• Published 26th Jan 2014
  • 4,493 Views, 513 Comments

The Heart of an Author - Oroboro

Mystery. Love. Magic. Murder. Truth. These are all important elements in the murder mystery Fluttershy has written, and is now asking Twilight to read. But she struggles to solve the mystery in which it turns out she's the protagonist.

  • ...


Big Macintosh walked through the market square, carefully watching every step. He was angry, but that would be no excuse if he let that stop him from being careful, and he ended up accidentally hurting somepony. It wasn’t anypony else’s fault that the Cutie Mark Crusaders had not only used up all his nails again, but broken one of his best hammers as well.

Normally Applejack would have been around and, between the two of them, they could have probably kept a better reign on the disastrous trio, but his sister was tied up in some important business involving Rarity today. He wasn’t really sure on the details, and it wasn’t any of his business besides.

He came to a stop and let out a long sigh. The hardware store was closed. This was going to turn out just like the Summer Wrap Up festival again.

“Psst. Hey, you!?”

Big Mac’s ears twitched, and he glanced around without really turning his head.

“Yeah, I’m talking to you! Big, red, and handsome! I’ve got what you’re looking for right here.”

Big Mac turned towards the voice and saw a shadowed figure standing in an alley between two buildings. He narrowed his eyes suspiciously but stood his ground.

“You’re looking for tools, right? I’ve got all the tools you could possibly want and even more. Better than regular tools!”

Big Mac grimaced. He glanced towards the hardware store. Maybe the owner had just gone out for a lunch break. If he waited, he might get lucky.

In the distance, he thought he overheard the shrill calling card of his little sister and her friends. He was going to need tools, and probably soon.

With a sigh and against his better judgement, he plodded into the alley, keeping a wary eye on his surroundings.

The shadowy figure pulled back into what appeared to be a small shop stall, and once he got closer, he could see that it was a pink unicorn mare with a blonde mop of hair sticking out from underneath a beret.

“Welcome to Absolute Certainty’s hardware emporium! We’re Absolutely Certain that you’ll be satisfied! It’s my guarantee!”

The shopkeeper flashed him a wide, almost predatory grin, and he had to suppress a shudder. It would be best if he got this over quickly. He pulled a hammer, some nails, and a few other miscellaneous tools from the shelves, placing them into a small pile. With an internal groan, he noticed that none of the items had price tags. He hated haggling.

“Ooh…” Absolute Certainty said, looking over the assorted tools closely. “Yes, yes. You’ve made some good choices. This hammer in particular.” She levitated it into the air, spinning it around slowly to show it off from all sides. “There’s a history to this particular hammer, you know. It’s quite the tale.”

Big Mac stared at the hammer for a few moments. “Enope.”

Without even the flash of a teleport, Absolute Certainty was behind him, leaning up to his ear. “When this hammer is used to build something… it will never break. I know it sounds unbelievable, but it’s absolutely true. Of course, I can’t let something like this go for mere money… I’d prefer payment that was a little more ephemeral. But I’m sure someone like you could arrange something…”

The shadows in the alley seemed to darken, leaving only Absolute Certainty’s wicked grin and glinting eyes visible.

“Enope,” Big Mac said. He put the hammer back down on the shelf and walked out of the alleyway. He turned back to look but, of course, the stall was gone.

Maybe it would be better if he took the day off instead.

Absolute Certainty bounced through the market, giggling manically.

“Every time! I love the ‘mysterious disappearing shopkeeper’ act!”

Even though she didn’t make a conscious effort towards it, other ponies seemed to give her a wide berth as she walked among them. They probably didn’t even realize it, but their senses were more finely tuned than most. It was a part of what made messing with them so much fun.

Out of the corner of her eye, she finally spotted what she was looking for.

“Hey there, grumpy pants! You look like you just got thoroughly trounced by your own piece and then significantly hindered by mine! A whole three months, really?”

Infinite Miracle spun to face her as she stomped through the market, her eyes livid. “I don’t want to talk about it,” she growled.

“I guess the only one who isn’t getting a happy ending here is you. What a bummer, huh?”

Mira sniffed, flicking her mane back. “It will end in tragedy regardless.”

Absolute Certainty rolled her eyes. Mira would go pretty far to deny her own failings. Everyone would die eventually, even Twilight and Fluttershy, but it would be nice if she could just graciously accept her loss for once.

“Besides,” Mira said, turning to her with sparkling eyes, “it’s not like you won either.”

“Didn’t I?” she said with a grin. “I just wanted to have fun. And you have to admit, we got a pretty good story out of this one, even if it wasn’t what you were looking for. Now look at us, the villains, here having fun, facing no significant consequences for our actions whatsoever!”

Mira let out a long sigh.

Absolute Certainty waved a hoof, and reality parted in front of them. They walked through the small vertical slit in the air into what served as her bedroom. Everything from the carpet to the curtains to the giant bed in the center was a garishly bright pink and covered in lace, just as she liked it.

Mira threw herself onto the bed, rolling onto her back and staring up at the ceiling. “Are we done here, yet?”

“Oh, I dunno,” Absolute Certainty said, jumping onto the bed herself and curling up next to Mira. “Ponies are super adorable! I’m sure there’s a lot more fun we could have if we stick around.”

“Perhaps.” Mira’s horn began to glow, and the bedside drawer opened. She levitated out a pair of crude looking dolls.

Absolute Certainty immediately snatched them up and made them start kissing each other. “All we really ended up doing was bringing those two together. Oh well!”

Infinite Miracle rolled her eyes and grabbed the Twilight doll back from her. “Twilight would have made an excellent piece. She has a wonderfully intuitive mind.”

