• Member Since 12th Dec, 2011
  • offline last seen February 6th

Impossible Numbers


"Gather ye rosebuds while ye may, Old Time is still a-flying, And this same flower that smiles today, Tomorrow will be dying."

E

By any objective standard, Zephyr Breeze has made a hash of his life. Obnoxious, lazy, and self-deluded, he has, unfortunately, taken his worst traits unto the grave. At least the pressure’s off his back now, surely? However, the Grim Reaper – or shall we say the Graceful Lady of Harvests? – has other ideas.

Chapters (1)
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Comments ( 28 )

Well, there's a story. An interesting one with an interesting twist.

Interesting take on Death, and on Zephyr himself. Good read!

A nice little story.

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Thank you all for the comments. I admit this was a tricky story to write at times, especially Fluttershy's speech in the middle, and I'm always delighted to see others enjoy my work. :scootangel:

This was quite artful. I like it.

7999395

Glad you think so! I'd probably put that down to Rarity's influence on the narrative, in particular.:raritywink:

I actually know where Zephyr was coming from. Something, you just can't see your own worth. He's just lucky to get another chance.

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That's definitely why I find his character so easy to appreciate and to relate to, (and even therefore to like, up to a certain extent). He's basically got Rainbow Dash's inferiority complex from "Sonic Rainboom", but without even the exceptional talent or achievements to help him. The last quarter of his debut episode is wonderful to me because of how it acknowledges this while still giving him a hopeful conclusion.

As for the second chance, I did wonder occasionally about having a more downbeat and crueller ending, but I couldn't in all honesty go through with it. The idea really didn't fit with anything: the tone, the moral, the characters, the theme, the spirit of the show. The belief in second chances was too important. And, well, Rarity is the psychopomp; I couldn't imagine her not being generous to her charges.

this was... interesting. I think this is the type of story that takes multiple reads to fully understand. I'll be sure to save it so I can peruse again later :raritystarry:

I needed a little bit of hope. I didn't expect to find it in a Zephyr fic though.

Not that I'm complaining ;)

I really enjoyed this story, especially Zephyr's slow realization that he wasted his life. Seeing him finally learn the truth was a pretty rough gut-punch. But giving him a hopeful ending was a great move, and the implication that he will eventually pull himself together was the best way to end this. Great job!

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"Interesting" seems to be the word of the day. I hope that's in a good way. :twilightsheepish: Although I am surprised by your comment. I thought it was clear enough on a single read through. (That said, I certainly won't complain if you wish to peruse it again later!)

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Hope is a fine thing, especially it's tendency to turn up in the most unexpected of places. It's good to hear you found some in my story; a high compliment indeed!

Of course, a healthy pragmatism doesn't go amiss either. :rainbowlaugh:

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:twilightsmile: Many thanks! At the risk of repeating what I've already said above, I didn't want this to be just an exercise in gut-punching the reader, though obviously that's important for the genre; I wanted there to be a larger point to Zephyr's painful realization, namely that he learns from it and can make something of it. I'm glad to see you agree. :scootangel:

Pretty nice, I take it from your list of fics you like sad stuff huh?

8000629 that's just it, I feel like this one has layers to it. also, I was starting to get tired last night :twilightsheepish:

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Not particularly. It just seems to be what comes most easily at the moment. Give it a few weeks, and I'll probably be inundated with comedy ideas instead. Either that or I'm a heart-breaking sadist in denial.

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I see. No problem, then. I certainly won't question that. :ajsmug:

BTW, what's a 'tabula rasa'?

8010137

Literally, it's Latin for "blank slate". In modern times, it means a mind unaffected by experience and still in its original state. So in context, it means Zeph is no less clueless about the afterlife now than he was when he was born, again because he was too lazy to develop any ideas for himself.

Nifty story I would like to see more from Rarity lady of death perhaps ones guiding her friends over. It would be an excellent place to showcase the bittersweet sentiments that you've cultivated in this story.:pinkiesad2:

8023091

Haven't got any immediate plans for the Grim Rarity, (or, to be brutally honest, any long-term plans either). That is an intriguing suggestion, though. Or else each of the main characters could be their own versions of Death. The Pink Reaper would be favourite; think of all the deathday parties she could throw!

Also, I'm glad you enjoyed the fic. :twilightsmile:

That was quite depressing.

After Rarity spends what feels like hours to hammer into Zephyr how worthless he was, the best she can come up with to build him up again is a picture of his sister alternately showing his worthlessness even more and saying she loved positives about him that weren't even true.

