• Member Since 4th May, 2013
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On the Sliding Scale Of Cynicism Vs. Idealism, I like to think of myself as being idyllically cynical. (Patreon, Ko-Fi.)



Flitter doesn't like most ponies. There's hardly anything in the world Flitter likes, very few which she can even remotely tolerate, and only a couple which she truly loves. Fluttershy is not in the last two categories. Flitter sees Fluttershy as weak, and weakness disgusts her.

But when you're trying to help someone you love, you'll look for help in a lot of places -- including the cottage of the weakest pony in the world.

And for those willing to listen past their pain, it might be the place where they start to learn what true strength is.

(This story takes place about five moons before Triptych and well after On The Application...)

Part of the Triptych Continuum, which has its own TVTropes page and FIMFiction group. New members and trope edits welcome.

Now with author Patreon and Ko-Fi pages.

Audiobook production by ObabScribbler.

Chapters (1)
Comments ( 205 )

That....that was outstanding.

There is little else to say, and I'm too tired to do a proper review.

I'd say I'll come back to do it later, but I know me: I'll forget. So I'll just clench my teeth and give you this.

Flitter's personality is a refreshing and 'realistic' view on the world, though she is doused in an unbelievably immense amount of cynicism and bitterness. It makes me want to know more, want to know how she got that way, because she's jarringly similar to me. The only difference is, there is strength in the things she can only see weakness in. She's very blind, and if she's as young as she's coming across in these stories (such as the very hilarious speed dating one that was referenced) that's understandable. Sometimes, a bitch just needs to grow up!

Really twisted ending. I love it!

An exquisite story of loss and how a dark outlook on the world leaves so little room for any light. Magnificently done from start to finish, especially Fluttershy. Thank you for this. :fluttercry:

I'm not crying. I've just got something in my eyes. :applecry:

As always, an amazing story.

Very interesting read.

There was something about Flitter... maybe just the absolute cynism. But then, the one thing that makes her feel and we get to see exactly how much. It was attention grabbing, from beginning to end. Thumbs up and favorite for you.:twilightsmile:

Once again one of your stories grabs my heart and squeezes until the tears come flowing out and I'm glad my sweeties are still asleep because they might worry at how much I'm sobbing.

I've held too many companions as their suffering ended. I remember them all, every name, and I always send them away as happy as they can be made. And my litany: go with love. Go with love.

I know that people as harsh and cynical and damaged as Flitter exist in the world, though she's so extreme about it that she feels just slightly like a caricature. And as much as I don't wish to foster pain in general, part of me wanted her even more affected by her loss - not that she wasn't, but... well... I think I'll just have to hope you know what I mean.

This was a bit disjointed but I'm still to worked up by the story to give it a decent flow. So I'll just end with this: to Fluttershy, without a doubt the strongest pony in the world. :fluttershyouch: :fluttercry: I love you. :heart:

Light and laughter,

Estee, I'm shocked at your ability to take someone so unrelentingly awful in every way and make me feel for her and want her to be happy again.


I'm not crying, it's just been raining... on my face.

And if I am crying, it's not because of you, it's because I'm thinking about someone (who you don't know) who is dying, that's right, dying.

Comment posted by The Notebook deleted Aug 22nd, 2013

Didn't feel bad for her at all, hope she suffered.

Man, I had a couple stupid jokes ready to go, but now I can't make them, because they wouldn't feel right after that ending.

Flitter obviously learned something here, and yet I doubt it's going to actually change anything, because she can't let go of her bitterness. I like that; it feels very, uh, 'real', for lack of a better word.

Rainbow Dash!! Why did you put clouds on my eyes…


Go right ahead and make them. A couple of stupid jokes might be just what the no-credentials-diploma doctor ordered.


Twilight Sparkle was the world's biggest nerd holding the world's biggest sledgehammer, which meant all she ever did with it was gently tap books back into their exact place on the world's most over-organized shelves.

Which is probably one of the best things she could do with it, actually. It takes a lot of restraint to be holding the world's biggest sledgehammer and not think everything looks like a sledgenail.

