• Published 24th Oct 2020
  • 3,950 Views, 1,561 Comments

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!

  • ...
14
 1,561
 3,950

PreviousChapters Next
Chapter Four: Passing in the Night Part 5

Chapter Four:
Passing in the Night
Deadly Life

A blood-curdling scream erupted from Rarity’s throat as she beheld the body. Thankfully this time she didn’t pass out, though she did stumble before finding a place to sit down on the bleachers, holding her face in one hand while her other hand clutched her stomach.

Trixie took one look at Rainbow Dash’s body and I saw her heart visibly sink into the floor as she crumpled into a seat next to Rarity, leaning against the seamstress for support.

“Rainbow Dash, wake up!” I heard Scootaloo say as she knelt by the body, her pant legs soaked in blood, shaking Rainbow’s arms. Tears streamed down her face like a broken dam. “Please, wake up, damn it! You can’t be dead! You can’t be!”

“God, why did this happen?” Flash moaned as he stuffed his hands in his pockets, shaking in what presumably was cold. I noticed his skin looked paler than normal, his face even more gaunt and haggard. He was leaning against the green go-kart, which I hadn’t noticed was parked nearby. There was a large dent in one side, near the nose.

Applejack leaned down by Scootaloo, wrapping a hand gently around Scootaloo’s small shoulder. “She’s gone, sugarcube. Let her go.”

Scootaloo stood, still crying, letting out an angry wail to the heavens. “God damn it!” she screamed, before falling to her rump. She beat her fists on the asphalt of the track. “Damn it..."

“Jeez,” Tiara muttered, gaping at the scene. “That’s a lot of blood.”

Adagio, spotting me, worked her way over, her hand snaking out to grab mine. “I’m glad it wasn’t you,” she murmured in a near whisper. “When I saw you weren’t one of the ones who found the body, I--”

I squeezed her hand gently. “It took me by surprise too.”

“Who do you think did it?” she asked me, glancing at the crowd.

“Wasn’t me, Rarity, or Trixie, but other than that, who knows?” I shrugged. “That’s what the investigation is for.”

As if on cue, Monoponi flashed into existence. His usual pomp and circumstance were abandoned in favor of him tiredly trudging about on all four hooves, still wearing the sleeping cap. I noted that for some odd reason he was cradling a plushie of some sort under one wing, possibly a pony, though I couldn’t make out any details before it suddenly disappeared in a flurry of sparks. “Good, you’re all here,” he said as he stood before us, right in front of the body. “Couldn’t you have had the decency to wait until morning to find this body? Your Captain needs his sleep as much as anyone, you know!”

“Damn it, Monoponi!” Flash burst out, pointing at him with one hand. “Why didn’t you show up after the crash, huh? She was trapped in the kart! I couldn’t get her out! If I’d been able to get her out she wouldn’t be dead right now!”

“And I’m supposed to care why, exactly?” Monoponi retorted. He zapped Flash’s arm with magic that surged up his arm and all the way into his head, knocking him dizzy. “The safety system kept her safe from further harm. It did its job. If she died, that’s the fault of the blackened!”

Flash groaned, groping at his head before shaking off the dizzy spell. “But the rules of the go-kart track say--”

“I know what the rules say! I wrote them!” Monoponi retorted, fluttering his wings in frustration. “Be quiet before I do more than make you dizzy! I have no patience for any of you idiots right now. I need some coffee.” His horn lit up and burst out a jet of light, causing our Monopads to bleep. “You know what to do. Get it done! Monoponi out.” He disappeared in another flash of light.

“Wow. No preamble, none of his usual chatter,” Tiara said, shaking her head. “He’s probably not the only one who’ll need some coffee. We all will.”

“It’s going to be a long night, isn’t it?” Flash asked glumly. He looked over at the crashed kart and winced at the sight of Rainbow’s corpse.

I nodded, already regretting my indulgence in the champagne. Good thing we didn’t have anything harder. I doubt I’d be able to concentrate worth a damn right now otherwise. “Someone should go do a coffee run.”

“I’ll do it,” Adagio said. “I was alone in my cabin, so I had nothing to do with the murder.”

“I’m going with you,” Tiara snorted. “No one goes by themselves. Not gonna let any evidence be destroyed. Sunset, find someone to guard the body, will you?”

“Yes ma’am,” I muttered, tossing off a sarcastic salute. “Not like we have many people left who can do it now.”

