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RealityCheck's Nyxverse is a set of recursive fanfictions by Ralph Hayes, Jr. using the penname RealityCheck and based off of Pen Stroke's hugely popular and influential My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic fanfiction Past Sins. In chronological order, they are:

  • Nyx's Family: Nyx and Spike travel to the Crystal Empire with Twilight Sparkle when she is called in to update the empire's library. Unfortunately, Shining Armor, with whom they're staying, has bitter feelings toward the filly formerly known as Nightmare Moon...and the Crystal Ponies, who were ruled by unicorn kings and queens, then enslaved by a unicorn tyrant, have bitter feelings toward anything with a horn...and this is before a gang of teenage dragons decides to raid the place in search of lost treasure. Complete.
  • Nightmare Night and Nyx: This is Nyx's first Nightmare Night, a holiday she has no knowledge of, especially the darker connections with her past. Complete.
  • Alicornundrum: After the events of Magical Mystery Cure, Twilight has become an Alicorn. However, not everyone's happy with the shift of power or how close Nyx is to the throne now, and both their lives are turned upside down by their new status as royalty. Complete.
  • Tirek Gets a Righteous Beatdown: After the events of Alicornundrum, Tirek begins his rampage. He is going to get curbstomped. Complete.
  • Cheerilee's Class: This fic focuses on Willow Wisp, a thestral, moving to Ponyville and getting acquainted with the more eccentric members of his new class. Incomplete.

Most of the stories start simple, but they quickly add more elements that the story's synopsis is only a small part of.

The series contains examples of:

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    The series as a whole 
  • Alternate Universe: What with Nyx's presence, and everything. Oh, and apparently, Pinkie Pie was put in charge of reforming Discord, instead of Fluttershy.
  • Anachronic Order: The list above puts the stories in chronological order. In publication order, it's Nightmare Night and Nyx -> Nyx's Family -> Cherilee's Class -> Alicornundum -> Tirek Gets A Righteous Beatdown.
  • Author Appeal: Immortality. Both the concept itself and the means to achieve it. Luna and Celestia are on a quest to bring immortality to the citizens of Equestria. The astute reader will pick up on several hints that this quest is eventually successful. For example, near the end of Nyx's Family, Rarity and Cadence get into a conversation over the peculiar beverage they are drinking. Rarity will eventually find herself thinking back on that talk more than a century later.
  • Author Filibuster: Considering who the author is, the truly interesting thing is how few of these there are. Reality Check clearly is more interested in telling stories here than expounding on his often controversial political views. Still, if you are looking for them, there's at least one example per fic, some much subtler than others.
  • Badass Bookworm: Twilight, Nyx, Spell Nexus, Dubious once he stops being a Jerkass, and most of the research team that Twilight puts together in order to look for the Founder's Tomb. It is hinted that Pinkie Pie is this as well.
  • Badass Family: The Sparkle Clan. Dear Lord, the Sparkle Clan. By the time Alicornundrum is in its second chapter, they are a full-bore Cadet Branch of the Equestrian Royal Family, and they are out there all day kicking flank and taking names.
    Night Light: "Don't mess with me, boy. I am one of Equestria's fierce beasts. I am the original steam powered animal; I have dual pistons and a built-in cowcatcher and I will roll over your tiny ego like a herd of pie-crazed buffalo. I have SEEN horseapples.
    "I spent a portion of my daughter's cuteceneara day as a potted cactus. I nearly was father in law to a giant cock-a-roach. I have alicorns in my kitchen on a regular basis. My family pic-a-nics in Everfree Forest and likes it.
    "The Elements of Harmony swap Hearth Warming gifts with us. The fruits of my loins are forces of nature, boy. My daughter juggles ursa minors for a pastime, makes Nightmare Moon sit in the corner when she's naughty, and turned a chaos god into a birdbath. She and her friends destroyed the Grand Galloping Gala and Princess Celestia applauded. My son slaps armies out of the sky by snogging his wife. My daughter in law sits on a THRONE and held the sky up for three days by sheer force of will.
    • Other family members have had their moments:
      • Shining Armor chews out the parents and grandfather of an underachieving colt when they try to sign him up for the Royal Guard (Nyx's Family).
      • After putting six overgrown dragons in the hospital, Spike promises to do far worse to them if they ever threaten his friends again (Nyx's Family).
      • Twilight Velvet catches three nobles gossiping about her daughter's upcoming wedding and goes into full Mama Bear mode, verbally ripping them a new one (Alicornundrum).
      • Fed up with the petty scheming of the nobles bringing petitions before the throne while the princesses have to deal with a national crisis, Twilight Sparkle unloads on them with such ferocity that two-thirds of them simply clear out on the spot (Alicornundrum).
    • So far, the only immediate family member who hasn't gone off on an epic tirade is Nyx. Word of God says that she will get her chance in this verse's version of One Bad Apple.
  • Cerebus Syndrome: The stories never get too dark, but they do tend to get darker than they started out.
  • Continuity Snarl: When Alicornundrum was originally posted on FIMFiction, Ink Spot claimed to have been involved with Twilight by the time of the events of "Lesson Zero", which would place Nyx's Family and Nightmare Night and Nyx early on or before Season 2... except they clearly take place after "The Crystal Empire", putting them somewhere in Season 3. This scene was edited during the move to AO3 so that now, Twilight had merely told Ink Spot about the incident at some point, rather than his actually being there for it.
  • Department of Redundancy Department: One of the Royal Guards looking after Nyx is named Lightning Blitz, with Blitz being German for "Lightning". The author admits to the redundancy.
  • Foil: Nyx and Diamond Tiara have almost the exact opposite personality traits from each other, which causes Tiara to view Nyx as her Arch-Enemy and despise her. To wit, Diamond is haughty, showy, pretentious, and anti-intellectual; has a hard facade; has a carefully crafted self-image of blase superiority; and refuses to reveal her inner emotions. Nyx is demure, humble, honest, nerdy, excitable, hyper-intellectual, and extremely curious; hates being the center of attention; is sensitive and empathetic; and finds it next to impossible to hide her feelings. Diamond Tiara had long set herself up as the closest thing that the "backwater" of Ponyville had to a noble and thus behaved as she thought nobles should behave, which was fine as long as no nobles lived in Ponyville. By the end of Nightmare Night and Nyx, however, Nyx is officially a "de facto" member of both the Equestrian and Crystal Empire royal families and has her own security detail. The fact that Nyx's behavior is almost the exact opposite of Diamond Tiara's exposes the latter as a fraud, a fact of which Diamond is all too well aware.
  • Footnote Fever: As in his other MLP fics, they are numerous and hilarious. Keep track of those numbers with Control+F.
  • Generation Xerox: Twilight gets her Obsessively Organized traits from her mother, and Nyx seems to have inherited a few from her.
  • Glamour Failure: Special lanterns that act as a kind of Anti-Magic, dispelling Changeling disguises, are mentioned and show up multiple times throughout the series.
  • Hidden Depths: For Diamond Tiara of all ponies. Turns out one of the reasons she hates Nyx is she blames her for her father getting brainwashed in Past Sins and thinks she is a Karma Houdini who avoided punishment for it. She also helped Silver Spoon deal with a trauma-based fear, albeit in a harsh and meanie fashion.
  • Hollywood History: In-Universe, it turns out that the Hearth Warming's tale is this. For starter's, Chancellor Puddinghead was actually a brilliant scholar named Level Head ("Puddinghead" was a derogatory nickname by the unicorns and pegasi), and it was actually the Crystal Heart that scared off the Windigoes. also that Smart Cookie was Level Head's grandson; and that instead of singing carols with Private Pansy and Clover the Clever: they ended up forming a Herd and having a threesome together.
    Pinkie Pie: Boy, the Hearthwarming Pageant THIS year is gonna be REAL interesting.
  • If You Ever Do Anything to Hurt Her...: Consistently subverted. When Twilight and Ink Spot start dating in Nightmare Night and Nyx, Shining Armor gives his "obligatory big brother greeting and death threat", but shrugs it off as a joke and says he likes the guy. And when the two become engaged in Alicornundrum, Twilight's father Night Light actually refuses to do this, stating that if he thought Ink Spot was the type of guy who might hurt Twilight, he wouldn't have let them date in the first place.
  • Living Forever Is Awesome: Celestia and Luna certainly think so and have a master plan to make everyone immortal as well.
