• Member Since 27th Apr, 2013
  • offline last seen Yesterday

Prak


Writer. Editor. Reader. Reviewer. Gamer. Armchair mafia kingpin. Trans-dimensional yodeler. Cthulhu's unplanned 667th son. Grand High Muckymuck of the Mystic Order of the Defanged Gerbil.

T

Zecora's potion allowed Twilight to briefly look into the ancient past, and now she wants more. When she asks for help in mass producing it, Zecora uses a similar potion to give her a glimpse into a possible future, where the costs of her endeavor may outweigh the rewards.


Special thanks to my pre-readers: Flint Sparks and ZealousHeretic

Chapters (1)
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Comments ( 19 )

Wow, this is pretty darn good. I honestly didn't expect anypony to become addicted to the potion. Nice plot twist!

There was a new outer limits I think it was that had something like this -- people would retreat into the past and eventually it would go bad. I could see applejack living in the time with her parents alive.

Crud I started crying. Nicely written and oh.my.god why why must they have died. But I guess to get the reasoning to not make the potion. Still very good

This is a fantastic story. It's short and to the point, and doesn't waste too much time with exposition or boring stuff like that. The only complaint I have was that the ending was a bit lacking. Would've been cool if Twilight got addicted to the potion herself, perhaps. But that's the only complaint really, it was a great story.

3579999
Yeah, I have to admit that I'm not particularly thrilled with the ending either, but I don't see any other way to close it out without radically altering the tone it's established at that point. If I come up with a better idea, I'll revise it for future readers.

Also, I intentionally left the nature of the addiction a bit ambiguous. It could just as easily be entirely mental, rather than physical, in which case Twilight's experiences would probably leave her wanting to avoid that potion forever, rather than experience its effects again.

This is actually completely different than what I expected. I thought we'd wind up seeing Twilight using more of the potion to satisfy her own curiosity about the past and learning things she'd wish she never saw.

Selling it and ponies becoming addicted wasn't something I'd even considered.

3580102 See, I'm not sure that ambiguity works for this story. The concept of ponies wanting to live in the past a la Midnight in Paris is far more interesting than just having the potion be a stand-in for illicit substances. :unsuresweetie:

My other contention is simply this: Why did Twilight think this was a good idea? Sure, those who don't learn from history are doomed to repeat it, but I think she'd be smart enough to realize that not everypony is going to use this potion to satisfy their curiosity and figure out why things are the way they are. I'm sorry, unless she's specifically marketing the potion to historians (or keeping it for her own use), she should've seen this future coming without Zecora's help. :facehoof:

You have a good concept here, but the execution really made it fall apart for me. I can't bring myself to outright dislike it because it's actually well-written, and I understand that the whole Midnight in Paris angle might not have been the story you wanted to tell, so it would be unfair of me to ding you because of personal preference. Still, I found myself rather disappointed, as this didn't really resonate with me as strongly as it could have. :duck:

3584379
Thank you for your honesty. I'm actually inclined to agree with a lot of what you said, and my original concept was actually much closer to what you hoped for than the final product. I just wasn't confident enough about it to make the attempt because this is a major step outside my comfort zone, which mostly consists of comedy.

A more in-depth exploration of the topic would be very interesting, and I really do hope someone takes the idea and runs with it.

However, regarding your criticism about Twilight's portrayal, I think she's been shown to be excitable enough to get swept away in an idea and not think all the possible consequences through. That impression of her character was what birthed this concept in the first place.

Regardless of whether you agree with that or not, thank you for taking the time to give feedback and let me know what you didn't like about it. If you decide to explore the concept a little more deeply, please point it out to me. I'd love to see it.

well shit, that was alright. Loved it to the very end.

yeah, what was that version of a age old saying? "the road to hell isn't paved with good intentions, those are made to build the gate. the road is paved with the bones killed through good intentions." something along those lines but absolutely accurate

Terrific story! I very much enjoyed it.

I do have one quibble, which is that I knew how it ended before I began (in general anyway) because you description gives it away. Maybe you can take the "addictive" bit out so you're not spoilering the story?

3909574
Yep. You're very right. Thanks for pointing that out.

I'll edit it to bring it more in line with the short description.

The effects of the potions in Applejack remembers me that episode of Batman Beyond, where Spellbinder offers season of his VR rooms to unhappy teenagers for money.

Is it just me, or when you said

Instead, Zecora’s muffled voice invited her to enter on her own.

was that you being lazy? Or me being.... Me? :rainbowwild::twilightblush::facehoof:
Madmare. Complete Madmare.

