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Fanfic / The Nuptialverse

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Post Nuptials is a My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic Fanfic written by Darth Link 22.

Set right at the end of "A Canterlot Wedding", the story takes a much closer look at how Twilight Sparkle's friends reacted after discovering her accusations against Princess Cadance, which they'd previously ignored, were ultimately correct. Has Twilight truly forgiven them for not believing her? Was a simple apology really all it took to fix the damage they'd done? How will this incident shape their lives from now on?


The fanfic has spawned an entire series known as the "Nuptialverse", which establishes its own Darker and Edgier mythos distinct from the show as depicted in Season 3 onward (as it was being written before the season has aired), eventually delving into full Alternate Universe Fic territory. The stories are as follows:

  • Post Nuptials - The story that started it all. Set right at the end of "A Canterlot Wedding", the Changelings have been defeated and Shining Armor and Princess Cadance have wed, but Twilight's friends are still left to deal with the strain on their friendships left from their falling out at the wedding rehearsal.
    • Metamorphosis - A one-chapter side story also set in the same timeframe as Post Nuptials, where Queen Chrysalis reflects on her defeat and the circumstances that led to her becoming the ruler of the Changelings.
    • Honeymoon - Another side story, this one-shot shows Princess Cadance and Shining Armor embarking on their honeymoon and reminiscing the events that first brought them together.
    • Outrage - A later side oneshot showing Twilight Velvet and Night Light's efforts to get a handle on just what happened at the wedding.
  • Families - The sequel to Post Nuptials. Picking up immediately where the first story left off, Twilight and Rainbow Dash are determined to find out what's been eating Spike and Scootaloo since the wedding reception, while Pinkie Pie is forced to confront the ghosts of her long-abandoned past. It is complete.
    • The Visit - Set during Direction but acting as a closer for Scootaloo's storyline in Families, this oneshot features her visiting her parents in jail in order to finally end that part of her life.
  • Direction - In this third installment, Twilight and Spike are sent on a journey far away from home, leaving the rest of their friends to save Equestria without their team's backbone.
  • Through the Mirror - Simultaneously to the events of Direction, Twilight and Spike pursue Sunset Shimmer into another world in order to retrieve the stolen Element of Magic.

Both Direction and Through the Mirror have been left incomplete following Darth Link's untimely passing in 2022.

About Last Night (My Little Pony), which has similar themes and was also written by Darth Link, has its own page on TV Tropes

Beware of Late Arrival Spoilers in later story folders.


This series provides examples of:

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     The Series as a Whole 
  • Adaptation Name Change: Due to Pinkie's family appearing before their canon names in the show were introduced, here they go by the names that were common among fans. Pinkie's sisters are named Inkie and Blinkie instead of Marble and Limestone, and her Father is named Cylde instead of Igneous Rock. To a lesser extent, Pinkie's mom is named Sue instead of Cloudy Quartz.
  • Adapted Out: Due to "Post Nuptials" and "Families" being made long before Maud Pie appeared in the show, she is absent from Pinkie's backstory and family.
  • Adaptational Villainy: Discord is far more twisted and evil in this universe than his canon counterpart who, while certainly malicious and powerful, is more along the lines of a misbehaved brat and, against the author's expectations, turns (sort of) good.
  • Ancient Keeper: The Keeper, an Alicorn tasked with recording the events of the lives of everyone who's ever lived, whom Twilight meets in dreams on several occasions throughout the series.
  • Central Theme: The complexities of forgiveness and dealing with guilt are explored heavily throughout the series.
  • Dark Fic: Let's see, we're exploring the consequences of failing to protect Canterlot on not just Canterlot itself but also its defenders, we have domestic abuse, coups, backstories laden with betrayal, Discord being much more of a monster than the show makes him out to be, the list goes on. It's to the point where fans have pressured the author to add a Dark tag to his stories. The first story is an exception, however.
  • Doorstopper It has passed the 200,000 word threshold, as of 2019.
  • The Dreaded: Discord.
  • Ensemble Cast: Just like in canon.
  • The Fog of Ages: The Keeper has lived for so long that she has even forgotten her own name.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: Queen Chrysalis, which isn't much of a surprise considering how the stories are based off her malicious actions in "A Canterlot Wedding". By extension, Discord due to turning her into a Changeling in the first place in the fic's universe.
  • The Multiverse: In addition to Equestria and the Equestria Girls universe, the Keeper informs Twilight that there are a vast other number of universes out there.