  • Modest Royalty: Celestia, Luna, Cadence, Shining, and Twilight are all, of course, this, since it is one of their defining character traits in the show itself. But Nyx dislikes being reminded at all of the fact that she is royalty. Understandable, given how much she detested her tenure as Queen of Equestria and how her birthright to the title of Dark Queen of Equestria has been the source of every major trauma in her life, including kidnappings, multiple assassination attempts, and being feared and despised by many. Her royal status is essentially a trigger for her. The typical result when someone brings up the fact that she will inevitably be granted a royal title of some sort is as follows:
    "But really, y'all," Applebloom said. "Nyx, Twilight Sparkle's a princess now. And that means sooner or later YOU'RE gonna be a princess too—"
    • This is the main, but not by any means the only, reason Diamond Tiara hates Nyx. See Foil above.
    • Twilight even goes as far as to try and abdicate near the end of Alicornundrum, with Celestia lampshading the Irony that those suited most for royal power are those who don't desire it.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something: Celestia, Luna, Cadence, Shining, and as of Alicornundrum Twilight and even our little Nyx.
  • Running Gag:
    • Just because Flitter looks, acts, smells, tastes, sounds like, and has the phobias of a bug...
    • Nyx's reaction to being called a princess.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Daffodil sandwiches and celery soup, for Nyx.
  • Wise Beyond Their Years: As a result of both living with Twilight and her past experience as Nightmare Moon, Nyx has some pretty insightful moments.

    Nyx's Family 
  • Affectionate Nickname / Stealth Pun: Night Light and Shining Armor call Nyx "Nyxy Sticks."
    • Ink Spot does likewise in Alicornundrum.
  • Amplifier Artifact: Fire Opals make dragons grow larger, temporarily. In large doses, they can even grant extra heads.
  • Author Filibuster: Chapter 11, where we are treated to a flashback of Celestia and Luna using a magic mirror to consult HUMAN economists in order to create Equestria's economic system (According to the author, because it was too much of a pain in the behind trying to "ponify" the names of various economists so as to be recognizable). From that point on, no mention is made of the topics in that chapter. Word of God is these elements may reappear in future stories, however.
  • Awesome by Analysis: Professor I. M. Dubious of all ponies, who was initially presented as skeptical of everything, is the one who manages to deduce the existence of a second Crystal Heart using context clues in the Tomb of the Founders.
  • Bags of Letters: Partway through, a would-be assassin attacks Nyx and her grandparents (fortunately, his explosive device turns out to be a dud). Once the story hits the newspapers, there's a massive outpouring of support, and a huge pile of letters and packages for Nyx is delivered to the royal palace of the Crystal Empire. And that's just one day's worth, with even more arriving in the days afterward.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Spike. Holy shit, Spike.
  • Big Bad: Garble in the latter portion of the story as he and his gang plan to and ultimately invade the Crystal Empire thinking that there's treasure to steal there.
  • Booby Trap: Rainbow Dash expects the Tomb of the Founders to have these, but Twilight and Professor Dubious insist (correctly) that there aren't — the tomb was in constant use, and putting up traps would just endanger the ponies using it. In his efforts to point out how ridiculous the idea is, Dubious then compares it to "laying booby traps around your kitchen", and is rather dumbfounded when Rainbow Dash says she HAS had to booby-trap her kitchen from time to time (non-lethally, of course), and explains why:
    Rainbow Dash: "You've never tried to keep a batch of fresh muffins away from Derpy."
  • Brick Joke: Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon's fangirl crushes on Shining Armor.
  • Brown Note: The MythBusters expys use a giant tuning fork against a dragon to try to invoke it: the tuning fork ends up breaking the fire opals he ate with… disastrous results. When asked if the myth was confirmed, Jamie wasn't sure.
  • Bullying a Dragon: Fluttershy tries the same method she used in "Dragonshy," which looks successful for a moment, but an angry maternal tone doesn't have the same effect on a dragon who disdains his mom.
  • Coincidental Accidental Disguise: Nyx's natural appearance is similar to that of the monsters in a cheap vampire movie. Which freaks out some bullies she confronts in the restroom of a theater showing said movie, who flee while screaming about vamponies.
  • Comic-Book Adaptation: Fury of the Purple Dragon, on DeviantArt, focuses on Spike's transformation during the final battle. The author and the fans approve. Go to the Awesome page for a link.
  • Crazy-Prepared:
    • Nyx keeps an emergency sewing kit within reach in case she needs to fix up her Smarty Pants doll, given to her by Twilight. She ends up using it to repair Bright Eyes' Bilbo Burro doll after the movie theater bullies rip it open.
    • Cadence has gotten into the habit of ordering two of every outfit she and Shining Armor wear, just in case something goes wrong. The policy proves useful when her ball gown and his dress uniform meet their end at Nyx's hooves, in an incident involving some spilled ink and way too much laundry detergent.
  • Distracted by the Sexy: In one scene, Roller Reel — a teenage Crystal pony cameraman Twilight hired to document her research — walks into the room when Twilight is talking to her friends, and gets hit hard with the realization that he's in the same room as what are described in-universe as the six of the hottest mares in Equestria. He trails off mid-sentence, taking a glance at the six mares, hearing their friendly "helloes" and feel an emotion coming through him. That's right- Roller can only focus on admiring them. He then smooths his mane back, says "hey, ladies" while trying to lean on Twilight's chair with one hoof, only to miss entirely and fall flat on his face at their hooves.
  • Domestic Appliance Disaster: After an accident with a bottle of ink, Nyx tries to wash her aunt and uncle's dress clothes in a couple of washing machines, dumping half a box of detergent pods into each because she can't believe that just one pod is enough to clean an entire load. She then stuffs their bedspread into a third machine and throws in a full box of pods. The laundry room quickly floods with soap suds, and Nyx herself has to be rescued because she can't see through all the foam.
  • Evil Overlord: King Sombra, the former King of the Crystal Empire. In addition to being a tyrannical slavelord, he was perfectly willing to commit genocide, both on those who tried to stand up to him and on his own species to prevent any other unicorns from potentially trying to claim the throne, and to destroy parts of his own capital to quell possible rebellions.
  • Exact Eavesdropping: Twilight sends Nyx and Spike out of the room so she can discuss her plans to find Level Head's tomb with Shining Armor and Cadence in private. Spike promptly listens in with the help of a drinking glass held against the wall.
  • Fish out of Temporal Water: King Sombra didn't just "banish" the Crystal Empire when he was defeated 1000 years ago: he actually sent it and the Crystal Ponies that lived there forward in time, hoping that the Royal Sisters would have forgotten all about the Empire's very existence when it arrived so he could continue to rule it unopposed.
  • Genre Savvy: Nyx. Part of the reason she decides to give away most of the gifts she received after the attempted bombing (besides the fact that there wouldn't be any room in her room for her if she brought them all home and that it was fun to share) is that she's apparently read a story like that situation before:
    Plus, she'd read enough books to know how this story went: the little filly gets all sorts of nice presents and then she turns into a horrible spoiled brat from getting so much stuff and has to have something terrible happen to her and learn an awful lesson at the end. Well no way was she going to fall into that trap! She'd already gone through turning into an evil Princess; flirting with one bad storybook plot in her lifetime was enough for her.
  • Glamour Failure: When Nyx is magically made to look like an ordinary filly, camera flashes briefly reveal her true appearance.
  • Godzilla Threshold: In Chapter 28, Spike realizes that the Dragons are going to kill his pony friends. To stop them, he decides to cross the Threshold, and trigger his rage form.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Narrowly averted. Dubious stands directly under boulders and shoots them down in order to separate his party from the assailing dragons. But Rainbow Dash, of all ponies, saves him.
  • Hannibal Lecture/Shut Up, Hannibal!: The first from Garble, and the reply from Bright Eyes in chapter 31.
  • Jerkass: Dubious. He gets better.
  • Kudzu Plot: Word of God admitted that the story was supposed to have been a one-shot. It clearly didn't end up as one.
  • Leeroy Jenkins: Dashie tried to fly straight to the palace after the attempted bombing. She got netted.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: In the end, Nyx complains of feeling like someone else took over her story.
  • Make Me Wanna Shout: Nyx rediscovers her capacity for the Royal Canterlot Voice while facing Diamond Dogs.
  • Multiple Head Case: Garble after an overdose of Fire Opals. Not much fun for him once the battle is over, and it's only the beginning — he's eventually going to split into three of himself.
  • Mythology Gag: The magic disguise Nyx uses at the press conference is the same one she uses in Winter Bells, the Past Sins supplemental story whose existence contradicts this one.
  • Noodle Incident: Rainbow Dash has apparently had to booby trap her kitchen to keep Derpy away from fresh muffins in the past. And she implies this is a regular occurrence.
  • No-Sell: Fluttershy, having once successfully Stared down a dragon in the episode Dragonshy, tries it again with Grundle, but is unsuccessful for two reasons: first, the dragon she'd Stared down before was older and utterly exhausted, whereas Grundle is a teenager who's wide awake and full of energy. Second, half the effect of the Stare is from it reminding the target of their own mother's condemning glare... and Grundle hates his mother.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome: Celestia and Luna "fighting" the dragons Spike accidentally teleports to them.
