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Fan Fic / The Chase

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Pegasi really are brutes.

Bucky Bitters struggles to escape the airborne affections of Derpy Hooves after a chance encounter caused them to bump noses together. His real mistake was trying to comfort the mare after the snoot-bump. Little does the poor stallion realize that their meeting was only the prologue to a journey that will change his life and the lives around him forever.

The Chase is a My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic fanfic by kudzuhaiku that follows Bucky and his ever growing world down the drain of anarchy, necromancy, and deific ascension.

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This story provides examples of:

  • All Mares Are Lustful: Played with. As the ponies are depicted as having a biology very much akin to terrestrial horses, all mares go through a heat cycle, during which they are...well...lustful. This can be countered or minimized through magic or medicine, of course. In a more general sense, neither mares nor stallions are shown as being particularly more lustful, nor is one gender obligated to begin a courtship; it's a matter of the individual.
  • Amplifier Artifact: Mentioned as a means by which powerful enchanters can become a force to be reckoned with, with the canon Alicorn Amulet as an example. Bucky's new horn of fulgurite also counts.
  • Ancient Artifact: Discussed and referenced, but most powerful items encountered are not ancient.
  • Animate Dead: One of the classic use of necromancy. Ponies in general are extremely disturbed by this, and zombies can be a significant threat. Amusingly, Bucky corrects several inaccurate myths perpetrated by Equestrian horror films prior to a group facing them.
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  • Applied Phlebotinum: Lots and lots of magic; the story is set in a world of magical ponies. See various other entries.
  • Anthropomorphic Personification: Alicorns are essentially this, linked to a cosmic force; Celestia to the sun and the day, Luna to the moon and the night, Cadance to love, Twilight to magic, and Bucky to war and hate, if he ascends. Discord (chaos), The Fates (fate), and The Creator alicorn (balance) are other examples. Demons may or may not qualify; the jury is still out.
  • Anti Anti Christ: Bucky sort-of fits this role. He's destined to become the Alicorn of War, and his ascension into such would lead to the end of the world. Given that, he's actively avoiding fulfilling said destiny. Unusual in that his destiny comes not from demons or evil, but from the Creator alicorn, who is a force for balance.
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  • An Arm and a Leg: Bucky and Keg Smasher both wind up losing one of their legs each.
  • Artifact Title: The story was about a chase...for the first two chapters. It gets the occasional Title Drop or use as metaphor, however.
  • Artificial Limbs: After losing a leg, Bucky is planning on this as a solution.
  • Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence: Bucky is trying to avoid apotheosis, since it's linked to a potential Bad Future. Happened to a pegasus from an alternate dimension after killing their version of Luna.
  • Bad Powers, Good People: Bucky qualifies eventually; The Taint makes dark magic especially easy for him, and his shadow diving form is poisonous gas.
  • Beauty Equals Goodness: Zig-zagged. The main characters are generally stated to be attractive, as are Celestia and Luna among others. However, many of the evil nobles are just as pretty. And of course, after his injuries, Bucky doesn't exactly have attractive looks - but then, he's not necessarily "good". This is further confused by the story often being told from the point of view of a given pony, and thus having their feelings color whether or not others are described as attractive.
  • Berserk Button: We've got a whole console of buttons here! Dinky has one when she can't use her magic. Derpy will smash you into paste if you harm foals, especially if those foals are her own. Similarly, Bucky becomes quite protective of his family. If you even harm a hair on their hides, what you have really done is give yourself a one-way pass into Tartarus, effective immediately, because Bucky WILL make you regret it.
  • Bigger on the Inside: Canterlot Castle contains extradimensional spaces.
  • Black Magic: Accessed by rage and hatred, useful for many things, the chance of an evil shadow of an evil overlord taking over your body notwithstanding. Comes with a form of Power Glows/Glowing Eyes of Doom in the style of King Sombra. Long-time users may develop this permanently as a lethal condition called Taint. The explanation for this is dark mana evaporating via the eyeballs.
  • Boom, Headshot!: More than one nasty creature is dispatched this way at the hooves or horn of a pony.
  • Burning with Anger: As per the image on that page, unicorns with an affinity for fire wind up in this state if they lose control.
