• 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 4

Chapter One:

Forgotten Dreams On The Ocean Breeze

Daily Life Part 4

I kept mostly to myself for the rest of the day, sitting quietly in the promenade doodling on a notepad or jotting down my thoughts to vent, only to ball up the paper and toss it in a waste basket. I just watched everyone bustle their way around me, going to do this and that. Some people kept going in and out of the various shops. Rarity in particular kept switching up her fabric choices for the streamers. I even saw three of the younger women, Apple Bloom, Sweetie Belle, and Scootaloo hanging out together, having a blast laughing at some joke or other.

I waved away anyone who tried to check on me with just a quick nod and a “Yeah I’m fine” or something along those lines. I felt it was necessary to be alone right now. Probably dangerous, given we were in a killing game. Someone could sneak up on me at any minute and shove a knife through my neck or something. But that’s why I was sitting in the middle of a public space, and I did keep a close eye out on my surroundings.

Adagio dropped by every hour or so just to make sure I was still there. She must’ve been feeling extra worried after this morning, not that she’d ever admit to it. She just didn’t have the kind of personality that would let her. I did see her buying a new first aid kit, this time shoving it into a backpack. Smart. I had my own, a smaller one without all the unnecessary drugs and surgery kit and so on. It was right at the top in my backpack, next to my Monopad.

Pinkie Pie did drop by once around 2:30 to give me her hand-crafted invitation to the pool party. It was charming, in a childlike way, full of loopy handwriting and pasted together pieces of various colored paper. It was a touching gesture, the craftsmanship she put into it, so I made sure to tuck that safely into my pack for safe keeping.

Wallflower Blush also stopped by, just long enough to tell me she’d be staying in her room all night during the party with the door locked, so “no one tries to do anything stupid.” I told her that was pretty silly when she could’ve been having fun, but she just snorted at me in disgust and walked off to go announce her news to everyone else nearby.

On occasion I did see Diamond Tiara walking around, talking to other people, generally seeming happy until her eyes happened to pass over me. Then she’d grip her jacket, let out a harrumph, and spin on her heels to stride away somewhere else.

On the whole though, the mood was tense, to say the least. Everyone carried themselves as though the weight of the world was on their shoulders, their movements just a bit more hesitant, a bit more frantic than they would’ve been otherwise. My being missing this morning definitely put some fear into their hearts, which left me feeling ashamed all over again every time I saw a reminder.

But I’m not that much of one for sitting there pouting over my issues. So when the time on my Monopad ticked over to 7:00 PM, I was ready to go for setting up the party. “Hi Sunset,” Twilight greeted as she walked up, favoring me with a cool, if sympathetic look.

“Hey.” I stood, scooted my chair in, and then held out a hand to her. “Listen, I’m sorry again about this morning. I really wasn’t trying to scare anyone.”

She shook my hand quickly then dropped it. “Don’t worry. I’m not mad. I think Diamond Tiara still is though. Better watch out.”

“Don’t have to tell me twice. Okay, so,” I pointed at one of the larger tables nearby, a rectangular one with seating for a good eight to twelve people. “This is one of the tables Pinkie wanted, right?”

“I think so,” Twilight said with a nod. She stepped over to one side of the table, set her hands under it, and gave it a hesitant lift, and winced, her face screwing up. “Yow, that’s heavy!

I snorted, grinning at her reaction. “It can’t be that heavy. Let me give it a try.” I stepped over to the other side from Twilight, pushed up my sleeves with a dramatic flourish, then set my hands under and lifted. And lifted. And strained like crazy, barely getting it up any further than Twilight did before dropping it. “Dang, you weren’t kidding!” I groused, feeling a little embarrassed by my cocky attitude.

Twilight giggled that little laugh that rang like bells, shaking her head. “Maybe we need to get some extra help.”

“Did y'all say ya needed extra help liftin’ somethin’?” Applejack spoke up as she walked over, her sister right behind. “Sorry, Ah just couldn’t help but see you two strugglin’ with that. That for the party?”

“Yeah, Pinkie asked us to get these tables moved over so we could put snacks and drinks on them,” I answered, feeling a little relieved someone else showed up to help. “We weren’t expecting them to be so heavy though.”

“Well of course they’re heavy, silly,” Apple Bloom said as she poked and prodded at the table. “This here’s made of good solid kingwood, or maybe desert ironwood. Not sure which. But it ain’t no normal table. This here must’ve been expensive.”

