• Member Since 17th Feb, 2012
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Violet CLM


T

An argument and a car crash leave one of the sirens--Adagio, Sonata, and Aria--dead. They know this because Death itself has shown up to chat with them and to ensnare Adagio into a game of wits with the very lives of her companions at stake. Adagio doesn't want anyone to die, but she's not so happy with the way they've been arguing so much lately either...

An EQG story. Absolutely no connection to The Years of Ar and S.

Chapters (1)
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Comments ( 49 )

That was slightly confusing, yet amazing at the same time. I like it.

1936? Oh dear...
Ah well, it was an interesting story to read. I must say, I wasn't expecting the decision that Adagio made, but it was the best choice and I wouldn't have it any other way after reading it.

Nice execution (no pun intended) of the Take A Third Option trope.

This was absolutely amazing. :rainbowderp:
The history of the sirens, the friendship, past and present, that the trio share. :raritycry:
I will admit that I don't REALLY understand how the revival system works, but I don't think that removes any enjoyment from the story. :unsuresweetie:

This was so utterly unique, and so well executed! Freaking Awesome!

Very interesting! I'll admit I don't quite get how Adagio got all three of them revived again, but it's regardless a very satisfying ending. :twilightsmile:

An excellent exploration of the siren condition. (Like the human condition, but longer, and with better music.) I'm not very fond of cruel or vindictive psychopomps, but the puzzle was well-made, and the solution stunningly obvious in retrospect, as the answer to a good puzzle should be. Thank you for this.

5218830 That's fair. It was a Discworldy Death at one point in the initial thinking through, but that would have a) been totally counterproductive to the Halloween feeling, and b) not given Adagio any chances to wonder how far she wanted to go down the villainy track. Cruelty just seemed to fit better.

When Adagio Dazzle regained consciousness she was on the floor of a stolen car,

This is one Hell of an opener. Kudos for that.

But as for the story proper, the whole "death debt" thing left me scratching my head. And by the end of it I felt like I had more questions than answers. I'm gonna go out on a limb and guess that this whole "death debt" wasn't even a real thing, but a ruse to get the sirens' lives? Because that would make much more sense. I mean, if you kill an immortal, Death gives you a three hour take-back? That's nuts!

I didn't like how quickly everything was resolved either. Both in the overarching conflict and the personal conflicts, everything's basically wrapped up in a single paragraph at the end. Adagio solves Death's riddle seemingly without giving any real thought, and Sonata and Aria kiss and make up off page, so by the end, it feels like nothing was really accomplished.

And another thing:the sirens were WAY too ready to kill each other! Adagio plunges the knife into Sonata like it's nothing, and doesn't even flinch!

And finally, the thing that irked me the most: it doesn't matter if Death says that he can't lie, he COULD BE LYING ABOUT NOT BEING ABLE TO LIE! Why does Adagio just immediately assume that DEATH is a trustworthy dude!? She's clever enough to solve Death's puzzle, but she never stops to think that Death is pulling one over on them!?

I really like this story, it's unique, and original, andI can't recall ever reading anything like it before, but it has some rather big issues.

5219165 I can't argue with your takeaway or your pacing concerns, but I will say the question of whether Death can lie comes up repeatedly:

But I cannot lie.
“Prove it.”
I cannot. But consider, Adagio, how many years before this I have not appeared to you. The death debt is very real, and I am bound to its rules. If I could lie, there have been a thousand better chances I could have seized on to take your lives, but I cannot lie.

And we still have no proof this death debt stuff is for real!”
“But like he said, if he could lie or appear whenever he wanted we’d probably all have gotten killed ages and ages ago, right?”
“…” Adagio gritted her teeth. “I guess. I’m not sure.

