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CoffeeMinion


"Burninating the countryside... burninating the peasants... burninating all the peoples... and their thatched-roof COTTAGES! THATCHED-ROOF COTTAGES!! And the Trogdor comes in the NIIIIGHT!!!"

T
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The third most unbelievable thing is that Zephyr Breeze landed a girlfriend.

The second most unbelievable thing is that it's Sunset Shimmer.

But the single most unbelievable thing? That would be who Zephyr’s cheating on her with, and why.


Sex tag for dialogue and thematic elements.

This story is an entry for Oroboro's Sunset Shipping Contest: Journeys. Brainstorming/pre-reading/editing help by Moosetasm and Georg! Cover art by The-Park! Featured on FimFiction 10Sep.2018! :heart:

Chapters (5)
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Comments ( 39 )

Awesomeness! I'm loving it so far.

...I haven’t read any of it yet... but based on the movie this fic’s title is based on and knowing how Zephyr is.... if what I think is gonna happen does happen, it would actually fit his character.

So, to start, I’ll say I'm not a fan of the pairing, and I’m sure this story is going to garner a lot of token downvotes due to the controversial pairing.

Now, that being said, I’m impressed with the way this was handled. While I may not agree with the pairing in my gut, the execution is good and the story works. Never am I torn out of it because of thinking that the characters wouldn’t act that way.

So, now for the heart of it: Just because I disagree with Sunset’s choice, only means that I am not Sunset Shimmer. It does not devalue or detract from the fact that she is the one who made that choice, for plausible reasons.

This is a story that illustrates quite well the difference in people’s tolerance for the failings of others. I feel that the up/downvote count is going to reflect a lot on that. There will be a lot of knee-jerk reaction “Zephyr and mai waifu Sunset? NFW!” But there will also be a lot who vote based on the merit of the writing style. I’m hoping there will be more of the latter.

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This...All of this. I only have to say I found it remarkably creative, especially with the ending.

“So many tentacles,” Fluttershy whispered, as a shiver wracked her frame.

:rainbowlaugh:

So, uh, like everyone, I can't really stand Zephyr Breeze. He's been fine here so far, but then one kind of knows what to brace for going in. And I really love and respect that you took a character no one liked, and used the description to make him sound much worse! Like, seriously, that takes guts, and it's a fantastic hook for the story.

It's... kind of hard to know from this chapter if Rainbow and Fluttershy know a lot more than they're letting on (begging the question of why they don't tell Sunset, if there's more serious stuff which they haven't mentioned), or if they're just kind of odd about the whole thing? I'm not quite seeing what's so bad about him masturbating over pictures of his girlfriend? If anything it's more personal than masturbating over anonymous porn on the internet (one might even say romantic), and less likely to result in him committing sexual assault than celibacy from even himself :twilightoops:

Also, can Sunset still read minds when not wearing her geode? I did not expect that!

Sunset’s jaw fell as she watched long tendrils of the hair-stuff encircle Zephyr. He screeched for just a moment before still more hair wrapped its way around his mouth. Then she threw her head back, gave another insane cackle…

...and jumped into a comic book that lay open on the bed.

After a moment to process what she’d seen, Sunset’s mind snapped her right into action. “Get the others,” she said, stripping off her leather jacket and pressing it into the waiting arms of a stunned, slack-jawed Rainbow Dash. “Hey, Dash! Shy! Call Twilight. Maybe have her call Princess Twilight, too, in case we need more serious backup.”

I think this bit could really benefit from an extra bit of narration clarifying something:

Sunset’s jaw fell as she watched long tendrils of the hair-stuff encircle Zephyr. He screeched for just a moment before still more hair wrapped its way around his mouth. Then she threw her head back, gave another insane cackle…

...and jumped into a comic book that lay open on the bed, pulling Zephyr into it with her.

After a moment to process what she’d seen, Sunset’s mind snapped her right into action. “Get the others,” she said, stripping off her leather jacket and pressing it into the waiting arms of a stunned, slack-jawed Rainbow Dash. “Hey, Dash! Shy! Call Twilight. Maybe have her call Princess Twilight, too, in case we need more serious backup.”

