Reporter: "Well, with all the questionable individuals and associations and nepotism among you, why should we believe that you aren't? How do we know you're not just releasing the contents of the tomb to lull everypony into a false sense of security"
Night Light: (stops and turns to stare at the reporter.) "I cannot rightly comprehend the confusion of ideas that can lead somepony to ask something like that. Are you stupid, boy? Are you mental?" (steps forward) "Don't mess with me, boy. I am one of Equestria's fierce beasts. I am the original steam powered animal; I have dual pistons and a built-in cowcatcher and I will roll over your tiny ego like a herd of pie-crazed buffalo. I have SEEN horseapples. "I spent a portion of my daughter's cuteceneara day as a potted cactus. I nearly was father in law to a giant cock-a-roach. I have alicorns in my kitchen on a regular basis. My family pic-a-nics in Everfree Forest and likes it. "The Elements of Harmony swap Hearthwarming gifts with us. The fruits of my loins are forces of nature, boy. My daughter juggles ursa minors for a pastime, makes Nightmare Moon sit in the corner when she's naughty, and turned a Chaos god into a birdbath. She and her friends destroyed the Grand Galloping Gala and Princess Celestia applauded. My son slaps armies out of the sky by snogging his wife. My daughter in law sits on a THRONE and held the sky up for three days by sheer force of will. "And every one of them calls me SIR! "Now, listen closely you cut-rate Gabby Gums. If the Dual Throne was going to conquer your Empire, it wouldn't look like this. It wouldn't involve polite little press releases where you lot sit around slurping gelato while Celestia's protege' announces she's trying to find one of your long-lost historical treasures. You wouldn't have your precious Crystal Heart back. You certainly wouldn't see the lawful heir to the throne in her rightful place. "The only warning you'd receive before you woke up to Celestia and Luna on your thrones would be the sun going out." (The reporter swallows. Night Light grins fiercely) "That's right. Darkness in Day. That's the only warning the Gryphon Empire had before their little act of invasion 400 years ago got a response.... a nice little mid-day eclipse. Twenty four hours later Celestia and the Solar Army were rolling up the last of the Gryphon Emperor's army like a pastry chef rolling up a blintz. It was a century before the sanctions were lifted and before any Gryphon was allowed to carry anything more intimidating than a butter knife. To this day the Gryphon Kings whitewash the seat of their thrones at the very thought of going to war with Equestria. They're not too fond of eclipses, either, come to think of it. "THAT'S what a takeover by Equestria looks like! "Celestia and Luna do not want to conquer you, or control you. They've already got one kingdom to run, they certainly don't need two. They want to strengthen you, to give you the power to take care of yourselves. That's why her protegée found your crystal heart, that's why she's looking for the lost secrets of earth pony of crystal pony magic. Nopony would be wasting their time on that if all they wanted was to conquer the Crystal Throne. And you bloody well know that, you bush-league muckraker. "AS to what 'the former Nightmare Moon' is doing here, what she's doing is being with her family. And our plans for her are to help her mother raise her to be a good, kind, decent, upstanding mare— though as for that, seeing as Nyx gave up her throne, her power and even her name and became a little filly again because of her love for her mother, I daresay Twilight Sparkle is doing a bang-up job of raising her as it is. "Now step aside, you son of a bird cage liner. We're on our way to meet our daughter."
In Chapter 6, Shining Armor chews out a family for trying to sign up their obviously unfit son for the Royal Guards to make a stallion out of him.
Shining Armor: I've about had enough. You ponies have pushed my last button. YOU (the mother) need to get it through your head that the Guard is not a dumping ground for your parental failures. This is the Guard, we are not a substitute parent for when you get tired of screwing up the job. You (the father) need to get it through your head that we're not a whipping post for you to tie your son to when he disappoints you. And no, we would not 'make a stallion' out of him. We don't 'make stallions out of colts,' we make soldiers. We take them, teach them to take orders, break things, and kill ponies. They may become stallions along the way, but that's only if there was something there to become one in the first place. But that probably goes right over your head, as you apparently think all it takes to be a stallion is to have a big mouth. Shut it! (he does) And by the way, we don't have a draft. There's a word in Equestrian for coercing people to serve you against their will: slavery. We don't want an army of ponies that we had to bully or strong-hoof into wearing the uniform. And you, sir, (the grandfather) I've been listening to you flap your gab about the good old days in the Imperial Army since you arrived, and you're right— no pony from the Equestrian armed forces would ever make it through that kind of treatment. Because we outlawed that kind of head-up-the-plot stupidity nearly a thousand years ago! We run our cadets through the toughest training regiment on the planet. Up to fifteen percent don't make it through for one reason or other. But only a complete stone-age craps-while-he-walks roadapples-for-brains tinpot backwater King Nothing wannabe IDIOT thinks that psychologically and physically torturing your troops makes them fit for service! Your leaders thought that way; your leaders got overrun by King Sombra. King Sombra thought like that; King Sombra got his plot kicked all over the tundra by two princesses in tiaras while his big bad army of psychotically disturbed sadomasochists ran for the hills! And one other thing. Tell me, old timer; had any problems lately with frost wolves in your neighborhood? Well? Any windigoes, yetis, or ice moles? Had any run ins with hydras, manticores, dragons, rogue sea serpents, roaming bandits, pirates, diamond dogs? Well, then, on behalf of my weak, wussy, 'prancy' generation to yours, you're welcome.