“Allow me to volunteer,” Rarity said immediately with her hand raised. “I was with Sunset and Trixie. We all know I’m innocent.”

Trixie looked up, her face pale and haggard, looking even worse than she had before I encouraged her to eat again. “Trixie will also guard the body,” she murmured.

“Ah don’t think so!” Applejack declared, stomping one boot on the asphalt. “Ah ain’t about to trust you as far as Ah can throw you, and Ah’ll bet Ah could toss you a pretty long way.”

Trixie recoiled, shrinking back, but then suddenly managed to compose herself, and glared directly at the farmer. “Trixie can’t even get around without crutches. It would be a waste of time for Trixie to do anything else.”

“Hmm…” Applejack glared at the illusionist. “Fine. But Ah’m warnin’ you now. You mess up this investigation and--”

“If she does that she’ll die with the rest of us,” Rarity intervened, thrusting out an arm to shield Trixie from them. “She’s not stupid. So back off. Ruffian.”

The farmer let out a quiet curse, taking a step back. “Fine.”

Trixie worked her jaw, her eyes full of confidence as she strode forward to stand near the body. “Trixie is sorry for your loss, Scootaloo,” she said.

Scootaloo glared her way, a frown twisted up on her face. “Thanks,” she murmured.

Well I’m sure we won’t have any problems during this investigation, I mused, shaking my head. I hope Adagio gets here with that coffee soon. Time to get to work.

I pulled out my Monopad to consult the Monoponi file.

Fact #1: Monoponi File IV: “The victim is Rainbow Dash, the Ultimate Athlete. Approximate time of death is between 8:30 PM and 9:30 PM. The victim has several injuries, including a cerebral hematoma, multiple contusions on both arms, and severe lacerations to the back of both knees. Toxicology reports no poisons or drugs apart from caffeine.”

Okay, so she was in a crash. The Monoponi file confirms that. I looked over at Flash, who was still leaning against his kart. He’d take off his helmet and knee and shoulder pads, placing them into the kart itself. I should talk to him first, before I investigate the body. “Hey, Flash,” I said as I walked up to him. “Mind if I ask you some questions?”

“Sure, sure, whatever you need,” he said, nodding his head. A shiver ran through his whole body, causing him to stumble for a moment. “Sorry, I think I’m still shaken from the crash.”

“About that,” I said, “what exactly happened during this crash?”

“Uh, well, Rainbow and I were racing go-karts, by ourselves. We’d been neck and neck over the last several races, and she said she was tired of losing. So we held one last race, right?” Flash’s face flushed a light pink, which stood out extra bright against his paler than normal skin. “We were coming up on the final turn, and Rainbow Dash decided to take it on the inside, like you kept doing this morning. I think I lost focus, because I twitched my hands with the steering wheel. Next thing I know I’m crashing into her, and her kart smashed into the wall, then she tumbled over and over.”

“Were you injured?” I interrupted, looking him over. “You don’t look too good.”

“I’m fine,” he murmured, waving a dismissive hand. “I wasn’t hurt. Just bruised. I think. Anyway, I got out of my kart, and I found Rainbow Dash upside down. She was shouting at me to help her get out, screaming something about her knees ‘hurting like a bitch.’ She was bleeding, a lot, and kept getting paler by the minute. I tried to get her out, but the damned safety system kicked in and she was stuck. So I told her to wait. I went and found Scootaloo and Applejack, and brought them back to help, but by the time we got back…”

“She was dead,” I finished for him.

Fact #2: Flash Sentry’s Account: “According to Flash, he and Rainbow were holding one final race near the end of the night. During the race, Flash’s fatigue caused him to twitch with his steering wheel, and he and Rainbow Dash crashed into each other. Rainbow had been in the process of taking a very sharp turn, and hit the wall, tumbling over and over until she came to a halt upside down. He tried to free her, but the security system wouldn’t let him, so he ran for help until he found Applejack and Scootaloo.”

“Yeah.” Flash Sentry sniffled, tears welling up in his eyes. “I don’t know why. The crash shouldn’t have killed her. These karts don’t go that fast, and they’ve got rolling cages and we have all this safety equipment.” He looked right at me, and with both hands grabbed one of mine, holding it tight. “You don’t think I did this, do you? I, I would never!”