  • Call on Me: "Uncle Scorch" has said he will come when Rising Star calls his name.
  • Cast Herd: We have separate sections and sometimes entire chapters from the perspectives of Bucky, Derpy and Berry, with some Lyra, Bon Bon and Thistle thrown in for good measure, and other sections dedicated to the foals, especially Sentinel, though Dinky and Ripple also have large swathes of their own narration.
  • Cerebus Syndrome: The story starts out with a fairly-innocent, slice-of-life premise, but as the story progresses, it gets darker. Much darker.
  • Character Filibuster: Berry Punch's seems to be polygamy:
    Berry Punch: “A mare should have the right to assemble with like-minded mares and form a herd. Present a united front. Engage in collective bargaining. Have the right to assemble. We deserve the power of committee. We deserve to be able to divide our labour and lighten our loads. We have a right to have motherhood as a unified group effort because it takes a herd to raise a foal. We have a right to collect and assemble mares from different backgrounds together so our foals will grow up with the broadest possible knowledge base to work with. What I know is limited, what another mare knows might also be limited, but together, we can teach all of what we know to our foals and have them prosper, and then when they have foals, that collection of knowledge can be passed on to their foals, each generation starting off a little better than the one before. I have a right to be a good mother, and share my motherhood experience with my best friends, those I love, and my fellow herdmates within marriage. And nopony has the right to take that from me. Motherhood is sacred. It is the foundation of our society and the privilege of every mare to do her part, and she shouldn’t be forced to endure this task alone, bearing the heavy brunt of all this labour on her shoulders. We deserve to be empowered!
  • Clip Its Wings: More then one pegasus from the Isles suffers this, before or during the story, including Laird Keg Smasher.
  • Cool Airship: Exist in canon, and more explicitly exemplified in the story by the Scorned Mare. The prequel story, The Catch, uses them as a central feature since it's about Sky Pirates.
  • Crash-Into Hello: How the story kicks off.
  • Crystal Ball: Bucky makes repeated use out of simple glass spheres enchanted in various ways. So far, no scrying though.
  • Culture Clash: One of the major recurring themes. Okay, so we've got our initial three tribes, plus a few unique spin-offs of the tribes, and the tribes themselves don't have monolithic cultures, then there's the territorial differences between the Shetland Isles and Equestria which itself is split between the monogamists in power and a variety of polygamist and/or outright homosexual groups of varying levels of extremism, and that's before you factor in the different views of magic, especially between certain other countries and Equestria. And then there are the non-pony species...
  • Cute Clumsy Girl: This is how Bucky views Derpy.
  • The Dark Arts: Both dark magic and necromancy are treated as such, and both cause the same Glowing Eyes of Doom when in use. Shadow magic generally gets a pass.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: In the case of dark magic and shadow magic: The former is drawn from pain and hatred, but can be put to good use; the latter can be scary, but it's largely seen as neutral, or even The Sacred Darkness to those loyal to Luna. Necromancy, on the other hand, is vile.
  • The Dark Side: Interestingly enough, typical dark magic doesn't include this; it's not very seductive and anything but pleasurable to use. In fact, overuse may lead to The Taint, a permanent and usually lethal corruption. Necromancy, on the other hand, is very much the dark side; it offers power at a premium without any apparent cost. It is eventually revealed that this is because the power comes from demons, who can slip free of Tartarus when necromantic spells are cast.
  • Deflector Shields: One of many variety of defensive magics that unicorns can use. Lyra, a talented abjurer, is skill in their creation and dismantling. Bucky is not; his shields tend to get dismantled quickly, and he resorts to brute force to try and get rid of those of others.
  • Depleted Phlebotinum Shells - Lugus's hook-axe was able to kill a banshee, which is apparently quite difficult.
  • Doorstopper: This thing is over 2,000,000 words long as of September 2015. It has over 800 chapters. The author often posts two or three chapters per day, getting it to the spot of longest story on FIMfiction within a year and a half of publication. Good luck picking this thing up.
  • Elemental Embodiment: Fey creatures are Fae with connection to another plane, with fire being the most commonly seen. Celestia speaks of pyromancers in this manner as well with regards to fire. The shadow essence of lunar pegasi may qualify them as embodiments as well.
