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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.)


This story is a sequel to Five Hundred Little Murders

There are ponies who insist on perceiving the Bearers as their Elements, and nothing more. Applejack is seen as having no qualities other than being honest. Rarity simply has to be generous even when doing so would hurt her. And Fluttershy must be kind. To those ponies, if she acted in any other way, no matter what the situation or provocation, it would mean she wasn't truly Kindness at all.

To see kindness as somepony's only possible response to everything is to take the first step in finding ways to abuse it.

To use kindness as the lone option can be worse.

Note: this is a direct sequel to Five Hundred Little Murders and this time, I will recommend reading that one first.

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

Now with author Patreon page.

Chapters (1)
Comments ( 92 )

Haven't read either yet, but you do know you can tag it as a sequel and notify everyone who favorited the first one, right?

I wish I could thank you. Think of some words that could express how deeply you are able to access that deep yawning gulf of pain within my breast. Allow me to touch it, to gain some release from it.

Thank you.


I tried to. I put the story URL in the relevant space and after I hit the Save Changes button, it wiped itself. Then I just put the end bit there and that wiped itself. If you know what I'm doing wrong, I'm happy to listen.

Just this number


Thankee: that didn't auto-erase when I saved. Could someone please let me know if a notice comes up? (Clearly I don't get one.)

Sorry, wrong number, try this one

What could I possibly say that would do this justice? ._.
A like and favorite are hardly enough...

I can tell you one thing for certain though; I've been feeling pretty down lately. Final exams are coming up, bringing with them another bout of mild depression.
But you know what? I dont feel so bad anymore...
Reading this story has made these stressful days a lot more bearable, Estee.
And for that, you deserve my sincerest gratitude.

This explanation for Angel's behavior is one I have never seen. I want to integrate it into my headcanon.

By the blood on Luna's horn, Estee... how do you keep doing this?

The first half of the story wasn't quite making it there for me. Now that I think on it, I kind of felt that way about the tale prior: the beginning was starting to feel repetitive, with the main narrator (Flitter in that one, Flutters in this one) stuck so far in their rut that...

But never mind. Like before, just when I started feeling an uncomfortable sense of just where is this going, anyway? the hammer hit, as Rarity told Fluttershy exactly what was happening to her, and why, in a clear and understandable way.

That moment was perfect in my mind. Then the rest built up, and Flitter told Fluttershy in another way what had happened to her, and I cried. And then she spoke those words to Angel, and I just put my head in my hand and shook.

Thank you.

Light and laughter,

Exquisitely done from start to finish. Fluttershy's mind is always a frightening place to see, but here it becomes marginally less so. I couldn't help but draw a parallel to Twilight in 100% Move, 50% Fire; each is terrified of losing her friends, and responds to that fear in her own way. Twilight kept some contingencies at hoof. Fluttershy does whatever she think she must to maintain the relationships. And both learn just how strong those friendships are.

Also, it's very nice to see Flitter use her bitchiness for good.

Thank you for another fantastic story. :twilightsmile:


'kay: refixed, and thank you for the PM instruction on how to do it.. Did anyone receive a notice?

I didn't really get any notice about it. But maybe it doesn't work if I already follow you? *shrug*

Either way, feel free to make a blog post with 500LM as a tagged story, where you announce this one. That is a way I have seen many authors announce their sequels.

An excellent followup to one of the most powerful stories on this site :fluttercry:

One error I noticed:

I was visited by a mare who claimed to be from Manhattan.

I'm guessing that should be Manehattan?

I do love it when people form their characters with more than one facet. After all, why have sheets of glass when you could have gemstones?


I was actually fixing it as you found it. (You'd think I might get a story up with no errors one day. You might. I don't.) Thank you regardless.

This was... difficult to read.

Not the style--I don't mind that.

But it's just claustrophobic and painful to be stuck inside Fluttershy's head for so long.

And then there's this sort-of-catharsis at the end, but...

There are no errors, there are only tests to see if the readers are paying attention.

(I am waiting for the day when someone comments on my Star Swirl story to point out that I misrepresented the contents of the Iliad. I am not sure what it will mean if anyone ever does.)

Anyway. Great story, as always. Five Hundred Little Murders remains one of my all-time favorites, and I kinda want to hug Flitter now, even though she's just punch me if I did. Would totally be worth it.

And as with every potentially fatal condition, Ponyville's resident actual vet had taken a single glance at the possible damage to her perfect record before Sweetbark did what she

You know I think I hate Sweetbark more than Caramel in this, not taking the responsibility that is part of your job is just so low.

