Fan Fic: The Nuptialverse
is a My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic Fan Fic
written by Darth Link 22.
Set right at the end of "A Canterlot Wedding
", the story takes a much
closer look at how Twilight Sparkle's friends reacted after discovering her accusations against Princess Cadance, which they'd previously ignored, were ultimately correct. Has Twilight truly forgiven them for not believing her? Was a simple apology really all it took to fix the damage they'd done? How will this incident shape their lives from now on?
The fanfic has spawned an entire series known as the "Nuptialverse", which establishes its own Darker and Edgier
mythos distinct from the show as depicted in Season 3 onward (as it was being written before the season has aired), eventually delving into full Alternate Universe
territory. The stories are as follows:
- Post Nuptials - The story that started it all. Set right at the end of "A Canterlot Wedding", the Changelings have been defeated and Shining Armor and Princess Cadance have wed, but Twilight's friends are still left to deal with the strain on their friendships left from their falling out at the wedding rehearsal.
- Metamorphosis - A one-chapter side story also set in the same timeframe as Post Nuptials, where Queen Chrysalis reflects on her defeat and the circumstances that led to her becoming the ruler of the Changelings.
- Honeymoon - Another side story, this one-shot shows Princess Cadance and Shining Armor embarking on their honeymoon and reminiscing the events that first brought them together.
- Families - The sequel to Post Nuptials. Picking up immediately where the first story left off, Twilight and Rainbow Dash are determined to find out what's been eating Spike and Scootaloo since the wedding reception, while Pinkie Pie is forced to confront the ghosts of her long-abandoned past. It is complete.
- Direction - In this third installment, Twilight and Spike are sent on a journey far away from home, leaving the rest of their friends to save Equestria without their team's backbone. It is ongoing.
This series provides examples of:
open/close all folders
Metamorphosis & Honeymoon
- Abusive Parents: Scootaloo's parents, but especially her father Speedy Delivery. Both mess with Scootaloo's head, forcing her to act like a foal around them and calling her clumsy, all while maintaining a casual demeanor. Once Scootaloo confronts her dad, he decides to get a bit more physical.
- Pinkie's birth parents are shown to be this in a flashback when they respond to Pinkie getting her cutie mark by spanking and yelling at her for, in their opinion, wasting time on pointless parties. This leads to her eventually running away.
- Akashic Records/Magical Library: The Keeper's library/plane of existence contains a book for every being who's ever lived, which in turn contain every single detail of their lives.
- The Alcoholic: Word of God says Scootaloo's mother Quick Delivery is this.
- Ancient Keeper: The Keeper, an alicorn who records the lives of every living creature, who Twilight meets when her spirit for some reason travels to her realm. She's so old she can't even remember her real name or how she came into being.
- And Then What?: Celestia uses this when pointing out the flaws in Olive Branch's plan for immortality. Not only has he committed several felonies just to be able to make demands of Celestia, but he's also detailed his travel plans afterwards, betrayed his confidants while doing so, and left Celestia free to pursue him after his grand exit..
- Arc Words: Scootaloo's story arc has this recurring exchange with her father:
Speedy Delivery: Now, what do you say?
Scootaloo: I love you, Daddy.
Speedy Delivery: I know you do.
- When Scootaloo finally stands up to him for good, she says, "I hate you, Daddy".
- Armor-Piercing Question: After Pinkie Pie mentions that she has second thoughts about not trying to work things out with her parents, Rainbow Dash says that they were jerks and Pinkie should just forget them. Pinkie's response is "Isn't that what we did with Twilight?"
- The Atoner: Despite Twilight telling her friends not to in the previous story, Rainbow Dash becomes this by taking Scootaloo under her wing, feeling it's the only way she can be redeemed for her harsh attitude towards Twilight since she treated Scootaloo the same way in "Ponyville Confidential" for the CMC's hurtful gossip columns.
- Pinkie's parents, Clyde especially, after they mistreated Pinkie into running away. They spent the past several years trying to track her down just so they could apologize.
- Big Bad: Olive Branch. Turns out to be a Big Bad Wannabe, given how easily his plans fail.
- Bigger Bad: Queen Chrysalis, as everything wrong in this story is more or less related to the emotional fallout caused by her invasion, from the strain on Twilight's friendships to fuel for Olive Branch's anti-Celestia tirade. Not to mention she's still at large while everypony else deals with their own problems. That said, Discord is an even Bigger Bad, seeing how he made Chrysalis what she is in the first place.