  • Oh, Crap!: The terrorist's expression when he realizes that his "bomb" will strike no one but himself.
    • The dragons get one after Flange got nailed by Spike's Teleport breath when he rose as Spikezilla.
  • One-Winged Angel: Garble, after eating way too many Fire Opals, grows huge and sprouts two extra heads.
  • Out of Focus: Nyx quickly becomes this (the "Shining holds a paranoid grudge" plot lasts only the seven first chapters). She lampshades it in the last chapter.
  • Playing with Fire: You have to expect as much in a dragon battle.
  • Power at a Price: The adolescent dragons learn the hard way why older dragons rarely gorge on Fire Opals.
  • The Purge: The main reason there are little to no crystal unicorns and pegasi is due to Sombra killing the other royal families down to the last child and slaughtering most of the royal guards during his initial rise to power.
  • Rank Up:
    • Happens twice to Diamond Bright, introduced as a second lieutenant in the Crystal Guard. His quick thinking in the face of a laundry emergency caused by Nyx impresses Shining Armor enough to promote him to first lieutenant. Later, he gets bumped up to captain after directing the Guard's Sappers and Saboteurs crew (a.k.a. "Builders and Busters") in the fight against the dragons.
    Shining: He survived my niece. I figured he could handle anything those explosion-happy lunatics threw at him.
    • Also happens to Rock Steady, a brawny Guard recruit with a serious lack of self-confidence. It takes him two tries to pass an equivalency exam so he can sign up. Once the battle against the dragons is over, Shining Armor promotes him from private to lieutenant for leading three charges without losing any troops.
  • Relationship Upgrade: Rarity promises to give Spike a chance in a few years. Cadence assures her that it's not a false hope; they have ways of overcoming differences in species, size, shape, and eventually age.
  • Schizo Continuity: This fic conflicts with Pen Stroke's Winter Bells, in that both deal with Shining Armor getting over his fear of Nyx, but in different ways. What makes this significant is that part of another story in Pen Stroke's In The Family series is mentionednote . As such, Winter Bells is not canon to RealityCheck's Nyxverse.
  • Senseless Sacrifice: Spike attempts to persuade the attacking dragons to leave by offering himself up as requested. To no one else's surprise, it doesn't work.
  • Shout-Out: Numerous. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, The Hobbit, Godzilla, Pacific Rim, Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, Mobile Fighter G Gundam...
  • Silk Hiding Steel: Nyx begins to think that Twilight Velvet might fall into this category shortly after meeting her. Velvet lives up to the trope in Alicornundrum when she catches some nobles gossiping about Twilight Sparkle and verbally rips them a new one.
  • Spit Take: Of the liquid-out-the-nose variety. Shining Armor does this multiple times in Chapter 4 with coffee, then orange juice, due to Nyx's actions and dialog.
  • Suicide Attack: Attempted by a lone terrorist. He ends up being the only casualty due to five layers of unicorn shields being clapped down over him — and he survives because what he thought was the Equestrian equivalent of The Anarchist's Cookbook turned out to be a book of pranks. The "bomb" he's built just covers him in shaving cream. To make matters worse, he says he's taken a dose of poison that will kill him before he can be questioned. Twilight realizes he's actually taken Poison Joke, which just causes a crop of daisies to sprout from his coat overnight.
  • Super Mode: This time, Spike's greed-induced growth spurt is this.
    • And not only because he's in control this time. He's much bigger and with Hulk-like muscles.
    • Instant Armor: The Armor of the Crystal Champion.
  • The Letter Knew You Would Say That: Celestia's letter revising Nyx's legal status from 'parolee' (as of the end of Past Sins) to 'time served'
    Spike: Wow. She's good. Whups, here's a postscript...
    [Letter Postscript]: Dear Spike,
    Darn tootin' I am.
    Spike [Eyes Glazed]: Urrrh....
  • Tomboy with a Girly Streak: Scootaloo adores panda bears and gets a giant panda plushie from Nyx.
  • Too Good to Be True: Fire opals. If a dragon eats enough of them they can grow into massive kaiju like beasts, but most dragons know better than to stuff themselves because the power only lasts as long as the opals are in your stomach and have some extremely bad side-effects once the power starts to wear off.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Spike and Bright Eyes.
  • Vomit Indiscretion Shot: Well, the literary version. Two dragons lose their Fire Opals that way.

    Nightmare Night & Nyx 
  • Accusation Fic: Celestia and others are made to feel guilty for perpetuating the old Nightmare Night traditions now that Nightmare Moon has become Nyx.
  • Always Chaotic Evil: Subverted. Flitter and her parents reveal that the Changelings are not this trope. In fact, most of the species consider Chrysalis a "rabble-rouser" who almost destroyed their food source.
  • Anticlimax: A surprising number of chapters follow the biggest, most suspenseful event of the evening.
  • Author Filibuster: Bruce Mane lecturing Applejack on the Broken Aesop from "The Mysterious Mare-Do Well." Also Thunderlane urging Rainbow Dash to embrace her feminine side.
  • Bad Moon Rising: Her first Nightmare Night after her return, Luna claimed and ate all the candy offered up to Nightmare Moon. The moon was green for the next three nights.
  • Disney Death: Nyx is seemingly killed by the conspirators, only for it to turn out she was just knocked out by her magic being drained. Of course, it is said in-story that a non-alicorn would indeed have been killed if they went through the process.
  • Discontinuity Nod: The Alphabet Conspirators' plan for Nyx, believing she's just a malignant blob of magic, is to dissipate her. This was originally what Celestia planned to do to Nyxnote  in the original version of Past Sins.
  • Dumbass Has a Point: See Snails under You Just Had to Say It.
  • Eats Babies: Nyx does not and never did eat foals, and she's quite angry when she discovers that everyone's been saying she did for the past thousand-plus years.
  • Expy: Bruce Mane is one to Bruce Wayne.
    • In-Universe superhero BatStallion, a thestral, is one to Batman. Bruce Mane dresses as him for the ball. He is also the inspiration for BatStallion: He saved an aspiring artist from some thugs, and his transformation trinket accidentally got ripped off, revealing him to be a thestral. This inspired the artist to make a thestral superhero with a tragic backstory named BatStallion. Whether or not Bruce Mane is BatStallion isn't revealed.
  • For Halloween, I Am Going as Myself:
    • Flitter the changeling attends Nightmare Night as their true self.
    • Bruce Mane is dressed as BatStallion and turns out to be the In-Universe inspiration for the character.
  • Hidden Depths: Pinkie Pie has an extensive education in psychology, which she explains is necessary to be the best party-planning pony possible.
  • I Can't Dance: Luna's as bad a dancer as Twilight. Then it turns out that was actually Celestia disguised as Luna.
  • Imagine Spot: When Twilight finds out about Celestia's hoof in her and Ink Spot getting together, she imagines her dancing on the ceiling above them holding marionette controllers.
  • Loophole Abuse: Nyx points out that since the all the candy that the kids left behind was meant as an offering for Nightmare Moon, that means that it is hers, and she can do what she wants with it. However, she quickly realizes that she'd be sick if she tried to eat it all herself (She also found the whole concept of extorting candy out of kids to be offensive), and planned to return the candy to the children of Ponyville.
  • Love at First Sight: Seems to be the case with Twilight and Ink Spot, though it's not until later that they admit their full feelings.
  • Mama Bear: Twilight towards Nyx, as per Past Sins canon. When she thinks the conspirators killed Nyx, she goes berserk and almost kills them. She's only stopped by Celestia showing that Nyx was still alive.
    • Fluttershy, also for Nyx, is no slouch herself.
  • Mind Screw: There's a lot of this In-Universe when it's revealed that Celestia and Luna have been impersonating each other off and on for most of the party.
    • Poor Pipsqueak suffers this when ponies try to explain the relationship between Nyx, Luna, and Nightmare Moon to him.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: The cult members have this when they realize that Nyx isn't merely a malignant blob of magic. Which leads into...
  • Oh, Crap!: "But.... but there shouldn't be a body."
  • Our Souls Are Different: Nyx is shown her own soul to help her get over her Clone Angst.
  • Real Women Don't Wear Dresses: Rainbow Dash apparently has had this belief for a long time, at least in regard to herself, and has been unwittingly passing it on to Scootaloo. She gets chewed out by Thunderlane for it.
  • The Reveal: Played with. It was strongly implied that Ink Spot was an undercover Royal Guard... but it turns out he really is a book editor as he said, but one who's been hired to help the actual undercover guards keep their cover.