“Did you have other stories in mind you wanted to tell using her?”

“There’s always another story, dear Abby, but, without the real thing…”

Absolute Certainty lunged forward, biting her girlfriend on the ear. “I love it when you get pouty like that, you know.”

“Pouty?” Mira asked, her traditional aloofness betraying her. “Just because I can’t use the real Twilight… we still know them well enough to tell our own stories, don’t we? Anyone can write a story using a character they know well enough, or at least just rudely cross them over into someone else’s problem.”

“Ooh!” Absolute Certainty raised the Fluttershy doll up, making it dance across the bed. “What’s next then? More mystery? Pirates? Sci-fi? Fantasy? We can tell a lot of stories with these two, if we want. Make them suffer. Give them hope, a happy life. It’s almost intoxicating!”

“Who knows? We’ll get bored of them eventually and discard them like all the others, but then, and only then, do I think we’ll be leaving for greener pastures.”

“There’s one thing that’s clear. Given enough time, all stories eventually end in darkness. You can close the book where you want, but that doesn’t change what happens after, just obscures it.” Absolute Certainty giggled, then rolled onto her back, raising her hand to the ceiling.

“As the Witch of Certainty, I do declare…”

“As the Witch of Miracles, I do declare…”

“There’s no such thing as a happy ending.”

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Comments ( 61 )

definitely have to disagree there.

I don't know about that, you two. I'm rather happy with this ending. :trollestia:

Well, that was an incredibly fun story. One of my favorites; I've added it to the top of my userpage. One of these days I'm going to reread this thing and see what it's like knowing the solutions to the mysteries in advance, but that probably won't happen for a while.

Awesome work! Congratulations! :pinkiehappy:

“Just because I can’t use the real Twilight… we still know them well enough to tell our own stories, don’t we? Anyone can write a story using a character they know well enough, or at least just rudely cross them over into someone else’s problem.”

“Ooh!” Absolute Certainty raised the Fluttershy doll up, making it dance across the bed. “What’s next then? More mystery? Pirates? Sci-fi? Fantasy? We can tell a lot of stories with these two, if we want. Make them suffer. Give them hope, a happy life. It’s almost intoxicating!”

“Who knows? We’ll get bored of them eventually and discard them like all the others, but then, and only then, do I think we’ll be leaving for greener pastures.”

“There’s one thing that’s clear. Given enough time, all stories eventually end in darkness. You can close the book where you want, but that doesn’t change what happens after, just obscures it.”

That was incredibly, incredibly meta. And so true. Well done.

I have to say, I preferred the "Arbiter of Miracles" terminology from a few chapters back to the "Witch of Miracles". I'd say that that is the only point in this story that felt like a step away from Equestrian paradigms, more strongly hinting at the crossover that this fic is.

But maybe it was supposed to.

5382392 "If you won't play with us than fine! We'll just go write our own fanfiction starring Twilight and Fluttershy! With Blackjack! And hookers!"

Its so sad to see a good piece of work end like that..... can't wait for other stories! :twilightsmile:

Is it just me or did everyone have no idea wtf was going on most of the time?

What an epic ending to an even more epic story. It would be great to see a sequel or side story because a story as amazing as this should keep on going. Congratulations on finishing this and I can't wait to see what you write next. :twilightsmile:

5384163 Glad you enjoyed it, and thanks for participating in the comments so much!

Out of everyone, you were both spot on a lot of the time, or at least really close, and you managed that without being familiar with Umineko, so mad props. :pinkiehappy:

I must admit, some of the chapters were hard to read, but I'm certainly glad I finished. This was great! A true adventure! And I'm beyond happy that they got the happy ending they deserve!
Ps. Screw whatever those witches said!


Omygod! This just got bumped up on my reading list!

5557329 Well, it wasn't exactly easy mode. Still, I hope you enjoyed it despite your conclusion, and if nothing else, since this story was somewhat of an examination of mystery stories in general you should be much better equipped to tackle mysteries in the future.

Thanks for reading!

How's it going? I'm LAE, here on behalf of WRITE. Sorry about the delay; life being what it is combined with the sheer size of this story meant that I wasn't going to be able to do much justice to it quickly. I haven't seen/read/played/whatever'd the crossover piece that you're using as inspiration, but I think I get the gist of where this is going.

Having said that, though, I'm quickly realizing that there's a massive impediment to reviewing this fic: it's too meta.

A character is writing a story inside of a story that you wrote, which is itself making veiled commentaries on real life fanfiction on this very site. If I find errors in grammar, is it because the writer made a mistake, or is it because Fluttershy is an amateur author herself and it's intentional? Or even if it isn't intentional, does it still sell the idea of Flutters' writing better than corrected grammar/punctuation would do? Are character quirks the result of your biases about the characters or hers? If I point out things in the meta-narrative that Twilight already points out, is that justified or is it just hanging a lampshade on it? Is this whole story derivative or original? I have no freaking idea! It's like reviewing The LEGO Movie—basically all critique of the plot goes straight out of the window when you realize that the entire movie is being made up in a child's head. (It's not a spoiler, you just should have watched the movie by now, because it's awesome. So there. :P )

Even early on, I'm pretty sure I know where you're going to end up taking this thing; that the lines between the story world and the pony RL world are going to get very blurred. They just have to, otherwise you're essentially writing twice as much story as is useful, and I don't think you're the type to make that sort of mistake. Realizing that, the whole package really just has to come down to one primary point: is it enjoyable?

