been reduced to one-page missives on annual holidays.

Digging deeper into the trunk, Locket felt a tug on her heartstrings as she pulled out a picture of Green Grapes. It wasn’t actually him, but his brother, Sir Colton Vines, who she occasionally stumbled across in the market. Tired of the slight ache inside every time she saw him, Locket had snapped his picture with a friend’s camera and run away. There were only slight differences between the two ponies, ones she knew well enough to ignore when she wanted to pretend.

“Oh, Greenie,” the mare sighed, clutching the smudged photograph to her chest. As usual, she thought back to the last time they’d seen each other, at the annual Hearth’s Warming Eve pageant in Canterlot. They hadn’t spoken much. He never asked how she was doing, and she never brought it up. As soon as they’d been alone he’d dragged her down to the floor, his roughness making up for months of missed contact. She’d called him Greenie; he’d called her Shoeshine. And then...

A slightly glazed look fell over Locket’s face. Only partly aware of what she was doing, she leaned forward again and reached across the row of objects at the very back of the trunk. A long row of books filled the base, each with a cheap cover and a well-creased spine. Something like hunger lit up her eyes as she looked from one title to the next. Six Nights in Manehattan? Too slow. The Prince and Plum Petal? Too dry. Locket’s lips moved wordlessly as she searched, her breath quickening. The Secret Foal? Not right now. Griffon the Brush Off? I don’t think so. Her hoof stopped over one book in particular. She drew it out slowly, subconsciously noting its worn-down cover and dog-eared pages. The Strapping Adventures of Lord Cloppington.

Locket stared at the book for a few seconds. The name conjured images that snapped her out of her fantasy, Green Grapes’ loving embrace replaced once again by Twilight Sparkle sobbing in the boutique. A sudden sense of guilt and disgust washed over Locket and she hurled the book across the room, moaning in aggravation. The picture of Sir Colton Vines fluttered unnoticed to the ground. She sank to the floor, finally finding herself fighting back tears. “I’m a bad pony,” she whispered aloud. “I’m a bad pony.”

A few minutes later, Locket crawled over to the discarded book and picked it up, carefully pressing out the crease where it had landed on its open pages. She retreated back towards the bed and lay down. Half an hour later, she finally drifted off into fitful dreams.

---

Colgate was still, but her mind was far from restful.

The blue unicorn sat stiffly behind her desk at the police station. A thick binder of official documents lay open in front of her; even during times of crisis, somepony still had to balance the books and do the paperwork. She read over this month’s finance report for the third time, a pencil hanging loosely from her lips. She’d tried to write in her usual way with magic and a quill, but each time she’d tried she’d found herself distracted and ended up dropping the implement onto the desk.

Thanks to her frequent trips between Ponyville and Canterlot, the police pony was used to keeping odd hours. While she had a home of her own in Ponyville, she rarely visited it except for storage. Her office had all the facilities she needed to live comfortably, either inside or within walking distance, and the constant access to her work made her much more efficient throughout the day. She sometimes caught herself wondering why ponies needed homes of their own at all.

Currently, her position was less than comfortable. Her back was stiff and sore, traces of the autumn cold were snaking their way around the room, and a faint itching indicated that at least one family of rats had been making use of the seat in her absence. Colgate didn’t notice any of this, however. She shifted her pencil back and forth in her mouth, her eyes glossing over the same line time and time again, focused only on the events of the past; not recent memories but distant, of her very first day as an Officer of Equestrian Law.

“I, Romana of Canterlot, do solemnly and sincerely declare and affirm that I will well and truly serve the Princess...”

There had only been one ruling princess when she’d made the oath, of course. No doubt the wording had been changed after Luna’s return. She recalled there had been a scramble to update all official documents in the first weeks after that fateful night. Idly, she wondered if this meant her old oath was now invalid.

“...with fairness, integrity, diligence and impartiality, upholding fundamental pony rights and according equal respect to all ponies...”

Usually, these were easy to deal with. The fundamentals of Equestrian philosophy, “Love and Tolerate,” had been burned into Colgate’s mind since she was a foal. Ponyville was fairly idyllic, but she’d learned that even in the harsher parts of the world, there was rarely a problem that couldn’t be solved through sharing and understanding. At least, that was the way it used to be.

Stop it! Colgate reflexively commanded herself as unbidden images of L and Twilight Sparkle leaped into her mind. I’ve done my best. I’ve been fair and diligent, I’ve done all I can to help others, I’ve given everypony the benefit of the doubt. Nopony will ever say otherwise.

