• Member Since 12th Dec, 2011
  • offline last seen 8 minutes ago

Impossible Numbers


Beware the kick of a reflex morality; it’s a brainless twitch that can tempt a thoughtless mind to commit a heartless deed.

E

“Why do we get gifts every year?” said Dinky. “For Hearth’s Warming, I mean.”

This seems an easy enough question, but Ruby Pinch never had it easy. Trying to find out the real reason for all this gift-giving, she confronts the odd bond between the energetic Dinky and the reserved Amethyst, the simple-minded approach of her hapless cousin Piña Colada, and, on top of that, her beloved "Auntie" Berry, who's a confusing trial all on her own.

And then there's Ruby herself. For, sensible young mare as she thinks she is, she has her own growing mistrust of the answers she seems to be getting. Especially when it comes time to find her own gift.


Proofreading provided by Sunset_Sparkles of The Proofreader Group.

Inspired by, but not involved in, The Obselescence Memorial Jinglemas Twinglemas Secret Santa Sendoff: Part 2 Edition!

Chapters (7)
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Comments ( 21 )

Nice Story! Shows how difficult it is sometimes to get the right Christmas present for a Friend or Family Member

8620807

Thank you very much. And you are correct on the difficulty of gift-getting, especially for those poor individuals who have enough of their own troubles as it is. Glad you enjoyed my efforts. :twilightsmile:

8620904
You're welcome. It's very diffuvult if even tje one you wnat to get the present, doesn't know what he wants.

I'm a little speechless after reading this..... There are lots of thoughts in my head right now and I don't know where to start.....
That question of why we even give gifts, going over all of the philosophic spectrum that question holds. The tragedy, just subtle expressions; of Pina and Berry Pinch occasionally shivering in fear when Berry Punch is drunk again (with the subtle implication of one or another abuse situation that happened some time down the line), yet constantly fleeing into their childlike imagination and shaking the fears off that way; the tiny hints sprinkled on the story that their life at home is anything but easy or comfortable. All very subtle, but every time you come across such a part, like a needle stabbing into your chest.
Some odd name choices for certain background ponies (although, none with such heavy background as the dreaded name you shove on Derpy that I find myself criticizing so often) which breaks the flow of reading, but the rest is excellent.
Now, there only need to be more people who read this. A LOT more.

8665817

Wow! It's extremely gratifying to receive such a thorough and enthusiastic comment. Many, many thanks for giving me a good one! :twilightsmile:

That question of why we even give gifts, going over all of the philosophic spectrum that question holds.

Originally, that was all there was to the story when I started writing it, but the intellectual focus seemed a bit dry. The Berry Punch side of things was created to give it a proper narrative context (that is, to give it the important drama needed). Well, that and to try out some characterization notes I had for those ponies. In any case, I'm really glad you picked up that "philosophical" part of the story. Exploring the ideas was a big reason why I wanted to write this fic.

The tragedy, just subtle expressions... All very subtle, but every time you come across such a part, like a needle stabbing into your chest.

I can't add much to your description here, except that I enjoyed reading it. It's exactly what I wanted to get across well, so it's encouraging to see you single it out for such attention. :pinkiehappy:

Must respond to this, though:

(with the subtle implication of one or another abuse situation that happened some time down the line)

I think I might have overplayed my hand there when it came to leaving hints in the story, because I never intended it to be that dark (if only because an abusive Berry Punch strikes me as a character hard to sympathize with).

For what it's worth, the implication was supposed to be that the two foals were scared by Berry's unpredictable mood swings and difficult-to-manage behaviour, because - as shown later on - they either don't know how to deal with it (mainly Piña) or just find it distressing or frustrating (mainly Ruby).

Not abusive, though: it was meant to be more of a "kids have to act like adults because messed-up adult acts like a kid" situation. If I misjudged there, then I apologize for making the story seem much darker than intended.

Some odd name choices for certain background ponies

Just out of interest, may I ask for any particular examples? I think you're referring to Golden Harvest and Amethyst Star, though in my defence A) those names have been established among the fandom for a while, and B) I did at least find a way to include "Carrot Top" as a nickname, if that helps. Especially since I admit my preference for "Golden Harvest" isn't much greater than it is for "Carrot Top" ("Amethyst Star" versus "Sparkler", on the other hand, is no contest for me).

