• Published 6th Oct 2020
  • 657 Views, 63 Comments

Don't Lose Your Head... - Robipony



After picking up a cute little outfit for Irisa from Rarity's shop you make your way home to discover that your maid might still have a few untold secrets up her hooves.

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Searching

As Irisa and you entered the dining room to meet up with the others, the sound of yelling could be heard.

"You did this, didn't you?" Caramel barked, raising a hoof at Trixie, who was currently positioned behind a defensive Filthy Rich.

"I did not!" Trixie protested.

"Really?" Caramel growled, "You're the one with the magic show where you dismember ponies on stage!"

"It's an illusion!" Trixie retaliated. "Besides, nopony dies in my show either!"

Spoiled Milk smiled mischievously. "Well, I'm sure we all know that if this had been my party that none of this would have happened."

This statement elicited a dirty look from Trixie, causing Spoiled Milk to chuckle.

"Will ya'll quiet down?" Applejack said, stepping forward. "The truth is we're all suspects. With the exception of two ponies, everypony was in the room at the time of the murder, which means that anypony that was in the room when the lights went off could be the killer."

Rarity sighed. "Yes, which means that until the authorities arrive we all just need to stay put."

"I fear I have bad news," Randolph spoke up. "It would seem that the phone line is out as a result of the storm. We have no way of contacting the guard until morning."

"Well, I'm not sticking around," Spoiled Milk growled. "I have no intention of sticking around with a killer about."

"I'm afraid you have no choice ma'am." Randolph said.

"Why not!" Spoiled barked.

"Well, one of the twins, Flash Bloom I believe, had suggested that we lock the doors to add to the Nightmare Night atmosphere," Trixie explained. "I thought the idea was fitting and so I had it implemented."

"You're joking!"

Trixie gave Spoiled Milk a sly grin, clearly pleased with the other mare's annoyance.

"Once miss... er... Milk arrived," Randolph spoke, "I locked all the doors and gave the key to one of the twins."

That coincided with what you saw with Gash Bloom leaving the room after talking with the butler earlier. Unfortunately that meant that the key to the house doors could literally be anywhere on the premises.

"So you're saying that we're stuck in here with a killer on the loose?" Caramel inquired.

"Yes, I'm afraid so darling." Rarity nodded.

Randolph let out a slight cough. “Furthermore, it would seem that the Mister Rich’s family axe has gone missing.”

There was some murmuring among the group. Applejack turned to you, a weary look in her eyes.

"I hate to say, but it looks like it's up to you Sugarcube to figure out what happened and who's responsible for this."

You were suddenly conscious of every eye in the room staring at you.

"So, what would you have us do?" Filthy Rich asked.

Quickly you considered what you had to do. Remembering what you had read in various detective novels as well as a few of the stories in your own stories.

"Randolph, is there another room that could be used to interrogate the guests?" you asked.

"There is one, sir." Randolph answered.

You nodded. "Then I guess it's time to start fishing for clues."


The first pony you questioned was Sunshine Smiles, the mare responsible for the injury to your nose. Seeing as she had been trying to flee the scene at the time it made her a strong suspect.

"Hello Miss Sunshine Smiles," you started.

"Please just call me Sunny," Sunshine giggled, "all my friends do."

You weren’t sure if this was her attempting to flirt with you or she was genuinely happy at the moment. Her bright smile, a strong contrast with the face she had made during the party.

"Sunny, do you mind telling me who invited you to this party?"

"I was invited to the party by Trixie's husband, Mr. Rich," Sunny answered.

"So you know Filthy Rich?"

"I know him enough to know that he doesn't like being called by his first name," Sunny replied. "Of course there are two other mares who know him much more intimately than I do. Though if you're wondering how I know him, I just so happen to be his wife's favorite author."

"Really, I am an author myself," you said, somewhat excited to meet another writer. "You don't suppose it would be rude if I asked you which stories you've written?"

"Oh, I don't mind. I'm actually flattered, you asked. My two most popular series are The Wonderful Tales of Little Scarlet as well as A Peek Behind the Lavender Veil."

As an author, you possessed some familiarity with these two series. The Wonderful Tales of Little Scarlet was a series of books you had recommended for Irisa to read and it had become one of her favorite novels. As for A Peek Behind the Lavender Veil, while you hadn't read it, you had heard of it being a saucy story of a mare being romantically persuaded by monsters in another world.