And yet, the world had changed. She couldn’t say when or how it had happened, but she couldn’t deny the change, either. When once ponies had fearlessly turned to their fellow equines in times of need, they were now quick to resort to theft and violence. Battles were fought with weapons, not words. Harmless pranks turned to cruel and unjust games. It was as if a grimness had settled over Equestria, a breakdown in the moral fabric of the world.

“...and that I will, to the best of my power, cause the peace to be kept and preserved and prevent all offences against ponies and property...”

That had to be right. Wasn’t that what this was all about? Keeping the peace? But we’re not, not really. Almost imperceptibly, the faint creases of a frown appeared on Colgate’s face. Every time we provoke Kira, a good pony ends up dead. Meanwhile, every time a prisoner dies, crime rates drop a little more. If anything... Kira’s doing a better job of keeping the peace than we are. She shot the thought down before it could continue any further.

“...and that while I continue to hold office I will to the best of my skill and knowledge discharge all the duties thereof faithfully according to law.”

There. That was the problem. According to law, espionage was wrong. Lying was wrong. Keeping secrets from the government was wrong. Yet to hear L talk, all of these were not only acceptable but actually required in order to uphold the law. The contradiction made Colgate’s head spin. What’s the point of upholding the law if I’m just going to disregard it?

Kira’s actions came back to her. It’s not a fair game, she realized. Kira doesn’t have to play by the rules. I do. That gives him the advantage. She mulled over this. Maybe the rules have changed. Maybe it’s time to start fighting like the rest of Equestria does. Her mind instantly rebelled against this idea. But I can’t do that. Somepony has to care about the rules. It doesn’t matter if I’m the only one who does. The game is meaningless if I don’t play fair.

In her head, the younger Romana nodded proudly. She’d made an oath, and she was going to see it to the end, no matter what. Despite this, she couldn’t shake the nagging feeling that the rest of the world had grown up and moved on without her, leaving her behind in her own land of make-believe. Maybe there is no right answer. Maybe there can be no right answer.

Gradually, Colgate became aware that she was chewing on her pencil. She spat it out and shook her head to make herself focus. Come on. Have to finish this before daybreak. She refocused on the page and read the first line again. Her thoughts hesitated, stumbled, then like a broken record found themselves back at the beginning. “I, Romana of Canterlot, do solemnly and sincerely declare...”

---

When Bon Bon entered the base’s main chamber with a plate of sweets, L wasn’t in her chair.

The plate fell to the floor. Bon Bon’s lower lip trembled as she stared at the empty seat. She never goes anywhere without telling me. She never gets up without telling me. She never does anything without telling me. “Harpy?” the mare called, sounding both afraid and hopeful. The sound echoed in the empty chamber. There was no response. She tried again, nervousness starting to show. “Harpy?”

Within a few minutes the mare’s worry had turned to full-fledged panic. "Harpy?" Bon Bon rushed back and forth around the base. With nearly everypony else gone, the facility had returned the the way it had been when it was just the two of them; empty, foreboding, the hallways at once echoing and disarmingly quiet. "Harpy, where are you?" she called. She has to be here somewhere... oh, she simply has to be here somewhere!

The living quarters were especially ghostly; in their rush to leave, most of the base’s inhabitants had left the majority of their belongings behind. Not used to being alone, this only worsened the effect on Bon Bon as she threw open door after door. “Harpy!” Around halfway down the corridor she ran into Jazz’s room, discovering the older stallion meditating in the middle of the floor. “Jazz,” she breathed. “Have you seen L?”

There was a pause. “No,” Jazz answered without opening his eyes. He’d removed his shirt and jacket, revealing a patchwork of discoloured grey lines that travelled down his back. “I haven’t seen her. But I haven’t heard the main doors open, either, so she’s probably still inside somewhere.”

“Thank you.” Some of her fears alleviated, Bon Bon turned back towards the hallway. She paused and gave a backwards glance before heading out - she’d never seen Jazz without a suit on before - before resuming her rush from room to room, though at a less frantic pace than before. “Harpy?”

"In here." The voice was flat and quiet. Bon Bon paused, not quite believing her ears, before pushing open the door nearest her. This was one of the unused bedrooms, completely empty aside from a regulation cot in the corner. At first she couldn’t detect anything out of the ordinary, and wondered if she’d stumbled into the wrong room. As she peered inside, however, she caught a glimpse of a light green tail peeking out from underneath the bed. She bent down to see a green shape huddled on the floor, facing away from her.

Bon Bon sighed. Faint edges of a smile returned to her face. “I thought I'd lost you.” She trotted inside, letting the door swing shut behind her. “Really, if you're going to go running off, at least have the decency to-”

"I don't know if I can do it."

Breath caught in Bon Bon's throat. "What?"