He turns to Roller, who's trying to hide a smirk, and Dope Slaps him.
Roller: Hey, what—
Shining: Don't think I'm on your side here, kid. Something tells me that you've done nothing to keep from living down to their expectations. You're not out of the woods just yet. The rest of you get out. I'm going to have a word with this little screwup in private. OUT! (They leave.)
He then proceeds to call out Roller for his attitude problem while still doing more to improve his self-esteem than his parents.
Chapter 23 reveals that Dubious investigated Rainbow Dash's first sonic rainboom and "disproved" it by making the witnesses doubt themselves when he interviewed them, including Fluttershy who tells him off for it. Rainbow decides to prove what she can do by performing a sonic rainboom with Dubious being dragged along for the ride! Can you say Skeptic No Longer?
He being Spike. Before these words? The baby dragon we all know and love, heavily wounded, in death danger and terrified. After these words? The badass child of Godzilla and Hulk, ready to kick tons of ass!! And boy, does he kick tons of ass!!
Chapter 30. Facing a squad of Diamond Dogs intent on pillaging the castle, Nyx lets go with an eardrum-shattering scream that sends them tumbling all the way to the bottom of the stairs. Shen then spends the next two chapters foiling their repeated advances with increasing ease and getting in a little spell practice at the same time.
No, Spike doesn't actually say that cult phrase. But yes, there is a Shout-Out to it.
And the last chapter:
Spike: You're right about one thing, Garble. I was raised by namby pamby ponies. But I'm not a pony. I won't beat you up, then put band-aids on all your boo-boos and send you home. I'm a dragon. And I'll treat you like any dragon would if you touched their hoard. If you ever try to hurt my ponies ever again... I'll rip you apart.
It gets better. The other dragons had eaten Fire Opals to get so powerful, and Garble assumes that's what Spike did. Spike stuns him by mentioning he's never had one in his life. The only response the dragons could give was silence, and one finally made a sound like a stepped-on mouse.
Better still: Spike had blasted several of the dragons with a fire breath that teleported them to Canterlot, where Celestia and Luna cheerfully beat the hell out of them. He told Garble afterward that he hadn't known his mail-sending flame was active at the time; he had intended to burn the dragons to ashes.
The reason the Princesses took control of the Sun and Moon was the force equality on the pony tribes....by putting the Unicorns, the ones who were basically running the show for most of pony history up to that point, out of a job by putting the two celestial bodies under Celestia and Luna's exclusive control.
Nightmare Night and Nyx:
Fluttershy chews Rainbow Dash out for calling Nyx a crybaby and refuses to speak to her until she apologizes to Nyx.
Pip tackles Shining Armor to the ground and stares him down. Colt's got balls of steel.
Big Macintosh kicks down two quarter-ton doors... Which is quickly followed Bruce Mane channeling Batstallion and intimidating a conspirator into telling them where Nyx is.
I swear to Celestia!! Swear to Celestia?! SWEAR TO ME!!
Everyone trying to stop the cultists.
When Duke Blueblood tries to coerce Twilight into an Arranged Marriage with Prince Blueblood via getting her father drunk and invoking an ancient law, she responds by going into an Unstoppable Rage and beating the snot out of him (complete with Groin Attack) in order to get him to sign an annulment. Then, when he protests having done so under duress, Celestia goes into a rage herself, explaining how she banned such arrangements centuries ago, how Duke Blueblood's attempts count as attempted rape, slavery, blackmail, and (since Twilight's royalty) treason, and how if he tries to take Twilight to court, it'll just result in his own prosecution. He promptly, and meekly, runs away at that point.
Technically, Celestia never managed to ban the practice itself. She just used her position and Chess Master abilities to pass other laws (the ones against rape, slavery, blackmail, etc.) that made the traditional form of the practice impossible to pull off legally.
In Chapter 8, Twilight Velvet gets her own equivalent to Night Light's speech in Nyx's Family. Finding three nobles gossiping about her daughter, she proceeds to verbally rip them a new one and threatens to do far worse if they spread any rumors about Twilight's upcoming wedding.