I know I'm not going to have the time to make it to the end by the time I have to write this review (which is a MUCH more common practice in reviewing than we're led to believe), but so far I am enjoying it. The premise isn't really something I'd go for, and the [Gore] tag is usually an instant-kill for me reading a fic, but I can see that you and your editing crew have spent a lot of time on this, and there's nothing that really jumps out to make me rage quit the story. That's basically the highest praise I can level at this story; that there's nothing egregious that would really eliminate a large portion of your readerbase.

Honestly, though, that's the double-edged sword of this meta-narrative type of fic: it all hinges on your audience's predilections and tastes. The writing and plot are hard (if not impossible) to critique, which really only leaves the intangibles for the reader to decide on for themselves. Because I enjoy a story doesn't mean that it'll hold for the next reader to come along. Suffice to say, this isn't the type of story that I have the most skill and experience at reviewing and critiquing.

Final Verdict:
The Scores, Explained

Closing Remarks:
I can't critique the plot or the characters.
I don't know of the material you're borrowing from for this fanfic crossover.
I'm not even sure if you're borrowing the overall mystery plot or making it up yourself.

Overall, this is a gigantic fustercluck for a reviewer, but here's the punchline: I enjoyed what I've read so far, and I'll probably keep reading a bit more in the future. That's an incredible rarity among fiction that I've reviewed (pony or otherwise)—and a 9 is a very rare score for me to give out— so take that as you will. I will point out, though, that this really is one of the most useless scores I've ever given out, in that it's entirely dependent on my enjoyment of the story. I despise doing that. In fact, I considered leaving out the overall score entirely. It feels shallow and unprofessional, and isn't really a fair critique at all. I regret not being able to be more helpful, but it is what it is, and I can at least recommend it to others as something that I find to be likable and written at a much higher level than a majority of fanfiction.

- LastAmongEquals, WRITE's Prodigal Son

5697644 Huh.


I will say this: The characters, story, and events that happen therein are meant to be analyzed through the lens of "Fluttershy wrote it this way or characterized it this way for a reason. Why?" Any grammar or spelling flubs are on my end, however. :flutterrage: I tried to fix that up the best I could, with help. While technically speaking her actual manuscript is probably riddled with errors, that wouldn't be very fair or enjoyable to the readers.

Other than that, I'm glad you enjoyed it, and if you decide to continue reading further, I hope you continue to do so. :twilightsmile:

I finally finished it! I had no idea what was going on the entire time! I liked it!


I finally finished it! I had no idea what was going on the entire time! I liked it!


This seems to be a very common sentiment about the story. Probably means I did something right.

Now go write your murder mystery while I write my own Sunset Shimmer story.

100/10 it was ok... joke aside
It`s one of the best storys i`ve ever read at the start it was a little odd and strange but at the end it was amazing.

Well, I finished it. I after I hit Fool's Mate, I just couldn't stop myself, even long enough to leave a comment. But now that I'm done with this, I really liked it. I went into this without any real expectations beyond that it would be a murder mystery, and I have to say the the first arc (or book), is a little lackluster. I can look past the odd turn of phrase and incorrect grammar here and there, but I couldn't look past the complete lack of agency that I felt as a reader in the beginning chapters. Here we have Twilight reading a book about Twilight going to a mansion in the middle of nowhere and finding her friends being killed. It was presented so shallowly, with nothing beyond the face value, that I had no emotional investment in the characters of Twilight's novel because I knew that the 'real' Twilight was safe and sound outside the confines of the book. There was just nothing to get me engaged. I never got the impression of what the stakes were, and it made the first book a little bit of a slog for me.

I think that a few of the meta narrative discussion like you had In the second book, would have gone along way to alleviating this. Because the second book was where this story really hit its stride. Suddenly there was less emphasis on the story itself and more emphasis on solving the mystery. And that was very engaging. Really drew me into the second book, even though I still didn't have much of a feel for the stakes or the 'fictional' characters.

The third book was the best. Twilight 0 delving into the fictional world which we had been through twice before felt like a massive payoff, and sucked me in like a million dollar whore. I didn't believe that it was Celestia when that theory was presented. Killiing the mane five, I could believe, and using Twilight as a vessel for her 'daughter' would be a stretch, but I could get behing that too. But the moment that Twilight said she killed Luna, I knew that there was something else at play. I'm pleased to know that I was right.

And speaking of being right, my comment on the first chapter of this story was:

I'm going to make a guess right now and say that the 'mystery' is that Fluttershy has feelings for Twilight. Seeing as how this story is written through the looking glass of Fluttershy's narrative voice, I'm also guessing that FS's vision of the future is actually what Flutters fears that the future will be like. I'm also guessing that Rarity and Applejack's 'relationship' will be a big part of their character arc--in which secrets and intrigues will be revealed.

I'm a genius. :moustache:

All in all, a "very unique" story. :raritywink: It stumbls a little in the beginning, but catches itself midway through and hits the finish line running full tilt. It makes me happy to know that there's another good murder mystery out there. Alas it saddnes me because of just how sparse the mystery genre remains within Fimfiction.

Parting Shot:

5945004 Hurray!

Thanks for reading. I'm glad you enjoyed it, and especially thanks for commenting so much. It's always a blast to see the thought process as they make their way through this story. Shame you didn't leave your thoughts on any of the last chapters, since they all tended to be such doozys, but hey, I know how it goes. :twilightsmile:

You know, I got a different review awhile back that basically said the opposite. That the first arc was the strongest and it kind of got weaker after that. Different strokes I guess.

In part, I was following the general story structure of Umineko. The first book there is just the basic mystery setup, and none of the crazy meta stuff appears later. It serves as a really extended prologue to the meat of the story, more or less.

