When Sweetie Belle's parents are suddenly killed and she is sent to live with her sister Rarity, she comes home one day to find a lengthy letter from her new guardian- one which casts an entirely new light on their relationship. As word spreads, Sweetie's fellow Cutie Mark Crusaders Applebloom and Scootaloo receive messages of their own from Applejack and Rainbow Dash, which cast new light on the pasts and families of all the ponies involved and show that the Crusaders have a connection going back long before Diamond Tiara's cuteceañera. But Sweetie finds herself with an entirely new mission, one far trickier than searching for a cutie mark.
Across the country, Shining Armor finds himself pulled into an affair with Luna, Princess of the Night and adoptive aunt of his loving wife Princess Cadance. Even in the midst of his guilt, he desires to learn more of his lover's past and how he fits into the attachments of an immortal alicorn. Plumbing the depths of the Canterlot archives, he stumbles across secrets the royal family has kept hidden for centuries... and just misses a much more foreboding one.
And love of all sorts blooms through Ponyville. The morning after Fluttershy and Big Macintosh's wedding celebration, couples involving all of the ponies we know and love wake up and are forced to evaluate just where they are headed, and relationships new and old blossom.
These ponies have all the pieces, or almost all of them... but as old enemies plot revenge, secrets come to light, and passions flare, can they put them together in time to save Equestria?Arcs and entries in this series:
- Dear Cutie Mark Crusaders
- Loving Light, Lusting Dark
- The Many Loves of Ponyville
- The Great Storm
This Fanfic provides examples of:
- All Just a Dream: Most of "The Sin of Envy", induced by a demon to soften up Rarity for a coming test.
- Alternate Continuity: Word of God is that "Dear Sweetie Belle" takes place about a week before "Sisterhooves Social" would have, and events diverge from there.
- Arc Welding: The CMC and Shining/Luna plots, as well as the romantic plots set up by Morning Glory, originated as separate stories which Jade found fit together. He also attempted to work in another short fic, "An Oral History of the Rise of the New Lunar Republic", but that didn't work out.
- Arc Words: A Storm Is Coming
- As You Know: Briefly used when Feather Duster points out, to his former weather team coworker Rainbow Dash, the storm cloud generators that he plans to overload.
- Bi the Way:
- At least one of Luna's previous lovers was a mare.
- In "Cutie Mark Crusaders Dream Warriors", Sweetie is offhandedly mentioned to have dated Twist, while at the present time she is in a relationship with Button Mash. She was also previously seen in a relationship with Featherweight.
- Big Bad: Despite only appearing in the letter flashbacks, Feather Duster is basically this for the "Dear Cutie Mark Crusaders" trilogy, owing to the trauma his vindictive actions caused to the CMC's families and the subsequent effect on their lives. He cements this position in the "epilogue" "Cutie Mark Crusaders Dream Warriors", finally appearing in the present before finally being Killed Off for Real.
- Big Bad Duumvirate: In The Changelings Have a King, Chrysalis and Carapace (a.k.a. the transformed Prince Blueblood), the eponymous king, are nominally this, overseeing the management of the hive and the planned invasion of Equestria. That said, Carapace is much more The Heavy, taking the lead in both forming and carrying out the plan, while Chrysalis seems more concerned with her new brood, and Carapace is isolating and manipulating her while mainly using her and her offspring as tools for revenge on Rarity.
- Cerebus Syndrome: The early entries aren't exactly fluff, delving into familial and romantic drama, but the overarching story gets a lot more foreboding starting with the introduction of Clover's prophecy at the end of Phases of the Moon.
- Commitment Issues: Bon Bon broke up with Lyra due to the latter's insistence that a marriage wouldn't work out, based on the experiences of her parents and friends back in Canterlot. When Lyra sees at Fluttershy and Big Mac's wedding how different the love visible there is from those prior instances- and realizes that the two of them feel the same sort of devotion- they readily give it another go.
- Contrived Coincidence: Lampshaded by Sweetie when she realizes that her professor is her father.
- Deus Exit Machina: This is why Discord abandons the Equestrian dimension at the end of What's Done in the Dark....
- Dirty Business: Time Turner and Nevermore reluctantly killed Rarity's parents as one step in saving the timeline from annihilation.
- Dragged Off to Hell: Feather Duster's ultimate fate.
