• Member Since 11th Jul, 2011
  • offline last seen June 15th

SaddlesoapOpera


Saddlesoap Opera is a Canadian Brony who loves to write and read fiction of nearly all kinds.

T

Ponyville is shaken to its core when everypony's favourite pink party-pony is revealed to be a murderer.

Her friends struggle to deal with the staggering revelation as all of Equestria turns its focus on the little town to learn more about the now infamous Cup Cake Killer...

Winner, 8th Place, Equestria Daily's More Most Dangerous Game contest.

A full-cast reading can be found here.

Chapters (1)
Comments ( 55 )

Well that was heartbreaking.

I... I can't give this an upvote, but its too well written to deserve a downvote. I hated the story, but, it was so well written. Thanks for depressing me for the rest of the day:pinkiesad2:. Please continue to write such masterful work. :pinkiesmile:

That's our Saddlesoap, smashing hearts and taking names. Excellent job.

Well, that happened. Given who Pinkie is, she could no other.....no matter what the cost.

Dark Pinkie without breaking character? Well... not quite. But very, very close. 'course, in situations like this, character is rather subjectively interpretive. Not the way I would have seen Pinkie handling it, but still well written.

I knew when I took the challenge of "re-doing" Cupcakes, it wouldn't be everypony's cup of tea, so to speak.

I did my best to give a fresh look to an infamous story, and from the looks of the generally positive (if shaken) content of the comments versus the barely-breaking-even status of the votes, a fair number of readers are hammering the red button before they even read a page. Pity. :duck:

Those of you who either dislike dark fics and wisely turned tail at the front door, or who gave this story an actual chance and saw that it was not just more in the same vein as the gleeful and heedless splatterfest that inspired it... I appreciate it.

Here's hoping the contest judges give it a fair shake as well... :raritywink:

Won't be reading this right away but I'll be sure to come back to this :)

Wow. Nobody's put a twist ending like that on a story like this before. It's really just... wow. Great job.

Wow. That was amazing. :twilightoops:

:pinkiesad2:

I'm going to be very honest here.

When I first read the story, I absolutely loved everything you were doing. Even though Pinkie's confession was pretty cut and dry, I felt the same as Twilight: This didn't feel right. Something was off. I thought using the potion was a pretty great touch. I really liked that you used the one thing for Mrs. Cake. When I realized that's what had been going on, I just kinda sat there for a moment. It was brilliant.

Then the ending happened.

It was one of the most unsatisfying endings I've ever read. I was pretty upset. I think I used the word 'garbage' at some point.

But the story leading up to that point had been so good. It couldn't be that the story just pooped itself, right? So I poked around to see what other judges thought. Turns out they also thought the ending was unsatisfying, but they had also come to the conclusion that the "satisfying" ending, Twilight saving Pinkie, would have been super cheesy and wouldn't have fit with what the story wanted to do.

So I thought about it for a couple days before reading the story again.

That time, even though I still found the ending entirely unsatisfying, I thought it was fitting.

So, in the end, I really, really enjoyed this. This was in my own top three, which was pretty far from what my initial gut reaction wanted it to be. Great stuff.


As a side note, it was pretty cool to see old names like you and Patchwork write new things again. It had been nearly two years for you and more than two years for Patchwork since you'd published a new thing.

5687754 I agree with most of this, this was a captivating and well written story. The twist especially was great, not something I'd seen before!

Except that I really don't think the ending was fitting or well done at all, even within the context of this story. An ending where Twilight saved Pinkie might seem cheesy, but at least it wouldn't have been as utterly contrived and dumbly frustrating as the ending we did get. As opposed to making the previous drama more impactful, the ending just seemed to make the rest of the story ring hollow, it made the story seem pointless and I no longer cared about what had happened. It wasn't half as clever as the twist was, it felt like a very cookie cutter downer ending.

But writing an ending is difficult no matter how good you are, so I suppose it better to have a good story with a less good ending than nothing at all.

5687817

the ending just seemed to make the rest of the story ring hollow

That was the whole point, I felt. It was never meant to have a happy ending. "It was for the best," after all. And it wasn't that the story wanted to convince you it was for the best. No, it wanted to convince you that Pinkie thought it was for the best and that there was no other solution. To drive that point home, she wanted to make sure she was punished for her actions. What punishment is more extreme than execution? So in that regard, the ending was pretty consistent in driving that main point home.

At the end of the day, though, I can see why others might not like it. It was pretty polarizing among the judges. Nearly every judge ranked it highly or lowly. There was very little middle ground.

5687869 Haha, sorry if I seemed a little short in that comment. Not that I mean to convince anyone what they should feel about the ending, but let me clarify what I meant a little bit.

I didn't mean it felt hollow in the sense that "Pinkie has committed herself to this terrifying solution and that resulted in a huge charade of pointless death meant to fix things."