  • Shipper on Deck: Nyx and all of Twilight's friends are this for her and Ink Spot. And Celestia was pretty proactive about it too.
  • Ship Tease: Primarily Twilight/Ink Spot, but there's also Nyx/Rumble, Rainbow Dash/Thunderlane, Applejack/Bruce Mane, and Fluttershy/Caramel. (Pinkie Pie's time with Pokey Pierce gets little coverage; Rarity's time with Big Macintosh gets even less.)
  • Shout-Out:
    • The "little black dress" and earrings that Twilight dons in Chapter 6 for the Nightmare Night Ball bear a striking similarity to what her character wore in Hard Reset (Eakin). Lampshaded by Rainbow Dash's comment on seeing her dress.
    Rainbow Dash: "Whoa. You sure you don't wanna borrow my baseball bat, Twi?"
  • Spit Take: Celestia has an epic one when Twilight tricks her into thinking she and Ink Spot are having a foal. She spits out her punch at supersonic speeds, the glass she's holding disintegrating in the process.
    • Before that, Nyx wonders aloud whether Luna counts as her "father." Celestia (or possibly Luna in disguise) clearly hadn't thought of that interpretation.
  • Sweet Tooth: Pinkie Pie spends a good part of Luna's party hanging around the chocolate fountain trying to figure out what tastes best when dipped in chocolate. She ends up coring a caramel apple, stuffing it with nuts and chocolate, then dipping it in the chocolate, rolling the apple in crushed nuts, and then dipping it in chocolate again. And then drizzling melted caramel on top.
  • The Atoner: Spell Nexus.
  • Those Two Guys: Lightning Blitz and Sundiver, a pair of Royal Guards assigned to discretely watch over Nyx and Twilight.
  • Twin Switch: The nobility of Equestria were trying to play the princesses against each other to undermine the power of the crown. Celestia and Luna decide to impersonate each other on occasion so the nobles can never know who they're actually scheming with or against at any given time.
  • Unwanted Assistance: There's an entire arc centered around Luna's Nightmare Night party. Courtiers Pomp and Circumstance keep trying to correct Luna's 'mistakes' and turn the affair into a proper Royal Gala, ignoring the fact that Luna doesn't want to hold a Gala, she wants to throw a party. Their help includes things like putting an aversion spell so that the upper class and lower class guests can't mingle, and locking up all the children who arrive in a nursery with a caretaker who treats them all as if they were pre-schoolers.
  • Vegetarian Vampire: Apparently Twist's candy includes a secret ingredient produced by earth pony magic that is nutritionally equivalent to Changeling nectar (love bound to sugar water), solving Flitter's family's food supply problem. And before that they had been subsisting on the adoration of forest animals, plus it's implied that their original method of feeding on love from ponies wasn't harmful.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: The cult firmly believe that Nyx is still evil, has brainwashed the Element Bearers and the Princesses, and must be destroyed for the good of Equestria.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Bruce Mane gives one to Applejack for the whole Mare-Do-Well incident.
  • Writer on Board: Rainbow Dash feels uncomfortable slow-dancing and doing feminine things out in public, because she is afraid people will view her as weak and not awesome. This results in a scene where Dash realizes that her animosity to "frilly froufrou stuff" is leaving Scootaloo, who looks up to her as a role model, conflicted.
  • You Just Had to Say It: In Chapter 13, the other foals try to explain to Snails that there is no real Nightmare Moon, just Nyx. Snails points out that, if Nyx was grown of the scraps of Nightmare Moon, couldn't another piece have grown up and become another Nightmare Moon, too?
    Scootaloo: Of all the times and places in the world, you had to pick THIS one to get smart...

  • Abdicate the Throne: One of the main concerns that Twilight immediately faces after her Ascendancy is that she (and by-extension her daughter Nyx) are now both Royalty; and that there is literally nothing that she can do about it since Ponies will invariably try to make her into a leader right now. Turns out at the end of the story, this was part of a Batman Gambit engineered by Celestia and Luna in-order for them all to Abdicate the Throne and transform Equestria into a new form of government where Alicorns like them are no longer in total control over everything just because.
  • Apocalypse Not: A big deal is made over how devastating the effects of two weeks of Night Eternal (and consequently Day Eternal on the other side of the planet) were on several areas. However, as the fic progresses, we see that the whole thing has been blown out of proportion. The best example is perhaps the selkie settlement of Formosa as follows:
    • The whole settlement was completely wiped out by the resulting storms except…
    • The inhabitants are amphibious and evacuated underwater, so only buildings were lost. Additionally…
    • The main selkie settlement is underwater anyway and Formosa was mainly a trading outpost. Furthermore…
    • The selkies' land forms are awkward and clumsy compared to their more graceful aquatic forms, so they never put much effort into their surface buildings and consider their loss no big deal.
  • Arranged Marriage: Lord Blueblood gets Night Light drunk in order to trick him into agreeing to setting up one of these between Twilight and Prince Blueblood. When Twilight finds out, she... forces him to sign an annulment. When he protests that he did so under duress, Celestia points out that she outlawed certain types of arranged marriages centuries ago to kill the practice of trading heirs like possessions (the laws now specifically require all participants (including the bride and groom) to be of age and sound mind at the time of the signing), and that his specific contract constitutes rape, enslavement, kidnapping, contractual fraud, blackmail, and treason, so it'd be illegal anyway.
  • Bait-and-Switch: Prince Blueblood catches the Royal Brats in action and retrieves the document containing the evidence of his father's conspiracy.... only for him to read it himself, become horrified, and side with the foals. Almost no one saw that coming.
  • Batman Gambit: Twilight signs away most of the political power of she and the other Princesses... which was something Celestia was planning on all along.
  • Been There, Shaped History: After discovering the ponies had created an entire castle atop the Cave of Harmony where Celestia and Luna were hiding inside of for several centuries, Luna ended up accidentally inventing almost half of the profanities used in modern times according to Celestia.
  • Big Bad: Lord Blueblood, who's willing to sink to any level to take advantage of Twilight's ascension to increase his family's own power.
    • Big Bad Wannabe: He keeps trying to ruin ponies' lives, only for them to wind up better off through mysterious turns of events, and he never realizes that he's been outclassed every time. To wit:
      • Tired of the "uppity" behavior of one of Prince Blueblood's cousins, he talks her father into marrying her off to a stallion with a history of alcoholism and abusing mares. Said stallion gets eaten by a crocodile during their honeymoon, and she inherits his sizable fortune and uses it to explore the world and write a hugely popular book series about her adventures.note 
      • When he tries to destroy another mare's reputation with a smear campaign, she parlays it into a public image of outrageous behavior and becomes one of the biggest pop stars in Equestria.note 
      • Soldiers that he tries to have transferred to the frozen north get posted to the much more hospitable Crystal Empire instead.
      • He tells a few servants who incur his wrath that they'll never work in Canterlot again, and they don't — because they're too busy enjoying life after winning a big cash prize in a sweepstakes.
  • Big Entrance: When Ink Spot hears about the above mentioned Arranged Marriage, he uses a network of express unicorn/pegasus couriers to get to Canterlot, and bursts into the throne room wearing gryphon armor (loaned by a sympathetic gryphon), and challenges Prince Blueblood to a duel for Twilight's hoof in marriage. Even though the whole thing had been resolved already, it's still impressive.
    Spike: (to Bright Eyes) That's how you make an entrance, dude.
  • Big Sister Instinct: Luna feels protective towards Nyx, and verbally rips Triton a new one when his poor word choice made her think she had accidentally killed thousands of sentient beings.
  • Big "YES!": Nyx's reaction to Twilight's ascension, and then to her and Ink Spot getting engaged.
  • Bizarre Taste in Food: This is business as usual during a tea party attended by Nyx, Discord, and Pinkie Pie. Cookies that taste like pizza or tofu hot dogs, cupcakes flavored as daisy burgers or lemon sherbet, and at one point Discord eats his teacup (raspberry flan).
  • Blackmail: After Twilight gets out of the Arranged Marriage, Duke Blueblood convinces his son to help him do this instead to gain control of her.
  • Book Ends: Nyx does her Big "YES!" routine both when Twilight ascends, and when Ink Spot ascends. They also have an alicorn experiencing angst over outliving their loved ones.
  • Calling Me a Logarithm: A variant in Alicornundrum. Celestia, speaking of the Crusaders and the "Royal Brats" (youngsters who are part of the visiting ambassadors' retinue) starts talking about how they've exposed and brought a major problem to her attention, "Thanks to their, ahem, proactive measures..." Pipsqueak, not knowing what "proactive" means, suspiciously says that he's looking it up when he gets home.
  • Calling the Old Man Out: Killdeer-Adder do this to their grandfather Emperor Eagle-Cobra, pointing out how they've always been used as a political tool while still being looked down on, and can't take it anymore, which is why they're seeking political sanctuary in Equestria.