And admittedly, this was my first foray into ponyfic (Though not fic in general, or even my first complicated Umineko crossover) and it was written serially. I improved a lot over the course of the year while writing it. (And so did my editor!) These days I'm working on another big project (That sadly has nothing to do with murder and mystery) but have enough discipline to finish the entire thing and edit it before it ever sees the light of day. (Soon.)

If you want more like this, I would have to recommend actually checking out the visual novel of Umineko No Naku Koro Ni. (The anime adaption is shit, stay away) It's difficult to acquire legally, long as hell, convoluted in ways that make my attempt look straightforward, a bit of a slog at times, but it's one hell of an amazing ride and with a little investment from the reader it all comes together in the end in a beautiful way that I can only really describe as "art."

Also the soundtrack is flipping amazing.

Of course, if you read the original, you'll learn just how much of an unoriginal bastard I really am. :moustache:

Thanks again, and I hope you'll find my other and future works entertaining as well, mystery or not.



These days I'm working on another big project (That sadly has nothing to do with murder and mystery) but have enough discipline to finish the entire thing and edit it before it ever sees the light of day. (Soon.)

I don't read very many short stories; I prefer the long haul, so I look forward to this 'big project' of yours. :twilightsmile:

Wow. A story I started simply because I thought I'd be able to relate to it, an assumption based solely on the title. A story that turned out to be a murder mystery. I have read exactly one other murder mystery apart from this, and I didn't even try to solve it. I did try to solve this one, but to no avail. It was hard to think about figuring it out when I was constantly being astonished by the quality of the writing. Some scenes (particularly the part where Fluttershy in a possible future killed Spike) made me feel dizzy, and I actually stopped reading this for almost six months. When I came back I was ready for all the intense horror, confusion, and romance that would inevitably come. And let me just say, I'm so glad I came back.

When I finally finished the story that marked the beginning of my time here at FimFiction, I was left in the perfect state. Awe, sadness, mystery, joy.

When I say this, you must know how much I want you to.


Keep up the fantastic work.

Ok i have read it a second time and like i sayed in a command befor this is a Amazing story it has everything a good story should have (and it is a TwiShy story :heart: ) This Story has a special place in my heart. You did a realy great job there :twilightsmile: .


Love that series, even when i know about it because the internet lies to me (i was thought it a comedy manga at first because all the fan arts) and become fan through the anime of it. Now when the series has come to the end, it is good to know that out here, there still have fan living the Golden Dream of Beatrice.

I'm left horribly confused but ultimately happy.
I was confused until Twilight specifically said what Fluttershy's goal was in the hospital, For my very first murder mystery i'll give you a 9/10

Can I just kiss you now?

Okay, probably a bad plan, but still. Doll Judgment got me over to your page and then Umineko crossover and then Umiineko crossover that follows most of the actual major themes of Umineko. Shocked and surprised, I am.

I've wanted to do something like this for a while, though more involving Erika and Dlanor's equivalents than everyone's favorite asshole witches, but this was pretty damn fun to read. I particularly like how well you were able to interpret Infinite Miracle's self-serving logic regarding the ultimate epilogue.

Well, least this was a lot easier to follow than the actual Umineko VN's :rainbowlaugh:

Have to say, having read the actual visual novels first sort of spoiled this fanfic since I already had a pretty good feeling about where it was all leading to (and you even used the small bombs part :pinkiehappy:) but I still enjoyed this story. Also glad you did not do what the original story did with adding more and more characters every damn reset in the meta world (although I do kinda wonder how pony stakes would look like...)

Anyways, have a fav and a like, you deserve it!

What a delightful work of metafiction. I seem to have a problem with puzzle mysteries; I get too engaged with the story and don't spend any time actually figuring the puzzle out. This was absolutely wonderful, though. My favorite part (most immediately remembered) was the character interactions in the epilogue, with Spike's thinly veiled protective threats, and the slightly unhinged light that it painted Fluttershy in. Something I am happy about deducing before it was explicated in the story was Golden Wish's status as an idealized author avatar. I also figured out the entirely fabricated nature of the non-detective perspectives, though that was possibly an even easier catch than Golden Wish.

This is breathtakingly beautiful !
I recall seeing those Umineko post sometimes on the internet but never paid much attention to them.
Since I admired your brilliantly ponifined work, I think I'm going to give the original novel a try.
Kinda imagine Wishie would look somehow like this, but can't really come up with her voice tho (although I read her dialog in my evil history teacher's voice LOL)

I remember their chitchat in Chapter 17 had me giggle, oh Wishie this is where I started to like you :rainbowlaugh: . Chapter 19 where she cried out "CAKE!" along with other little silly things she did :rainbowkiss:
Hehe such an OC I'm not gonna forget. If only she could have her own story ...

6753733 Hurray! I'm glad you enjoyed it.

If you want to get into Umineko, here is a playlist containing the entire playthrough, if you don't want to muck around the the visual novels. It's a very long story, and is rather slow to start, but stick with it and I promise it's all worth it. Just remember the lessons from Heart of an Author and you should be fine. ^^

Also I kind of regret never getting any artwork for Goldie done, but I admittedly didn't have a super strong image of her in my head.

My god ... 50 of them yet the first one so far is 6 hours long !? I know Japanese take their job seriously but I don't even ...

Thanks for the link and warning, a walk-through is nice enough since this kind of game isn't so different from reading a book (with additional sound effect AND beautiful detail background ! awesome !) . Since you promised this is gonna be another great adventure, I am so in :twilightsmile:

Again, I'd love to say that I've been reading 5 of your work and I adore this story top the list, thanks for the good memory. I wish it would hit the hot page one day so everyone could enjoy such good read (Yes Wishie you heard me, that's a serious wish, I'll bake you a cake for that)


This is some visual novel shit, it really is Japanese as fuck, some Brave Story/Kafka on the Shore/Little Busters/Higurashi/Paprika tomfoolery. Nice.