- Bullying a Dragon: Celestia responds to the news that the conspirators have kidnapped Twilight Sparkle to use as a bargaining chip with a burst of laughter. Cut to three of her captors running for their lives after Twilight blows up the device that should be restricting her magic.
- Calling the Old Man Out: With encouragement from Rainbow Dash, Scootaloo eventually stands up to her father. This doesn't end well for her.
- She does it again at the climax, much more strongly. Punctuated by Rainbow Dash then kicking his flank.
- Cerebus Retcon: Scootaloo's canonical desire to earn her Cutie Mark as quickly as possible is cast in a harsher light after her mother casually brings up that she's becoming a mare, but still has an incredibly long way to go.
- The Conspiracy: Features one that aims to discredit Celestia, to the point that their leader, Olive Branch, gives Garble's gang directions to Ponyville so that Celestia's "pet dragon" (Spike) can be blamed for the resulting damage. Speedy Delivery is later revealed to be a member.
- Conspiracy Theorist: Olive Branch and the tabloid ponies are a very small, very loud minority of these.
- Dark and Troubled Past: Pinkie's is hinted at in the previous story, but is fully revealed here. Her father Clyde became bitter and distant following the death of his mother, and lashed out at Pinkie when she earned her cutie mark and realized her destiny of throwing parties, which he called a waste of time; in truth, he was hurt by Pinkie's well-intentioned attempts of filling the void left by her grandmother. The emotional pressure became so much for Pinkie to bear that she eventually ran away from home.
- Darker and Edgier: Families gets fairly dark (though not nearly as much as Metamorphosis) in terms of the sheer amount of emotional turmoil and psychological abuse the characters, particularly Spike, Scootaloo, and Pinkie, go through.
- Dark Fic: Not by choice, though. Some readers began demanding that the story be given a "dark" tag due to how brutal and realistic Speedy Delivery's abuse of Scootaloo is, and DarkLink was ultimately forced to comply.
- Daydream Surprise: As a Running Gag, ordinary scenes suddenly turn bizarre, followed by somepony telling Pinkie to knock it off.
- Deconstruction Fic: Families cranks the deconstruction from Post Nuptials Up to Eleven: from Spike's relationship with Twilight (he always viewed her as a mother and works hard because he wants her to see him as her son), to the perpetual absence of Scootaloo and Pinkie Pie's parents (both have Abusive Parents; Scootaloo's want her out of the house because they're working to overthrow Celestia, while Pinkie ran away from home because her parents could not tolerate her partying), to the Royal Guard's utter failure to stop the Changeling invasion despite Princess Celestia and Shining Armor making a big deal of how they were "prepared" for something bad to happen (the populace is outraged, giving the villains some good publicity when they announce their intent to overthrow Celestia). It even deconstructs some fanon elements, such as "Tyrant Celestia" and "Scootabuse". Heck, the climax of the subplot shows what would really happen if a rebellion against two God-like beings happened.
- Deus Angst Machina: Lampshaded by Rainbow Dash when the number of issues she and her friends have to deal with keeps piling up:
Rainbow Dash: Oh for... When did we get all this drama in our lives?
- Didn't Think This Through: Olive Branch's master plan for immortality. The first problem is that Celestia and Luna can't grant him immortality. It only goes downhill from there.
- The Dragon: Speedy Delivery turns out to be Olive Branch's... and is much more of a threat.
- The Dreaded: Discord, if what the Keeper tells Twilight about him has any bearing.
The Keeper: If I told you half the things he wants to do to you once he's free, you'd have nightmares. I mean, even worse than you've been having.note
- Even Evil Has Standards: Olive Branch admits that as soon as Speedy Delivery was no longer needed, he was going to help have him arrested for his abuse of Scootaloo.
- Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: Olive Branch refuses to believe anyone with as much power as the Princesses is really as selfless as they appear, nor can he fathom why most of the citizens still support Princess Celestia despite letting the Changeling Invasion happen.
- Eye Scream: The fight between Twilight and Garble ends with Twilight shoving a burning piece of wood through his left eye.
- Implied during Pinkie Pie's retelling of Mrs. Cake's Screaming Birth: "...she somehow got a hold of that scalpel...fortunately, [...] Nurse Redheart sees almost perfectly out of that eye now..."
- Faking the Dead: Olive Branch does this when his negotiations fail to get his followers to riot and create a diversion for him to escape. It doesn't work, and only serves to shatter whatever credibility he had when he's shown to be alive afterward.