Because it's not mentioned for the next few paragraphs whether Zeph is still there but keeping quiet, as Sunset's in 'kick its arse' mode, or if he's absent. The fact that the description didn't mention him departing to me suggested he was still there.

Also, Mane-iac for a tentacle fetish? Genius! :pinkiehappy:

The pacing here felt a bit off to me: the harmless fun at the beach chapter lasted twice as long as this one, so there didn't seem to be that much point in dragging Sunset into the villain's lair only for her to spend most of the time in control of the situation.

I think Sunset's last line ethically really depends on knowing more details than we've been given about the magic comic book. For all we know, she's just condemned the Mane-iac to be trapped forever in a world only she inhabits (especially as it mentioned the comic being all about getting inside her head), unable to interact with any others, which kind of sounds like locked-in syndrome. I'd have thought the shredder would be preferable, sooner or later.

And the ethics of what Zephyr's doing are an interesting one... It's not real, but it's not like a dream he has no control over. I think I'm right in saying Zephyr had no plans to enter the comic, intending to keep the Mane-iac more as a friend who only existed in his bedroom? I'm leaning towards that being mostly ok, especially as she offers something no human (or former horsegirl) could.

Hmmm....

There were some interesting ideas on display here, for sure! But maybe too many? It felt there was a great deal glossed over or not followed through on. The ending didn't reach a resolution, but it also wasn't a cliffhanger, and its 'and the adventure continues!' sort of vibe just made the story feel only half-finished.

The pacing was very strange, too, with the interesting bits of the story being in the last three chapters, yet the first two purely of setup lasted a thousand words longer.

I think this could have been the tale the first couple of chapters suggested it would be, with Sunset slowly realising that sometimes people really aren't worth a chance, whatever their reasons. Or it could have been a very interesting examination of what constituted real, what level of reality was required for a relationship to count as meaningful, and how real a dalliance like this had to be to be considered cheating. It could also have been an adventure about a talking comic book, a link with Equestria, and a despot from another world.

But all together it felt messy, and none of the angles got the weight or focus they needed. There was no followup on Sunset's clash with Fluttershy and Rainbow dash - we saw Rainbow herding the others away, but we never got the closure with Sunset, saw how she felt about it in hindsight, anything like that. The Mane-iac was a huge feature of the story for one and a bit chapters, and that was it. The Storm King being introduced at the end I don't think added anything, really? Would have gone with 'Stormy' rather than 'Kingy,' I think.

Overall I would say that this felt very disjointed and unresolved, and it had the good ideas that could have been made into a unique and interesting story - or perhaps even three. But as it was, I think it was too confused to be satisfying.

9163576

Honestly, these were pretty much my feelings. It was a story that could have benefitted from less strange details and a more unified plot.

I adore the idea of the Storm King as a quirky middle-aged comic salesman, though. It kinda makes me wonder what nerdy profession Tempest would have. A cosplay model, maybe? I feel like she could pull off some really badass costumes.

Well I liked it. Certainly nice to read a story I haven't seen done a dozen different ways.

Quite a good story. It's an interesting look at how Sunset could feel stressed out and want a very low-key guy to date.


9163477 Yeah, Rainbow and Fluttershy kind of surprised me in this a bit. They came off as kind of naive. "Ooh, that teenage guy has a porn collection..." It comes through very clearly that Sunset has dated before, Rainbow and Flutters have not.

So. Uh. I guess this is set after Legend of Everfree (they have geodes) but before Movie Magic (where they get dressed up as Power Ponies)? Cause I'm pretty sure Dash wouldn't forget that.

This is fun. You write Zephyr Breeze very well - the annoying combination of bravado and insecurity - and yet this is still fun to read :)

Heh. I do like that this contest lends itself to this kind of scene. Those of us who include something like action in a fic that's primarily romance would naturally like the climactic action confrontation to contain some key character revelation or realisation that relates to the romance. So several of the fics in this contest have this kind of tense action climax where the dialogue is more important than the resolution to the confrontation. I find those scenes entertaining (which is why I have one in my own entry) and this is another good example here :) with the interesting, if brief, discussion about reality.