  • Elemental Magic: Most unicorns are found to have an element they use most easily, typically either fire, cold, or electricity, though others such as earth are possible.
  • Emotional Powers: Different elemental magics demand different sorts of emotional states for proper use; fire relies upon anger, cold upon sheer will, and electricity upon focus or concentration.
  • Emotion Bomb: A literal and rather disturbing case; for fighting the shadow wolves, Bucky produces magical munitions that carry a sexual variant of a "want it, need it" spell, tuned so it would not affect ponies. The results of one of these "rape bombs" going off is best not thought about for too long, and certainly incapacitating for the wolves in the area.
  • Empathic Healer: Non-necromantic healing requires that the healer endure the pain of the injury or malady that they are healing (but not to actually become wounded or ill themselves). For this reason, healers are rarer than the actual healing abilities themselves, and healers tend to charge quite a bit for their services.
  • Entropy and Chaos Magic: The former is actually what Bucky's cold specialty comes from, and the latter is exemplified by Discord.
  • Equivalent Exchange: Magic requires mana, which is generally derived from food consumed by ponies. Further, transmutations need something to be transformed. Powerful unicorns can make things out of mana alone, but this generally demands the objects be related to their affinity or talent.
  • Explosive Overclocking - A unicorn who uses too much magic risks having their horn crack or break. As healing a horn requires a large amount of mana (and thus food), such unicorns will die of starvation without medical attention. Happens to Bucky, thanks in part to a quirk of destiny, when he digs deep to save Dinky from a brainwashed Ponyville.
  • Eye Scream: Bucky has half of his face torn off, eye including. He has to get the remains of it scooped out before it festered.
  • Family-Unfriendly Death: Anytime the Shadow Wolves get their teeth in something. Also extends to the demise of their master, and basically any user of dark magic.
  • Fantastic Light Source: Unicorns can cast light spells, and their horns glow while being charged. Also, sunstones and Bucky's false eye are gems enchanted to shed light.
  • Fantastic Racism: Present between the three kinds of ponies, inspired by the the story of the Founding of Equestria in the show proper. According to the other two tribes, pegasai are brutes, earth ponies are numbskulls, and unicorns are snobs, respectively. Exploring the causes and consequences of such "tribalism" is one of the major themes of the story, beginning with the protagonists' efforts to overcome cultural differences between their races and escalating to moving politically for greater inter-race and inter-species unity.
  • Fantasy Gun Control: Guns exist in this setting, originally the creation of Gryphons looking for better ways to fight unicorns and their magic, but they are tremendously uncommon thanks to the "global firearms ban ultimatum" - likely Celestia's work. Not in place during the prequel The Catch, which takes place about two-hundred years prior and starring a gun-wielding unicorn.
  • Farts on Fire: Happens in chapter 134:
    “Dragonfire!” Dinky shouted as she ignited her flatulence. There was a gout of flame that shot from her backside and scorched the grass. She felt a wash of heat as the flames gushed forth. As soon as the flames died down, she sat down in the grass to extinguish anything that might be smouldering.
  • Fee Fi Faux Pas: The story is kicked off by one of these, with Bucky accidentally giving the wrong signals to Derpy after bumping into her. He notes later that the tribes still don't communicate with each other that well.
  • The Fettered: Played with somewhat with Bucky, along with The Unfettered. He's really not a bad guy, and he will not harm his fellow ponies; this is in part due to the traumas he has endured, and partly because Sombra's memories and his potential destiny are THAT scary.
  • Fireballs: Given Rising Star's specialty, it should not come as a surprise.
  • Fire, Ice, Lightning: The three most comment or most well-known elemental affinities among unicorns.
  • Flaming Hair: Unicorns with fire affinities, at least when angry, using powerful fire magic, or occasionally when simply alone together.
  • Forced Sleep: Available by unicorn magic, though it has seen more therapeutic use than aggressive.
  • Full Potential Upgrade: After healing from having his horn crack, Bucky finds himself with much more power - which tends to make his horn spark and smoke. Thus, he makes plans to replace it with a new horn which can take the power without breaking again.
  • Functional Magic: Obviously. The base format is Inherent Gift, as per canon; all ponies have magic, and among them unicorns can cast actual spells. Several known flavors of magic are observed, which may be sub-divided into schools or disciplines.