I mean, yes. Umineko is the spiritual sequel to Higurashi, after all, written by the same guy. :derpytongue2:

I really enjoyed this. Woulda liked to see Absolute Certainty get her teeth kicked in just once (though it'd probably just give her an orgasm), but I'm really glad I stumbled upon this. Gold stars.

Let's get this out of the way first: This was the most fucked up shipfic I have ever read, and I've read A LOT of them. But I liked it.

Next, because of the 'Romance' tag on the story, I expected this to be a shipfic between Fluttershy and Twilight when I started. So I was not surprised at all when that actually came true. Even though you threw AJ + Rarity at us, I just couldn't see you using the 'romance' tag for that reason. So there was no great shock or twist when that was revealed to me. But that's just the risk that author's take when tagging their stories and that has to be balances with not tagging their stories and potentially losing readers.

Overall, I understand 99% of the story and have no real problems with it: it was well written, well thought out, well edited. So congrats.

The one part I had a serious problem with: and I'll be the first to say that this is most likely all based upon my own view of the real world and people with in it - I don't understand how Twilight came to the conclusion that all of the mess she was in was a declaration of love by Fluttershy. At the end when she's talking to her meta-counterpart and she has her final epiphany about Fluttershy what she says makes absolutely no sense. She decides that it all comes down to, "An insanely complicated, insanely stupid, insanely desperate, simply insane truth. One of the simplest of them all, really." How that equates to "I've got a crush on you, Twilight," is beyond me. Putting myself in Twilight's shoes at that point, the only thing I can see myself thinking would be "Somehow those two inter-dimentional bozos mindraped Fluttershy to screw with both of us, or at least me", not "she loves me". There's just nothing there that I can grasp onto in the story from Twilight's point of view to come to the conclusion that Fluttershy is in love with her. At best, the closest I can get is, "Fluttershy wants my attention for some reason", which is not the same thing. So, help me out here, how is Twilight NOT thinking that this is just yet another attack on her and her friends by yet another set of twisted villains? Where does the idea that this was all just Fluttershy's declaration of love come from? I just can't see it.

I really feel that I should point out I'm probably in the minority of readers who didn't understand Twilight's logic. But then, I'm a very grounded person who sees the world in black and white and I have very little patience for people who play games like this. If you have something to say, say it or don't; don't play games. So I probably don't have the right viewpoint to truly understand Twilight's thoughts here. Personally, my first response when waking back in the real world would have been looking at Fluttershy and saying, "What the fuck is wrong with you!?

But ignoring all that - I did not feel I wasted my time reading this story. I very much enjoyed the red vs blue truth game and love reading locked door mysteries. Thx.

6906857 Heh. Thanks for reading, and I'm glad you enjoyed it.

It's been awhile since I've thought too heavily about it, but let's see if I can dust off the old noggin.

In Chapter 23, Sparkle lists off three possibilities as to why Fluttershy would do something like this. 1: Fluttershy is crazy. 2: Absolute Certainty used her spooky powers to make Fluttershy do it. (2a: Fluttershy is just a shitty writer. (2b: I'm just a shitty writer.)) 3: There's something more to the novel than just murder and mystery.

While option 3 was obviously the focal point of that scene, option 1 and 2 aren't entirely false either. Fluttershy isn't the most stable pony around, and Absolute Certainty pushed her to write the story in more brutal directions than Fluttershy probably would have on her own.

In any case, that third story everyone's talking about. There's the layer you see and read, Twilight solving mysteries, having crazy truth battles, seeing scenes that don't actually happen. There's the layer that goes on behind the scenes, where crazy murders are committed, and Fluttershy asks Rainbow Dash to help her set up a murder mystery games for her friends. Nopony will actually get hurt, after all... This layer can be solved with logic and deductive reasoning and mystery skillz.

Then there's the third layer. The "heart." Why Fluttershy wrote the story in the first place, and what she was trying to say. She did her best to pour her feelings for Twilight onto every page, into the themes of the story, the word choice, the dialogue. Applejack and Rarity's romance was a big outlet for exploring her own insecurities regarding love and the future. Fluttershy hoped beyond hope that Twilight would be able to cut through the mystery, and expose the heart she laid bare on the pages below, all because she was too much of a coward to say three simple words. And in part, because she wanted to challenge herself, to challenge Twilight, to try and stand on an equal footing with an alicorn princess.

This third story can only be solved with love. To try and understand Fluttershy, what she thinks, what she feels, the reasons behind her actions. To stop at any random paragraph and ask "Why did Fluttershy write it like this? What was she trying to say here?"

See also: Those highschool/college literature courses that over analyze the shit out of everything. Twilight would have been way better off with some writing 101 as opposed to trying to solve the mystery.

In any case, that's about the gist of that. I hope this helps you see things a little clearer. If not, well. It's entirely possible that my execution was lacking on some of these aspects, but that is, at least, what I was trying to accomplish with this story. While not my first fanfiction, (or even my first Umineko Crossover...), this was my first foray into ponyfic, after several years of not writing. I'm proud of it, but I know it could be better.

Holy... What... I?



Wow. That was SO complex. Wow...

This is the first murder mystery I've actually ever read, and I am thoroughly impressed! :yay:

While it did get confusing at times, I always had a hunch that Fluttershy was the culprit, but I just couldn't come up with how or why she committed those murders. The romance tag did make me expect the Twishy ship, which was, BTW, executed quite awesomely. Also, this is definitely the most meta piece of writing I've ever read, and I enjoyed the constant blurring between reality and fiction!

