The story begins at the start of the season 3 finale and contains a second divergence from canon. Instead of only Twilight ascending, all of the Mane Six become Alicorns. Celestia and Luna give the group a new mission: to track down other Alicorns that they believe are manifesting all over Equestria, as part of a grand plan to bring immortality to the entire population.
By the way, Luna thinks it might be a good idea if they focused first on finding an Alicorn
It is still ongoing.
; it used to be on FIMFiction, but the author pulled all his stories out due to disagreements with the moderators.
- Accusation Fic: Though not as prominent as in the previous story, this story continues to call out the actions of many of the characters in canon: Applejack failing to stop the bullying, Celestia's manipulative tendencies by Sunset Shimmer of all ponies and the total failure of the Wonderbolts to act in dire situations.
- Added Alliterative Appeal: From Chapter 22:
...the frazzled fashionista, freed from fickle friction...
- Also in Chapter 30 (emphasis added):
He had no way of knowing it, but at that moment he gained a circle of adoring foster aunts, and heaven help any bully, brute or bigot who tried to lay a hoof on him.
Spike: "So Pinkie Pie picked the Princess a pack of pickled produce?"
- Adult Fear: In chapter 40, zombies attack the Maredi Gras parade and in the confusion, Sweetie and Mudpuppy are kidnapped by Cotton Mouth, the stallion responsible for Twig's deformities and the deaths of all of Mudpuppy and Twig's would have been age-mates.
- Age Without Youth: Lord Malifec has lived for centuries, but he doesn't have any self-healing capacity, resulting in a frail body that needs to be patched up with pieces of other ponies.
- The Ahnold: Pinkie Pie's guards, former bouncers, intentionally act like this. The sight of them sends Luna to a series of cold showers and a raid on the ship's stockpile of ice cream - somehow eating all of the fudge ripple (Not the fudge ripple ice cream, just the fudge ripple).
- Alas, Poor Villain: Cotton Mouth. Dear Lord, COTTON MOUTH. First, his Vitality Elixir malfunctioned, warping his body after it had caused all the stillbirths and deformities in the Bayou, then he hid in the Bayou trying to find answers while having his reputation ruined by his mistake... when he was reintroduced in chapter 41, he seemed to be really out of it and didn't realize how much he's fallen, and acts like if perfecting his elixir will absolve him of his guilt from killing the rest of Mud Puppy's and Twig's age mates... and then it turns out he is very aware of how badly he screwed up if in denial, got himself geased by a lich, and was cursed to have his body mutate out of control should his master die. He was suffering so much in the end that he asked Princess Luna for a Mercy Kill.
- Alien Geometries: Pinkie's pinkie powers are due to the ability to perceive and act in more dimensions than most people. In addition to being able to move through more spatial dimensions than most (which allows her to do things like lean through a magic mirror to hug someone on the other side, hundreds of miles away), she can see forward in time to a limited degree and perceive probability.
- Amazon Brigade: Rarity's Radiant Guard is almost entirely made up of mares. They double as Ladies of War, though she apparently took them mostly so she could use them all as models for her dresses.
- Celestia's castle staff includes a large number of mares who are also members of her Day Guard, trained in plain-clothes security and just as effective in combat as the stallions. Many of them transfer to the Radiant Guard.
- And I Must Scream: The zombie army of the lich Malifec still contain the trapped souls of their once-living bodies, only conscious enough to animate their zombie bodies and follow Malifec's orders, until Sweetie Belle reawakens their minds once more. Along with all the memories of the monstrosities done by their own hooves at Malifec's command.
- And Then What?: Celestia asks this of Sunset Shimmer in Chapter 18 before revealing her reasons for the Pancaea, as Shimmer didn't know what Celestia's true plan was. Interestingly, Sunset Shimmer does have sort of an answer to the trope question: Sunset Shimmer admits she didn't really have a plan on what she was planning to do after becoming a princess, but she says that well, if she was a princess, she'd have plenty of opportunity to figure it out. Opportunity that Celestia denied her.
- The Aristocrats: The infamous punchline becomes weaponized when Sweetie Belle uses it to escape from the lich Malifec and Cotton Mouth. When Sweetie's uncle taught it to her (only the punchline; she never heard the setup), her parents spanked her and threw him out of the house.
- Armor-Piercing Question: Celestia gives an excellent one to Sheriff Brass and Deputy Flute, two members of an earth pony-supremacist hate group, after arresting them for their persecution of two innocent unicorns.
Flute: Bu— but why? What do you have against ponies who just want to keep their blood lines pure?
- Armor-Piercing Response:
Cotton Mouth: I am not a FOAL KILLER!!
Mud Puppy: Dere's thirty-five little graves out in de swamp dat say otherwise.
- Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: In Chapter 45
Mach looked down at her for a minute, then his expression changed.. “Huh. Guess you are a princess fangirl, aren't you,” he said after a moment. “Okay guys. Let's list off their crimes. These guys are makin' a ruckus in our town."
“They're saying mean things about ponies,” Softy said, looking hurt on the absent princesses' behalf.
“They busted up our race!” Crackerjack said, stamping a hoof.
“And they smell bad,” Bowser said, wrinkling his nose. “On purpose.” He'd passed by a couple of the patchouli-drenched protesters on the way. The others snorted and snickered.
“—And the most heinous crime of all,” Bananas Foster said, his voice all but rolling in sarcasm, “They're hipsters, and hipsters suck.”
- Awesomeness by Analysis: Apple Bloom only needs a brief explanation (and sometimes, not even that) and a fast look at any machine to immediately understand how it works.
- Badass Adorable: Fluttershy's kid brother Breezy Shy, a.k.a. Bishi. As shy as her... and a trained martial artist (only uses it in self-defense, of course.)
- According to Celestia, Spike, by virtue of being a baby DRAGON.
- Apple Bloom, once revealed as a Gadgeteer Genius, takes on a swarm of electric insects, and a draconequus. Celestia is quite impressed.
- In the same chapter, Babs Seed defeats a giant hairy monster.
- Sweetie Belle takes out a lich by turning his zombie minions against him with her singing.
- Badass Army: Mudpuppy and Sweetie Belle's Home and Garden Defense Brigade .
- Badass Boast: Sweetie Belle, faced with thousands of zomponies, a lich, and a Mad Scientist with nothing but another foal and a bunch of bickering plants for aid, promptly uses one as a rallying cry. Said boast is the opening to Heather Alexander's March of Cambreadth.
Axes flash, broadsword swing,
Shining armor's piercing ring
Horses run with polished shield,
Fight Those Bastards till They Yield
Midnight mare and blood red roan,
Fight to Keep this Land Your Own
Sound the horn and call the cry—
HOW MANY OF THEM CAN WE MAKE DIE?!
- Ms. Harshwhinny has her own in ch. 48 (see below).
- Badass Bureaucrat: Harshwhinny. No sooner have Scootaloo and the Nobody's Fools been arrested then she has them fully pardoned and released.
"The Nobody's Fools are walking out of here, and they're walking out of here with a clean slate. You give me even a moment's hassle on releasing these children and I will make you think you have your man-tackle in a pencil sharpener. I'm from the government, Mister Mayor, and I eat my own kind.”
- Bee Bee Gun: Apple Bloom MacGyvers one out of random broken machine parts.
- Belligerent Sexual Tension: Twilight and Flash Sentry's relationship is turning into this, due to her annoyance at his general Indy Ploy nature, and his at her Super OCD.
- Berserk Button: Spitfire stomps on Rainbow Dash's in Chapter 15 when she claims RD needs to be "taken down a peg" – the same words used by Applejack during the Mare-Do-Well incident. Crosses over with Rant-Inducing Slight, as this is what sets of Dash's "The Reason You Suck" Speech to Spitfire.
- The Bet: Before meeting Fluttershy's folks, her friends take bets on which one will be 'the loud one'. (Dash, knowing the answer, abstains.) Babs wins the pot by correctly guessing that the whole family acts just like Fluttershy.
- Rainbow Dash loses a bet to Spike over which one of the Mane Six will be the first to find another Alicorn.
- Bigger on the Inside: Daring Do figures that the Tree of Harmony's box is this, due to being a four-dimensional construct.
- There are also apparently spells to replicate the effect on rooms and homes. Rarity uses them on her own ship to increase the available space.
- Birds of a Feather:
- The Nobody's Fools are all ponies (and a zebra) that don't fit in normal pony society; they are all close friends.