Unless I lied about Aria, of course.
Adagio went limp. The knife dropped noisily to the rocks under her feet, and she only barely caught the flashlight in time, though Death’s face of bones was just as unperturbed as before when she got the light to shine on it again. “You… but you said…”
I said many things. I also said that I could not prove that I never lie. And I cannot lie. Unless I am lying about that.
“And the death debts?”
Still real. I have nothing to gain from deceiving you about those, as we have established. Moreover, either I am telling the truth that you could choose either Aria or Sonata to revive, or else you do yourself no harm in trying. Death pretended to brush some invisible insect off its boney arm. I cannot lie, but you may feel free not to believe that.
Adagio tasted blood and belatedly realized she was biting her lip. Still, whatever Death’s other qualities, it was proving extraordinarily willing to answer questions and generally talk a lot. She couldn’t ignore the possibility that Death might yet say something that she could find useful. “I think I’ll believe you,” she said after a few more moments of thought. “If I work within your system, I may find a move to beat you. If I question that there’s any system at all, I’m powerless.”
A fair conclusion.

And Adagio does try to talk Sonata out of getting stabbed, mentions hoping she's too weak to do it, and doesn't like looking at Sonata's body afterwards. You're completely welcome to disagree that that's enough reaction, but it is there.

5219235
You make a fair point, but Death's own words render it moot: "I Cannot." He can't prove that he's unable to lie, and that therefore calls everything that he says or has said, into question. Saying that one is unable to lie, and going on to say that they're is no way for them to prove the truth of that statement is paradoxical: it's akin to the statement that "Everything I say is a lie."

Yes, what Death says, about how he had myriad opportunities to claim the sirens could be true, but it begs the question: "Then why didn't he?" He also states that it is his intention to claim all three of their souls. This implies that he wants their souls. And if he wants their souls, then why wait all this time? Why not exploit one of those "countless opportunities" that he's supposedly had instead of playing this game?

My problem wasn't so much Adagio's willingness to trust Death, but her unwillingness to ask more questions. She doesn't try to catch Death in a lie, or probe for more information as to his motives, she just decides to take everything he says at face value and play the game.

Maybe I'm reading to much into this, but from where I was standing, everything seemed stacked up against Adagio. When Death told Sonata that Aria had saved her life by "positioning herself" between the rocks and Sonata, I immediately became suspicious. That seemed not only implausible, that Aria would have the presence of mind to spot such a threat and react accordingly, but also seemed too convenient a fact to drop, at just the right time. Also, convincing Sonata to "die" in order to talk to Aria could have further been meant to throw Adagio off her game, to increase the likelihood of her making the wrong choice.

I don't know if this was your intention, but Death as portrayed by you comes off as the player to end all players. And it really bothered me at how little scrutiny he receives from Adagio. She had three hours, after all.

5220032 Not a full three hours, since she was unconscious and stuff for a while, but yeah. Adagio could have asked some more questions, and some of the things you mention just fall into stuff I didn't think of and others are just... well, they wouldn't have gone anywhere. Adagio could have satisfied her (/your) curiosity on more points, but if she'd have reached the same conclusion, how much would the further questioning have added? It's a line between satisfying all possibilities and keeping the reader interested through diversions that don't ultimately produce anything. I appreciate your feedback that you're unsatisfied with where in particular I fell on that line.

And yeah, naturally Death wants Adagio to lose, because as you mentioned, intention to claim their souls. If information is dropped, it will be at the time Death thinks that information would be most useful (to Death, not to Adagio) for Adagio to know. They both get a lot more explicit about this and what they both understand the game's structure to be once Sonata is out of the picture. But Death wants Adagio unhappy and frustrated (not to mention in physical pain) as much as possible, because maybe there is a loophole in the system presented to her, and if there is, Death doesn't want Adagio thinking clearly enough to find it. But Death is bound to the rules of the death debt and can't leave before then.

The countless historical opportunities are contingent on Death's being able to lie. Otherwise they're hypotheticals only. And I guess I'm interested to know how you think one would go about proving one is incapable of falsehoods? "Everything I say is a lie" isn't a paradox--you're thinking of "this statement is a lie"--but it feels to me like it'd be impossible to prove, if comparatively trivial to disprove.