I agree with forbloodysummer that the pacing felt a bit rushed here: especially it's curious that this felt like the action climax but it's only the third chapter of five. I guess chapter 4 must be the confrontation between Zephyr and Sunset and ch5 an epilogue.

I liked a lot of the ideas present here. Sunset being afraid to touch people is... I’m not sure canon-compatible (Have they ever used magic without wearing their necklaces? My assumption had always been that they didn’t have their magic without them, but I could be mistaken), but whatever, it’s cool and different and I think adds a bit to the relationship.

The relationship, though. I think, mainly, I like that you presented it as kind of an early thing, not really too serious yet, at least not on Sunset’s side of things, because I can kinda see her having some fun with Zephyr, but outright romance just doesn’t feel as right. Especially with the rationale you presented in your blog post, with Zephyr being nice and relaxing when Sunset’s not solving magic problems, that just sorta doesn’t feel like romance to me? So, I dunno, I liked how you set them up here early on, but I don’t know if, by the end, I was sold that it was gonna be a lasting, happy thing and stuff.

But then there’s also the Mane-iac portion of the story. Sorry, I had some problems with it. Mainly, I think it just felt waaay too easy. Like, for something with the adventure and drama tags, I’d been kinda hoping that it’d be a much bigger deal, and pretty involved and harrowing either emotionally or physically or something.

It’s set up to be, quite nicely (Equestrian magic sucking someone into another world, the debate of whether someone is really real or not--that’s some awesome stuff to work with), but instead Sunset goes in and pretty much lectures/threatens the Mane-iac into submission. There’s no interesting debate on the murky issue of what’s real, since Sunset seems entirely set in her ways and definitively convinced she’s in the right, so there’s not much emotional/internal struggle there, and since Sunset has the upper hand in that world there’s not much in the way of a more tangible struggle either.

So, sorry to pile on a bit, but I agree with what other people had said. There’s a lot of cool stuff going on here, and I think if you could expand this quite a bit, I think it could be fantastic. Given that you had to keep it pretty short, I think it was a bit ambitious. Which is great to see! It’s really cool to see all the ideas present in one story, and this is certainly one of the more out-there entries I’ve read so far. The first two chapters were actually pretty good, I thought, but that second half stumbled a bit.

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“Movie Magic” establishes the girls can’t use their talents without their pendants.

Sunset: I wish I'd brought mine. One touch and I'd be able to see Chestnut's memories and get to the bottom of this whole thing.

Applejack: Thinkin’ maybe we should all start wearin’ our geodes around. Never know when our new magic might come in handy.

9168255
Thanks, that’s good to know!

... It having been in Movie Magic neatly explains why I didn’t remember it :facehoof:

9163477
^ What they said.

And Sunny? You tell your boyfriend that you wanna get more physical and he immediately rolls onto his stomach? I would assume he’s trying to hide something, but ‘eyes’ would not be my first guess.

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Hi all! :twilightsmile: Sorry for the big huge group-reply, but this has drawn a lot of comments and I keep not having time to do the proper reply I wanted to... so here's the compromise. :derpytongue2:

First of all, thank you all so much for reading and commenting. Especially thank you to those who are taking the time to point out flaws, inconsistencies, and things that don't work for you. Once the contest is over, I'm planning to go back and give this the final round of editing it needs to live up to its full potential. Some things I'd specifically address:

  • Sunset internalizing her geode power. I straight-up forgot that canon has established that the girls can't use their powers when they don't have their geodes. I'm embarrassed that I forgot to account for something so crucial. Simply put, Sunset's whole struggle falls down because of that right now. :pinkiesad2: But it's an easy fix; just throw in a bit about her internalizing it. Right now, though? That's an oops. :facehoof:
  • Chapter 3 needs to be 2x-3x longer. I was torn between whether chapter 3 or 4 represented the story's climax. I figured it'd be chapter 4, because that's where the crucial discussion between the couple takes place; so having chapter 3 be shorter shouldn't be a big issue. But in hindsight, I guessed a bit wrong. Chapter 3 needs to carry more weight because it's the place where the story most explicitly tackles the underlying theme of fantasy versus reality, which is what drives the couple's conversation in chapter 4. We still need the discussion in chapter 4 to establish where they're both at with each other and how their relationship will handle what's been going on. But it's really chapter 3 that takes the setup of chapters 1-2 and uses it to frame the parameters of what the chapter 4 discussion can (or must) look like. Which brings me to another issue:
  • The ethical loose-ends of Sunset's plans for the Mane-Iac need to be addressed better. Regrettably, some of the key bits that made this complex and questionable got introduced right at the very last minute; it actually wasn't as ethically dubious in earlier drafts. Though I suppose one advantage of stepping on that specific land mine is the discovery that more can be done to bolster the story by engaging those ethical questions head-on, which I hadn't done.