I pulled his hand in so I could give him a hug. Flash, you’re such a softie. No wonder Twilight fell for you. “Of course you wouldn't, Flash. I know that. I'm just... worried it might've been an accident. I'll keep that in mind as I investigate, okay?"

“Okay,” he murmured. He withdrew from my embrace and squeezed my hand. “You’re a good person, Sunset. I know I’ve doubted you off and on, but you are.”

Before I could give a good answer to that, Adagio and Diamond Tiara returned with the coffees, passing them out one by one. Adagio gave me mine last, and I thanked her as I took a good few gulps of the hot fluid. The black bitter taste washed down my throat, burning out the buzz of alcohol still trembling within me. Not as good as a night’s sleep, but it’d do for now. “Ready to help me check the body?”

“Always,” Adagio chuckled. She pulled out a couple of pairs of gloves for us, and we slipped them on.

I approached the body, trying my best to avoid the pool of blood. It wasn’t easy, having spread out in a large puddle underneath the entire kart. Finally I gave up, and gently stepped in it, hoping I’d get a chance to change my shoes before the trial.

Close up, the very first thing I noticed was that, though she was wearing all of the other usual safety equipment, Rainbow Dash’s helmet was missing. Where did it go? We’ll have to search for it.

Fact #3: Body Condition: “The body was found trapped upside down in a go-kart, unable to be removed. She was wearing all requisite safety equipment except for the helmet, which was missing.”

I then examined her face, noticing, curiously, it was frozen into a smile, not a look of pain. Weird. Wonder why. Using my gloved hands carefully, I moved Rainbow’s head around, noticing her skin wasn’t just pale. It was ghost white, which given the amount of blood on the ground wasn’t that surprising. Maybe she bled out. But how? I further examined her body, noticing a large bruise on her forehead, just above her left eye. “She must’ve hit her head on the rolling bar,” Adagio said, wincing in sympathy. “But that wouldn’t’ve killed her.”

“No, it wouldn’t have. Flash said she was talking afterwards. At most it would’ve been a mild concussion.” As my eyes scanned the body, I noted with great interest just how thoroughly bloodstained it was. The stains were concentrated around her hips and legs, and blood had washed its way down her torso and past her arms. Some had soaked into her hair, leaving it a sticky mess. Though the blood covered most of them up, I did notice a number of bruises on Rainbow’s arms.

*Updated* Fact #3: Body Condition: “The body was found trapped upside down in a go-kart, unable to be removed. She was wearing all requisite safety equipment except for the helmet, which was missing. Her complexion was pale and waxy, her skin almost ghostly white. A large bruise had formed over her left eye, where her head had struck the go-kart’s rolling bar. Most of her lower body was bloodstained, especially her legs, torso, and arms, where it had flowed onto the ground.”

“The Monoponi file mentioned lacerations to the knee, and Flash said she was screaming about them too,” I said, backing away from the body. “But we can’t see them while she’s upside down. We’ll need to turn the kart over. Carefully.”

“Did you two need some help with that?” Scootaloo asked, who’d been quietly chatting with Applejack.

“Yes, please,” I said, gesturing to the cart.

“Ah’ll help too, if you don’t mind,” Applejack interjected, with a brief glare Trixie’s way.

Together, the four of us lifted the cart and, with some grunting and heavy straining on my part, we managed to set it back on its wheels. The instant they touched the ground, I heard a loud click from the kart, and the safety bar and seatbelt undid themselves. “What the hell?” Scootaloo said, throwing up her hands in disbelief, a couple of fresh tears coming to her eyes. “All we had to do was turn the cart over t-to get her out?!”

“If I’d known that, I would’ve done it!” Flash shouted, a surge of anger compelling him to smash a fist into his kart, almost spilling his coffee in the process. “God damn it!”

“Hold on, y’all,” Applejack said, holding up a hand. “We can’t be sure that would’ve saved her. Let Sunset examine the body.” She glanced up at Flash and frowned. “‘Sides, you might be strong, Flash, but Ah doubt you could’ve lifted this kart on your own. These ones are heavier than normal. Prolly all the safety stuff they put in ‘em.”

With a nod to Adagio, I approached the body again. Carefully, very carefully, we pulled Rainbow Dash out by her arms, and set her corpse down on the ground. I felt up and down her torso, abdomen, and legs on the front. “Where’s her Monopad?” I wondered. “She should’ve had it on her, right?”