"I guess that would make your pen name, S.S. Lovely."

Sunny blushed and let out a little giggle. "Guilty as charged."

It would certainly seem that she was flirting with you. You decided it would be safer to draw your attention back to the case.

"Did you come alone this evening or did you bring somepony along as your plus one?"

Upon asking the question, Sunny's cheerful disposition disappeared, replaced with a frown. "Yes, I brought mister playcolt out there, along."

"You mean, Caramel."

"Yes," Sunny sighed. "I had hoped that perhaps we could have had a wonderful evening. Perhaps we could have been conveniently locked out on the balcony, the situation evolving from a moment of terror to that of pleasure. A spicy moment of romance all to ourselves."

Sunshine Smiles let out a happy sigh and you wondered if maybe what you had thought was flirting before was just a part of Sunny's personality. A part that made you feel a little uncomfortable.

In a moment, Sunny's annoyed look returned. "However that dumb colt had to start drooling over every mare in that room. Even that poor mare in the Little Scarlet costume had to deal with his salaciousness."

"Actually it's a Little Red Trotting Hood outfit," you said.

Sunshine Smile shrugged.

"I modeled Little Scarlet after the mare in that fairy tale, so sometimes I can't tell the difference."

"At the time of the murder, you were trying to flee the room. Could you tell me why?"

Sunny placed a hoof to her lips. "I assure you that while it looks rather… suspicious, I wasn't trying to flee the scene of the crime. I had been caught off guard by Rarity's startled scream and had gone to the door to call for help."

"I see."

It did make some sense considering the circumstances.

"Who do you think is responsible for the twin's death?" you asked.

"As much as I would like to say that it was my date, Caramel has such a weak spot for mares that I doubt he could kill one, even if his life depended on it, let alone two," Sunshine Smiles answered. "However, I do feel that Filthy Rich's first wife might have had something to do with it."

"You mean Spoiled Milk?"

"Yes, as much as she liked to fool around behind his back, Spoiled loved the fortune that having such a rich husband entailed. You could say she enjoyed having her cake and eating it."

"Then why kill the twins, why not Trixie?"

"Because it would be too obvious," Sunny replied. "This way, Trixie is now a suspect and if Spoiled plays her cards right, she could potentially make Filthy's new bride look like the killer. The perfect revenge."

"Well, thank you for your time."

"Oh, the pleasure was all mine, dear." Sunshine shot you a wink.


Next you decided to talk to the lady's stallion himself. Caramel sat in his chair, a smug smile on his face.

"Good evening Caramel."

"Sure if you wish to call it that," Caramel said sarcastically.

You sat down across from him.

"It's merely a figure of speech," you replied. "Of course, if we can find the murderer and prevent any more death, then it truly will be a good evening."

"I can agree to that," Caramel chuckled. "So what is it you would like to talk about?"

"Did you happen to know the twins before this evening?"

Caramel shook his head. "I had seen them around town with Trixie but I didn't have a chance to meet with them until this evening. It's a shame though, they were pretty cute too."

"Yeah, I suppose they were." You weren't too sure how reliable Caramel was going to be, due to his sparky behavior. "Do you know why Gash Bloom was upset this evening?"

"Well, I'm not sure which is which, I just thought I would ask them both if after the party they would like to come back to my place for some... coffee," Caramel said. "One of them was super excited but the other wasn't. It's a shame too, it could have been a lot of fun, but well... you know what happened."

Yep, it would seem that Caramel was a player and that he might have been trying to round up some twin action. Poor Sunshine Smiles, this guy really was a bad pick to bring along to a party. As you listened to Caramel's statement you remembered something that Gash Bloom had said.

"There are just somethings I don't like sharing is all."

This probably implied that Gash Bloom didn't want to share the same coltfriend as her sister, which is fair. You probably wouldn't want to share your special somepony with your brother either. As you pondered this you felt a slight pain in your chest. It would probably be good to ask another question to think about something else.

"Do you know what happened to the axe?"

Caramel shrugged. "I thought I heard the sound of something metallic hitting the floor shortly after the scream but that is all I can remember."