    Post Nuptials 
  • Accusation Fic: The story has Twilight and her friends apologizing not just for the infamous Made Out to Be a Jerkass moment in the season 2 finale, but for pretty much every time they acted like jerks in the first two seasons (intentionally or not).
  • Adaptation Expansion: Several of the individual focus chapters are based on and include the snapshots from the reception sequence at the end of the actual episode.
  • Arc Words: Of Applejack's chapter: "Just don't think about it."
  • Armor-Piercing Question: When the CMC are talking to Spike and are trying to get him to overcome his guilt from not listening to Twilight, Sweetie Belle states that part of being a family is sometimes making mistakes, then reconciling. Spike then asks her if any of the mistakes that she or the Crusaders ever made got somepony they cared about almost killed at the hands of a monster like the Changeling Queen, or if they almost got Equestria taken over and everyone enslaved.
  • Brutal Honesty: When Twilight finally rips into her friends about how they easily turned against her at the wedding rehearsal, she wastes no time pointing out that they did it for somebody they had just met and who had been a total jerk to them the entire time. The Mane 5 wince, because they know perfectly well how right Twilight is about that.
  • Book Ends: The first and last chapters are about Twilight and her friends talking, making up, and hugging.
  • Deconstruction Fic: Post Nuptials deconstructs the aftermath of "A Canterlot Wedding", specifically how the Mane Six and other associated characters react to Twilight forgiving them for not believing her about Fake!Cadance; Twilight's friends continue to feel ashamed for turning their backs on her, while Twilight hides how angry she really feels out of fear that her foolish behavior nearly cost her her friends.
  • Decon-Recon Switch: Of Easily Forgiven, Twilight's forgiving everypony made the others feel more ashamed, than getting yelled at. However, Twilight admits she was upset by everypony's actions but acknowledges their remorse, and forgives them for real.
  • Dude, Where's My Respect?: Most of the Canterlot ponies don't even know the Mane Six even after they stood up to Nightmare Moon and Discord, mainly because those threats only really popped up in Ponyville before being suppressed. A select few such as Soarin' and Fancy Pants, on the other hand, fully acknowledge them and their efforts.
  • Easily Forgiven: Deconstructed; everyone feels even more undeserving of Twilight's friendship when she insists on forgiving them instead of chewing them out like they expected her to do. It's ultimately Reconstruction when Twilight admits she is still mad at them. Fortunately, getting all of the bitter feelings off Twilight's chest becomes the first step towards truly forgiving her friends.
  • Et Tu, Brute?: Subverted; during the reception, Twilight tells everyone who walked out on her that she doesn't feel they betrayed her trust, even though they feel they had. Then, on the train ride home, she admits she lied and calls them out on what they did to her.
  • Everyone Has Standards: According to Fancy Pants, even Jet Set and Upper Crust find Prince Blueblood to be a pompous jerk.
  • Fix Fic: The author admits feeling that the whole "Twilight getting dismissed" subplot in the season 2 finale deserved a lot more than a simple apology from Applejack for closure.
  • Foregone Conclusion: Most of Shining Armor's chapter takes place during Twilight's last-minute wedding planning, so when he says he's having cold hooves, readers who have seen the episode (or read the rest of the story up to this point) will know that he will change his mind.
  • Get A Hold Of Yourself Man: Twilight smacks Shining Armor in the face when he starts ranting about how poor of a brother, guard captain, and potential husband he's been. In a way, she also did this towards everyone else.
  • Good Cannot Comprehend Evil: Fluttershy doesn't understand why or how a sadistic and cruel being like Discord could exist. Of course this was written before Season 3.
  • Guilt Complex: Everyone regrets hurting Twilight so much that they feel they don't deserve to be her friends. Each chapter of Post Nuptials (and, in Spike's case, about one third of Families) focuses on them overcoming their guilt.
    • Some of the Mane Six feel as though they've betrayed the Elements of Harmony they represent: Rainbow Dash, the Element of Loyalty, turned her back on a close friend in favor of someone she'd just met; Rarity, the Element of Generosity, was too absorbed in generating business via her dresses to listen to Twilight; and Fluttershy, the Element of Kindness, coldly broke Twilight's heart along with everyone else.
    • When the rest of the Mane Six are apologizing to Twilight for shunning her, they're so upset and angry with themselves that they believe they haven't been good friends at all to her during the time that they had known her. They cite several incidents where they're right like the Ticket incident, when they brushed off Twilight's breakdown in "Lesson Zero", and when Applejack and Rarity kept fighting during Twilight's first-ever sleepover. However, they completely ignore the stuff where they have been good friends to her, and also begin to blame themselves for things they had nothing to do with (Like Discord brainwashing and corrupting all of them, despite the fact that he was too powerful, he had broken Twilight, too, and the only reason that they were able to win was because Celestia managed to restore her student's faith). Twi's quick to call them out on this, but it doesn't make them feel any less guilty.
    • Celestia and Shining Armor beat themselves up over ignoring a pivotal warning from their loyal student and sister, respectively, during high alert. In fact, Shining Armor thinks he's failed as a Captain, brother, and a potential husband for letting Chrysalis fool him, and even considers canceling the wedding altogether because of it.
    • Twilight hides how angry she really is because she knows she had acted completely out of control when she accused Cadance of being evil, and fears that she could have lost her friends for good had she been wrong. The whole thing had also made her question whether or not if her friends have faith in her.
  • Hand Wave: Assuming the Elements of Harmony were still kept behind the same door in Canterlot Tower shown in "The Return of Harmony", which can only be opened by Princess Celestia, how would the Mane Six have opened it in "A Canterlot Wedding"? Well according to this fic, the Elements would have come to them on their own if they got close enough.
    • The stories go with the interpretation that the reason Twilight's breakdown in "Lesson Zero" happened was because it was a week after Discord was defeated and she was still recovering from all the horrible things he had done to her. It was also why Princess Celestia had let her off the hook so easily for the Smartypants Incident.
  • Heartbreak and Ice Cream: Pinkie may deny it, but Luna deduces that her cake binge during the wedding reception is motivated by her lingering guilt.
  • Heel Realization: Discussed; Iron Will tells Fluttershy he started his assertiveness seminar to keep others from being bullied like he was in his youth. Since the events of "Putting Your Hoof Down", he has discovered that his seminar turned not only Fluttershy, but all of his customers into the same kind of bullies he tried protecting them from.
  • Heroic BSoD: All the focal characters find themselves in the middle of one in the beginning of the story. The rest of the series is about how each of them gets out of it and deals with the repercussions.
  • Hit Me, Dammit!: Or rather, "Yell at Us Dammit", Twilight's friends, Celestia, and Shining Armor felt like Twilight should've done so.
  • Humble Pie: Twilight's friends, while not feeling so great since they're prepared to move mountains to earn her forgiveness, are still brought down a few pegs when Twilight forgives them like it's nothing instead of angrily screaming at them like they anticipated.
  • I Can't Dance: Rainbow Dash jokes that she's an even worse dancer than Twilight.
  • Irony: Meta-example: The author often lampshades the irony in his posts that the episode that he hated the most (A Canterlot Wedding) was the one that he spent a lot of his time writing about and that it brought him fame in the Fimfiction community.
  • Jerkass Realization: Celestia, Shining Armor, Spike, and the mane Six were already hit with this hard in the canon episode, but we don't see much of that due to time constraints, other than Applejack apologizing for everyone. This fanfic takes it up to eleven, with everyone really beating themselves up over how badly they had broken Twilight's heart.
    • Both Applejack and Rainbow Dash recall how they and the others felt like complete jerks for walking out on Twilight once she and the real Cadance crashed the first wedding; Rainbow got hit with this particularly hard, to the point where she actually wanted Twilight to yell at her and the others for betraying her, because she originally argued Twilight needed to earn back their respect after what she did during the rehearsal.
    • Rarity has another one in her own chapter while speaking with Fancy Pants when she mentions how relieved she was to be forgiven by Twilight, only to then realize Twilight must also be harboring her own regrets for the rehearsal incident.
    • Spike's is so big that he absolutely refuses to even be in the same room as her, and it's not until the sequel that he even finds the strength to talk about his guilt with her.
    • Shining Armor's chapter shows Twilight having her own Jerkass Realization when, after stewing over her friends not listening to her, it dawns on her that she should've gathered evidence of the fake Cadance's behavior or spoken with Celestia before throwing accusations, even though there was no way for her to gather any in this case.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: For the Flim Flam brothers, as told by Apple Fritter. She tells Applejack they've tried their luck at Appleloosa, but Braeburn and Thunderhooves weren't pleased with what occurred in Ponyville and ran them out of town, trashing their machine in the process. Then they went to Canterlot to see if they'd do any better there, but skipped town as fast as they could when they found out that Celestia was friends with Applejack.
  • Let Us Never Speak of This Again: After Fluttershy and Iron Will stumble upon Octavia and Vinyl Scratch making out with each other while in the hedge maze:
    Iron Will: Did you see...
    Fluttershy: No.
    Iron Will: Me neither.
  • Like a Son to Me: Celestia loves Twilight like a daughter, which is a prime factor for her guilt over how cold she was to her beloved student. On a lesser note, neither Cadance nor any of Celestia's other "nephews and nieces" (including Blueblood) are actually related to her; they're just titles she gives to ponies she's especially close to.
  • Living Lie-Detector: Subverted. Applejack specifically tells Apple Fritter that no, wielding the Element of Honesty does not automatically make her capable of telling when someone's lying, when the latter asks how the Changeling Queen managed to fool the former.
  • Must Make Amends: The Mane Five visit Twilight at the very beginning of the story to make sure she knows how sorry they are for how terribly they treated her at the wedding rehearsal, and swear to make it up to her. Twilight tells them not to bother, and that just being her friends is enough to earn her forgiveness.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: The crowning trope of Post Nuptials. Whereas Applejack simply apologizes on her friends' behalf for not listening to Twilight about the impostor Princess Cadance in the show, all of Twilight's friends in this story, including her brother and mentor, are completely wracked with guilt not just for brushing her suspicions aside, but outright deserting her when Twilight drove the impostor off in (crocodile) tears with her accusations. Twilight is similarly mortified by her own outburst rather than just calmly forgiving her friends, as she fears they never would have forgiven her if she were wrong.
  • My Greatest Failure: The wedding rehearsal incident is this for everyone involved: Twilight's friends for abandoning Twilight, which led to Equestria almost being destroyed, and Twilight for making a complete fool of herself.
    • Twilight considers the "Smartypants incident" in "Lesson Zero" to be her second-greatest failure.
    • Princess Celestia and Shining Armor also take into account that Princess Cadance was trapped for five days in the caves beneath Canterlot, and that the city was very nearly invaded, due to their negligence.
  • Nightmare Sequence: Princess Celestia has a nightmare in which Nightmare Moon, her new protege Sunset Shimmer, a Changeling-turned Cadance, Queen Chrysalis, Discord, and his new "Queen of Chaos" Twilight taunt and accuse her of letting down her kingdom by ignoring her student.
  • Noodle Incident: There are two words explaining why alcohol was banned from Equestria for five hundred years, causing a decade-long economic depression: drunk Luna.
  • Nostalgia Filter: It's explained that this is one reason the others didn't believe Twilight's suspicions about the fake Cadance—they assumed that her complaints about "Cadance" not acting the way Twilight remembered was just Twilight trying too hard to relive her nostalgic memories.
  • Not a Date: Averted; Rainbow knows that her hanging out with Soarin at the wedding reception could very much qualify as a date and she decides to just play it cool. Though she is surprised later when Soarin says he thought of it as a date, she does not deny it and agrees that it was one, with the two of them making plans for Soarin to visit Ponyville so they can have a proper one.
  • Oblivious Guilt Slinging:
    • In a way, this is the reason why Twilight's friends, Princess Celestia, and Shining Armor felt ashamed by Twilight's forgiveness.
    • Applejack becomes a nasty victim of this in her chapter, where every time she sees Twilight laughing happily with Princess Cadance, or hears others say what an awesome friend Twilight is, drives a metaphorical knife through her heart. It reaches its peak when Apple Fritter tells her how Twilight immediately set out to find her after she told her friends she would be leaving Ponyville in "The Last Roundup".
    • There's also the moment where Cadance asks Applejack to play the fiddle for the reception. When the cowpony tries to decline, the princess insists, stating that she wanted to know about Twilight's other family, and threw in that Applejack had made Twilight an honorary Apple. As one commenter put it, "With Applejack's devotion to family, that has GOT to twist that knife."
    • Oddly enough, Twilight's friends slinging their own guilt becomes this for Twilight. As they go on and on about how they should have listened to her, Twilight thinks they would have done the opposite if she turned out to be wrong.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Defied, by Twilight everyone is fully expecting Twilight to give this to them. When she insists on turning the other cheek. Twilight believes because everyone felt remorse, she feels that calling them out is redundant. This is later played with to The Reason We Suck Speech however, each and every one of them give it to themselves in their ensuing guilt. Played straight when Twilight admits finally gives a bit of one to her friends at the end during her What the Hell, Hero? speech on the train ride home.
  • Sequel Hook: By the end of the story, Pinkie, Spike, and Scootaloo still have familial issues that need taking care of.
  • Ship Sinking: Rarity only dances with Fancy Pants, as shown in the canon episode, because they're friends. Likewise, Sweetie Belle only dances with Spike to try and cheer him up. Subverted with Rainbow Dash and Soarin'; they actually are on a date, and have plans for him to visit Ponyville for a proper one.
  • The Shrink: Pinkie Pie recalls that after she and the rest of the bearers had defeated Discord for good, Celestia had them all see trauma therapists, because after everyone was returned to normal, it was like waking up from a bad dream. To the Bearers, however, the effects from his brainwashing still lingered, since they were Discorded directly.
  • Shout-Out: Several
  • Simultaneous Arcs: Aside from the first, last, and Shining Armor chapters, all of Post Nuptials happens during the wedding reception, each chapter told from the POV of one of Twilight's friends (we actually get a sneak peek of Spike's chapter in Pinkie's because of this).
  • Tears of Remorse: Quite abundant as everyone is still angsting over how they acted during the wedding rehearsal.
  • Think Happy Thoughts: Deconstructed; Pinkie laughs and smiles until she feels better whenever she's sad, never talking with her friends about negative feelings because she doesn't want to make them unhappy. As a testament of how unhealthy this is, Princess Luna tells her this kind of attitude is what led to the birth of Nightmare Moon (and a five-hundred-year ban on alcohol), and suggests that her imaginary friends from "Party of One" are a product of this.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: This trope gets zigzagged alot.
    • Subverted at the start, when everyone is fully prepared for Twilight to tear into them for how they treated her at the wedding rehearsal, yet she instead calmly rationalizes their actions and says she has forgiven them. Double subverted on the train ride home when Twilight does call her friends out on not only for ditching her for somepony they had just met, but for somepony who had been mean to them the entire time.
    • Played Straight when Twilight gives a guilty Shining Armor a good smack to the face when he temporarily decides to cancel the wedding, because doing that would break Cadance's heart more than he thinks he's already done.
  • You Are Better Than You Think You Are:
    • Twilight gives this to her guilty friends and brother this as part of her forgiveness speech to them, pointing out that making one horrible mistake didn't automatically make them horrible ponies.
    • Luna tries to gives Celestia this, since neither of the Alicorns are actually omnipotent and can't sense everything underneath their muzzles. It doesn't really take effect until Luna gets Twilight into Celestia's room so they can properly make up.
    • Shining Armor and Celestia give Twilight this when she reveals her anger and guilt over the rehearsal incident, pointing out how smart and perceptive she is, how proud they are to have her as a student/sister, and how they would have forgiven her if she really had been wrong about the fake Cadance. This inspires Twilight to come clean with how upset she really is to her friends. After she's done, they admit that they were planning on talking to her after the wedding and were planning on forgiving her.
  • Your Approval Fills Me with Shame:
    • More like "Your Easy Forgiveness Fills Us With Shame" since Twilight's initial forgiveness made everybody feel a whole lot worse, since they want her to be mad at them and call them out for what they did.
    • Played more straight in Celestia's nightmare, in which Twilight makes a Face–Heel Turn and joins Discord, who sarcastically thanks Celestia for putting her beloved student through enough horrors to break her and make her his Queen of Chaos.