“Maybe the culprit took it?” Trixie suggested. She withered under the glares fired her way from everyone save Rarity and myself. “Sorry, Trixie will be quiet.”

“No, you might be right,” I said. “We’ll want to keep an eye out for it.” We then turned the body over. The instant we did, I spotted the lacerations the file mentioned. She was slashed all the way through the back of both knees, right inside the holes of the knee pads, obviously the source of the blood judging by the small amount still oozing its way out.

*Updated* Fact #3: Body Condition: “The body was found trapped upside down in a go-kart, unable to be removed. She was wearing all requisite safety equipment except for the helmet, which was missing. Her complexion was pale and waxy, her skin almost ghostly white. A large bruise had formed over her left eye, where her head had struck the go-kart’s rolling bar. Most of her lower body was bloodstained, especially her legs, torso, and arms, where it had flowed onto the ground. The source of the blood was the lacerations behind her knees. Her Monopad was nowhere to be found.”

“I’m going to want to check an anatomy book in the library, just to be safe, but I’m pretty sure this would’ve killed her even if you’d gotten her out, Flash,” I said, frowning apologetically at him. “I’m not certain yet, but she probably bled to death.” But what caused it?

“O-oh,” Flash groaned, his face falling. He took a shaky breath and slammed back the rest of his coffee. “Great. Just great.”

I returned to the kart, where thankfully there’d not been much in the way of blood pooling inside. But I did find something fascinating. “Hello,” I said, picking up the unusual object, along with its mate. It was immediately recognizable. “Why was this in the kart?”

Fact #4: Ice Skates: “A pair of ice skates. They were discovered in the go-kart, blade up, soaked in blood.”

“So this must’ve been what slashed her knees,” Adagio said, taking one to examine. She ran a finger along the edge and cringed when she split open her finger. “Damn it.” She quickly stripped off her gloves and took out her first aid kit so she could bandage the wound. “These skates are sharp.

“That’s weird,” Scootaloo said, pressing her knuckles to her lips. “Ice skates aren’t actually all that sharp. Or they’re not supposed to be. They’re not knives. People are way more scared of ice skates than they need to be.”

“Really?” I said, squinting at the skate. “Hmm.. Hey, Flash, you’re done with that coffee, right? Toss me the cup please.” Flash tossed over the empty paper cup, so I set it down on the ground, on its side, and tried to use the ice skate in my hand like a knife, deliberately not bracing the cup. Even without doing that, the skate sliced the cup in half in less than a second. “Good grief! Yeah, these are waaay sharper than normal.”

“Then it was deliberate!” Applejack declared. “This weren’t no accident.”

*Updated* Fact #4: Ice Skates: “A pair of ice skates. They were discovered in the go-kart, blade up, soaked in blood. Their edges were far sharper than the usual ice skate blade.”

“Let’s not assume anything, AJ,” I said as I stood back up. “Better question to ask is, where’d these come from. Flash, do you know if these are Dash’s?”

“They might be?” Flash shrugged. “I dunno. I know we came straight here from the rink, but she changed into her regular shoes. I thought her skates were in her backpack.”

I nodded. “Okay, let me check something first, then we’ll go looking for that.” I bit my lower lip as I contemplated the best way to do what I was about to do, then got down on one knee next to Rainbow Dash. “Sorry, Dash,” I murmured as I stripped off her shoe, and then tried to put the skate on. It was a perfect fit.

*Updated* Fact #4: Ice Skates: “A pair of ice skates, perfectly fitted to Rainbow Dash’s size. They were discovered in the go-kart, blade up, soaked in blood. Their edges were far sharper than the usual ice skate blade.”

“Well if they’re not her skates, they sure fit her,” Adagio mused as I got back up and brushed myself off.

“We’ll want to see who else wears that size, in case there was only one pair that size at the shop in the rink,” I said, briefly glancing at the shoe I’d left on the ground. “Looks like she’s a size six. That’s smaller than most of us, I think.”

Diamond Tiara stepped forward. “I wear size six,” she said casually while taking a sip of her coffee. “But I don’t think anyone else does.”

“Not me,” Scootaloo said with a shake of her head. “I wear size seven.”

After a bit more discussion with everyone, I’d put together the following list of shoe sizes, though I wasn’t sure if this would be very useful.