Applejack rolled her eyes and shook her head dismissively. “Sure was. Just like everythin’ else on this cruise ship, all fancy and high and mighty bourgeois--” she pronounced the word as bor-gee-oi--”nonsense, all to pretend they’re better than everyone else.”

“Bourgeois,” I said, correcting her pronunciation. “It’s Prench.”

She just shrugged. “Eh, whatever. Fancy’s fancy. Same difference as far as Ah’m concerned.” With a roll of her eyes, she continued, “Anyhow, let’s get this movin’.” She moved to the middle of the table, placed her arms underneath it, and with one solid swing she had the thing lifted over her head in one arm. “Where’re we putting this again?”

“Jeez!” I gasped, eyes bugging out my sockets. “How strong are you?”

Twilight’s jaw fell open, her head cocking to the side and a few hairs springing up into messy lines out of her otherwise perfect bun. “What… how… but it was so… “

“What, you ain’t ever seen a farm girl lift somethin’ before?” Applejack said with a grunt as she shifted the table from her right arm to her left. Somehow, that was even more impressive, since I knew she was right handed. “It ain’t that heavy.”

Note to self: never make Applejack mad, or she might just rip your head clean off your shoulders! “Ah, heh, right, uh, this way please!” I stammered as I began striding my way towards the pool. We left poor Twilight standing there, twitching as she continued to whisper under her breath about impossibilities.

With Applejack’s help it didn’t take long to get all three tables in place, and by the time we did Twilight had snapped out of whatever stupor she was stuck in. “Alright, that’s done,” Applejack pronounced happily, wiping her hands together as if to get rid of dust or dirt. “What’s next?”

“We need drinks and snacks,” I answered. “I think Pinkie said something about two big bowls for beer and cider?”

Applejack’s grin split her face ear to ear. “Cider? We can do cider! Ah think I saw a buncha big bottles of it in the duty-free store. They’re even Sweet Apple Acres brand, if ya can believe it. Apple Bloom, come help me bring ‘em.”

“Hold on, let me go get a trolly,” Twilight said.

“And I’ll start getting some snacks together,” I said, heading for the convenience store.

“Can you get some ice for the drinks, too?” Pinkie called after me as I left.

“Yeah, sure!” I called back.

Once inside the store I found a convenient rolling cart useful to carry everything, and started heaping large bags of chips, pretzels, and other salty goodness onto the cart. While I was working I heard a couple others poke their heads inside. “Hey, need some help?” called Flash. Timber Spruce was with him, wearing a brown leather backpack.

“Yeah, sure, please,” I agreed. Flash and Timber came over and started piling stuff on top. It took a while to run everything through the register, because of course thanks to Monoponi’s stupid regulations we had to run each item through one at a time, but we turned it into a proper assembly line of passing things around almost like a circle till we got it all, then Flash ran his Monopad to “pay” for it. Together we took it all and set it out nicely on the table. Flash even took the extra time to pop open the various tubs of dip we brought and set them up neatly for everyone, while Timber set a bag of ice on the table, inside a small cooler we’d also bought.

Pinkie Pie pranced up to us as we were finishing with the table layout. “Wow, that’s looking amazing! Great selection! You picked everything I would! Now we just need some sweets. Quick, come with me, come with me!”

She all but dragged the three of us away, almost running us into Twilight, Applejack, and Apple Bloom coming the other way with a heavy trolly laden down with bottles of alcohol. “Woah, careful there sugarcube,” Applejack said.

“Sorry, sorry!”

Pinkie dragged us all the way to the bakery down near the end of the restaurant half of the promenade, and brought us into the kitchen. The whole place was a right mess, ingredients spilled everywhere, open bags of flour laying open next to bags of sugar, bottles of vanilla and chocolate liquor and other things all stacked all over the counters, with the ovens humming away as they baked, the air filled with the scent of deliciousness. Sweetie Belle and Scootaloo were also there, mixing up fresh batches of something or other in mixing bowls while humming to themselves.

“Ooh, Pinkie, you’re back!” Sweetie squealed, dropping her bowl on the counter and rushing over to a pan of muffins sitting out to cool on the stove. She pulled one out and handed it over. “Here, try it!”

“Hmmm…” Pinkie held it up to her nose, sniffed at it like a dog, then opened up her jaws and took a huge bite, chewing messily for about five seconds then swallowing it with a loud gulping noise. “Yummy! That’s really tasty! Good job, Sweetie Belle!”

Sweetie smiled at the praise. “Thanks! I took a baking class as an elective in my first year of college, so I’m way better than I used to be.”