- Fantastic Racism: The ponies of Canterlot are quite prejudiced against dragons, considering how much trouble they gave Spike when he and Twilight were growing up. Olive Branch's anti-Celestia conspiracy only makes it worse when he paints Spike as the one who instigated the dragon attack near Ponyville.
- Flat "What.": Princess Luna, when Olive Branch reveals that he doesn't actually care how she and Celestia run Equestria.
- Forceful Kiss: Soarin' starts his surprise visit to Rainbow Dash by sneaking up behind her, pulling her around, and planting a big one. Though upset because it took her by surprise, Rainbow Dash returns his affection quickly.
- Free-Range Fillies: Speedy Delivery actually encourages Scootaloo to spend as much time away from home as possible, because her parents don't want her "goofing around" when they're working. Or more specifically, he doesn't want anyone finding out what he and Olive Branch have planned for Princess Celestia.
- Freudian Excuse: Pinkie's father Clyde became bitter out of grief for his mother's death.
- Good Is Not Soft: Luna had shades of this trope show up multiple times, being less restrained than her sister. She gets to show this in full form by sparing Olive Branch's life, but subjecting him to all the horrors he forced on others.
- Gory Discretion Shot: When Twilight gouges out Garble's eye, the scene cuts away to the Keeper, who shudders at the act.
- Gullible Lemmings: A good bulk of Canterlot buys into the tabloid ponies' stories about Princess Celestia being an incapable ruler, Spike her unruly pet, and Twilight her loyal attack dog. It's somewhat Justified by Celestia's failure to anticipate the Changeling invasion, but it's mostly fueled by the Canterlot ponies' Fantastic Racism against dragons. The Ponyvillians, on the other hand, aren't nearly this stupid.
- Happily Adopted: Pinkie Pie with the Cakes, albeit unofficially. Spike by Twilight and Scootaloo by Rainbow Dash follow suit by the end of Families.
- Honorary Uncle: Speedy refers to Olive Branch as Scootaloo's uncle, but Word of God says it's just honorary.
- Hope Spot: At the end of the story, it seems as if the Changeling threat is finally going to be dealt with, as the Royal Guard and their buffalo allies have found Chrysalis' hiding spot. Then Discord has her transported elsewhere to meet another "associate" in order to engineer his escape.
- Hypocritical Humor: In a flashback to Twilight's first day with Spike, she scolds Shining Armor for addressing him in baby talk, as she wants him to learn proper Equestrian. Shining leaves the room for a few minutes, and when he comes back...
: Who's a cute dwagon? You're a cute dwagon! A cutie-wootie! You're Twiley's favorite dwagon! Yes you are! Yes you... (realises Shining is there) And that's how not to talk
- A meta-example, Rainbow Dash says that she's giving up on the Daring Do fanzine for now because of lame fanstories, particularly one where "every character was whining that they didn't believe Daring that Derring's coltfriend was Ahuizotl in disguise."
- I Did What I Had to Do: Inverted. Rarity tells Twilight that while it was excessively violent, her maiming of Garble was necessary to keep Spike safe.
- Immortality Seeker: The ultimate motivation for Olive Branch, who starts an entire movement against Princess Celestia's rule in an elaborate plot so he can get her to tell her the secret to immortality in private.
- Insistent Terminology: Scootaloo's mother Quick Delivery insists she always call her "Mommy".
- Jerkass Has a Point: Apart from the Fantastic Racism-fueled bits that demonize Spike, the anti-Celestia tabloids and speakers in Canterlot bring up a number of valid points on why the ponies of Equestria should doubt their current rulers. Just to bring up a few: Princess Celestia failing to see the Changeling invasion coming during high alert; ignoring her student's warning that could have prevented it sooner; treating Twilight like her attack dog by ordering her to get the Elements after losing to Queen Chrysalis (in front of the other ponies, no less); the Royal Guard, trained to expect such an attack, losing within minutes; Shining Armor going on his honeymoon instead of hunting down the Changelings; entrusting a group of inexperienced children to take on Nightmare Moon and Discord instead of doing it herself; etc.
- Jerkass Realization: Fluttershy has one when she learns that her "The Reason You Suck" Speech she gave Pinkie in "Putting Your Hoof Down", which she already feels bad enough about, reminded Pinkie of her parents' real reaction to her cutie mark.
- Knight of Cerebus: The Cerebus Syndrome doesn't really set in until Olive Branch shows up.
- Laser-Guided Karma The ultimate fate of the villains. Olive Branch gets his in the form of a spell performed by Luna herself that subjects him to all the pain and torture that he has inflicted or ever will inflict onto others, directly or indirectly; Speedy and Quick, meanwhile, are "rewarded" for their abuse by being forced into a Sadistic Choice: either rot in jail for the rest of their lives or be forced to give up their child in trade for lighter sentences.
