Princess Nepeta stared in horror at the burnt-out shell that stood where her friend's house and workshop had been. She wanted to go in and find him, but she hesitated, unsure what she'd find, until she heard a sound from inside. A wail, a cry of misery that sounded like its originator had been crying for some time and had no intention of stopping.

The door was smashed off its hinges, the frame blackened. Nepeta stepped cautiously inside, poised to run or fight if necessary.

Blood was sprayed up the wall and over the floor. Vriska's body was pinned to the wall with a sword through the chest, head and arms sagging. Terezi's head and chest were smashed in, her hair matted with blood; at least, as well as Nepeta could see, as the body was clutched in the arms of a white-haired boy, who sat curled in the corner with the dead girl in his lap. He was the one who had been crying. As he heard her approach he glanced up briefly, then clutched the body tighter and tried to stifle his sobs. Nepeta ignored him in favour of searching for Equius.

She found him, sprawled on his back behind the anvil. Judging by how many wounds he bore, he had given a good account of himself, but it hadn't been enough. His head was gone.

She whirled on the boy. "Did you see what happened?"

"How much fucking description do you need?" he snarled through tears. "You can see what fucking happened." He lowered the body and raised his chin. "If you've come to finish the job, do it. Never would have thought princesses did their own dirty work, but it's happened once today."

Nepeta gasped and backed up slightly. "What? The princess did this?"

"Her royal pink-eyed self and Executioner Makara." The boy's finger brushed the caved-in wounds in Terezi's head. "He did this, then held Equius down while she took his head off. The fucking Watch took out every Midnight Islander in the city, I don't know why we warranted special treatment."

"What? No! Oh, Feferi..." Nepeta wailed, dropping to her knees beside the corpse of her friend. She took one cold hand in her own, and clutched it as if that would help. "It must have been her brother's idea. It must..." She didn't want to believe envy could have driven the girl she'd called a friend to this. Eridan must have forced her.

"Does it matter? They're dead either way."

Nepeta crawled over to Karkat and brought him into a tight hug. He didn't return it, but nor did he struggle.

"I heard what they said," he choked out. "I was seen several times, the fuckers combed the place. Their orders were to take out every blue-haired citizen." He laughed bitterly and touched his own white hair. "Once again the Vantas misfortune kicks in."

"Don't say that," Nepeta told him, sniffling.

"Why? Terezi's dead. She was all I had."

Nepeta rocked him gently, and whispered "You're alive now, and I think I need you. This kingdom is sick, and I can't fix it alone."

Karkat wiped away a tear and clenched his fists. "Okay. I'm alive, and I'm going to make that little prick who calls himself a king pay for this. Somehow. Do you have anything approaching a plan yet?"

"... I think I may," Nepeta said. "First we need to check in the cellar. Do you have the keys?"