The dreams of Equestria are under attack, again—this time, not from the Tantabus, but a demon from another universe masquerading as the Tantabus. Princess Luna, defender of the dream realm, leaps into action. She finds unexpected help from a wall-eyed pegasus with dreamwalking powers, and a brave knight straight out of Ogres & Oubliettes—and she enlists two members of the Time Patrol as her mission support.
Experience it here.
Provides examples of:
- Achievements in Ignorance: Derpy has powers in the dream realm, like shapeshifting into a dragon, that surprise even Princess Luna. Derpy herself has no idea how she does them.
- Ascended Extra: Eventide Zeppeli had a brief cameo in Daring Do and the Journey to the Center of the Earth. He plays a rather bigger role in this story.
- Battle in the Rain: Lyra's first dream is a storm over the ocean. Lyra and Bon Bon fight Kaiju in the storm, while Luna fights the Tantabus.
- Bizarrchitecture: After all, the dream world isn't constrained by normal geometry. Star Swirl's dream involves libraries shaped like spiral sea shells, which are much, much Bigger on the Inside.
- Bond One-Liner: Downplayed example. Maud Pie fights off a pack of henchponies—and all of her punches and kicks are named after rocks. Finally, after she knocks all her enemies senseless:Dont take it personally, boys, Maud said, cracking her hooves. Im sure deep down youre all... Gneiss guys.
- Book-Ends: The first and last sections were written by the same author, which is why the characters who had disappeared from the story suddenly reappeared at the end. The very first dream Luna visits is also the very last one: an endless plane full of bubbles.
- Bowdlerise: At one point, Trunks wonders, "What the HFIL is going on in there?!"note
- Call-Back: Daring Do and the Journey to the Center of the Earth had a section near the climax that inexplicably got lost. That missing section appears in this story, just before its climax.
- Calvinball: The game show dream is a bizarre mashup of trivia questions, physical challenges, pure luck, vats of slime, and random rule changes.
- Catchphrase:Yes! said Daring. I am contractually obligated to use my marketing department-issued catch phrase at least once per adventure! I die a little more on the inside every time!
- Companion Cube: Cloudy McCloudface, one of the contestants in the game show dream, is a literally a cloud. Somehow, it's the returning champion.
- Continuity Nod:
- Covered in Gunge: In the game show dream, certain questions count as the round's "Daily Double"... which inexplicably drops all the contestants into a vat of green slime.
- Curse Cut Short:Applejack sighed and rubbed her head. Well, she said, Then I hope no foals are seein this dream because HOLY FU-
A gag appeared in Applejacks mouth before she could finish swearing.
- Demonic Possession: Lord Dumplin / the Tantabus can take over figures from ponies' dreams, or directly control dreaming ponies themselves.
- Department of Redundancy Department:"A nightmarish demon has escaped. A nightmarish demon of nightmare. It is giving everyone nightmares, for a reason I know not."
- Depending on the Author:
- In some chapters, Luna is very familiar with humans; in others Luna only knows about humans secondhand from Twilight's trips to the EQG universe.
- One author has Rarity heavily imply that she and Applejack are in a very physical relationship. AJ gets flustered at these implications but pointedly doesn't deny them. When the very next author starts writing, AJ does outright deny that there's anything between her and Rarity.
- Various authors can't keep straight who did or didn't drink the Dreamer's Tea.
- Disproportionate Retribution: In Lyra's second dream, she rather rudely criticizes the students of Canterlot High to their faces. They respond by attacking and trying to kill her—even after she apologizes.
- Dream Walker: Like in canon, Luna has the power to enter other ponies' dreams. Unlike canon, Derpy also has this power—her cutie mark is a set of dream bubbles.
- Dream Weaver: Princess Luna naturally has power over other all dreams, until Dumplin steals those powers from her. And Dreamer's Tea can temporarily give an ordinary pony power to control the dreamscape.