- Mama Bear: Twilight, once she realizes that Spike sees her as his mother and begins thinking of herself as such. So, in case the aptly titled "Mama Ursa" chapter didn't give it away, when she sees Garble trying to hurt Spike, she rips a huge tree out of the ground with her magic and starts using it as a club. And when Garble describes what he's going to do to Spike, Twilight goes into Rapidash-mode, stabs out his eye, and threatens to kill him if he ever comes back. Even anti-magic rings aren't able to hold her down when Spike's life is on the line, as Olive discovers.
Darth Link 22
: "Okay, if Mama Bear is not on The Nuptialverse TV Tropes
page within 24 hours, I have failed."
- Manipulative Bastard: Olive Branch turns a significant portion of Canterlot's population against Celestia (for partially valid reasons) just so he can get her to spill the beans on how she and Luna became immortal so he can attain it for himself.
- Mathematician's Answer: Most of the answers the Keeper gives to Twilight. This is partially because she's not allowed to give straightforward answers, and partially because it's fun.
- Mood Whiplash: Partway through the story, Scootaloo finally clears up her issues with her father, who's ready to turn over a new leaf and... Wait, why's he pinning Scootaloo's wing to the floor? And why is the head of the anti-Celestia tabloids there?!
- Morality Pet: Scootaloo becomes one for Rainbow Dash, who sees treating her like a sister as a form of redemption for abandoning Twilight.
- Motive Rant: Speedy Delivery gives one in chapter 24, claiming he spent literally his entire life working hard for the sake of his family, only to end up in poverty, whereas ponies all around him managed to get rich and famous while barely having to work for it. Olive Branch convinced him that this perceived "favoritism" was a sign of how "corrupt" Equestria's system was, leading him to become Olive Branch's second-in-command.
- My Death Is Just the Beginning: At the climax, Olive Branch combines this with Faking the Dead, courtesy of a special spell. When fired off, it announces that it's a failsafe set up in case Celestia had him silenced. This causes his followers to start rioting.
- My God, What Have I Done?: Pinkie's father Clyde had this reaction a week after she ran away, after remembering something his mother used to say.
- Mythology Gag: The Keeper is based on Lauren Faust's Alicorn self-portrait.
- The stories Pinkie's grandmother used to tell her are based on G1 episodes.
- Never Live It Down: In-Universe:
- Shining Armor's started calling his sister "Twiley" when he caught her using Baby Talk with an infant Spike, right after she scolded him for treating Spike like a baby.
- Used by both of Scootaloo's parents as part of their ongoing emotional and psychological abuse of their daughter.
- Dash tells Scoots that her old nickname of "Rainbow Crash" came from how she choked while running through an obstacle course once.
- Never My Fault: Speedy Delivery truly does not see himself as a horrible parent, and blames Princess Celestia and Rainbow Dash for butting in on how he raises his daughter.
- Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: Olive Branch's men manage to turn the situation in a complete 180 merely by telling Twilight that Spike will die. As Luna gloatingly tells him, his half-assed plan and the actions of himself and his lieutenants have caused the anti-Celestia movement to lose almost all support, not only allowing the royals to focus once more on searching for Chrysalis rather than defending their position, but now no one will object to Twilight officially adopting Spike.
- Nightmare Sequence: Throughout the story, Twilight is plagued with nightmares where Princess Celestia puts her to death for an unspoken crime so horrible that her friends curse her and Shining Armor, her executioner, basically tells her "I have no sister."
- Twilight later has another one in which she is chased by hungry Changelings and runs to her friends for help, but they don't believe her and leave her to be eaten alive.
- Not What It Looks Like: Applejack comforts Twilight over her nightmares and spends the night by her bed. When Pinkie walks in on them the next morning, she takes this as evidence that her theory about them is right.
- Offscreen Teleportation: One of Garble's flunkies tosses Pinkie several miles away, only to turn around and see her standing in front of him again. He's dumbfounded.
- It runs in the family, as Inkie and Blinkie demonstrate when their parents and the Cakes try to shoo them out of the room before Pinkie arrives.
- OOC Is Serious Business: Once Olive Branch is finished laying out his grand plan to attain immortality by using the Mane 6 (at least the ones they deem most threatening) as hostages, he realizes something's up when Celestia starts guffawing uncontrollably in response.
