Fan Fic: Sophistication And Betrayal
Sophistication and Betrayal
is a My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic
fan fiction story by Drefsab
When our human protagonist
first wound up in Equestria on the verge of death after having barely survived a military experiment gone wrong, it would have been hard for him to predict he'd end up in a relationship
with the resident fashionista unicorn.
Yet even though he's stuck in a fantasy world
run by princesses who manipulate celestial bodies with their minds, and despite being the only member of his species, our protagonist has adapted well to Equestrian life. He's in a loving relationship with Rarity, her business is going great, and their friends are doing fine. All is well for them.
Then a figure from Rarity's past decided to pay her a visit.
From here on in, we follow our couple as they attempt to build their life together. That is, when they're not having to deal with increasingly complicated relationships
, bitter childhood friends
, crazy stalkers
, and Pinkie Pie's singing
Sophistication and Betrayal contains examples of:
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- Above the Influence: After a night of drinking, the protagonist resists giving in to the mutual attraction between him and Fluttershy, knowing that it would only lead to meaningless drunken sex. It's also the closest they ever get.
- Actually Pretty Funny: Several of the minor pranks the protagonist plays on Rarity. She initially reacts in a deadpan manner, before breaking down and admitting it was actually pretty funny.
- The protagonist shows elements of this. Rarity teases him from time to time over his awkwardness, even if she usually finds it quite endearing.
- Morning Blossom similarly shows many traits of this.
- Twilight's reaction to her gift of a telescope in a flashback, particularly where she sheepishly explains away her rapid assembly of it as the result of extensive practice.
- All Love Is Unrequited:
- Cashmere fell in love with Rarity but tried to move quicker than Rarity was comfortable with, leading to being turned down and having her heart broken.
- There are several hints that Fluttershy does not share the same level of affection that Rarity has for her.
- Slate develops a one-sided attraction towards Rarity, after he mistakes her polite small-talk and banter as genuine interest.
- After being involved with Rarity and the protagonist for some time, Fluttershy eventually admits to having fallen in love with him, which causes him a great deal of stress as he cannot return her feelings in the same way.
- All Men Are Perverts: Certainly to be believed if you go by Pipe Wrench and the protagonist, something both Rarity and Dazzle Drop chastise them for throughout. Pipe even whistles at an attractive barmaid with his wife sitting right by him, much to her bemusement.
- Alone Among the Couples: A large source of angst for Fluttershy, given that her shell prevents her from finding love herself.
- Alone with the Psycho: Defied. As part of Rarity's plans to distract Slate, she points out that she'll be very careful, and will stick to public areas for this very reason.
- Arbitrary Skepticism: The protagonist's initial response to Fluttershy's backstory is one of disbelief, which he only narrowly averts when he reminds himself precisely what kind of land he's now living in.
- As You Know: A variation. Given that the audience is likely aware of the cast's previous adventures, the details are usually glossed over by the narrative whenever they're brought up, before cutting to the next scene.
- At Least I Admit It: Cashmere claims to be better than Rarity for this reason.
Cashmere: You're capable of just as much spite as I am. The difference is, I don't hide it behind a veneer of civility if I don't have to.
- Attention Deficit... Ooh, Shiny!: Ponies apparently tend to be quite prone to this, according to the protagonist who describes them as "easily amused". Ponyville seems to be particularly susceptible, if Cashmere's words are anything to go by.
- Author Appeal: The author makes no secret that Rarity is his favourite pony, and this was one reason for writing the story. The other reason...
- Author Tract: One the author's reasons in writing the story was to show off Rarity's character strengths, something he views as being overlooked and marginalised within the show's fandom.
- Ax-Crazy: Slate. It's implied he tried to kill the protagonist, and he completely snaps when confronted over his stalking.
- Badass Boast:
- Bait and Switch:
- In Chapter 2, Rarity and the protagonist run back home for brief tryst, only for the narrative to cut to the protagonist... bouncing a ball off the wall. Of course, the way this is described, you'd think it was initially referring to something completely different.
- In a flashback within Chapter 7, after teleporting to Canterlot and throwing up in some bushes, Twilight displays touching concern for the protagonist by rushing to his side... to inspect the damage done to the plants.
- Believing Their Own Lies: Rarity herself suggests she allowed this to happen regarding her relationship with Cashmere, in order to forget the mistakes she made in handling the situation.
- Berserk Button:
- Threatening their loved ones tends to be an easy way of pushing this for both Rarity and the protagonist, especially the latter.
- Similarly, threatening Fluttershy's friends is a good way to very quickly get on her bad side, as Cashmere later finds out.
- Beware the Nice Ones: You really do not to get on Rarity's bad side. Or Fluttershy's. Or the protagonist's!
- Bewildering Punishment: Zig-Zagged. Rarity claims that Cashmere is motivated by her jealousy and resentment, something which she initially denies. However, when Cashmere finally breaks down and admits this, it's revealed that Rarity allowed herself to forget the true details of what went down, and thus was actually unaware of what precisely she had done.
- Big "WHAT?!": Cashmere does this twice after Rarity tricks her into a buy one get one free sale.
- Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Cashmere. She'll hide her ruthlessness behind her outwardly friendly and sultry exterior, but when the chips are down she'll readily show her true colours. Subverted later on, when underneath her bitterness, she actually comes across as a fairly decent pony.
- Bi the Way: Rarity and Cashmere both display this. Fluttershy also does to a lesser extent.
- Blah Blah Blah: Apparently any time Twilight gives one of her history lectures, which the protagonist compares to the joys of watching paint dry, or repeatedly banging his head against the wall.
- Blood from the Mouth: Slate, after taking a solid knee to the ribs from the protagonist. Despite this and a broken leg, he doesn't let it stop him.
- Boldly Coming: Technically, given that the protagonist is an alien from another world after all.
- Boredom Montage: We get one of the protagonist in Chapter 2, which leads to his ridiculous Imagine Spot.
- Breaking the Fourth Wall: Pinkie, who points how many bits Rarity lost in Chapter 7 by reading the figure from the previous chapter.
- Brick Joke: After waking up in hospital and hearing the unusual 'codenames', the protagonist snidely comments upon hearing Twilight's name that she should have included "Sparkling" in there. A little later in the scene he discovers Twilight's actual full name.
- Brief Accent Imitation:
- Cashmere briefly adopts a "terrible" impression of AJ's southern accent when she recounts the time Applejack threatened her over her behaviour towards Rarity. She even gives herself a temporary ponytail to go along with it.
- Twilight does a pretty good one of Luna's ROYAL CANTERLOT VOICE in a flashback.
- Brutal Honesty: One of Pipe Wrench's many endearing qualities.
Pipe Wrench: Come on, let's go fix their fuck-up before somepony gets killed and I have to spend the day explaining to his wife how he was a dumb-ass.
- Call Forward: Rarity mentions Opal's tendency to sleep in her dresser in a flashback within Chapter 23, and to be careful when opening the drawers for that reason.
- The Cameo: Octavia, DJ-PON3/Vinyl Scratch, Ditzy Doo/Derpy and Cheerilee show up for one-shot appearances over the course of the story.
- Can't Hold Her Liquor:
- Can't Spit It Out: Played slightly differently from normal in that here it's the fact that the protagonist cannot seem to spit it out that he doesn't love Fluttershy. When he finally sits down with Rarity and makes this perfectly clear, it does not get received well.
- Captain Obvious: After Rarity's failed first attempt at teleportation:
Protagonist: (coughing) I don't think it worked, babe!
- Catapult Nightmare: The protagonist suffers these when experiencing a Flashback Nightmare, which tends to frighten Rarity quite badly.
- Cat Fight: A fairly regular occurrence between Rarity and Cashmere, particularly when they very nearly come to blows at a social function in Chapter 3.
- Cat Scare: Played for laughs when Opal seemingly appears out of nowhere to scare the protagonist, after he tries to store some clothing in a dresser in Chapter 2. Justified, as Opal has a habit of sleeping in the drawers, which gets a Call Forward in Chapter 23.
- Chekhov's Gun: Rarity's picture of herself and Cashmere, which is first brought up in Chapter 2 and goes unfired until Chapter 25, when Rarity uses her copy of the photo as a reminder to Cashmere of just how bitter she's become, prompting her Villainous Breakdown.
- Chekhov's Skill: While Rarity initially learns to teleport for fairly mundane reasons, it later comes in handy when she uses it to save her boyfriend from being seriously injured by Slate.
- Combat Pragmatist: The protagonist, who opens his fight with Slate with a "Hey, You!" Haymaker, and is perfectly willing to break limbs and bones in order to win. Justified, as he does have military training.
- Comically Missing the Point: Cashmere, when confronted with stalker photographs of Rarity and the protagonist immediately thinks they're gifting her with pornography, rather than accusing her of anything.
- Continuity Nod: Rarity and the girls occasionally bring up events that happened in the show, which took place several years before the story starts.
- Cool Boat: The Destroyer-class ship at the start of the story, which comes with its own prototype cloaking system. Unfortunately, there's a very good reason why it's still a prototype...
- Cooldown Hug: All over the place, but perhaps most notably when Celestia and Luna's efforts to send the protagonist back home fail, resulting in Rarity giving him a much needed hug.
- Corrupt Corporate Executive: Cashmere shows many elements of this, engaging in some ruthless and decidedly unethical business practices to make her way to the top.
- Covert Pervert:
- Rainbow Dash seems to be highly interested in Rarity's sex life, with less emphasis on the "covert" part. Though admittedly she was drunk at the time...
- Fluttershy plays this trope fairly straight later on in the story.
- Cultured Warrior: Played with. Despite Rarity's claims over the protagonist's lack of culture, he is at least well-read enough to recognise Shakespeare note when it's quoted at him.
- Curse Cut Short: Not with cursing, but characters have a habit of interrupting when anything particularly lewd is about to be mentioned. In several cases even the protagonist's internal monologue gets cut off.
- Cut Lex Luthor a Check: Rarity encourages Cashmere to do this, suggesting that it's more efficient to compete legitimately by offering a good service, rather than engaging in underhanded deals. Interestingly though, both their methods are very successful, despite being completely different ethically.
