• Published 24th Oct 2020
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Danganronpa: In Harmony's Wake - Dewdrops on the Grass



Trapped on a cruise ship with fifteen others, all with lost memories, Sunset Shimmer struggles to survive a killing game orchestrated by a mysterious being only known as Monoponi. Post Season Nine FIM. Now complete!

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Chapter One: Forgotten Dreams on the Ocean Breeze Part 1

Chapter One:

Forgotten Dreams On The Ocean Breeze

Daily Life Part 1

DING-DONG BING-BONG

“Your attention please! This is an announcement from your ship’s captain! It is now 8:00 AM! The shops are open for business, and the weather is fine. Please enjoy another beautiful ocean day!”

I blearily opened my eyes, wrenching myself up into a sitting position. My vision swam, head aching like a bongo drum. I didn’t sleep well at all. Snatches of memories from last night came to my mind as I stood up to visit the bathroom.

Everyone had fallen into a deep seated feeling of fear and melancholy, given the situation. Held hostage, the only way out being given to us was to kill another person and try and get away with it… of course, I knew it wouldn’t be that simple. Whoever was behind this wasn’t likely to let us get away with it. And I tried to tell them last night. I remembered all too well.

~*~

“Listen to me, everyone,” I called out, silencing the cries of sadness and anger of the crowd. “I understand you’re afraid. I am too. I’m terrified. But we can’t give into this. It’s what Monoponi, or the person behind him, wants us to do.”

“And why should we listen to you, huh?” Rainbow growled as she kept Fluttershy firmly behind her for protection. “That Monoponi freak seemed to know you. And you knew what this was before he even announced it!”

I scoffed, rolling my eyes. “Yeah, that’s because I’ve played the games this jerk is basing this on. Danganronpa. It’s a series of visual novels, with the exact same premise: a group of sixteen people trapped somewhere, told their only escape is to kill each other. And every time someone murders someone, they’re caught. That’s the whole point. Monoponi doesn’t want you to escape! He wants us to kill each other and suffer for it!”

“Oh please,” Adagio sneered, pointing an accusing finger at me. “You’re the only one here who’s even heard of this Dangan whatever thing! And you heard what he said! One of us is a traitor! And it’s probably you!”

“What?!” I cried out as my body tensed, fists balling up ready to give this bitch a fight. “Did you not hear a word I just said? I was telling you all not to kill! If I was a traitor, why would I do that?”

“It is true that she strikes me as suspicious,” Twilight Sparkle added, glaring at me from behind her glasses. “After all, Sunset, you did say you ‘knew’ about Monoponi being, well, a pony. Care to explain?”

“Oh would you stop pestering the poor girl?” Rarity interjected before I could say another word. “She’s done nothing wrong! Why, as soon as she came out of her cabin she’s done nothing but be helpful, trying to discover what’s going on.”

Trixie threw her arms out in a dramatic pose. “And Trixie finds that all the more suspicious! No one else was searching the ship! Only Sunset was looking for us!”

“Actually, mah sister and Ah were searching too--” Applejack said.

“Quiet, apple farmer!” Diamond Tiara ordered, glowering fiercely at the older woman. Applejack returned her glare with equal malice. “No one cares what you think.”

Fluttershy timidly raised a hand. “But, she was… nice to me. She apologized for scaring me. Why would she do that if she were a… traitor?”

“Simple manipulative tactics, of course,” Wallflower Blush spoke up. “Get us to trust her by being all nice, then she stabs us in the back when it’s convenient.”

“Now hold on just one minute!” Apple Bloom interjected with a slam of her boot on the metal deck. “Don’t y'all realize what yer doin’? Yer takin’ that Monoponi guy at his word! Why should we believe a thing he said? How do we know he ain’t lyin’ about there being a traitor?”

“We don’t,” Flash Sentry answered. “I agree with Apple Bloom. Sunset’s done nothing to suggest she’s suspicious at all.”

“I disagree,” Twilight retorted. “She still hasn’t explained herself regarding the pony thing. None of us have ever seen a pony like that before today, but she knew what he was before he said a word. Why?”

Oh for pony’s sake. I mean, pete’s sake. Ugh. “Look, that’s really hard to explain…” I said, my confidence waning.

Adagio took a few steps forward, her eyes full of malice. “Then get to it.”

I cringed back, taking a few steps back and almost immediately bumped into the wall of the bridge tower. Everyone crowded around me, waiting impatiently. “Well?!” Trixie barked. “Trixie does not have all evening! Explain!”