Pet food containing meat was, ounce for ounce, one of the most expensive substances in Equestria.

The #1 most expensive is printer ink. Which is kind of odd, seeing as how ponies haven't even invented inkjet printers yet.

Flitter wasn't even into quaraxing any more.

Like, seriously, quaraxing is sooooo last July. All the cool ponies are into reverse quaraxing now.

Man, this isn't 'just a fanfic', this is Actual Literature. Like, an honest-to-goodness classical tragedy (or Act I of one, anyway.) If Flitter doesn't change, she's going to end up dying alone and unsatisfied; but it's not at all clear that she can change, at least not before it's too late. She'll finally get it somewhere around the middle of Act IV, but by then the only thing she can do is watch helplessly as her life collapses around her.

fucking hell.
i..... it just..... how....
god damn i wish i wasnt a cat person.
ima go cry in a dark room now.
upvoted faved and for fucks sake start writing a novel. this sort of talent needs to be published.
i picked a bad fucking week to try and quit smoking.

Thank you, Flitter, for pointing out that Fluttershy is a supermodel with a house full of predators.

I'm pretty sure those two traits generally start a chain of events that end with you telling Mr. Bond that, no, you expect him to die.

Interesting. Usually Cloudchaser is the negative one.

I also had a great amount of sad while reading this.

Frack, This fic is superbly depressing :raritydespair:.

This makes me wonder who or what hurt Flitter so much that she built that wall to keep everypony out. Then works so hard to make them hurt as much as she does. that's all, I have a cat to hug.

I finished this just as Ride On by AC/DC came on the radio, a magnificent coincidence that caused many manly tears to be shed.

Keep up the good work. Well done, and thank you.

I hope that the depiction of cat disease in this fic does not come from experience; due to its vividity I fear that it does. If so, as a fellow cat owner who has been through almost exactly this with our late and much beloved Ocras, my condolences.

And the story … really, simply breathtaking. I will try to send some more traffic your way.

One of the most magnificent things about it is that, right through to the last line, Flitter is an unreliable narrator. The story's got an amazing thematic punch that you have to read between the lines to fully appreciate. (Big spoiler for ending:) She doesn't hate Fluttershy for her strength — she hates Fluttershy because Shy, completely effortlessly and without living a self-destructive life, jolted her every bit as thoroughly as she could have ever hoped to achieve through her own methods. She hates Fluttershy, simply, because Fluttershy shows she is wrong, she doesn't need to be who she is to meet her goals, and she never did; and if she were ever to accept that, her entire existence would disintegrate.

The story can't admit that because she can't admit that, but everything aligns for it — and that is a feat of beautiful and subtle and professional storytelling, and the silent moral is so very, very heartwrenchingly, tragically pony.

I don't like Flitter. I don't relate to her in any way, and I hope I never meet anyone like her ever.

But I feel sorry for her.

I should be sleeping right now... but no, because of horizon's glowing recommendation of your story just before going to bed...

...I realize that sometimes sleep is overrated.

Thank you for such a wonderful story. I'm definitely a cat person, and threaten my two stupid liar kitties with summary destruction several times a day. Those idiots keep loving me, materializing on my lap when I'm not looking and insisting they haven't eaten in at least three months. (You can't trust stupid liar kitties.)

I had to stop several times as I was reading because I was having trouble focusing on the screen. Fatigue, I guess-- kept on having to wipe excess moisture from my eyes.

In all seriousness, I want to say: I have a very difficult time getting into Fluttershy's head-- understanding what makes her tick and why she is the way she is. This story is really about her, and you've done a truly masterful job in allowing her to show her character, and as such I feel like I can actually start to relate to her.

And upon further introspection I'm realizing the unifying factor behind all the Mane 6. They're all motivated by love (that true, enduring, altruistic kind of love) and simply have different ways of expressing it. Maybe that's why I can't seem to shake this obsession with My Little Pony in general (not that I'm trying). Huh.

A question for you: Was your story here at least partially inspired by Skywriter's Sun Princess?

As a final note... it's pretty devastating to get to the "499" part of your story when the last three tracks of Metajoker's Second Chances album are playing. Just sayin'.

