Part Three: Dewdrop Dazzle Must Die!
Twilight had woken early the next morning just as the sun was rising. She had managed to sneak out of the house without Dewdrop waking up, or so she had hoped. Ponyville looked beautiful as the sun reflected off the glistening water left from last night's storm, but Twilight had no time to appreciate it. She was on a mission.
Carefully making sure she wasn't followed, Twilight had trekked to the far outskirts of Ponyville, to a mountainous, treacherous region just outside of the Whitetail Woods known locally as the 'Rocky Mountains' despite technically being a collection of rocky hills. Ponies generally never ventured this far out – there was nothing interesting for miles save for craggy rocky spires and stony mounds where nothing would grow. It was here that she lifted the spade she had brought and began digging.
The ground was hard, and even though Twilight was using her magic to lift the spade, it still took a good few hours until she had dug a decently sized hole. It was deep enough that a unicorn wouldn't be able to use teleportation magic to escape, but not deep enough that they would hurt themselves falling in. Twilight had been feeling slightly guilty as she worked on the hole, and so had tested this last hypothesis out by flinging herself into the hole several times to check that it wasn't too dangerous. The battered purple pony had then hauled herself out using a rope ladder she had brought, and when satisfied at the hole's effectiveness, had used her magic to carefully position twigs and leaves over the top, and then as a finishing touch placing a small paperweight she had taken from home in the very middle.
The trap was complete.
The construction of the hole had taken nearly all day, it was tiring work and Twilight had half expected Dewdrop Dazzle to pop up behind her at any moment and ask what she was up to. Thankfully this hadn't been the case. The hole was now perfectly disguised, just another part of the rocky landscape.
Twilight smiled to herself, and then went home. At least, it would be her home again soon.
"Hi Twilight!" Dewdrop looked up brightly from her book as Twilight entered the house. Spike was sitting next to Dewdrop, listening to the blue pony intently. "I was just reading Spike a story; do you want to listen too?"
Twilight simply continued walking across the room. "No Dewdrop, and I need to talk to Spike. Spike, kitchen, NOW!" she snapped, marching into the kitchen. Spike hung his head with a whine of protest and followed her in, sure that more washing-up related punishment would follow shortly.
As Spike entered, Twilight slammed the door shut and rounded on the little dragon. "So Spike!" she said, a bit too loudly. "It turns out that an evil cursed idol is causing all the storms!"
Spike stared back, confused. "B-but I thought it was the Pegasus Weather Patrol, Rainbow Dash said they were supposed to-"
Twilight continued over Spike, talking very loudly and clearly, just in case anyone was listening in on the other side of the door. "No Spike, it is an EVIL CURSED IDOL doing it. It is just outside the WHITETAIL WOODS, near the ROCKY MOUNTAINS."
Spike blinked, looking around in panic. "But that's awful Twilight, we should go and sort it out right now!"
Twilight shook her head. "No Spike, I'll do it TOMORROW. TOMORROW I will have an adventure and defeat the idol and be a HERO to all of Ponyville. Not tonight, TOMORROW."
Spike was very flustered by this turn of events. Twilight turned to go, opening the door. Dewdrop Dazzle was standing on the other side, a bit too close for comfort. Twilight closed the door quickly and opened it again, and Dewdrop was suddenly back on the other side of the room as if nothing had happened.
"Night Dewdrop!" she smiled sweetly. "Are you coming to bed, roomie?"
Dewdrop looked up from her book and blinked, shaking her head. "No no Twilight, I thought I'd stay up for a bit."
"Good." Twilight gave a grin and climbed the stairs.
Outside, the rain was starting to fall again. Another storm was brewing.
Twilight hadn't gone to sleep of course. She had sat upstairs until she heard the front door slam, and could see Dewdrop Dazzle making her way through the wind and the rain outside, towards Whitetail Woods. There was a part of her that didn't believe she would fall for the bait, but at last things were going her way.
She picked up her book and began to read. She'd give it an hour before following to make sure the next part of the plan was successful.
The wind and rain had really picked up by the time Twilight had decided to venture out after Dewdrop. It had been a struggle to make it through the town of Ponyville, let alone further into the dark, muddy area of the woods.