- A Date with Rosie Palms:
- Occasionally referenced by several characters. Cashmere tends to be particularly overt about it.
- Alluded to when the protagonist investigates Slate's Stalker Shrine, noting the tissues that have "obviously been used".
- Deadpan Snarker: The protagonist has a habit of snarkily lampshading some of the absurdities of Equestrian life. Rarity also turns on the snark on more than a few occasions.
- "Dear John" Letter: The protagonist is mentioned to have received one from an ex-girlfriend as part of his backstory, though he doesn't show too much bitterness over it.
- Demoted to Extra: Most of the main cast only appear intermittently, save for Rarity and Fluttershy.
- Department of Redundancy Department: Pinkie Pie, firstly when she decides to throw Gummy a one-year-of-having-parties-party, and again when she gives her thoughts on Cashmere:
Pinkie Pie: (discussing Cashmere) Not a very nice pony, if you ask me. And you didn't, so you should ask me. (walks up to Rarity) Ask me!
Rarity: (backing away) Ah...what do you think of Cashmere?
- Desperation Attack: As a last attempt to evade arrest, Slate tries to ram the protagonist with his own body, by flying at top speed. It probably would have killed the protagonist, if Rarity hadn't intervened.
- Determinator: Slate. Despite having his leg broken and suffering from serious internal injuries, he still puts up a strong attempt to resist arrest. Even the protagonist grudgingly comments to himself on how impressive this is.
- Disappointed In You: Rarity's reaction to the protagonist finally admitting he doesn't love Fluttershy in the same way. Somewhat unusually for this trope however, it's Rarity admitting just how much she hates the feeling of being disappointed rather than the recipient.
- Discredited Meme: In-universe, mentioning sparkling whenever Twilight is brought up has apparently become this, after it "stopped being funny two years ago".
- Disproportionate Retribution: Cashmere wants to destroy Rarity's business, simply for turning down her affections.
- Distracted by the Sexy:
- Doorstopper: Finishing at just over over 365K words, it's quite a weighty one.
- Double Entendre:
- Cashmere has a habit of using these... and that's when she's being subtle!
- The protagonist also has a habit of using these, though Rarity tries her best to nip them in the bud.
- Dude, Where's My Respect?: Generally averted. While rarely brought up, it's made clear that Ponyville - and Equestria - has respect for Rarity and her friends' accomplishments.
- Inverted, if Cashmere is to be believed. She dismisses Rarity's achievements as meaningless and undeserving of the respect that's been afforded to her, though she isn't the most impartial judge.
- Played straight when the guards don't recognise Rarity and Twilight.
- Earn Your Happy Ending: It takes a while and getting there isn't always easy, but the story ends with Rarity and the protagonist tying the knot.
- The Engineer: The protagonist, who was an engineer in the US Army - on loan to the US Navy for a secret project - before he wound up in Equestria.
- Enormous Engagement Ring: By human standards many engagement 'rings' in Equestria are this, since necklaces or other items are often used instead. The magical necklace the protagonist has made for Rarity fulfills the spirit of the trope however by being particularly unusual and spectacular.
- Evil Plan: Rarity and the protagonist start plotting one against Cashmere in Chapter 23. Subverted when Fluttershy suggests they talk to her, which they immediately decide to do instead, noting that it's a far better idea.
- Exiled to the Couch: The protagonist exiles himself to it after a vicious argument in the first chapter. Rarity does move him back upstairs while he sleeps however, and they make up shortly thereafter.
- Expy: Several famous people from Earth have almost identical counterparts in Equestria, Shakespeare being at least one. Naturally the protagonist lampshades this.
- Eye Scream: An example occurs when the protagonist accidentally pokes his eye on Rarity's horn during an enthusiastic makeout session.
- Fantastic Arousal: Unicorn horns under very rare circumstances. When it happens to Rarity after she tries teleporting, she's quite surprised and has no idea it was even possible.
- Fantastic Romance: The relationship between the protagonist and Rarity. The sheer absurdity of being in a relationship with a unicorn in a magical fantasy land is lampshaded by him at least once.
- A Father to His Men: Pipe Wrench, who tries to keep his workers happy and make sure they stay safe. He especially demonstrates this towards the protagonist.
- Featureless Protagonist: Averted. Despite the Second-Person Narration, the protagonist ends up having a significant amount of characterization and backstory.
- Fish out of Water: The protagonist, by virtue of being trapped in Equestria. After some initial adjusting, he does adapt fairly well.
- And again at his construction job, but he warms to it quickly.
- Flashback: Commonly used at the start of most chapters to fill in the gaps leading up to the start of the story.
- Flashback Nightmare: The protagonist often dreams of the disaster that transported him to Equestria, and his near-drowning in the process.
- Cashmere for Rarity. Both are talented and successful, but where Rarity surrounds herself with those she loves and strives to be generous and ethical, Cashmere indulges in hedonistic behaviour as a distraction for what she lacks, and engages in ruthless business practices.