I know it's just a plot-device to show Twilight how her good intentions can backfire. And how the potion, like ANYTHING NEW could be abused. (And be used like the drug refrain from Code Geass).

But a 'see the future' potion is likely to be a MUCH BIGGER game breaker. And for someone as fixated on order and not making mistakes as Twilight Sparkle, it would become a WORSE addiction.

And I GET the warning Zecora wanted to give Twilight. But . . . it feels WRONG that because something CAN be abused, it therefore shouldn't exist. ANYTHING can be abused. Sword, spears, etc, were all developed from FARMING tools. And arrows were used for hunting before they were used on humans. And nukes are an energy sources, not just bombs.

EVERY new discovery has a dark side, EVERYTHING NEW can be abused in some way. I know Twilight is traumatized by such a horrible, horrible, HORRIBLE MEANINGLESS LOSS that her good intentions were responsible for, and thus her actions are utterly in character.

But I can't help but think, if she was shown a future where she and her friends began abusing the Elements of Harmony to 'fix' ponies like Blueblood and Diamond Tiara, would she also have deemed them too dangerous to keep around?

Also, it's rather strange that no one knew that Zecora was the one selling the vision potion before, and didn't even recognize it. I know that ISN'T the point of the story, but still.

5551595
Thanks for your feedback. You made some good points, and if I ever get around to rewriting this story—which I've been considering for months—I'll be sure to address them for future readers.

5551997

0-0 Than you for taking my post with maturity and tact.

3584379
5551595

My thoughts while reading this story were almost eerily similar to Alex Warlorn's, down to the similarities with Refrain and the nuclear power/weapons example.

As he and Metool Bard already seemed to have touched on, this story suffers from a bit of a muddled message. Is it trying to say that Some Things Ponies Were Not Meant to Know? Or that... Addiction is Bad? Or maybe it's that You Shouldn't Start Mass Producing Drugs and Distributing Them to Your Friends Before You've Conducted Clinical Trials?

A large part of the problem is just how oddly, even out-of-characterly our protagonist behaves in this story. For such a methodical, scientific person, her initial plan to mass produce the drug seems ill-thought out at best, and her conclusion at the end that the best way to deal with potentially "dangerous" knowledge and substances is simply to destroy them, is an approach that I find personally reprehensible and that, frankly, I think Twilight would as well. A far more measured approach would be for her to form the Pony Drug Administration, try to iron out the side effects, and keep distribution tightly limited to historians and the like. Or something along those lines.

Now, while I've never seen Midnight in Paris, the idea of ponies wanting to live in the past seems like an excellent sort of sci-fi exploration of the possibilities introduced by Zecora's potion. However, I feel like thoroughly exploring that would require a rather extensive overhaul of the story, and I'm not even sure that's really what you were going for anyway.

If what you wanted was an emotional story that utilized the concept of the potion and the theme of addiction, why not simply replace Twilight with Applejack as the story's protagonist? You barely even hinted at wider sociological implications in the original story, so you wouldn't be losing much there, and instead you have would have a character with an powerful emotional need for the drug rather than an abstract "humanitarian" one. Zecora's new potion would then show Applejack very graphically why Living in the Past is bad for you, along with a sub-theme of addiction. Applejack would be much less likely to think through this whole plan with Twilight's cold rationality, helping the beginning to feel much more real and in-character, and her act at the end of destroying the drug would come across as a personal decision to live in the present and not pollute her body with strange milky substances, rather than an arrow aimed at the heart of science.

If that doesn't work for you, Rarity trying to procure the drug (her trying to secretly steal it from either Zecora or Twilight would make for an exciting hook, by-the-by) for Applejack might be good as well. Her trying to come up with some "gift" to alleviate the old suffering she perceives in her friend, without first fully thinking through the consequences, is something that would be very much in-character for her, I believe. And then the ending could be her rejecting, not really the drug itself, but the idea that constantly living in the past is the solution to Applejack's pain. The final scene could be, I don't know. Rarity going to spend time with Applejack at her parent's grave before taking her out to lunch. Actually being there for her friend, helping the old hurts to heal while marching with her into the future. Something like that.

Anyway. The concept of the story's good; I just wanted to throw in my two cents about why I think the storytelling elements didn't quite work out, and a few ideas of how they could have been done differently. It still gets a favorite and a thumbs-up from me. ~ Sable

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