Caked in mud, wet and exhausted, Twilight finally made it to the Rocky Mountains. In the dark, the landscape looked even more oppressive. Tall piles of stone reflected the flash of the lightning bolts as they arced through the sky, the wind howled like a banshee, and the rain pelted down, making the ground slick and slippery.
From a distance, Twilight could see that her trap had worked – Dewdrop had obviously been convinced the paperweight was a cursed idol, and tumbled into the hole it was concealing. The covering of leaves and twigs had fallen away; she only hoped that it wasn't a stray animal or curious pony who'd fallen for it first. Gathering up her courage, Twilight moved closer to the hole to peek in.
She recoiled in shock. Dewdrop Dazzle's face was a metre from hers, wide-eyed and terrified, soaked through as she hung by her hooves for dear life onto a root that had protruded near the top of the hole.
"Twilight!" Dewdrop called up in a panic, a shake in her voice. "The ground just gave way, I-I've been hanging here for ages! I knew you'd save me. Twilight...?" Dewdrop trailed off, quivering slightly as Twilight stood above her motionless, silhouetted in the gloom. A flash of lightning broke across the sky, to reveal Twilight's face for a split second, set in a mask of contempt.
"Why Dewdrop" Twilight smiled sweetly with a rictus grin, lowering her head to be closer to the pony struggling in the pit. "So nice of you to hang around for me. I'd help you, but..." she paused, shrugging her shoulders "if you're me, and I'm up here, then you're fine. Nothing to worry about."
"B-b-but..." tears started to well in Dewdrop's rain-streaked face as she looked up at Twilight, trembling and struggling for dear life to hold onto the root.
"This is tough love, Dewdrop" Twilight snapped down. "You brought this on yourself! I'll come back for you in the morning when you've learnt your lesson. Don't hang around."
Twilight's horn glowed, and the root Dewdrop was so desperately hanging on to shrivelled in her grasp. The last Twilight saw was Dewdrop screaming as she vanished into the inky blackness of the pit. Twilight stood there for several moments with just the roar of the storm for company before turning wordlessly and leaving for home.
Twilight trudged back into her house silently. The initial elation at getting one over on Dewdrop had quickly faded, leaving only a sickly, guilty feeling in the pit of her stomach. There was a voice whispering in her head that she'd gone too far, that Dewdrop hadn't deserved that, but she buried such thoughts.
"Hey Twilight!" Spike called happily, a chef's hat on his little head. "Taking a stroll? I thought you were in bed!" He waved a wooden spoon in Twilight's face. "Have you seen Dewdrop, she said she'd bake some cookies with me!"
"Dewdrop's popped out Spike." Twilight stared back. "Go to bed."
Spike's face fell. "But I was hungry, and she said she'd-"
"Spike, go to bed." Twilight was not in a confrontational mood, and she certainly didn't want Spike to make her feel worse than she did already. She'd done the right thing, she knew it. Dewdrop wouldn't take the hint; she had to be taught a lesson. It would all be better in the morning.
That night, sleep came harder to Twilight than ever before. Every crash of thunder, every flash of lighting, reminded her of the little blue pony who had looked so confused and hurt, alone in the bottom of that dark hole. That little blue pony who had spent last night whimpering about the storm, even tucked up in the safety of her house. That little blue pony who she last saw vanishing in terror into the black clutches of a pit.
"Tough love" she whispered to herself, in her very empty room. "Tough love."
Twilight rose even earlier the next morning, racing out across the glistening landscape as it recovered from the storm, the rays of the sun breaking over the horizon. Try as she might, she couldn't escape the heavy, gnawing feeling of guilt that had been eating away at her, even though she knew what she had done to Dewdrop was a fraction of what the interloper had done to her.
She would haul Dewdrop out of the hole, Dewdrop would be upset but realise how much she'd hurt Twilight, and either leave or tone it down. Everything would go back to normal. Twilight laughed to herself; there was always a chance Dewdrop had somehow escaped from the hole and would be sitting at home cutting out photos of herself to stick in Twilight's photo album or whatever weird stuff she did in her spare time.
This thought abuptly died in Twilight's mind as she cleared the wooded area and reached the Rocky Mountains. A sickly feeling bubbled in her stomach and twisted as she surveyed the scene: where rocky hills had once risen like craggy fingers reaching for the sky, there was now nothing. The entire landscape had been blasted flat by the storm; a smooth level plain of rocks was all that remained, stretching as far as the eye could see.