This had been sitting on my Read Later list for a long time, and I'm quite happy that I finally got through it! Now back to reviewing for Finals! :facehoof:

So, let me start off by saying I liked this story. As usual, your grammar and prose are skillful, and the characters are written very well. However, I do have a couple of major problems with the fic which prevent me from loving it. The first is the presence of Infinite Miracle and Absolute Certainty. Gods certainly have a place in many stories, even those with nearly limitless power within their domains. But only if the deities are the focus of the narrative. Here, it's like the only reason they're there is to drive the plot in unexpected directions with little explanation. This is almost as bad as writing in a deus ex machina, and just as lazy, in my opinion. Though, if the source material also had such entities, I suppose I can see why you put them in. The second is the sudden ability of Fluttershy to write fiction at Oroboro-level quality. It's not her talent, and she had shown no prior experience writing in the series. Having a muse doesn't suddenly make a person exceptional at whatever it is they're inspired to do. But other than those, you did a damn fine job here.

Anyway, on a completely unrelated note, you should totally check out the Zero Escape games. They're visual novel/puzzle titles with a mystery theme and similar plot elements to this fic as well as When They Cry (the anime, at least. I haven't played the games). Except the flaws above aren't present, and there's no meta-narrative either; it all makes sense within the world we are presented. I'm a huge fan, and I'm thinking you'd be too, if you tried them out. The final game in the trilogy actually comes out in a few weeks.

7293554 Thanks, I'm glad you enjoyed the story!

Honestly, I've received similar feedback about Infinite Miracle and Absolute Certainty. I don't think I did a good enough job integrating them in to the narrative, looking back, and cribbed a bit too much from their Umineko appearances. As "divine beings" they are really only traveler's and readers, and hold power over the domain of fiction, as sort of personification of the concepts of readers, writers, trolls, and fanfiction itself.

If you ever want to take another crack at it, I'd highly recommend reading the actual Umineko Visual Novels. The anime is a steaming pile of garbage, and the original is far more in depth, weighty, and meaningful. There's an easy playlist for the whole thing here.

Also, I've actually already played both of the Zero Escape games! They're a lot of fun, though I had forgotten the third was coming out. I'll have to pick it up.

In a similar vein to both Umineko and Zero Escape, I'd also recommend the visual novel Ever 17. I actually had a pretty detailed outline for a pony crossover with it, but don't think I'll ever actually write it. Would be too niche anyway.

Edit: Oh yeah, the comment about Fluttershy's authorial ability. In one part, I try to excuse it by suggesting that Absolute Certainty was whispering in her ear much of the time and letting her at least get the words onto the page in a coherent fashion. In addition, there's a sort of translation convention where, logically her text would be full of typos and problems, especially since it's hoofwritten, but I'm not going to present it to you like that because that would be shitty to actually read. And finally, there's at least some evidence of Fluttershy having a hidden creative side. One of the comics depicts her as a secret extreme yarn-sculpture enthusiast, and last season we saw her animu drawings when she tried to put on her haunted house nonsense.


Ok, yeah, I see where you're coming from now. My headcanon is actually that Flutters is a closet otaku, with another piece of evidence besides the 'houseguests' being her sewing skills as shown in Suited for Success (for cosplay). I wouldn't link that to writing though, unless she also dapples in fanfiction (hehe).

Also, you're welcome for the reminder.

Well, I spent all day reading this and it was well worth it! Stories with meta elements, fighting something bigger then yourself, and fighting to escape and get back to the real world. Hot damn am I glad I decided to give this a read despite the romance tags. I've no quarral with it, but I'm just not a big shipper. That and it's by the guy who made Fractured Sunlight? I need to start combing through the people I follow more often. All in all an amazing story with a well deserved happy ending. :heart:

And up, finish the story soon but, random point that kind of popped in my head about Golden Wish.... she kind of shot herself in the hoof with that last go through. Since one of the key things Twilight had to figure out before getting to the truth of things was that nothing Mansion!Twilight did not see happen with her own eye was real The whole thing with the epic alicorn show down kind of screwed her. It was too large, too over the top, too massive to be believable at all. There was no bucking way that could ever have gone down like she said it did. Which would give Twi that hint needed to realize if one thing she was shown while looking on from the Void, but did not actually see while in the mansion was clearly and patently false, what makes her thing the rest wasn't as well.

That is pretty obvious, but the bigger question is... why then did she show it if it was that self defeating for her? Just an obsession with being over the top, OP Villain who is awesome enough to take out the Royal Sisters and being overly dramatic? Unable to help herself from embellishing and what not? Or, was pulling that thread the whole point? To put something so massively large and suspension of disbelief breaking out there because she wanted Twilight to solve the mystery. That on some level she was trying to show Twilight the answer, while seeming just indulging her own ego. Maybe not even consciously, but given what this whole thing was ultimately about, and who Goldie was... trying to get the point across to Twi so she'd realize the Truth... just maybe.......

This was going to turn out just like the Summer Wrap Up festival again.

AKA Best Comic in the series! So, those two going to jump in and try messing with some other pony now? I thought Tia and Luna were taking care of that....

Big Mac stared at the hammer for a few moments. “Enope.”

.... Irresistible force.. meet immovable object. Big Mac is just to plain, direct, and down to earth to get pulled into this type of stuff. A Hammer is a Hammer, don't need to story to it. And he don't want nothing but a pure, plain, "Bang nails into wall thingie"

“Enope,” Big Mac said. He put the hammer back down on the shelf and walked out of the alleyway. He turned back to look but, of course, the stall was gone.