"I see."

Perhaps the axe was still in the trophy room. You would definitely want to check and see if you could find it. After all it was potentially the weapon that took the twins' lives.

"Earlier you accused Trixie," you said. "Why was that?"

"Have you not seen her show?"

"No, actually I haven't."

"Well, basically she puts them in a box and takes a saw, like one of the saws you use to cut a wooden board and would cut them in half. Surely if you can cut somepony in half you can cut their head off too."

"I guess I can see the logic in that, but that doesn't mean that she is the one responsible."

"I suppose you're right," Caramel answered. "It made more sense in the heat of the moment."

That seemed fair, still you had no evidence pointing in that direction, so you decided to ask another question.

"At the time of the crime, somepony was heard screaming," you said, "do you know who it was?"

Caramel squinted as he pondered who it might be. "I can't say for sure. The voice sounded feminine and mature in nature. So I would guess either Spoiled Milk, Sunshine or perhaps even Trixie."

Assuming what Sunshine Smiles had said was true, then it would indicate that either Spoiled Milk or Trixie was the one who screamed. As you pondered this, Caramel leaned forward, leering at you slightly.

"So how has it been going between you two?"

"Hmm?"

"You know, you and that cute maid of yours," Caramel said. "I'm sure the two of you get around to all sorts of fun stuff in that house of yours."

"Our relationship is strictly professional," you answered, glaring daggers at Caramel. Not to pleased with the idea that Caramel was thinking of something lewd going on between you and Irisa.

"Really? The way she kept looking at you throughout the night, you would think she had strong feelings for you."

In Caramel's defense, he didn't know that Irisa could communicate telepathically with you, using her eyes. While a part of you hated to admit it, a part of you was actually kind of pleased that Caramel had told you about his observation. Perhaps as horrible as this secret was that Irisa was keeping to herself, she still trusted you.

You waved a hoof. "We are just friends. I helped her out and now she helps me around the house."

"Right." Caramel said, giving you a suggestive wink.

"I think we are done for now."


Taking a lantern with you, you started to search the trophy room for the axe. In the light of the lantern, the shapes of the trinkets, trophies and paintings on the walls took on a creepy appearance. The light reflecting in the eyes of the mounted timber wolf, seeming to bring it to life, the shadows casting the illusion that it was breathing.

The bodies of the dead twins were covered with a couple white blankets, their presence making you feel uneasy. The way the light cascaded across the cloth draped over the deceased bodies, you'd swear they were breathing underneath.

Shaking your head you focused back to the matter at hoof.

"If I was a killer, where would I hide the murder weapon?"

Looking around the room, you checked to see if maybe it had been hidden behind a curtain or under something. As you carefully looked around, your eye caught something glistening behind a cabinet. Stepping closer to the source, you realized that it was in fact an axe head.

With your magic, you reached behind the cabinet and pulled out an axe and examined it. Like Irisa had said there weren't any magical runes on the axe head, though there did appear to be some on the leather wrapped around the handle. While your knowledge of magical runes was rusty, you were able to deduce that these runes were to enhance the strength of the wielder.

"I see, Stinkin Rich was able to cut through those timber wolves not because of any offensive magic that axe was enchanted with, but because it gave him the strength to cleave through them."

Yet that wouldn't explain the twins' fatal wounds.

Looking back at the cabinet, you noticed that it was underneath the stand where the axe had previously been mounted. So if this wasn't the weapon that dealt the killing blow, then why had it been misplaced?

Even if it wasn't the murder weapon, it was possible that the murderer could still use it or that one of the survivors might take it and act hastily with it. Two deaths was more than enough, you didn't need more.

Looking around the room, you tried to see if there was perhaps some place to hide the deadly instrument. After a quick observation you saw a suit of armor underneath the mounted head of a hydra. Immediately a clever idea came to mind.

Carefully you removed the suit's helmet before placing the axe inside. Once the weapon was concealed, you put the helmet back in place.

"Perfect."

With a satisfied grin, you left the room. As you walked through the hall, there was a flash of lightning and for a moment you thought you saw somepony’s shadow coming through the window. Was somepony out there?


Rarity and Applejack were next to be interrogated. While Applejack looked a little grumpy, Rarity actually seemed rather sad.