- Pipe Wrench is also one for Cashmere. Whereas Pipe treats his workers well, Cashmere treats her employees as little more than tools to be discarded, and shows little concern for their well-being.
- Freudian Couch: Cashmere mockingly asks if she should get one in response to Rarity's increasingly hard-hitting psychoanalysis in Chapter 25.
- Fridge Logic: An in-universe example. When Cashmere tries to smear Rarity as having a "human fetish", Morning Blossom points that you can't really have a fetish when there's only one human in all of Equestria.
- Friendly Tickle Torture: Rarity's ticklish stomach makes her a prime target for this.
- Furry Reminder: When going out on their first date, the protagonist gets Rarity some flowers... and is promptly surprised when she tastes one. The next time he slips a note in, reminding her not to eat them immediately.
- Genre Savvy: The protagonist is well aware he is dating a heroine who will not stand idly by when someone puts themselves at risk.
Protagonist: If I say 'no' you're just going to do it anyway, aren't you?
Rarity: But of course, darling.
- Gentle Giant: The protagonist, given that he's taller and stronger than ponies. Until you make him mad...
- Mare on Mare is Hot: The protagonist seems to think so and references this several times. Rarity usually ends up chiding him for it... before quietly agreeing.
- The Glomp: Rarity does this to Fluttershy in Chapter 5, literally tackling her to the ground with her hug. It seems to run in the family, as Rarity's mother later does the same thing in Chapter 19.
- Good Old Fisticuffs: The fight between the protagonist and Slate, when the latter is confronted over his stalking. Despite the protagonist's military training, he still takes a heavy beating.
- Good People Have Good Sex: Let's just say that Rarity and the protagonist enjoy a very healthy sex life.
- Green-Eyed Monster:
- Cashmere's resentment and jealousy of Rarity are the main motivation for her antagonistic actions.
- Slate's obsession with Rarity and jealousy over her turning him down leads to him stalking her.
- Handy Man: The protagonist and by extension his colleagues, owing to his job as a construction worker.
- Happily Married:
- Pipe Wrench and Dazzle Drop, even if she occasionally gets frustrated by his lack of refinement.
- Rarity and the protagonist show many elements of this despite not being married, though he does plan to propose to her when other events aren't getting in the way.
- The Hedonist: Cashmere turns into one. Rarity calls her out on this as being nothing more than a way to distract herself from the things she lacks.
- Hello, Insert Name Here: The protagonist. As a result, the dialogue goes somewhat out the way to make sure he's never mentioned by name. Rarity's tendency to call others "darling" helps make this less obvious however. This article unfortunately does not have the same luxury.
- Heroic BSOD: The protagonist's fairly understandable initial reaction when he finds out he's in a land of talking magical ponies.
- Hero with Bad Publicity: Played with. While Cashmere and later Slate try to smear Rarity's name, it's not implied to have any real impact owing to Rarity already being well-liked and respected.
- She Who Fights Monsters: Despite proclaiming to be above such things, Rarity does display this over the course of the story when she engages in some somewhat unethical behaviour of her own in retaliation, which she does admit to. However, there are some lines - such as resorting to slander - that she absolutely refuses to cross.
- "Hey, You!" Haymaker: The protagonist gives one to Slate when the full extent of his stalking activities is revealed. It doesn't knock him out, but does hurt him pretty badly and kicks off their fight.
- Hoist By Her Own Petard: At her store's opening ceremony, Cashmere makes use her supposed friendship and solidarity with Rarity to force Rarity into giving away a heavy discount, with no way to refuse while still saving face. Rarity turns this around later on by using Cashmere's same words to force her into going along with another sale.
- Hot-Blooded: The protagonist, despite having legitimate reasons to be angry does have a bit of a temper. He gets called on this several times as it being scary, unproductive, or inappropriate to the situation.
- Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: The protagonist and Rarity, where due to the species difference, he towers over her by a good foot-and-a-half. Similarly, between him and Fluttershy; she mentions that he's twice her size at several points.
- Hypocrite: The protagonist when he asks Pipe Wrench why he would give someone like Slate a job. Pipe quite reasonably points out that his nature in giving chances other ponies would not is why the protagonist got a job working for him in the first place, which does get acknowledged.
- Hypocritical Humour: Rarity, on several occasions.
- Imagine Spot: The protagonist has a fairly ridiculous one while bored in Chapter 2, where he single-handedly saves Equestria before having a threesome with Rarity and Spitfire on a cloud made of cheerleaders.
- The Immodest Orgasm: Lightly poked fun at in the first chapter, though there isn't much reason to suggest Rarity normally displays this. The key word being normally.
- Incredibly Lame Pun: Both Rarity and the protagonist occasionally make some truly awful puns, which are usually lampshaded by at least one character.
- I Need a Freaking Drink: Rarity and the protagonist's usual reaction to their dealings with Cashmere. In one case, Cashmere even offers some of her own stash for this very reason.
- Inferiority Superiority Complex:
- Rarity at times fears that her high-maintenance nature and Large Ham tendencies can be offputting.
- Rainbow Dash becomes somewhat melancholic and insecure after she's had too much to drink, though she passes it off as a result of the alcohol making her overly emotional.