  • Balance Between Good and Evil: It hasn't been properly explained, but Discord comments during his first meeting with Chrysalis that he's arrived to take the Windigos' place.
  • Break the Haughty: Private Pansy's death does this to Commander Hurricane. Chrysalis is similarly broken by her transformation into a Changeling and subordinate to Discord.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: The ways in which Discord kills Equestria's founders, most of which fall into Death by Irony territory—Private Pansy is skewered with arrows that come out of Commander Hurricane's mouth; Chancellor Puddinghead's head literally turns into pudding and slides off her still living body; Smart Cookie is turned into a living cookie and crumbles under her own weight, feeling every minute of it; Clover the Clever's magic summons clovers that smother her; Princess Platinum is turned into a slab of platinum; and Commander Hurricane is left bloodied and broken.
  • Complete Immortality: Celestia and Luna are the only immortal ponies due to Discord's magic.
  • Darker and Edgier: Compared to the rest of the series, by admission from the author.
  • Deal with the Devil: Chrysalis' deal with Discord in Metamorphosis; she destroys the Energy of Friendship (the same flame that vanquished the Windigos) so Discord can enter Equestria, and Discord gives her the powers of all three pony tribes.
  • Deity of Human Origin: It seems Alicorns only come into being when regular ponies of sufficient strength go through something called "the Trials of the Source." Celestia and Luna were once ordinary unicorns before undertaking the Trials.
  • The Dragon: Chrysalis is revealed as one to Discord.
  • Driven to Suicide: Celestia and Luna tried killing themselves after Discord murdered their entire family and forced them to watch. He made them immortal before they could.
  • Et Tu, Brute?: Chrysalis anticipates this reaction from Discord when she plots against him right behind his back.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Chrysalis, who at least has subjects to look after, is utterly terrified of her master Discord and what he'll do to her now that she's effectively betrayed him.
  • Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": Queen Chrysalis is only ever referred to outside of Metamorphosis as the Changeling Queen. Justified because she never formally introduces herself in the episode she appeared in, giving the characters no reason to know her name.
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: Chrysalis doesn't understand how Shining Armor and Cadance were able to use The Power of Love to defeat her. Also, she doesn't seem to grasp why Twilight would still fight to save everyone even after they turned on her.
  • Fantastic Racism: Queen Chrysalis once harbored these feelings against unicorns and earth ponies back when she was an ordinary Pegasus.
  • Forced to Watch: When Celestia and Luna first stood up to Discord, he summoned all their blood relatives and forced them to watch him murder them in horrific ways.
  • Godhood Seeker: As an ordinary pegasus soldier, Chrysalis believed she was ready to take the Trials and become an alicorn, but Hurricane forbade it. She made a deal with Discord to become one, only for him to turn her into a hideous parody of an alicorn with holes in her legs, a filthy, stringy mane, and an insect-like pair of wings to replace her feathered ones.
  • Jackass Genie: Discord promises to fulfill then-Pegasus Chrysalis' desire to obtain the powers of all three pony tribes. Chrysalis thinks it means she will become an Alicorn, but Discord thinks just turning her into an Alicorn would be boring.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: Discord makes Celestia and Luna immortal to torture them, and lets them take the remains of the orb containing the Energy of Friendship. This gives them the time they need to become Alicorns and turn the pieces into the Elements of Harmony. Longtime viewers of the show know how well that would have turned out for Discord.
  • No Name Given: "Chrysalis" is not the Changeling Queen's real name; it's rather one Discord gives her after transforming her into a Changeling. Her real name is never mentioned because he wipes all memory of it from history, leaving her only with the name he gave her.
  • Punished with Ugly: Chrysalis used to be an ordinary pegasus soldier, though it's not mentioned if she was particularly beautiful. But when she made her deal with Discord, he transformed her into the hideous bug-like creature she is in the present day.
  • Rewarded as a Traitor Deserves: Back when she was a Pegasus, Chrysalis betrayed her own kind to help Discord rule and gain power for herself. She was rewarded with being transformed into her current hideous form, stripped clean of her pride as a soldier by becoming Discord's slave, and spending the rest of her life fearing a Fate Worse than Death should she ever betray her new master, which she does.
  • Sequel Hook: The story closes with Chrysalis swearing revenge on Twilight, Shining Armor, and Cadance.
  • Shoot the Shaggy Dog: Subverted; the accomplishments of Equestria's founders are seemingly rendered meaningless when the then-Pegasus Chrysalis breaks the orb holding the Energy of Friendship into six pieces, ushering Discord's rise to power and the founders' horrible deaths. After failing to stop Discord and being made immortal, however, Celestia and Luna gather up the six pieces and bring them to "the Source", which turns them into the Elements of Harmony.
  • Start of Darkness: One for Chrysalis; she was originally one of Commander Hurricane's chief lieutenants, but her refusal to make peace with the other tribes and personal thirst for power led to her being kicked out. She then made a deal with Discord to gain great power, which he twisted to make her the first Changeling and his right-hand mare. She and the Changelings were sealed with him when the Princesses defeated him, and then kept sealed by him upon his release in "The Return of Harmony: Part 1" to be set free as a backup plan in case he was defeated again. Of course, Chrysalis has no intention of continuing to serve him.
  • The Starscream: It is revealed that Chrysalis is one for Discord; the point of her invasion plan was to absorb enough love so she could face Discord. Since her plan failed, she is desperate to form a new one in case Discord breaks free again.
  • Villain Episode: Focuses on Queen Chrysalis and Discord.
  • Was Once a Man: The entire Changeling race was an obscure fourth pony tribe called Flutterponies (ponies from G1 with butterfly wings) transformed by Discord to serve as Chrysalis' army; Chrysalis herself, meanwhile, was an ordinary Pegasus similarly transformed by Discord.
  • Who Wants to Live Forever?: Celestia and Luna undergo this since Discord makes them immortal after killing all their blood relatives, leaving them with no one but each other to keep company. Imagine how much worse this became for Celestia after banishing her sister for a thousand years.

  • Big Brother Instinct: When Twilight was just a baby, Shining Armor got his cutie mark protecting her from a vicious stray dog.
  • Childhood Friend Romance: Shining and Cadance have known each other since before Twilight was born, and have been in love with each other almost as long (though they didn't admit their feelings until much more recently).
  • Child Prodigy: Cadance is the youngest pony in Equestria to ever successfully complete the Trials of the Source and become an alicorn.
  • Flashback Nightmare: Honeymoon opens with Cadance having a nightmare of when she was kidnapped by Queen Chrysalis.
  • Shared Family Quirks: Apparently when Cadance agreed to marry Shining Armor, he jumped around like a little colt shouting, "Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes!", which is exactly what his sister Twilight did when she got her cutie mark.
  • The Tease: Princess Cadance. For example, when Shining Armor tries convincing her to marry him by saying she'd gain Twilight as a sister:
    Cadance: Wait. You think I'd marry you to get closer to another mare? Do you really think I swing that way?
    Shining Armor: What? No, I...
    Cadance: Only kidding... though Twilight is kind of hot...

  • Locked Out of the Loop: Twilight Velvet and Night Light are frustrated that nobody will explain to them all the crazy things that happened at the wedding.
  • Mama Bear: Velvet doesn't hesitate to chew out Applejack and Luna (and by extension, the rest of the Mane Six and Celestia) for how they treated Twilight. Twilight and Night Light have to work very hard to calm her down and get her to let everything go.
  • Misplaced Retribution: Velvet yells at and demands answers from Luna, who wasn't even there at the wedding rehearsal where Twilight was abandoned by the others.
  • Not Helping Your Case: While Velvet did have good reason to be furious with Applejack for abandoning Twilight at the wedding rehearsal, it did not warrant her accusing the other mare of "spreading her hind legs for the fake" and being "too excited to pretend that [she] was good for something other than playing in the dirt".
  • Punched Across the Room: Applejack does this to Velvet in retaliation for the latter assaulting and insulting her.