"So we're suspects," Applejack grumbled.

You nodded. "I'm afraid so."

"Well, I didn't do it!" Applejack interjected.

"I didn't say you did," you answered. "Until we find Filthy Rich's axe, all I can do is ask questions and look for clues. Can you both tell me what happened when the power went out?"

"I was fetchin' an appetizer when the lights went off," Applejack answered. “Aside from the yellin' afterwards, I didn't see anythin' out of the ordinary."

You looked over at Rarity, who had been quiet for the whole interrogation. Though strangely enough she had been rather withdrawn since Irisa and you joined the party.

"What about you Rarity? Did you see anything?"

"I'm not quite sure," Rarity replied, "after the lightning struck and everything went dark, I heard a scream. I looked in the direction and for a brief moment I thought I saw a spark."

"A spark?"

"Yes, it was almost like simmering coals reigniting for a few seconds before flashing back out."

"I see," you said. “Now, somepony said they heard you screaming."

Rarity shook her head. "No, I was shocked when I saw the twins' bodies; however, I never screamed. It was somepony else who screamed."

"Do you know who it was?"

"I don't."

You sat there considering what you had heard. None of it helped with the case.

"Okay, well thank you both for your time," you said, "if I need anything else I will have Randolph fetch you."

Applejack stood up and walked out of the room. Rarity however, stayed behind.

"How is Irisa doing?" Rarity asked.

"She is a little nervous due to this whole situation, but I'm sure she will be fine."

"No, I mean after yesterday," Rarity clarified.

Hearing Rarity's statement you recalled the incident at Rarity's boutique. You remembered how Rarity had accidentally wounded Irisa and how that had affected her mood for the remainder of the day. While a part of you trusted both of the mare's before you, a part of you felt uneasy revealing further details about Irisa's background to them.

"She is healing," you answered.

"Wait, what now?" Applejack asked.

You looked into Rarity's eyes, peeking for any sign of malice or betrayal that might be lingering behind those blue spheres. All you saw there was remorse, as she turned her gaze from you back down to the table.

"It's nothing Applejack," Rarity answered. "I accidentally poked Irisa with a needle while I was making her costume was all."

"Oh, I'm sure she'll be alright," Applejack said. “After all if she has someone like our friend here, then she'll be okay. Ah'm sure she'll forgive you."

Even as Applejack said that, the dream you had had where the male Irisa was strangling you, lingered in your mind. Could this all have been a murder attempt by Irisa to kill Rarity, in order to maintain her secret. While a part of you hated it, this was indeed a possibility.


Next was Spoiled Milk, the previous misses Rich. Her stance was that of a mare with a superiority complex. Gazing upon her, you wondered how such a mare had wormed her way into Filthy Rich's heart.

'Maybe she was a nicer mare before she got her hooves on her husband's money,' you considered.

"Well, let's get this over with shall we," Spoiled Milk said. "I didn't kill them. If anypony is to blame, it's that TRAMP!"

No doubt, the "tramp" she was referring to was Trixie.

"Do you have any evidence to support your accusations?" you asked.

Spoiled huffed. "Do I need to, it's clearly obvious. She let some commoners into my house and now one of them is trying to kill us!"

You weren't sure that Spoiled Milk was aware that you were one such guest, so you decided to play off of her antagonism. "So you’re suggesting that only commoners can be murderers then."

"Oh, you know what I mean," Spoiled growled, "she should have properly screened her guests before inviting them. Naturally if this was my party, I would have been very strict to prevent something like this from happening."

"While that might be true, do you have any evidence that any of them are the murderer?"

"No," Spoiled Rich grumbled.

"Now do you have any evidence that can help me eliminate you as a suspect?"

Spoiled Milk frowned, clearly having no defensive response.

"In that case, I will continue this investigation," you said. "Now during the power outage, somepony screamed. Do you know who it was?"

"No, I do not," Spoiled retorted.

You considered her stern reaction, wondering if she was hiding something or retaliating out of anger in response to your previous questioning. As you observed Spoiled Milk's mood, it became clear that she wasn't going to be a cooperative witness, at least not at the moment.

"Well, thank you for your time," you said, "if anything occurs to you that could be helpful for the investigation, please let me know."