    • Harmony Magic: the basic type of magic which unicorns channel, which permeates the universe, and which flows along Ley Lines.
    • Chaos Magic: unpredictable and difficult to manipulate with harmony magic, chaos magic is used by Discord, as well as by unicorns in a sufficiently agitated state of mind. It is said to be "soured" harmony magic.
    • Dark Magic: magic drawn out through negative emotions rather than harmony, dark magic is capable of some rather nasty things, and is often thought of as evil. Overuse is dangerous, as it can lead to acquiring The Taint.
    • Necromancy: while largely similar to dark magic, and visually indistinguishable, necromancy offers power over the undead, painless healing, and various other effects with surprisingly little effort. It is revealed that this is because it lets demons enter Equestria.
    • Healing: very similar to Necromancy in regards to healing, but very different in that the unicorn doing the healing is required to go through the same injury or trauma that necessitated the healing in the first place, with all the pain and suffering it brought, i.e. Going through the pain of having your own arm broken to heal someone else's broken arm. It's generally perceived as being a rare branch of magic, but it's really that not many unicorns want to go through all of that pain. Needless to say, but those that DO practice this charge a pretty bit for their services. The other difference between Necromantic and Healing is that Healing doesn't help demons escape Tartarus.
    • Music: apparently has a magic all its own, which can be blended with other forms. Some pegasi can naturally tap into it to evoke emotion and tap into nature.
      • Confirmed; as it turns out, the gryphons' true calling is to bring the magic of music to the world, with one of their head deities, Odin, being a patron of the arts, and doing everything he can to bring it to light.
    • Shadow Magic: a blending of harmony and dark magic, shadow magic is difficult for most unicorns to access. The specialty of Princess Luna and inherent to lunar pegasi, it allows for such feats as diving into dreams and temporary portal creation.
  • Geas: Capable of being placed by powerful casters, and apparently inherent to fae creatures and their promises.
  • God in Human Form: Celestia and Luna are presented as being something akin to this, though both enjoy being "just ponies" when given the opportunity.
  • Golem: One of Bucky's visions of a Bad Future include golems made of spell jars full of nasty spells, such that they will release deadly magics when damaged. See also Improvised Golems.
  • Good Wings, Evil Wings: Subverted and discussed; lunar pegasi suffer prejudice for having bat-like wings (among other things), yet are no more likely to be good or evil than any other pegasus. Similarly, despite having feathered wings, gryphons are portrayed as especially vicious and predatory. (Gryphons being a Proud Warrior Race in at least one caste may be considered one "straight" example)
  • Groin Attack: Berry breaks the 'peace' between House Avarice and Clan Pickled when she justly delivers a beating upon Primrose Propers. She also attempts to ensure no more foals will be born to such an undeserving mare.
  • Harmful to Touch: the blade of Lugus's hook-axe should not be touched, period.
  • Hellfire: Demons with access to infernal flames can burn anything, given power, time, and a desire for it to be burned. Rising Star gets access to this sort of fire as well after being tricked into becoming a fey unicorn.
  • Heroic RRoD: When it comes to heroics, Bucky has a habit of overworking himself, and suffers for it.
  • Improvised Golems: While bored, Bucky whips together a couple of miniature ponies made from ice. Which then copulate.
  • Insistent Terminology:
    • from chapter 34:
    Luna: You struck my sister.
    Twilight: No, I swatted your sister.
    • One of Bucky's foals, Harper, insists on referring to Bucky as "Mama". The little unicorn is prone to zapping ponies who contradict her on this topic.
  • An Ice Person: While any unicorn with sufficient power and will can cast ice spells, a specialty in ice is uncommon. Bucky exhibits this, eventually getting to the point of minor frost effects coming from some of his non-ice spells.
  • Kudzu Plot: Unusually appropriate in this case, considering the author's own username. Arc after arc of the story has come and gone, with plot points being started and characters being introduced, and then not acknowledged until much later when deemed relevant.
  • Ley Line: Specifically exist in Equestria, and the most powerful unicorns as well as alicorns can tap into them to fuel their magic. Lesser unicorns who attempt are generally driven mad.