- Rainbow Dash and Prince Ajax (from griffin's royalty) are both athletic, adventurous types from unsophisticated backgrounds (Ajax and his father had been wilderness guides and explorers) who had been suddenly raised to heights of prominence that they truthfully weren't sure they were quite ready for. They hit on almost immediately.
- Bishounen: Breezy Shy. His nickname is Bishi, for Celestia's sake! He even comes with Bishie Sparkles!
- Blazing Inferno Hellfire Frosting: Pinkie's mother has a special cupcake recipe - dark chocolate with Tabasco frosting. One bite sends Twilight racing to the nearest ice cream parlor, where she eats her way through an entire tub of vanilla for relief.
- Bodyguard Crush: Poor Twilight has this on Flash Sentry.
- Body Horror: The side effects of Cotton Mouth using his "Vitality Elixir" on himself, that only emerged after he'd given it to several pregnant mares, most of whom miscarried. He started growing a third eye in the middle of his cheek, a second horn, and stumpy wings, and one of his legs withered away.
- The lich Malifec is even worse off. He's immortal, but he doesn't heal, forcing him to spend more and more of his power holding his decaying body together. He and Cotton Mouth developed a way to reduce living ponies to protoplasm to temporarily undo some of the effects of being undead, albeit temporarily, and he hopes to use Mud Puppy's essence to create a new indestructible body.
- Cotton Mouth gets the worst of it in the end. Malifec's power is the only thing keeping the effects of the elixir under control; once he dies, Cotton Mouth's body starts to mutate even more horribly at an accelerated rate. Princess Luna can do nothing for him except grant his request for a Mercy Kill.
- A fairly mundane but still horrible example, Mach One's wing grew up wrong and then shriveled and shrunk and it had to be amputated. He was just a FOAL when it happened, and never had the chance to learn to fly.
- Born Lucky/Born Unlucky/Reality Warper: It turns out that Pinkie Pie's unusual abilities are due to an innate ability to perceive and manipulate probability. It's a extremely rare variation of Earth Pony magic, unfortunately they're most commonly known as "Ill-Starred" and thought to be jinxed.
- And Celestia and Luna have learned it, and Luna gets the unfortunate job of mentoring Pinkie. Celestia, who was left behind with the nobles, is debating who actually drew the short straw.
- Broken Pedestal: In chapter 13, the Wonderbolts lose significant respect for Rainbow Dash when they think she bought her way onto the throne. After Spitfire chews her out in chapter 15, RD's pedestal quickly crumbles. Thankfully, both are rebuilt in the next chapter after a nice, long talk.
- The Bully: Pennyworth and his two surprisingly thuggish companions, Bullhorn and Air Drop, along with Marzipan, Ruby Drop, and Ivy.
- Butt Monkey: Discord takes a lot of comedic abuse. He forgets that Fluttershy now being an Alicorn supercharges The Stare, getting his eyes exploded for his trouble. He suffers the most from the plunderseed's vines, ending up with thorns in a lot of painful places. And in this universe his riddle to trick the Mane Six into the maze never worked in the first place thanks to Twilight's logic.
- Orange Roughy, one of Fluttershy's guards, gets this role when he volunteers to give Breezy some fighting lessons. Not knowing Breezy's background, he tells the colt to ditch his training shoes and take his best shot. Breezy's first punch lays him out cold and sends him to the dentist to get his teeth fixed.
- Daring Do starts off this way when she first tries to force open the mystery box from the Tree of Harmony. She tells Celestia about her lock picks being shattered, taking an electric shock that nearly blew the fillings out of her teeth, and breaking a 50-pound sledgehammer on the box out of frustration.
- Vertical File, a Canterlot bureaucrat, gets a taste in Chapter 32. Spike fire-mails the huge backlog of forms on Flash Sentry's desk to keep Twilight from seeing it and freaking out. The whole lot re-materializes in Celestia's throne room and falls directly on Vertical's head, prompting him to re-think his stand against a proposal to cut down on government paperwork.
- Call Back: Fluttershy disapproves of Bishi's standing up to the bullies, because it reminds her of how nasty she got when she took her assertiveness training too far.
- This also serves as a bit of a callback to the prequel, where Celestia wondered where the attitude of "Fighting back makes you just as bad as the bullies" comes from. Here, we see one source of where this attitude comes from.
- Calling the Old Man Out: Bananas Foster does this to his parents, pointing out that all they ever treated him as was the successor to the family fruit business, and if they'd ever tried getting to know him as a person, they'd have realized that he was so unsuited for the business world that he wasn't fit to run a lemonade stand - literally, he found that out through first person experience.
- Can't Believe I Said That: In chapter 34, Zephyr orders one of his men, regarding a defensive shield, to "Set that field to squirrel-only, and I cannot believe I just said that."
- Cassandra Truth: None of the bullies believe it when the CMC warn them they're related to Alicorn princesses.
- Apple Bloom is so used to Applejack ignoring her claims about being bullied this way that she doesn't expect her to act any differently now, even after the events of Parting Words.
- Chekhov's Gun: Dapper Blue's exploding jalapeño that was used to kill a Kappa in the bayou could have easily been a one shot gag...
- Clueless Chick Magnet: Bishi/Breezy Shy, Fluttershy's little brother. All of the CMC and Babs Seed are crushing badly on him, yet he's too shy to be anything but oblivious to their crush.
- Color-Coded for Your Convenience: Everything relating to the Mane Six princesses are color-coded according to their coat color. From their elements up to their airships.
- Combat Pragmatist: Most members of Rarity's Radiant Guard are "Black Flag specialists" - trained in plainclothes security work. Since they don't carry armor or weapons when on duty, they have to be ready to take out targets hard, fast, and if need be, permanently.
- Cool Airship: All the Mane Six's royal flagships. Each customized for their owner with appropriate Meaningful Names.
- Could Say It But: Upon being ordered to stop trying to cure long-lasting disabilities because that might cause her patients to stop fitting in with the handicapped community, Doctor Hospice Care does this while discussing the root cause of Scootaloo's inability to fly with Rainbow Dash.
- Corrupt Hick: Sheriff Brass, an Earth Pony supremacist who basically abandoned a filly and a colt to die, just for the crime of being unicorns. He blackmailed Trixie into finding them, and when Trixie tried to adopt the colt (Jasper), Brass tried to lock her up to cover up his crime, and then later tried to charge both of them with impersonating royalty. It eventually backfired on him because by that time, Trixie and Jasper actually were royalty, having triggered their own ascension.
- Corrupt Politician: Mayor Fussbudget of the Windy City is shown to both be this as well as incompetent.
- Crazy-Prepared: Twilight designs the group's communicator compacts to be nearly indestructible. They get put to the test right away when Apple Bloom drops hers on a stone floor, then later when Rarity briefly loses hers while being dragged through the Neigh Orleans swamps. Celestia later modifies hers to hang around her neck and act as a video camera.
- Breezy Shy brings his martial-arts training shoes to the Junior Gala just in case he has to defend himself. When the bullies from Babs' school start to threaten the Crusaders, he changes into those shoes and handily beats the stuffing out of their leader.
- Rarity somehow manages to hide 15 stilettos and a garrote in a little black dress she makes for one of the mares in her security detail.
- Twilight and Flash Sentry have opposing definitions of the term. For Twilight, it means everything is punched into an itemized checklist, while for Flash, his preparation is in his lack of preparation.
- Whoever created the Tree of Harmony did it to help maintain harmony, and anything it creates has a lot of safety measures.
- When Twilight, Flash, and Spike set out for Hollow Shades in Chapter 33, Flash ditches most of Twilight's gear in favor of weapons and items they can use against the supernatural creatures rumored to live in the area - including spices and herbs Spike can use for cooking. He even packs a repeating crossbow and hides a retractable blade under his athletic jersey.
- Curb-Stomp Battle:
- Rainbow Dash delivers one to Spitfire.
- All of Bishi's fights become this.
- Lord Malifec stands no chance against his own zombies.
- Cutting the Knot: Celestia decides that rather than deal with whatever Secret Test of Character is required to open the box from the Tree of Harmony, she'll just have Daring Do (who has a history of this) find a way to force it open.
- Cynicism Catalyst: Mach One, leader of the Nobody's Fools, has little love for the Equestrian government and the princesses due to the many, MANY faults he sees in their society that put lie to a lot of the harmony the nation is supposed to be built around, his own personal experiences, and the negative life situations of every single named member of his crew we've seen.