Oh, flutters there were just so many times I just wants to hug her hear, her fears about her mark seemed so scarily reasonable.

And Flitter, maybe under that shell there is just a small, tiny glimmer of a decent pony.

his taxes were supposedly in arrears

what's that?

And as with every potentially fatal condition, Ponyville's resident actual vet had taken a single glance at the possible damage to her perfect record before Sweetbark did what she

end with some type of punctuation either a -, or a ... would be fitting since she interrupts her own narrative.

did every time: gave over directions to the cottage and refused to ever see patient and companion again.


She was tired of asking her friends for little loans which they

Again. Always.

pretended to forget about two seconds after the bits had been passed over.

End punctuation, as with second to last quote tag.


There were things Fluttershy could pick up on from overhead, and aerial surveys helped her find so many homes of future


friends, but a gradual ground progression away from the paths typically allowed her to find more.

Punctuation after future and servants. Since their is no period of servants / capitalization of servants, the word friends probably doesn't need capitalization. Since servants and what it's between are interrupted thoughts.

There would likely be no new
companions today.

same as above. I'm getting the feeling that this was a literary device, it's good. It just needs to be grammatically correct.

Love this fic was lovely. I like how you do the characters in this AU. Other than a touch up in the aforementioned parts, this fic was a beautiful sequel to Little Murders.

More proof that Caramel is worst pony. :ajbemused: I like how you included Snowflake as her assistant in training - this Fluttershy really needs the extra support.

where perhaps two sentence would change and she had to give over the bits every time

sentences. Quoting two sentences to change here is entirely coincidental.

Less ponies traveled during the season and so fewer asked her to serve as temporary host for their companions

Fewer and less are not interchangeable. Use fewer both times.


I pretty much got that plural while you were reading it. This one was a marathon sprint and I was trying to find all the stumbles before everyone else did. But thank you for saving me from myself.

Caramel is worst pony? That's a thing now?

Snowflake-as-substitute-caretaker has his own story. And I'm not done with him yet...


In this case, 'arrears' basically means he's in debt to the government.

As for the others, yes: style choice, inner thoughts cutting in -- and as such, I'm leaving it as-is.


I'm starting to get the feeling that if I ever put Sweetbark on camera, some people are going to be clawing at the computer screen in their attempts to get at her...


Good advice. Blog post on the way, as soon as I can formulate what I want to say in it. I worked on this one instead of doing other things. Like eating lunch. My blood sugar level is currently trying to tunnel out through my feet.


Alright, it just reads weird, to me at least. Seeing a paragraph break without something that is used grammatically to break / interrupt thought breaks, and having a period at the end of a sentence and the following word being lower case.

But nonetheless as is. This fic is good, and I'm glad that you made this.

Wow. Powerful. And nicely done. How are your stories always so real?

As always, fantastic. I really like how you explore these given elements (pardon the pun) of the show in a very in-depth manner.

A very powerful story with a deep insight of the several ponies. Just like the last story from you. Thank you for this.

Once again, nice insight into Fluttershy. :twilightsmile:

And hey, Flitter's learning to harness her super-bitch powers for good. :yay:

I did think this passage:

If there was a seventh pony virtue called Tolerance and I bore that instead, refusing her then as well, I am certain she would have rallied against me just as much for failing to indulge her conviction that I was going to pass over everything I owned. Because surely to not indulge somepony in their every belief, even when those beliefs hurt you, is the clearest possible sign of intolerance, and all the hypocrisy would be mine?"

was a bit clunky. Rarity's talk of generosity made your point clear enough, this just felt tacked on.

That climax was great; Flitter's getting some character development too. I loved the look at Flutters. The fear that her mark might be controlling her friends is a very believable fear for her.

Okay, I'm not sure if this is the best place to post this since this is more of an observation of your writing in general not necessarily specific to this story (though the contrast between Caramels finances and Rainbows finances are sort of an example) but what the hell. As a disclaimer I haven't read all of your work so I may have just picked bad stories.
I get this impression that your main characters (the Mane 6, the Princesses, etc.) are always both smarter, morally superior, and less flawed than everyone else in a story (To my knowledge Flitter is the only exception, as she was fleshed out to being an actual person pony in this stories prequel, but in that case she was sort of the main character so maybe the point still stands). For Example in Blue is the new orange, during Rarity and Twilight's discussion with Roseluck (I think?) I got this horrible patronizing impression from the two. In story they were right of course, she was being ridiculous, but it was more an impression I got with, I guess the 'meta' context, when added to previous stories built into this uncomfortable feeling of... to be honest I'm not sure.