(although, none with such heavy background as the dreaded name you shove on Derpy that I find myself criticizing so often)

Without reopening that particular debate anytime soon, I will at least say I'm toying with the idea of using "Derpy" in future. Though admittedly, it's more because that'd save me some future headaches than because of anything else. (That said, I used the name "Derpy" for a couple of commissioned Jinglemas pieces, and it is growing on me a bit.)

but the rest is excellent.
Now, there only need to be more people who read this. A LOT more.

:raritystarry: Such fine praise indeed! I can only say "Thanks!" again, and I'm glad you enjoyed it so much.

wow Amethyst is a jerk here thinking oh you have to give gifts to people just because, that's an excuse and the kids know it.

8691520

Her idea was more about tit-for-tat than "just because". In any case, the fun part (of course) is that Amethyst might have told them that not because she really believes it, but because she wants to see how they react.

8691538
hmm true. to me tit-for-tat is just because so that was more my way f thinking rather than anything else. how they react i think (since i just finished chapter 2) that Amethyst care more about proficiency than anything else, but i could be worng since i'm not done with the story.

i....literally cried when i read this?!!??! what is this sorcery. i just....the implications! about Berry's alcoholism and frankly bad financial situation and the id say reference rather than subtleness to Berry's past homelessness! and fillies fear of mood swings and Ruby's struggle with what i assume is depression at, gosh, how old are these fillies?!!!

with addition to i dont know, philosophical musing of universe and state of things?!!! i mean how?! i am so confused and sad and i love it?! its so well written even if i got lost a few times (because, frankly i am a) bad with english and b) terrible at grasping abstract thoughts) but this was really intruiging?! im like, wow, well done.

8744387

Wow. I wasn't expecting this. Now I'm wondering if I should put a "sad" genre tag on the fic. I thought the "drama" one would have covered it neatly.

Concerning the age of the fillies, I'm not really sure. I don't know what it would be in horse years, but I tend to imagine each of them as the equivalent of a human child in double-digit years, maybe 10 or 12 or 14. I never picked one and stuck with it. Ruby is meant to be at an age when she can just about manage Berryshine's behaviour, but still isn't old enough to fully grasp what's going on.

While I'm a bit concerned you found some of the fic confusing - I hadn't intended to confuse anyone - I'm pleased you found it intriguing at least. Especially pleased that you mentioned the philosophical musing; that was my favourite part to include, especially the scene in the fourth chapter where Dinky needs cheering up.

Thank you for the fantastic comment! It's always a great reward to receive feedback like this. :twilightsmile:

8744883
i believe the drama tag is sufficient, i just get easily emotional, especially when sleep deprived :P its okay, i really enjoy these feelings-packed stories :)

and dont worry about me getting a bit tangled in this fic, it is majorly because of language barrier for me (im Czech) and partly because i usually dont like philosophy much - im more of grounded science oriented person, and frankly while pondering the existence of everything is quite interesting, most of it goes over my head - but i believe i grasped the basics ;) and i have to agree at the rainbow-gemstone-metaphore-for-hope-and-stuff was very enjoyable :) once again, really good job on this one :)

The way you described Ruby's inner thoughts and feelings was so true-to-life. I've been thinking about this a lot recently: people seem to discount the thoughtfulness of children far too easily and, what is far more harmful, often forget the tremendous influence that adults have on them. A throwaway word of praise or scorn may seem insignificant to an adult but could mean an awful lot to a young one. And I think you captured that perfectly.
It was a pleasure to read and I'm sure I'll be thinking about it for a long time to come. Thank you very much for writing this, I hope more will read it in the future.

8937115

Well spoken, and glad you found it that way. Ruby in particular I was anxious to get right, since she was meant to display the range of emotional experiences and thought processes a child might go through, especially in that kind of dysfunctional situation (certainly far more than Pina and Dinky, though I really like how Dinky turned out here). And in general, I try to convey that children are a lot more complicated psychologically than many people give credit for.

Eventually, I do intend to submit this to Equestria Daily; I've got a proofreader looking over it at the moment. So with luck, more people will get a chance to read it in good time, and hopefully enjoy it too. Thanks again for the comment! :twilightsmile:

Wow! Featured on EQD. Congrats.

PresentPerfect
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I can think of no better reason to be Zapp.

PresentPerfect
Author Interviewer

Piña's dumb as a box of rocks, isn't she? XD The only thing better than sad fillies is dumb fillies.

PresentPerfect
Author Interviewer

You have eminently captured the terror of a child living in an adult's world.

PresentPerfect
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9396101

I've said most of what I wanted to say in your review, so I'll content myself to say here: This comment made my day. :pinkiehappy:

PresentPerfect
Author Interviewer

9401020
And this is why you are never allowed to leave. >:B

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