  • Lightning Gun: They exist as airship armament, presumably magical.
  • Literal Surveillance Bug: Dinky gets access to these as part of her talent, though with actual insects rather than robots.
  • Living Battery: A light example; unicorns store magical energy, and even the least powerful can have that energy extracted - indeed, there are factories dedicated to doing so to provide the power to mass-produce simple magic items, and the process is not at all uncomfortable (if a little boring).
  • Loads and Loads of Characters: We have Bucky, Derpy, and their herd which by the time of the Gryphon Diplomacy arc includes five mares, a secondary herd of four, a gryphon and his pony mate, five foals, and at least five more foals on the way, the Mane six, the princesses, about half of Clan Pickled are named, as are some of the members of House Avarice, we have some Ponyvillian folk, and other named characters from the show itself, as well as some demons and various deities. More are expected.
  • Loyal Phlebotinum: Certain magical items demonstrate this trait, and can be built with it in mind; see Only the Chosen May Wield.
  • Mama Bear: Many mares, with Derpy as the prime example. Pegasai mares are said to be especially prone to this, almost to the point of being a Hat.
  • Mage Marksman: Rye Mash, the main character from the prequel story The Catch, is this - though more marksman than mage. Bloody Velvet, who he learned gunplay from, is the reverse.
  • Magic A Is Magic A: Present in force; magic is well-defined and consistent.
  • A Magic Contract Comes with a Kiss: A pyrodryad wanted a kiss in exchange for an acorn to grant Rising Star power. Granted, it was too good to be true; she was impregnated by the kiss and he was turned into a fey unicorn and swept off to Tartarus. Never trust the fey.
  • Magic Enhancement: All sorts! Magical weapons, spells to make yourself stronger or lighter, and of course earth pony magic works this way for them all the time. Further, Sparkler and Rising Star have their magical potential increased through magical means.
  • Magic Is Mental: Played straight and subverted. Magic must be learned, and its use demands mental discipline and fortitude, but it is part of the physical laws of the universe, and a unicorn's magical strength is also a matter of their physical ability to channel magic. Further, it uses up mana, which comes from what they eat.
  • Magic Music: Music has a magic all it's own; it was used in conjunction with harmony magic by Lyra Heartstrings to counteract a magical fear effect. It is also used by certain pegasi to guide nature or evoke emotion - in fact, the pegasi who can do so arrange bird song each morning to set the tone of each day. When one remembers just how Equestrian weather happens, this does seem like the sort of thing ponies would do.
  • Magical Accessory: Bucky's torque has a minor enchantment on it.
  • Magical Eye: Thanks to injury, one of Bucky's eyes is destroyed, and eventually replaced with false eye consisting of a gem embedded in glass. It's connected to his magic system, but as of yet can only shine green light.
  • Magical Incantation: Spells have words, which when spoken (or thought) are tied to a given spell effect. When young unicorns are taught a simple blinking flare to be used in emergencies (to summon pegasi), they are taught the incantation "”Whenever I am all alone / And I am too scared to think / Whenever I need some help / I flash my light and blink!”
  • Magitek: A great deal of modern Equestrian technology. Given the approach taken by pony society, it fits.
  • Mana: Used to do magic, produced biologically from food; this demands unicorns eat heartily after impressive spellcasting (and they can actually starve since food is diverted to replenish mana before being digested for sustenance).
  • Mental World: Luna can enter the dreams of her subjects and through that explore their minds, and often uses the ability to give them psychological aid.
  • Multicultural Alien Planet: Implied by the show proper, the various cultures and species featured in *are depicted as quite different indeed. In the simplest sense, the pony types or tribes have differences in culture which largely arise from their biology. On an international scale, there are the warlike and nationalistic gryphons (and their servile smaller kin), the mercantile minotaurs, and various pony nations outside Equestria proper. Conflicts between species and/or countries play a large role within the story, complete with some Fantastic Racism.
  • Mundane Utility: Magic is used more often to improve lives and make tasks quicker and easier (at the cost of calories) than it is to do combat.