There was a fourth option.
Bring back Sonata, take her choice. If she refused to bring back Aria, kill her again and bring back Aria herself. Or she could at that point decide to let the time expire.

5227782 You can't perform more than one revival.

5230093 Yeah, I'm not going to lie here. I'm always taken off guard by the solution, and this was no exception. I always leave out details like that :facehoof:
It sucks because I can never write that well, but it's amazing because the real solution is always a surprise and adds to the excitement.

Splendid Halloween story. It's one I might retell to my friends next time we're sitting around a campfire.

That was pretty cool. I'm actually fine with the fact that she didn't ask more questions. It surely would have been the smart thing to do, but for all we know Adagio isn't that intelligent, plus she is hurt and under stress and all that. The problems I did have were that a) it felt a little bit too easy for her to kill her friend and b) I find it hard to imagine that creatures with a lifespawn of several centuries would behave this childish, but that's really a problem with the source material.

There was a point in the story where I was convinced you were going to end it with the time limit running out.

I'm really, really glad that didn't happen.

So, yeah, the story was incredibly dark, I loved every second of it. The ending was pretty excellent, and while certain events (ex: Aria and Sonata making up) disappointingly happened off-screen, that didn't detract from the story. Great stuff.

KInd of interesting, but I feel like nothing much really changed. I'm a bit surprised that Adagio didn't consider proposing throwing herself off the cliff. Somehow I think that would have bothered Sonata.

For what it's worth, Death successfully robbed all of them of any future second chances. I almost wish Adagio had tried to see if there was anything he could gain by their deaths and if not, she could simply have killed herself. They would technically be together again and mortal concerns would not be a thing. It might actually have been better for either Sonata to let Aria go or for her to simply ask Death to revive her. Instead she forced Adagio to kill her and Adagio forced Aria to kill her.

5214373 Why? What happened during 1936?

Comment posted by Starlight Nova deleted Dec 16th, 2014

lol wut JK amazing

A most amazing story!

Imagine this happening in equestria girls 3 to show the fate of the dazzlings.

I might sound stupid, but I didn't quite get how she managed to revive both of them and survive.
Could somebody please explain it here? You can simplify it, use examples, etc. The problem is, I'm not a native English speaker so I didn't understand some complicated parts of the dialogue. Not to mention that I'm an idiot and I can't solve puzzles. But I really liked this fic and I really want to understand the solution. Sorry to bother you and sorry for bad grammar and punctuation. Pls don't hate me.

5439287 I had a bit of trouble following it myself, but after some rereading, here's the solution I got out of it:

Sonata killed Aria.
Adagio killed Sonata.
Adagio revived Aria (allowed because Sonata, who she killed, killed Aria).
Aria killed Adagio.
Aria revived Sonata (allowed because Adagio, who she killed, killed Sonata).
Sonata revived Adagio (allowed because Aria, who she killed, killed Adagio).

5509382 Thank you very much! I've abandoned all hope for a reply xD
And you might wanna cover this comment with this to avoid spoiling :)

what i think you should do is do a rerun chapter depicting all the bits we didn't see or basically showing the story from either aria's or sonata's point of view if you get time / are bored. (just a suggestion)

This was amazing. I loved it. :pinkiehappy: I was thinking for the whole story "Just pick Sonata, stupid! It's the only reasonable choice!" but then I broke out into a massive grin when I realized Adagio's solution at the end.

Great story. Really well done.

soo killing an immortal who had killed an immortal and you receive the death debt of the person you killed and the ones they had.. than why couldn't adagio kill sonata and revive borh sonata and aria.
sonata killed aria and has her death debt,
adagio killed sonata and gain her death debt. and inherrits aria's death debt from sonata.
than revives aria first and then sonata.

why wouldn't that work?

also i have no idea how the spoiler thing works:fluttershyouch:

5688826 "Every living sentient being has one—and only one—chance to abandon a death debt and revive their victim."