- Didn't Think This Through:
- Post-ascension Sunset comes to the conclusion that her "brilliant" plan to ascend herself (The plot of Equestria Girls) was really stupid. If it had worked, she would have either been outnumbered five to one against the other Element Bearers (or worse if Celestia and Luna got involved) if she tried to conquer Equestria, or she would have gotten herself bombed off the map if she tried to conquer Earth.
- Spike points out to Twilight in the Hollow Shades hotel that her preparations for finding a potential Alicorn assumes said Alicorn will actually be GOOD. Considering that Hollow Shades is being billed as the pony version of Innsmouth, and that the potential Alicorn is suspected of being responsible for it being that way....
- Mayor Fussbudget's plan succeeds in arresting the Nobody's Fools, but then he runs into the fact that even after the Watch seizes all their stuff, the most they have evidence to charge anyone for is a hoofful of petty misdemeanors, the prisoners are not homeless street urchins as he assumed and have influential relatives who object to the unjustified arrests and use of excessive force, and Rainbow Dash isn't happy about him disobeying a royal command that she didn't want them arrested at that time. And to top it off, he had brought the press to the sting, so when the aftermath of his plan blows up in his face, all the details of his screw-up end up on the front page of the evening news.
- He also didn't think to check Mach one's face before during the arrest or at the station. Otherwise he would have realised he tried to get his own nephew sent to prison.
- Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: It's ultimately Apple Bloom who figures out how to take down Malfunziona and re-imprison him.
- Mud Puppy and Sweetie Belle manage to bring down a lich by having Mud Puppy raise an army of sentient plants to Hold the Line until Sweetie Belle manages to bring the zomponies back to sentience with her singing.
- Drill Sergeant Nasty: Granny Smith gets to play this part when punishing the Manehattan bullies.
- Averted when Bishi says goodbye to his sensei — who turns out to be a much more serene Iron Will.
- Dash calls Spitfire out on this attitude in chapter 16.
- Dungeon Bypass: Daring Do is apparently an expert at this. How did she deal with the cursed locks on the sarcophagus in the Temple of Lesser Sun? Dynamite (the museum wasn't too happy, as she damaged the sarcophagus). The deadly riddle doors in the Maze of Mysteries? Flying over the maze. The Minotaur King's killer golem, without having the Minotaur crown that controls it? Pouring water in the gears and letting the incredibly cold weather freeze it, wrenching the whole thing apart. The cursed plaque of Nunhotep? A sledgehammer. Hence why Celestia hired her to deal with the locks of the Chest of Harmony.
- Eldritch Location: The Gothic Forest. Number four on the list of the ten most possibly eldritch locations of Equestria, after the Scariest Cave in Equestria and ahead of the Everfree Forest. Twilight, Flash and Spike visit Hollow Shades, a village in the middle of this forest whose inn includes a wide range of protections against supernatural threats.
- Eloquent in My Native Tongue: Diamond Dogs are actually not unintelligent; one of Applejack's Diamond Dog Roughnecks is actually quite scholarly. The problem is that canine dog lips are not designed to pronounce the Equestrian tongue, so what comes out ends up sounding like Hulk Speak.
- Epic Fail: Bananas Foster is so bad at business that he was audited by the Equestrian Revenue Service when he was twelve.
- Eternal Love: Princess Luna swore to herself that her next lover will be immortal after she lost her previous partner five hundred years before Nightmare Moon.
- Cadence and Shining Armor are now officially this, thanks to Twilight's spur-of-the-moment decision to try and ascend Shining to Alicornhood. It worked.
- Et Tu, Brute?: Twilight Sparkle gets a moment of this in chapter 28 when her loyal friend Spike (who has been incinerating much of the admittedly pointless paperwork between her and her captain) asks Twilight to give poor Flash Sentry a break.
- Fantastic Racism:
- When Trixie appears in the fic, she's on the run from the corrupt sheriff of a town controlled by a group of bigoted earth ponies after she rescued two unicorn foals from them. When Celestia finds out she has the sheriff and every official of that town down to the dog-catcher arrested and replaced by interim appointees.
- A potioneer dismisses Apple Bloom's warnings about how to prepare a potion, both because of her age and because Apple Bloom mentions Zecora's teachings; she considers herself way superior to any zebra shaman. Cue the explosion - not from Apple Bloom, but from said potion; both Apple Bloom and Zecora clearly know what they're talking about.
- Four Lines, All Waiting: After the Coronation Ball, the Mane Six split up to search for nascent Alicorns individually. Since each chapter tends to focus on one or two of them (Or characters who joined them on their particular branch of the search) at a time, this means that any given character can be left out of the story for several chapters at a stretch.
- For Want of a Nail: A blink-and-you-miss-it example: Chapter 5 reveals that Spike still has Peewee. Peewee also gets mentioned again in Chapter 28.
- For whatever reason, different circumstances mean that Equestria Girls didn't happen in this universe. Instead, Sunset Shimmer was arrested while infiltrating the Crystal Empire, after which Celestia makes amends and helps her ascend.
- There's also the prequel's version of how Sombra was handled, where it took maybe a few minutes (tops) to defeat him utterly. In a similar vein, Twilight analyzed the riddle that Discord gave her, and found the Elements almost immediately, leaving Discord standing alone in the maze for over an hour before he tried to find the Mane Six... who were now decked out with the Elements and waiting for him.
- Discord remembers the whole Tree of Harmony situation before it gets out of hand, allowing the Royal Guard to stop the vines from spreading beyond the Everfree. The Mane Six still have to give up the Elements, but that doesn't matter now that they embody their Elements. The Tree of Harmony still produces the mystery box, but Celestia tells them not to worry about it for the moment. Later, she hires Daring Do to find a way inside.
- Free-Range Children : Most young Pegasi have more freedom than unicorns and earth pony foals. Apparently a natural consequence of being flying children who wouldn't be easy to supervise closely anyway; their parents and guardians still try to be responsible and get sure they're fine by their own.
- Gadgeteer Genius: Apple Bloom has to think very fast in order to jury-rig a trap for the draconequus Malfunziona, using only items on display at the trade show in Baltimare. She succeeds so brilliantly that she gets her cutie mark AND becomes an Alicorn at the same time.
- Genre Savvy: Spike and Owlowiscious took cover in the Library's basement as soon as Twilight received Star Swirl's notebook, and Spike started wearing a hard hat for good measure. A smart move, considering what happened.
- And again, when Twilight and company cast the spell to trigger Shining Armor's ascension. This time, Spike puts on a helmet and sets up a sandbag bunker for protection.
- Gratuitous Italian: Malfunziona uses it often.
- Handicapped Badass: Twice over in Chapter 43, while Rainbow Dash and Scootaloo are visiting Windy City.
- Scootaloo's scooter has been fitted with a fold-up glider, which she's gotten very good at maneuvering. She uses the rig to thoroughly embarrass two teenage colts who make fun of it.
- A gang of pranksters is led by a one-winged pegasus who is incredibly talented at Le Parkour. Another member, whom Scootaloo meets after her showdown with the bullies, is a mute unicorn colt who can play music and sound effects from his horn.
- Happily Adopted: Jasper, by Trixie.
- Bowser, by a family of Diamond Dogs - though it's left him with some very canine mannerisms as a result (chapter 44).
- Happy Dance: Luna and Celestia go into one when they realize that Twilight had successfully ascended the Mane Six into Alicorns.
- Twilight does one when she indulges a long-held dream of hers: entering a bookstore and buying everything on the shelves.
- A young unicorn who was trying to market his newest invention - the fountain pen - keeps breaking out in giddy hysterics after Apple Bloom introduces him to Twilight Sparkle and Twilight promptly ordered a thousand of them, a lifetime's worth of ink refill and replacement nibs and gave his product a royal seal of approval.
- Heel–Face Turn: Sunset Shimmer in chapter 18, thanks to a combination of Celestia's apology, being told of the Panacea, and being ascended herself.
- Hidden Depths: Dapper Blue, a member of Rarity's Radiant Guard, is an avid gardener and has his own greenhouse aboard her airship. He breeds plants with unusual magical properties, including an explosive chili pepper that he uses to bring down a kappa in the Neigh Orleans swamps.
- Hoist by His Own Petard : Lord Malifec's attacks are almost completely useless against his own zombies, so he's pretty much defenseless when they turn against him.
- Hold the Line: In Chapter 42, Mud Puppy, Sweetie Belle, and their plant army are forced to do this against the lich Malifec and his army of zomponies and kappas.
- Humans Are Warriors: Sunset Shimmer realizes that this is the reason her plans of conquest in the human world were doomed to failure from the very start.