  • Abusive Parents: Scootaloo's parents, but especially her father Speedy Delivery. Both mess with Scootaloo's head, forcing her to act like a foal around them and calling her clumsy, all while maintaining a casual demeanor. Once Scootaloo confronts her dad, he decides to get a bit more physical.
    • Pinkie's birth parents are shown to be this in a flashback when they respond to Pinkie getting her cutie mark by spanking and yelling at her for, in their opinion, wasting time on pointless parties. This leads to her eventually running away.
  • Akashic Records: The Keeper's library/plane of existence contains a book for every being who's ever lived, which in turn contain every single detail of their lives.
  • The Alcoholic: Word of God says Scootaloo's mother Quick Delivery is this.
  • Ancient Keeper: The Keeper, an Alicorn who records the lives of every living creature, who Twilight meets when her spirit for some reason travels to her realm. She's so old she can't even remember her real name or how she came into being.
  • And Then What?: Celestia uses this when pointing out the flaws in Olive Branch's plan for immortality. Not only has he committed several felonies just to be able to make demands of Celestia, but he's also detailed his travel plans afterwards, betrayed his confidants while doing so, and left Celestia free to pursue him after his grand exit..
  • A Rare Sentence: Played for Drama when Pinkie tells the others about the origins of her Cutie Mark, and how her parents reacted to it (that, and the circumstances behind said sentence are so alarmingly rare for Pinkie).
    Twilight: Oh, hello, Pinkie. I didn't hear you come in.
  • Arc Words: Scootaloo's story arc has this recurring exchange with her father:
    Speedy Delivery: Now, what do you say?
    Scootaloo: I love you, Daddy.
    Speedy Delivery: I know you do.
    • When Scootaloo finally stands up to him for good, she says, "I hate you, Daddy".
  • Armor-Piercing Question: After Pinkie Pie mentions that she has second thoughts about not trying to work things out with her parents, Rainbow Dash says that they were jerks and Pinkie should just forget them. Pinkie's response is "Isn't that what we did with Twilight?"
    • After the Mane Six saves Spike from the dragons, Twilight and Spike finally manage to talk to each other back at the library. To get him to open up, Twilight asks how he felt about Twilight's outburst at the rehearsal. Spike admits that he was disappointed, but still loved her and wanted to reconcile with her. Twilight then asks why she wouldn't feel the same way after it was discovered Twilight was right about the fake Cadance.
  • The Atoner: Despite Twilight telling her friends not to in the previous story, Rainbow Dash becomes this by taking Scootaloo under her wing, feeling it's the only way she can be redeemed for her harsh attitude towards Twilight since she treated Scootaloo the same way in "Ponyville Confidential" for the CMC's hurtful gossip columns.
    • Pinkie's parents, Clyde especially, after they mistreated Pinkie into running away. They spent the past several years trying to track her down just so they could apologize.
  • Ascended Fridge Horror: This fic explores the long lasting effects of the Changeling Invasion as part of its subplot. Celestia is under fire from tabloids, thinking she's incompetent due to not being able to stop the Changeling Queen. Ponies have also noticed that Twilight was missing from the fake wedding and had an important role in the second one; their suspicions are up and some suggest that Twilight's being controlled and brainwashed as a weapon and a lapdog by Celestia. Paranoia about the changelings have also increased and spells have been formed to tell the real ponies from the fakes.
  • Big Bad: Olive Branch. Turns out to be a Big Bad Wannabe, given how easily his plans fail.
  • Bullying a Dragon: Celestia responds to the news that the conspirators have kidnapped Twilight Sparkle to use as a bargaining chip with a burst of laughter. Cut to three of her captors running for their lives after Twilight blows up the device that should be restricting her magic.
  • Calling the Old Man Out: With encouragement from Rainbow Dash, Scootaloo eventually stands up to her father. This doesn't end well for her.
    • She does it again at the climax, much more strongly. Punctuated by Rainbow Dash then kicking his flank.
    • In The Visit, she does it one final time, as she sums up to her parents exactly why they're awful, and saying that this is the last time she'll speak to them until they ask for forgiveness.
  • Cerebus Retcon: Scootaloo's canonical desire to earn her Cutie Mark as quickly as possible is cast in a harsher light after her mother casually brings up that she's becoming a mare, but still has an incredibly long way to go.
  • The Conspiracy: Features one that aims to discredit Celestia, to the point that their leader, Olive Branch, gives Garble's gang directions to Ponyville so that Celestia's "pet dragon" (Spike) can be blamed for the resulting damage. Speedy Delivery is later revealed to be a member.
  • Conspiracy Theorist: Olive Branch and the tabloid ponies are a very small, very loud minority of these.
  • Cooldown Hug: During Twilight's tearful breakdown in "Talking Things Out", Applejack desperately holds her in one of these. They eventually fall asleep in Twilight's bed with Applejack still embracing her.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Pinkie's is hinted at in the previous story, but is fully revealed here. Her father Clyde became bitter and distant following the death of his mother, and lashed out at Pinkie when she earned her cutie mark and realized her destiny of throwing parties, which he called a waste of time; in truth, he was hurt by Pinkie's well-intentioned attempts of filling the void left by her grandmother. The emotional pressure became so much for Pinkie to bear that she eventually ran away from home.
  • Darker and Edgier: Families gets fairly dark (though not nearly as much as Metamorphosis) in terms of the sheer amount of emotional turmoil and psychological abuse the characters, particularly Spike, Scootaloo, and Pinkie, go through.
  • Dark Fic: Not by choice, though. Some readers began demanding that the story be given a "dark" tag due to how brutal and realistic Speedy Delivery's abuse of Scootaloo is, and DarkLink was ultimately forced to comply.
  • Daydream Surprise: As a Running Gag, ordinary scenes suddenly turn bizarre, followed by somepony telling Pinkie to knock it off.
  • Deconstruction Fic: Families cranks the deconstruction from Post Nuptials up to eleven: from Spike's relationship with Twilight (he always viewed her as a mother and works hard because he wants her to see him as her son), to the perpetual absence of Scootaloo and Pinkie Pie's parents (both have Abusive Parents; Scootaloo's want her out of the house because they're working to overthrow Celestia, while Pinkie ran away from home because her parents could not tolerate her partying), to the Royal Guard's utter failure to stop the Changeling invasion despite Princess Celestia and Shining Armor making a big deal of how they were "prepared" for something bad to happen (the populace is outraged, giving the villains some good publicity when they announce their intent to overthrow Celestia). It even deconstructs some fanon elements, such as "Tyrant Celestia" and "Scootabuse". Heck, the climax of the subplot shows what would really happen if a rebellion against two God-like beings happened.
  • Deus Angst Machina: Lampshaded by Rainbow Dash when the number of issues she and her friends have to deal with keeps piling up:
    Rainbow Dash: Oh for... When did we get all this drama in our lives?
  • Didn't Think This Through: Olive Branch's master plan for immortality. The first problem is that Celestia and Luna can't grant him immortality. It only goes downhill from there.
  • The Dragon: Speedy Delivery turns out to be Olive Branch's... and is much more of a threat.
  • Doorstopper: In-universe, the Keeper's records of the lives of Celestia, Luna, Discord, and the Doctor are described as incredibly thick books.
  • The Dreaded: Discord, if what the Keeper tells Twilight about him has any bearing.
    The Keeper: If I told you half the things he wants to do to you once he's free, you'd have nightmares. I mean, even worse than you've been having.note 
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Olive Branch admits that as soon as Speedy Delivery was no longer needed, he was going to help have him arrested for his abuse of Scootaloo.
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: Olive Branch refuses to believe anyone with as much power as the Princesses is really as selfless as they appear, nor can he fathom why most of the citizens still support Princess Celestia despite letting the Changeling Invasion happen.
  • Eye Scream: The fight between Twilight and Garble ends with Twilight shoving a burning piece of wood through his left eye.
    • Implied during Pinkie Pie's retelling of Mrs. Cake's Screaming Birth: "...she somehow got a hold of that scalpel...fortunately, [...] Nurse Redheart sees almost perfectly out of that eye now..."
  • Faking the Dead: Olive Branch does this when his negotiations fail to get his followers to riot and create a diversion for him to escape. It doesn't work, and only serves to shatter whatever credibility he had when he's shown to be alive afterward.
  • Fantastic Racism: The ponies of Canterlot are quite prejudiced against dragons, considering how much trouble they gave Spike when he and Twilight were growing up. Olive Branch's anti-Celestia conspiracy only makes it worse when he paints Spike as the one who instigated the dragon attack near Ponyville. In fact, Twilight admits to Applejack and Rarity during their spa time that part of her decision to stay in Ponyville after Nightmare Moon was because the citizens of Ponyville were a lot friendlier and more accepting towards Spike.
  • First Kiss: Rainbow and Soarin have theirs when Soarin first arrives at Rainbow's house so the two can prepare to have dinner with Scootaloo's family. Soarin ends up surprising Rainbow by sneaking up behind her, grabbing her, pulling her around and quickly pressing their lips together. Though Rainbow is initially surprised by this, and later calls him out on not waiting on a more romantic moment to have a first kiss, she still takes a moment to kiss him back first after realizing what's happening.
  • Flat "What": Princess Luna, when Olive Branch reveals that he doesn't actually care how she and Celestia run Equestria.
  • Forceful Kiss: Soarin' starts his surprise visit to Rainbow Dash by sneaking up behind her, pulling her around, and planting a big one. Though upset because it took her by surprise, Rainbow Dash returns his affection quickly.
  • Forgiven, but Not Forgotten: In The Visit, Scootaloo is confused on why she can't forgive her parents for their actions, since she saw several times where her friends managed to forgive each other and former enemies for their actions. Scootaloo then realizes that it's because her parents never asked for forgiveness, so she writes to Celestia asking if she could still forgive them regardless. The Princess tells the filly that she thinks forgiveness is being able to let go of your anger and hatred at a pony who wronged you, but you shouldn't allow them to escape the consequences of their actions, citing refusing to let Nightmare Moon free until the Elements decided to release her seal as an example. Celestia also tells Scootaloo that if she does decide to forgive her parents, she should be wary of allowing them back into her life. Scootaloo ultimately decides to cut her parents out of her life when she sees that they have no regrets, but she'll consider talking to them again if they ever change their minds.
  • Free-Range Children: Speedy Delivery actually encourages Scootaloo to spend as much time away from home as possible, because her parents don't want her "goofing around" when they're working. Or more specifically, he doesn't want anyone finding out what he and Olive Branch have planned for Princess Celestia.
  • Freudian Excuse: Pinkie's father Clyde became bitter out of grief for his mother's death.
  • Friendly Tickle Torture:
    • Rainbow Dash playfully tickles Scootaloo after one of their training sessions.