I meant it like it made the story feel less real, like the props fell down and the paint cracked and the show came to an awkward halt. It really shattered the immersion of the story for me. Like when something really cliche happens in a story and it makes everything around it feel that much more fake and unimportant.

5687869 5687817 5687754
I appreciate the responses!

Basically, you're correct about the ending. It's meant to be a cruel, downbeat, gut-punch ending that makes the reader feel like they are in Twilight's shoes - trapped with an understanding of the hopeless debacle Pinkie had found herself embroiled in. Aware, but not remotely soothed by the knowledge.

I was told by the contest rules that we weren't supposed to do a cheery "fix-fic" or wildly differ in tone, and Cupcakes does NOT avoid death with a daring rescue. It's a dark-ass story with brutal content.

So, BAD END seemed to be the order of the day. I just tried to make as plausible a rationale for Pinkie the Murderer as I could. Also, the whole idea that Pinkie's plan works the way she intended after she follows her own warped but internally consistent logic is basically how she plays out in the show. Pinkie does as Pinkie does, and everypony else is left bewildered. This was like the Parasprites scenario, reflected in a glass very, very, very darkly.

Regardless, I'm not surprised it was strongly polarizing, and I am very grateful to folks who gave it a chance and saw it as it was intended to be seen. This was a spicy, spicy pepper to consume, and not everyone wants to get their tongue burned. And that's totally understandable and fair. But yes, it was indeed supposed to sting like that.

Regardless, I am thrilled to have made the top 10, most certainly! Huzzah! : )

...I legitimately don't understand the twist. I've read the section a few times, and I don't get what you're implying. Maybe I'm dumb. Either way, I'm just left with confusion, which isn't good because I'm pretty sure this would be a great story if I understood it.

5687926
I see what you mean, but I didn't see it at all, if that makes any sense.


5687934
You mean when Mrs. Cake wanted to drown her kids?

5688032 ...Oh, huh. That's quite the interesting article there. :rainbowhuh:
Well, I learned something today. Great story.

Hey, I wrote a review for this story. It can be found here.

I really didn't care for the story. I loved the beginning, it was very atmospheric, but there are enough issues that by the end, I had lost interest.

That was a good story. It really was a sad ending though but hell I liked it for what it was.

I liked it. Especially the PoVs, very immersive. Wasn't really a fan of the ending, with them now dragging her name through the mud (where's the justice in that), but it's better than a cheesy one where she's miraculous saved last minute. Still, I've would've preferred it more if Twilight proved what actually happened once the deed was done.

"Wow" isn't a good enough descriptor of how much I enjoyed this story. My knees felt physically weak after reading it, and the feeling didn't disappear when I reread it immediately after for some clarity. Such a beautiful, tragic twist. Easily in my top three favorite stories in the contest at the moment.

The closest thing I have to a complaint is that Maud's comment somewhat disrupted the mood of the story. It's perfectly in character, but it ends up feeling more comedic than saddening (though truthfully I'm not sure what the intent of those lines were). That's probably just on me though.

You bulldozed through my expectations for the Cupcakes prompt SSO and I'm glad to see you releasing stories again.

I read this and I didn't get it.

The writing has all the elements to setup a tragic story of how Pinkie Pie comes to the conclusion to kill due to tragic circumstances and the sad ending fits. But what is missing is the clarifying reveal that shows the actual tragic situation that lead to the events.

I did not understand what Pinkie Pie's motivation here is. It is not that I disagree with it, I flat out didn't understand what she was thinking or what made her think like this. And that is a key aspect to a story of this kind: knowing why.

It took me rereading the reveal scene to get what happened. Somehow the writing just wasn't clear enough to make me realize what was happening. Part of the problem is that the reveal was so short. I barely registered that there was more happening than the first time.

An unrelated problem with the story is how the court scene is glanced over. It leaves a large plot hole to assume that the court didn't ask for more details. An obvious problem is the fact that Pinkie choose to represent herself. As a reader one can assume that it was for some reason. But the story isn't complete without addressing this fact in more detail. Pinkie's friends, especially Twilight, would be very curious about the decision.

The final last minute reveal is certainly dramatic and the conclusion of being too late fits the tone of the story. But it leaves a plothole of why it is a last minute effort of Twilight.

Overall, the story is nice, but it has problems that ruins the great tone it sets.