- Drowning My Sorrows:
- Trixie and Cheerilee reference word for word having done this in Morning Glory, Trixie apparently simply due to feeling uncomfortable being with the other ponies at Fluttershy and Big Macintosh's wedding reception (despite having been hired to entertain the foals), and Cheerilee due to losing Big Mac to Fluttershy.
- In The Changelings Have a King, Dash and Caramel on the anniversary of Pinkie's death.
- Also in Changelings, Cheerilee and Crescendo after the former is chewed out by Big Mac for suggesting that they and Fluttershy form a herd since Fluttershy cannot have any more foals (which Mac had not even known) and the latter learns Spike is planning to propose to Rarity, whom Crescendo has realized he is still in love with.
- Eye Scream: In What's Done in the Dark..., Cadance/the Crystal Empress rips out Brother Veritas's eyes to make him confess what he knows about Shining Armor and Luna's relationship.
- Fantastic Racism: Crescendo dismissively refers to Spike as a "lizard"; even when accounting for his jealousy over Spike's intended proposal to Rarity due to his own recurring feelings for the latter, his contempt is palpable.
- First-Episode Spoiler: Sweetie Belle is Rarity's biological daughter.
- Foreshadowing: Numerous references to upcoming conflict and destruction, from Time Turner's worries to the various prophecies. "The King of Lies" is pretty much all about this.
- Forgotten Anniversary: This sets Bon Bon off, but Lyra didn't forget and was trolling her.
- Fusion Dance: How the Cutie Mark Crusaders finally defeat Feather Duster for good in the dreamscape.
- Gene Hunting: "Paternally Yours" shows Sweetie Belle trying to track down her father.
- Götterdämmerung: Clover the Clever's dying prophecy specifically mentions "the Twilight of the Gods" as the end of Celestia and Luna's reign. Needless to say, Twilight Sparkle is implied to have something to do with it. Word of God is that it's the name of Twilight's own Superpowered Evil Side.
- Grand Theft Me: Feather Duster's final gambit is to take over Scootaloo's body and use it to murder Rainbow Dash.
- Heroic Sacrifice: In addition to the examples of Taking the Bullet, Filthy Rich gives his amulet protecting him from changeling attacks to his daughter after she drops and breaks hers. Though played with in that he first snatched his wife's amulet to give to Diamond Tiara, before she broke that one too.
- Infant Immortality: Averted in "Dear Scootaloo". While Scoots herself obviously survives to the present, three other foals are mentioned to have perished from smoke inhalation after Feather Duster's attack on the Cloudsdale Home for Wayward Pegasi.
- Innocently Insensitive: Rarity's old roommate Shining Star seemed to think suggesting going to a party was enough to cheer her up- not knowing that the reason for her being upset was having gotten pregnant at the last one they went to. Really bad timing.
- Interspecies Romance: Spike and Rarity, as far as they know the first in Equestria's history.
- Jigsaw Puzzle Plot: Details from the various sub-series connect to paint the larger, darker picture.
- Killed Offscreen: By the start of The Changelings Have a King, Pinkie Pie has died from unspecified natural causes.
- My Greatest Failure: Dash apparently thinks of not breaking up the Great Storm in time to save Applejack's parents as this.
- Naughty by Night: Downplayed, as she's embarrassed about it even in private, but Fluttershy didn't need any of the Apple family's "honeymoon cider" to go wild with Big Mac
- Never My Fault: Carapace blames Rarity for ruining his status at the Grand Galloping Gala (i.e. vehemently objecting to his poor manners, back when he was Blueblood) and incubates his new changeling army in Ponyville to cause her pain. Before finally attempting to kill her, he gloats that all of the recent death and destruction is her fault.
- Parental Abandonment: Some pegasi (much like the Spartans) abandon their foals for appearing too weak or sickly. This seems to have happened to Fluttershy, Derpy, Rainbow Dash and Scootaloo. Dash always preferred to think her parents had died and made sure she would be left in good hooves, making it very difficult at first to accept the evidence that Scootaloo is her sister.
- Parental Substitute: Rainbow Dash very much thought of Firefly as her mother.
- Plot-Triggering Death: "Dear Sweetie Belle" has Rarity write the titular letter after her and Sweetie's parents are killed. This was in fact invoked by Time Turner and Nevermore to counteract the approaching destruction of the timeline.
- Polyamory: Referred to as a common past practice. "Herding" was particularly common among earth ponies, though according to Celestia they also led the way in shunning the practice in more recent times. It's still legal, though, and Luna decides to resolve her Love Triangle with Shining Armor and Cadance this way. Cheerilee also suggests it to Big Macintosh, who is far less keen on the idea.