- Orwellian Retcon: It turns out that when Pinkie told the story about her getting her cutie mark, she edited it for the CMC's sake.
- Overprotective Dad: Speedy Delivery, to morally disturbing levels; he's so possessive of Scootaloo that he raises her to be as psychologically dependent on him, and only him, as possible. When she finally calls him out, he only tightens his grip.
- Parental Issues: Spike, Scootaloo, and Pinkie Pie have some pretty deep-seated issues with their parents or parental figures, which are all examined closely.
- Parental Love Song: Twilight sings Spike a lullaby after officially becoming his "mother."
- Parental Substitute: Spike sees Twilight as his mother, but keeps avoiding her for a good part of Families because he thinks she'd never want him as a son after walking out on her.
- The same applies to Pinkie Pie and the Cakes.
- Pass the Popcorn: Celestia does this while Olive Branch futilely waits for confirmation that Rainbow Dash and Soarin have been executed. It's pretty much an in-universe invocation, since Celestia is stated to hate the taste but feels it best proves her point of how badly Olive has miscalculated.
- Pet the Dog: Olive Branch turns in Speedy Delivery for his abuse of Scootaloo. Not that it makes him a good pony; merely a better one than Speedy Delivery.
- The Pollyanna: Pinkie Pie is an even bigger example here than she is in the show itself, given how troubled her relationship with her parents became following her grandmother's death.
- Poor Communication Kills: Spike's refusal to talk to Twilight, and his making the CMC promise not to tell anyone, leads to him stewing in his guilt until he decides it's best to run away. The chapter where this happens is even named after this trope.
- Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: When Twilight goes Mama Bear for Spike:
Twilight: Get. Away. From. My. Son!
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Celestia informs the rioters that they managed to do more damage to the Castle in a single day than Spike did in his entire life and they should really reconsider who's the bloodthirsty monster.
- Royal Brat: The dragon king Dyne's son, Garble.
- Running Gag: Far too many readers were theorizing that Changelings were still behind the conflict for the author's taste. So, with the subtlety of a sledgehammer, he Josses that theory by having Twilight run a detect-changeling spell on nearly every group of people she runs across, which always turns up negative.
- Sadistic Choice: Celestia is given one by Olive Branch, who has Rainbow Dash and Twilight abducted, planning to use their lives as leverage to force her to comply with his demands. Subverted, however, as Celestia knows right away that he's underestimated his victims and is doomed to fail, so she just laughs in his face.
- Luna later gives one to Speedy and Quick Delivery: rot in jail forever for their crimes, or securing lighter sentences for themselves by signing Scootaloo up for adoption. They pick the latter.
- Screaming Birth: According to Pinkie, Mrs. Cake was like this when birthing the twins. Aside from screaming "these funny words to Mr. Cake that [Pinkie's] not allowed to repeat", she also apparently grabbed a scalpel and used it on Mr. Cake and Nurse Redheart.
- Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: When an enraged Twilight easily breaks free of the Power Nullifier that Olive Branch's goons had used on her, she only has to fling one of them into unconsciousness. The other three bolt immediately when they see the spells beginning to fail.
- Self-Deprecation: Scootaloo engages in a lot of this due to how her parents treat her.
- A meta one. Rainbow Dash says that she's given up on a Daring Do fanzine because she didn't like one fanstory which was nothing but the entire supporting cast angsting about how they didn't believe Daring when she said that Derring was dating Ahuizotl in disguise.
- Sequel Escalation: Post Nuptials is about heartwarming reconciliation. Families is about deep psychological and emotional trauma, and a conspiracy to discredit Celestia's public image. Judging from the author's future plans for the story, it just keeps growing.
- Sequel Hook: Ends with Discord contacting Chrysalis in a dream and ordering her to meet with an "associate" of his in order to plan his release. Meanwhile, relations with the dragons are now tense due to Garble's actions, and on top of that, several canon Season 3 events are alluded to (Trixie plotting her revenge, the reemergence of the Crystal Empire).
- Shaming the Mob: Celestia tells all of Olive Branch's followers that they've caused more damage to her palace than Spike ever did the entire time he lived there after she exposes Olive Branch's lies to them.
- Shipper on Deck: Pinkie seems to think that Applejack has an unrequited crush on Twilight.
- Shoo Out the Clowns: Pinkie's hilarious Imagine Spots come to an end right before Scootaloo and her father's relationship begins to boil.
- Shout-Out: To Dinosaurs. The first thing Spike does upon meeting Shining Armor? Shout "Not The Mama!" and hit him with a frying pan. At least, that's how it happens in Pinkie's daydream.