Humans were helpless-looking things with no magic, with no fangs or talons, no scales or fiery breath, no monstrous strength, no hooves, horns, or wings, nothing but soft helpless monkey things. Soft helpless monkey things who leveled their own cities with a push of a button
when they got angry enough.
- I Always Wanted to Say That: Twilight's thrilled that she can walk into one of her favorite stores (a book store, of course) and order one of everything.
- I Ate WHAT?: Happens to poor Apple Bloom twice, and in the presence of the same colt, Fancy Toff. The first time, at the Junior Gala, he tells her she's been eating caviar, goose liver pate, and shrimp toast, the last of which she knows as "mud bugs." The second time, at the Cherry Jubilee in Dodge Junction, she learns that the honey she's been sampling is essentially recycled bee vomit. Both instances end with Apple Bloom losing her lunch and ruining some expensive clothing - first her own gown and those of two other fillies, then Fancy Toff's pageboy hat.
- She reacted the same way when she learned about where milk and mushrooms come from, but she got over both of those. Big Macintosh is still freaked out by the latter, to the point that he'll leave the room whenever the family orders a pizza.
- The second incident also gave Apple Bloom nightmares that Luna had to help her with. This required poor Luna to witness a dream about pony-sized vomiting bees, which put the princess off of honey herself. A side effect was that Apple Bloom kept waking Babs up with her three-a-night runs to the bathroom to brush her teeth.
- I Cannot Self-Terminate: Cotton Mouth, in the end.
- Ignorant of Their Own Ignorance: Mach One has a lot of valid criticisms about the failings of Equestrian Society, however, his comments regarding why there aren't any non-fliers living in Cloudsdale and why Canterlot is built on the side of a mountain are rather off the mark regarding the actual situation. The latter has to do with Unicorn nesting instinct making them build high up rather than to exclude Earth Ponies and Pegasi due to being respectively higher and lower than they'd like, and in the case of the former it's because Mach can't conceive that perhaps non-pegasi just might not be comfortable living in the cloud city on account that they can't fly. He misses this point even after calling out how impractical living in Cloudsdale really is on account of having absolutely no farmlands to grow food on and basically relying on importing food grown on the ground.
- I Need a Freaking Drink: After her short arc in Neigh Orleans, which involves getting dragged through the bayou and having to sleep on a lice-infested bed, among other things, Rarity decides to get "smashed off [her] freaking plot" (her words) once back on her airship. Her servants eventually switch the champagne in her mimosas for ginger ale in a well-meaning (if hopelessly belated) effort to keep her from doing too much damage to herself.
- Idle Rich: Played straight at first with Fancy Toff, a noble's son attending the Junior Gala. Averted by the time of the Cherry Jubilee in Dodge Junction; he's started helping out around his father's honey/sweetener business.
- Insistent Terminology: Discord would like to remind everypony that Malfunziona is a lesser draconequus.
- Irony: Bananas Foster, the heir apparent to the Chiquita Archipelago Banana Empire, who built their fortune on bananas, has a banana peel in his cutie mark, whose whole family are named after banana products and has eaten bananas his entire life, HATES BANANAS!
- Is This Thing On?: Rarity runs into this trope while attempting to make a ship-wide announcement. Quickly followed by a...
- Is This Thing Still On?: Rarity ends her ship-wide summons with a croissant and coffee. And a very big burp.
- Laser-Guided Karma: Several of these throughout the story:
- For attempting to assault the CMC, Babs Seed and Bishi (four of whom are immediate family of Princesses and one of them an apprentice/honorary sister to one), Babs' bullies get their flanks kicked and subsequently cut off by royal decree; they are also sent off to work at Sweet Apple Acres.
- Orange Roughy challenges Bishi to a sparring match, and during said match, asks Bishi to remove his padded booties and helmet, despite his hesitation. Needless to say, one punch knocked him out and, as later Fluttershy reveals, causes him to lose his teeth.
- For stomping on Rainbow Dash's Berserk Button and dissing her in Chapter 13, Spitfire gets her flank handed to her in less than three seconds in a scuffle, followed by Rainbow chewing the Wonderbolt captain out, big-time.
- Sheriff Brass gets a taste of this; for abandoning two foals in the woods just for being unicorns (he was an earth pony supremacist) and hunting down Trixie until leaving his jurisdiction for over a year, he gets fired and arrested by Celestia.
- Mayor Fussbudget of Windy City gets one when it's exposed just how far he bent the law to arrest the Nobody's Fools. First a whole herd of concerned parents show up to register their disapproval... loudly. Then Harshwhinny enters the scene and tears his flimsy attempts at justification to shreds. Then he discovers that the story's already hit the press, and the whole city knows that the Mayor ordered a raid on a skating club in direct violation of Princess Rainbow's explicit orders, and arrested the Princess's foster sister in the process.
- Le Parkour: Mach One, a one-winged pony, uses impressive parkour moves to evade the guards trying to catch him, and impress Rainbow Dash in the process.
- Literal Ass Kicking: In chapter 27, Rarity tells the others how she delivered one to Prince Blueblood after her Personality Powers determined that was what he needed most at that moment. And how she blamed her actions on being drunk at the time.
- Living Forever Is Awesome: Celestia and Luna are tired of outliving everypony else, but otherwise they hold this opinion. Thus, they ask the Mane Six to assist them in their quest to make everypony immortal.
- Living Lie Detector: Applejack's Elemental powers give her a version of this that overlaps with Blessed with Suck. She can tell when she isn't getting the full story, even if whoever's talking to her is telling her everything they know, and her Element won't let her rest until she gets all the facts.
- Her Element also gives her the power to decide whether somepony is telling her the truth, not just because they're confident but because they have the facts to back it up. In Chapter 37, she uses this ability to determine that the statue of Malfunziona is harmless, sensing a chain of connections that leads 500 years back to the original sculptor.
- Load-Bearing Hero: Applejack does this with the Glass Palace housing the Trade Expo when Malfunziona sabotages it.
- Logic Bomb: Apple Bloom devises a mechanical version to contain Malfunziona, whose power only allows him to break things. It's a 3-D arrangement of gears meshed so that none of them can turn, with him trapped inside. Breaking any gear will allow the others to turn freely, effectively fixing the device - something Malfunziona absolutely can't do. She ends up getting her cutie mark and ascending to Alicornhood as a result.
- MacGyvering: After Malfunziona lets a swarm of Whizbees loose in the Expo, Apple Bloom builds a bug vacuum from the broken pieces of everything else that Malfunziona had wrecked to trap them. And then shoots the bugs up the draconequus' nose.
- The Man Behind the Man: Cotton Mouth initially appeared to be responsible for the kappa, hinkypunk and zombie infestations around Neigh Orleans. Turns out they're all working for the same being, a lich and necromancer who is also responsible for the destruction of the city of Port Malfou two or three hundred years before.
- Mass "Oh, Crap!": The bullies get this when they realize the CMC were telling the Truth about being related to the new Princesses... via an angry Applejack showing up after hearing them start to plan getting revenge.
- The Wonderbolts were badmouthing the recently-coronated Rainbow behind her back, because they thought that she had not earned her position. Unfortunately, Scootaloo goes in at the worst possible time (managing to overhear almost everything they were saying), leading to this reaction. A rare example, where everyone gets this reaction but only one speaks out.
- Marry Them All: Ponies can form herds (or at least used to, fairly recently. It's far less common in the present.) Sweetie Belle thinks this'd be the perfect solution to all the CMC crushing on Breezy Shy.
- Mayfly-December Romance: Luna had one about 500 years before her banishment; she swore not to try again, but after 1,500 years of not getting any she's feeling a bit tense. And as of chapter 7, Cadence and Shining Armor's marriage is no longer one.
- Meaningful Name/Prophetic Name: Chapter 40 justifies the show's use of these as a result of prophetic insights by mares giving birth.
- Medieval Stasis: Equestria was in one until 500 years ago thanks to a lesser draconequus known as Malfunziona who made mechanical devices malfunction. Until he was bound by the pony equivalent of Leonardo da Vinci.
- Mercy Kill: Between what was done to him by his own experiments and the Lich's curse, Cotton Mouth flat out asks for one and is granted it.
- Mistaken for Racist: Happens more than you might expect.
- Southern Comfort expresses his discomfort for using zebra potions as remedies in such a way that Applejack believes he's got a problem with zebras. He gets flustered and explains he meant because they're untested.
- Applejack herself briefly falls victim to this earlier, when she first meets her zebra guardsman Omari. First, when she expresses surprise at a zebra in the Royal Guard, he asks if that's a problem, and when she asks if he knows Zecora, he seems insulted that she apparently assumes all zebras know each other.
