This article covers a work that may not be suitable for children.
The story's cover art on FIMFiction
|Date published||September 14, 2012|
The beginning of the story takes place in a theater where Cheerilee's class are preparing to put on a play. The class is busy dressing up and looking for props when Scootaloo and Sweetie-Belle have an argument on which helmet is whose. Cheerilee continues to inspect the fillies; going over their lines with them and several other preparations. She begins the play; "Reginald the Sly!". Cheerilee goes down a set of stairs underneath the stage and peeks her head up on a prompt corner so that she may feed the actors some of the lines that they missed. While watching the play, Cheerilee begins to walk towards a faint banging sound that's in the direction of a mine (in the play of course), and begins to remember the moments that lead up to the play.
Before the killings
A memory of a lesson comes to Cheerilee's mind where she was talking about the history of Equestria. When she had turned around to face her class she noted how "eerily unfamiliar" her class looked. The school board had changed up her groups and put her in charge of fillies and foals whom needed 'extra attention' and she was extremely unhappy, especially with the 'special attention' fillies and foals. Cheerilee, after looking around the room, realized that nopony had been listening after the Cutie Mark Crusaders had a small argument on what the moon is made of. She becomes so infuriated that she dismisses class early and starts breaking things in her anger. Later, Cheerilee begins pacing up and down the length of her living room, wondering why she can't get her class to behave. In her frustration she destroys the remaining pieces of furniture in the room. She then begins to wonder if she has lost her gift, if her cutie mark was mistaken. As time passes Cheerilee begins to grow even more frustrated at the thought of her cutie mark being inaccurate as well as her lack of confidence.
After laying awake for nights on end, she breaks a mirror and begins to look at her garden. She notices weeds that seem to be killing budding flowers that she had planted long ago and comes to the realization that she did not lose her gift, but that present students are "weeds" and needed to be "cut down" and "pulled out, root and all". She soon begins to plan on how to get rid of her "weeds". At the same time she wants to make a spectacle of the whole thing. Cheerilee finally comes up with the idea of a school play. She then proceeds to burn a class picture for the fun of it.
Killing the fillies
Back to the present. It turns out the play is an elaborate setup. Cheerilee designed the play in a way that allows each of the fillies to be separated off the stage where she then gruesomely tortures and kills them using a variety of techniques and machinery. In this way she kills Scootaloo, Silver Spoon, Diamond Tiara, Snails, Sweetie Belle, Snips, and Apple Bloom in that order. All the while an audience is watching the play.
After the killings
Cheerilee sets a couple of small fires to get rid of the bodies, but she ends up burning the whole theater. Twilight Sparkle saves her and the ponies ask where are the children, Cheerilee's voice comes out hoarse and she unable to give them much information. Rainbow Dash and Twilight go into the theater to look for the children and a unicorn calls for a bucket line. Their search was unsuccessful and they do not find the fillies nor the colts alive or dead. Weeks later and no investigation could find out what happened. Soon a funeral is held and only bits of rubble were found to fill the coffins. Cheerilee attends and cries tears of joy. After two weeks had passed, Cheerilee pulled out the last weed in her garden, and made and oath to never let another weed take over her garden. Ever again.
A continuation of the story entitled "Scarlest Harvest" picks up soon after the original story ended. An article in the Foal Free Press about the investigation into the theater fire has the detective declare his suspicions that it was not an accident, and mentions Cheerilee (the only one to make it out alive) and Twilight (whose attempt to put out the fire with a surge of water destroyed the building) as two possible suspects. After reading the article, Twist becomes concerned about the possibility that Cheerilee, who has just become the teacher for her classroom, was behind the fire. Those suspicions are only heightened after an attempt to mention the fire to Cheerilee results in cold indifference on the part of the teacher.
Investigating the theater herself, Twist follows the path of the water farther than the investigators did, discovering a floorboard with a red liquid, which is possibly blood, splattered on it. Although she remembers the newspaper article mentioning Twilight being a suspect, Twist still brings the discovery to her. Twilight takes the cardboard back to her house, planning to test whether it is blood or not a few days later when she has the chance.
Before Twilight is able to make the determination, however, Twist accidentally reveals to Cheerilee her suspicions. Concluding Twist is another "weed," Cheerilee knocks her out and, under the guise of night, carries Twist to a hidden fortress in the Everfree Forest that Cherilee had discovered as a child. Under torture, she forces Twist to divulge the fact she had alerted Twilight. Realizing the relationship Twilight and her friends had with several of the children she killed, Cheerilee concludes that Twilight and the others are the cause of her perceived problems, and plans to kill them if they show up looking for Twist.
When Twist doesn't show up to meet with Twilight as planned, Twilight discovers Twist has gone missing. She is able to ascertain where she was taken and, along with her friends and Spike, set off quickly to try to rescue her. Unfortunately, they arrive too late to save Twist, and Cheerilee is able to use her knowledge of the fortress to entrap them all and horrendously torture them to death. Twilight is the last to be killed, but before dying completely, she is able to tap into the Elements of Harmony to fill herself with enough magical power to break free of the bonds Cheerilee trapped her in. Discovering Cheerilee had left the fortress and was returning to Ponyville in the meantime, Twilight teleports to her when she has just reached Ponyville. In retaliation for all the deaths Cheerilee caused, Twilight brutally murders her in front of the citizens of Ponyville, then collapses due to her magic running out. She is kept from death by Celestia expending considerable energy to revive her.
Twilight eventually wakes up, only to find herself on trial for the murders Cheerilee committed. With a fair amount of circumstantial evidence pointed at her, many witnesses to her slaying of Cheerilee, Celestia still recovering from healing Twilight, and everyone who could have backed up her story dead, Twilight is found guilty and sentenced to execution. Just prior to being executed, however, Celestia rescues her again and attempts to escape with her, only to be thwarted by Luna. Twilight is relived that someone believes her, but as Celestia and Luna battle on the roof, Twilight discovers that, despite trying to keep her alive, Celestia did not believe Twilight to be innocent. In despair that even Celestia doesn't believe her, Twilight throws herself off the roof, causing Celestia too late to realize Twilight was in fact innocent.
Luna, still believing Twilight to have been the murderer, attempts to comfort Celestia. Seeing the other ponies cheer on Twilight's death, Celestia concludes the system is fundamentally flawed and needs to be changed. She privately resolves that after she recovers her energy, she replaces Equestria with a new Solar Empire.