    • Prince Blueblood does this to his father, the Duke, exposing the latter's plan to depose Celestia and Luna and use the sun and moon as a superweapon.
    • At the end, Twilight calls Celestia out on making her a princess without her input or considering if she actually wanted the position, which she did not. Celestia is actually impressed and pleased to hear it, as it means Twilight has truly grown up.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Gossamer's Logic Bomb gives Twilight an idea on how to fix the mess they're in. Twilight even references it during the unveiling.
  • The Chessmaster: Celestia. Her plan to reduce hers and the other Alicorns political powers qualifies.
    • Duke Blueblood tries to be this, but it's fairly obvious Celestia has him outclassed.
  • Continuity Nod: Twilight brings up how Celestia promised her that she and Nyx wouldn't be dragged into royal politics (at the end of Nightmare Night and Nyx) when protesting being made a princess.
    • Nyx talks Twilight into assigning Sundiver and Lightning Blitz to her security detail as a thanks to them for their heroics in Nightmare Night and Nyx.
    • In Nyx's Family, Nyx, Bright Eyes, and the family watch the first film in Equestria's version of The Hobbit. Here, she watches the first and second films back-to-back during a party for her old and new friends.
  • Cool Ship: It turns out that in the ancient past (so ancient that the knowledge doesn’t even survive as myth) the entire planet was turned into a star ship to travel to a new star system and slot itself into orbit around a younger star (with expected arrival in around 200,000 years). The entire purpose of the celestial council is to maintain critical ship systems, and the conflicts they’ve had over the ages that result in disasters are largely a result of error accumulation. Twilight’s idea to pay Equestria’s debt over the ‘Nightmare Nyx’ fiasco involves crafting devices that will synchronize the celestial systems to stop future error accumulation.
  • Crazy-Prepared: Duke Blueblood writes his plans for deposing the Princesses on magic-proof paper so they can't be teleported or fire-mailed anywhere.
  • Dope Slap: Twilight Velvet gives two of them to a hung-over Night Light in Chapter 7 — first as she describes the party that led up to the drunken signing of a marriage contract, and again when Night Light (semi-playfully) objects to Ink Spot's marriage proposal to Twilight Sparkle.
  • "Eureka!" Moment: Twilight ends up having one regarding how to fix the Celestial Council's problem, after a revisiting of Gossamer's Logic Bomb conversation.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Prince Blueblood may be rude (especially towards women) and egotistical, but he doesn't like his father's plans for trying to force Twilight into a marriage to him. Furthermore, it's said that he'd never do anything bad to children — at least, nothing worse than eating candy in front of them without sharing. Doubloon finds this out when she tries to distract him by flirting with him; since she's young enough to be his daughter, he gently turns her down. He also reacts with horror when he discovers exactly what his father plans to do to remove the Princesses from power, and immediately decides to go tell them about the other stallion's plans.
  • Family Theme Naming: Royal griffins have sentient snake tails, and are named after both the bird species of their bodies and the snake species of their tails. For example, their Emperor of the High Winds is named Eagle-Cobra, while his grandson whom Nyx meets at the summit is Killdeer-Adder.
  • Fate Worse than Death: The nobles caught up in the conspiracy, if and when convicted, will have their names and titles stripped and punished accordingly. Duke Blueblood, after being found out, has a stroke and will spend the rest of his life as an invalid in a nursing home. Celestia decides not to file any charges against his wife, since she'll have to either take care of him herself or pay somepony else to do it.
  • Genki Girl: Gossamer the Flutterpony, to the point that Nyx wonders if she and Pinkie are related.
  • Genre Blind: Lord Blueblood's attempt to force Twilight to marry his son not only failed to take into account the fact that the contract needs Twilight's signature to be legal (along with numerous other legal issues that would have gotten him life in prison at best), but how Celestia would react to someone trying that trick on her student, and that he's gotten her VERY angry with him.
    • It appears that this is a general trait of his, as he constantly fails to recognize that he's been Out-Gambitted whenever he tried to ruin a pony's life.
  • Gilded Cage: Killdeer-Adder refers to being his grandfather's heir as this trope, which is why he emigrates to Equestria.
    • This is part of why Twilight tries to abdicate; her duties and such are keeping her from her friends and family.
  • Goal in Life: Prince Blueblood's childhood dream was to have his own ship so he can travel all over the Western Kingdoms. This is reflected in his Cutie Mark, a compass rose. When Celestia sentences him to being a Western Kingdom diplomat for his role in his father's plans, his reaction is akin to a foal who finally gets that toy he always wanted for Christmas.
  • Gondor Calls for Aid/Misfit Mobilization Moment: Nyx calls for help from her Ponyville friends, as well as the other Royal Brats, in order to successfully sneak into the Bluebloods' home and find proof of their political scheming. She's more than a little surprised when every single one of them shows up.
  • Hauled Before A Senate Subcommittee: The second half of the story revolves around The Princesses being brought before the Council of Celestial Stewards in-regards to the damage that Nyx inadvertently caused when she made Night Eternal over Equestria: causing the Sun to stay frozen in place above the other side of the planet.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: If Blueblood hadn't cooked up the fake pictures scheme, Nyx and friends wouldn't have revealed his plots.
    • If Duke Blueblood hadn't left the briefcase containing his plans for world domination unlocked and sitting on his desk in plain sight, the Royal Brats wouldn't have found them. Which later led to his son Prince Blueblood discovering them when he catches the foals in the act.
  • Human Mail:
    • Ink Spot is in gryphon territory when he learns of Lord Blueblood's attempt to force Twilight into marrying his son. He express-mails himself back to Canterlot just in time to see the whole plan blow itself to pieces.
    • Once Nyx begins to suspect Lord Blueblood of being up to something, she sends out a call for help to all her friends in Canterlot and Ponyville. The latter group pack themselves into a giant crate and have it shipped to the castle, taking a dose of sleeping potion first so they can nap through the whole trip.
  • Hypocritical Humor: After Pele makes a comment about the other Council members messing up, every Council member there says "KRAKATOA". She backs down immediately acting like a disgruntled child.
  • Idle Rich: Blueblood, and he feels that both he and the people are happier if he stays that way.
  • I Just Want to Be Normal: Nyx's entire character arc in the story revolves around this: Having already experienced firsthand how tedious and aggravating running a nation like Equestria is by herself, Nyx does not like the fact that she is now once again made into one of the nation's rulers despite Celestia and Luna's promise to Twilight to leave them both out of politics and power plays. Even going as far as to keep repeating the phrase "not a princess" to anypony that tries calling her one.
  • I Just Want to Have Friends: The reason why Songhili didn't reveal the fact that he's the Selkie King to his friends right away. He didn't want the kids to give him special treatment, so he kept his royal heritage a secret until Chapter 25 during the Canterlot Breakfast.
  • Innocent Innuendo: Nyx when speaking of Bright Eyes:
    Nyx: He may be all tough when he's running around with you, but he's all sweet and sensitive and vulnerable with me when we get his armor off. ...What? (Hoofmaids burst into laughter and Spike is facepalming) Whaaaat? What did I say?
  • King Incognito: Songhili is the Selkie King.
  • Legend Fades to Myth: Twilight explains this trope in regards to how knowledge about the true nature of their world was lost — the truth was never meant to hidden, but over time the facts faded to legends, the legends to myths, and even the myths were eventually forgotten.
  • Logic Bomb: Gossamer does this to the pony in charge of maintenance of Canterlot's central clock tower — the clock is how everypony in the city tells time, so how would they know how to reset it? Well, they'll just use the palace sundial. But what if Celestia sleeps late? Well, she'll have an alarm clock set, except how will they know how to set it if the clock tower isn't working? It's at this point that Nyx decides to lead the group away, while the poor pony is left facing an existential crisis.
    • This actually turns out to be some rather epic Foreshadowing regarding the true nature of the planet and the problems that plague it.
  • Mama Bear: Celestia shows this side in spades when she tells off Duke Blueblood for trying to force Twilight to marry his son, going so far as to threaten him with the possibility of four death sentences if he doesn't drop the idea fast. Mama Bear indeed...
    • Twilight Velvet finally gets her Sparkle Clan brand moment of awesomeness in this manner, confronting three gossipy nobles.
    Velvet: You won't have to worry about what Celestia will do to you because the last thing you will see in this world will be me taking a bite out of your still-beating hearts. Oh, and don't think I won't do it. My grandson is a dragon. I know how to get rid of the bodies.
  • Manly Tears: Sundiver bawls during Twilight and Ink Spot's wedding, much to Lightning Blitz' disgust.