I guess the gist of what I am getting at is that everyone who is wrong in your stories and is an antagonist is generally irrevocably, at times to the point of stupidity, a fucking jackass. And the thing is, while this isn't necessarily a problem in and of itself there isn't much variation in the villains motives for being such a jackass except 'they are really damn dumb and maybe also an asshole' (Ex. The cop from One-Tenth Bit). The story never seems to spare any sympathy for them, ever. They get their comeuppance or don't and we move on and it's just left a bad taste in my mouth after seeing it so many times I guess.

This isn't necessarily an issue, but it's something that I have noticed and seems to become more glaring the more stories of yours I have read. I mean I like your stories. Pretty much everyone I have read is at least a solid B or B+, even if the subject matter isn't especially appealing to me. I guess it's just something I hoped to bring to your attention and to find out weather I am just projecting or something.

Somevon clearly needs to be sent to Tolerance Camp, ya?



This was beautiful. A really, really wonderful fit to Five Hundred Little Murders, and it's so good to find a sequel that works as strong as it does because it is a sequel. Well done.


I get hit when the designated villains are seen as being two-dimensional. I get blasted by those who perceive them as 3D. I accept that I am incapable of doing anything right and move on, generally leaving a trail of my shed blood along the way.


I have never convinced anyone on the Internet of anything and as always, I'm not going to start now. But my futility does need some exercise, so might as well take it out for a small hours walk.

I'm going to make the initial mistake of quoting myself here, mostly because this argument failed drastically the first time and thus with the same result looming ahead, why bother with a new one?

I won't call my permutation on Equestria dark -- not in the way the story tag implies. But I won't deny that the shadows are somewhat deeper. And part of that is from following the ideas where they seem to be leading. Most of those chases started with the show itself. For example: paparazzi imply a press with less than respect for those they hunt -- so Fluttershy's modeling career thus kicked off the first stage of what became Equestria's less-than-sterling fourth estate.

Other bits are from the old joke 'you say cynic, I say realist.' I've been trying to build an Equestria which is a little more grounded in some form of reality. To make certain stories work, that reality echoes our own a little more closely than the show displays. So yes, there's racism here and there. Some police are corrupt (although it is noted that Cropski is an exception who slid past the usual safeguards). And some ponies are petty, with many panic-prone.

Are there good ponies out there? Sure: lots. But what we've mostly been dealing with are the antagonists. We haven't seen that many typical citizens because they aren't driving the story -- and when they do show up, they can be all-too-easily influenced by what's happening around them.

There are a lot of petty people out there. I think it can be disjointing to see Ponyville in the same way. But petty, angry, lying ponies exist. It's not a perfect world... and so it offends. And when the universe is in the mood to poke you, there will be self-obsessed petty jerks around every corner. There's an argument to be made that in the real world, they hold the majority...

As for having sympathy for them... some deserve it. Some are on the wrong paths and could be led off them. A few could walk away on their own if given the chance.

And as in life, others are just jerks.

(On a side note, Rarity tries to feel bad for Cropski. She even makes an attempt to construct her own story for him and justify his behavior. Many of us tell ourselves things, try to deconstruct those around us. It's not always helpful or healthy.)

The specific example of Daisy... it's taking her along the road which the show seemed to be indicating: that on some level, she wants to be afraid. She's convinced herself of the absolute need for it and will always find or create excuses for it. Some of her fears are real and others are self-inflicted, ridiculous -- and to her, equally real in the reactions they produce.

As in life, so in Ponyville. For both, such personalities tend to travel in groups.

Next up: thank you for calling Rainbow smarter and morally superior to everypony else. She's appreciative. (And borders on antagonist half the time.)

Smarter... some are above average. But there's a subtheme going on in that the smarter you are, the more you can talk yourself into. When the more intelligent in the cast decide to delude themselves, it can be hard to break. Rarity, one of the brightest, is among the worst in that regard. Twilight's false beliefs -- insecurities, life lies -- are self-reinforcing. There are scenes where they have both spoken about things with total conviction which is either blinding them to what's really going on or has everypony around them realize they're lying to themselves while they can't see it.

For the Princesses, all three are flawed. Celestia has enough self-blame to power a 24-hour public confession channel. Luna can demonstrate the diplomacy of a half-brick in a sock. Cadance is terrified of herself.

Are they exceptional ponies (and dragon)? I would say you don't get into the positions all ten occupy if you're below average. The show means for them to stand out among the population and so they do here as well. But they're all much less than perfect and because they have that much more influence -- again echoing myself here -- when they do make mistakes, it can be on a larger scale.

The Bearers? I'll allow that in at least single aspects, they have their occasional chance to be morally superior: they each have to show at least one of the pony virtues, after all. It's sort of a job requirement. They have to stand out from the herd.