Fact #5: Shoe Sizes: “Size six: Rainbow Dash, Diamond Tiara. Size seven: Scootaloo. Size eight: Rarity, Trixie. Size nine: Sunset Shimmer. Size ten: Flash Sentry. Size eleven: Adagio Dazzle. Size fourteen: Applejack.”

“Okay, Flash, where’s Rainbow’s backpack?”

“Uh,” Flash scratched the back of his head. “I think she left it by the kart garage?”

“Okay, Adagio, will you go see if it’s there?” I pointed down the track. “I’m going to try to find the helmet.

I took off in a hurry, scanning my eyes over the asphalt. The track was fairly wide, a good twenty-five feet across, to give enough room for up to three karts to go side by side without crashing. Even so, it didn’t take long before I found the helmet. It had flown off the side, well back from the final hairpin turn, and laid in the astroturf next to one of the fences. As I picked it up, my face screwed up in confusion. “What?”

Fact #6: Missing Helmet: “Rainbow Dash’s safety helmet. The chin strap was sliced through.”

The skates were one thing, but the helmet too? Who would’ve done this? And when was there opportunity?

I rejoined the others. “Found the helmet,” I said, holding it up for them to see. “The chin strap was cut.”

“Lemme see that,” Applejack said, holding out her hands. I gave her the helmet. “Hrm… ah don’t think this was one solid cut. See the threadin’, here? Ah think there must’ve been a smaller cut and it caught on somethin’, and that somethin’ was enough to bust it the rest of the way. The threads are all raggedier than a hand-stitched doll too, like it were done with somethin’ dull.”

*Updated* Fact #6: Missing Helmet: “Rainbow Dash’s safety helmet. The chin strap was partially sliced through by a dull blade, creating a tear large enough to catch and destroy the strap.”

“It must’ve caught on the go-kart,” I mused as I checked over the kart again. Then I pointed at a particular part of the rolling bar, where there was an imperfection in the welding, creating a small sharp edge poking out. “There. Right there. That’s at chin level for Rainbow Dash. She wore her chin strap loose. If she caught it on this, it would’ve torn the rest of the way off.”

Fact #7: Red Go-Kart: “The kart assigned to Rainbow Dash by the go-kart track system. It was discovered laying upside down on its rolling cage near the finish line. One of the roll bars was improperly welded, creating a small protrusion at chin height for Rainbow Dash that a strap could easily catch and tear on.”

“What about the backpack?” I asked Adagio, who was holding a small cyan-colored pack I recognized as the one Dash wore all the time. “Were her skates in it?”

Adagio opened up the pack to show me. “No, they’re not.”

Fact #8: Rainbow’s Backpack: “Rainbow Dash’s backpack, which she left by the kart garage during her evening races. According to Flash Sentry, her ice skates should’ve been in there, but no skates were found.”

“That’s strange,” I muttered as I poked into the backpack, in case her Monopad was present, but there was nothing save for a bunch of empty chip bags and other bits of trash. Rainbow, you were such a slob, jeez. “Damn. No Monopad here either.”

*Updated* Fact #8: Rainbow’s Backpack: “Rainbow Dash’s backpack, which she left by the kart garage during her evening races. According to Flash Sentry, her ice skates should’ve been in there, but no skates were found. Her Monopad was not present.”

“Well the skates we found were probably hers then. Flash, did you or Dash leave your karts at all during your races together?”

“Uh, no?” He pondered my question, then snapped his fingers. “No, wait, we did once, for a bathroom break. But we weren’t in there for more than maybe ten minutes.”

*Updated* Fact #2: Flash Sentry’s Account: “According to Flash, he and Rainbow were holding one final race near the end of the night. During the race, Flash’s fatigue caused him to twitch with his steering wheel, and he and Rainbow Dash crashed into each other. Rainbow had been in the process of taking a very sharp turn, and hit the wall, tumbling over and over until she came to a halt upside down. He tried to free her, but the security system wouldn’t let him, so he ran for help until he found Applejack and Scootaloo. During their races, he and Rainbow Dash took a ten minute bathroom break, during which time the karts were unattended.”

“Okay, I think we’ve found just about everything we’re going to here,” I said with a nod. “We’ll want to check a few other places.”

“Definitely,” Diamond Tiara said, intervening to take charge. “I’ll go investigate the ice rink with Applejack and Flash. You and Adagio can go check out the library. Rarity and Trixie will stay here to watch the body.”

“What about me, Tiara?” Scootaloo inquired.