3088134 that was the 35th saddest thing on this page.

I cant even........wow. That story was extremely touching. Estee, your storywriting skills are amazing. It's quite rare to see an all-rounder. You juggle genres like......wel, i cant think of anything. This story was....:fluttercry::fluttercry::fluttercry::fluttercry:

Nice work. I shy from sadfics, but I'm glad I gave this one a chance.

Brought here by horizon, read on my phone. Because I make a point of it to comment on every story that I finish:

That was a very good read. Thank you. What more can I say? Characters, plotting, tone, description, everything was done near-perfectly, and I have a new appreciation for the guy who seems to pop up in the Featured Box every so often. It's no surprise that those of us more jaded think that le box is full of junk, but pieces like these force me to reassess my views. So, yes - a story well written, and it does need more views despite its current status.


I have an answer for this (or series of excuses), but I'm guessing it may not go over too well.

The opening section went long -- hopefully not as much as this attempt at explanation -- for several reasons.

First, because Flitter's perspective is important. Her view on the world is not that of most Ponyville residents and beyond. It's just about the only window we'll have the whole way through, and it's not a familiar one. There are characters in this setting where readers will have an automatic grasp on how that pony is approaching life and little time needs be used setting anything up -- unless you're going for a subversion.

I could just say 'Here we have a cynic convinced she's the only realist in the world', but it's not the most accurate summary. There are ways in which it's partially true, but it's not the whole of this Flitter by any means. And nailing her down completely in that form can easily go into all-out psych evaluation. In that case, it does become easier to show than tell. We are seeing the world through her eyes. Some lenses need extra polish.

Second... this isn't an action story: dropping directly into gunfire wasn't necessary. I usually have to backtrack what my subconscious intended after the fact (as reluctantly evidenced further down), but I think part of the intent here was not just to get any prospective readers into the rhythm of Flitter's thoughts, but also to create that feeling of 'something is coming'. The worst parts of a horror tale can be when nothing is happening, and I think that also applies when dealing with sorrow: the tension of waiting for things to go wrong..

Third -- and here's when I get blasted across the topbar -- I don't always hold with story length and section proportion formulas. One of the benefits in fanfic writing is that I can experiment without ever having to worry about a publisher tossing the work in the trash after muttering 'I haven't seen this approach before and no one else should either'. There may be English and Creative Writing PhDs about, but they are just about the only professions I would consider using the Ignore button for. (Joke? Yes. Occasionally. And sometimes requiring a show of ID.) If I want to take a little longer here, or less time there, do something odd with a metaphor, use a near-sentient silence, or -- *!gasp!* -- have a character end a sentence on a preposition, let it happen. This wasn't meant as a short story when I started it, or a novella, or an all-out epic. It was a story that -- took as long as it seemed to need.

My addiction to double-hyphens, however, continues to draw stares.

The fourth goes mostly to those who are following along on the long road that is Triptych and I can't say too much here for that reason, but... each story which connects into that one can potentially say a little something about what's going on in that tale. (A little more on that below.) In that sense, some things might become a little more necessary -- and for that aspect, I have to stop there.

The most minor fifth: Rarity and Flitter had a little confrontation in On The Application..., which is why that story is referenced in the top description. I wanted a reminder of it.

Sixth would be the 'style' excuse, but you probably saw that coming and we can just skip it.

And lastly --

-- get ready to die from not-surprise --

-- what editor? :twilightsheepish:

It's a great car, but it only goes three miles per hour?

As long as I'm writing...


Was your story here at least partially inspired by Skywriter's Sun Princess?

No: that's one of his I haven't gotten to just yet. This actually came from an idea I've been dealing with over on Triptych: that of the Mane Cast, Fluttershy is the one who has the most experience with death. It's part and parcel of her job, something she can never escape from, the aspect which has to be dealt with almost every day. One of the recent chapters had an argument that I thought needed, if not expanding on, then at least an additional demonstration of where her viewpoint comes from. That hummed along on the lower levels for a while... and then this surfaced.