A disgruntled Spoiled Milk stood up from her seat and walked toward the door. Upon reaching the door, Spoiled turned around, a sly smile on her face. "What about her? Is she innocent?"

"Who?"

"Your maid."

The question struck you like a hidden blade. While you hated to admit it, Spoiled Milk was right. Irisa was indeed a suspect. She was in the room when the murder occurred and you now knew that she possessed a unique ability, something you had little to no knowledge about. Could Irisa's smoke have potentially inflicted that fatal wound upon the twins?

Needless to say, it would be foolish to assume her innocence. Still you couldn't help but feel a twinge of annoyance in response to Spoiled Milk's smile.

"I will be questioning my maid later," you answered. "Now, I suggest you join the rest of the group and do your best to not anger them. After all one of those... commoners might be wanting your head next."

Spoiled Milk smiled, clearly aware that she had struck a nerve. "Fine."


Then there was Trixie and Filthy Rich, the hosting family this tragic evening. The two of them sat next to each other, holding hooves as they waited for you. Mister Rich looked caringly at his wife, while Trixie looked sullenly down at the table. From the circles under the mare's eyes, you could guess that Trixie had been crying earlier.

"Good evening, mister and misses Rich," you said, as you sat down. "I hope you understand that I'm just trying to get the facts and find the pony responsible for this."

"Of course," Filthy Rich nodded.

"Could the two of you tell me your relationship with the twins?"

"Well, honestly I didn't see that much of them," Filthy Rich answered, "they don't usually come over unless they are working for my wife and when they do, they're usually working on a routine."

You looked over at Trixie, who seemed focused on the table in front of her.

"Is everything okay, misses Rich?" you asked.

Trixie looked up, a surprised look on her face before bobbing her head. "I'm sorry, I'm still a little shocked by this is all."

You nodded. "It's totally understandable. Could you please tell me about your relationship with the twins?"

Trixie straightened her posture. "Well, I was working on trying to do a magical tour around Equestria when I happened across the twins, Flash Gloom and Gash Bloom, they showed me a magic trick of theirs and it inspired me to try out some new tricks. After some practice sessions around Ponyville we were going to prepare for a special event that is coming up."

"In fact, Trixie and I were going to make an announcement tonight," Filthy Rich explained, "but, with the arrival of my ex-wife, it was delayed."

"I see," you said. “Do you know anypony who might want to bring an end to this performance?"

"Aside from Misses Milk, I can't think of any," Trixie replied. “As time has gone on ponies have grown fond of the great and powerful Trixie! Also the twins are… were fairly popular as well."

"Could you tell me what you were doing when the power died?"

Trixie nodded. "My husband and I were talking with Sunshine Smiles right as the lights went off. I obviously couldn't see, so I clung to my husband for protection."

"It's true," Mister Rich said.

Well, they seemed to have a solid alibi. Granted if they were working together, they could have dispatched the twins and be covering each other's tracks. Still there wasn't any evidence of that. Except...

"Mister Rich, you seem like an intelligent business pony," you said, "so tell me, why did you want to move the twins' bodies?"

As you mentioned this, you saw a drop of sweat run down Filthy Rich's face.

"Is that really important?" Trixie asked defensively.

Filthy Rich raised a hoof. "No, Trixie, our friend here has a valid point."

After taking a deep breath, Mister Rich wiped the sweat off his brow.

"I will confess that that was rather foolish of me," Rich said, "when I was a young colt, I stumbled upon a dead body in the woods. Due to the trauma of the event, I developed Necrophobia, specifically a fear of corpses. Even seeing a dead body in a movie makes me feel anxious."

That made some sense, it was very possible that Filthy Rich's phobia could have kicked in when he saw that the twins were dead and that may have been why he wanted the bodies moved. At least nothing ended up being tampered with.

The door creaked as Randolph stepped into the room. "Sir, I moved the heads just as you asked."

"You did what!" You looked angrily at mister Rich. "I told you not to tamper with the evidence!"

Filthy Rich looked at you apologetically. "I felt that it was disrespectful to leave the heads on the floor where somepony could trip over them, so I had Randolph take them to the cellar where they would be safe until the authorities arrived."