“Yeah, weren’t you telling me you once served Rarity a bowl of liquid ‘toast’ for breakfast?” Scootaloo teased as she continued to stir her mixture.

“Scootaloo!” Sweetie blushed furiously, whirling on the other woman and holding her fists at her side. “I told you not to say anything about that!”

Timber burst out laughing. “A bowl of toast, hah! That’s classic.”

Pinkie patted Sweetie on the shoulder. “Aww, it’s okay, Sweetie. Everyone makes mistakes when they first learn to cook! The important thing is to never give up trying. And look! You’re doing well now!”

“Yeah, I know, it’s just embarrassing,” Sweetie groused. “Anyway, I better get back to work! We’ll have everything ready by 8:00, don’t worry!”

“Great! I’m counting on you!” Pinkie cheered. Then she turned back to us. “Okay, you three, start loading the finished ones onto the cart. We gotta bring it all over and make it look nice.”

Following her instructions we carefully loaded pan after pan of muffins, cupcakes, crepes, turnovers, and fritters onto the cart. It took us a good five or six trips, especially because Sweetie and Scootaloo kept bringing out more batches of fresh goodies. The smell was driving me bananas, it was so good.

But finally we had it all laid out on the tables, ready for everyone to consume. Right as we finished up, the farmer duo and Twi finished setting up the drinks, both alcoholic and non-alcoholic. “Whew,” I said, wiping sweat off my brow as I looked at our work. “We did a pretty good job.”

“Yeah, and it’s not even eight yet,” Timber added with a chuckle. “It’s only 7:45. Wild.”

Rarity emerged from the promenade passageway, a load of fabric streamers in her hand.“Well, if you’re finished with that, darlings, would you be willing to help a lady with something else?”

“For a lady? Anything,” Timber said with a waggle of his eyebrows and a wink.

“Dude, seriously?” Flash groaned, facepalming. “Anyway, yeah, we’ll help you, Rarity.”

It took us awhile, mostly standing on chairs for support, but we managed to get the streamers hung up all around the pool area, mostly hanging by the railings or around the security cameras, but we did place some on the bridge tower as well. Monoponi briefly showed up when we got near it, just to glare at us from the balcony, but we carefully avoided blocking the views of any cameras or weapons and he swiftly disappeared without saying a word.

By the time 8:00 hit everything was ready. Flash even had a DJ station set up near the poolside. It was a bit clumsy, just a few large speakers hooked into a stereo, but it would suffice for our purposes. Pinkie had also taken the time to locate a few strobe lights from who knows where, set to flash between colors, but slowly, so they didn’t overwhelm people’s senses. We also had plenty of disposable cups for the drinks and we’d brought over a few bins and waste baskets from the promenade to help keep things clean.

It was right as I was happily announcing to everyone that we were finished that I realized one crucial fact, a fact that seemed to have escaped all of us: none of us had any swimsuits or swim trunks. Why this hadn’t occurred to any of us before now, I don’t know, but once I pointed it out all of us present had to go scrambling for the sporting goods store to buy one up, while Rarity grabbed up a divider and a few curtains to set up two small changing areas.

Fortunately the store had swimsuits in our size so we didn’t have any real problems. I’d picked out something pretty basic, nothing like the nice one I had back at home. This was just a simple two piece black bikini.

“Oh darn it, I’m so sorry everyone,” Rarity apologized as we all lined up to change into the basic swimwear we’d obtained. “If I had realized sooner I would have tailored you all a custom swimsuit!”

“Pssh, nah, don’t sweat it!” Flash said with a grin. He had already changed, and was standing there shirtless, wearing a pair of blue baggy swim trunks, the kind with the extra layer underneath so he had pockets. He was surprisingly toned, with well defined ab muscles… strong pecs shining under the lights… Did he oil them? When would he have time to do that?

Oh dear. I’m going to be turned on by like, everyone here, aren’t I? I thought to myself as a flush of warmth ran through my body. I pointedly looked away from Flash and fanned myself with my hand while I waited for my turn in the changing room. I did spot Twilight, Rarity, and Fluttershy all staring at Flash with obvious interest and almost burst out laughing, managing to suppress it into a light giggle. Guess I’m not the only one.

Of course I had to keep myself from staring at the ladies, too. Rainbow Dash in particular chose a barely there g-string thong that might as well have been the same thing as wearing no clothes at all. If this had been Equestria wearing no clothes wouldn’t have mattered to me, but I’d been a human being for waaaaay too long. At least now I know the curtains match the drapes? I thought with a giggle.