(Honesty? Can really svck. Demonstration in three, two, one...)

Dear sweet pony gawds, I wish I could take full and deliberate credit for what's in that spoilered text. But the best I can honestly do here is try and say 'Gosh, my subconscious was really going that night' without dropping into self-disbelief during the sentence. Because while that might have been where it wound up -- and I can see it that way -- I can't honestly say I was deliberately steering for it at any time.

This happens sometimes when I write. I'll look back on a chapter and feel I've spotted a common theme laced throughout several scenes, or an overarc idea which only pops into view two weeks after the composition. And sometimes I can convince myself that I meant to do it deep-down and just wasn't aware of that while it was happening. Others... convincing doesn't quite work. Worst-case, the theme I'm personally seeing isn't there...

Probably a good thing that I ruined your entire image of me as quickly as possible, right? :raritywink:

But I don't think I'm the only person that happens to. Not even close. The lower levels work in mysterious -- and stealthy -- ways. I'm just hoping they were working this time.

And if they weren't -- it's a great interpretation.


Man, this isn't 'just a fanfic', this is Actual Literature.

"I've never been so insulted in all my life!"
"Well, it's early yet."

3094596 I realize that you just got the order of the comment reference tags off, but I want to say that I didn't have a problem with the pacing of this story, and did feel that the extra bits (going into Flitter's opinion of the Bearers, etc.) felt "right" for really getting into Flitter's head. Contrasting the usual known characterizations of and flaws of the Bearers with what Flitter sees and thinks helps add depth to Flitter's character. Plus I'm sure most of your readers wanted to be able to see what someone like Flitter would think of their favorite of the Mane 6, eh. ;)

(But don't take my word, here, of course. I'm quite good at being very long winded myself, as many of my coworkers would probably tell you.)




At this time, I would like to spuriously suggest dimly-veiled allegations that the reply composition program is part of a far-reaching conspiracy to void my FIMFic contract.

Also, I did not, have never taken, and would never consider using Adverberall. Thank you.


It's still better than accusations of being Pony Hitler. @#$$, I'll even rank it below Piano Murderer.

(Please don't ask.)

3094922 Just to throw a little more gasoline on the fire: Singling out Fluttershy for this treatment probably would have felt weird, and in some readers, would leave the question as to whether Flitter has a problem with just Fluttershy in particular or whether she can always find something to detest in everypony.

Also, because I love picking nits, Flitter doesn't actually have a problem with Pinkie Pie here, per se. And making that distinction is important to understanding Flitter's underlying motivations, eh. (ie. if the reader assumes that Flitter feels the same way about all the rest of the Bearers as she does to Fluttershy, they'd be wrong.)

And exposing the reader to what Flitter thinks of the Bearers before and after Carnie's death helps us see just how much she was affected by being shaken up by Fluttershy. Again, it's the contrast of "Flitter thinks pretty much the same thing of all the Mane 6--except Fluttershy" that's important here. So one could argue the earlier passages were necessary to set up this comparison at the end and drive the point home on just how much Flitter was affected. I actually feel like this adds power to the piece.

That's not to say it couldn't have been done with less text. See earlier comments of mine about how I'm not a very good judge of this, being a windbag myself.

3095079 I sense an "agree to disagree" moment coming on here.

But for what it's worth: By going into the specific reasons why Flitter dislikes the elements individually (except Pinkie), one begins to get glimpses into the why behind Flitter. Saying only that she's got disdain for everything and that she's a professional bitch is to treat her as a two dimensional character: She acts a certain way but there's no understanding or justification as to why she does. Had I not had the chance to start seeing that Flitter wasn't skin-deep and thoughtless, I would have reacted to the story much differently. It's necessary for the reader to empathize with Flitter on some level here, or the story loses all its punch.

I sort of feel that Estee spent a lot of time trying to get the reader into Flitter's head is because her character is, on the surface (and quite a few fathoms deep), essentially unlikeable. You have to go all the way down to her one relationship with her pet before you find any redeeming qualities. It's difficult to get the reader to empathize with a main character that they fundamentally don't like-- and the fact that Estee is able to accomplish this speaks volumes about his (or her?) storytelling ability.