What the fuck did you just fucking say about me, you little bitch? I’ll have you know I graduated top of my class in the Navy Seals, and I’ve been involved in numerous secret raids on Al-Qaeda, and I have over 300 confirmed kills. I am trained in gorilla warfare and I’m the top sniper in the entire US armed forces. You are nothing to me but just another target. I will wipe you the fuck out with precision the likes of which has never been seen before on this Earth, mark my fucking words. You think you can get away with saying that shit to me over the Internet? Think again, fucker. As we speak I am contacting my secret network of spies across the USA and your IP is being traced right now so you better prepare for the storm, maggot. The storm that wipes out the pathetic little thing you call your life. You’re fucking dead, kid. I can be anywhere, anytime, and I can kill you in over seven hundred ways, and that’s just with my bare hands. Not only am I extensively trained in unarmed combat, but I have access to the entire arsenal of the United States Marine Corps and I will use it to its full extent to wipe your miserable ass off the face of the continent, you little shit. If only you could have known what unholy retribution your little “clever” story was about to bring down upon you, maybe you would have held your fucking tongue. But you couldn’t, you didn’t, and now you’re paying the price, you goddamn idiot. I will shit fury all over you and you will drown in it. You’re fucking dead, kiddo.

Ehh... No. Not doing it for me. I liked the premise and atmosphere you had going, but there were too many flaws for me to ignore. Aside from the unsatisfying ending, which others have already commented on, the whole thing felt a little rushed, particular highlights of this being both the court scene and funeral scene. So much is glossed over.

And this opens several plot holes as well, particularly the way that crime works in this world.

The idea of an Equestria that has only ever had five murders in recorded history is already a really hard sell that no attempt was made to justify. In fact, I'd go as far as to say that it's patently absurd. Unless Equestria has a very different definition of what constitutes a murder, then there's no way there'd be that few of them, what with crimes of passion, psychotic episodes, possible magical corruption by outside entities, and even if premeditated murder for selfish reasons simply isn't in pony nature, Equestria is still a multi-cultural nation which is also home to many other species, including plenty of carnivores. Or does it not count if a dragon or a griffon kills someone?

But then I'm expected to buy that Mrs. Cake of all ponies would've been one of the few to cross that line? Why? Assuming there really has been at most only five others in history who ever murdered anyone, including her own killer, then it must've been some truly exceptional circumstances that led her to attempt murder. Did she somehow develop a completely unique mental illness with no obvious cause? That's the only even remotely plausible explanation that I can think of. Anything else would be both even more absurd and incredibly out of character.

And then there's the matter of why a nation that has experienced only five murders in its thousand years of history would ever have capital punishment. I don't even want to think about how many murders must occur in America every year, but America has still abolished the death penalty in eighteen states. So how does a nation as apparently peaceful and utopian as Equestria justify the existence of state executions?

I'm confused.

So in conclusion, no, I did not like it. There was definitely a good story at the core of this, but I can't ignore the layer of nonsensicality that was added by some of these world details and the way that they're glossed over. Fortunately, if you're ever willing to revise this story, my main complaints are real easy fixes, and with just some small alterations, I'd have given this a far better rating, even with the ending.

I actually like the premise in that dark sort of way. To Pinkie the only way the town could move on and be happy eventually was to believe that she was a true killer. In her mind the idea of the actual killer would tear everybody apart even worse and would completely fracture the family that she loved so much in the remaining Cakes.

If this was not designed as a one shot this could have been made with a potentially satisfying (and non-cheesy) ending but that would take a lot more than the contest would allow (and I agree the contest would desire a darker ending). So for what you were writing for this is very well done.

It was for the best indeed. Great story!

PresentPerfect
Author Interviewer

5688032
Oh, it really is that simple.

So it really was all a misunderstanding, Pinkie included. That's...

Man, the work 'grimdark' doesn't get used as a compliment near enough.

5734989

Did she somehow develop a completely unique mental illness with no obvious cause?

It's not exactly unique. I thought it was a pretty clever use of an actual mental disease. It's one of the big reasons I had it 3rd on my list when judging the contest.

5736848

Maybe it's not unique in the real world, but if this fic purports that Mrs. Cake was suffering from an at least semi-common condition, then why has almost no other mother in Equestrian history ever attempted to do the same thing that she did? Unless they have, and Equestrian doctors are just super competent at spotting that sort of thing and stopping it before it happens, in which case I have to wonder what made Mrs. Cake's doctor so negligent compared to the standard.

That's the main problem with murder in this setting being such an incredibly rare thing - it means that something completely out of the ordinary must have happened to cause it in this case. Mrs. Cake's psychosis being a completely unique thing in Equestria is the explanation I default to because it's the least absurd, but no matter what, it's still terribly contrived.

Why did Pinkie leave the twins in the sink?

Overall a very good story even it doesn't make that much sense. Really cool to see Alicorn Twilight use her authority though.

Dear God this feels so right for some reason, especially the ending. That's all that I can say. It gives me feelings of rightness; completion; finality; sacrifice; secrecy; and righteous, vindicated, victory filled with sadness and right.
Pinkie did the 'right' thing, even if it was not the best or wisest. You have to compliment her, and therefore the author, on Pinkie Pie's choice and creative plan. I don't know about anyone else but I didn't see the part about her taking it all on herself to protect Mr. Cake and the twins from the truth, even when the reason she killed Mrs. Cake was given. I was just too stunned for some reason, even though that was not surprising, and I couldn't figure out why she would kill the twins until she wasn't... I can't believe how slow I was. All the same I still like this a lot
Wonderful plot twist and what I feel is a good story.