While a part of you wanted to bite the wealthy stallion's head off, you could also understand his thinking. Flash Gloom and Gash Bloom were good mares, they didn't deserve this kind of treatment.

"Fine," you said, "but NO MORE tampering with evidence. Understood?"

Rich nodded. "I understand."

Now that that matter had been settled you could return to your interrogation.

"Did the twins have a room here?" you asked.

"No," Trixie answered, "though they did hang around the prop room a lot during practice."

"May I see this room?"

"Certainly, Randolph, can you show our guest to the prop room?" Trixie asked.

Randolph gave a bow. "Of course, my lady."


"Here is the prop room, sir," Randolph said as both of you entered the room.

"Yes, thank you."

Randolph waited outside of the room as you went about your examination.

The prop room consisted of numerous items including a magic box covered with stars, a few mirrors, some rope, a rack with some costumes, even a large circular saw. While you had heard of someone being cut in with a saw, a saw of this caliber just seemed a bit like overkill.

As you pondered this, you recalled what Caramel had mentioned about the show.

"...She puts them in a box and takes a saw, like one of the saws you use to cut a wooden board and would cut them in half."

Perhaps Trixie was trying to upgrade her act to make it seem more dangerous.

"I guess there's nothing too grand for the great and powerful Trixie," you mumbled to yourself.

As you looked around the room, you tried to find things that would have belonged to the twins. Examining the mirrors, you saw some photographs typed onto the corners, showing Trixie and the twins at some of their shows. The three of them seemed very happy in the photographs.

Tap.

The glass of the mirror you were looking at, seemed to shiver.

Tap.

What was this?

Tap.

What was going on?

The glass of the mirror stopped moving. Despite that, you couldn't help but feel uneasy about whatever was causing this. The memory of what Filthy Rich had said came to mind.

"...there are rumors that he might have participated in some… occult practices."

Could Mister Rich's father be involved in this somehow?

As you glanced around the room once more, something caught your attention. There was some sort of weird stain on the neck hole of the magic box. Reaching out with a hoof, you touched the stain, a faint grainy substance lingering on your hoof. Pulling it back you examined the dark substance.

It was... ash.

Looking over at the saw, you saw a similar stain on the saw's teeth. It was faint, but still present. Didn't the twins have ash coming from their headless stumps?

"What is going on here?"

This would almost indicate that the twins were decapitated here, but how was that possible?


The last suspect you were going to have to question was going to be the most difficult pony to deal with.

Sitting in front of you was Irisa, your faithful maid, or so you believed. Now you were uncertain, her secrets and the events of the evening, filling your mind with doubt.

"Hello Irisa," you greeted.

Upon hearing your greeting, Irisa's eyes which were aloft, now focused on you. With a smile, Irisa bowed her head to you. 'Hello master.'

"Now I have some questions, I need to ask you. Are you ready to answer them?"

'Of course, master.'

"Do you remember what happened before the lights went out?"

Irisa took a deep breath. 'Yes, miss Rarity was trying to talk with me, however I didn't feel comfortable due to the... incident, so I tried to distance myself.'

"I see," you replied, "I'm sorry to hear that."

'You are?' Irisa looked at you, clearly worried that she had somehow offended you.

"Yes, I talked with Rarity earlier," you answered. “She was very concerned for your health after she poked you. She probably feels bad since you've been avoiding her."

Irisa looked down at the table. 'I'm sorry master. Would you like for me to apologize to her?'

For a moment you considered Irisa's inquiry. While you definitely thought that she should apologize, you didn't want her doing it just because you had instructed her to. Such an action could increase Irisa's dependency on you.

"I will leave that decision up to you," you answered, "for now I have some questions I need to ask."

'Yes, master.'

"After the power went out, did you notice anything?"

'I heard a commotion,' Irisa answered, 'after that I heard somepony scream and I panicked.'

"So you fled to the study."

Irisa nodded 'I felt around in the darkness until I found the doorway. I just felt that I needed to get away.'

While you considered this information, a worrying thought occurred to you.

"Did you use your eyes to feel your way to the door?" You asked, remembering Irisa's shadowy appendages.

Irisa looked down at the table, a look of shame stretching across her face. 'Yes.'

Now you were concerned. While you were pleased with Irisa's honesty, you still had no idea what those tendrils could do and the nightmare you had endured the night before, added further to your unease.