- In Medias Res: The story starts off with protagonist having already been in a relationship with Rarity for about a year, with flashbacks filling in the events that led up to that point over the course of several chapters.
- Innocent Innuendo: Invoked by means of a Sexy Discretion Shot. See Bait and Switch.
- In-Series Nickname: Cashmere tends to refer to Rarity and the protagonist as "Rares" and "boy-toy" respectively. They find this habit rather irritating, which knowing Cashmere is probably the entire point.
- Insistent Terminology: Rarity would like you to know that they're not socks, they're elbow gloves!
- Interspecies Romance: The main premise of the story is set around Rarity and the protagonist being in a relationship. Fluttershy gets in on it later on... sort of...
- Interrupted Intimacy: Morning Blossom accidentally ends up interrupting Rarity and the protagonist when she shows up to work an hour early, much to their frustration.
- Intimate Healing: After being smacked in the head with an iron rebar in a construction accident, the protagonist gets some intimate healing courtesy of Rarity. It doesn't do much for the head wound, but it does work pretty well as a way of curing his headache.
- Jaw Drop: Rarity's standard response to surprising events. The protagonist sometimes get in on it as well, when he's not giving a You Have Got to Be Kidding Me! reaction instead.
- Jerkass Has a Point: Cashmere, when she points out that Rarity had let her business stagnate, and that the presence of competition forced her to raise her game. Something Rarity reluctantly accepts.
- Just Friends: After much soul-searching, the relationship between the protagonist/Rarity and Fluttershy ends up as just being this, albeit a very close platonic friendship.
- Karma Houdini: While Cashmere eventually apologises for her behaviour and makes up with Rarity, there's no real evidence that her unethical business practices over the years have come back to haunt her.
- Kick the Dog: Cashmere, when she tricks Rarity into opening her store on her day off and giving away a costly discount. After some Evil Gloating, Cashmere then seals the deal with a Take-That Kiss.
- A Lady on Each Arm: The protagonist, naturally, suggests this as one of the benefits of such an unusual relationship.
- Lampshade Hanging: Other characters get in on it from time to time, but pointing out the bizarre nature of Equestria and its residents almost seems to be a second job for the protagonist.
- Large Ham: Rarity. Played with however, because the protagonist finds it somewhat mystifying when Rarity puts on the histrionics, and notes that she rarely tends to do this when in private.
- Like a Daughter to Me: Rarity's parents apparently consider Cashmere as their third daughter, despite her recent actions towards Rarity.
- Love Hurts:
- Cashmere's unrequited love for Rarity and her resulting heartbreak plays a large part in her actions.
- The fact that he doesn't love Fluttershy in the same way ends up causing the protagonist a great deal of anguish when he finally admits it to Rarity.
- A Man Is Always Eager: The protagonist plays this one fairly straight, to the point where Rarity reacts with disbelief when at one point suggests it would be a bad idea. This is slightly subverted however by the fact it takes a great deal of time for them both to become comfortable with the idea of being intimate with each other in the flashbacks.
- Making Love in All the Wrong Places: Occurs on occasion. Played for comedy in one instance.
- Mind Rape: Mentioned by name and an unfortunate necessity as part of Celestia and Luna's efforts to send the protagonist home, by allowing them to find the correct world. Celestia comments on how she detests such an invasive and painful procedure, and notes that thankfully she's only had to do it a small number of times.
- Mondegreen: Rainbow Dash, when she refers to Cashmere's 'Elegant Expectations' shop firstly as "Elephant Excretions", and then "Exploding Eclairs" shortly afterwards.
- Morality Pet: Rarity was one for Cashmere when they opened Carousel Boutique together, prior to their falling out, and reined in some of Cashmere's less ethical suggestions on how to run their business.
- Motor Mouth:
- Pinkie Pie, naturally. Ditzy Doo also has a propensity to go off on long random tangents.
- Morning Blossom.
- The protagonist as well when he gets nervous.
- Mundane Luxury: Rarity is very enthusiastic about the various uses of fingers that we take for granted.
- Mundane Utility: Rarity learns how to teleport for the sole purpose of getting upstairs to the bedroom more quickly. That and showing off a little, but this is Rarity.
- Murder the Hypotenuse: It's left somewhat ambiguous if this was what Slate was aiming for, or if he was just taking advantage of an accident, but certainly most elements of this are shown when he refuses to help and instead rants at the protagonist for 'stealing' Rarity.
- Naughty by Night: Despite being self-described and cultivating her image as a "proper lady", Rarity apparently has an adventurous spirit that can be quite surprising.
- Nice Guy: The protagonist. Cashmere even calls him this directly when mentioning how he'd never do anything to hurt Rarity.
- Noodle Incident:
- Pinkie managed to get herself banned from the Autumn Harvest social. The only details given are that this involved singing and eating half a cake.
- Twilight mentions a time where she got drunk enough to start randomly giving everyone grass hula skirts. Her offer to demonstrate this spell firsthand is not met with a warm reception.
- No OSHA Compliance: Averted. Wearing the proper safety headgear actually saves the protagonist's life after his construction accident. Pipe Wrench is also shown to take the safety of his workers very seriously, and has no tolerance for dangerous behaviour.