  • Morton's Fork: The Celestial Council has made its fair share of mistakes, causing numerous natural disasters, often because they don't plan ahead well. But without the Council, if the way things worked before it are any indication, things would be even worse than our world, with the forces being pretty much nonexistent instead of merely uncontrolled. Luckily, Twilight has a plan.
  • Multiple Head Case: Like chimeras, royal griffins have a snake tail that has a brain, mind, and name of its own.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: An abstract example. Spike's intensive training, in which eggs represent ponies relative to his huge form, ends with only one egg unbroken. Rock Steady teaches him the hard lesson that enemies who don't care about your allies and bystanders may leave you little choice but to get reckless in the fight, possibly causing collateral damage yourself.
  • Never My Fault: As Twilight points out, the Western Kingdoms have hurricanes already, and they shouldn't blame Nyx for the fact that they live in hurricane territory.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Nyx's brief reign caused massive global repercussions.
    • Twilight later discovers that the Celestial Council has a history of doing this themselves. Apparently, while many natural disasters are coincidental or designed to release pressure (like Pele causing small earthquakes to prevent large and destructive ones, etc.), a number of them are caused by the Council members screwing up at their duties guiding nature. For example, Pele messing up (by means of a scheduling conflict) caused this universe's version of the Krakatoa eruption, or Jormungandr causing the freeze from the Hearth's Warming tale, etc.
  • Noodle Incident: According to the footnotes, Ink Spot punched out a Diamond Dog in the badlands in the process of retrieving the diamond for Twilight's engagement ring; other than that, the only detail given is that it's a "long story".
    • Velvet apparently once fought off a manticore that threatened an infant Twilight.
    • Carp and dragons are apparently mortal enemies because of some sort of competition atop a waterfall in Neighpon.
  • Not Now, Kiddo: In chapter 10, while Twilight is holding court (alongside Celestia), one of the petitioners is the mayor of Cloudsdale, protesting the rejection of the city's bid to host the Equestria Games. Long-term cloud-walking spells would be needed for both non-pegasus visitors and for most of the needed equipment, but the cost is too high to be practical. Nyx, in attendance as part of a "Take Your Foal to Work Day" program, comes up with an idea but is repeatedly shushed by Twilight, who eventually tells her to hold on to her question and ask it later. After court is dismissed, Nyx sends Twilight a note suggesting an easy answer: cast the cloud-walking spell on the clouds instead. With help from Zecora, Twilight converts the effect into a potion that can be sprayed onto clouds or mixed into them at the weather factory, potentially revolutionizing commerce and tourism all over Equestria. Having recognized her mistake in ignoring Nyx, Twilight makes a point of publicly acknowledging her idea while showing off the potion.
  • Oblivious to Love: Triton is completely oblivious to Celestia's attraction to him.
  • Oh, Crap!: Prince Blueblood had this when he learned after the Grand Galloping Gala that Rarity was an Element of Harmony. In present time, he has one upon learning that his father is leading a plot to overthrow the Princesses.
  • Out-Gambitted: Duke Blueblood often attempts to ruin the lives of ponies he feels have slighted him in some way, yet fails to realize that Celestia is much better at manipulating things than he is, to the point that his "victims" are actually better off afterwards.
  • Painting the Frost on Windows: In addition to what the ponies do and Celestia and Luna's control of the sun and moon, the Celestial Council is pretty much responsible for making the world run smoothly.
  • Poor Communication Kills: Triton's word choice makes Nyx think that she killed thousands of sentients.
    • Most natural disasters (not including simple mistakes), are the result of small errors and miscommunications between the members of the Council compounding themselves. For example, Krakatoa was the result of a scheduling mishap.
  • Puppet King: Celestia intentionally sets things up so the powers of her and the other Princesses are reduced to this, as Equestria has been capable of running itself without them for centuries.
  • Reassigned to Antarctica: Prince Blueblood's fate for being complicit in his father's schemes, but being willing to confess them when he realized how far they went; he is given the ambassadorial job of undoing his father's machinations in the Western Sea Kingdoms, and only allowed to return when he completes them in good standing. Surprisingly (or maybe not considering his compass rose cutie mark), Blueblood is joyful about this job, as being given a ship to sail the Western Seas was his childhood dream.
  • Refusal of the Call: After Celestia and Luna first defeated Discord, the first thing that happened was that the Ponies proclaimed them as the new rulers of Equestria.
    Princess Luna: We never intended to claim the crown. But once we defeated Discord, the three tribes were at the door of our cottage shouting hail to their new Queens...
    Fluttershy: Oh my. What did you do?
    Princess Celestia: Ran like a couple of bucking chickens, for two or three hundred years. Every time we found some new quiet little place to stay, within a decade ponies would be making treks to our front door, building shrines to us, swearing lifelong fealty...
  • Retcon: References to the Tree of Harmony were added to established chapters after the Season 4 premiere aired, and a mention of the Breezies was added to chapter 16 after "It's Not Easy Being Breezies" aired. Later, in the move from FIMFiction to AO3, a certain Continuity Snarl involving Ink Spot and the events of "Lesson Zero" was fixed.
  • The Reveal: The planet was essentially turned into a giant spaceship, complete with artificial sun and moon orbiting it, thousands of years ago in order to escape a dying star system.
    • Songhili is the Selkie king.
  • Sanity Slippage: Twilight a la Lesson Zero early into her new role. Celestia ends up appointing her four hoofmaidens to help with the workload.
    • Duke Blueblood. After being outed by the Royal Brats and his own son Prince Blueblood, the stress from seeing his plans foiled numerous times takes such an extreme toll on him that he mentally (and permanently) regresses into a foal's mindset.
  • Shout-Out: At least a possible one to Anne McCaffrey's The Powers That Be, considering who Songhili turns out to be. In that book, Sean Shongili turns out to be a selkie.
    • Celestia makes an aside-mention that she was possibly expecting all the Element-Bearers to Ascend to Alicornhood alongside Twilight. Twilight herself clarifies this by saying near the end of the story that all they needed to accomplish this was to simply be on the edge of the fallout of her own ascendancy to become Alicorns themselves.
    Twilight Sparkle: And don't you think that I didn't let them know it once I figured it out!
    • Spike (almost) quotes Donkey in chapter 20:
    Spike: "Sit up late, swap some manly stories, and in the morning, I'm making waffles!"
  • Smug Snake: Duke Blueblood. Besides his Arranged Marriage scheme having numerous holes and his failure to realize when he's been Out-Gambitted by Celestia in his attempts to ruin innocent lives, his plan to overthrow the Princesses failed to account that the Council wouldn't have let him just Take Over the World like that.
    • Prince Blueblood counts as well. If he hadn't been shut up in his private suite as he was during the Royal Brats' invasion of the Canterlot palace, he wouldn't have been able to catch the kids in the act and discover his father's plans for world domination.
  • Spanner in the Works: The CMC and the Royal Brats are the ones who ultimately foil Duke Blueblood's scheme.
  • Stop Worshipping Me: Celestia and Luna give this as the reason they crowned Twilight Sparkle almost immediately after she grew the wings — they themselves were worshipped zealously to the point that they literally had a castle built around them, so they know that Twilight would be worshipped whether she wanted it or not.
    • Also how Canterlot came to be — after Celestia banished Luna to the moon, she fled to the highest mountain peak she could find, only for the ponies to start building the castle around her.
  • Super Window Jump: When Ink Spot challenges Prince Blueblood to a duel for Twilight's hoof, the Prince — already unnerved by Twilight and Celestia's Unstoppable Rages — forfeits and goes out the nearest window (and lands on a pole).
  • Take Over the World: Duke Blueblood's ultimate plan. Along with getting rid of the Princesses and putting a unicorn king or queen on the throne for the House of Nobles to manipulate.
  • Take That!: The whole Arranged Marriage with Blueblood thing is one aimed at a fic with a similar premise that the author hated (due to everyone from Celestia to Twilight carrying massive Idiot Balls throughout the entire story.)
  • "Take Your Child to Work Day" Plot: Featured in chapter 10. Nyx ends up sitting next to Twilight in Canterlot Castle's throne room while she talks to the petitioners, and actually does come up with an idea to help with one issue, but Twilight is too busy to listen. Nyx ends up writing it down (at Twilight's request) to talk with her about it later, and it proves to be a good idea.
  • There Are No Global Consequences: Averted. Nyx halting the day-night cycle caused a lot of global problems, too many to list here in fact.
  • Time Master: Twilight uses magic to get five years worth of work done in five days.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Since the events of Nyx's Family, Rock Steady has been put in command of the "Heavy Platoon" (a support unit for Spike and Bright Eyes) and begun to display leadership and confidence. When a Canterlot guard mocks the two youngsters' training program, Rock faces him down without a blink.