L half-turned her head towards the earth pony, but didn’t look directly at her. She clutched the large pillow from the cot tightly to her chest, rhythmically stroking and squeezing it as she spoke. “I don’t know if I can do it,” she repeated. "He's too smart. He's caught me at every turn. What if... what if this is the one who kills me?"

The colour drained from Bon Bon’s cheeks. "Darling, you can't talk like that!" she cried, rushing over to the green pony. She knelt down and reached around under the cot, gingerly stroking the detective's mane. “You’re L, savior of Equestria, remember? Hoof picked by the L before you. You’ve done things other ponies can only dream of. You’re the best and the brightest we have. If anypony can stop Kira-”

“You think I don’t know that?” L snapped. “I know who I am. I know what I’m capable of.” She glared at the wall for a few seconds before looking back down at her pillow. “Which makes it even more frightening if Kira’s better than me.”

Bon Bon bit her lip. “Sweetie, Kira is not better than you.”

L said nothing in response to this. Instead she disappeared a little further under the cot, huddling up against the wall. Bon Bon sighed. Out of habit, she looked around to make sure the door was fully closed. Then slowly, careful not to disturb the sheets, she lay down on the floor and wriggled her way under the bed next to L. There was barely enough room for both of them. Her front legs brushed against the detective’s shoulders. “You know what you have to do,” she whispered.

“Bon Bon, I don’t want to fail.”

“I know.”

“You know what happens if I fail.”

“I know.”

The pair lay in silence for a minute. Finally Bon Bon spoke up again. “You really cared about her, didn’t you?”

“Yes,” L replied, her voice suddenly very small. “I thought that if I could just save her, then maybe it would all be worth it.”

Suddenly the events of the evening started to make a lot more sense. “Is that why you sent everyone home?” Bon Bon asked. “So they wouldn’t see you... like this?”

Another squeak. “Yes.” Bon Bon felt L shudder beneath her hooves. To her horror, she heard the unicorn let out a sob. “Is it wrong to want to save lives?” the detective mumbled, tears starting to well up in her eyes. “Can’t I just save one pony, just for me? Is it wrong to want to keep the ponies I love safe?”

The earth pony ran her hooves comfortingly down L’s back, thinking furiously. Not good, not good. We can’t afford another relapse right now. She struggled momentarily before finding inspiration. “Remember Coltifornia?” L cringed but Bon Bon continued. “Remember the SS murder cases?”

“Yes.” L swallowed another sob and disguised it as a sigh. “Diamond Edge was there.”

“That’s right, she was.” Bon Bon’s voice started to take on a soothing, melodic quality. Finally, something my training actually prepared me for. “She helped you. Do you remember what she learned from you?”

The detective sniffed once, but then her breathing became quieter. “To be strong,” she half-whispered. “To do what has to be done. To think of the long term, never the short. To be the pony Equestria needs us to be. And to be brave, no matter what.”

“Yes.” Both ponies now lay completely still. “And what does it mean to be brave?”

L paused. “It doesn’t mean not being scared,” she intoned, almost mechanically. “It means doing the right thing, even when you’re scared. It means standing up to your fears and overcoming them.”

“Well said, Harpy.” Bon Bon’s silky voice washed over them like a blanket. “She learned that from you. And that’s why you’ll win. Do you know why?” L shook her head. “Because you’re the bravest pony. Kira is a coward who hides behind some made-up morality. But you’re the bravest pony of them all.”

Slowly, L started to smile. "You're right." Shuffling slowly in the enclosed space, she rolled over and stared into Bon Bon's eyes. The creamy mare smiled back. "You're always right, you know that? Even I can make mistakes sometimes. But you..." L drew in closer and nuzzled the mare lovingly. "You're always right."

Long overdue for rest, the green unicorn’s eyes finally closed. Bon Bon listened carefully as L’s breathing softened and became more regular. Her instincts told her to get up, tuck her ward in properly, and start cleaning up to prepare for everypony’s return tomorrow. Instead she closed her eyes as well and held the detective a little tighter.

---

For the first night in a long time, Twilight Sparkle slept soundly.

Author's Note:

Coming in Season 2:

Mind games!
Golems!
Fluttershy!
All new villains!
Twilight’s master plan!
And so much more!

Season 1 credits:

Many thanks to all of my wonderful editors throughout this season: Dale, Rapid, New Age Retro Hippie, EvilDocterMcBob and Mindblower. Without your help this series would not exist. If you would like to be an editor for season 2, send me an email below.

Also a big thank you to the lovely Eilish for the cover art, and to Anon3mous for his various fan works.

I do not own Death Note or My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. Please support the official releases.

My name is Nine, and this is Death Note: Equestria.