Tiara pointed to the access corridor door. “Go check in there. This place links to the ice rink via the corridor, so maybe there’s some clue there.”

We each went our separate ways, but before Adagio and I could get too far, I became overwhelmed by the call of nature. “Oof, will you excuse me a second, Adagio?” I asked before rushing off to the go-kart bathroom.

As I took a seat on the toilet to relieve myself, I happened to gaze down and spot a reflection in the metal stall door. When I was finished, I poked around for the source of the reflection, and found a rectangular shaped piece of stone sitting tucked underneath the toilet, with a scrap of paper underneath. “Is this a whetstone?” I murmured. “It’s wet all right. Must’ve been used recently.”

Fact #9: Whetstone: “A rectangular piece of stone, used for sharpening blades. It was found in the unisex go-kart bathroom, under the toilet in one of the stalls. It was found still damp from use.”

There’s only one place I can think of they could’ve gotten this from: the theater prop shop. I know there were a few whetstones in there. They might’ve bought it from the sporting goods store, but I doubt it. That’d have left a trail. So, what’s this paper, then?

Unfortunately, the paper was both waterlogged and burned for some reason, and I could only make out three words on the entire scrap.

Fact #10: Damaged Note: “A waterlogged and burned note found underneath the whetstone, in the unisex go-kart bathroom. The following words were the only legible things left, in this order: ‘skate’ ‘careful’ ‘ash.’”

I pocketed the whetstone and left the bathroom to rejoin Adagio, briefly showing both it and the note to her as we walked. “We should stop by the theater on our way, just to be sure that’s where they got the whetstone.”

Adagio took the note from me very carefully, so she could examine it from every angle. “I can’t tell who wrote this,” she muttered. “Too damaged.”

“Yeah,” I said, frowning. Handwriting mattered in the last two cases. But something tells me it won’t be that simple this time.

I took the note back and carefully wrapped it up in a plastic bag before placing it in my backpack. We then proceeded on to the theater. As I entered through the large double doors, more than a few tingles ran down my spine. I hadn’t been inside the theater since the investigation for Apple Bloom’s murder. Like the other murder sites, the place had been thoroughly cleaned up, with nary a hint that anyone had died on the stage. But that didn’t stop me from picturing Apple Bloom’s body, suspended with a spear through her back and out her chest like some kind of messed up shish kebab.

Nor did it stop the memory of nightmarish daydreams I’d had after that night, of my own body in Apple Bloom’s place, convulsing and thrashing through the pain before everything faded to black.

Adagio wrapped an arm around my shoulder and squeezed me gently. “You’re okay,” she cooed, rubbing her hand up and down my arm. “You’re fine.”

I smiled gratefully at her, then focused back on the task at hand, ascending the stairs to the stage and whisking my way into the prop shop. The place was more or less the way Apple Bloom and I had left it, just before the magic show, with very little touched since then. I did notice a tarp sitting atop one table for some reason, with something bulging under it. I ripped off the tarp, then blinked in confusion. “Wait, why is this here?

Adagio peered down at the source of my confusion: Rainbow Dash’s Monopad. “Look,” she said, pointing to a few drops of moisture on it. “It’s wet. Like someone washed it off.”

I picked up the pad and turned it on, in case this was another instance of someone faking evidence. But unlike with Pinkie’s, there was nothing on the pad. No text messages, no photos, no video or audio. Absolutely blank. Like everything’d been wiped. But why?

Fact #11: Rainbow’s Monopad: “Rainbow’s Monopad was discovered in the theater, wiped clean of all data. There were traces of water on it.”

After pointing that out to Adagio, she said, “So something on the pad was incriminating, then.”

“Definitely,” I agreed, frowning at the pad. “I wish there was a way to recover data on these things. Maybe if I had access to a good computer…”

“Forget it,” Adagio said with a shake of her head. “We’ll just have to figure out who did this through other means."

Conceding the point, I placed Rainbow's pad into my backpack, and proceeded to search the rest of the prop shop. "You know, Adagio, there's something I don't get."

"What's that?" she asked as she poked around a shelf.

"Why Rainbow Dash?"

Adagio paused, and turned to face me. "What do you mean?"

Frowning, I took a moment before responding, "I mean, why her, of all people? I don't get it. I can see why someone might kill Diamond Tiara. Or Applejack. Or even Rarity. But Rainbow? There's no reason, logical or otherwise."

