Fanfic: The Great Alicorn Hunt

The sequel to Parting Words.

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 stallion or two...

It is still ongoing.

Can be found here.


  • 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.
    • And later in Chapter 30:
    Spike: "So Pinkie Pie picked the Princess a pack of pickled produce?"
  • 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).
  • 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 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.)
  • Armor-Piercing Question: Celestia gives an excellent one to Sheriff Brass and Deputy Flute, two members of an earty 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?
    Celestia: You silly, silly ponies. You despise innocent ponies for having a mixed heritage. What do you suppose MY parentage was?
  • Author Filibuster: Most of Chapter 35 is one, directed against the Season 5 episode "Crusaders of the Lost Mark."
  • 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.
  • Bee Bee Gun: Appleboom 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.
  • 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.
    • Poor Luna has a HILARIOUS one on ALL of her bodyguards.
    • Inverted with Fluttershy, with all the guards having a crush on her.
      • The best part is that Celestia did this on purpose.
      Celestia: I daresay they'd break anypony in half that even looked at dear Fluttershy the wrong way.
  • 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 lockpicks 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.
  • 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.
  • Cool Airship: All the Mane Six's royal flagships. Each customized for their owner with appropriate Meaningful Names.
  • 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.
  • Crazy-Prepared: 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.
    • 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.
  • 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.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle :
    • Rainbow Dash delivers one to Spitfire.
    • All of Bishi's fights become this.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: It's ultimately Applebloom who figures out how to take down Malfunziona and re-imprison him.
  • Drill Sergeant Nasty: Granny Smith gets to play this part when punishing the Manehatten 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 of 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 Starswirl'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.
  • Happily Adopted: Jasper, by Trixie.
  • 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 Applebloom 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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, Applebloom 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 Draconequs' nose.
  • 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.
  • Medieval Stasis: Equestria was in one until 500 years ago thanks to a lesser Draconequs known as Malfunziona who made mechanical devices malfunction. Until he was bound by the pony equivalent of Leonardo da Vinci.
  • Mistaken for Racist: 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 he asks if he knows Zecora, he seems insulted that she apparently assumes all zebras know each other.
  • 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.
  • 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...
    • The dolls and paint actually look reasonable and obvious. Which may be a Red Herring, of course.
  • Not Me This Time: 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 by someone else.
  • 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.
    • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
    • 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 fangirl, 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.
  • Power Nullifier: 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.)
  • Pre-Asskicking One-Liner: Bishi gets one when asked why he's donning training shoes:
    "So I don't break your jaw when I kick you in the face."
    • Applebloom 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 Applebloom, "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.
  • 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/Reassigned to Antarctica: The majority of Applejack's guard, The Roughnecks. Aside from the usual discipline problems, there are also few donkeys, a crystal pony, three batponies, a gryphon, a zebra, even a diamond dog. And one of Applejack's cousins, the sight of whom really throws her for a loop.
  • Rank Up: When Twilight inducts the first bunch of Royal Guards into her branch (the Twilight Guard), Celestia's last act as their commander is to promote Flash Sentry on the spot from Lieutenant to Captain, pointing out that he is Captain of the Guard anyway, so he should have the rank to prove 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.
  • "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, 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 ponyhunt 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.
  • 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 illusions are 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.
  • 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 on oversized 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 wrecks havoc. Until Applebloom figures out how to beat and re-imprison him.
  • Shaped Like Itself: Part of why Applebloom doesn't like the Cutie Mark she gets in her dream is it was essentially 'A Cutie Mark in crusading for Cutie Marks'. Comparing it to winning a pie eating contest 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.
  • Shout-Out: Discord briefly dresses up as Ash while fighting the living vines.
    • 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 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:
    "I— no, actually. I'm a soldier, your Highness," Flash said. "Contrary to what most ponies think, our job is to make sure the other guy dies for his country.
    • Fort Red (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.
    • Also in Chapter 38, Babs faces off against a giant monster that is entirely made of hair and sneakers, just like Marvin the Martian's henchman from the original 1960s Duck Dodgers cartoons.
  • 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 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 Sweetiebelle
    • Applejack with Applebloom and Babs Seed
    • Fluttershy and Bishi
    • And 'honorary sisters' Rainbow Dash and Scootaloo.
  • The Smurfette Principle: Inverted. As of chapter 39, there are 15 alicorns in Equestria (the Mane Six, Celestia, Luna, Cadence, Shining Armor, Sunset Shimmer, Necturus a.k.a. Mudpuppy, Trixie, Jasper, and Applebloom), 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 before, one of them sold a medication to several ponies near Neigh Orleans that was supposed to make birth easier. Problem is, it was really their world's equivalent of Thalidomide, and so most of the foals were stillborn or had physical deformations that led to their early deaths. Only two of that entire group survived to the present day, one of whom did so by ascending into 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.
  • 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 the Crystal Castle's 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: Applebloom 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 already so broken that 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 effect 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);
    • 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 Ponykind 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 "The Crusaders of the Lost Mark", having it be a horrifying nightmare for Apple Bloom and giving Babs the giggles.
  • 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 backpaces immediately, blushing all the while.
  • 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. 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."
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Writer on Board: Whenever the subject of bullying comes up.
  • 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.
  • 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.