  • My Species Doth Protest Too Much: Lugus, while still a Proud Warrior Race Guy, has a different sense of honor than many gryphons; he is caring where they are brutal, he can be modest where they would shame the weakness that modesty suggests. He even went as far as to undergo painful surgery to remove his feline penile barbs to avoid hurting any lovers he may take. This is drilled in by his adoptive pony daughter, his curiosity about ponies and their customs, and his wife, the pegasi Yew Wood.
  • Nature Spirit: The Fae.
  • Natural Weapon: Several examples.
    • All ponies have hooves, which are devastating when used by strong earth ponies or dive bombing pegasi, especially with weighted shoes.
    • Carnivorous ponies such as lunar pegasi and kelpies have fangs - though they are intended for use on prey, not other ponies.
    • Gryphons have potent weapons in the form of their beak and claws, but tend to use held weapons for actual combat.
    • Presumably a unicorn's horn could be stabbed with, but there are no examples of such; their magic is a much more efficient weapon.
    • Bucky's new leg has claws and a tail as well.
    • Various animals and monsters have expected natural weapons; wolves have fangs, wyverns have fangs and a stinger on their tail, and so forth.
  • Necromancer: A crystal lich, Bucky's grandfather. Lyra Heartstrings is notably curious about necromancy as well at least until the cost is revealed.
  • Off with His Head!: Happens to one very surprised banshee.
  • Only the Chosen May Wield: The end result of weapons and armor attuned to a being's magical signature, such as Bucky's armor and Ripple's combat shoes.
  • Papa Wolf: Most notably Bucky to his foals - and, in fact, foals in general.
  • Planet of Hats: The lunar pegasai and large breed of gryphons wear the Proud Warrior Race hat. The former live up to it well, the latter are a more pragmatic and nationalistic variant.
  • Playing with Fire: Any unicorn with enough power can use it, while some such as Celestia, Twilight, and Rising Star have an affinity for it. Also exhibited by certain non-ponies, including a fiery dryad, phoenixes, and some demons.
  • Power Levels: Unicorns are divided into five by ability.
    • Type One unicorns can manage telekinesis and a few spells generally limited to their affinity or special talent; this is fairly common.
    • Type Two unicorns, only slightly less common, are also capable of learning to cast many spells, and delving into magic related to their special talent more deeply. Examples include Rising Star and Sparkler.
    • Type Three unicorns are able to cast just about any spell so long as they can learn them, and are capable of more overt feats such as conjuring matter out of nothing. Examples include Dinky and Bucky to begin with
    • Type Four unicorns are about the peak of unicorn ability; they have lots and lots of power at hand, can tap into Ley Lines for a boost. Examples include pre-ascension Twilight Sparkle, Starswirl the Bearded.
    • Type Five is alicorn-level, applying to the greater and the lesser alicorns both; atop everything in Type Four, they have even more power at their command, and gain strength through their related cosmic force or concept. It could be sub-divided, but ponies don't need the rankings to go any higher, as this is unattainable outside rare events such as ascension.
  • Power Nullifier: Magical inhibitors exist, and are used on criminals. The dark crystals that Sombra can cause to sprout from a unicorn's horn are similarly restricting.
  • The Power of Creation: Strong enough unicorns can use transmutation to turn objects into other sorts of objects - exemplified when rocks are transformed into furnature. This is deep magic, however, and rather exhausting.
  • The Power of Friendship: Suggested as a route to power to a distraught Trixie by Bucky. May or may not be a Magic Feather in her case.
  • The Power of Love: Cadance, as the alicorn of love, draws power from it rather literally. In a more metaphorical sense, love is shown to be a tremendous force for good; it helps broken and neurotic unicorns, it brings confidence, and it lends the strength to defend.
  • Power of Trust: Linked to The Power of Love, this provides in a similar manner; trust helps Loch Skimmer and Ripple come out of their shells, provides a basis for the love of Bucky's family in general, and tightens bonds during training or practice in magic or martial pursuits.
  • Power Source: Several are mentioned:
    • Unicorns tap into Harmony Magic, which relies upon mana in their bodies, which is converted from food they consume; it's both finite and comes with a downside for overuse.
    • More powerful unicorns can tap into Ley Lines, which are a nigh-infinite source of magic.
    • Necromancy is easier to use because at least some of the power comes from demons, who are allowed into the world by its use.