In the end we're probably talking about a handful of hours to spruce it up. But alas, all that's for after the contest judging is over. :raritydespair: I'll commend Moosetasm and Georg for their editing assistance leading up to release; they're awesome guys, and they made the most of the editing time they had with it. (Oroboro mentioned people submitting at the literal last minute; that was me, baby. 11:59pm central. YEAH.)

But really, this story helped shake loose my cobwebs and get me back on the horse. I got to play with some ideas and characters and themes that've been rattling around my head for a while now. I'm happy with the core concept and I see a path to make it really shine. Getting to that point 24+ hours prior to the submission deadline would've been even better, but sometimes ya writes ya fanfictions and ya takes ya chances.

So thank you once again for checking it out, and here's to the inevitable "remastered" version once the contest is over! :heart:

Great stuff overall. I didn't even mind the telepathy issue; the girls' powers may be geode dependent, but the things have considerable range. They did in Legend of Everfree, anyway. I do agree that climax is rushed, but all told, this was an engaging read from start to finish. (Also, Magic: the Gathering has kind of primed me to be receptive to telepath drama, so there's that. :raritywink:) Thank you for this, and best of luck in the judging.

>[male character] And The Real Girl

Did NOpony else get Gravity Falls vibes?

(Not gonna read, not my thing, but had to ask.)

9163576

The ending didn't reach a resolution, but it also wasn't a cliffhanger, and its 'and the adventure continues!' sort of vibe just made the story feel only half-finished.

So kinda like a comic book?

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Heh, I suppose it's an apt comparison. To me, though, this does reach a conclusion in keeping with the core conflict and what our heroes value in the relationship with each other. Sunset's life remains just as crazy as it ever was, but Zephyr has become more honest and emotionally accessible in addition to being her island of calm in the storm King. And Sunset is still waaaay outside of Zephyr's league, but he's had a glimpse of what true emotional intimacy with her looks like, and it's inspiring, to say the least.

That's how I see it, anyway. Ultimately it's more in the eye of the beholder, though.

wow, just now pieced together you're the same guy who was in that writer's meetup at ciderfest ((i'm the guy who mentioned the titanic mlp crossover in the group), in any case though it is nice to see another person on here who doesn't just see zephyr as an irredeemable character who only deserves suffering. I mean sure he was obnoxious and all, like REALLY obnoxious, but he was also relatable in a lot of ways, and it's a shame so many people just gloss over that and resort to calling him a deadbeat and what not.

might be interested in doing a reading of this sometime too... although i'm such a horrific procrastinator who knows when sometime will actually be

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That I am! (Or was!) :twilightsmile: Glad to see you're checking this one out. And as characters go, Zephyr is a great blank canvas to paint a story on. Does he stay obnoxious? Does he get the chance to become something more? What does he do with the chance once it's presented? All good stuff to explore.

Readings are always fabulous! :raritystarry: I still have it on my todo list to revise this story's chapter 3... perhaps we shall have to see who overcomes their procrastination first? :duck:

9316773
very good analysis and all very true, and lol ok, glad to know i'm not the only one, i might just hold off though in that case, or at the very least put off the third chapter, no reason to read a chapter when the author wants to change things

9317149
Well, let me know if you think you'll do it at some specific point. Hopefully I'll be able to fix it first. I'd like to get that done before the end of the year, but I can't commit to much beyond finishing To Serve In Hell at this point... I'm already pushing myself about as hard as I can possibly go with that! :derpytongue2:

9318709
hmm, well if you have something else you need to get done first i'm totally fine waiting awhile before reading it, after all I don't want to immortalize it in video form when you still have changes you want to make. I just hope the follow feature updates me once the update is made

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It should, at least if I do it right.