    • The CMC and their friends use their skills to successfully sneak into the Bluebloods' suite and find a briefcase of evidence (though they do get caught, the captor is horrified when he reads the evidence, and turns over a new leaf).
  • Troll: In RC's version of "The Grand Galloping Gala", Blueblood was being one when he was rude to Rarity during the Gala. He figured that she was a social climber (based off the fact that she was actually eager to be around him) and behaved like an absolute lout on purpose. Let's just say it didn't end well for him.
  • Unishment: For his complicity in Duke Blueblood's plan, Prince Blueblood is assigned a diplomatic mission to repair the damage the Duke had done to the Princesses' reputation. However, because the reason the Duke got exposed was the Prince pulling a Heel–Face Turn, this punishment also involves a lot of traveling by ship, something Prince Blueblood loves.
  • Unstoppable Rage: Twilight and Celestia both have this reaction to Lord Blueblood's attempt to force an Arranged Marriage between his son and Twilight. Prince Blueblood gets unnerved both times (getting a small Oh, Crap! moment each time).
  • Unresolved Sexual Tension: Between Celestia and King Triton. It finally gets resolved in chapter 24, thanks to Luna.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Duke Blueblood after his plans are foiled — his mind essentially shuts down, and he's reduced to sucking on his hoof like a foal. As it turns out, he broke down so much that he was reduced to the mental state of a foal. It's later stated that he actually suffered an aneurysm and would be spending the rest of his life in a nursing home, at his wife's expense.
  • Voluntary Shapeshifting: Spike shows he now can alternate between his normal form and his "Hulkzilla" adult form at will.
  • Wacky Marriage Proposal: More for the lead up than the proposal itself — When Ink Spot hears about the above Arranged Marriage attempt, he bursts onto the scene in gryphon armor and challenges Prince Blueblood to a duel for Twilight's hoof in marriage. Blueblood instantly forfeits, after which Twilight confirms that Ink Spot meant what he said; he responds by pulling out a horn ring he made on his way there.
  • We Need a Distraction: The children use Dinky's cuteness as a distraction to get Blueblood's secretary away from her desk so they can search it. All it takes is a sob story and a few, not so crocodile tears, and every mare in the secretarial pool drops everything to comfort the poor little filly.
  • Wham Episode:
    • In Chapter 24, the planet is revealed as a starship, Twilight unveils her device to solve all the natural disasters, and the Duke's plans are uncovered and foiled.
    • In Chapter 25, Killdeer-Adder emigrates to Equestria, Po gains Flight, Songhili is revealed to be the Selkie King, Time Turner proposes to Ditzy, Celestia and Triton make their relationship official, Blueblood is appointed as an ambassador to the Western Kingdoms, and Twilight abdicates.
    • In Chapter 26, Celestia, having shot down Twilight's attempt to abdicate and listened to her Calling the Old Man Out speech, drafts up a new law that allows Twilight to live in Ponyville (and allows the other Princesses to have more freedom).
    • In the 27th and final chapter, Ink Spot and Twilight are married, and a massive magic surge makes Ink Spot an alicorn!.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Luna rips Triton a new one verbally when his poor choice of words concerning Nyx causing the sun to stay in place for several weeks leads to the poor filly thinking that the citizens of Formosa died because of her. To assuage her wrath, he has to clarify that because Formosa's residents are selkies, they all escaped into the ocean easily, and the only real damage was to the property on the island proper.
  • Who Wants to Live Forever?: Nyx spends the first chapter angsting over the fact that she'll outlive everyone she loves and is thus overjoyed when Twilight becomes an alicorn.
    • Twilight undergoes a similar experience when considering that she'll outlive Ink Spot during their wedding. Luckily, a combination of a garbled Star Swirl's Asension spell, along with Elements of Harmony, the Second Crystal Heart and energy from a gaggle of nigh-immortals allows him to ascend.
  • Wouldn't Hurt a Child: The worst Prince Blueblood will do to a child is eat candy in front of them and not share. According to Celestia, he is "a ponce and a twit, not a monster" (Chapter 7).

    Tirek Gets a Righteous Beatdown 
  • And This Is for...: During the titular beatdown, Crystal Champion-mode Spike does this to Tirek, noticeably dedicating two blows to Rarity.
  • Anti-Climax: The Mane Six open the box and get the Rainbow Power... only to find Tirek already defeated by Spike and begging to go back to jail.
  • Ass Shove: Tirek's horns were broken off in the scuffle with Spike, and shoved by the Dragon into someplace uncomfortable.
  • Badass Adorable: The CMC try to get in on said beatdown of Tirek (armed with a baseball bat, a board with a nail through it, and a chainsaw) due to him stealing their Cutie Marks.
  • The Cavalry Arrives Late: Like in Canon, Twilight and her friends unlock Rainbow Power and charge off to beat Tirek... only to see that Spike had already beaten them to the punch and is busy flattening 9/10ths the life from him.
  • Chainsaw Good: Apple Bloom wields one at the ready in order for her to get her Cutie Mark back from Tirek by force. She immediately tries to rev it up when Diamond Tiara insults her, only to find that it's out of gas.
  • Crazy-Prepared: Celestia puts a whole platoon of unicorns in a bunker with the Cosmic Synchronizer that controls the sun and moon, so they can keep it running with their magic if she and Luna lose theirs.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Tirek vs. Spike. The title should tell you how that went.
  • Easily Forgiven: Discord gets put under house arrest for helping Tirek, but overall isn't punished, as Celestia realizes that doing so isn't as effective anyway.
    • Nyx is especially quick to forgive him, comparing it to her own past actions.
  • Eye Scream: Ink Spot gets away from Tirek by jabbing him in the eye with a giant quill.
  • Freudian Excuse: Discord has a better reason for selling out to Tirek than in canon. As mentioned in Alicornundrum, he got stripped of most of his power by the plunder vines, which for a being like him is a living hell, and Tirek promised to return it.
  • Gondor Calls for Aid: Subverted. While the idea of calling for aid from the Celestial Stewards is put forward, Twilight points out they're all too far away to help, and in any case, they can't risk Tirek absorbing their power too.
  • Improbable Weapon User: Ink Spot used a novelty quill to stab Tirek in the eye. Said quill was a gift from the Firebird, and was "the size of a surfboard."
  • In Love with Your Carnage: Continuing the trend starting since Nyx's Family, Rarity gets visibly turned-on when she finds the hulked-out Spike pummeling what's left of a semi-conscious and already-defeated gigantic Tirek into submission.
    Twilight Sparkle: Rarity, stop gnawing on your hoof like that, it's unsettling!
    Rarity: But just LOOK at him, Twilight.
  • Not the Intended Use: Based on Spike's success in teleporting dragons with his mail-sending flame in Nyx's Family, Rock Steady and his troops get to work on a way to use it for moving personnel. They can't stay at their destination for more than a few minutes before the magic snaps them back to where they started, but it works great for hit-and-run attacks and for getting casualties off the battlefield in a hurry.
  • Oh, Crap!: Tirek, multiple times.
    • He gets his first moment when Rock Steady mentions that all the firepower he unleashed in Ghastly Gorge was merely a distraction.
    • Tirek gets his second moments later when he turns back and sees a purple blur charging towards him; it's actually Spike. He proceeds to scream like a filly.
    • His third is when he successfully drains Bright Eyes' magic turret and pins Spike..... only for Bright Eyes to reveal he has a pair of Vulcan Cannons as backup. Tirek then gets hit with 3900 rounds per minute to the face.
    • Last but not least is when he realizes that the Cutie Mark Crusaders have armed up and are ready to tear him limb from limb if he doesn't return their cutie marks.
  • Papa Wolf: Ink Spot warns Discord that if his actions have permanently harmed Nyx, he won't need his magic to tie Discord's neck in a knot.
  • Shout-Out: Celestia opts to stay at the Palace of the Moon and not in Canterlot, mostly due to the Nobility panicking about Tirek... just a week after he was defeated.
  • Spared by the Adaptation: Cadence and Shining Armor don't participate at all during the events of the story; nor does Cadence lend her own magic to Twilight when she fought against Tirek since she is not trapped in Tartarus with Celestia and Luna.
  • Take That!: Twilight still gets her crystal castle replacement for the library, as per canon... and everyone writes it off as an eyesore, before it gets magically transformed into a (very large) tree/mansion via earth pony magic and a few acorns that Nyx saved from the old tree.
  • Title Drop: To the previous story, complete with Lampshade Hanging by the narration.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Rock Steady (now a Lieutenant Commander) shows absolutely no fear in facing down Tirek at Ghastly Gorge and turning it into one giant booby trap.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Tirek completely falls apart after everything that happens to him in the story. Apparently after getting back to Tartarus, he barricades himself inside of his cell and curls up in a fetal position.