    • Twilight and Spike has several tickle fights when they were growing up in the castle.
  • Good Is Not Soft: Luna had shades of this trope show up multiple times, being less restrained than her sister. She gets to show this in full form by sparing Olive Branch's life, but subjecting him to all the horrors he forced on others.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: When Twilight gouges out Garble's eye, the scene cuts away to the Keeper, who shudders at the act.
  • Gullible Lemmings: A good bulk of Canterlot buys into the tabloid ponies' stories about Princess Celestia being an incapable ruler, Spike her unruly pet, and Twilight her loyal attack dog. It's somewhat Justified by Celestia's failure to anticipate the Changeling invasion, but it's mostly fueled by the Canterlot ponies' Fantastic Racism against dragons. The Ponyvillians, on the other hand, aren't nearly this stupid.
  • Happily Adopted: Pinkie Pie with the Cakes, albeit unofficially. Spike by Twilight and Scootaloo by Rainbow Dash follow suit by the end of Families.
  • Hidden Depths: Clyde Pie is stunned to learn his presumed useless daughter is interested in taking up engineering. Those first-draft blueprints for her flying machine and her Party Cannon aren't just wild daydreams, after all.
  • Honorary Uncle: Speedy refers to Olive Branch as Scootaloo's uncle, but Word of God says it's just honorary.
  • Hope Spot: At the end of the story, it seems as if the Changeling threat is finally going to be dealt with, as the Royal Guard and their buffalo allies have found Chrysalis' hiding spot. Then Discord has her transported elsewhere to meet another "associate" in order to engineer his escape.
  • Hypocritical Humor: In a flashback to Twilight's first day with Spike, she scolds Shining Armor for addressing him in baby talk, as she wants him to learn proper Equestrian. Shining leaves the room for a few minutes to get Spike's baby bottle, and when he comes back...
    Twilight: Who's a cute dwagon? You're a cute dwagon! A cutie-wootie! You're Twiley's favorite dwagon! Yes you are! Yes you... (realises Shining is there) And that's how not to talk.
    • A meta-example, Rainbow Dash says that she's giving up on the Daring Do fanzine for now because of lame fanstories, particularly one where "every character was whining that they didn't believe Daring that Derring's coltfriend was Ahuizotl in disguise."
  • Hypocrisy Nod:
    • At the beginning of the story, when Rarity tells Applejack she wants to help Twilight find ways not to overreact, she acknowledges she isn't really much better in that area when the farm girl gives her a Flat "What" look. Rarity insists that it's more important for Twilight, though, since she's the team leader and nobody wants a repeat of what had happened at the wedding.
    • A more Played for Drama example occurs later: When Applejack is trying to convince Twilight that she can be more open with her and the rest of the Mane 6, the cowpony outright says that Twilight had every single right to doubt that she could trust her friends after they ignored the Discord-induced PTSD breakdown that caused the Smartypants Incident and her doubts about the fake Cadance.
    • Olive Branch reveals that he doesn't really care about his movement as long as he gets immorality out of the deal.
  • I Did What I Had to Do: Inverted. Rarity tells Twilight that while it was excessively violent, her maiming of Garble was necessary to keep Spike safe.
  • Immortality Seeker: The ultimate motivation for Olive Branch, who starts an entire movement against Princess Celestia's rule in an elaborate plot so he can get her to tell her the secret to immortality in private.
  • Insistent Terminology: Scootaloo's mother Quick Delivery insists she always call her "Mommy".
  • Ironic Echo: While stewing in her guilt during Post Nuptials, Princess Celestia bitterly states how she depends on Twilight to be her little loyal attack dog, when Luna is pointing out that she does have faith in Twilight. Olive Branch's conspiracy labels Twilight, her friends, and whoever else supports Princess Celestia as "loyal little attack dogs". Luna even lampshades the irony.
  • Ironic Name: Olive Branch means an offer of reconciliation, to end a quarrel. Here, Olive Branch wants to start one.
  • It Runs in the Family: Mr. and Mrs. Cake discover that Pinkie's Offscreen Teleportation ability is this when her two sisters do it as well.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Apart from the Fantastic Racism-fueled bits that demonize Spike, the anti-Celestia tabloids and speakers in Canterlot bring up a number of valid points on why the ponies of Equestria should doubt their current rulers. Just to bring up a few: Princess Celestia failing to see the Changeling invasion coming during high alert; ignoring her student's warning that could have prevented it sooner; treating Twilight like her attack dog by ordering her to get the Elements after losing to Queen Chrysalis (in front of the other ponies, no less); the Royal Guard, trained to expect such an attack, losing within minutes; Shining Armor going on his honeymoon instead of hunting down the Changelings; entrusting a group of inexperienced children to take on Nightmare Moon and Discord instead of doing it herself; etc.
  • Jerkass Realization: Fluttershy has one when she learns that her "The Reason You Suck" Speech she gave Pinkie in "Putting Your Hoof Down", which she already feels bad enough about, reminded Pinkie of her parents' real reaction to her cutie mark.
  • Knight of Cerebus: The Cerebus Syndrome doesn't really set in until Olive Branch shows up.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: The ultimate fate of the villains. Olive Branch gets his in the form of a spell performed by Luna herself that subjects him to all the pain and torture that he has inflicted or ever will inflict onto others, directly or indirectly; Speedy and Quick, meanwhile, are "rewarded" for their abuse by being forced into a Sadistic Choice: either rot in jail for the rest of their lives or be forced to give up their child in trade for lighter sentences.
  • Mama Bear: Twilight, once she realizes that Spike sees her as his mother and begins thinking of herself as such. So, in case the aptly titled "Mama Ursa" chapter didn't give it away, when she sees Garble trying to hurt Spike, she rips a huge tree out of the ground with her magic and starts using it as a club. And when Garble describes what he's going to do to Spike, Twilight goes into Rapidash-mode, stabs out his eye with a fiery splinter, and threatens to kill him if he ever comes back. Even anti-magic rings aren't able to hold her down when Spike's life is on the line, as Olive and his group discovers.
    Darth Link 22: "Okay, if Mama Bear is not on The Nuptialverse TV Tropes page within 24 hours, I have failed."
  • Manipulative Bastard: Olive Branch turns a significant portion of Canterlot's population against Celestia (for partially valid reasons) just so he can get her to spill the beans on how she and Luna became immortal so he can attain it for himself.
  • Mathematician's Answer: Most of the answers the Keeper gives to Twilight. This is partially because she's not allowed to give straightforward answers, and partially because it's fun.
  • Mood Whiplash: Partway through the story, Scootaloo finally clears up her issues with her father, who's ready to turn over a new leaf and... Wait, why's he pinning Scootaloo's wing to the floor? And why is the head of the anti-Celestia tabloids there?!
  • Morality Pet: Scootaloo becomes one for Rainbow Dash, who sees treating her like a sister as a form of redemption for abandoning Twilight.
  • Motive Rant: Speedy Delivery gives one in chapter 24, claiming he spent literally his entire life working hard for the sake of his family, only to end up in poverty, whereas ponies all around him managed to get rich and famous while barely having to work for it. Olive Branch convinced him that this perceived "favoritism" was a sign of how "corrupt" Equestria's system was, leading him to become Olive Branch's second-in-command.
  • My Death Is Just the Beginning: At the climax, Olive Branch combines this with Faking the Dead, courtesy of a special spell. When fired off, it announces that it's a failsafe set up in case Celestia had him silenced. This causes his followers to start rioting.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Pinkie's father Clyde had this reaction a week after she ran away, after remembering something his mother used to say.
  • Mythology Gag: The Keeper is based on Lauren Faust's Alicorn self-portrait.
    • The stories Pinkie's grandmother used to tell her are based on G1 episodes.
  • Never My Fault: Speedy Delivery truly does not see himself as a horrible parent, and blames Princess Celestia and Rainbow Dash for butting in on how he raises his daughter.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: Olive Branch's men manage to turn the situation in a complete 180 merely by telling Twilight that Spike will die. As Luna gloatingly tells him, his half-assed plan and the actions of himself and his lieutenants have caused the anti-Celestia movement to lose almost all support, not only allowing the royals to focus once more on searching for Chrysalis rather than defending their position, but now no one will object to Twilight officially adopting Spike.
  • Nightmare Sequence: Throughout the story, Twilight is plagued with nightmares where Princess Celestia puts her to death for an unspoken crime so horrible that her friends curse her and Shining Armor, her executioner, basically tells her "I have no sister."
    • Twilight later has another one in which she is chased by hungry Changelings and runs to her friends for help, but they don't believe her and leave her to be eaten alive.
    • She has one more later where she is relaxing with Spike having a picnic when members of the conspiracy against Celestia arrive to try to take him away. When Twilight tries to stop them they reveal themselves as Changelings and when she continues fighting Spike also turns into a Changeling and bites her from behind.
  • Not What It Looks Like: Applejack comforts Twilight over her nightmares and spends the night by her bed. When Pinkie walks in on them the next morning, she takes this as evidence that her theory about them is right.
  • Offscreen Teleportation: One of Garble's flunkies tosses Pinkie several miles away, only to turn around and see her standing in front of him again. He's dumbfounded.
    • It Runs in the Family, as Inkie and Blinkie demonstrate when their parents and the Cakes try to shoo them out of the room before Pinkie arrives.
  • Once Done, Never Forgotten:
    • Shining Armor's started calling his sister "Twiley" when he caught her using Baby Talk with an infant Spike, right after she scolded him for treating Spike like a baby.
    • Used by both of Scootaloo's parents as part of their ongoing emotional and psychological abuse of their daughter.
    • Dash tells Scoots that her old nickname of "Rainbow Crash" came from how she choked while running through an obstacle course once.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: Once Olive Branch is finished laying out his grand plan to attain immortality by using the Mane 6 (at least the ones they deem most threatening) as hostages, he realizes something's up when Celestia starts guffawing uncontrollably in response.
  • Orwellian Retcon: It turns out that when Pinkie told the story about her getting her cutie mark, she edited it for the CMC's sake.
  • Overprotective Dad: Speedy Delivery, to morally disturbing levels; he's so possessive of Scootaloo that he raises her to be as psychologically dependent on him, and only him, as possible. When she finally calls him out, he only tightens his grip.
  • Parental Issues: Spike, Scootaloo, and Pinkie Pie have some pretty deep-seated issues with their parents or parental figures, which are all examined closely.
  • Parental Love Song: Twilight sings Spike a lullaby after officially becoming his "mother."
  • Parental Substitute: Spike sees Twilight as his mother, but keeps avoiding her for a good part of Families because he thinks she'd never want him as a son after walking out on her.
    • The same applies to Pinkie Pie and the Cakes.