- Modest Royalty: All the Mane Six and the other new alicorns, but also Prince Ajax the gryphon, who instantly hits off a friendship with Rainbow Dash over their shared dislike for courtly decorum.
- Mood Whiplash: Chapter 40 goes from funny to Nightmare Fuel very quickly.
- And Chapter 45 also goes from funny to melancholic just as quickly.
- Mooning: Pinkie Pie and Luna indulge in this to their audience during the Maredi Gras parade.
- Mundane Made Awesome: What is Trixie's final trump card when she thinks she and Jasper are about to be arrested by the ascended Sunset Shimmer? Beg for mercy in the most outlandish way possible.
- Music Soothes the Savage Beast: When under siege by the lich's army of minions, Sweetie Belle uses music to prevent the Home Defense plants from fighting each other, and direct them against the minions, and later, after running out of plants, manages to turn the minions against the lich with a song.
- No Celebrities Were Harmed:
- Copying an organization, not a person. The Filli Terriam is basically Equestria's version of the KKK.
- Bold Lion is Equestria's version of Leonardo da Vinci ("Leonardo" literally translates to "bold lion").
- Noodle Incident: Apparently the greatest state of chaos Canterlot palace ever faced was not at the hands of Nightmare Moon or Discord or the Changelings, but when a griffon ambassador's wife called Celestia's hindquarters fat.
- Noodle Implements: Pinkie Pie buys a literal boatload of these in chapter 11.
"One hundred bowling balls... three hundred and sixty five 'happy pine tree' carriage air fresheners... twenty four ACME brand cannons... a blender... six hundred boxes of instant cake mix... one ton of confetti... one hundred forty four pink flamingos... a bag of marbles... five bags of fortune cookies... a lug wrench... a box of elephant prophylactics... Five cans of purple paint... five cans of yellow paint... five cans of PINK paint... one jelly-bean pooping plastic moose... five spare tires... a rubber life raft... eight thousand Kewpie pony dolls... a giant flyswatter...a toaster... one pair of each kind of 'Groucho Marks' glasses... one live parrot... one dead parrot, stuffed..."
- Even more hilarious is that Luna admits she can think of uses for over half of those items...which worries her. Naturally, as Noodle Implements, the uses are not given.
- The departure ceremony at the end of chapter 12 probably accounts for how the cannons, cake mix, and some of the confetti are being used...
- And in Chapter 30, Pinkie reveals that she and Luna have been dropping cupcakes (tied to balloons) on the towns they pass during their travels.
- The dolls and paint actually look reasonable and obvious. Which may be a Red Herring, of course.
- Not Me This Time: A rare heroic example; when Malfunziona escapes his imprisonment, Applejack assumes that he's another one of Celestia's "time-released" prisoners. Turns out, Celestia's never even heard of him, and he was actually sealed away by someone else.
- Not the Intended Use: Rainbow Dash uses bubblegum trading cards to help figure out the lineup for Wonderbolt shows. Spitfire thinks it's funny at first, but she soon realizes that those cards give a quick summary of performance stats.
- Oh Crap!: When Pinkie Pie becomes an Alicorn, she realizes she can do magic. This trope is Rarity's reaction.
- Also in Chapter 30 when the princesses realize Fluttershy, who had become So Beautiful, It's a Curse, will be around dozens if not hundreds of young colts.
- Discord's reaction at learning that Malfunziona is loose at the Expo.
- Of Corset Hurts: First thing Dash does after the ceremony is over is strip off her girdle and advise Scootaloo to never let anyone talk her into wearing one.
- One-Gender Race: Something that's been frustrating Luna for centuries is the lack of Alicorn stallions. There are now two male Alicorns, but Shining Armor is taken and Jasper is underage.
- Only Sane Wonderbolt: Fire Streak is the only Wonderbolt who thinks it might be a bad idea to badmouth Rainbow Dash; you know; their new boss.
- Our Liches Are Different: Cotton Mouth turns out to be working for one.
- Parental Neglect: Pinkie Pie's family sent her to Ponyville and have barely talked to her since - not out of malice, but because they wanted her to have a life free of persecution due to her unusual abilities.
- While Rarity and Sweetie Belle's parents are generally nice, they have a tendency to go off on long trips and leave Sweetie Belle in the care of various sitters.
- Personality Powers: The Bearers' inherent traits, as they relate to their elements, have only been enhanced by their ascension into Alicorns.
- Rainbow Dash is now able to feel her guards' loyalty to her.
- Chapter 46 reveals this goes deeper: she can see all the bonds of loyalty that every pony (and probably every being that's got pony-level intelligence) has and also whether the loyalty is true and at what strength the bond is held by both sides of the bond. This enables her to give the Nobody's Fools the benefit of the doubt when they're accused of being part of the Crownbreakers and Scootaloo defends them; she knows Scootaloo well enough to know that ponies doing the things the Crownbreakers have done and are threatening to do could never earn the pure clean loyalty she sees Scootaloo has for the Fools.
- Applejack has become a Living Lie Detector (see above).
- Rarity's ability to find gems has been expanded into the ability to know what ponies need, and then let her find it and get it to them. This includes the plant that saves Sweet Peach's life, the Alicorn who helped grow it, and enough booze for a massive drinking binge to calm her nerves after the crisis has passed.
- The Plan: Celestia and Luna's plan is thus: find other Alicorns, and with a combination of their magic, insight, and (ahem) bloodlines, abolish old age.
- Poor Communication Kills: Well, not kills, but it does lead to a lot of friction between the Wonderbolts and Rainbow Dash. Spitfire claims that Celestia told her about their new assignment... which Rainbow Dash assumes is that they've all been briefed on "The Plan" (see above). Celestia actually told Spitfire that their mission was to keep an eye on Rainbow Dash, and that Dash would provide further details later. As such, the Wonderbolts feel like they're babysitting a spoiled fan-girl, while Dash can't understand why they don't like her.
- Pinkie thought her family sent her away because they were scared she was "Jinxed". They were, scared for her, namely that the ponies they lived around would hurt her over it and so sent her to Ponyville where odd things were more common in hopes of letting her live a more normal life. And the reason they didn't reply to her initial coronation invites was they thought people might look down on Pinkie from coming from a family of rock farmers and didn't want her reputation to suffer.
- In Chapter 34, the opening ceremony of the Colt Scout Jamboree is ruined by a horde of enraged squirrels. One of the scouts had tried to invite them, but ended up inciting a riot because he didn't speak their language very well.
- A VERY literal example with the Vitality Elixir. Apparently, the original formula worked quite well, but, over time, some details got lost in translation, and the many attempts to find the right ingredient, or a good substitute, had been either useless or extremely dangerous, as is what happened with Cotton Mouth's version; similar to what happened with the original Snake Oil which is referenced.
- Pre-Asskicking One-Liner: Bishi gets to spout one when asked why he's donning training shoes:
"So I don't break your jaw when I kick you in the face."
- Apple Bloom just after Malfunziona mockingly called her "A helpless, useless, powerless little blank-flanked FOAL!"
""Then it's a good thing this little blank-flank FOAL," said Apple Bloom, "Is holding a GUN."
- Precursors: Daring Do figures that one of these is responsible for creating the Tree of Harmony, she just can't figure out who.
- Professor Guinea Pig: Cotton Mouth tested his vitality elixir on himself before marketing it as a tonic for pregnant mares. However, the side effects that showed that it didn't work nearly as well as he thought on himself didn't show up until well after the elixir had killed virtually every foal exposed to it.
- Properly Paranoid: The Ancient Lemurians put a large number of safety measures on anything. They have good reasons:
"I know what happened the last time the ancient Lemurians used one of their widgets that had six keys."
"The continent of Lemuria sank." Daring Do said grimly, adjusting her pith helmet. "Not often I've had to do an archaeological survey in a diving helmet."
- Also, the creators of the Tree of Harmony have Lemurian-level of paranoia, to the point that if the Tree and its creations weren't so benevolent she would be inclined to believe they created it (the Lemurians managed to sink their own continent; the Elements of Harmony, for all their power, could not harm anyone, no matter how aggressively they were used).
- Hollow Shades' residents have prepared their homes with multiple measures against the various monsters and ghosts that apparently haunt the area.
- Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: The majority of Applejack's guard, The Roughnecks, fit both this trope and Reassigned to Antarctica. Aside from the usual discipline problems, there are also a few donkeys, a crystal pony, three bat-ponies, a gryphon, a zebra, even a diamond dog. And one of Applejack's cousins, the sight of whom really throws her for a loop.