Hmm, first, overall, I like it, have an upvote! :pinkiesmile:

I think I detect an attempt at either a new writing style, or a new type of theme, it's not in your usually more comedic oriented style the way "To Serve in Hell" and others are, this one introduces more focus on the serious side of the story (that or I'm so off base with this one that I'm not even in the same ballpark...). As such it has the few minor issues with pacing, weighting, word length, etc. that others who are far more qualified than I am have pointed out. Still, a new writing style will inevitably have some rough edges until you get the hang of it, and that alone should not be a deterrent to trying to do more like this.

I'm not sure, is Zephyr simply meant to be an immature young man with raging hormones, or did he have a specific hair, or maybe even hair care, fetish? I could see it drawing him into that line of work, but providing uncertainty for any future love interest (Sunset in that role is optional) if she ever found out and thus provide a tension for a future story. If you did go with Sunset it could further provide tension as she now has to decide "Do I trust him, or do I secretly wear my geode and touch him to see what he's thinking, and how do I handle what I find if it's not all sunshine and lollipops?" A real life parallel might be a wife/girlfriend tempted to sneak some spy ware on her husband/boyfriend's computer or cell phone. And all this before she actually does something. You could have the beginnings of a whole set of "morality" tales base around Sunset Breeze here, if you aren't careful. Beware! :rainbowlaugh:

It will be interesting to watch your future work and see where you go with this new style, again, nice story over all, and thanks for writing it.

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Yes, this was definitely an attempt to tackle something different than my norm. I think it still has some of my usual fingerprints on it, as seen with weird stuff like the Mane-Iac playing the role she’s got here.

But it’s also definitely pushing into some less-familiar territory than what I’ve written before. It raised some questions around physical affection and its role in the early stages of a relationship, which is something I didn’t feel fully comfortable and confident trying to write about. (Which is perhaps ironic given how long I’ve been married.) :derpytongue2: The question of whether Zephyr is “just” hormonal, or if he’s exploring a fetish, adds another angle to that.

I think you’re right to point out that things wouldn’t be easy for Sunset and Zephyr from here. Still, the romantic in me hopes that they can turn their struggles into strengths, given that what they struggle with is (in some ways) pretty similar. Both crave touch, but both have something “extra” that comes along with touch, which they’re not fully comfortable with—neither just in themselves, nor in what they would express with others.

Either way, I took a shot at something here, and I think I’m ultimately glad I did—even though I see it didn’t fully hit the mark.

PresentPerfect
Author Interviewer

How dare he touch my Sunnybun D:<

PresentPerfect
Author Interviewer

Dash shrugged. “Honestly? I don’t care. Let ’em wake up and see what their son’s up to. Let Zephyr sue me for beating his butt down. Let whoever she is do… whatever people like that do. I don’t friggin’ care anymore.” She pointed at Sunset. “That jerk made my Sunnybun cry. And ain’t nobody gets to make my Sunnybun cry.”

Oh my god, Dash. XD

Okay, but he gets Sunset and Mane-iac, it's like you wrote this to trigger me. D:

PresentPerfect
Author Interviewer

Didn't break up with him, 0/10 worst fic

Okay, but Rainbow Dad though XD

PresentPerfect
Author Interviewer

Guh! You cock-blocked my action fix twice! D:

Stop writing Zephyr well, I don't want to like stories about him. >:B

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Thanks for the review!

Stop writing Zephyr well, I don't want to like stories about him

Best watch yourself or I'll do it again just for spite! :trollestia: No seriously I've been kicking around a Harold and Kumar parody idea featuring Flash and Zephyr...

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Four words: Escape From Guanotanamo Bay.

Because they're pissing off the bat ponies, see.

:rainbowwild:

PresentPerfect
Author Interviewer

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That's funny.

I hate you.

...you actually made me love a crackship without an OC. I wanna read more. Please continue?

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