- Dream Within a Dream: Big Mac's dream is a game of Ogres & Oubliettes. Luna initially shows up inside the imagined plot of the game with Mac's player character—and when she breaks the game, she winds up at the gaming table with Big Mac himself.
- Ear Worm: Star Swirl looked unconcerned. "Oh sorry about that. I've got Steve's stupid song stuck in my head. Whenever you mention him, I'm reminded of it, and since this is my dream world, it plays everywhere. It will go away after a while if you distract me by talking about other stuff."
- Everybody Laughs Ending:Sounds good, but Id rather go back to Canterlot and catch up on some well deserved rest. All this sleeping really tuckered me out! Everyone then did a cliche group laugh in the most annoying way possible.
- Everyone Meets Everyone: In nearly every dream she passes through, Luna recruits more ponies to her party.
- Evil Is Not a Toy: After getting summoned by Malicious Star, the first thing Steve does is banish Star somewhere very unpleasant, as punishment for botching the ritual.Lets just say I hope he knows how to handle chimeras. Suddenly Steve was very threatening again.
- Evil Lawyer Joke: Human Star Swirl's justification for banishing lawyers to another dimension.But Star Swirl had one other trick left. Lawyers were the worst scum that walked the earth, he thought. The less of them in the world the better. It's really for the best...
- Evil Overlooker: In the cover art, Lord Dumplin's eyes loom over the rest of the cast—though they're easy to miss, since there's a Jaeger obscuring them.
- Falling into the Cockpit: Luna uses Trunks' and Eventide's dream machine against Lord Dumplin. They had just finished building it, and hadn't even managed to test it yet.
- Failed a Spot Check:Darn you, David! I should have known youd moved the Shrine to the bow of your airship when we were flying here and could clearly see that!
- Fluffy the Terrible: Malicious Star plans to summon the terrible demon... Steve.
- Game Show Appearance: Night Glider's dream involves her, Princess Luna, and Cloudy McCloudface competing in a weird mashup of several different game shows.
- Hero of Another Story: Nearly every pony Luna stumbles across is the hero of some story within their own dream. And some of them are in the middle of plots with repercussions in the waking world: an unnamed alien is pursuing a demon named Bill; the mane six are foiling another demon named Steve; and Star Swirl the not-yet-bearded is archiving his library in preparation for the arrival of the Windigos.
- Humongous Mecha: Lyra dreams about her and Bon Bon co-piloting a 20-story tall, humanoid robot.
- I Have Many Names: Derpy.This was a pegasus of many names: Ditzy Doo. Bubblecup. Stoneface. Party Filly. Bubbly Mare. Background Pegasus #23.
But deep in her innermost heart, the name she called herself was Reginald P. Worcestershire III.
Or Derpy Hooves. Either was okay.
- Imperfect Ritual: Malicious Star summons the demon Steve, but screws up the ritual. (His summoning circle is more of an ellipsoid.) As a result he only summons Steve's disembodied voice.
- Innocent Innuendo: When the readers catch the very end of Luna's date with Cheerilee:Thank you, Princess. I never knew you had such a quick tongue.
And you are quite the, what do they call it these days, cunning linguist yourself.
- They were actually just singing at a karaoke bar.
- Intercontinuity Crossover: Trunks from Dragon Ball is on Luna's mission control. The Big Bad is Dumplin from Team Four Star's alternate version of Dragon Ball. Pony dreams fit inside "dreambubbles" (from Homestuck), and Luna briefly meets Karkat and Vriska inside one such bubble. Eventide Mario Zeppeli is the son of Baron Zeppeli (but zebrafied) from Jojos Bizarre Adventure, and Dio Brando has a cameo near the end. And at the very end, the demon Bill turns out to be Bill Cipher.
- Intoxication Ensues: Dreamer's Tea has the side effect of making its drinkers very loopy.
- It's Quiet... Too Quiet: When Luna's pursuit takes her to a dream of a perfectly normal-looking castle:Nothing was out of the ordinary, which in and of itself was out of the ordinary.