I still think this story is really about Fluttershy overall. So, showing just how rotten Flitter is (with hints pointing at the "why"), and contrasting this with how Fluttershy reacts and is able to shrug off undeserved abuse... just wow.

I also really like the fact that Estee doesn't actually ever say what Flitter's problem ultimately is. We get hints that there are some really deep-seated abandonment issues here, and her reaction to Pinkie Pie in particularly points to there being notes of outrage at those around her complacently and happily accepting what was probably a pretty traumatic event in Flitter's past... but the fact that it's never ultimately stated what turned Flitter into a bitch is pretty genius, in my mind.

So, just to say again: I'm sure this could have been done with fewer words. But I do disagree with your statement that going into the depth of Flitter's character didn't enhance it in any way. Rather, I think that was the only way Estee could have gotten the reader to empathize with her.

You'll probably respond like most authors, but sequel? :pinkiehappy:

Maybe....flittershy shipping? :pinkiehappy::pinkiehappy::pinkiehappy:

:pinkiesick: :facehoof:
I ... do not see that happenning. In any way, shape, or form that would work.

Still, nice writing, Estee. These have been some pretty intense stories.

Oh, my word. This is magnificent. The way you managed to tug at my heart strings with such an unlikable character is just fantastic. You are fast becoming one of my favourite authors.

And I have no doubt that Fluttershy remembers every one of the five hundred names...


I have good reason to assert that Estee is drawing some small amount of inspiration from events that have happened to me. (For instance, I moved recently. Twice. And I do have a piano, which, though not as ornate as the one described, is probably just as heavy.)

I suspect that I know what event underlies one element of this story, and some readers may like to know how things turned out in real life. The cat upon whom I believe "Carnie" to be loosely based recently suffered a liver ailment. This resulted in a loss of appetite and hospitalization, but he is at present alive and doing well.

I am rather tempted at this point to rob a bank using an expired jar of maatjes herring while wearing a chicken costume and a chartreuse Astrakhan muumuu, just to see what Estee makes of that. But instead, I'll just say: Write on, Piano Hitler. Keep hitting them out of the ballpark.


Well, then.


:fluttercry: I think I'll just go cry in the corner now.

3095269 I concur.

This was an amazingly well executed glimpse into what makes Fluttershy tick. The fact that it's done in first person from a completely outside and unlikeable pony's perspective... Well, I don't know how you did it, but boy did it hit all the major chords for me. Bravo!

I just had to find and read this just after my dog died.


That was a really powerful story. Fluttershy's explanation of why she needs to remember the details of every one really got to me the most. And you did a great job of creating a main character that was unlikable but not inhuman (or inpony).

Ow. Ow. Straight through the heart.

(dabbling in metafiction with that fourth paragraph, are we)

> I am rather tempted at this point to rob a bank using an expired jar of maatjes herring while wearing a chicken costume and a chartreuse Astrakhan muumuu, just to see what Estee makes of that …

I'm calling it now: Estee's next story is about Jelly Jar Pony falling on hard times. :derpytongue2:


1. No planned direct sequel to this, although there's a small possibility of having Flitter turn up with Killer in other stories down the line.

2. Um... no. Not on this timeline. And I'll write a shipping story when I want to find out how quickly I can get to one thousand downvotes.

(First prediction: seven hours.)

"...when my part in the cycle ends... when I go to the shadowlands... somepony will ask me why. On every single name. And I'll have to remember every last one, explain why it was the only option left. And then maybe I'll see them... and if they don't hate me... as much I hate mys --"

I don't cry when reading. Never. And yet, there's something wet around my eyes when I hit this paragraph, and I don't think it's liquid pride.

Author Interviewer

Now I officially hate you too. :(

As someone who held their cat while she was put down, went through the motions of trying to calm her as she knew what was being done, this story nails it. Still trying to get my eyes clear enough to see straight.

Flitter hated Fluttershy for being the strongest pony in the world.

This sentence is perfect.

You have earned a bap for bringing this story to my attention.

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