Oh but the one who caught my eyes the most was, naturally, Adagio. Somehow she’d found this brilliantly shining crimson top with bikini bottom, both covered in rhinestones to sparkle in every bit of light, and she was still wearing her spiked belt with it to boot. I still don’t know what you are, Adagio, but damn if you don’t look good.

She caught me staring and sauntered over, putting just a bit more sashay into her hips. “Like what you see?” she said in a low, seductive tone, adding just enough of a chuckle to send my heart racing.

“Ah, I uh, um…” I stammered, searching for words and finding none that didn’t sound ridiculous. So instead as soon as Sweetie Belle emerged from the changing station I zoomed in, trying not to hear Adagio’s laugh as I fled. By the time I finished changing she’d moved on to the snacks table and was chatting up Diamond Tiara.

So I just went and grabbed a drink, choosing to start with plain water. “Oooh, water, huh?” Rainbow Dash teased when she saw me grab it. “Feeling a bit too scared to try something harder?”

“I’m just trying to make sure I don’t have a massive hangover in the morning,” I replied, taking a swig from my bottle and doing my best to look anywhere but directly at her. I ended up focusing on Fluttershy instead, who was standing quietly nearby, not saying a word. Seriously, why the g-string?

Rainbow grabbed a bottle of soda, handed it to Fluttershy, then took a long drink from her cup of beer. Somehow the girl already had a bit of a pink flush to her cheeks. “Oh come on, that’s gonna be future Sunset’s problem. Tonight’s a time to party!” she cried. Then she set her cup down on the table, let out a whoop, and raced down the length of the pool to do a cannonball into the deep end, splashing the whole of that poolside, including Trixie and Sweetie Belle, soaking them from top to bottom.

“Hey! Watch what you’re doing! You’re getting Trixie all wet!” Trixie whined, shaking a fist in the pool’s general direction.

Rainbow Dash surfaced and spat out a bit of pool water, then broke into laughter. “Yeah I’ll bet I’m getting you wet!” she cried.

Trixie’s mouth twisted into the tightest, most puckered frown I’d ever seen as her whole body turned a brilliant shade of pink. “Don’t you even begin to imply something so dirty about Trixie!”

“Bwahahaha!” Rainbow Dash cackled, diving down into the pool to avoid Trixie’s continuing tirade.

Chuckling and shaking my head at their silly behavior, I navigated through the crowd to Flash Sentry, who was setting up for the first bit of DJing. “Hey, looking to make a request?” he asked, looking up at me from his kneeling position near the poolside.

“Maybe,” I shrugged.

He stood up, his face twisting up in concern. “Are you okay, Sunset? I know it couldn’t have been fun dealing with this morning.”

I shrugged again, harder this time. “No, I’m fine. I probably deserved that slap in the face. Just trying to get over it, is all.”

Flash set a comforting hand on my shoulder, carefully so I could easily remove it if it was uncomfortable. “For what it’s worth, I’m not mad at all. I was just worried.”

The warmth of his hand was rather nice on my shoulder, so I let him keep it there. I gave him a genuine smile. “Thank you. It’s good to hear that from someone, at least.”

Sadly he decided to take it away. The lack of his hand left my shoulder feeling chilly, and I shivered without meaning to. “You’ve got a good head on your shoulders, Sunset,” Flash said with a concerned frown. “You’re smart. I could tell that about you from the moment we first spoke.”

“What--”

He held up a hand. “Let me finish, please. I’m saying this now because I just wanted you to know that, if we ever have to go to one of those ship’s trial things mentioned in the rules? I think we’re all going to be counting on you to figure things out. I’m not that smart. I try to be a cool guy, you know, and try to be nice, but trying to solve a murder? I’d be hopeless. We need you.” He blew out a sigh, and knelt back down to fuss over the stereo some more. “That’s why this morning was so scary. I’m afraid if someone takes you out, we’ll be screwed.”

“Wow, I uh, I don’t know what to say,” I responded, my words almost choking in my throat. “I’m touched, really. You hardly even know me, and you already have so much faith in me?”

“Well, yeah, I do,” he answered, looking back up at me with a small smile. “I dunno why, but I do. You just seem… good. Sorry, I dunno how else to say it, hehe.”

“Still, I appreciate it,” I said, deciding to sit next to him. The concrete around the pool was a little bit rough on my partially bare bottom, but I was able to dangle my feet into the water, which was nice and warmer than I expected. “But how do you know someone’s going to do something?”