Maybe it would be better if he took the day off instead.

Also WAY to smart. That.. was bucking awesome!:rainbowlaugh:

I guess the only one who isn’t getting a happy ending here is you.

CALLED IT! You really need to specify those things. But then it wouldn't be a Red Truth. However as it was, no matter what one side would win and the other lose, so someone wasn't getting a happy ending.

“It will end in tragedy regardless.”

Sure.. sure.. whatever... go write some emo poetry about how no one understand the darkness in your soul that is the truth of reality or something. Let me guess, you'd consider them stubbing their hoof or something a 'tragedy' or going with more of a "Eventually there will be the Heat Death of the universe and all will perish" type 'tragedy'

“I just wanted to have fun. And you have to admit, we got a pretty good story out of this one, even if it wasn’t what you were looking for. Now look at us, the villains, here having fun, facing no significant consequences for our actions whatsoever!”

Way to twist that around.... you sure you shouldn't be in politics? Also, you just HAD to say something didn't you? I know two sisters that would really like to fix that problem....

we still know them well enough to tell our own stories, don’t we? Anyone can write a story using a character they know well enough,

OHHHHHH Very meta! Nice.

“As the Witch of Certainty, I do declare…”

“As the Witch of Miracles, I do declare…”

“There’s no such thing as a happy ending.”

Riiiiight, yeah go on telling yourself that you emo plot-holes.

Yeah, so these are the same characters from the 'game'? just hoping to another reality? Still... well what more to say about the story, it was amazing! Just, so much RIGHT, so many levels, all without being meta itself, all self contained..... those two are cynical jaded twats, but in a far far to realistic way.. again emo-wannabees where 'everything is pain and tragedy' bleh. And then that ending.... very well done over-meta.

I mean going to need to think on things (And get that Hard Reset review done) before doing the.. likely freaking HUGE review proper... but damn was this great. The mystery worked, everything fit.. a few bits that might not have been ideal or JUST what I would want, but nothing major or more then YMMV issues.. really I have only one minor "This feels wrong and like the story (The over story we are reading) forgot something." The early mentioned fact of nopony on any level commenting about how Luna and Celestia are supposed to be gone, missing, presumed dead, and yet day and night pass normally. Should have been a big hint something else was going on for Twilight.

But the rest? Just..... extraordinary.. Thank you for sharing such a massive, epic, deep, thoughtful, and thrilling story with us.:twilightsmile:

7435573 Thanks for reading the story, and I'm glad you enjoyed it so much! It's always nice to see the thought process of someone working their way through chapter by chapter, even two years after the fact.

On the Celestia / Luna moving the sun/moon thing: This is a complete and total plot hole. I never thought of it, my editors never thought of it, and none of my readers thought of it before you. So yeah. Just a big ugly hole.

In general, I don't think I did a great job properly integrating Abby and Mira into the story, and didn't properly establish their motivations or backstory. I cribbed a little too much from their Umineko counterparts.

For an attempt at an explanation: Infinite Miracle was one in a similar situation to Twilight. Not reader!Twilight, but book!Twilight. Only her situation went on for far longer and had significantly less hope. Thanks to a miracle, she managed to escape, and found herself adrift in the sea of fragments, an ocean of infinite stories and infinite possibilities. Absolute Certainty found her there, and together they sought out stories to read, to make, to interfere with, because in a world of infinite possibility, if you can't keep focused on something, you drown.

Mira's motivation in messing with Twilight was essentially to put her through hell, in hopes that Twilight could eventually snap and rise to become a being like the two of them. Then they would have another friend to play with. Or another enemy. They both quickly become the same thing.

Abby's motivation is less malevolent. She wants to have fun, though she doesn't care much who she has to hurt to get it. She loves a good story, even if involves her switching sides to help the hero a little at the end. She's also deeply in love with Mira, and will do whatever it takes to save Mira from oblivion of boredom. She felt Fluttershy's desire and conviction to write a story, to create a world where her feelings could take form, and Abby decided to get involved, because it would surely be interesting for the both of them.

Finally I realized on my ride home what is going on...... Twilight is essentially playing a D&D game with first Fluttershy and now Goldie as the GM. Same base concept, Fluttershy was the GM that spent so much time building this elaborate well thought out story for her player, only for the dolt to blunder in and totally miss all the details they were supposed to and going off rails, using basic logic and thinking things through a different way to wreck the story and trying to find answers that would technically work, but aren't the ONE thing the GM wanted them to do. Now with Golide... Twi is being the ultimate Power Gamer versus a Killer GM, this is not a shared fun game, this is an outright battle between the two, and Twilight will abuse every loophole, use the buck out of OOC knowledge, rules lawyer, anything she can to get an edge on Goldie.

This right here is a perfect description of the primary conflict in the first half of Umineko No Naku Koro Ni. (And the second half is all about unpacking the consequences.)

Which, given how much you enjoyed certain aspects of this story, I would highly recommend. It still sits on the top of my favorite all time fiction, and is a story I can say legitimately changed my life and how I look at the world. (And it got me writing.) The first half is now available on Steam, though a preferred viewing experience might be found through the many, many hours of this youtube playlist.

Umineko is slow to start, and takes a lot more words to get to the point than Heart of an Author does, but sticking with it is absolutely worth it, and makes all the truths I've woven into this story seem like childsplay in comparison. (And if you do read Umineko, I would read the hell out of you liveblogging it in the Umineko TVtropes thread.)

Thanks again.