- Real After All: Santa Hooves, who used to be a member of the same Guild as Time Turner.
- Revised Ending: "The Sin of Envy" originally led into another chapter focusing on Twilight, but that story idea (Twilight having a nightmare about becoming an alicorn and destroying everything around her) was rendered redundant, so the cliffhanger was reworked to lead directly into The King of Lies.
- Running Gag: It's noted multiple times that the Apple family seem to share a fondness for pegasi.
- Sadistic Choice: Feather Duster presents Rainbow Dash with one in the climax of the "Dear Scootaloo" flashback: save foal Scootaloo (whom he had tossed off a cloud) or stop him from unleashing a cataclysmic storm. Fortunately, he vastly underestimated her speed.
- Saying Too Much: Brother Veritas namedrops Luna as Shining Armor's mistress even though Cadance hadn't mentioned her, causing Cadance to realize that he had known about the affair and ruining his attempt to calm her, in fact triggering her Superpowered Evil Side.
- Shipper on Deck: Pinkie for Applejack and Rainbow Dash; she and Fluttershy slipped them some of the Apple family's special "honeymoon cider" to get them to act on their feelings.
- Shoo Out the Clowns: Prior to the climactic trilogy, Discord abandons the Equestrian dimension and Pinkie dies offscreen.
- Smart People Know Latin: Professor Crescendo. (The story literally uses Latin as the ancient unicorn language.)
- Superpowered Evil Side: Twilight's research indicates that all alicorns are vulnerable to this if they swing too far to an extreme of the ideal or magic they are meant to personify, explaining Nightmare Moon. It is also implied Celestia went through this during Luna's exile. Cadance forms one, the Crystal Empress, once she learns of Shining Armor and Luna's affair.
- Taking the Bullet:
- During the Battle of Ponyville, Cup Cake takes the strike of a newborn changeling for her filly Pumpkin. Later, Crescendo attempts to do this for Rarity, but Spike jumps in front of them both.
- Shortly thereafter, Chrysalis jumps in front of Shining Armor's final strike at Carapace- but it's played with in that she did it not simply to save him but to strip him and her surviving drones of their changeling forms with her death, after he drained her of love.
- Teacher/Student Romance: Luna had one with her first apprentice shortly before her fall into Nightmare Moon. It did not end well.
- Teen Pregnancy: Borderline example with Rarity, as, while she was old enough to attend school in another city, she had just recently started fashion school and was in no way prepared to deal with a foal on her own.
- Time Police: The Guild of Time Defense, founded by multiple versions of the inventor of the time travel spell, who subsequently passed their essence into countless ponies across the space-time continuum, signified by an hourglass cutie mark.
- Unwitting Instigator of Doom: The timeline of this story was triggered when Nevermore saved a foal from a cart crash during a fixed point in time, which first caused the foal's father Feather Duster not to get shocked out of his alcoholism and ultimately led to the destruction of the universe via magical shockwave in an attempt to stop a war- at least before the Guild swore to prevent it.
- Villains Want Mercy: Feather Duster is consistently quick to switch from gloating over the pain he has caused to begging his would-be victims to spare his sorry hide.
- We Will Meet Again: Feather Duster vows revenge after the events described in "Dear Applebloom" and "Dear Scootaloo", and not even being vaporized by a sonic rainboom keeps him from following through.
- What the Hell, Hero?: Twilight chews out Shining Armor a good bit after his affair with Luna is revealed, though most of it is unfortunately defused when Shining mentions that their mother already did that.
- Whole Episode Flashback: "Dear Sweetie Belle", "Dear Applebloom" and "Dear Scootaloo", as one might guess, center around letters written to the Cutie Mark Crusaders from their sisters (surrogate or otherwise) explaining their pasts.
- Would Hurt a Child: Feather Duster had no qualms about firebombing an orphanage and tossing foal Scootaloo off a cloud.
- You Are The Translated Foreign Word: Crescendo does this with some frequency, albeit mostly with ponies such as Sweetie who wouldn't initially know the translation.
- Younger Than They Look: Crescendo's gray mane is just from a misfired spell, and his glasses a temporary measure following surgery. They are what keep Sweetie from realizing at first that he is her father.
- Your Cheating Heart: Shining Armor's clandestine relationship with Luna provides a great deal of drama.