"Yes there is," Adagio snorted, giving me a look that suggested she thought I was being a complete idiot. "Her secret, remember?"

"Uuugh, no, Adagio, I told you, she's too loyal. She isn't the traitor just because we didn't know what her secret was."

Adagio reached over and plucked at my shirt collar, tugging me up to stand straight. Then she brushed off my shoulders and set her hands down on them. "Sunset, quit being a naive pony for two seconds and think. Just because you don't think Rainbow could've been the traitor doesn't mean someone else wouldn't."

Feeling more than a bit irritated, I shrugged off her hands. "So what? We all learned, the hard way, that killing the traitor doesn't mean anything. Monoponi told us that in Sweetie's trial."

"And?" A deep chuckle rose in Adagio's throat. "Maybe killing the traitor wasn't the goal. Maybe the motive was, and Rainbow was just the most justifiable victim."

That caught me off guard. I hadn't stopped to consider that. She might be on to something. Killing Diamond Tiara, or Applejack? That would be too obvious. It'd be too easy to figure out who'd kill them. But Rainbow... anyone who decides they're okay with killing one person to get out of here knows everyone else dies with them. So they'd still get their revenge, if that was their goal. "You could be right," I admitted after a moment.

"Of course I'm right," Adagio snickered. She playfully flicked my nose. "I'm Adagio. And don't you forget it."

Snorting in amusement, I returned to the search and soon found a small stash of whetstones, on a low shelf close to the table saw. One was conspicuously missing. “I knew it,” I grinned.

*Updated* Fact #9: Whetstone: “A rectangular piece of stone, taken from the theater prop shop, used for sharpening blades. It was found in the unisex go-kart bathroom, under the toilet in one of the stalls. It was found still damp from use.”

“Well that settles that,” Adagio said. She turned to me and raised a hand to her chin. “Is this all that helpful, though?”

“I’m not sure,” I replied, pondering the matter. I decided to take one final drink of my coffee, and discarded the empty cup in the trash. “Just about anyone and everyone had access to the theater. I think I’m going to have to gather alibis from everyone. We all split up into a number of groups, and many of us were alone. Including you, I think.”

Adagio glared at me, setting her hands on her hips. “I was, but I hope you’re not accusing me. Surely you’ve figured out by now I’m never going to murder anyone.”

I chuckled, and patted her shoulder. “I know, Adagio. I trust you. I just want to be thorough.”

She gave me a half-smile. “Fair enough. Yes, I was alone, Sunset, in my room, waiting for you to contact me.” Her half-smile dropped into a concerned frown. “Actually, wait. I did leave once, to grab a late dinner. I remember seeing Diamond Tiara walking towards the promenade bathrooms, and Scootaloo leaving the convenience store, carrying something.”

Fact #12: Adagio’s Account: “Rarity, Trixie, and Sunset Shimmer were together in Trixie’s room, chatting. Adagio Dazzle stayed in her cabin, apart from a brief visit to the promenade, where she saw Diamond Tiara and Scootaloo.

“That gives me something to start with, thanks. I’ll have to check with the others too.” I made sure to notate everything on my Monopad, then packed it away. “Okay, let’s get to the library next, since it’s closer. We can swing back around and ask everyone afterwards.”

“Do we know what we’re searching for in there?” Adagio asked me as we stepped out of the prop shop.

It took me a moment to consider before answering, “I know I want to check an anatomy textbook, since we… don’t have Twilight anymore for things like that.” I winced as I said her name. Twilight… I wish we’d been able to patch things up more before you died. I know you apologized, but there was so much more I wanted to say. That I needed to say. Damn it, if only we’d found that picture of you and your alternate before the third trial. We could’ve changed things.

I squeezed a fist and knocked it against my side as I walked. No, I can’t think like that. I need to stop wishing things were different and deal with things as they are. “But we might as well keep our eyes out for anything else while we’re there. Never know where someone might try to dispose of evidence.”

“Right,” Adagio murmured as we crossed into the library. She placed an arm in front of me, and when I turned to face her, she set her hand on my shoulder. “For what it’s worth, I wish Twilight was here too.”

“You do?” I asked quietly, raising my eyebrows. “I thought you didn’t like her.”

“I didn’t,” Adagio grumbled, rolling her eyes. “But she was… useful. Even if she fixated on the wrong things, she still had a clever mind.” Adagio bowed her head, and leaned against me, placing her chin on my other shoulder. “And the more people we lose, the easier it is for those who’re left to deceive us. I don’t want anyone else to die.”