I held up my hands in surrender. “Fine! I’ll explain! But don’t blame me if you don’t believe it.” I took in a deep breath and let it out slowly, gathering my thoughts. “There’s another world out there, parallel to ours. It’s called Equestria, and instead of humans it’s populated by magical ponies. Unicorns, pegasi, Earth ponies. And--”

“What a load of bullshit!” Rainbow intervened, shaking her fist at me. “You expect us to believe that? I’ve given better excuses to teachers for losing my homework! And my excuses suck!”

“But you just saw one using magic!” I protested, all but screaming in her face.

“No we didn’t,” Twilight Sparkle said, adjusting her glasses. “We saw a few special effects including both sound and visual, all easily explained by robotics and computer engineering. Nothing magical at all. Magic doesn’t exist.”

“Ah’m not too sure about that… Ah usually have a good sense for when someone’s tellin a fib or tellin the truth,” Applejack said, pushing her way through the crowd to stand beside me. “And while Ah dunno if Ah believe in magic, Sunset’s been doin’ nothin’ but tell the truth this whole time. Ah trust her.”

“Me too!” Apple Bloom chimed in, moving to stand on my other side.

Flash also joined them. “Yeah I dunno if I believe in magic either, but let’s give Sunset the benefit of the doubt, okay? Until we see her doing something wrong, all we’re doing is giving in to panic and fear.”

“Absolutely, you’re right darling!” Rarity agreed, both she and Sweetie moving to stand with us. “Sunset was nothing but kind to me when we awoke. I don’t see why we should persecute her now, even if her story is a bit difficult to believe.”

Fluttershy took a huge breath, then clumsily, trembling the whole way, walked up to stand beside us. “S-she was nice to me. I-I’m going to be n-nice to her and t-trust her, until she gives me a reason to feel otherwise.”

Rainbow Dash gasped, staring at her with a shocked look on her face. “What? Fluttershy, c’mon!”

“Sorry, Rainbow Dash, b-but I’m sure.”

Pinkie Pie hopped from one foot to the other in place, “Oooooh nooo, this is no good! We shouldn’t be fighting! I’m with Sunny too! She’s been nice so far!” She bounced over to us, her hair seeming to inflate again, just a tad.

“So. We’re split, then,” Wallflower said, arms crossed.

After a moment, Adagio--Adagio, of all people--heaved a sigh and stood with us as well. “Sorry, but no. It’s nine to seven.”

“Wait, what?” My eyebrows shot to the top of my head. “You were just leading the charge against me!”

“And now I’m not. Are you complaining?” Adagio favored me with a calculated look.

I held up my hands and shook them in surrender. “No, no, I’m cool with it. Thanks. All of you, thank you.”

“Fine, so it’s nine to seven then. What do we do?” Wallflower asked in a snarl.

Twilight raised a hand, while using her other to adjust her glasses again. “I would like to volunteer to watch Sunset. I’ll stay with her, keep an eye on her. If she shows any sign of deceit, I’ll let you know. I believe my room is right across from hers anyway, so it should be easy enough.”

“Okay, sure, that’s cool,” I agreed, just wanting all of this over with. “I don’t mind hanging out with you.”

“Alright,” Wallflower agreed. “But if she does anything, you tell us straight away.”

~*~

After that we all just broke away from each other, the nighttime announcement went off, and I decided to just head to bed. I couldn’t blame them one bit for being doubtful. I sure wouldn’t believe my story if I didn’t know it was true. What I didn’t understand was why Adagio suddenly changed sides. What was her deal, anyway? Acting all rude to everyone, then suddenly being nice to me?

Whatever, I thought as I hurtled myself into the shower. The hot spray of water helped me wake up somewhat. I finished quickly, used a hairdryer I found in the bathroom cabinet under the sink, and then dressed in a clean copy of my usual outfit. They’d even duplicated the jacket, of all things, right down to the patches.

As I finished dressing, shoving my Monopad roughly into my jacket pocket, I heard several loud raps on my door. “Coming!” I grumbled, throwing open the door.

Twilight was on the other side, favoring me with a cool look. “Good morning, Sunset. I’m here to accompany you. Everyone else is gathering in the food court for breakfast.”

Right on cue my stomach let out several loud gurgles. “Thank goodness. I’m starving,” I said, holding my hands to my stomach. “I could go for just about anything right now.”

I saw the corner of her mouth twitch briefly in amusement. Oh good, she’s not completely stone cold. “Me too,” she agreed. “Shall we?”

“Let’s.”