Was it possible that Irisa had accidentally decapitated the twins with this ability?

'I'm sorry, master,' Irisa said, clearly noticing your concern.

You shook it off. "No, it's fine. I'm glad you're safe."

Yes, she was safe, but if she did kill the twins, accident or not, how long would you be able to protect her?


You paced around the candle, considering the evidence you had gathered. Who was the one responsible for the death of the twins?

After much consideration you removed Applejack and Rarity from the list of suspects. Despite occasionally being overly dramatic, Rarity was a caring and generous mare who would gladly give the shawl from around her shoulders to help somepony else. The idea of her killing the twins over a disagreement seemed overly drastic.

Not only that but your examination of Filthy Rich's axe showed that despite the entrepreneur's statement, that the axe was just a regular axe. While Applejack was certainly strong enough to wield such an instrument, the injuries the twins had sustained to their necks were that of a magical nature. This indicated that it wasn't the murder weapon and that Applejack as well as the other earth ponies present, were innocent.

That narrowed it down to two suspects, Sunshine Smiles and Trixie. You frowned and shook your head.

No, three suspects. Unfortunately, while she wasn't a unicorn, having learned of Irisa's abilities, meant that she was also capable. If she could communicate through her eyes and manipulate her surroundings with those ethereal limbs, there was no telling what else she could possibly do.

So the suspects were Sunshine, Trixie and Irisa. Three potential magic users, all capable of using their talents to bring the twins' lives to a tragic end.

Then as you considered the evidence you had collected, a sad smile crept across your face. There was only one more piece of evidence you needed to prove your suspicions. Not only was the decapitation of the twins coinciding with Trixie's magic tricks but the ash around the twin's necks and the props linked the case back to her.

"Randolph." You said, coming to a halt.

"Yes, sir?" the butler stood at attention.

"Round up the guests," you answered, "once you have done that, I would like for you to bring me some of the ashes from the twins' bodies."

"Very good, sir."

You took a deep breath as Randolph left the room. Things were about to become tense.


The ponies glanced around the room anxiously and paranoid as you returned to the dining room. It was reasonable after all as far as they were aware, one of their fellow comrades was a murderer and who knew when they might strike again. All of them looked to you for answers. Fortunately you had read enough mystery novels to know how to act off of this.

"Hello, everypony,” you said, as you paced about the room. "Earlier this evening a pair of twins were murdered and one of you is the culprit! The question... is who?"

"Yeah, who?" Spoiled Milk interrupted.

"Hey, quiet!" Sunshine Smiles retorted, "I was enjoying his dialogue."

Spoiled Milk frowned at the other mare's remark.

You smiled. "Don't worry, while I am certain that I know who the murderer is, I thought I would present all the facts while Randolph acquires the last piece of evidence I need to prove who the killer is."

Glancing around the room, you noticed that aside from Irisa, everypony else seemed to be able to keep their composure. Irisa on the other hoof was looking at the floor nervously.

"The truth is, many of you had a reason to want the twins dead," you said, "however, only a few of you possessed the means to kill them."

Once more you looked around the room, seeing if any response or reaction could hint as to who was guilty. Slowly you turned your attention toward Trixie.

"I checked the prop room where the twins would hang out during their stay here and I discovered something interesting. I found some ash, not only on the saw but also on the neck areas of your magic box."

"What are you saying?" Trixie asked, giving you a dirty look.

As you peered into the magicians eyes, something just felt wrong. Yes, she looked angry, but could she really be the killer? Nonetheless, so far the evidence seemed to be pointing that way.

"The axe wasn't what killed the twins, therefore that leaves only magic and if my hunch is correct, the ash on the twins necks will match the ash found in the prop room, which links the twins death to you misses Rich."

Hearing the door to the dining room open, you turned to see Randolph standing there.

"Randolph did you find the ash on the twin's bodies?"

"Ummm... sir, I wasn't able to."

You looked at the butler, a little irritated both by this news. "Why not?"

"The bodies sir," Randolph answered, "they're gone."

"What do you mean?"

Suddenly the sound of something shrieking could be heard, echoing off the walls. The screech made your blood run cold as if a wendigo had breathed into your veins.