He sighed again, this time setting down the stereo system and falling back onto his butt. His expression became grim. “Because we want to get home. I mean, I sure do. I already miss my family, my band mates, my friends. I was going somewhere with my life, and this whole killing game thing isn’t just putting it on hold, it’s like I was yanked off the stage altogether, you know?” At my nod, he continued, “And if I’m feeling that desperate, everyone else is. I’ve been seeing it, in the way everyone walks, talks. Everyone’s trying to pretend nothing’s wrong, but everything is wrong. I mean look at what I’m doing. I’m getting ready to DJ for a pool party like this was just another Friday night at CU.”

I took a moment to survey the crowd before responding, looking at the way they were acting, what they were doing. Rainbow Dash was already downing her third cup of beer, Trixie was pacing to and fro in a huff, Adagio was dancing to a silent tune, Diamond Tiara was frowning into a bowl of chips in front of her at her table. Pinkie was stuffing several sweets down her throat, Sweetie Belle, Scootaloo, and Apple Bloom looked like they were each trying to see who could down their drink the fastest, and so on. Everyone was trying to act like they were having fun, but they were all uncomfortable, in one way or another.

Except Wallflower Blush. She hadn’t bothered to show up to the party, just like she said she wouldn’t. I hoped she was okay wherever she was staying.

“Yeah, you’re right,” I said to Flash. “No one’s happy.”

“How can we be, when we’re trapped on this ship?” Flash scowled, holding up a CD and looking like he wanted to chuck it across the pool. “I want to be wrong, Sunset. I do. I want us all to come out of this just fine, get back to our lives like nothing happened. But I don’t think it’s going to work out that way.”

“Maybe not.” I set my water bottle down and sighed. “Maybe we should just try to make the best of it while we’re here.” I caught sight of Twilight walking nearby, carrying a big cupcake in her hands while her clipboard was held against her chest awkwardly. “Speaking of which,” I continued, a sly grin crossing my face, “I think you might have a chance with Twilight over there if you asked her out.”

His head shot up and he stared at me, eyes wide, mouth spread in a big smile. “Wait, really? You think so?”

“Yeah!” I nudged him in the shoulder. “Go for it, big guy. I’ll watch over the stereo.”

“Yes!” He hopped up to his feet in one swift motion. “Thanks, Sunset! You’re the best!” Then he slipped away, just in time to help save Twilight from dropping her cupcake.

“I hope that works out for you, bud,” I said quietly.

“Hey, hey, hey!”

Pinkie Pie pirouetted past the party tables, perilously close to the pool before popping up next to me, prancing in place. “Hey! Where’s the music? Where’s the DJ? We gotta get this party rockin’!”

I held up a CD at random from the pile, which she snatched away from me, examined from several different angles in a split second, then grinned and handed it back. “That’s perfect! Play it, Sunny Girl!”

“Sunny Girl…?” I muttered as I popped open the CD player on the stereo and stuck it in, then pressed play. The fierce beat and heavy tempo of electrohouse filled the air, thrumming even through the meek, basic bass of the speakers.

“Haha, yeah, now we’re talking!” Rainbow Dash cheered from the pool as she leapt up from the water and attempted some form of aerial acrobatic maneuver. Attempted, that is, because all she did was flip halfway in place then slam back into the water flat on her belly. “Ow.”

Ignoring her antics, I started bobbing my head to the beat. While not my favorite genre of music, this was pretty nice, especially right now. The tension of the evening, my worries and fears that I’d vented to Flash, all started fading away with the rhythms of the music. Pretty soon I was dancing by the poolside, Pinkie cutting a pretty fine rug herself as we went.

That lasted at least a good hour and a half before the music on the CD ran out. Right as it did, we heard the DING-DONG BING-BONG of the speakers going off. Everyone paused long enough to let Monoponi’s typical night time announcement play:

“Attention! This is your Captain speaking! It is now 10:00 PM! The shopping center is now closed for business. Let the calm, soothing night air of the ocean whisk you away to a beautiful slumber! Stay safe my dear passengers!”

Even though it was the standard recording we’d all heard several times already, it was enough to put a damper on the party, at least for a bit. We let the stereo rest a while so we could all get some snacks and drinks. After hearing his voice I finally needed to get some alcohol in me, so I walked up to the table. “Hey Sunset, want some cider?” Timber offered. He had a small tray with several cups already. “I’m getting some for AJ, Tiara, Rarity, and Fluttershy. And myself. We’re all sitting over there if you want to join us.”