We made our way down the corridor to the promenade entryway. Now that I was looking specifically at the restaurants, I decided to check my choices. Just about every type of cuisine was on offer, from sushi to Amareican to Qilin and anything else you can imagine. All of it was automated, just like Monoponi said. I watched Rainbow Dash walk up to the counter of “Joe’s Coffee and Donuts” and pick something from a screen, held up her Monopad to the sensor, then a few machines whirred and out popped her order from a slot on the counter, a large coffee, eggs, and bacon, plus a donut, all on a tray.

I shrugged, and decided to make my way over to Sushi King, and ordered a plate. Once we had our food we went to sit at the tables with everyone else.

The atmosphere practically thrummed with tension, not so much thick as you could cut it with a knife so much as you’d need a chainsaw. Everyone was quiet, withdrawn, leaning away from others sitting at the same table, except the pair of sisters and Dash and Shy of course. Shy was practically sitting in Dash’s lap, she was so close.

As I sat down and started to eat in silence, Adagio scooted her chair over to mine. “Sunset,” she said in greeting.

“Hi,” I said, not really looking at her. I was too hungry to pay much attention.

With a raised eyebrow and a smirk she gave me a moment to swallow what was in my mouth before saying, “I’d like to speak with you after breakfast. Without your chaperone, if you don’t mind.”

“Ahem,” Twilight cleared her throat, glaring at Adagio over her glasses. “I believe I’m supposed to be watching Sunset because she’s under suspicion. Asking for a private meeting just raises even more suspicion.”

Adagio pointedly rolled her eyes with an exaggerated motion. “We’ll go into a quiet corner, you can watch us, we won’t exchange notes or do anything that’ll bother your pretty little head. I just need to ask her something privately.

“Fine. But I will be watching.”

I raised a hand as if to protest, then dropped it. “Sure. Fine,” I grumbled.

DING-DONG BING-BONG

“Uuugh, what now?”

We all turned as a group to face the closest screens to us. I found myself gripping the table hard as I waited to hear what Monoponi had to say.

He appeared on the screen laying in an Equestrian designed chair, with the background of a cruise line bridge behind him. Before him was a table laden with goodies, including hay fries and carrot dogs, two things I’d not seen since coming to the human world. More obvious proof whoever was behind this was Equestrian, then. Floating in his magic, right up by his lips, was a snifter of brandy.

“Ahem! This is an official announcement from your ship’s captain. All passengers, please assemble before the bridge tower immediately! You have five minutes to comply!”

“Aww man, I didn’t even get to start my doughnut!” Rainbow Dash whined as she dropped her fork to her plate with a clatter.

“You can always finish your food later, c’mon!” Scootaloo cried out as we all got up to head out. I was just as unhappy as Dash as I trudged through the corridors to the bridge deck.

Monoponi was already waiting for us, posing like a complete jerk as if we were supposed to worship him or something. “Good!” he barked once we assembled. “You’re prompt.”

Trixie pointed a finger at him. “Well, obviously Trixie would be on time, because Trixie doesn’t want to die!”

“Details, details!” Monoponi shouted, throwing up his forehooves. “Nevermind that.” His tone turned saccharine and mocking. “Did you sleep well last night? Have a good breakfast?”

“Did you just ask us here to make fun of us?” Scootaloo groaned, slapping a hand to her face. “Because it’s not funny.”

“It is to me! Upupupu… but no! I did not just ask you here to make fun of you, as hilarious as that is!”

I stepped forward, thrust out my arm, and asked, “Then why? What is it this time?”

Monoponi pointed one forehoof straight at my head. “Oh, you mean you don’t already know? But Sunset, you of all people should!” He let out a dramatic gasp. “Oh no, am I making you seem even more suspicious to everyone now?!”

I do know what it’s about, jerk. I just want to hear you say it. I crossed my arms and fired off my hardest glare directly into his crimson pony eyes.

For a good two or three minutes we kept this standoff going, till finally Monoponi gagged in disgust. “Fine! Fine, if you won’t tell them, I will. It’s the captain’s duty, anyway. Ahem. So, you idiots remember what I said last night, about someone being responsible for you being here?”

“Uh, duh, of course we remember,” Sweetie groaned. “That’s why everyone was being a jerk to Sunset.”

“What about it?” Flash asked, holding a hand to his chin.

Monoponi fluttered up into the air off the balcony and down onto the deck with us, landing with a mighty slam! Everyone screamed, backing up away from him as he cackled at us. “Look at you, running because of a cute little pony like me, when you’re all so much bigger than I am! Ahahaha!” He let us quiver in fear for a moment before continuing. “So! As part of being your Captain for this wonderful ocean voyage, I get the lovely task of presenting you with activities! Events! Fun times! In this case, it takes the form of motives!”

“A motive? You mean for murder,” Twilight said as she shivered. She was the closest to Monoponi besides myself and she clearly didn’t like it.