- Smart People Play Chess: Twilight plays chess with Pinkie's sister Blinkie.
- Smug Snake: Olive Branch. The point is especially driven home when, during his negotiations with the Princesses, he reveals he's had Twilight kidnapped, only for Celestia to laugh in his face and explain exactly why he's going to fail. He falls apart at that, as he desperately grasps at straws for leverage. However, he successfully grasped a straw and managed to get the crowd of Canterlot citizens convinced that Celestia killed him and cause a riot. And even that straw breaks, as Luna easily restrains said riot, while Celestia captures him before he can escape.
- Straw Hypocrite: Olive Branch, in the end. He really wanted immortality, and all the anti-Celestia movement was a charade to gain an advantage over the Princess.
- Taking the Heat: Not only is Celestia willing to put up with all the tabloids' slander against her, but when Twilight and Shining Armor come under fire, she fabricates some details to shift the blame onto herself and protect them.
- They Do: After much Ship Teasing in the original story, the sequel has Soarin' and Rainbow Dash finally get together after a surprise visit by Soarin'. Unfortunately, one of their first activities as a couple is having dinner with Scootaloo's parents.
- Third Line, Some Waiting: Pinkie's story arc progresses more slowly compared to Twilight/Spike's and Scootaloo's. This is entirely deliberate, as Pinkie is fully aware that they have their own issues they're working through and was reluctant to talk to anyone about her problems when she knew they had their own to deal with. It takes receiving a letter from home to prod her into talking to anyone other than the Cakes about her Parental Issues.
- To the Pain: At the climax, Twilight gets Rabble Rouser's entire mob to surrender by calmly listing and describing all the offensive spells she knows.
- Tranquil Fury: Celestia, when she learns of tabloids accusing her of brainwashing Twilight into being her "loyal attack dog" following her absence from Shining Armor's first wedding and sudden appearance in the second.
- This is how Speedy Delivery conveys his displeasure towards Scootaloo's decision to rebel against him.
- Underestimating Badassery: Olive Branch does this with Twilight; she easily overpowers the anti-magic horn ring placed on her by his conspirators, quickly defeating them.
- Villain with Good Publicity: Olive Branch and his team of tabloid writers/anti-Celestia conspirators, at least in Canterlot.
- Villainous Breakdown: Olive Branch's confident attitude shatters the instant Celestia begins laughing uncontrollably at how stupid his master plan is, and only keeps crumbling as she pokes holes through it.
- Voodoo Shark: In a flashback, Twilight explains to Spike that it's impossible for ponies to shape shift anything. This was meant to explain away why it never occurred to Twilight that the Cadance who didn't recognize her was an impostor and why the shape shifting was a uniquely changeling trait. However, it was pointed out that Twilight has shape shifted several things in the show proper. The author has since rewritten it to state that shape shifting one sapient being to another takes a load of magic, more than many can use, making it impractical for a pony to disguise herself as such.
- We Are as Mayflies: Ponies only live about seventy years, while dragons live for about a thousand. Spike wasn't aware of this until he read a book about dragons.
- Wham Line: When Olive Branch brings his list of grievances to the Princesses:
: And what matter would thou wish be focussed on first? Olive Branch
: The list isn't anything I care about. You may do what you wish. Princess Luna
: ...What? Olive Branch
: I really don't care how you run Equestria. It doesn't matter to me in the end.
- What the Hell, Hero?: Scootaloo is outright disgusted with Spike when he keeps making excuses to avoid talking to Twilight about his guilt.
- Where Did We Go Wrong?: Pinkie's parents initially thought this when Pinkie earned her cutie mark in party-throwing, thinking it contradicts everything they taught her about hard work, and again when she ran away after being rebuked for it.
- Why Did You Make Me Hit You?: Speedy Delivery responds this way after pinning Scootaloo's wing to the floor with his hoof for trying to rebel.
- Abusive Parents: Trixie's parents emotionally abused her (thankfully not to the extent of Scootaloo's), by pushing her to be the best, scolding her whenever she was less than perfect, and eventually driving her away.
- Acceptable Breaks from Canon: The story manages to work in elements of Season 3 and even Equestria Girls that fit with the established plot while ignoring everything else. Darth Link has even posted a journal entry explaining the differences between season 3 and the fic's universe.
- Action Girl: Applejack and Rainbow Dash, of course, but Rarity proves herself more than capable as well.