- Just Between You and Me: Lampshaded."Actually, my minions just led all of you pathetic, powerless foals into a trap," an evil voice informed the party or assorted ponies. [...] "And now I shall reveal to you my evil plan in its entirety."
- Kaiju: The giant fish-monsters that Lyra fights in her dream.
- Laser-Guided Amnesia: After Luna rescues Lyra from her nightmare in Canterlot High, both of them (and Derpy and Big Mac) suddenly have difficulty remembering anything about their mission beyond the broadest outlines.
- "Leave Your Quest" Test: Dumplin offers to send Luna back to happier days when she and Celestia were still fillies, if Luna will give up and let him keep her dream powers. When Luna declines, he sends her back anyway and wipes her memories.
- Let's Split Up, Gang: When Luna's party winds up in (what they assume is) Twilight's dream, they decide to split into three groups to find Twilight quicker.
- Luke, I Am Your Father: Star Swirl the Bearded claims to be Big Mac's (and by extension Applejack and Apple Bloom's) long-lost father—but Time Travel shenanigans somehow erased all evidence of his place in the Apple family. Big Mac doesn't believe him at all.
- Medium Awareness: When Luna loses control of her own dream powers, she winds up in her own memories rather than in pony dreams, leading her to wonder: "Had the portal somehow taken her to the time-travel story?"
- The Mind Is a Plaything of the Body: In one chapter, it's hinted that Lord Dumplin is beginning to think like the Tantabus and forget his real identity. This development is never mentioned again.
- Mission Control: Trunks and Eventide don't enter the dream with Luna, but monitor her progress from outside and provide important information.
- Mythology Gag: Some of Derpy's alternate names: Bubblecup is a G3 pony with a remarkably similar color scheme and cutie mark. Stoneface was a name given to Derpy by some of the animators. Party Filly and Bubbly Mare are her alternate names from some pieces of official merchandise.
- New Rules as the Plot Demands: In the game show dream, Luna tries to forfeit the final round. The host then announces that it was actually a bizarro round, so Luna won by losing.
- Offscreen Moment of Awesome:The evil, the devious thing, who had captured them earlier, in an epic battle that Applejack was reasonably certain she remembered happening...
- Painting the Medium: The two Homestuck trolls speak in colored text. And Steve's name is supposed to be spoken in bold text; Steve, Steve, STEVE, etc. are all wrong pronunciations.
- Paper-Thin Disguise: Literally, as Daring Do claims to have once fooled an entire golem army with a drawing on a sheet of construction paper.
- Power Parasite: Lord Dumplin steals Luna's alicorn powers and her control over the dream realm (reducing her to an earth pony no more powerful than any other lucid dreamer).
- Out of Focus: Trunks and Eventide disappear from the story just as Big Mac shows up. Then Dumplin disappears when Luna stumbles into the plot to summon Steve. All three of them abruptly reappear in the final section of the story.
- Out of Sight, Out of Mind: Star Swirl's standard procedure for dealing with dangerous creatures is to chuck them into another universe and forget all about them. Luna calls him out on this short-sighted plan. Then it comes back to bite him when the Star Swirl from the EQG universe banishes a trio of lawyers to Equestria.
- Real Dreams Are Weirder: A few of the dreams are very surreal. Night Glider's dream starts as a weird game show mashup, then ends with her waterskiing with Double Diamond on a swordfish. Star Swirl's dream features Bizarrchitecture libraries and bags of flour with frog legs. Dumplin attacks Luna in a multicolored farmland with dolls floating in the sky.
- Reality Bleed: When Luna begins reliving her memory of the fight against the original Tantabus, Lord Dumplin mentions the possibility that the Tantabus from her memories could escape into the waking world.
- Ret Gone: According to Star Swirl, his wife Edith was erased from the timeline by a chronobomb. He was also hit, but he got better.