Nyx is going back to school for the first time since becoming royalty and is worried that everyone will treat her different. So what does she do? She gets Flitter to disguise herself as Nyx and enter the classroom doing a song and dance routine about how great she is. The prank succeeds in breaking the ice and making Nyx feel like everything's going to be okay. Also a CMOF.
Twilight gets to "swing the Big Hammer" on the various nobles wasting the court's time with pointless petitions and greedy attempts at new taxes designed to line their own pockets. Which is to say, she — starting in the Royal Canterlot Voice — chews them out over not only doing the above but choosing to do it while the Triarchy are in the middle of dealing with an actual crisis (the political fallout of Nyx's brief rule). She tells the lot of them that unless they actually have something genuinely important to bring before the thrones, they should leave and throw out the documents they brought with them to back up their cases. Two-thirds of the petitioners promptly do so.
To take it Up to Eleven, one-third of the rest wait their turn only to see their papers quickly trashed once they address the throne.
During the ball, Pelé, the "goddess" of volcanoes and quakes, starts giving Baby Talk to Spike. Spike, eventually fed up, hulks up.
Made even more awesome by the fact that he's not even at half his maximum size, and still towers over her!
Zheng He deserves credit for not being even remotely startled by this, taking it all in stride.
And when Pelé starts flirting with him, Rarity gives a little speech that is extremely nice, extremely polite, but still is "Hands off MY boy, bitch!".
Nyx:She wasn't... She was! Holey smokes!
The firebird just exudes an aura of awesome.
Dubloon taking responsibility for the drain ride.
Twilight posiblly coming up with a Yggdrasil-type solution for running the natural events of Equestria on the Celestial Council level.
Celestia out-maneuvering Duke Blueblood's manipulations and helping the ponies he tries to hurt.
All of Nyx's Ponyville friends and the "Royal Brats" teaming up to infiltrate the Blueblood suite and get evidence of the Duke's plans. Nyx was more than a little surprised when every single one of them showed up at the castle in response to her general call for help.
Twilight shutting up the Western Kingdom delegate by pointing out that the storms caused by Nyx's actions were no worse than countless others his people have experienced, and lampshading their stupidity for all the generations of not doing anything to better equip themselves against natural disasters.
Two new events:
Twilight's plan for the "Yggdrasil-type solution of the Celestial Council's control over natural events": basically, a series of massive orrerys designed to synchronize the natural events (IE: Sun, Moon, Plate Techtonics, EM, Etc) together with a council member overide as necessary. It would even provide massive amounts of jobs needed to create and maintain the devices, 24 in total. The most impressive part is the fact that she used a spell to allow her to achieve five years of work in five days! Not to mention the device shown was a quarter-scale proof-of-concept model that effectively took over Celestia and Luna's command of the Sun and Moon!
Duke Blueblood's ousting as a mastermind who wanted Unicorns back on the throne, thanks to Prince Blueblood finally growing a pair after discovering what happened in the previous chapter with the CMC/Royal Kid Aliance. Including plans of a Superweapon called Golden Sunrise
The revelation that the world of MLP:FIM is effectively a starship launched ages ago and still far away from its destination.
Celestia manipulating things to allow Twilight to stay in Ponyville.
This follows Twilight finally snapping and giving a spectacular Calling the Old Woman Out speech where she utterly rejects the claim that she was ever destined to become a princess and chews Celestia out for never stopping to consult her about it, effectively proving to Celestia that she is strong enough to fight for what she wants in her own life, even against her mentor if need be.
The Firebird ascending Ink Spot so he and Twilight can be together all their lives.
It was not the Firebird that Ascended Ink Spot. It was the energy of the Elements combined with an altered version of Starswirl's ascension spell, plus the second Crystal Heart from Nyx's Family and energy from the "largest group of nigh-cosmic entities since Discord's fifth birthday".
Tirek Gets A Righteous Beatdown
The titular beatdown, delivered by Crystal Champion mode Spike.
The following part of the Humiliation Conga, where the Crusaders successfully threaten him with further harm into handing over his backup supply of stolen magic (which happens to be theirs).
It's only given as backstory but Diamond Tiara hints that she set up the nanny who was responsible for Silver Spoon's fear of the dark for such a bad fall from grace that her only means of income in current day is collecting discarded bottles and exchanging them for bits. Harsh? Yes. Awesome? Also yes. Doubles as a CMOH.
The magic duel between Diamond Tiara and Apple Bloom in Chapter 12. It slowly escalates into a no-holds-barred battle, with Diamond flinging wild lightning and Bloom assaulting her with incendiary fruit. The only thing that stops them from going the distance is the arrival of a furious Twilight, Applejack, and Filthy Rich, alerted by Spike as soon as things start to get out of hand.