7435635 Hmmm, those do all work and yeah can see most of that in hindsight. The bit about Abby being in love with Mira That's the one revelation I really don't see in the text. It does make sense but it's one I never would have picked up on with how things are written. The rest, yeah can mostly see them. But.. yeah do have to agree integrating them in was likely the weakest point in the story, but that's only because the rest is so solid, and they still work perfectly well. Did kind of get that vibe from Abby's motivations being what you said, Mira, agreed that could have used a bit more clarification to what he was trying to do.

But in total... while it is a weak point, it's still well done overall, just a slight imperfection that doesn't do anything to mess with the overall strength of the story.

*Checks out playlist* Ohhhh that is LONG...... and yet.. adding it to a list for later... hopefully.

Also need time to reread this knowing it all after all. Already know so many scenes that will read so different. Like the whole "Horns don't melt" bit, first time, thought Fluttershy was acting huffy about it because it was meant as a clue, that this wasn't really a horn, or that something else had gone on to melt it. Now.. it was more her being a bit annoyed that Twi was focusing on the details that don't matter rather then getting the bigger hint about what this was supposed to be about. Because yes, your better off giving it to English 101 class bit is spot on. I so feel for Twi cause I'd be doing the exact same thing.

On other question that's kind of nagging me. (Still working on the review.. oh boy is this one going to be long and tricky...) But, at the end of the second story. When Twi is told Fluttershy is dead in red "Truth" text. Meaning it HAS to be true..... How?

We know it was Fluttershy behind all of this, and so she has to still be around to finish off the rest. Was it stretchign things and talking about how she's 'dead' becuase she died in the first version in the fire? More a "Everypony is as good as dead and can never survive so they are dead" deal, or a bit of "That pony is dead, I am no longer Fluttershy, I am now Golden Wish"?

Just one of the few things that I don't quite get how that worked out.

7450384 It's a rather devious trick that doesn't get elaborated on, especially since the second story is left unfinished.

The trick is the time of death. Golden Wish dodged around Fluttershy's death proclamation when the second closed room was being investigated, making it seem like she had been incinerated. Afterwords, piece Fluttershy did whatever else she need to do, went down into the basement, climbed into the boiler, turned it on, and slit her throat. When Twilight and Fluttershy had their later argument, "Fluttershy is Dead" was then true. The only real hint of the end of the story was metaphorical, in the nightmare sequence of the second tea party. It's been awhile so I may be getting a few details slightly off here, but that's about the gist of it.

7450427 Ehhh can't say I really like that idea. At least on single level storytelling. If I was reading just the story Fluttershy had written... yeah so many problems I'd have with that. Mostly for how it played into the overall story, and just..ehh.

On a larger level it does work, and kind of feel Twi should be glad she never got to that point, given how close to my own reactions hers tended to be. But it does work for what Fluttershy was trying to write. But one more case of her putting the overall message she was trying to tell over telling a good story.

7450599 Wanna know the terrible truth that will shatter your image of me as an author?

I had no idea how to properly wrangle the second story into a proper ending that would still leave Real!Twilight stumped as to the solution of the mystery so she could transition into the third arc. I backed myself in corner, and 'fluttershy forgot to finish the novel' was my emergency escape button. In a watsonian sense, I think in between sleep deprivation and desperation, Fluttershy also got a little wrapped up in her own cleverness in book two. The other missing death, only hinted at in the nightmare sequence— Piece!Fluttershy brought Pinkie Pie out into the snowfield, asked her to wait and stay hidden, and made her pinkie promise to do so. She froze to death.

Stuff like this is why when I wrote Fractured Sunlight, I wrote the whole thing before publishing a single chapter.

7450644 :rainbowlaugh: Well, it did pretty much work out fine in the end, and the "She lost track of how much she wrote" works in character, as does the whole sleep deprivation thing.. we've seen how bad that hits ponies.This complex a story, and the only outright plot hole I can find is the whole day/night cycle thing. Which even then, that COULD on a Watsonian level just be attributed to the ponies being SO used to it that it didn't even hit them to consider further.... though given this is after the S4 premier where Luna and Tia disappear and instant half and half night/day.. harder to buy. Still, well done overall despite that. One of the issues with writing stories like this is dealing with things like that.

Ohhhh right the other big story... hmmmm... subject you to a full on Commentary for it or not... it is long.. but chapters are short..... eh wouldn't be till I get this fic's review done at least.

OH OH OH While we're on the subject.... Just what did happen in that fourth locked room? Fluttershy put on a show of some kind to appear like she was Golden Wish and talked AJ into the whole "Sacrifice Two to regain your one" then led Pinkie out into the snow and planted the ashes? Or I'm more guessing they never went into the room in the first place, Fluttershy somehow got AJ to agree to the 'wish' then led Pinkie Pie outside?

7450677 For the fourth closed room:

Piece!Fluttershy prepared the evidence of a struggle long in advance, planted melted slag, then destroyed the real key so it could be considered a closed room even with the red truth. She then told Applejack that she had been in contact with Golden Wish, and that she promised that she could bring Rarity back, with just a few simple instructions. All Applejack had to do was lie about there being a crazy fight scene. Fluttershy then went off to deal with Pinkie while Applejack ran back to Twilight and Rainbow.

If you want to read and comment your way through Fractured Sunlight as well, I'd certainly enjoy it. Though it's a very different type of story than HoaA.

7450715 That was about what I thought it was. And maybe...done all types of Commentary fics. But.. yeah this is distracting from the review... hopefully someday it'll be done.. stupid incredibly deep stories with a ton to talk about, and also a mystery you don't want to spoil so having to talk very very carefully.:derpytongue2:

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