“Yes, for murder, you nitwit! Aren’t you supposed to be the smart one?” Monoponi retorted, frantically stomping his hooves in her general direction.

Twilight yelped and fell back in shock. I caught her before she hit the ground and gently set her on the deck. “Careful there, Twi.”

Her cheeks flushed with pink. “Thanks.”

“Hey! I’m talking to you two!” Monoponi screamed, clopping at us all the harder. “Pay attention!” He ceased moving and took a moment to clear his throat. “Now then, the motive. As I stated last night, someone among you is partially responsible for your predicament. How, you might ask? It’s really quite simple.” He stood up on his hind legs, held his forehooves high and spread his wings out to the furthest extent possible. “You have all had your memories taken away!”

“What?!”

“No way!”

“Missing memories?! What do you mean?!”

“Huh?!”

“Trixie cannot believe this! Trixie is missing no memories at all!”

“You’d better own up to what you mean right this second, ya varmint!”

Everyone exploded into talking at all once to where I couldn’t hardly make out who was saying what. But my mind was racing. My memory is missing! That’s why I can’t remember who saved me from being that demon! Or who became my friends in high school! Or even how we got here! No wonder my head was reeling when I first woke up!

A sudden loud fwheet! quieted everyone down long enough for Flash Sentry to call out, “Cool it, everybody! Let Monoponi explain!” He turned to face the pony, who was still posing like some kind of weird statue. “What memories did you take away from us?”

“I? I did no such thing! It was one of you who did it! One of you had the power to remove your memories. As for what, well… upupupupupupu!” Monoponi quivered in glee as he laughed over and over in that stupid little laugh of his. “That’s what makes it a motive! You’ll have to find out! And how might you find out, you ask? Well. Well, well, well. You have to succeed in a Rescue Attempt of course!”

Of course. There it was. The carrot for everyone to chase after pointlessly, till they make a mistake and get beaten with the stick. Or execution, in this case. I didn’t believe him for a second that one of us was responsible. As far as I was aware, from what I could remember of my readings in Equestria, memory modification was extremely rare, powerful magic, far beyond anything anyone save an alicorn or Starswirl the Bearded might be able to pull off.

Then again maybe that’s the point. Maybe I was supposed to think that, because he took away my memory of the real way it could have been done! Ugh, this was so frustrating! My head started aching once more as I tried to force myself to think, to remember anything about the things I knew had been taken away, but all I accomplished was making myself dizzy and cross-eyed. It just wasn’t there. It was gone. And he probably left me with just enough memory of what I’d lost, so I’d have a reason to leave. A reason to kill.

Like I was going to fall for that. But one of the others might. My gaze panned over the crowd, as I saw everyone murmuring to themselves about this or that, things they might’ve forgotten. Probably most of them had no idea what was missing, which would scare them even more.

Maybe this is part of why we were chosen, this group. Maybe we had a connection once, all of us, and we just forgot? The memory of friendships taken away? I could see it, at least with a couple of them. Rarity sure seemed nice enough. Maybe we were friends once?

I probably wasn’t going to find out anytime soon. No point speculating. It’d just be wasted mental energy. I decided I needed to focus instead on keeping these people from succumbing to this motive. It was just more fuel to the fire. They were already desperate. These people weren’t like teenagers who just had school to worry about. A lot of them had jobs, incomes, responsibilities they needed to get back to. Families to feed. People to care for.

Was one of them already planning to kill, even now?

“So what’re you saying then?” Diamond Tiara spoke up, breaking me out of my reverie. “That if we kill someone, you’ll give us our memories back?”

“Absolutely!” Monoponi responded with glee, stomping his hooves on the metal deck in an Equestrian version of a clap. “If you kill someone and get away with it, I’ll give you back your memories! Every last one of them!”

“But how can we know it’s even worth it?” Applejack wondered, scratching her head. “Ah mean, if we don’t know what we forgot?”

“Applejack!” Rarity screeched, whirling on the farmer and getting up in her face. “Surely you’re not considering killing someone!”

“Of course Ah ain’t!” Applejack retorted, getting right up in her face too till they were mere inches apart. “What do you take me for, some kinda country bumpkin? Just cause Ah got an accent don’t mean Ah’m stupid!”

“I never said you were! I just don’t want you to hurt someone and get your sister killed in the process!”

“Ah already know Apple Bloom would die if Ah was lucky enough to kill someone and get away with it! Ah told you, Ah ain’t stupid!”

Sweetie Belle and Apple Bloom ran over and grabbed their respective sisters by the arm, pulling them apart. “Hey, Rarity, calm down! It’s okay, jeez!” Sweetie said.