“Wow,” I said as I reached an arm around to stroke at the back of her head, using the one she was laying on to hug her around her waist. “You really do care about everyone else, don’t you?”

“Mgh,” Adagio muttered, smacking me in the arm with her fist. “Don’t be stupid. The only other one I started thinking of as an actual friend around here was Trixie. And we saw what happened.”

“Adagio…”

“No.” Adagio released me, and moved her hands to hold both of my shoulders, glaring at me right in the eye. “I’m not going to forgive her. If you want to still be friends with her, that’s your decision. But leave me out of it.”

“Fine,” I said, brushing off one of her arms and shrugging the other off. I made my way into the shelves of the third story of the library. “I’ll drop it. Let’s get to work.”

Fortunately, the library was well organized, and locating useful materials proved simple. I ended up selecting a particular anatomy textbook, and brought it over to the arm chairs to read through it, with Adagio sitting next to me. “Here,” I said, pointing to a particular chart. “It looks like the femoral artery runs right behind the knee, where it transitions into the popliteal artery. No wonder Rainbow bled to death so fast. Severing the femoral artery almost always results in death.”

Fact #13: Anatomy Handbook 2020 Edition: “A nursing textbook from the library, containing a variety of anatomy charts. A circulatory chart shows, amongst other things, that behind the knee lies the confluence of the femoral and popliteal arteries.”

“So there was nothing Flash or anyone else could’ve done, then,” Adagio replied, staring down at the book in my hands.

“No, there wasn’t,” I agreed, with a sorrowful sound to my voice. “Maybe if an EMT had been available, with shears to cut the seat belt and the training to use a tourniquet, but even then, I think she would’ve lost her legs.”

“She’d never be able to play sports again,” Adagio said, wincing sympathetically. “Still better than dying though.”

“Definitely,” I agreed. Though if there is an afterlife, hopefully this means Fluttershy and Rainbow Dash are reunited. I can just picture Rainbow Dash being glared at by Fluttershy with the biggest sheepish grin on her face. The image caused me to let out a dry chuckle. Yeah, Fluttershy would totally scold Rainbow for getting herself killed like that.

Adagio’s eyes narrowed into a glare. “What are you laughing at?”

“Nevermind,” I said. I closed the book in my hands and placed it in my backpack, then stood up. “We’d better go find the others, to see about their--”

DING-DONG DONG-DING

“Uuuh,” Adagio said, freezing in place, her eyes wider than saucers. “Is, is that…”

“The dead body alarm?!” I cried as loudly as I dared while still abiding by the quiet library rule. “Come on!”

We raced out of the library just as the screens in the hallway turned on, revealing Monoponi sitting forward in his chair. He had a large cup of coffee, half drunk, in his magic, and his sleeping cap was gone, as were the bags under his eyes. A curious expression stretched across his face, his eyebrows raised as high as they could be. “Well now, I wasn’t expecting this to happen! Attention all passengers! A body has been discovered! Please make your way to the ice skating rink, at once!”

“Holy shit,” Adagio whispered as we exchanged frantic looks. “Who was it this time?”

“We won’t find out by standing here,” I answered, my whole body shaking in fright. “Let’s go.”

We sped for the ice rink as quickly as we dared, taking the grand staircases down two or three steps at a time. As we ran, my mind chugged along at equal speed. What the hell what the hell this isn’t supposed to happen this isn’t possible who the hell kills someone during the investigation what the fuck--oh my god it’s Trixie isn’t it it better not be Trixie if Trixie’s dead I’m going to--

My thoughts were cut off by our entry into the ice rink, where we spotted Applejack sitting on a bench, with Diamond Tiara and Scootaloo nearby, all looking down at something on the floor with terrified and saddened expressions on their faces. “Who is it?!” I shouted as I ran over to them. “Who di… what?!” My whole body froze into ice so cold I feared I’d be locked in place forever. It wasn’t Trixie. Somehow, it was even worse than that.

Because there, on the floor, spread eagle on his back and pale as a ghost, was the dead body of Flash Sentry.

Author's Note:

Uh... Flash? Buddy?

Oh crap. :pinkiegasp:

I'm sorry SuperSonicHeroes! :raritycry:

PreviousChapters Next