Rarity not only has the potential to drop into a full well of false superiority, but she can pick a chosen truth and chase it while systematically ignoring the real. Twilight adds her OCD, need to quantify, and the deep fears of a self-determined social outcast who doesn't truly know if she's getting anything right. Pinkie slips into her own echoes and finds that no matter how far she runs, her own life will always follow. There are days when Fluttershy is barely functional under the weight of her burdens and those pains are never fully going to go away. Applejack can be a trotting hypocrite who sticks to must on instinct while never considering why. Rainbow's insecurities often make her self-blinding to a terrifying degree and may the pony gawds help you if you're the one who breaks the illusion -- plus she can be more petty than anypony, and there are days when that's almost constant. And Spike lives with terrors which would shatter most ponies, in an isolation nothing is ever going to break because even with friends and sibling around him, most of the world sees him through a barrier of species -- one where he could become a monster at any moment, if he isn't one already. Something which can make him afraid to act at all from fears of being seen as that monster.

Oh, and all seven mutually get the responsibility for the realm regularly thrown on top of all of that. Good luck.

They are flawed. Sometimes deeply, often painfully, more than occasionally while horribly self-aware of it and still unable to stop. Just smart enough to be aware of their own problems while still helpless to solve them: a personal level of torment.

I'm sure I could go on and make things worse while not coming close to presenting any points, just like every time before. But it's the small hours and as such, my futility is going back to bed.

I'll find out how badly I failed this time in the morning.


I'll find out how badly I failed this time in the morning.


You keep hitting them into the feature box. I'll venture to suggest that you're doing something right.


Hmmm. Well I'm sorry to say I think your record is still 0 when it comes to convincing people on the internet of things. I haven't really been convinced that what I said at first was wrong, though I understand the background a bit more. Thank you for replying anyway, though.

As you say in your quote generally a story only has antagonists and protagonists in some capacity, and bit players. I guess the reason I find this split between the antagonists and the protagonists so noticeable is that I don't see the bit players in their natural habitat (i.e. not being stupid jackasses following the crowd). It's enough of a problem that it's noticeable (at least to me) but not enough of a problem to be a significant detriment tot he finished product.

I think the big issue is that my problem is both subjective and personal. It's what I perceive, and I admit I probably don't have a full picture. This distortion leads me, I admit partially unfairly (after all aren't protagonists 90% of the time morally superior to the antagonist?), to judge your story more harshly maybe. But as a reader I can only judge what I see and what impressions I leave a story with. Unlike the author I'm not as intimately acquainted with the characters (these versions anyway) and don't explicitly know their underlying motivations. Basically I judge what I see and this is what I have seen.

However, the fact that I honestly can't come up with any good advice on how to fix this problem is indicative of both how I am unsure of it's nature and whether or not it is a thing that necessarily needs to be fixed.

If other people don't have an issue with it feel free to ignore what I said. It's not like I'll quit reading your stories if you do, and there are no hard feelings on my end at least. In the end it's your story dude. Do what you want.

It's strange... I read the blog post, I had the plan in mind, but Rarity's story still hit me like a train. I think it's that point where I really got the point of the story. And I liked, oh liked so hard, where it went afterward. Beautiful.

I had hopes for Bulk Biceps, but clearly Flitter was the only fitting character against Caramel. Fluttershy's little exchange with her afterward was painful though. Those almost felt like - innocent - verbal punches against one another. Powerful writing there.

The only critique I think I can have right now however is that I think 4438864 has a point. When the main character is so well-developped/explored, the antagonists feel flat. Individually, each story feels strong, but it does look like a pattern now that I think about it.

Subtle misunderstanding. Pure generosity is not comtean self-immolation. To give, one must first, after all, receive. Generosity is when someone gives out of their own bounty, and of their own free will. if it is coerced or an obligation, it is not generosity. Even if Rarity were literally Generosity Incarnate, it would not be generosity for her to give of herself till she was destroyed. it would be suicide.

Anyne #36 · May 24th, 2014 · · 10 ·

"Snowflake... I know you don't like to intimidate anypony..."

That's not his name

Generosity is merely the act of giving while expecting nothing in return. That is what it is.

Anyway, regarding the story itself...

It was solid. It wasn't as good as five hundred little murders, but, well, it was still quite good.

I love the name of this story.

In Estee's Triptych setting it is, "Bulk Biceps" is fleshed out with Snowflake as his real, Meaningful Name. His parents didn't expect him to survive to see a sunrise as he was a capless birth, damaging his wings and himself, which is why his wings are so small.

