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Fanfic / A Minor Variation

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A Minor Variation is a My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic alternate universe fanfic by notMuphy, in which the events of Rainbow Dash's first sonic rainboom play out very differently. Without the Sonic Rainboom tying them together, the Mane Six' destinies lead to some surprising differences...and some even more surprising similarities.

Compare and contrast Random Elements and A World Without Rainbows.


This fanfic provides examples of:

  • The Atoner:
    • Rainbow Dash still kicks herself for causing Fluttershy to fall, despite saving her imediately after. She also worries that her attempts to save ponies don't help enough.
    • After redeeming Nightmare Moon, Rarity begins a campaign of apologising and atoning to everyone she ever slighted during her youth (and there were many). Goes a bit out of hand with a few of them who had already come to terms with it, disliked Rarity opening old wounds, and rather preferred not to get money and letters of recommendation from childhood bullies.
  • Boring, but Practical: Teleporting apples. They are usable by anyone with a functional mouth, provide their own magical power, and can bypass most conventional wards.
  • Cooldown Hug: The Variant Six defeat Nightmare Moon by group-hugging the jealousy and corruption out of her. While the elements (the physical objects) may have activated to assist, none of them are fully aware of this happening. It's not until halfway through the celebrations back in Ponyville that Rainbow Dash even realizes she's wearing new jewelry.
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  • For Want of a Nail: The divergence profoundly changes the ponies' lives, but ultimately they get drawn together anyway. note 
  • Green Thumb: Twilight gains her cutiemark when a spell gone out of control (thanks to Fluttershy's Cloudboom) puts her in direct rapport with every single plant in Sweet Apple Acres. Even after the event dies down, she maintains a constant link with surrounding plant life, expending half of her massive magic supply to do so. Not only can she persuade plants to do anything from dropping their fruit to moving around for her, she manages to locate and send a message to Jackie halfway across Equestria simply by exploiting the link between plants until she found something within range of the target, and later grew apples allowing the consumer to teleport.note 
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  • Guile Heroine: Rarity is a less powerful Element of Magic than Twilight, but she excels at contingency plans and exploiting flaws. To the point of consciously holding herself back so she won't hurt others.
  • Hive Mind: Every version of Pinkie Pie ever imagined across the multiverse is linked to all other versions. Dianne is connected to it after she sees the Rainbow created by the Elements Of Harmony, and fights a constant, potentially losing battle to stay as she is despite the hive mind's attempts to make her more like Canon!Pinkie.
  • In Spite of a Nail: The Variant Six end up getting drawn together despite the divergence,note  although their individual lives are profoundly different from canon.
  • Kill It with Ice: Fluttershy incapacitates Gilda the griffon by luring her high enough that her wingfeathers freeze up. She even quotes Iron Man: "How'd you solve the icing problem?"
  • My Greatest Failure: Dash's reaction to Fluttershy almost falling to her death, even though in this timeline it was Dash who saved her.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Discord breaks loose because the CMC were sent to deliberately provoke a disharmonious event near him to see if he was showing signs of breaking loose.
  • Shout-Out: Many.
    • Rarity's introduction to Discord.
      Rarity: Discord, the Spirit of Disharmony? Good evening, my name is Rarity Bell. As a member of the country and world of Equestria, I ask you to cease any and all supernatural activity and return forthwith to your place of origin, or to the next convenient parallel dimension.
    • When Rarity mentions how Nightmare Moon was banished to the moon, Jackie wants her to clarify whether she was imprisoned IN the moon, or having adventures on the surface in the form of an adorable filly.
    • One of Fluttershy's Omega Flight classmates is named Dorothy Gale, who ends up carried off by a tornado to a faraway land.
  • Silk Hiding Steel: Fluttershy. Sweet and gentle, but fully determined to do anything it takes to get the job done and keep ponies safe. She never raises her voice more than she needs to be heard, but if she says Things Will Be Thus, that will happen. The closest she gets to actual anger is when she berates Photo Finish for trying to ruin the presentation of Rainbow Dash's new line of Wonderbolts uniforms, by focusing on Fluttershy than the subject matter.
  • Staring Down Cthulhu: Rarity delivers a heartfelt What the Hell, Hero? to Celestia for essentially letting her own sister fade into history as a terrible monster while everyone forgets the real Luna. Celestia takes it in stride and explains everything.
  • Talking to Themself: Almost all of the six to varying degrees.
    • Twilight's overactive mind tends to split off and go off on tangents, criticize herself, and even bicker out loud to the point of suggesting an emerging alternate persona.
    • Fluttershy gains her confidence in a moment of crisis when her other self essentially smacks her around until she did something instead of crying about being helpless.
    • Rainbow Dash is so prone to zoning out and having long internal monologues that it freaks her friends out, and Rarity is no stranger to analyzing, second-guessing and criticizing her own actions.
  • Villains Act, Heroes React: Subverted by Rarity, who believes that Nightmare Moon is only the first sealed-away evil from Equestria's shady history to break free. As such, she and her friends start cataloguing every myth and legend they can find (including Tirek, Discord and the Smooze) and evaluate them for relevance and threat level. However, sending the Cutie Mark Crusaders to inspect Discord was probably not a wise idea.
  • Weaksauce Weakness: Rarity dismisses Tirek as a minimal threat due to him being apparently afraid of rainbows.
  • When Trees Attack: Part of Twilight's plant-related arsenal. She can even control dead wood, and at one point restrains an Ursa Minor using the town hall.