- No Sense of Personal Space: Cashmere has a habit of getting very touchy-feely with others, particularly with Rarity. Rather hypocritically, she gets very annoyed if anyone dares to make the same impositions upon her.
- No Social Skills: The effects of Poison Joke renders Cashmere completely unable to use flirtatious behaviour without it failing diasterously.
- Not a Morning Pony: The protagonist. A contrast to Rarity who is most decidedly a morning pony... once she's gone through her routine.
- Not So Different:
- Cashmere accuses Rarity of this when the latter strikes back with some schemes of her own. Rarity protests this assertion, though it's shown over the course of the story that she's not as different as she'd like to believe.
- The protagonist when he inadvertently ends up making the same mistake Rarity made with Cashmere all those years ago, and winds up leading Fluttershy on rather than confessing his true feelings to her.
- Not What It Looks Like: Inverted. Rarity and the protagonist's encounter in the first chapter is exactly what it looks like, but Pinkie in her naivety mistakes it for "a big hug", and completely accepts the excuse that Rarity was simply very excited about her recent business success.
- Obnoxious In-Laws:
- Oh, Crap: Fluttershy's reaction to finding out that Rarity's newest employee, Morning Blossom, is a lot like Pinkie Pie.
- Old Shame: Rarity's breakdown in Suited for Success has apparently become this, and deeply embarrasses her whenever it's brought up.
- "Open!" Says Me: The protagonist tries this when breaking into Slate's house to look for evidence of his stalking. It doesn't work. Turns out the door opens the other way.
- Parental Abandonment: The protagonist, who was raised by his mother. As a result, he's somewhat envious of the fact that both Rarity and Fluttershy had both their parents around when growing up.
- Parental Substitute: Pipe Wrench takes on the role as a father figure to the protagonist, and gives him advice on how to deal with personal problems on several occasions. His wife Dazzle Drop similarly becomes something of a mother figure.
- Parrot Exposition: Twilight in Chapter 10. It's suggested it's not the first time either.
Protagonist: There aren't. It's more of a date with a mare.
Twilight: A mare?
Protagonist: Has anyone ever told you you repeat things a lot?
- Pay Evil unto Evil: After being tricked into selling her stock at a heavy loss by Cashmere, Rarity retaliates by sending her Poison Joke, forcing her into offering a similar discount, and stealing her supplier.
- Royal Guards Are Useless: Played with. While the Royal Guards take Fluttershy's warning completely seriously, arrive as quickly as possible, and ensure that everyone is reasonably okay at the end, they're also completely incapable of apprehending a badly injured Slate until Rarity saves the day, despite outnumbering him two-to-one.
- Power Incontinence:
- Precision F-Strike: Rarity almost never swears. When she does, you definitely know she's angry.
- Rage Against the Heavens: The protagonist, who quite literally rages against the heavens after being caught in an unexpected rainstorm, having had a bad day at work. It's lampshaded as being the completely logical thing to do under the circumstances.
- Reality Ensues: The protagonist - who is not a heavily-built man in an action movie - tries kicking a door down. It fails badly, and he injures his leg in the process.
"IT ALWAYS WORKED IN THE FUCKIN' MOVIES!"
- Really Gets Around: Cashmere. This is partly due to her nature as The Hedonist, but also because she tries to exploit her sexuality for business purposes.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: Pipe Wrench, who cares about his employees and is very willing to help them out or make concessions.
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Fluttershy delivers a truely stunning one to Cashmere in Chapter 5, before throwing her out onto the streets.
- Recognition Failure: The guards completely fail to recognise Twilight and Rarity when they show up in Canterlot to visit the princesses in a flashback within Chapter 7.
- Relationship Upgrade: Averted with Fluttershy, who despite some kissing and cuddling never really progresses with a relationship between Rarity and the protagonist, and is not intimate with either before it gets broken off.
- Fluttershy's friendship with Whip-Smart is strongly implied to be heading in this direction as of the finale, though they're both happy to keep it slow and remain Just Friends for the time being.
- Removed from the Picture: Both Rarity and Cashmere retain their photograph of the day Carousel Boutique opened. Yet while Rarity keeps her copy of the picture intact as a reminder of the good times, Cashmere completely removes Rarity from her copy.
- Rescue Romance: Between Rarity and the protagonist, when Rarity saves his life after he ends up in Equestria on the verge of death, though it does take several months for their relationship to develop. It's lampshaded several times.
- Retired Badass: Aegis Shield, who gave up his job as a Royal Guard after being stabbed in the leg when he and his partner were ambushed by a large group of criminals, but not before managing to defeat them all.
- Revenge: A major theme throughout:
- Cashmere's primary motivation.
- Slate wants revenge on Rarity for turning him down.
- After tricking Rarity into opening on her day off and offering a heavy discount - to the point of selling at a huge loss - Rarity retaliates in kind by forcing Cashmere to do the same, with the aid of Pinkie Pie's singing and by using her own words against her.