  • Pass the Popcorn: Celestia does this while Olive Branch futilely waits for confirmation that Rainbow Dash and Soarin have been executed. It's pretty much an in-universe invocation, since Celestia is stated to hate the taste but feels it best proves her point of how badly Olive has miscalculated.
  • Pet the Dog: Olive Branch turns in Speedy Delivery for his abuse of Scootaloo. Not that it makes him a good pony; merely a better one than Speedy Delivery.
  • The Pollyanna: Pinkie Pie is an even bigger example here than she is in the show itself, given how troubled her relationship with her parents became following her grandmother's death.
  • Poor Communication Kills: Spike's refusal to talk to Twilight, and his making the CMC promise not to tell anyone, leads to him stewing in his guilt until he decides it's best to run away. The chapter where this happens is even named after this trope.
  • Pragmatic Villainy: When a mob of Olive Branch's flunkies mill about Golden Oaks Library looking for Spike, Rabble Rouser suggests just burning the building, but a more level headed rioter shoots it down; not because he grew a moral backbone, but because such an action would risk discrediting them as mindless firebrands.
  • Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: When Twilight goes Mama Bear for Spike:
    Twilight: Get. Away. From. My. Son!
    • Twilight again when she sees the tabloid badmouthing Spike.
      Twilight: What. Is. This?
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Celestia informs the rioters that they managed to do more damage to the Castle in a single day than Spike did in his entire life and they should really reconsider who's the bloodthirsty monster.
  • Royal Brat: The dragon king Dyne's son, Garble.
  • Sadistic Choice: Celestia is given one by Olive Branch, who has Rainbow Dash and Twilight abducted, planning to use their lives as leverage to force her to comply with his demands. Subverted, however, as Celestia knows right away that he's underestimated his victims and is doomed to fail, so she just laughs in his face.
    • Luna later gives one to Speedy and Quick Delivery: rot in jail forever for their crimes, or securing lighter sentences for themselves by signing Scootaloo up for adoption. They pick the latter.
  • Screaming Birth: According to Pinkie, Mrs. Cake was like this when birthing the twins. Aside from screaming "these funny words to Mr. Cake that [Pinkie's] not allowed to repeat", she also apparently grabbed a scalpel and used it on Mr. Cake and Nurse Redheart.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here: When an enraged Twilight easily breaks free of the Power Nullifier that Olive Branch's goons had used on her, she only has to fling one of them into unconsciousness. The other three bolt immediately when they see the spells beginning to fail.
  • Self-Deprecation: Scootaloo engages in a lot of this due to how her parents treat her.
    • A meta one. Rainbow Dash says that she's given up on a Daring Do fanzine because she didn't like one fanstory which was nothing but the entire supporting cast angsting about how they didn't believe Daring when she said that Derring was dating Ahuizotl in disguise.
      Rainbow Dash: "I mean, seriously, who would think that was entertaining?"
  • Sequel Escalation: Post Nuptials is about heartwarming reconciliation. Families is about deep psychological and emotional trauma, and a conspiracy to discredit Celestia's public image. Judging from the author's future plans for the story, it just keeps growing.
  • Sequel Hook: Ends with Discord contacting Chrysalis in a dream and ordering her to meet with an "associate" of his in order to plan his release. Meanwhile, relations with the dragons are now tense due to Garble's actions, and on top of that, several canon Season 3 events are alluded to (Trixie plotting her revenge, the reemergence of the Crystal Empire).
  • Shaming the Mob: Celestia tells all of Olive Branch's followers that they've caused more damage to her palace than Spike ever did the entire time he lived there after she exposes Olive Branch's lies to them.
  • Shipper on Deck: Pinkie seems to think that Applejack has an unrequited crush on Twilight. While the others don't really believe it, Rainbow Dash can't help but make fun of Applejack about it.
  • Shoo Out the Clowns: Pinkie's hilarious Imagine Spots come to an end right before Scootaloo and her father's relationship begins to boil.
  • Shout-Out:
    • To Dinosaurs. The first thing Spike does upon meeting Shining Armor? Shout "Not The Mama!" and hit him with a frying pan. At least, that's how it happens in Pinkie's daydream.
    • Scootaloo's mother Quick Delivery calling her alcoholic drinks "smoothies" may be a reference to Hey Arnold!, where Helga's mother Miriam was addicted to smoothies (which were implied but not explicitly stated to be alcohol, due to kids being the show's target audience).
  • Smart People Play Chess: Twilight plays chess with Pinkie's sister Blinkie.
  • Smug Snake: Olive Branch. The point is especially driven home when, during his negotiations with the Princesses, he reveals he's had Twilight kidnapped, only for Celestia to laugh in his face and explain exactly why he's going to fail. He falls apart at that, as he desperately grasps at straws for leverage. However, he successfully grasped a straw and managed to get the crowd of Canterlot citizens convinced that Celestia killed him and cause a riot. And even that straw breaks, as Luna easily restrains said riot, while Celestia captures him before he can escape.
  • Straw Hypocrite: Olive Branch, in the end. He really wanted immortality, and all the anti-Celestia movement was a charade to gain an advantage over the Princess.
  • Taking the Heat: Not only is Celestia willing to put up with all the tabloids' slander against her, but when Twilight and Shining Armor come under fire, she fabricates some details to shift the blame onto herself and protect them.
  • They Do: After much Ship Teasing in the original story, the sequel has Soarin' and Rainbow Dash finally get together after a surprise visit by Soarin'. Unfortunately, one of their first activities as a couple is having dinner with Scootaloo's parents.
  • Third Line, Some Waiting: Pinkie's story arc progresses more slowly compared to Twilight/Spike's and Scootaloo's. This is entirely deliberate, as Pinkie is fully aware that they have their own issues they're working through and was reluctant to talk to anyone about her problems when she knew they had their own to deal with. It takes receiving a letter from home to prod her into talking to anyone other than the Cakes about her Parental Issues.
  • To the Pain: At the climax, Twilight gets Rabble Rouser's entire mob to surrender by calmly listing and describing all the offensive spells she knows.
  • Tranquil Fury: Celestia, when she learns of tabloids accusing her of brainwashing Twilight into being her "loyal attack dog" following her absence from Shining Armor's first wedding and sudden appearance in the second.
    • This is how Speedy Delivery conveys his displeasure towards Scootaloo's decision to rebel against him.
  • Trauma Button: When Pinkie nearly sets fire to the Cakes' kitchen after cooking without supervision, Mrs. Cake gets ready to discipline her by grabbing a paddle. Pinkie immediately goes into a Freak Out, sobbing hysterically, and as a result, getting only grounded in response because Mrs. Cake stayed her hoof. Her biological father saw her newmy manifested Cutie Mark as a portent of Pinkie becoming a lazy good-for-nothing. Being paddled and berated quite harshly because of it still bears heavily on Pinkie.
  • Underestimating Badassery: Olive Branch does this with Twilight; she easily overpowers the anti-magic horn ring placed on her by his conspirators, quickly defeating them.
  • Villain with Good Publicity: Olive Branch and his team of tabloid writers/anti-Celestia conspirators, at least in Canterlot.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Olive Branch's confident attitude shatters the instant Celestia begins laughing uncontrollably at how stupid his master plan is, and only keeps crumbling as she pokes holes through it.
  • Villainous Legacy: Everything wrong in this story is more or less related to the emotional fallout caused by Queen Chrysalis' invasion, from the emotional strain on Twilight's friendships to her friends' guilt to fuel for Olive Branch's anti-Celestia tirade. Not to mention she's still at large while everypony else deals with their own problems.
  • Voodoo Shark: In a flashback, Twilight explains to Spike that it's impossible for ponies to shape shift anything. This was meant to explain away why it never occurred to Twilight that the Cadance who didn't recognize her was an impostor and why the shape shifting was a uniquely changeling trait. However, it was pointed out that Twilight has shape shifted several things in the show proper. The author has since rewritten it to state that shape shifting one sapient being to another takes a load of magic, more than many can use, making it impractical for a pony to disguise herself as such.
  • Wants a Prize for Basic Decency: Even after being imprisoned for his abuse of his daughter Scootaloo, Speedy Delivery still thinks he's a great father, just because he did the bare minimum of providing her with food, clothing, and shelter. Apparently, the idea that children also need love and nurturing from their parents still hasn't occurred to him. Scootaloo calls him out on this, pointing out that her adoptive parents Rainbow Dash and Soarin', the entire town of Ponyville, and even a random prison guard have done more for her than he has, just by being kind to her.
    • When Luna confronts him in his cell, Olive Branch tries to bring up how he tried to narc on Speedy's abuse, thinking this will bring him some leeway, despite the fact that, as the author notes, this just proves he has one shred of decency when the average pony has a thousand.
  • We Are as Mayflies: Ponies only live about seventy years, while dragons live for about a thousand. Spike wasn't aware of this until he read a book about dragons.
  • Weirdness Magnet: Carrot Top and Applejack discuss this trope in regards to Twilight after the mane 6 fought off the dragons and CT was trying to get confirmation if the rumors were true. After Applejack states that life has been crazy since the Elements were awakened, Carrot asks if she meant ever since Twilight moved into town. When AJ coldly asks what she means, Carrot points out that all of the weird things that have happened in the past two years have happened after Twilight arrived in Ponyville, such as the Ursa Minor attack and Discord. Applejack angrily points out that Discord probably would've come to Ponyville anyway, and that Carrot doesn't have anything to complain about because getting Discorded and Undiscorded had no severe psychological effects on her or anypony sans the Bearers.
    Carrot Top: (realizing that she went overboard a bit) “I know... I know. I wasn’t saying anything was her fault, really. I guess a lot of it would have come with or without Twilight. It’s just... honestly, there are times she just seems like a disaster magnet.”
    Applejack: (Sighs, her anger fading a bit) “I’d be lyin’ if I didn’t say I got that impression sometimes. Still, Twi’s helped this town more than she’s hurt it.”
  • Wham Line: When Olive Branch brings his list of grievances to the Princesses:
    Princess Luna: And what matter would thou wish be focused on first?
    Olive Branch: The list isn't anything I care about. You may do what you wish.
    Princess Luna: ...What?
    Olive Branch: I really don't care how you run Equestria. It doesn't matter to me in the end.
    • When Garble returns home:
      Dragon: ...Prince Garble, what...
  • What the Hell, Hero?:
    • Scootaloo is outright disgusted with Spike when he keeps making excuses to avoid talking to Twilight about his guilt.
    • Played for laughs when Applejack finds out Big Mac had Smartypants ever since the previous incident with it and chews him out for stealing it and essentially holding it hostage.
  • Where Did We Go Wrong?: Pinkie's parents initially thought this when Pinkie earned her cutie mark in party-throwing, thinking it contradicts everything they taught her about hard work, and again when she ran away after being rebuked for it.
  • Why Did You Make Me Hit You?: Speedy Delivery responds this way after pinning Scootaloo's wing to the floor with his hoof for trying to rebel.