“Nah, no thanks,” I said as I reached for one of the bottles of cinnamon whiskey. Last thing I wanted to do was cause a scene with Tiara, because I could already feel her eyes burrowing into my back. “I’m more of a hard liquor kind of girl.”

“Right on,” he said with a laugh as he poured the last cup, placing a few cubes of ice into it. “Alright. Excuse me then,” he said as he carefully cradled the tray in his hands, heading over to the table with the others of his group.

I poured myself a good sized shot, snatched up a plate with a couple muffins for good measure, and joined Adagio and Sweetie, who were whispering to each other while watching Twilight and Flash on the other side of the pool. “Hey there.”

“Oh, Sunset! Good timing! Check out Twilight and Flash!” Sweetie said, giggling into her rum and cola. “Looks like they’re really hitting it off!”

I took a closer look, and sure enough, the two were chatting animatedly, while Twilight was sneakily extending a foot out under the table to rest on Flash’s. “Woah, yeah I think you’re right. Good for them.” I smiled warmly. “I’m glad they’re finding some kind of comfort in each other, given how stressful this whole thing is.”

“Perhaps they’re not the only ones who should find… comfort in each other,” Adagio said, giving me a half-lidded expression as she slowly extended a hand in my direction. Sweetie, watching all of this, just giggled all the harder.

The blush warming my cheeks wasn’t just the whiskey I was drinking. “Ah, huh? Are you serious?”

Adagio let out that delightfully deep, sensual laugh of hers, and drew her hand back at once. Her eyes sparkled like amethysts in amusement, though I did notice, just for a split second, a bit of...longing. “Hmph. Fool. You’re so easy to tease.”

Before I could even begin to formulate a response to that, a commotion at Timber’s table distracted us all. Several of them were leaping to their feet, clutching their stomachs as their faces turned green. “Oh, Ah don’t feel so good!” Applejack moaned.

Fluttershy’s cheeks bulged out and she slapped a hand to her mouth. She mumbled something like “me neither” past her hands before she sped away heading for the promenade.

“Oh god I think I’m gonna puke!” Timber cried as he followed after her running as fast as he could while holding his belly. Applejack, Rarity, and Diamond Tiara all followed without saying a word, running just as fast. Poor Rarity tripped on her heels and had to toss them off on the way.

Pinkie Pie poked her head out from the far side of the dessert table. “Woah, what happened to them?”

“Huh, they were all drinking the cider,” I said. I stood up and walked over to the drink table, and knelt down to take a whiff. Immediately my nose burned and I recoiled, my face puckering. “Ugh! I think this is a bad batch, Pinkie. This reeks!”

“Oh no!” Pinkie grabbed both sides of her head. “Oh no no no no no! That won’t do at all! Gimme that!” With one quick movement of her arms she reached out for the bowl of cider, spun in a circle and then hurled it off the side of the ship. “That’s for making my friends feel sick!” she shouted over the railing, shaking her fist like a madwoman before wiping her hands and coming back, all smiles once more. “There, that’s better. No one gets sick at a Pinkie party if I have anything to say about it. And I do! Because I’m Pinkie!”

“You think they’ll be okay?” I asked her, looking towards the promenade in concern. The bathrooms there were the closest, sure, but from the way they looked… oh I hope there wouldn’t be a mess. Please don’t let there be a mess!

Pinkie waved a hand dismissively. “Pshaw, they’ll be fine. They just gotta get it worked out of their systems. I’m sure they’ll be back soon.”

“Woah, hey, what happened?” Flash asked as he sped over, Twilight hot on his heels.

“Just a bad batch of cider,” I said, shrugging. “They’ll be okay.”

“Hmm…” Flash rubbed his chin, staring at the empty spot on the table where the bowl had been sitting. “Should we check on them?”

Twilight shook her head, and, cheeks aflame, she grabbed for his arm and held it against her. “No, they’ll be fine. If they don’t come back soon, we can check on them then.”

With a blush of his own, Flash relented. “Okay, sure. Sunset, will you check if they don’t come back?”

“Yeah.”

I figured I’d give them a good hour before looking in, because sometimes stuff like that takes a while. And sure enough, most of them came back right about 11:00, except for Rarity. “Ugh, that was just awful,” Applejack moaned as she flumped into a chair, still holding her stomach. “Had it comin’ outta both ends.”

“Ew, gross! Trixie doesn’t want to hear that!” Trixie whined, throwing an empty cup in Applejack’s direction and clapping her hands to her ears. “Do not give Trixie such disgusting details!”