“Applejack, it ain’t worth it, quit arguin’ with her,” Apple Bloom added.

Rarity huffed once, huffed again, then reeled back and relaxed, like a whole wave passing through her body. “Of course, darling. I apologize.”

Applejack hissed, ripping her arm back from her sister and working it in circles a few times before letting it settle to her side. “Sure, alright, sorry. Didn’t mean to pop off on you.”

“Oooh, too bad!” Monoponi cut in, his horn lit, magic enveloping a tub of popcorn he’d pulled from out of nowhere and started stuffing down his throat in messy bunches. “It was just getting good! Ah well!” He zapped the popcorn back to the aether or whatever and flew back up onto the balcony. “In any case, you all have your motive now! I look forward to seeing what you choose to do with it! Bye bye!”

With that, he vanished back into the bridge tower, leaving us standing there shell shocked, the air rife with fear. You could smell it, the stink was so pungent. Wafting up from each of us as we stood there, trying to process what he’d told us.

But no. I wasn’t going to let this stand. I had to give this whole speech thing at least one more try. “Listen up everyone!” I stamped my foot several times for attention, drawing everyone’s gazes to me. When they fell upon me, with those empty, terrified eyes, my confidence almost flickered out, like a candle in the wind. I took a moment to pause and gather my thoughts, then rustled up what was left to speak. “I know you’re scared now. I am too. Losing our memories? The very idea shakes me to the core.” I squeezed my right hand into a fist and held it up high. “But I’m not going to let that fear drive me into lashing out. I’m not going to give in. This is exactly what he wants. He wants us afraid. He wants us desperate. He wants us to commit murder just to know what he stole from us. We shouldn’t lash out on each other just because we’re too afraid to give up on what we’ve forgotten!”

I held my fist to my breast, tears welling up in my eyes, but I refused to let them fall. “I know I’ve forgotten a lot already. There’s gaps in my memories, some of them years apart. Important people have been stolen out of my mind and all I can remember is that I can’t remember them! I know they exist, but I don’t know their faces, their names. The sound of their voice. I know that’s been stolen away, and that hurts.”

I twisted my face into an expression of rage. “And the only one I should be angry at for this? The only one who deserves to suffer for this? It isn’t one of you.” I thrust out my arm to point at the bridge tower behind me. “It’s him! He did this to us.”

“Oh would you just shut up?”

The harsh words sliced straight through what was left of my confidence, cleaving it in two and tossing it away like refuse. Everyone whirled to see Wallflower Blush pointing her own finger at me, her expression just as furious as mine had been moments before. “Did you forget already? Are you that stupid? He told us there was a traitor! He told us one of us did this! Not him! How can you stand there and try to give us some inspirational speech if you can’t even keep your ears cleaned out for long enough to pay attention to what someone actually says?!”

“B-b-but, what if he was lying?” Trixie spoke up, her words mushy and uncertain. “W-we don’t know if we can trust him! Trixie does not think we should!”

“Oh please,” Wallflower retorted, the force of her words alone sending Trixie reeling into dead silence once more. “There’s no reason for him to lie. And before you say it, Sunset, I know what you’re going to say. ‘Oh, he’s just saying this to make us kill each other! Oh, he’s just lying!’ Bullshit!” She clenched a fist hard and sent it slamming into a nearby wall with loud metal clang, startling several others into yelping in fright at the sudden sound. “I don’t believe he was lying for a second. Why should he, when the truth would work just as well? I don’t know which of you was responsible for stealing our memories, but if I ever figure out which one of you did it?”

She held up two fingers then ran them across her neck, before letting her hand drop. “I think you get the point. Excuse me.”

Wallflower trudged away, leaving us all to stew in our own hopelessness. Any chance I had to inspire this crowd was gone. I’d failed, badly. I slumped to the floor, the tears I’d been holding back dripping down my cheeks.

Author's Note:

Characterization becomes very interesting when people no longer remember their friends, don't you think? Those who are naturally charismatic or extroverted might be able to recover easily, still be their normal selves, even rekindle friendships, but those who aren't, well... they might be feeling bitter. Especially if the memories of the only friends they'd ever had were stripped away, leaving them with nothing but years of loneliness.

Wallflower is not doing well, is what I'm saying. (And seriously girl, trying to start a scrum debate now? Wait for the trial, sheesh.)

Also, the parts do get longer after this. The first two parts you'll see today and on Saturday were once one, but I felt they were just too long when combined, so I split them up into two of about 4500 words. (And then of course a later part ends up being 9000 words anyway, and it can't be split up. Go figure.) Well, that, and another reason, but... spoilers.:trollestia:

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