  • Abusive Parents: Trixie's parents emotionally abused her (thankfully not to the extent of Scootaloo's), by pushing her to be the best, scolding her whenever she was less than perfect, and eventually driving her away. To help put it in perspective, when told that she had been disowned, Trixie actually looked relieved, to Celestia's dismay.
  • Acceptable Breaks from Canon: The story manages to work in elements of Season 3 and even Equestria Girls that fit with the established plot while ignoring everything else. Darth Link has even posted a journal entry explaining the differences between season 3 and the fic's universe.
  • Action Girl: Applejack and Rainbow Dash, of course, but Rarity proves herself more than capable as well.
  • Alien Geometry: Scootaloo ends up wandering a seemingly endless maze of identical hallways when the Crusaders get separated. She discovers that she's actually in an old dungeon cell with an illusion on it.
  • Alternate Universe Fic: This is the first story clearly categorized as one due to season 3 playing out differently from the Nuptialverse's established continuity. As such, several episodes are tailored to fit this Fanon, some of which are based on What If? scenarios like, "What if Trixie wasn't redeemed at the end of 'Magic Duel'?"
  • Big "YES!": This, combined with Squee and Tears of Joy, is Twilight's reaction to being told she's ready for the Trials.
  • Break the Haughty: Olive Branch has been reduced to a shattered remnant of his former self, who's apparently on suicide watch.
  • Brick Joke: In order to get Rarity to agree to not drag along so much useless stuff on their expedition, Rainbow Dash agrees to let Rarity give her a makeover when they get back (and drags Applejack into it as well). When they do get back, Rarity trolls AJ by bringing this up and suggesting she'll put her in something pink.
  • The Brute: Red Hoof is pure muscle, and is easily able to match, and overpower, Applejack in a fight.
  • Call-Back: Soarin' once again greets Rainbow Dash by grabbing her from behind and giving her a surprise kiss.
    • Pinkie Pie is still convinced that Applejack and Twilight are in denial about their true feelings for each other.
  • Canon Welding: The events of the G1 cartoon are revealed to have taken place in the distant past of Equestria.
  • Casting a Shadow: Sunset Shimmer has this ability, being able to cloak herself in shadows to hide from royal guards.
  • Character Development:
    • Rainbow Dash has become more level headed and less egotistic, as a result of having Scootaloo to look after.
    • Applejack eventually swallows her pride, admits that she's not as capable of handling everything as she thought, and as a consequence, accepts Celestia's financial aid in maintaining the farm without argument.
  • The Conspiracy: Whatever Fancy Pants and Zecora are up to, it's apparently being done without Celestia's knowledge, and Zecora feels that Twilight would disapprove if she knew about it.
  • Continuity Nod: The "he's a dragon" pediatrician from "Secret of My Excess" shows up again. Rarity even says Twilight told her about him.
  • Curb-Stomp Cushion: Applejack is unable to get in any effective hits on Red Hoof due to his extremely dense musculature and unexpected speed, but a fortunately-placed pair of scissors allows her to momentarily escape his grip, and only her own hesitance to shed blood prevents her from pressing the advantage.
  • Deus Exit Machina: Twilight's Equestria Girls adventure is used as this.
  • Disc-One Final Boss: Trixie is built up as a major threat in the first few chapters, but is defeated handedly well before the story is over.
  • Dramatic Irony: Trixie puts together a team to deal with the Mane Six so that she can get revenge on Twilight, completely unaware of the fact that Twilight isn't even in Equestria.
    • Rarity at one point fantasizes that Twilight will have a star crossed romance on the other side of the mirror, which Applejack scoffs at. Of course, Twilight is in fact having something developing with Flash at the same time they're discussing this.
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him: In a conversation with Daring Do, Celestia reveals that this story's version of Storm King was killed by the Hippogriffs and Dragons in a battle off-screen.
  • Drowning My Sorrows: The first thing we see Lightning Dust doing is this, over getting kicked off the Wonderbolts. Which she blames on Rainbow Dash.
  • Easily Forgiven: While Trixie is still arrested, the fact that her worst crimes were done under the influence of the Amulet means that her punishment is reduced quite a bit.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Lightning Dust is a little disturbed at the depths of Trixie's hatred.
  • Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": The pony and llama soldiers that the girls meet on their quest invoke this as a security precaution against Changeling infiltration, only giving the girls their rank titles, and nothing else.
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: A flashback to Sunset Shimmer's foalhood reveals that Celestia had her look into a magic mirror that shows the viewer their deepest desires. For Sunset, it was becoming an Alicorn and ruling solely over Equestria, and she seemed rather confused when this unsettled Celestia.
    • Celestia later discusses this trope with Fluttershy and explains it to her — truly evil beings deny seeing anything good in the world, being unable to grasp that others aren't as self-centered as they are.
    • Trixie seems unable to understand why Gilda doesn't immediately jump at the chance to get back at Rainbow Dash.
      • Later, she seems surprised when Rarity's reaction to her offering her a last request is to ask her to release Sweetie Belle and spare her the sight of watching her die, rather than begging for mercy.
    • Chrysalis is shocked, despite it being more than a year since the Wedding, that the Mane Six have managed to move past their guilt. Rarity admits that she wasn't expecting the Changeling Queen to understand.
  • Fatal Flaw: Applejack's stubborn pride in her work ethic and refusal to accept help comes up again, with Rainbow Dash calling her out on it.
  • For Want of a Nail: The idea is that "Magic Duel" happened, but with Trixie remaining corrupted.
  • Forceful Kiss: Soarin does this to Rainbow Dash again, giving her a surprise hello kiss after grabbing her from behind. Rainbow once again quickly kisses him back, but warns him afterwards she is going to hurt him for that one day.
  • Four Lines, All Waiting: Sequel Escalation applied to the previous installment's Third Line, Some Waiting. The prologue sets up Queen Chrysalis engaging in an unknown plan on behalf of a resurgent Discord, potential tension over the unknown circumstances of Celestia obtaining Spike's egg, and Fancy Pants and Zecora of all people apparently up to shady business as well.... All of which is promptly ignored for several chapters (and over a year's worth of updates), as Twilight and Spike leave for another dimension in pursuit of the stolen Element of Magic, the remaining Mane 5 have to balance their everyday responsibilities with investigating Sunset Shimmer's break-in (under the shaky supposition that the villains of the last story were involved), Celestia grows obsessed with barely-remembered tales involving the human girl Megan, Rarity deals with Sweetie Belle suddenly falling ill, and a still-crazy Trixie runs around trying to put together a team of the Mane 6's old foes, to the point where it's not even clear what the plot is supposed to be. However, after the first arc ends with Trixie's Heel–Face Turn and her accomplices' escape, this is greatly trimmed away, with the plot threads resolved or relegated to the background in favor of an apparently straightforward quest.
  • Freudian Excuse: All of Trixie's issues are tied into how her parents treated her.
  • From Bad to Worse: Sweetie Belle gets extremely sick while staying with Rarity while their parents are vacationing in Manehattan. It's impossible for Rarity to contact her parents so she has to take care of her sister all by herself. It gets even worse when it turns out that the reason why Sweetie was sick Trixie was infecting her with Dark Magic to turn her into her puppet to attack the Mane Six.
  • Future Loser: Rainbow Dash sees her old bully Hoops as one. While under the influence of the Changeling's Lotus-Eater Machine she is the Captain of the Wonderbolts and he is now her personal butler, refilling her drinks on her demand.
  • Guilt Complex:
    • Downplayed; After a year, the Mane Five and Princess Celestia still feel pretty bad for not listening to Twilight about the fake Cadance, but they managed to overcome their guilt, to the point where they laugh when Chrysalis tries to remind them of how they had gotten tricked at the wedding in an attempt to give them a psychological disadvantage in their fight.
    • Rarity feels like Sweetie Belle almost getting killed by the corrupted Trixie was her fault because she knew the pediatrician was bad and should've taken her to a better doctor.
    • During a rest break in the jungle, Rarity and Applejack discuss how Princess Celestia took the Changeling Invasion much worse than they did; Applejack points out that at least she and the others felt good enough to show up at the wedding reception. She theorizes that whenever Celestia screws up, it's putting tons of ponies at risk, which is why she is under constant pressure.
  • Heel Realization: After being cured of the Alicorn Amulet's corruption, Trixie recognizes not only her actions under its influence, but many of those from before, as being awful. Enough that she collapses in tears once purified.
  • Heroic BSoD: Applejack has a small scale one after her experience in the Lotus-Eater Machine, due to it forcing her to relive the pain of losing her parents.
  • Heroic Self-Deprecation: Rainbow Dash is convinced that they wouldn't have so close to losing to Trixie's group if Twilight had been there.
  • Heroic Willpower: With Twilight gone, Rarity is entrusted with learning the Changeling detection spell, just in case. And despite the fact that it's beyond the range of her normal magic skill and therefore painful, she still pushes herself to learn it.
  • Human Shield: Trixie takes Sweetie Belle hostage during her attack.
  • I Have No Son!: When talking to an uncorrupted Trixie, Celestia reveals that, when the Royal Guards questioned her parents about her, they responded with this. Celestia isn't sure which is sadder: the fact Trixie's parents had so completely disowned her, or the fact she looked so relieved to hear this.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Rainbow Dash might be a bit of a jerk about it as AJ continues to refuse to accept her points, but she's entirely right when calling Applejack out on her Pride.
  • Karma Houdini Warranty: Unlike canon, Trixie doesn't have a Heel Realization after the events of "Magic Duel". Instead, still left half-mad by the Alicorn Amulet, she fled into the Everfree Forest until she's purified of the Amulet's influence and lets herself be arrested.
  • The Lancer: Rainbow Dash becomes this to Applejack after she takes over leading the group in Twilight's absence.
  • Lotus-Eater Machine: Scootaloo stumbles into a mild one when the Crusaders end up separated in the abandoned castle — she ends up wandering a seemingly endless maze of identical hallways, only to realize something's wrong, and discovering that she's actually in an old dungeon cell with an illusion on it.
    • The Changelings use the same mechanism to trap the Mane Six when they caught in the llama temple, based on their greatest desires, but since Pinkie has everything in her life that she could want, it doesn't work on her and she's able to free the others.
  • Meaningful Name: The pediatrician from "Secret of My Excess" chose the name "Malpractice''. Considering how inept he is, it fits perfectly, though he chose it himself.
  • Mythology Gag: Fluttershy briefly discusses with Celestia the possibility of some day reforming Discord, in reference to her role in doing so in canon (which never happened in the Nuptialverse).
    • Tiberius, Luna's pet possum from the micro-series comics, shows up.
    • The events of the first MLP series are mentioned multiple times.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: After Trixie is drained of the Alicorn Amulet's influence, she's horrified at everything she did beforehand.
  • Never My Fault: Lightning Dust completely refuses to take responsibility for her own actions leading to her dismissal from the Wonderbolts.
    • After she is freed from the Amulet's influence, Trixie subverts this and accepts responsibility for her actions, which shows to Celestia that she's not as bad as she first seems.
    • Olive Branch, while mostly broken by his defeat in the previous story, still maintains enough ego to blame everyone else for his failures. Trixie calls him out on this, shutting him up.
  • Nightmare Fetishist: When the girls are informed that their quest will take them into an untamed jungle inhabited by wild animals that make timberwolves look tame, they're all understandably a little worried... except Fluttershy, who's thrilled at seeing things like giant snakes, flesh-eating fish, and ant swarms that can carry off a grown pony. Everyone else is a bit disturbed by her reaction.
  • No-Sell: Pinkie is the only one immune to the Changeling's device to make someone see their greatest dream and desires because she already has everything she could ever want and doesn't wish for anything impossible, instead deciding to just do whatever she can to make everyone happy.
  • Noodle Incident: We don't know exactly what Pinkie did during the attempted questioning with Rainbow Dash, but Rainbow thinks she may have crippled a stallion for life!
  • Offscreen Teleportation: Rainbow Dash tries to get Pinkie to use hers to get the group past the changelings guarding the temple, but Pinkie says she doesn't actually teleport, she's just really fast.
  • Pragmatic Villainy: Discord scolds Queen Chrysalis for trying to kill the Mane Five, in that doing so would alert the llamas of their presence and they no longer provide a threat without Twilight.
  • Promotion to Parent: Rainbow Dash and Soarin' are essentially Scootaloo's adoptive parents by this point, though Dash at least is still embarrassed by it.
  • Put on a Bus: Twilight and Spike embark on a journey through the mirror, with the bulk of the story afterward focusing on their friends dealing with Twilight's absence.
  • Relationship Upgrade: Big Mac and Luna's one time sorta-date from the comics has led to them actually dating.
  • Secret Relationship: It is revealed that Big Mac and Luna have been secretly dating each other since their encounter during Summer Wrap Up. Their relationship is exposed to the Bearers when Celestia deliberately doesn't tell the two of them they have returned from their mission. Luna explains they plan to keep their relationship a secret from the public just until both of them are ready to get married, that way the rumors that will inevitably start from their relationship won't last as long as they would for the entire dating cycle.
  • Shaming the Mob: When Trixie is arrested, most of Ponyville shows up and tries to attack her in order to make her pay. Rarity responds by asking them all if this is what they think Twilight would want. This gets the crowd to disperse.
  • Shipper on Deck: Rarity's dream in the Lotus-Eater Machine shows that she'd be happy to see Spike hook up with Sweetie Belle.
  • Shoo Out the Clowns: Trixie turns Pinkie Pie to stone, which sets up the drama for her fight with the Mane Six. She gets better after Fluttershy drains Trixie from the rest of her dark magic.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The Mirror portal from Equestria Girls is given additional qualities similar to the Mirror of Erised.
    • The cover art was partly inspired by that of Pooh's Grand Adventure due to thematic similarity between the two stories.
    • Word of God states that the "buddy" Discord mentions in the chapter "The Victor Go the Spoils" who stated mortals need to learn how to party is Bill Cipher.
  • Shut Up, Hannibal!: When Trixie is put in a cell adjacent to Olive Branch, he tells Trixie that by trying to be The Atoner, she's pathetically letting herself be Celestia's pawn. Trixie ignores him and tells the guard watching them to do likewise, since riling them up would validate him. They ignore him, and he eventually shuts up.
  • Simultaneous Arcs: The events of this story and of Through the Mirror happen alongside each other.
  • So Proud of You: Rarity says this to Sweetie Belle when the latter forgives Trixie for what she did to her while corrupted.
  • Spot the Imposter: When Chrysalis first encounters the Mane Six, she disguises herself as Discord to catch them off duty, only for Pinkie of all people to spot the inconsistencies.
  • Squee: Twilight's reaction to being told she's ready to take the Trials.
    • Luna's reaction to finding Tiberius.
  • A Storm Is Coming: One chapter, where Trixie is preparing to make her move against the Mane Six, uses a variant of this in its title.
  • Taken for Granite: When Trixie attacks, she turns Pinkie to stone. After her Heel Realization, she reverses the process.
  • Tickle Torture: After Rainbow Dash sternly gives her punishment to Scootaloo for her and her friends going into the Everfree forest, the older Pegasus breaks the tension by tickling her charge as "another part of her punishment".
  • Troll: Celestia deliberately doesn't tell Luna and Big Mac that the Bearers have returned from their mission, so that the group will find out about the two being in a relationship.
  • Underestimating Badassery: Much to Trixie's shock, Rarity more that managed to handle her attack when face-to-face with Trixie. But Trixie really underestimated Fluttershy, since she wasn't taken into account for her plan; she got Lightning Dust to handle Rainbow Dash and Red Hoof to take on Applejack. She petrifies Pinkie Pie to make her and her abilities useless during the fight, and brainwashes Sweetie Belle in the hopes that Rarity will surrender herself to free her sister. Trixie figured that Fluttershy would be scared stiff, but not only did the Pegasus temporarily help out Rainbow and Applejack with their battles, her being left alone during the attack allowed Fluttershy to escape back to the library and grab the device to purge Trixie of the remaining dark magic and defeat her.
  • Villain: Exit, Stage Left: Lightning Dust and Red Hoof flee when the Royal Guards show up to arrest them, leaving the emotionally broken Trixie behind.
  • Villain Team-Up: Trixie recruits Lightning Dust to help her get revenge on Twilight by promising a chance of payback against Rainbow Dash. She also tries to recruit Gilda, who isn't buying.
  • Virtue Is Weakness:
    • After bring freed from the Alicorn Amulet, Trixie's cellmate Olive Branch laughs at the idea that she would feel genuine remorse.
    • Queen Chrysalis simply scoffs at the idea that the group would get over their guilt.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Luna apparently caught some flak from Celestia for how she punished Olive Branch at the end of Families.
    • Sweetie Belle isn't happy with the other Crusaders for going to the old castle, even after she pointed out how dangerous it was, leading to them getting separated and mildly hurt.
    • Rainbow Dash calls out Applejack on stubbornly refusing any help on the farm, even when it causes financial problems, and especially now when it's getting in the way of their investigation.
    • Granny Smith eventually calls out both Applejack and Rainbow Dash for being so stubborn and prideful that it leads to conflict between them.
  • With Great Power Comes Great Insanity: The Alicorn Amulet gave Trixie greater power but left her insane. After its residual magic is drained, her sanity is restored.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Trixie turns Sweetie Belle into a mind-controlled puppet (the process of it happening making her very sick), so that she can use her as a shield during her attack on the Mane Six.
  • You Are Better Than You Think You Are: When Applejack tries to hand over interim leadership of the group to Rainbow Dash, feeling that she doesn't deserve it, the latter points out that Twilight wasn't perfect either, and that as long as they all have each other's backs, it doesn't matter.