- In Chapter 44, Scootaloo meets Mach One and his buddies, none of whom quite fit the norm of pony society. A one-winged Pegasus (Mach), a mute unicorn who can play music/sounds through his horn, a talented graffiti artist, an earth pony studying unicorn magic, a scrawny brawler (who also happens to be a unicorn, making him doubly odd as a brawler), a zebra/donkey hybrid who speaks several languages, a colt raised by Diamond Dogs, another who makes dolls for foals in hospitals and orphanages, an asthmatic comic book nerd, and a rich family's son with a talent for comedy who'd be disowned if his parents ever found out about the group.
- Raised by Wolves: Bowser of the Nobody's Fools was raised by Diamond Dogs. They had adoption papers and everything.
- Rank Up: When Twilight inducts the first bunch of Royal Guards into her service (the Twilight Guard), Celestia's last act as their commander is to promote Flash Sentry on the spot from Lieutenant to Captain. She points out that since he's going to be in charge of this security detail, he should have the rank to go with it.
- When Celestia learns that there aren't enough Royal Guards to provide a security detail for all of the Mane Six, she immediately promotes all the recruits in basic training to active duty.
- Reaching Between the Lines: In Chapter 14, Pinkie Pie reaches through the magic mirrors they're using to communicate to give Rainbow Dash a hug. Naturally, everypony else wonders how she did that.
- Restraining Bolt: As part of his parole, Discord is made to wear a collar and manacles that greatly reduce his power. (As it turns out, this was at Applejack's insistence, before she'd agree to the whole parole idea.)
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Chapters 15 and 16 have a back and forth of this: The latter half of chapter 15 involves Spitfire chewing out Rainbow Dash because she thinks Dash didn't 'earn' her position as a Firebolt or princess. Chapter 16 swings the other direction with Dash reminding Spitfire that all the deeds she had done, including her work with the Elements of Harmony and her Sonic Rainbooms, as well as saving Spitfire's life, were all based on her own merit. While every time the Wonderbolts have been called to do anything more than put on a stunt show, they'd failed spectacularly.
- In Chapter 29, Celestia gives one to Sheriff Brass. Starting with the fact that his ongoing pony-hunt against Trixie basically means that he hasn't set hoof in the territory he's supposed to be responsible for for over a year and working up from there.
- Chapter 48 is practically vacuum-packed with these. Most of them are directed at Mayor Fussbudget and the officers he sent to perform a totally unjustified raid and mass arrest on the Nobody's Fools., but Bananas Foster gives one to his family for trying to force him into a career he truly hates.
- Retcon: Chapter 2 originally had Celestia saying that Cadance had been born an Alicorn and that she hadn't known before Cadance's birth that ponies could be born as Alicorns. But sometime after Chapter 27 was posted, Chapter 2 was edited to say that Cadance had been born a Pegasus, ascending shortly after being born, and that Celestia hadn't known before that that normal ponies could become Alicorns, thus bringing the story into compliance with Parting Words, which, in Chapter 4, has Celestia say that she and Luna were born as Alicorns.
- Also, to the 'Magic Duel' episode, with Trixie admitting that she originally only wanted the Alicorn Amulet to boost her abilities and stop being a laughingstock, and only got vengeful ideas because of the amulet's influence.
- Revealing Cover-Up: Trixie's Alicorn Notice-Me-Not aura (augmented by her own illusions) is so thorough at disguising the traces of her passing that Sunset was able to track her by following the road that looked like it had never been used, ever, even when it went straight through a town.
- Running Gag: Apple Bloom enjoying a food and then discovering it is something/is produced in a way she finds revolting.
- So Beautiful, It's a Curse : The other princesses have this idea about Fluttershy, who is now so beautiful that every straight colt around her has self-control issues, which might be potentially troublesome if affecting a large number at once.
- School Bullying Is Harmless: Ahahaha NO. Like its predecessor, bullying is portrayed realistically, via the introduction of Babs Seed's personal bullies.
- We also find out that one of the reasons Twilight was so scared of being sent back to magic kindergarten in "Lesson Zero" was because she was bullied a lot as a young filly and it was giving her flashbacks. She's mostly over it by now, but it can still make her eye twitch.
- Screw the Rules, I Have Connections!:
- Babs' bullies always got off Scot free due to having wealthy and influential families. Unfortunately for them, Babs is now technically royalty. They didn't realize that until after they tried to attack her AND the CMC and Bishi, three of whom are royalty, being immediate family of three princesses, and one practically being an apprentice to one. So not only did they get their flanks kicked, they also got on the bad side of the Princesses, shipped off to Sweet Apple Acres to do hard labor or not get fed, and cut off by their parents due to royal decree.
- It's made very clear in Chapter 48 that the only reason the Mayor got a judge to give him an arrest warrant for the Nobody's Fools was because that judge was his cousin. Any other judge would have thrown the warrant out, since there wasn't a scrap of solid evidence behind it. Gold Star, the police commissioner, only cooperated with the plan because he knew that if he didn't, Fussbudget would have replaced him with somepony who would and made an even worse mess of things.
- Screw the Rules, I Have Money!: Pennyworth and Babs' other bullies are used to getting away with their actions due to this. As part of their punishment, they get cut off.
- Both Screw The Rules tropes are also hinted at heavily by the Wonderbolts, wondering who that mare is in charge. This doesn't go over well.
- Sealed Evil in a Can: Malfunziona, a lesser cousin of Discord's who was basically an over-sized gremlin, was eventually sealed away by Bold Lion (an Expy of Leonardo Da Vinci) in a statue of himself, only to get out centuries later during Applejack's group's visit to a Trade Expo where the statue is on display, and wreaks havoc. Until Apple Bloom figures out how to beat and re-imprison him.
- Shaped Like Itself: Part of why Apple Bloom doesn't like the Cutie Mark she gets in her dream is that it was essentially 'A Cutie Mark in crusading for Cutie Marks'. Comparing it to winning a pie eating contest only to find the prize was a free pie.
- Shared Family Quirks: Fluttershy's parents and brother share her coat/mane colors, soft voice, and introverted demeanor. Like her, they are also surprisingly talented: her brother is highly skilled at martial arts, her father is a cloud sculptor/architect who developed the principles of cloud hydroponics, and her mother is a gardener in Cloudsdale with a fondness for exotic (and dangerous) plants. Yes, Fluttershy's mother grows plants on clouds.
- Ship Tease: The captain of the Guard appointed for Twilight by Celestia is Flash Sentry — and Twilight seems to be developing a crush on him.
- Apple Bloom certainly remembers Fancy Toff from the Coronation Gala in Chapter 10, when he visits Dodge Junction with his father in Chapter 19. Lampshaded by Applejack and Babs Seed in Chapter 35.
- Rainbow and Mach certainly find each other attractive in the Windy City Arc. Lampshaded by Scootaloo and Flute in Chapter 45.
- Shout-Out: Discord briefly dresses up as Ash while fighting the living vines.
- One of Fluttershy's mother's special plants (that is sentient and has teeth) is named Audrey.
- It turns out the reason why unicorns love mountains so much is because of Rincewind Arcology Syndrome, an overpowering nesting instinct that affects unicorns, particularly ones that specialize heavily in arcane research like Twilight. Basically, unicorns have a need to find a location to do all their magic in, fortify it, and build vertically. The higher the better. Twilight's observatory in Canterlot is an example, Canterlot itself is a second one, and even Carousel Boutique is a third example.
- Brass rationalizing that he can chase Trixie and Jasper all over Tartarus' Half-Acre because his authority doesn't stop at Promise's town limit (despite the fact that it in fact totally does) is similar to the logic of Sheriff Buford T. Justice from Smokey and the Bandit, and fails for the same reason (That part of the hot pursuit doctrine is so that police officers can stop criminals without getting caught up in jurisdictional red tape if someone commits a crime in one region and then immediately crosses the border to another. It is not a license to indefinitely extend one's jurisdiction so one can chase a suspect across half the country). He even uses a similar line on his deputy.
- George C. Scott's portrayal of General Patton gets a solid nod from Flash Sentry:
Flash Sentry: "I— no, actually. I'm a soldier, your Highness," ... "Contrary to what most ponies think, our job is to make sure the other guy dies for his country".
- The "Why did you yell 'Fire' over [situation that is most decidedly not fire?"/"Because no one would come if I yelled [actual situation]." is considered by some fans to be a Shout-Out to Reality Checks Nyx Verse.