Twilight galloped onto the new plain, scrambling about in an attempt to get her bearings. She couldn't even work out where her hole had been, and didn't even want to think about Dewdrop at the bottom when it had all caved in. "Dewdrop!" she cried out wildly. "Dewdrop! Can you hear me?"
"Hey Twilight!" Twilight leapt out of her skin, but the initial sense of relief was quickly washed away when she realised it wasn't Dewdrop who had responded, but a blue Pegasus pony, hanging casually upside-down in the air, a hard-hat covering her rainbow mane.
"R-rainbow Dash" Twilight gasped to her friend. "What's going on?"
Rainbow Dash simply grinned. "Did you see that storm last night? Boom! Crash! Pow! We really went for it this time! Now the Princess gave us that renovation grant, we can get a proper mountain built here, not that rubbish little thing we had!"
Twilight's mouth hung open. "R-renovation? But Dewdrop was here last night!"
Rainbow Dash just rolled her eyes. "Don't be ridiculous, no pony would be out here, its way too dangerous. Besides, I was telling Dewdrop about our lightning demolitions the other day. She'd have to be crazy to come here."
'But she is crazy!' Twilight's inner voice wailed. But then crazy or not, Dewdrop DID have a good reason for going into danger; she thought she would be saving Ponyville from a terrible, if fake, idol. The colour drained from Twilight's face as she resisted the strong urge to dry heave. She leapt at Rainbow Dash, shaking the Pegasus until her hat fell off.
"Dewdrop DID come out here last night, and it's all my fault!" she cried, shaking. "Y-you've got to get help, we have to find her while there's still time!"
Rainbow Dash just stared back wide-eyed a she took in what Twilight was saying. "O-okay" she croaked, and in a flash took to the skies to summon aid.
Twilight stood there alone, looking out across the wide, lonely plain. And then she did the only thing she could. She started to dig.
Twilight looked up into the sky as another wave of Pegasus ponies roared overhead. The search and rescue team had been out all morning. In fact, nearly all of Ponyville had turned out to look for Dewdrop but there was just too much ground to search and Twilight had been reluctant to divulge any more information, especially the fact that Dewdrop had been trapped in a hole of Twilight's own devising.
Twilight had attempted to retrace her steps, but this had proved impossible given how thoroughly the storm had flattened the land, so she had been left to methodically dig holes at regular intervals in an attempt to get lucky. She was currently at the bottom of her fifth such hole, and was having no luck.
"This is impossible!" she sighed as she continued to pick at the rocky earth, her head throbbing and whirling with guilt and self-loathing. She had tried to assure herself with the idea that Dewdrop would be waiting for her at home; that she would look up and Dewdrop would be staring down from the top of the hole Twilight was currently standing in; that everything would work itself out in an hilarious series of misunderstandings and comic pratfalls which they could all laugh about later. Wasn't that how things usually transpired?
Such ideas swiftly left with a sickly certainty as Twilight's spade hit something soft amongst the rocks. It was a little blue hoof, battered and bruised.
Twilight immediately scrambled into action, digging and pulling and tugging in a desperate attempt to unearth Dewdrop. "HELP!" she called up out of the hole. "SPIKE! RAINBOW! ANYONE! HELP!" But there was no reply forthcoming.
With a heave, Twilight pushed a worryingly heavy boulder out of the way, to reveal Dewdrop Dazzle, lying there filthy and tattered, her mane a mess of hair, and her body covered in scratches. There was none of the usual impossible energy about her, she simply lay there a floppy mess, looking up at Twilight.
"I knew you'd come!" she croaked out weakly, her little chest struggling to rise and fall. "I knew you'd save me."
Twilight panted out, guilt and relief flooding her veins at the sight. "Don't worry Dewdrop!" she fussed, clearing away more rubble. "Everything's going to be okay."
As Dewdrop's head lolled to one side and she gave a rasping croak, Twilight froze in panic. Everything wasn't going to be okay. Dewdrop's eyes had closed, she had stopped breathing, and a check of her hoof revealed no pulse.
Dewdrop Dazzle was dead.