Quickly you looked around the room, counting the group you saw that everypony was accounted for... except two. The twins.

"What's that?" Applejack asked, a look of concern on her face.

Another screech echoed through the halls, louder this time. As you heard the horrifying noise, stories of undead ponies began coming to mind, but one in particular stood out.

"Wraiths,” you muttered.

"A what?" Caramel asked.

It was believed in times past before the unification of the tribes that if a pony died a violent death on unholy ground that they might be reanimated as undead that would hunt the living, avenging their deaths by causing other ponies to share their fates. If what Filthy Rich said about his father studying the occult was true, then it was possible that this house might be considered "unholy ground," and with the twins being murdered, it was possible that there was not one but two wraiths now stalking the premises.

When being hunted by a wraith, there was only one thing you could do to survive.

"Mister Rich, is there someplace more secure in your house?" you asked.

"There is a panic room connected to my study," Filthy Rich answered, "why?"

From what you could recall reading about wraiths, they would continue to reside in the area of their death until sunrise. If that was the case and these were truly wraiths, then there was hope that you and everyone here could survive. You would just need to stay safe until morning.

"If that is what I think it is," you replied, "then we need to get everypony in there, right now."

"But what about the killer?" Spoiled Milk protested.

The sound of a third haunting cry echoed throughout the halls. It was drawing closer.

"Something tells me that the killer is the least of our concerns, darling," Rarity said.

Cautiously everypony followed Filthy Rich out into the hallway, moving toward the steps so that we could ascend to the second floor. As Filthy Rich, Trixie and Randolph led the way, the others followed with Irisa and you taking up the rear. Another screech could be heard in the distance.

Suddenly out from the corridor stepped a terrible monstrosity. It possessed the headless body of one of the twins, a ball of violet flame flickering from the severed stump. The creature stood there, separating the rest of the group from you and Irisa. With its head raised high, the creature let out a terrifying, ear piercing screech.

There was a brief glance between you and the rest of the group that had made it up the stairs. It became very clear that you and Irisa were cut off.

"Run Sugarcube!" Applejack called out.

As the monster let out another terrifying cry, Irisa and you fled, the sound of hooves hitting the floor behind you. Looking forward you saw an open door.

"There!"

Running into the room, you found yourselves in the kitchen. Looking around you saw a door that you were sure led to the dining room. Running over to it, you tried to open it; however, it was locked.

"It's locked!"

'Over here, master!' Irisa exclaimed.

Trotting over to Irisa, you saw her sliding open a metal door in the wall with one of her shadowy appendages. It was a dumbwaiter. Seeing this you were surprised you hadn't noticed it before. Amazing!

"How did you know this was here?"

'I learned about it in one of the books in your collection.'

Looking inside the dumbwaiter, you knew that it would be cramped but that both you and Irisa could fit inside.

"Let me help you up."

'No, you should go ahead, master.'

As much as you wanted to argue with her, the thud on the kitchen door, alerted you to the headless ghoul's presence. With haste you pulled yourself into the dumbwaiter.

"Alright, climb in!"

Irisa was about to pull herself in when the kitchen door slammed open A shriek filled the air as the monstrosity entered the room. The creature's neck swaying back and forth, the violet flame spouted forth, illuminating the room. Irisa looked at the monster and back to you, her many eyes opened wide with surprise before suddenly a calm expression stretched across her face, the corners of her lips lifting into a smile as she stepped backwards.

"Irisa what are you doing?"

'Take care, master.' Her voice was closed off as her shadowy claw slammed the metal door shut. As the door closed you could hear gears moving and grinding as the dumbwaiter began to descend.

"Irisa!"

You couldn't hear Irisa from behind the door. All you could hear was the turning gears and another loud shriek.

As the dumbwaiter descended there was a jolt and suddenly the box began to fall. Metal scratching on metal as you plummeted into the depths.

Fear gripped your heart, both for Irisa's safety and your own as you drew near to your fate.

The container lurched as it crashed to a sudden halt, causing your head to slam into the metal wall and you saw no more.

"It wonders the halls, a beast with eight tails and twelve legs. Strands of wire link all it ensnares to its talons. Its prey, helpless and bound. With its fangs it fills the rooms."
-Scribbles on a White Wall