- In actual fact, this is a Shout-Out to a routine from The Smothers Brothers, called "Chocolate", in which Tommy describes yelling "Fire!" after falling into a vat of (what else?) chocolate. Cue the above exchange "Why'd you yell 'fire' when you fell into the chocolate?" / "Because no one would've come to save me if I'd just yelled CHOCOLATE!!"
- Red Fort (Chapter 37) is a nod to the Engineer in Team Fortress 2, and even paraphrases part of his speech in the "Meet the Engineer" clip.
- Gred and Forge Weasel (Chapter 38) are patterned after twin brothers Fred and George Weasley in the Harry Potter series. There's even a brief mention of an older stallion with a fang earring - a shout-out to Bill, the oldest of the Weasley children. This one also mentions that he told his mother dragons were easier to work with than weasels, a nod to Charlie, the second-born Weasley child.
- Also in Chapter 38, Babs faces off against a giant monster that is entirely made of hair and sneakers, just like Gossamer, Marvin the Martian's henchmonster, from the original 1950s Duck Dodgers cartoons.
- After Malfunziona gets a nose-full of Fizzing Whizbees, he starts screaming "Non le api! Non le api!" If you understand Italian (or Neightalian in this case), that translates to, "Not the bees! Not the bees!"
- Dapper Blue's magical home-defense plants bear some noticeable similarities to another group of sentient combat plants. The Maredi Gras celebration is later attacked by their undead foes.
- And subsequently Mud Puppy and Sweetie Belle use the plants against a lich's zompony minions.
- The "Trollmatos" are very similar to SCP-504.
- During the Hold the Line moment against Malifec, Sweetie Belle inspires her friends by singing Do You Hear The People (Ponies) Sing from Les Misérables, and Heather Alexander's March of Cambreadth.
- The relationship between Cotton Mouth and Lord Malifec is similar to Quirrell and Lord Voldemort's in Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, with a dark lord, obsessed with overcoming his fragility and mastering life and death, depending on a mortal assistant who's bonded with his master's life force. Cotton Mouth is ultimately more sympathetic than Quirrell though.
- The zombies (eventually) assisting the heroes, and the spirit of one thanking Sweetie Belle, who set them free, is similar to the climax and resolution of Scooby-Doo on Zombie Island. Bonus points for also being set in a swamp, and Lord Malifec being a villain who has extended his longevity by absorbing the life force of innocent victims.
- The Nobody's Fools like to do a scooter race called the Kessel run. Later, when pranking the protesters, they mess with the sound system to play "Cuban Pete".
- The way Doctor Hospice provides Rainbow with information and references to help Scootaloo with her flightless problem is very similar to how Bob Parr can't help his clients.
- Shown Their Work: The scouts yell 'Fire' when needing help, even if the emergency is way different. This is usual advice for self-protection; as the scouts say themselves, most people tend to run away or ignore calls for help, but pretty much everyone goes to take a look when hearing 'Fire'.
- Shut Up, Hannibal!: When arresting all the members of the Filli Terriam, Celestia also takes the time to shut down their racial purity nonsense by pointing out that she — who they revere as much as any other of her subjects — couldn't be any more mixed racially.
- Sibling Team: Three out of the six princesses are this. With the exclusion of Twilight and Pinkie Pie, we have:
- Rarity and (sister) Sweetie Belle
- Applejack with (sister) Apple Bloom and (cousin) Babs Seed
- Fluttershy and (brother) Bishi
- And 'honorary sisters' Rainbow Dash and Scootaloo.
- The Smurfette Principle: Inverted. As of chapter 42, there are 17 Alicorns in Equestria (the Mane Six, Celestia, Luna, Cadence, Shining Armor, Sunset Shimmer, Necturus a.k.a. Mud Puppy, Trixie, Jasper, Apple Bloom, and Sweetie Belle, with Scootaloo being hinted at at the end of the chapter where Apple Bloom is revealed to have ascended), only two of whom are male. Luna would really like that gender inequality to be fixed soon. Especially considering one of the males is taken and the other is underage.
- Snake Oil Salesman: Years ago, a rather reckless experimental potioneer named Cotton Mouth visited the Neigh Orleans swamps to sell a tonic he claimed would improve the health of pregnant mares and their foals. Problem is, it didn't work nearly as well as he thought it would after he finished short term testing on a single test subject, and so most of the foals were stillborn or had severe birth defects that led to their early deaths (Word of God specifically references Thalidomide). Only two of that entire group survived to the present day, one of whom did so by becoming an Alicorn while still in the womb, though nopony realized she was an Alicorn and not just another deformed filly until Rarity met her and discovered the truth. He's since kidnapped said Alicorn (And Sweetie Belle by accident) in order to study her to figure out how she survived and from there perfect the elixir.
- It turns out that Cotton Mouth ran into similar problems to the ones with the original Snake Oil; a mistranslation turns it from what he claimed it was into a deadly poison.
- Spoiled Sweet: Twilight in comparison to most students by virtue of being Celestia's personal pupil; it makes the idea of roughing it worthy of a mild panic attack.
- Spontaneous Pony Combustion: One pony took a medicine made from phoenix feathers. It cured all his health problems, but now he tends to burst into flames at random intervals.
- Stating the Simple Solution: Rainbow Dash comes up with an easy way to use the magic mirrors to transfer information: hold a document up to the mirror so the recipient can read it. Celestia and Luna quickly realize that her idea may prove useful in both military and civilian communications.
- Stealth Hi/Bye: Jade Blossom, a member of Rarity's Radiant Guard, apparently does this all the time.
- Strong Family Resemblance: Fluttershy's entire family is just as shy (and adorable) as she is. Complete, down to the color schemes.
- Stuff Blowing Up: The fate of Ponyville Library when the Mane Six Ascend.
- And Canterlot Castle's Western Solarium, to a lesser extent, when they trigger Shining Armor's ascension. Spike even comments that they've gotten better at containing the collateral damage.
- Sweet and Sour Grapes: Due to her ascension to Alicornhood, Rainbow Dash cannot become a Wonderbolt. She can, however, command them... and since the titular hunt will be done undercover, she can fly with them as part of her cover story.
- Tailor-Made Prison: Apple Bloom makes one for Malfunziona that counters his powers by way of a Logic Bomb. His powers are focused entirely around making machines break down. So she countered this by locking him inside a machine that is locked because it's broken, and any attempt to break it further will actually make it work better. Because using his powers to break the cage will also fix it, Malfunziona's powers cannot affect the cage.
- Take That: The story has many:
- The whole idea of a "wingboner" gets called out as a ridiculous myth spread by unicorns and Earth ponies. The idea of a unicorn's horn being "Sensitive" is called equally silly.
- Chapter 6 has several towards a few of the more iconic moments in the series, such as the Winter Wrap Up (just letting the snow melt would probably be more beneficial), The Running of the Leaves (two ponies squabbling shouldn't be enough to prevent leaves from falling; wind would be more efficient and easier), Weather Factories (making individual snowflakes by hoof is remarkably inefficient), and draining the reservoir via tornado (evaporation would work just as well, with much less time, energy, and effort for all involved).
- Chapter 45 tears into several iconic moments/places/rules/etc like hot knife through butter, courtesy of Mach One.
- Winter Wrap-Up gets mentioned again, with Mach One questioning about disallowing unicorn magic just because the town was founded by Earth Ponies, with him reasoning that getting the job done should be the first priority.
- Celestia's School Of Gifted Unicorns (and all gifted schools) is also not spared; Mach calls out how they were exclusively for unicorns. Given that one of Nobody's Fools is an earth pony studying unicorn magic (who couldn't get into one of these schools because none would accept anyone that aren't unicorns) this is understandable.
- Cloudsdale also gets mentioned; Mach points out that living in Cloudsdale is very impractical on account of having no farmlands to grow food and that they are totally dependent on importing food grown on land to survive, and that this had been going on as far back as before Equestria was founded.
- With hindsight, Sunset Shimmer is able to ridicule how stupid her plan from Equestria Girls was, and blames it all on the hormones of the teen body she was stuck in.
- Malthus gets one in chapter 4 via having a pony counterpart who Luna dismisses as "an ignorant idiot, a misanthropist and a fool" who had predicted that Pony-kind should have starved to death eight hundred years ago.
- In chapter 30, both Trixie and the Mane Six admit both sides made mistakes when first meeting Trixie, as she was being a show-off mostly because it was part of her job, something the others didn't consider at that time, and Trixie admitted she went too far with her bragging, making herself an unlikable pony in general.