The cup went flying well past Applejack’s head, nowhere near hitting her. “Oh, sorry, Trixie,” she said. She laid back in her chair and let her arms hang out over the armrests. “Ah just never had that happen from cider before. And it was Sweet Apple Acres brand too. Like mah own kin betrayin’ me!”

“Wait, where’s Rarity?” Adagio inquired, her body winding up to spring into action. “Wasn’t she with you?”

“I think she’s still cleaning herself up,” Timber groaned as he rested his head on a table.

“Mmhm,” Fluttershy agreed. Of all of them she looked the least worst off, to my surprise. “She was very upset.”

Adagio shared a look with me, but I shook my head. Not yet. My instincts said she was probably fine.

And sure enough she returned about twenty minutes later, stomping in with both arms gripped by her sides in a huff, her mouth working like she was chewing a bit and her clothes thoroughly soaked. “I cannot believe that happened! So intolerable!” she complained. She snatched up her heels, then threw herself into a chair next to Applejack, firing off a furious glare at the farmer. “This is your fault! It was your family’s cider!”

“Hey now, Ah suffered too ya know!” Applejack shot back, holding up one hand to point in Rarity’s general direction. “Don’t go blamin’ this on me. Ah blame the distributor! Or maybe the packagin’. But the cider itself? Nah. Somethin’ made it go bad, mark mah words.”

“Oh would you both shut up?” Diamond whined in a pathetic voice, clutching her head. “I don’t want to hear this right now!”

Pinkie Pie sidled up to their table, a tray of fresh cups balanced on her arm. “Here you go, guys. Drink this. It’ll help you feel better.”

Applejack peered at the cup with a healthy dose of suspicion. “What is it?”

Timber, with a lethargic shrug, took a taste. “Oh, it’s ginger ale. My sister always gave that to me when I was sick. Thanks, Pinkie!”

“Yup yup!” Pinkie flashed them two big thumbs up. “Now drink it up so you can feel all nice and happy again! This party ain’t even close to being over!”

“Your Captain might have something to say about that!”

Everyone froze, all eyes turning to the flash of crimson light that heralded the arrival of Monoponi in our midst. He was pissed, stomping furiously, working his jaw, holding up a back leg like he was ready to kick someone, even snapping his tail. I immediately hopped over the drinks table and ducked down so it was between him and me. I had no desire to feel that magic grip round my neck again!

“Outrageous!” he roared. “Unacceptable! Disgusting! This will not stand!” He pointed one hoof squarely at the table of sick people. “You five! What do you have to say for yourselves?!”

“Wh-wwhat d-d-d-did we d-d-d-do?!” Fluttershy stammered in a panic, shaking like a leaf in a hurricane.

“Yeah, she didn’t do anything!” Rainbow Dash cried as she hefted herself out of the pool and sped over to place herself firmly between Monoponi and Shy, holding out both arms protectively to cover her. The effect was lessened somewhat by her unsteady posture and the splashing pool water dripping everywhere. “Leave her alone!”

“Absolutely not! I will not tolerate such disgusting activity aboard this ship! You’ve abused my goodwill by making a massive mess of my bathrooms! Inexcusable!” His ears went flat against his skull as he whirled to point a hoof at Trixie, who’d been tip toeing trying to sneak away. “And where do you think you’re going?!”

Trixie shrieked and fell over, holding her hands up and looking away, squeezing her eyes shut. “No! Trixie wasn’t going anywhere! Please don’t hurt Trixie!”

Monoponi glared viciously, eyes flashing crimson, before he let out a huff. “That’s it! You! Magic girl! You and Rainbow chick are on cleaning duty! Mops and buckets are in the closet between the bathrooms! Get to it!”

Trixie blanched, her face twisting up in dismay. “But, but… it’s so gross!”

NOW!” Monoponi thundered, horn lighting to summon a crackathoom! of thunder. “If you won’t, it’s mutiny! And you know what happens to mutineers aboard my ship!”

Trixie hopped to her feet and ran pell mell for the bathrooms before he could say anymore, squealing in fright the whole way. Rainbow, with a frustrated groan of “Aw, man, this sucks,” trudged after her.

With a grunt, Monoponi relaxed, and cast his gaze over us, looking at each one of us in turn. “Let that be a lesson to you. I don’t care if you have a party. But you do not make a mess of my ship!” With that, he disappeared in a flash of crimson light.