    • Alicorns gain power from whatever cosmic force or concept they are aligned with. By way of example, Princess Cadance grows more powerful in the presence of strong love.
    • It is possible for powerful enchanters to imbue items with their Life Force, at the expense of shaving years off their lifespan.
  • Proud Warrior Race Guy: Lugus, though he is an outcast.
  • Ramscoop: Or, rather, a cloudscoop is featured on modern airships to keep their balloons stuffed with cloudstuff; it saves on pegasus labor.
  • Removing the Head or Destroying the Brain: Doesn't work to de-animate zombies, though it might make them less effective.
  • The Sacred Darkness: Shadow magic is generally seen in this sense by Luna's followers, such as the lunar pegasi. Given that she's essentially a deity of the night, and a proper balance with the light represented by Celestia, this makes sense.
  • Said Bookism: while kudzu occasionally uses the word "said", the fic is rife with its replacements.
    “I’m sorry if I hurt you, I’m really strong. I just wanted to say thank you,” said Derpy sadly, her features now downcast.

    “You could have just said so,” muttered Bucky.

    “But I did say so!” replied Derpy, now looking like she was on the verge of tears.

    “A few words would do,” snarked Bucky.

    “We pegasi think words are meaningless and we rely on physical action,” explained Derpy, one tear sliding down her muzzle and then landing on Bucky’s muzzle.
  • Screw Learning, I Have Phlebotinum!: Toyed with; thanks to their communing, Dinky, Sparkler, and Rising Star all gain magical insight from Bucky. However, they still require further lessons.
  • Self-Healing Phlebotinum: Bucky's armor will gradually repair any damage done to it, up to an extent. The armor can't regenerate from nothing. The armor is lost in the equivalent of a nuclear explosion, utterly vaporizing the armor, forcing Bucky to consider alternatives.
  • Shapeshifter Baggage: Ripple's aquatic form is notably larger thanks to her tail.
  • Shapeshifting: Several variants have been shown thus far.
    • Involuntary Shapeshifter: Thistle and other kelpies adopt a hippocampus-like form in the water.
    • Elemental Shapeshifter: Certain ponies have a tendency to transform, in part or in whole, into their element of specialty when making elaborate use of it. Specifically, Rising Star, Celestia, and Twilight can all become flame, Sparkler can become rock, and Bucky can become ice.
    • Super Smoke: Lunar pegasi can turn into living shadow, with a few variations such as noxious gas or a Will'o'wisp light.
    • Metamorphosis: Bucky has gradually adopted more shadow essence after upgrading his horn and encountering the crystal lich's power sources, to the point of being the first "lunar unicorn". Or lunacorn.
  • Solar and Lunar: A common motif, given Celestia and Luna. Also present in pegasi; solar pegasi are the bird-winged, diurnal sort typically encountered with weather-manipulating powers, while lunar pegasi are the nocturnal, bat-winged, and can shadow dive. Bucky, after being infused with shadow, may be the first lunar unicorn.
  • Solid Clouds: As per canon, pegasi can walk on (and nap on) clouds. Slightly less typically, airships are explained as using super-condensed cloudstuff as a lighter-than-air gas in their balloons.
  • Spell Book: As with any self-respecting mage in a setting involving Spell Construction, Bucky has one. He's also gifted a very...personal one by Celestia after he's married (to his utter embarrassment), and books of powerful (and dark) magic by Luna after his return from the Isles.
  • Spell Construction: While detail is usually omitted, spells apparently have words which must be said (or thought) when used. This is the form in which they are written in a spellbook.
  • Stronger with Age: Implied of alicorns, true of dragons.
  • Sufficiently Analyzed Magic: Magic is largely treated in this manner by unicorns and the few other ponies educated in its study. One of the goals of the Founder's Forge, Bucky's academy, is to expand such education to all species, not just one tribe of equines. Given that Apple Bloom was crowned the Princess of Agriculture, and an Earth Pony to boot, it's safe to say it's so far a success.
  • Summon Magic: can be used to summon demons.
  • Summon to Hand: Lugus's Bucky-made hook-axe teleports back to him if thrown.