- Rouge Angles of Satin: Invoked when the Lemony Narrator uses the common "rein"/"reign" confusion to make a pun:[Luna] was loath to give this one any free rein (or, for that matter, free reign, considering the inordinate amount of royal equine mojo that had gone into its creation).
- Self-Deprecation: Mixed with Leaning on the Fourth Wall:And also, they taste like candy, if the candy were made with tree pulp instead of sugar pulp! added Pinkie.
Thats stupid, said Daring Do. Why, if I didnt know any better, Id think there was some kind of cosmic writer who doesnt know how to properly write for you, but has to because another cosmic writer before them included you in this part of the story, so theyre just putting barely coherent, tangentially-related nonsense in your mouth in lieu of going to the effort to actually get a handle on writing proper dialogue in your voice.
I like grapes! said Pinkie Pie.
- Screwed by the Lawyers: When the trio of lawyers wind up in Equestria, they note its similarity to a toyline for girls in their home universe—and they immediately decide to sue everypony for copyright infringement."You did this?" asked Star Swirl angrily. "What vile sorcery is this?"
"Oh, it is blocked it on copyright grounds. We apologize for the inconvenience."
"What? How does that make any sense at all? Besides, this is a parody, and clearly transformative, too."
"Try that on the judge, buddy. Fair use is merely an affirmative defence."
- Shout-Out: See here.
- Sorting Algorithm of Evil: Dumplin claims to be the biggest and baddest of the Big Bads to appear in this series yet. He's the secret leader of the evil council who interfered in previous stories, and he effortlessly overpowers Dio Brando just to show off how powerful he is.
- Stylistic Suck: The bonus chapter is an "E-reader UNFRIENDLY Edition" of the story, with all the text saved as images. The pictures have ten pages' worth of text apiece, and each is completely illegible in a different way.
- Take That!:
"What is with you and assigning moral weight to people in alternate dimensions? Did you fall in love with your evil opposite or something? It was bad enough when one princess was trying to destabilize reality over a stupid crush."
- In Lyra's second dream, her disappointment that the Equestria Girls world failed to meet her expectations is a playful jab at common fandom complaints about the Equestria Girls series itself.
- One of Star Swirl's rants is a jab at the "Reflections" arc from the My Little Pony IDW comic series.
- Taking the Bullet: Luna shoots a magic beam at the Tantabus, who's currently possessing Lady Marble in Big Mac's dream. Sir McBiggen, sworn to protect Lady Marble, leaps in front of her and gets disintegrated by Luna's beam.
- Tempting Fate: Derpy's response to the suggestion to split the party:Yeah! Derpy nodded. Im sure that it wont backfire and result in all of us being separated when something inevitably happens!
- Time-Travel Tense Trouble:"You see, I will once have been an adventurer like you. Err, how about I just use the past tense to simplify things."
- Timey-Wimey Ball: Dreambubbles transcend time, allowing Luna in the present day to interact with Star Swirl the Bearded thousand of years in the past.
- Unfortunate Names: Lord Dumplin can't believe that he's possessing a pony named Derpy.Wait, really? Who names their foal Derpy? Did they hate her?
[Luna said,] I think it is a fine name. You are not one to judge.
- Voluntary Shapeshifting:
- Inside Big Mac's dream, Derpy transforms herself into a dragon to fight Sir McBiggen's army. After visiting the EQG world in her dream, Lyra switches between her pony and human form at will.
- Dumplin is sometimes a fat humanoid, sometimes an orange rhinoceros, and sometimes a dark, amorphous blob.
- Wins by Doing Absolutely Nothing: Cloudy McCloudface never speaks at all, yet somehow won the previous match of the game show. In this match, he correctly answers a few questions about John Cage's composition 4'33", but gets eliminated off-screen before the final round.
- Your Mind Makes It Real: A variation. Normally, if a pony dies in a dream, they just wake up. However, if Luna kills somepony in their dream, then they die in the waking world.