“Oooh, poor Dashie,” Fluttershy moaned, her face falling into her hands. She began to softly weep as Applejack rubbed a comforting hand along her back.

“Hey now, sugarcube, she’ll be okay. Ah know it’s gross, but we did make an awful mess in there. Cleanin’ duty ain’t the worst thing in the world.”

“I know,” Fluttershy sighed sadly. “But she shouldn’t have to clean up after me.”

The mood of the party was left pretty grim after that, at least until Trixie and Rainbow Dash returned most of an hour or so later, both thoroughly worn out and disgusted. Trixie for her part immediately stomped over to the drinks table, popped the cap off a large bottle of vodka, and started guzzling it. “Trixie may not drink often!” she burbled after swallowing her first huge drink, coughing and spluttering from the alcohol burn. “But she wants to forget this whole thing even happened!”

“Yeah for real,” Rainbow said, doing the same thing with a bottle of wine. “That was nasty. I never want to do that again.”

“Okay, that’s enough frowns,” Pinkie declared as she bounced over to the stereo. She put on a new CD and filled the air with music. “Let’s get this party back on track!”

Although the music helped, the party just wasn’t as good after that whole experience. I was able to last another good hour before I finally had to depart for bed early, already feeling the headache of the hangover I was sure to suffer in the morning. Thanks to the lack of sleep I was bushed. Flash and Twilight escorted me to my room, and I was asleep before my head hit the pillow.

DING-DONG BING-BONG

The morning announcement hit my ears like a jet engine taking off right in my face, the light of the screen far too bright to stand. “God damn,” I groaned as I sat up, clutching my pounding head. My stomach wasn’t reeling, thankfully, but I definitely had too much to drink the night before. I must not have had enough water after all.

I stumbled into the bathroom and did my best to brush the sour taste out of my mouth with my toothbrush, swallowed a few aspirin, then tossed on a fresh pair of clothes. I’d take a shower later. Right now I wanted coffee.

Knock knock knock!

“Coming,” I called, heading for the door. I popped it open a crack, to see Adagio. “Oh. Hey.”

“Good morning,” she grunted, holding a hand to her head, and squinting away from the lights in the hall and in my room.

Guess I’m not the only one with a hangover. “What’s up?”

“Just checking on you,” she replied, groaning. “Wanted to be sure you didn’t pull the same thing you did yesterday.”

My lips squeezed into a pout. “Hey, I wouldn’t do that again. I learned my lesson.”

Adagio glared at me through narrowed eyes, before softly nodding. “Sure, sure. C’mon, let’s go get--”

“AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!”

We both jumped, staring in the direction of the promenade. “What was that?!” I yelped, the adrenaline flooding me banishing any lingering feeling of lethargy.

Twilight’s door flew open, her glasses askew, her clothes all wrinkled and messy as she stepped into the hallway. “Did someone scream?!” she asked in a panic.

“Sure sounded like it!” added Flash, who popped his head out from Twilight’s room, thankfully wearing pants and in the process of tossing his shirt back on.

“Flash?!” I blurted. “What were you--”

“Nevermind that, Sunset, let’s go!” Adagio cried.

Together, the four of us raced for the promenade, emerging into the restaurant side. At first, we didn’t see any cause for concern, until we saw Pinkie Pie, eyes glazed over in shock, muttering to herself and pointing at something nearby. “Pinkie?! Are you okay?” I shouted as I went to check her. “What happened?”

“I-I-I-I-I… no no no no!” she whispered, still pointing, her arm shaking like crazy.

I looked up at what she was pointing at, and froze. I couldn’t move. I couldn’t blink. I couldn’t breathe. All the blood in my body turned to ice, a deep, dark pit opening up in my heart, yawning opening and dragging me down into the depths of despair.

Because there. Laying on a dining cart, still and quiet, with a bloodied cleaver buried in her stomach, was the cold, dead body of Wallflower Blush.

Author's Note:

Oh. Uh. Well. So much for Wallflower. Major props to JCarp for calling it with his initial guess back on Part I. Note of honesty: Wallflower was not intended to be a surprise first victim, so hopefully this didn't catch anyone too off guard. But just because someone dies early doesn't mean they're not important.

Regarding AJ's strength: you've probably noticed by now that none of the Humane Seven have displayed their magical abilities. This is on purpose, obviously, but Applejack was super strong even before she got her geode. We see her casually carrying a table in the first movie that two guys were struggling with pretty hard, so I feel justified in her being able to carry around these tables no problem.

Wednesday: the investigation. It'll be all one part, don't worry.

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