5690226 oooh so that's why they had to set up a chain thank you :)

So in the end (and since everyone else is using spoiler brackets, why not?), Adagio traded away Aria's death debt thing for the certainty that they'd all be brought back. Perhaps Death was hoping to secure one, if not two dead immortals, but Adagio would've gotten everyone back anyway if she'd just revived Sonata in the first place, and now none of the sirens will be able to undo an immortal slaying in the future. A victory for Death in the end, albeit a trifle one.

Finally got around to read this... It was well written and very interesting, but I have to admit I don't really understand Adagio's choice.
While I was reading, I felt the most logical choice was to revive Sonata who could have revived Aria. There didn't seem to be much of a dilemma here, despite the story making it look like there was. The three of them would have ended up alive, the only difference is that Adagio would still have her injuries.
Yes, I know she couldn't be sure that Sonata would be willing to revive Aria, but it seemed likely that Sonata would. Besides, Adagio's option involved trusting that Aria would be willing to kill her, AND trusting Aria to revive Sonata, AND trusting Sonata to revive her. It seems a lot more risky in my opinion, unless I'm missing something.

Hm. Nice logic puzzle. Clever. Story built around it wasn't half bad either. I don't have much to say on this one, but I liked it well enough, and I find no real fault with it. Good work.

Interesting story. The characterization and premise seemed quite solid, and its overarching theme is very endearing. I find that the problem in the story is more of a puzzle or riddle than a round of Prisoner's Dilemma, though. Once you see the option that Adagio took, it's clear that none of the other options are nearly as effective. Choosing Aria leads to either a) all three survive (best option for Adagio), or b) both Aria and Adagio survive while Sonata dies (which Adagio admits to be the second best option). I suppose a case could be made that Adagio would be disgusted that Aria wouldn't save her fellow siren, which would be a bad option, but if that were the case, then choosing Sonata would have been no better - either way, only two of the sirens would survive and either way Adagio would be disappointed with them.

if you kill an immortal you get a… what was it called again?

THE QUICKENIIIING!!!

2.bp.blogspot.com/-8fsF-vGoJTM/TndX4PyYaZI/AAAAAAAAATc/Sn00Xefa6G0/s1600/picture41.png

It was AWESOME. I just find it confusing. A little. At the part where the three revived.

Everyone else is baffled by the very clever logic puzzle, which seems about correct to me; meanwhile, I read this like a week ago and I'm still trying to figure out who at Canterlot High owns their own car and keeps nothing but a huge stabby knife in their purse.

6710184 More people than you might think!

You're a commenter, so I'll ask you: did this get linked to from somewhere recently? I got a sudden upswing of notifications about this story yesterday and don't know where they came from.

6710523
I only found out about this story because it was mentioned a lot in the buzz around "Long Live Sonata Dusk", and I only got around to that kinda recently because I finally saw Rainbow Rocks, like, last month, and like I said this was all over and done with like a week ago, so I don't think I can help you. Sorry.

6710589 Could also be coincidence I guess. Thanks for the response. :)

I want to know what happened in 1936!
But that is neither here nor there. This was a great story

Found this while looking at my subbs, Congratz!

8522573
Oh wow, this is really exciting! Thanks for letting me know :D

I going to say in my opinion that this story was a great read and story to listen to with Wubcake and Thespio. And I love the whole puzzle like element in the story, which I am a sucker for, I can’t hwlp but feel as though Adagio made it much more complicated than what it’s worth. I don’t know how to do the spoiler brackets so I’m going to put a spoiler warning in a little bit. In short I liked and would recommend it to someone. Spoilers: wouldn’t Adagio just revevive Sonata and she’d revive Aria? I guess Adagio was just thinking that there WAS going to be an off-chance Aria wouldn’t have been a good friend, and Death was lying that she was and saved Sonata before her demise. But remembering history, and other things, She’d revive Aria. Aria would kill Adagio and, in turn, would revive Sonata, saving her twice. And Sonata would revive Adagio. The reason I think Adagio wanted to get killed and revived was to cure her enjuries.

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