Edit 32 weeks and 4 hours later: What the heck was I thinking? Ugh... it was the music I was listening to wasn't it? Ugh... gotta stop doing that!:facehoof:
Self sacrifice is nice sometimes, but it was not truly necessary here, and in fact was a bit foolish...

5737109
She had them in the sink so it could look like she was drowning them, even though she really wasn't. That way she would be branded a murder and she wouldn't have to explain why she killed Mrs. Cake but not the babies. She could look like a real psycho or look like a more realistic psycho if she also 'tried to kill the babies,' and no one would ask and no one, especially Mr. Cake would be any wiser to the truth, that Mrs. Cake was the one with severe mental health issues. Like Pinkie said, he would never forgive himself for not seeing this coming. Also, how would the twins feel when they found out that their own mother was going to kill them because she was unstable. And then when they made the realization that the only reason that they were alive was because Pinkie killed her before she could kill them. Would they ever be able to look at her like normal again, especially since Pinkie was also the reason that their dad wasn't happy (she killed his wife, and reviled the truth that Cup Cake was 'crazy.' So even though she may not be at fault, it might be difficult to not see it that way if it happened to you. And no I don't mean you the person I am reply to specifically).

5738380

Ah ok that makes sense now!

“May the spirits of our ancestors have mercy on thy soul.”
...
“Gosh, I sure hope they will!”

They will, Pinkie. They will.
5540891 I suggest making a bookshelf for this kind of thing. There are stories too horrible to like and too sad to enjoy, but they should be remembered anyways.

Wow, that was not what I expected!
Now I'm feelin meh feelz again!

Finally got around to reading this, and man, I have to say, I thought the ending fit perfectly. The original cupcakes was perhaps the biggest shit-drizzle to ever stain FiM fanfiction. Your re-imagining of the story was amazing.

Can anyone explain the twist to me?

Dear SaddlesoapOpera,

I'm not sure I can adequately convey how spectacular this tale of yours is to me.
You've done something that I truly am in awe of you for: you've made a grimdark in which Pinkie is both the psychotic villain and the hero. You've given her a more powerful character than most grimdarks featuring her have, and this by killing her off in an act that, to all but one, will be viewed as righteous execution for attempted cold-blooded murder.

Simple, unparalleled brilliance. This is easily one of my top-ranked fics for that. You sir, are one hell of a good storyteller.

AIP§ :rainbowdetermined2:

Very nice. I love how your story blatently poked fun at the absuridy of the original's premise-- mostly, the mention that there have only been five recorded murders in Equestria's history.

I...there are no words. Bravo sir just bravo.

5738380
You make no sense at all what the fuck are you saying? all i am getting from this is even though pinkie's intentions were good they would still see her as bad and that you should understand that if you were in that situation. um fuck no! I would understand but i wont hold a damn grudge! in fact i would be grateful that because of it i am still alive!

I...need to wait a half-hour to let all this amazingness sink in, then read a comedy.

5955047 Which comment are you replying to?
If it's the first one, then I edited it to include some... uh... corrections in a way... and why...

6564984
My comment is so old that i dont remember sorry. :(

5743709
Mrs. Cake was highly mentally unstable. She went nuts and tried to kill the twins, and Pinkie stopped her... by killing her. Pinkie pretended to be the killer so everyone else wouldn't have to live with knowing about Cup's insanity.

Being just too late to save Pinkie is just as cheesy as being just in time to save her would have been.

Full review here, but in brief: fascinating and even chilling, but maybe a bit contrived for Equestria. Still a like, though, for doing something interesting with a terrible premise.

8775278
Thanks for the comment and review -- feedback is always appreciated! :twilightsmile:

It was a difficult prompt to work with, I'll admit. We were explicitly banned from making "fix fics" that violated the spirit of the original in some foundational way, so I couldn't have had a "good" ending to this grim little tale. That said, time-pressure did make things rush a little more than they probably could have. A little more breathing room for me AND the narrative would likely have produced a better final draft.

Regardless, as I said, it's great to get level-headed and well thought-out reviews. Cheers!

8776052
You're welcome. It occurs to me that this is a problem with most "in the moment" fics written either for a specific contest or in response to something else: someone reading them several years later may not know (or even care) about their context. This one does stand alone, I think, and I don't think I'd have liked it more with a happy ending. The existence of judicial execution in Equestria, even in the circumstances, is a real stretch for me -- that's what I meant in my review about not being American, as the concept is alien to me in real life, too. (But then you're not from the US either, so maybe that isn't it. I don't know.)

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