- Running Gag: Cashmere repeatedly has her taste in alcoholic beverages insulted by both Rarity and the protagonist.
- Second-Person Narration: Unusually for this trope however, it averts having a Featureless Protagonist.
- Serious Business:
- Sexy Discretion Shot:
- Shell-Shocked Veteran: The protagonist suffers some PTSD from the time he nearly drowned during the events that brought him to Equestria, and has recurring nightmares over it.
- Shipper on Deck: The protagonist tries to ship Fluttershy and Whip-Smart, and while they're simply good friends as of the finale, it is heading towards a relationship in the future.
- Ship Tease: A throwaway line hints that there may well be something between Applejack and Rainbow Dash.
- Shown Their Work: Several details of military life are mentioned. Given the author's experiences in the US military however, this isn't too surprising.
- Show Some Leg: Rarity's plan for distracting Slate in order to buy time to investigate his house involves using herself as a lure.
- The protagonist's favorite drink is Sparkle Cola.
- Pinkie Pie takes on the name of Tenacious P for one of her songs. This is immediately lampshaded by the protagonist.
- To Star Wars, when the protagonist compares unicorn magic to The Force.
- To The Dark Knight when the protagonist responds to her comment with "We kill the Batman?". Rarity naturally doesn't get the reference.
- "Time is money, friend"
- To Pink Floyd numerous times, including Chapter 14's title, "Wearing The Inside Out" and Chapter 17's title, "High Hopes".
- Eric Clapton during Chapter 3, when the Protagonist starts singing "Wonderful Tonight" to himself while waiting for Rarity to get dressed.
- Bob Seger as well, in passing.
- Airplane! gets in with the usual Shirley reference. As above, naturally Rarity doesn't get it.
- Shrinking Violet: Fluttershy. Played for Drama because her shell prevents her from finding somepony of her own.
- Sickening Sweethearts: Rarity and the protagonist apparently show elements of this from time to time.
- Single Mare Seeks Good Stallion: Fluttershy. Rarity as well, prior to her getting involved with the protagonist.
- Slasher Smile: Slate gets a terrifying one in Chapter 16.
- The Smart Guy: Whip-Smart. His cutie mark is even the old Equestrian symbol for intellect.
- Sole Survivor: It's heavily implied that the protagonist was the only one from his crew who survived, given the catatrophic nature of the accident that sent him to Equestria and almost killed him.
- Stalker Shrine: Slate has a very creepy one of Rarity.
- Stalker with a Crush: Slate, towards Rarity. It's played completely seriously, and the violation of her personal life is portrayed as being as creepy and traumatic as you'd expect.
- Sweet Tooth: The protagonist has an extensive one, and barely needs any excuse to sample Sugarcube Corner's wares.
- Take That:
- A Tankard of Moose Urine:
- Pretty much anything Cashmere drinks, if Rarity and the protagonist are to be believed.
Cashmere: Eh, it gets the buzz goin'.
- Pipe Wrench is also guilty of this.
Pipe Wrench: It may be piss water, but it's cheap piss water, ha-ha!
- Tastes Like Diabetes:
- The protagonist comments on Pinkie Pie's perpetual happiness, reflecting that if he were constantly subject to it he'd either be the happiest man in the world, or he'd kill himself with a frosting spatula.
- Pretty much anything involving Fluttershy according to the protagonist, who even goes as far as to call her "weaponized cuteness".
- Technobabble: Pretty much any lecture of Twilight's on the subject of magic. The protagonist's attempt to explain what he did as a US Army engineer also bewilders Pipe Wrench.
- Teleportation Sickness: The protagonist suffers this after Twilight teleports them to Canterlot. Justified as the spell is not designed to take human anatomy into account, which Rarity corrects for when she learns how to do this herself.
- Tempting Fate: Rarity displays a rather startling example of Genre Blindness in Chapter 10, when she suggests that "I doubt we'll be hearing from that Slate fellow any time soon".
- That Reminds Me of a Song: Pinkie's tendency to engage in song is mercilessly lampshaded:
Rarity: Most likely. I'm sorry to subject you to this, darling, but think of it as taking one for the team, hmm?
- They Do: The protagonist and Rarity finally get married in the finale, and get their Happily Ever After.
- Think Nothing of It: Rarity and Twilight's responses to saving the protagonist's life and helping him out, particularly when he insists on paying them back.
- Those Two Guys: Octavia and Vinyl Scratch.
- A Threesome Is Hot: Cashmere seems to think so at least. Judging by the protagonist's various dreams and daydreams, this is an opinion he shares.
- Too Fast to Stop: When Slate tries attacking the protagonist, Rarity teleports him inside his house, resulting in him slamming into a wall.
- Took a Level in Badass: Despite already being one in canon, Rarity takes one in the magic department after having mastered teleportation, by taking lessons from Twilight.
- Trapped in Another World: One of the entire points of the story. See You Can't Go Home Again.
- Triang Relations: Deconstructed. Rarity suggests including Fluttershy in their relationship, ostensibly to help coax the shy pegasus out of her shell and allow her to find love of her own, but it's strongly implied that Rarity is using the opportunity to act on her long-nurtured and somewhat one-sided crush on her friend. The protagonist spends significant time on trying to figure out where exactly this is going in the long term, as well as worrying about what impact it will have on his existing relationship.