4439240 4439266
Something I've noticed in my life, when I take the time to look back at what I've done and what I've said, is that I can be a real dick without realizing it. And that isn't an excuse to act that way. (Had I the charm) I could easily see myself doing similar things as Caramel--though perhaps not to that extent. Heck, I have done things similar. It is so easy to lie and take advantage of people when you know--even when you don't know--that they won't do anything about it. To serve your own needs and not even realizing that you are taking to do it.
Caramel is unequivocally wrong in the way he acts. Does he realize what he's doing? or is he just blindly going through the motions? For the story, it doesn't matter--he is still wrong for doing it. But as a character...
For Caramel, impressing his marefriend is what matters, everything else is secondary. I could draw parallels to a great many real life people who put one thing above everything else, work over family, alcohol over friends, video games over life. Everyone of them has a reason for it, but most people will never bother to figure out why. It's easier to persecute if you don't.
Stories commit that... sin (if that is a good word for it) almost out of necessity. To understand why someone does these things, why people treat eachother so poorly, would require an entire story all to itself for each and every individual.
I think the issue is that Estee's writing is such that you 'notice' because he goes into detail where others would simply say 'Caramel owes people money'. He gives you all the exterior context without any of the interior because the interior is not important to the story at hand.
Perhaps it's because I've noticed my own problems, and how easy it is to forget them until I did it all over again, that I tend to understand the antagonists more than most. I find it hard to look at Caramel and call him a terrible person. Who, after all, am I to pass that judgement? Would I call him out? Yes. But then, I hope others would call me out too.


I loved Five Hundred Little Murders and this is a fantastic follow up. Congratulations.

I look forward to the next appearance of Snowflake and Flitter.

Anyne #41 · May 24th, 2014 · · 15 ·

4439735 Then this should at least have an AU tag

Did I just see Flitter being cruel to be kind? :yay:

The AU tag isn't for stories that don't match every little detail in the show; they're for stories which differ, in some deep and thoroughgoing fashion, from the show. The big burly pegasus being called Snowflake instead of Bulk Biceps? Not an AU. The Mane Six all being stallions, or Princess Luna being the ruler of Equestria since she banished her power-mad sister a thousand years ago, or Sweetie Belle being secretly a robot the best organic lifeform? These are AUs.

I feel like I might be getting overly pedantic here, but what the hell.

But the sadists among the publishers centered their hardly-entirely-new editions around Hearth's Warming Eve. Less ponies traveled during the season and so fewer asked her to serve as temporary host for their companions while they did so.

The construction of this paragraph makes it seem like you're saying that fewer ponies travel during the holiday season (Hearth's Warming) rather than fewer ponies traveling during winter in general. While the latter is probably true, the former is dubious, as much like Christmas, it seems like tons and tons of ponies would travel during Hearth's Warming to see their families. In fact, I imagine many of them are very happy to take advantage of the fact that Fluttershy, even if she were close with them, wouldn't be willing to abandon her cottage to go home and visit her kin, thus allowing them to offload their pets onto her.

Her grooming service traffic dropped, and understandably so: longer coats were extra protection against the cold.

Speaking as someone who has owned a lot of pets, this just isn't true. If you're the sort of pet owner willing to spend money on professional grooming services, you need to take them in more frequently during the winter if they're the sort of dog or cat that grows a big thick winter coat. Much like people who have long hair need to invest more time in caring for it, the same holds true for animals.

He has been known to the fans as "Snowflake" since his first appearance. Hasbro attached the name of Bulk Biceps only recently.

I expect many fans will keep his old name in their stories.

Anyne #45 · May 24th, 2014 · · 20 ·

4441058 Well, that's just stupid and stubborn


Generosity is merely the act of giving while expecting nothing in return. That is what it is.

Following that logic, the following are all acts of generosity:

A kid makes puppy eyes at you until you give him or her some of your snack.

A parent guilt trips you into paying for her vacation.

You give your wallet to the thief who has a gun pointed to your head.

In all of the above scenarios, you expect no compensation. Therefore, they all depict generosity!

There are multiple definitions of the word "give". The one which is being used here is the free transfer of property, implying a lack of coercion; handing over your wallet to a thief can be said to be "giving" your wallet to the thief, but it isn't the same word.

no matter what the situation or provocation. it would mean she wasn't truly Kindness at all.

you should probably capitalize these two sentences.


You give your wallet to the thief who has a gun pointed to your head.

the compensation for this is not getting your brains blown out
so i wouldn't quite let that one fall under the perceived logical fallacy

Will you just do everybody a favor and stop commenting? Nobody cares.

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