  • Supernatural Sensitivity: Setting aside the fantasy-standard Aura Vision spells and the like, ponies of all sorts have been implied to be able to sense workings of deep or powerful magic, usually in the bits of their body most closely linked to their own magic (hooves, wings, or horns for the three typical kinds).
  • Tail Slap: Occasionally used by ponies to chide or as another part of body language. A viable (and deadly) combat option for Bucky, thanks to Bucky's armor (while he had it) including a dragon-like tail.
  • Taken for Granite: Sparkler, once upgraded to Type Three, finds she is capable of petrifying her enemies, which is unheard of outside of alicorn-level magic.
  • That Makes Me Feel Angry: Seen occasionally, most often for humorous effect or justified during conversations about emotions or nonverbal communication. As an example of the former:
    Rising Star: I'm very confused!
    Sparkler: So am I!
  • Toilet Humour: Present both in the story and in the humor of characters therein. Especially prevalent are fart jokes, ranging from a unicorn foal enchanting a loaf of bread to make fart noises when sliced to the running gag of pegasai being flatulent.
  • The Tooth Hurts: After Derpy gives Keg Smasher a righteous thrashing, he winds up missing several teeth. Sour Mash is also missing a tooth by her appearance in the story thanks to participating in a fight club.
  • Time Travel: Sometimes, to make a truly extraordinary item, you need help. Sometimes, that help is you. It is extremely high-level magic, and it takes rigorous discipline and talent to pull it off.
  • The Unfettered: Played with somewhat with Bucky, along with The Fettered. He has plenty of moments, given that he willingly uses dark magic, but he does it for his foals, his family, and for Equestria at large. Again, he does not harm his fellow ponies. (That doesn't mean he's above frightening them to keep them in line, and don't even get him started about his mother...)
  • [[Tsundere]]: Many of the characters are this, but the most concisely described case is Sparkler, described by Rising Star as "She of the confusing come hither stare and she of the stay away from me scowl".
  • Turn Undead: As-yet unavailable in-setting, which is a real shame; the best they can manage is detection (which requires necromancy). Or luring them by altering the enchantment. Somewhat averted, when Sparkler (a geomancer, i.e. can turn to stone and petrify monsters) and Bucky (can turn into a massive ice golem if pushed, or you threaten his family and home) get smashed into literal pieces; Sparkler was facing a demon made of diseased flesh and Bucky was taking on several platoons of mirror invaders. They were technically dead, but thankfully they put themselves back together. Both of them describe it as an unpleasant and diminishing experience, as if your perspective were suddenly reduced to that of a bug.
  • Ugly Guy, Hot Wife: After his injuries, Bucky and his wives fit this trope - though they'd be upset with anyone who pointed it out.
  • Upgrade Artifact: Generally averted; magical equipment is useful, but one must still know how to use it. Other artifacts are entirely useless because the original creator died. See Loyal Phlebotinum.
  • Wall Crawl: Unicorns can use a spell to make themselves stick to walls and ceilings. Bucky did so as a foal as part of a prank involving inky hoofprints, and later as an adult when fleeing his coronation.
  • Weather Manipulation: Usually the domain of pegasi, but everyone helps out for the changing of the seasons. Can be done by some advance unicorn magics, and as Bucky becomes Lord of Winter, he is tasked with creating the first snowfall of the season.
  • Whatevermancy: From Cryomancy to Pyromancy, and Geomancy to Necromancy. Necromancy comes with the added bonus of summoning demons into Equestria!
  • With Great Power Comes Great Insanity: Unicorns, especially powerful unicorns and those from Canterlot, are subject to this; they are susceptible to various neuroses which may be partially caused by having to keep their magic controlled and in check, by demons or other powerful beings whispering to them, and by the isolation and reservation held by Canterlot unicorns as an ideal. Bucky himself is quite neurotic as the story opens. It's later learned that the herd structure is a huge boon against these problems, as it acts as a support structure for the unicorn(s). This is one of the points in bringing the herd system back into Equestria.
  • Wolverine Claws: Bucky is considering a set of these made of ice for his artificial limb.
  • Wreathed in Flames: Powerful unicorns with a talent for fire tend to do this; full-blown pyromancers may be wreathed while meditating. Scorch is a primordial fire spirit, and can take any form he wishes, depending on who he's with.

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