- Alternate Universe: This is the first story clearly categorized as one due to season 3 playing out differently from the Nuptialverse's established continuity. As such, several episodes are tailored to fit this Fanon, some of which are based on What If? scenarios like, "What if Trixie wasn't redeemed at the end of 'Magic Duel'?"
- Big "YES!": This, combined with Squee and Tears of Joy, is Twilight's reaction to being told she's ready for the Trials.
- Break the Haughty: Olive Branch has been reduced to a shattered remnant of his former self, who's apparently on suicide watch.
- The Brute: Red Hoof is pure muscle, and is easily able to match, and overpower, Applejack in a fight.
- Call Back: Soarin' once again greets Rainbow Dash by grabbing her from behind and giving her a surprise kiss.
- Pinkie Pie is still convinced that Applejack and Twilight are in denial about their true feelings for each other.
- Canon Welding: The events of the G1 cartoon are revealed to have taken place in the distant past of Equestria.
- Casting a Shadow: Sunset Shimmer has this ability, being able to cloak herself in shadows to hide from royal guards.
- Continuity Nod: The "he's a dragon" pediatrician from "Secret of My Excess" shows up again. Rarity even says Twilight told her about him.
- Curbstomp Cushion: Applejack is unable to get in any effective hits on Red Hoof due to his extremely dense musculature and unexpected speed, but a fortunately-placed pair of scissors allows her to momentarily escape his grip, and only her own hesitance to shed blood prevents her from pressing the advantage.
- Deus Exit Machina: Twilight's Equestria Girls adventure is used as this.
- Disc One Final Boss: Trixie is built up as a major threat in the first few chapters, but is defeated handedly well before the story is over.
- Dramatic Irony: Trixie is putting together a team to deal with the Mane Six so that she can get revenge on Twilight, completely unaware of the fact that Twilight isn't even in Equestria.
- Drowning My Sorrows: The first thing we see Lightning Dust doing is this, over getting kicked off the Wonderbolts. Which she blames on Rainbow Dash.
- Easily Forgiven: While Trixie is still arrested, the fact that her worst crimes were done under the influence of the Amulet means that her punishment is reduced quite a bit.
- Equine Shield: Trixie takes Sweetie Belle hostage during her attack.
- Even Evil Has Standards: Lightning Dust is a little disturbed at the depths of Trixie's hatred.
- Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: A flashback to Sunset Shimmer's foalhood reveals that Celestia had her look into a magic mirror that shows the viewer their deepest desires. For Sunset, it was becoming an alicorn and ruling solely over Equestria, and she seemed rather confused when this unsettled Celestia.
- Celestia later discusses this trope with Fluttershy and explains it to her — truly evil beings deny seeing anything good in the world, being unable to grasp that others aren't as self-centered as they are.
- Trixie seems unable to understand why Gilda doesn't immediately jump at the chance to get back at Rainbow Dash.
- Later, she seems surprised when Rarity's reaction to her offering her a last request is to ask her to release Sweetie Belle and spare her the sight of watching her die, rather than begging for mercy.
- Fatal Flaw: Applejack's stubborn pride in her work ethic and refusal to accept help comes up again, with Rainbow Dash calling her out on it.
- For Want of a Nail: The idea is that "Magic Duel" happened, but with Trixie remaining corrupted.
- Four Lines, All Waiting: Sequel Escalation applied to the previous installment's Third Line, Some Waiting. The prologue sets up Queen Chrysalis engaging in an unknown plan on behalf of a resurgent Discord, potential tension over the unknown circumstances of Celestia obtaining Spike's egg, and Fancypants and Zecora of all people apparently up to shady business as well.... All of which is promptly ignored for several chapters (and over a year's worth of updates), as Twilight and Spike leave for another dimension in pursuit of the stolen Element of Magic, the remaining Mane 5 have to balance their everyday responsibilities with investigating Sunset Shimmer's break-in (under the shaky supposition that the villains of the last story were involved), Celestia grows obsessed with barely-remembered tales involving the human girl Megan, Rarity deals with Sweetie Belle suddenly falling ill, and a still-crazy Trixie runs around trying to put together a team of the Mane 6's old foes, to the point where it's not even clear what the plot is supposed to be.
- Freudian Excuse: All of Trixie's issues are tied into how her parents treated her.
- Heel Realization: After being cured of the Alicorn Amulet's corruption, Trixie recognizes not only her actions under its influence, but many of those from before, as being awful. Enough that she collapses in tears once purified.
- Heroic Self-Deprecation: Rainbow Dash is convinced that they wouldn't have so close to losing to Trixie's group if Twilight had been there.