- Chapter 35 skewers "Crusaders of the Lost Mark", having it be a horrifying nightmare for Apple Bloom and giving Babs the giggles.
- In Chapter 45, Mach One shows no mercy in his criticism of the story of Snowdrop, seeing it as evidence that Equestria's royalty and upper class are more interested in maintaining their own position than helping the less fortunate. Previously, his group also criticizes the Hipster attitude, making emphasis on their condescension, arrogance and hypocrisy.
- Chapter 48 has a doctor at a Flightless Foal's Hospital deliver a brutal body slam to Political Correctness Gone Mad and "social justice warriors" while speaking to Rainbow Dash. Similarly, one of the Nobody's Fools tells his family off about constantly pushing him towards business, stating that university was full of hipsters, PC warriors, and professors who were either slave drivers or delusional ex-hippies.
- According to the author, Twilight's arc in Hollow Shades will be this to the Cthulhu Mythos, and Lovecraftian/Cosmic Horror works in general.
- That Came Out Wrong: In Chapter 32, Twilight is advising Flash on how to dress casually for their incognito visit to Hollow Shades, and says that he could just go without clothes, as he looks fine without them. She then realizes what that sounds like and backspaces immediately, blushing all the while.
- Her consternation is doubly amusing, seeing as how most ponies normally don't wear clothes anyway...
- They Called Me Mad!: It turns out this is Cotton Mouth's motivation behind his actions since he created the Vitality Elixir. It's gone downhill since then.
- Think Unsexy Thoughts: Whenever she sees an attractive stallion, Luna reminds herself of the vow she took that she must wait for an immortal stallion before she can get laid. Taken to funny extremes when seeing the Bouncer Brigade (Pinkie's guards) drives her to take three cold showers and eat the ripples out of two tubs of fudge ripple ice cream.
- This Looks Like a Job for Aquaman: While a perfectly respectable cutie mark talent, hairstyling is not generally particularly useful in battle... unless you're fighting a giant monster made entirely out of hair (and a pair of sneakers).
- Title Drop: "It looks like the great Alicorn hunt is on, after all."
- Too Dumb to Live: You would think Pennyworth and his goons would realize that the CMC were telling the truth, seeing that them being nobility (or having as much money as them) would be the only way they would've gotten into the Junior Gala in the first place.
- Took a Level in Kindness: Iron Will. After his incident with Fluttershy, he came to realize the ideal of "strength with focus", eventually opening up a martial arts studio with the mottoes "You don't need to step on somepony to stand up for yourself" and "Meekness isn't weakness; it's strength that's under control". Flutershy's brother Bishi is one of his best students.
- Trickster Mentor: In spite of halting her 'cryptic mentor' tendencies with Twilight Sparkle, Celestia still tends to be enigmatic and manipulative with a few things, not the least of which includes selecting a host of male guards for Twilight and Fluttershy in hopes that they find their 'super special somepony'. Kinda backfires with the Wonderbolts when she fails to fully brief them on their 'true' mission with Rainbow Dash. This is also a major factor in why Sunset Shimmer fell, as she saw Celestia much like Twilight did in the beginning of Parting Words, and hated being manipulated.
- In Chapter 31, Celestia gets tired of being on the receiving end of this trope with respect to the mystery box, the Tree of Harmony, and whoever made them. She decides that rather than wait for the Mane Six to pass whatever Secret Test of Character the box represents, she'll simply find another way in - and she hires Daring Do for the job.
- Überwald: Hollow Shades and surroundings. The forest is full of Undead and Timberwolves, there's an Eldritch Abomination sleeping in the lake, and everyone builds their houses out of Oak and Cold Iron to keep the beasties out. Ponies are warned not to go out after dark-and it's always dark in Hollow Shades. The crew that works the dock is made up of Deep Ones too.
- Underestimating Badassery: According to Celestia, Twilight toward Spike:
"But more to the point, dear Twilight, he's a baby DRAGON. He's magic resistant, has scales like armor plating, can bite through diamonds, wade through molten rock and breathes fire. You really do underestimate him."
- And Spike toward himself:
"Spike, listen to me. I know you've spent your life being as careful as you can be to not hurt others. But over the centuries I've heard some of the legends coming out of Hollow Shades myself, and I am asking you— no, telling you— if you or Twilight are in danger, do not hold back."
- Ventriloquism: Apparently one of the many things the CMC attempted. Sweetie Belle uses it to direct joke-seeking tomatoes at a lich and a mad scientist.
- Flute of the Nobody's Fools is mute, but can magically play music and sound effects from his horn.
- Vocal Dissonance: Jade Blossom, one of Rarity's Radiant Guard. Neighponese descent, coloration and angled features to show for it, has the air of an exotic kunoichi - and a heavy Appleloosan accent that she loves to use to completely destroy that mystique.
- What the Hell, Hero?: After having had enough of the Wonderbolts giving her the cold shoulder and badmouthing her behind her back, Rainbow Dash confronts Spitfire about it. When the latter says that Dash is a show off who hasn't earned anything she has, Dash snaps and gives her a scathing "The Reason You Suck" Speech, pointing out how hard she worked to earn everything she has, not to mention has saved the world several times, whereas the Wonderbolts are either no-shows or ineffective in a crisis, and Spitfire herself is as guilty of being self-absorbed as she accused Rainbow Dash of being. Spitfire admits Rainbow Dash is right, and they make amends, with Spitfire helping Dash mend fences with the other Wonderbolts.
- "Where? Where?": Several weeks (or even months) after ascending, Rainbow Dash still looks around for somepony else when she's addressed as "Princess". The gryphon prince Ajax tells her he does the same thing whenever he hears "Your majesty".
- Who Wants to Live Forever?: Or rather, who wants to live alone forever? Celestia and Luna have no problems being immortal, but having to watch, again and again, the ponies close to them grow old, feeble and die after such a short time together is truly heartbreaking for them. This is what kicks off the main plot of the story — to find more Alicorns and eventually find a way to pass the gift of immortality on to everypony.
- With Great Power Comes Great Perks: After Rarity discovers how the Element of Generosity works for her - allowing her to look at a pony and let her magic guide her to exactly what they need at that moment - she has fun testing it out here and there. The first things she intentionally procures? A tissue and a piece of gum, a bit coin, a book, a hard kick in the pants (for Prince Blueblood), and a raid on the airship's wet bar (for herself).
- Wolves Always Howl at the Moon: Played with. Timberwolves howl at lightning, which means that they howl exclusively during storms - and end up gargling through a mouthful of rainwater. Woodcutter the timberjack hasn't found any of them drowned yet, but he figures it's just a matter of time because they're not too bright.
- Would Hurt a Child: Cotton Mouth, the Snake Oil Salesman who peddled a poisonous health tonic in the swamps around Neigh Orleans years ago, leading to a rash of dead and severely deformed foal births. He returns in Chapter 40 to kidnap Mudpuppy and Sweetie Belle, using an army of kappas and zombies under his control, and it's strongly implied that he bred the hinkypunks that bit and nearly killed Sweet Peach and other foals in Neigh Orleans. Chapter 41 reveals that he's actually working for the monsters' real breeder, and he honestly didn't know his elixir was flawed when he gave it to the mares. But he still proves himself capable of purposely hurting children when he rips out some of Mud Puppy's feathers to keep her from escaping.
- Writer on Board: Whenever the subject of bullying comes up. Also when plot elements from canon he didn't like are discussed; this includes Celestia bopping the Mane 6 over the head with the anvil that yes it was wrong for the CMC to publish the Gabby Gums articles...but they bought said articles so it's as much their own fault as the fillies and that their reaction to the events was totally overblown.
- Scootaloo's arc with the Nobody's Fools really puts forward the point that disabilities and shortcomings are not things to be "normalized", they are things to be healed.
- Ye Olde Butcherede Englishe: There are several instances of "thee" and "thou" being used as plural forms of "you".
- To give Luna her due, of course, she's still likely getting used to the fact that they no longer have declensions for pronouns. 1,000 years is a lot of linguistic drift.
- You Need to Get Laid: The reason Luna asks the Mane Six to try finding Alicorn stallions? She's really tense from not getting any action for 1500 years.
- Your Head Asplode: How Dapper Blue, one of Rarity's Radiant Guard, deals with a kappa terrorizing a couple of passing ponies (one of whom is in labor). He stuffs an exploding chili pepper (a result of crossbreeding with poison joke) into a cucumber and lets the kappa eat it, causing an explosion that blows its head to pieces.