By the end of it, I was mildly surprised he didn't beg to be handed over to oblivion. I would totally have believed that's what Rarity was after.

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I think there's been a considerable misunderstanding. The point was most definitely not to convince Zephyr that he was worthless. The point was to show him his flaws, which is a different matter. Hence Rarity's retorts and the honest criticisms in Fluttershy's speech. Then the aim was to get him both to admit those flaws and to not let them blind him to his value and potential.

Unfortunately, that is the exact opposite of the message you seem to have taken away from it. I had hoped to forestall such misinterpretation with, among other details, Fluttershy's opening about showing respect through honesty.

To give more detail: Rarity's aim is to help him see his worth, and thus his inspiration and drive. The first step of that is to stop him covering up his flaws with bravado, egotism, and excuses. Showing him Fluttershy's criticisms was, as Fluttershy herself pointed out, crucial to make him be honest and frank about the flaws he has. Only then, during Fluttershy's speech, once he stops getting defensive and starts hating himself and agreeing with the criticisms, he gets to see that being flawed does not equal being worthless.

In particular, and judging from your comment about nonexistent positives (which I'll admit had me utterly baffled the first time I read it), I think the part that might be confusing you is this bit:

"...and he was always so laid-back, playing guitar one day… taking Rainbow’s rejections with good grace… keeping his own spirits up…”

You don’t know, he thought, trying to hold his flooding heart at bay. That’s not me at all. I never enjoyed life.

Yet mark the sequel:

But the lies vanished under the crashing waves, and it was all he could do not to sink to his knees. Without a second’s hesitation, he met Fluttershy’s gaze, and found her eyes too were overwhelmed and shining.

It's around this point that what she's saying starts to click with him. The positives were true. It's just that, at this stage of his character arc in the fic, he's just depressed enough to still be in denial about them before the approaching epiphany finally hits him.

Apologies for the long reply, and I hope that clarifies things. Depressing though the fic may be, I want to make sure its central message gets across.

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Well, it's not so much that I missed or misunderstood those parts, it's that they weren't really convincing to me. After all that's been established about Zephyr, outside and inside this piece, believing that he didn't actually enjoy his life all that much because of deep-seated self-loathing sounds accurate. The thing with Rainbow is true, yes, but that's another instance of being wilfully ignorant. And if I can't buy what Rarity's trying to sell, how can I believe Zephyr does?

Maybe it is just my pessimism talking, but if I were in his horseshoes... I'd probably end up hopeless.

Please don't think I didn't enjoy the story, because I did, it's really that I ended up on a much less happy note than the character in it.

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Interesting. I suppose part of the problem is the sense of proportion: so much of the fic devotes itself to his flaws that it doesn't, by comparison, build a big enough case for his good side. If so, then I'll have to bear that in mind next time I write something similar. I had hoped the second half of Fluttershy's speech would've been enough to turn things around for him, especially considering how it starts with the "life is precious" part and works up from that foundation, but now I'm wondering if perhaps it wasn't.

Glad you enjoyed the fic either way, though I will admit I wish it'd been on a more optimistic note.

Bonny work, Impossible. Your knack for taking side- and background-characters and fleshing them out in wonderful ways is on full display here, in a grim and beautiful way. Zephyr's a good character to utilise for this fic's purpose (and it's a purpose good for jabbing conscience, let me tell you), and Reaperity was a particularly inspired touch. She had so many great lines.

I'll give a shout-out to the most intriguing one amongst them.

“You don’t remember the last time we met, and I can tell you that you’ve come a long way since then.” In an undertone, she added, “Though that wasn’t hard.

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Again, sorry about being late with my reply. You'd think I'd be on top of it by now. :unsuresweetie:

Honestly, most of the fun with side characters is that they're neither too rigidly established nor too loose to be baseless. And you know you're onto a good thing when it's described as "grim and beautiful". I like to make sure I'm right on target.

Reaperity

Boo! How do you even pronounce that? I'd have gone for The Grim Rarity, if anything.

Yeah, I had a lot of art/beauty/inspiration themes that year, which was why I kept going back to Rarity (seriously, 2017 was practically Year of the Rarity for me, and I didn't even set out to do it). As for her lines, I like to think our bonny dressmaker is secretly the funniest character in the show. Could be just me, though.

Thanks again for the comment. Most obliged to you, my dear old thing. :raritystarry:

Oh, wow. That’s all I can say right now. Wow, wow, wow.

Equestria Daily sent me. I am very glad it did. Liked, faved, followed, all that jazz.

Zephyr kind of reminds me of Shinji Ikari

Wot le heck you made me cry this is a good story! *you gain a like*

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