  • Villains Want Mercy: After getting his ass handed to him by Spikezilla, Tirek ends up begging to be sent back to Tartarus.
  • Xanatos Gambit: Tirek kept a little bit of stolen magic stored just in case he was defeated, so that he could start over. Unfortunately for him, that magic belonged to the Crusaders and half the foals in Ponyville, and it was associated with their (now-missing) cutie marks. When Spike threatens to let them beat him to a pulp, he gives the magic back.

    Cheerilee's Class 
  • Adaptation Decay: In universe, the foals do not think much of the anime type "creative retelling" of the battle at the Crystal Empire.
  • All the Other Reindeer: Willow has been bullied a lot.
  • Alpha Bitch: Diamond Tiara, as usual. Spike lampshades this at one point, asking how she's the most popular filly in school if she's so nasty, to which the others have no answer.
  • An Ice Person: Frosty, being Half-Windigo, has the ability to generate cold.
  • Babysitter from Hell: Chapter 3 reveals that Silver Spoon used to have a nursemaid who would abuse her behind her parents' backs by locking her in dark rooms and manipulated her into believing monsters would come get her if she went alone in the dark, causing Silver to have a deep fear of the dark. Said nursemaid was also secretly The Alcoholic, which Silver's friend Diamond Tiara used to get the nursemaid fired and socially humiliated to the point where the mare now has to trade bottles for money as her only source of income.
  • Christmas Episode: There's a short one of Nyx continuously waking Twilight up the night before Hearth's Warming, in her eagerness for the day itself.
  • Continuity Nod: Snips and Snails mistake the new student for a vampony from the movie Curse of The Vampony, which was revealed in Nyx's Family, when he scares them. Nyx facehoofs, saying, "Oh, No... Not Again!"
    • Flitter's lunch consists entirely of candies made by Twist and infused with her equivalent of Changeling nectar (as explained in Nightmare Night and Nyx). The first time Willow sees Flitter, she's sucking on a candy cane during class.
    • Nyx still has the oversized hat/sunglasses combo she started using back in Nyx's Family.
    • Having now seen the first two installments in Equestria's version of The Hobbit, she watches the third and final one with her classmates. She's happiest about the fact that she can finally read the books they were based on without spoiling the story.
    • The dragon fight from Nyx's Family has been loosely adapted into a movie, with loosely being the key term here.
    • The events of Alicornundrum are also mentioned briefly, and tied into that is a nod to the time the Mane Six met Daring Do.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Willow is a thestral and thus looks like a walking Nightmare Night display, but he starts making friends once he realizes that most of his classmates are as off-center as he is.
  • Demoted to Extra: Willow is the viewpoint character for this story, and while Nyx does play a major role, she's not as prominent as in the other stories.
  • Dumbass Has a Point: When Cheerilee tells Snips and Snails that vamponies are an old mare's tale, Snails points out that everypony thought that about Nightmare Moon as well.
  • Emotion Eater: Subverted. Frosty repeatedly asserts that Windigoes do NOT feed on hate.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Diamond Tiara is a school bully, but she deeply cares for her friend Silver Spoon. When she learned that Silver Spoon's old nursemaid was abusing her and making her afraid of the dark, Diamond set her up to having such a bad fall from grace with Silver Spoon's father that the nursemaid now trades bottles for money.
  • Failed a Spot Check: Willow doesn't immediately realize that the class has a dragon, alicorn, zebra, and so on in it.
  • Fantastic Racism: Willow Wisp has faced a lot of this due to prejudice against thestrals.
    • Also, there's still some fear of Flitter for being a Changeling (though in this case, with Chrysalis's failed invasion and all, Flitter admits it's to be expected, though she's still hurt by it).
    • We can expect a similar problem for the half-windigo Frosty, given the Hearth Warming pageant.
  • Glamour Failure: Flitter is turning into caricatures of ponies in town on the way to school when a near by anti-changeling lantern activates in response to her magic, which forces her to change back to normal.
  • Heat Wave: One starts in chapter 4, explained as being "due to some monumental screwups in the Weather Bureau" and "necessary to balance out some excessive rainfall elsewhere". It's still ongoing as of chapter 12. Considering it's late spring and on the verge of summer, the residents of Ponyville are less than thrilled, and the weather pegasi are using as many spare clouds as they can to keep the local farmer's crops from drying out.
  • Incredibly Lame Pun:
    • This is Snips's punchline in his scary story for the class: a living, cursed coffin, that is stopped by a bottle of cough syrup. Cheerilee found it hilarious, but the class wasn't impressed.
    • "Frosty warmed to the topic." Frosty is half-Windigo.
  • In-Universe Factoid Failure: Even taking into account the fact that they were only allowed to do a loose adaptation to protect Spike and Bright Eye's identities, the makers of the anime version of the dragon battle in Nyx's Family apparently got a number of details wrong.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Silver Spoon's old nursemaid was an alcoholic mare who abused Silver and made her deeply afraid of the dark. As Diamond Tiara explained to Willow, the nursemaid's alcoholism later got her in deep trouble with Silver's father (thanks to Diamond), so much that she became an outcast and unable to find work again, trading bottles for bits as her only source of income.
  • Making a Splash: Doubloon's family owns at least one trident that allows them to easily control water. Her father uses it to "drive" her to school in a water sphere in the morning.
  • Nightmare Fuel: In-Universe. The story Sweetie Belle wrote was apparently so scary that most of her class went catatonic with terror, with at least one foal wetting themselves. Even Sweetie Belle wasn't immune - writing the story scared her so badly that she kept running to the bathroom.
  • Nightmare Fuel Station Attendant: Sweetie Belle, apparently. When asked to write a scary story, she wrote something that had most of the class catatonic with terror and caused at least one of the foals to wet themselves. She scared herself so badly while writing it that she had to keep running to the bathroom.
  • Noodle Incident: Apparently, at one point, Twilight was experimenting with Sea Pony magic and created a giant waterspout by mistake.
    • Apparently she also experimented with antimatter (or at least a magical equivalent) at one point. When Nyx asks Spike what happened, he responded thusly:
      Spike: Well, she brought these two clouds of stuff together, I remember this bright light and a really loud noise, and when I woke up the library had a new skylight.
  • Oh, No... Not Again!: See Continuity Nod above.
  • Pay Evil unto Evil: Diamond Tiara got revenge on the nursemaid who made Silver Spoon deeply afraid of the dark by secretly revealing to her father that the nursemaid was The Alcoholic — by hiding her bottles in places where Silver Spoon's father would see them. The nursemaid had such a bad fall from grace afterwards that she is now an outcast living on the edge of Ponyville, trading bottles for bits as her only source of income.
  • Pet the Dog: Silver Spoon hugs Willow for comforting her. Diamond Tiara admits that he earned a point (but just one) in her opinion.
    • Followed by a Pay Evil unto Evil moment when Diamond Tiara reveals how she comforted Silver Spoon.
  • Poor Communication Kills: Snips and Snails's first meeting with Willow.
  • Power Incontinence: Frosty easily loses control of his powers when in warm temperatures without his protective suit.
  • Psycho Supporter: Silver Spoon's nanny traumatized her so badly, she was left with fear of the dark. So Diamond Tiara torpedoed her reputation so badly, the mare has been reduced to collecting bottles for loose change.
  • Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: The class counts. In addition to the ordinary students, there's an alicorn who was (technically) Nightmare Moon, a dragon who's now one of the two Champions of the Crystal Empire, a Crystal Pony who's the other Champion of the Crystal Empire, a Changeling, a zebra, a Sea Pony, a thestral, a half-pony half-Windigo... and the original Cutie Mark Crusaders.
  • Subbing Versus Dubbing: In-universe, Snails likes dubs and Snips likes subs.
  • Subverted Rhyme Every Occasion: Ziggy, Zecora's nephew, tries to introduce himself in rhyming couplets but stumbles after a few lines.
    • Starts to shift into Rhymes on a Dime at lunch that day; he does a couple of different rhyme schemes and even comes up with a haiku.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Flitter apparently has a fear of spiders.
    • Also, Rumble has a fear of insects... and a lingering phobia of Changelings, which makes his friendship with one complicated.
    • Silver Spoon has a deep fear of the dark, thanks to an old Babysitter from Hell who would constantly abuse Silver when her parents' backs were turned by locking her in dark rooms and telling her how the shadows would trap Silver in darkness forever if she dared to go anywhere alone. During a school assignment where the foals have to tell scary stories in their unlit classroom, Silver has an emotional breakdown, leading to a Heartwarming moment when Willow leads the rest of the class in lighting up the room for her.
  • Wide Eyes and Shrunken Irises: Everyone's reaction to Sweetie Belle's story.