- Heroic Willpower: With Twilight gone, Rarity is entrusted with learning the Changeling detection spell, just in case. And despite the fact that it's beyond the range of her normal magic skill and therefore painful, she still pushes herself to learn it.
- Jerkass Has a Point: Rainbow Dash might be a bit of a jerk about it as AJ continues to refuse to accept her points, but she's entirely right when calling Applejack out on her Pride.
- Karma Houdini: Unlike canon, Trixie doesn't have a Heel Realization after the events of "Magic Duel". Instead, still left half-mad by the Alicorn Amulet, she fled into the Everfree Forest where she's eluded capture since. Ultimately subverted, when she's purified of the Amulet's influence and lets herself be arrested.
- Lotus-Eater Machine: Scootaloo stumbles into a mild one when the Crusaders end up separated in the abandoned castle — she ends up wandering a seemingly endless maze of identical hallways, only to realize something's wrong, and discovering that she's actually in an old dungeon cell with an illusion on it.
- Meaningful Name: The pediatrician from "Secret of My Excess" chose the name "Malpractice''. Considering how inept he is, it fits perfectly, though he chose it himself.
- Mythology Gag: Fluttershy briefly discusses with Celestia the possibility of some day reforming Discord, in reference to her role in doing so in canon (which never happened in the Nuptialverse).
- Tiberius, Luna's pet possum from the micro-series comics, shows up.
- The events of the first MLP series are mentioned multiple times.
- My God, What Have I Done?: After Trixie is drained of the Alicorn Amulet's influence, she's horrified at everything she did beforehand.
- Never My Fault: Lightning Dust completely refuses to take responsibility for her own actions leading to her dismissal from the Wonderbolts.
- After she is freed from the Amulet's influence, Trixie accepts responsibility for her actions, which shows to Celestia that she's not as bad as she first seems.
- Olive Branch, while mostly broken by his defeat in the previous story, still maintains enough ego to blame everyone else for his failures. Trixie calls him out on this, shutting him up.
- Noodle Incident: We don't know exactly what Pinkie did during the attempted questioning with Rainbow Dash, but Rainbow thinks she may have crippled a stallion for life!
- Put on a Bus: Twilight and Spike embark on a journey through the mirror, with the bulk of the story afterward focusing on their friends dealing with Twilight's absence.
- Shaming the Mob: When Trixie is arrested, most of Ponyville shows up and tries to attack her in order to make her pay. Rarity responds by asking them all if this is what they think Twilight would want. This gets the crowd to disperse.
- Shut Up, Hannibal!: When Trixie is put in a cell adjacent to Olive Branch, he tells Trixie that by trying to be The Atoner, she's pathetically letting herself be Celestia's pawn. Trixie ignores him and tells the guard watching them to do likewise, since riling them up would validate him. They ignore him, and he eventually shuts up.
- Squee: Twilight's reaction to being told she's ready to take the Trials.
- Luna's reaction to finding Tiberius.
- A Storm Is Coming: One chapter, where Trixie is preparing to make her move against the Mane Six, uses a variant of this in its title.
- Taken for Granite: When Trixie attacks, she turns Pinkie to stone. After her Heel Realization, she reverses the process.
- Uncanny Valley: In-universe, everyone is disturbed by Red Hoof's constant stoicism, even in the heat of battle.
- Unfortunate Names: Meet Dr. Malpractice the pediatrician. He actually chose the name himself!
- Villain Exit Stage Left: Lightning Dust and Red Hoof flee when the Royal Guards show up to arrest them, leaving the emotionally broken Trixie behind.
- Villain Team-Up: Trixie recruits Lightning Dust to help her get revenge on Twilight by promising a chance of payback against Rainbow Dash. She also tries to recruit Gilda, who isn't buying (at least for the moment).
- What the Hell, Hero?: Luna apparently caught some flak from Celestia for how she punished Olive Branch at the end of Families.
- Sweetie Belle isn't happy with the other Crusaders for going to the old castle, even after she pointed out how dangerous it was, leading to them getting separated and mildly hurt.
- Rainbow Dash calls out Applejack on stubbornly refusing any help on the farm, even when it causes financial problems, and especially now when it's getting in the way of their investigation.
- With Great Power Comes Great Insanity: The Alicorn Amulet gave Trixie greater power but left her insane. After its residual magic is drained, her sanity is restored.
- Would Hurt a Child: Trixie turns Sweetie Belle into a mind-controlled puppet (the process of it happening making her very sick), so that she can use her as a shield during her attack on the Mane Six.