- Later on, this ends up causing him a significant amount of angst when Fluttershy confesses her love for him which he does not return, and that he admits to Rarity that he only wants to be in a monogamous relationship with her.
- Twin Threesome Fantasy: The protagonist ends up having a dream of this with two Raritys. The real Rarity finds this quite amusing.
- The protagonist's disastrous first attempt at building a second staircase for Twilight's astronomy wing is described simply as the structural integrity leaving "something to be desired".
- Rarity apparently has a talent for this, though it's something of an Informed Attribute.
- Undying Loyalty: Rarity, towards the protagonist, particularly where she pledges to always be there to help him when it's discovered he's permanently stuck in Equestria.
- Unusual Euphemism: Clopping off.
- Unusually Uninteresting Sight: The protagonist. Justified by most of Ponyville having had time to get used to his appearance.
- Villainous Breakdown: Cashmere finally gets one in Chapter 25, when Rarity provokes her into admitting exactly why she's been acting in the way she has.
- Villain Respect: After having dealt with Slate, Cashmere is impressed enough with how Rarity and the protagonist handled the situation to buy them dinner at an expensive restaurant.
- Violently Protective Marefriend: Rarity shows shades of this, and is very willing to defend her boyfriend when he's attacked by Slate.
- Vitriolic Best Buds: Between Pipe Wrench and most of his crew, but particularly his relationship with the protagonist.
- We Can Rule Together: Cashmere uses this several times when trying to convince Rarity to let her buy out Carousel Boutique. Rarity obviously doesn't go for it.
- Wedding Day: The story ends with Rarity and the protagonist finally tying the knot.
- We Need a Distraction: As part of The Plan to distract Slate, and investigate his house Rarity offers to be the lure herself. When the protagonist initially refuses based on the danger this presents, Rarity immediately calls him out on this, by pointing out she's dealt with far worse and is capable of looking after herself.
Rarity: One does not save the world without picking up a few tricks along the way.
- What Measure is a Non-Pony?: Averted. By virtue of being the only human in Equestria, the protagonist is granted special protection by Celestia, and is technically noted to be covered by the Exotic Creatures Act.
- What the Hell, Hero?:
- The protagonist gives a brief one to Pipe Wrench regarding the hiring of Slate, which Pipe quite reasonably rejects. See Hypocrite.
- Cashmere gives one to Rarity when the full truth of how she was rejected comes out. Rarity for her part accepts the criticism and apologises for the way she lead Cashmere on.
- Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: The protagonist does not enjoy being flown about by a pegasus taxi, and makes no secret of it whenever he encounters one. Something Rarity enjoys teasing him over.
- Will They or Won't They?: A large part of the story revolves around just where precisely Fluttershy's inclusion in Rarity and the progagonist's relationship is headed. After much confusion, soul-searching, and a near-miss after a night of drinking, Fluttershy ends up being Just Friends with the two.
- Mare Scorned:
- The main reason for Cashmere's hatred of Rarity.
- Gender inverted with Slate, who hates Rarity for turning him down.
- Worthy Opponent: Despite their antagonistic relationship, both Rarity and Cashmere consider themselves this and highly respect each other's skills as a seamstress and a businessmare.
- Write What You Know: The protagonist draws upon the author's own experiences, particularly his time in the US military.
- Wrong Genre Savvy: After overhearing some of the unusual 'codenames' for ponies, the protagonist initially believes he's been captured by an enemy who want him for information, rather than being Trapped in Another World. Justified, given his military experience.
- Xanatos Speed Chess: Cashmere displays this. When Rarity turns up to her store's opening ceremony, she's quickly able to leverage the situation and tricks Rarity into going along with a costly discount, as well as forcing her into either publicly praising Cashmere as a friend, or refusing and damaging her own reputation.
- You ALL Look Familiar: The Royal Guards, as per the show. Here it's justified as being due to magical armour used to conceal their appearances, to protect them from reprisal.
- You Can't Go Home Again: Celestia and Luna's efforts to send the protagonist home almost succeed, but fail at the last second when he passes out from the stress of the spell. As a result, the spell is unable to be cast again without killing him, permanently trapping him in Equestria. Needless to say, this is not received well.
- You Have Got to Be Kidding Me!: The protagonist uses a slightly more colourful variant in response to Cashmere's dramatic entrance at her store's opening ceremony, and as a response to the general insanity he encounters.
- Your Approval Fills Me with Shame: Rarity after Cashmere congratulates her for retaliating after being tricked into giving away a heavy discount. Rarity points out that she is not completely above such behaviour when necessary, but unlike Cashmere, she takes no pleasure in it and only engages in it as a last resort.
- You're Insane!: Rarity does this in all but name when she tells Slate he needs psychological help. You can probably imagine how well this goes down.
- Your Makeup Is Running: Played completely seriously when Rarity breaks down in tears upon discovering she's being stalked.
- You Shall Not Pass: Rarity gets one when she prevents Slate from attacking the protagonist.