     Through the Mirror 
  • 100% Adoration Rating: All of the CHS students look up to Celestia and Luna because they avert Adults Are Useless when it comes to the bullying problems in the school, and they understand that they would have expelled Sunset a long time ago if the school board didn't get in the way. Rainbow Dash even believes that Celestia should be the superintendent.
  • Adults Are Useless:
    • Averted in the case of Celestia and Luna. Since this AU has Celestia present when Twilight and Spike chase Sunset through the portal, she and Luna know what is going on from the beginning. They both agree to help Twilight get her crown back from the school board, give her a place to stay, provide her with things she needs to pass herself off as an ordinary human girl, and register her as a temporary student. Celestia does feel useless as a principal, however, because Sunset is so good at covering up her tracks when it comes to her misdeeds that she can't bring any evidence to the school board, despite the fact that everybody knows she's connected somehow. Despite this, all of the students look up to the sisters for at least trying to actually do something to end Sunset's bullying.
    • Most CHS students see the school board supervisor, Hope, as this, because no matter what Sunset does and no matter what Celestia brings to her about the teen, she dismisses every single case.
  • Alternate Universe Fic:
    • The Dazzlings are already at Canterlot High, and working with Sunset.
    • Celestia and Luna knew who Twilight is and where she came from since the beginning.
    • In the movie, Twilight didn't meet Human Rarity or Human Rainbow Dash till nearly halfway through the film. Here, Rarity is the first one Twilight meets when Celestia takes her clothes shopping, and Luna has Rainbow Dash be Twilight's tour guide for the school on Monday. As for meeting the others, it more or less sticks to canon.
  • Armor-Piercing Question: When Rainbow Dash tells Twilight not to involve Fluttershy with any of her plans she says she doesn't want for Fluttershy to get hurt. Twilight asks her "Then why did you stop talking to her?" Rainbow punches her across the face for asking.
  • Cassandra Truth: Both Principal Celestia and Vice Principal Luna admit that if it weren't for the talking dog, neither of them would believe Twilight's story about coming from another world.
  • Chick Magnet: Every girl in school wants to ask out Flash Sentry, but nobody is brave enough to do it because they are all scared of Sunset Shimmer, who harasses anyone who tries. Twilight getting close to Flash impresses many of the students for apparently standing up to Sunset.
  • Cut Himself Shaving: Applejack takes Twilight to the Nurse's office to look over Twilight's injury. When Nurse Golden Cross asks how she got hurt, they tell her Twilight accidentally ran into Applejack's open locker door when really Rainbow Dash punched her for getting Fluttershy involved in her campaign plans.
  • Death Glare: When Twilight asks Rainbow about the rumor of her and Fluttershy being lovers, the athlete gives her a nasty one. She lost it when Twilight quickly reassured her that she doesn't have a problem with homosexuality.
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance: This was inevitable considering how Equestria and the Human world are alternate dimensions run by completely different species:
    • Twilight wasn't happy when she found out that humans are omnivores, and was disturbed whenever she saw anybody have or even mention meat. Fortunately for her, she did discover from Celestia that the animals people do eat aren't sapient, and that some, like Fluttershy, abstained from it.
    • Due to the nature of Cutie Marks in the Pony World, general education lasts until foals are 12 years old, then they get special training in whatever they interpret their cutie marks to be and/or other hobbies. General education for human kids lasts till they're 18, then they go off to college if they desire it.
    • Same-Sex couples are a lot more widely accepted and common in Equestria, so Twilight was both shocked and confused when she discovered that several inhabitants of the human world are wary of it, and how Rainbow Dash and Fluttershy were driven apart by a false rumor spread by Sunset on how they were in a sexual relationship.
  • Everyone Has Standards: The human versions of the Mane Five hate each other because of Sunset's manipulations, but there are some lines even they won't cross to hurt each other.
    • Rarity warns Twilight not to bother Fluttershy or Rainbow Dash about the rumor that they were in a sexual relationship.
    • Neither Applejack nor Pinkie believed the rumor that Sunset spread about Rarity having sex with several members of the soccer team in the locker room, with Pinkie flat-out telling Rarity she never deserved to have such a horrible rumor spread about her. Rainbow Dash also never believed the rumor, and actually tells Twilight not to spread it around more when she asks her about it.
    Rainbow Dash: Rarity’s a lot of things, but she’s not that.
  • Fashion Hurts: Twilight decides to try out pants for Tuesday's outfit. She finds them extremely uncomfortable and wonders how the humans can wear them on a daily basis.
  • First Kiss: Twilight and Flash share a kiss together at the end of their date. Twilight enjoys it but it also breaks her heart realizing she will need to leave the world and Flash behind eventually.
  • Fix Fic: To various plot holes in the first Equestria Girls movie. Flash is also fleshed out a lot more than his canon counterpart.
  • Forced Transformation: As per canon, Twilight and Spike are transformed into a human and a dog, respectfully, after traveling into the other world.
  • For Want of a Nail: Principal Celestia happens to be present when Twilight and Spike arrive in the human world, so she and Vice Principal Luna know her situation from the start, and help her by providing a cover story and coming up with plans to retrieve the Element of Magic.
  • Godzilla Threshold: A small scale example, but Twilight crossing dimensions is considered serious enough that the Keeper actually gives her straight answers for once.
  • Hated by All: Because Sunset is such a horrible bully, everyone hates and fears her except for her posse, and even they are only working with her to gain more power.
  • Hates Being Touched: When Twilight attempts to hold Fluttershy's hand in an attempt to comfort her, the yellow girl pulls it away and apologizes because she doesn't want anybody to get the wrong idea. It turns out this is because years ago, a rumor was spread about her and Rainbow Dash being in a sexual relationship.
  • Have I Mentioned I Am Heterosexual Today?: When Twilight asks about it, both Rainbow Dash and Fluttershy confirm the rumor about them having a sexual relationship is false.
  • Heroic BSoD: Small scale example, but Spike briefly goes into shock after his transformation.
  • Heroic Self-Deprecation: Human Rainbow Dash engages in this a lot. Twilight figures out that it's because of the pain of the rumor about her and Fluttershy causing them to split up.
  • Hope Spot: When Twilight is convincing Rainbow to help with her campaign, she reveals that she managed to convince Pinkie Pie, Applejack, and Rarity to work together. Rainbow starts to consider it, thinking that it would be just like old times again. Then Twilight mentions that Fluttershy is also helping her, angering Rainbow to the point where she punches Twilight in the face for putting Fluttershy in harm's way.
  • Humble Hero: Human Rainbow Dash is this, much to Twilight's surprise, since she's used to Pony Dash being boastful and arrogant.
  • I Kiss Your Hand: After helping Twilight practice how to dance, Flash playfully kisses her hand.
  • I Need a Freaking Drink: Human Luna's reaction to Twilight and Spike's arrival is to ask Celestia to break out the whiskey, though the latter refuses.
  • It's Personal: A villainous example; Sunset takes it as a personal attack when she sees support posters for Twilight's campaign with her holding hands with Flash Sentry, Sunset's ex-boyfriend and "best conquest." She then immediately makes plans to humiliate Twilight.
  • Laughing Mad: Sunset just laughs when she finds out Twilight signed up for Fall Formal Princess. Even Snips and Snails thought she had gone insane.
  • Limited Wardrobe: Averted, as Principal Celestia provides Twilight with different sets of clothes so that she doesn't have to wear the same thing every day.
  • Magnetic Hero: Twilight, due to running against Sunset, willingness to stick to it, and her cover story of being Celestia's niece, has already gained a following of students who will vote for her if she survives the running till Friday. Applejack, Rarity, and Pinkie Pie (who aren't able to stand each other at the time) were even able to sit together for a few minutes at lunch with her and discuss what she needed for the campaign.
    • Much to Twilight's mortification, she got even more followers when Diamond Tiara posted the picture of her and Flash holding hands.
  • The Mind Is a Plaything of the Body: It's speculated in-universe that their physical change in species is the cause of things like Spike actually acting like a dog and Twilight developing a crush on Flash (when she's never even had an interest in stallions back home).
  • Mythology Gag: The universes that the Keeper shows Twilight when lecturing her on The Multiverse include the Mirror Universe from the IDW comics, and most of the Bad Futures Starlight Glimmer created in the Season 5 finale.
  • Narnia Time: Appears to be in effect, as while Sunset had a several hour lead time on Twilight, Principal Celestia says she and Spike arrived almost immediately after Sunset. Twilight herself realizes this later.
    • As the Keeper points out, this means that Twilight has only a week to retrieve her Element, instead of a month.
    • The fifth chapter mentions that it's been 15 years since Sunset ran away, but only three in the Human World.
  • Nephewism: Twilight's cover story for being at CHS is that she's temporarily staying with her "aunts" because her house had recently burned down and her parents got jobs overseas to help cover the cost of recuperating the losses from that.
  • Noodle Incident: Luna says that Yearling still owes her for one of these in Guatemala.
  • Not a Morning Person: Vice Principal Luna. Twilight says it makes sense.
  • Not Good with Rejection: Flash says Sunset went ballistic after he dumped her. She thought even after she admitted that she was the one spreading rumors and bullying everyone that he would stay with her because she was popular; instead he dumps her on the spot and she punches him in the jaw in retaliation. Flash says he can still feel where she hit him.
  • Obstructive Bureaucrat: Celestia and Luna would have expelled Sunset a long time ago for all of the bullying she committed if they had the power to do so. However, since the power to expel students rests in the school board, and because of how good Sunset is at covering her tracks, the school board can't really do anything about her, much to the frustration of everybody.
  • Retired Badass: The human versions of Celestia and Luna are implied to be retired government agents.
  • Simultaneous Arcs: Occurs alongside the events of Direction.
  • Slut-Shaming: After Rarity signed up for the Spring Fling running, Sunset spread rumors that she had an orgy with members of the boys' soccer team in the locker room. It reached the PTA and the school board, to the point were several members were trying to get her expelled. Thankfully, Celestia and Luna managed to convince them that it wasn't true. Even more thankfully, most of the students figured out that it was one of Sunset's schemes so they didn't believe it, and those who did harass Rarity about it were quickly dealt with by Celestia. However, Sunset still got what she wanted; Rarity was so humiliated by what happened she stopped her campaign. After Twiight heard about this, it strengthened her resolve to bring down Sunset.
  • Shipper on Deck: Rarity seems to be one for Twilight and Flash.
  • Shout-Out: While the girls are remembering embarrassing stories, Pinkie mentions the time she was supposed to do a handstand for a talent show, but ate too much beforehand and threw up on the stage.
  • Squee: Twilight's reaction to finding out about the Internet is go practically catatonic with joy.
  • Star-Crossed Lovers: Twilight realizes early on that she can't establish a romantic relationship with Flash because of Narnia Time and the different nature of their two worlds. As a result, she tries not to get too involved with him in spite of their mutual crushes, the rumor Diamond Tiara spreads, and Human Rarity shipping them together.
  • Take That!: When the Keeper shows Twilight different universes where different outcomes occurred, Twilight is horrified to see one world where she is bitter and angry at her friends for what they did to her during the wedding rehearsal and completely broke off her relationships with them. This is a common occurrence in many Accusations Fics about "A Canterlot Wedding" where Twilight just gets mad and yells at her friends.
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork:
    • It is shown that even though Sunset Shimmer and the Sirens are working together, none of them actually like each other. The Sirens are only helping Sunset because they see it as the lesser of two bad outcomes for them.
    • When Twilight sees that she can't get Applejack, Rarity, and Pinkie Pie back together despite showing them the evidence that Sunset was behind their breakup, she persuades them to at least act civil towards one another long enough to defeat Sunset.
  • Tranquil Fury: When Sunset gets the mass email about Twilight and Flash holding hands together, she snaps her smartphone in her hand. She then calmly orders the Sirens, Snips, and Snails to start digging up info to use against Twilight, which freaks them out even more than her breaking her phone.
  • Villain Team-Up: Sunset is working with the sirens.
  • We Used to Be Friends: Invoked by Sunset, who used rumors and blackmail to drive the human versions of the Mane Five apart.

Alternative Title(s): Post Nuptials, Families