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Cover of the first part by Mix-Up note 
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Cover of the second part by MRK50 note 

Becoming a hero isn't an easy thing, especially when you start out as a villain.
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SAPR by Scipio Smith is a crossover between My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic and RWBY available on Fanfiction.net, Fimfiction, and Spacebattles.

Sunset Shimmer wanted power, she wanted to be adored, she wanted to claim that which Princess Celestia had denied her. What she got when she stepped through the mirror to another world was being a faunus in Atlas. Now she sets her sights on Beacon to finally claim the fame she so craves.

Jaune Arc stole his family sword and set off to become a hero like his ancestor. He didn’t have a clue, he didn’t have much of a plan, but he had the drive to succeed in excess, and failure was not an option. If he couldn’t succeed at Beacon, then he couldn’t succeed at anything.

Pyrrha Nikos was burdened by her legacy, and by her success in the gladiatorial ring. Since the day she could walk she has been trained to be the world’s greatest fighter, and she has never lost a fight. Now she is making a choice for the first time in her life, and she is choosing to go to Beacon, for the possibility of failure it brings is surely better than a destiny she did not choose for herself.

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Ruby Rose was the quintessential huntress, born into a family of huntsmen. Selfless, kind, and almost supernaturally pure of heart, she never had nor wanted any choice in what she wanted to do with her life. When the headmaster of Beacon offered her the chance to join two years early she took it, for joining a Huntsman Academy was the only logical path for her to take.

Together, these four different individuals will form Team SAPR (pronounced as Sapphire), and though their start is rocky, they’ll go on to have many adventures together. Along the way they’ll find friends and allies among their classmates, their teachers, and in the powerful Atlesian military. They’ll also come to face off against dastardly villains with terrible goals. Life would be easy if it was just that, but along the way the lines of friends and foe got a little blurry.

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SAPR contains examples of the following tropes:

  • Adopted into Royalty: Sunset Shimmer was raised by Princess Celestia in this version of her backstory. She doesn't remember her birth parents, or any day at all before she arrived at the palace in Canterlot. Naturally she comes to consider rejecting Celestia to be one of her biggest failures.
  • Anti-Hero: Sunset Shimmer, since she wasn't hit by a friendship beam like in canon My Little Pony: Equestria Girls, has to learn to become a good person the hard way. Since she doesn't actually think she is a bad person, this road is rockier than normal. Thus, she develops into this trope part way through the first part of the story.
  • Asshole Victim: Phoebe Kommenos, her sister, and her mother all qualify as this. They also are all killed by Cinder Fall as revenge for all the abuse they heaped upon her.
  • The Atoner: Sunset Shimmer eventually evolves into this, though there is no single moment that flips her.
  • Beam-O-War: The magical battle between Sunset and the Remnant version of Sombra eventually devolves into this by the end of the chapter "Grimm Magic."
  • The Cameo: In "Belladonna" a large one-eared and one-eyed rabbit faunus shows up among the White Fang. The faunus' name? Woundwort.
  • Category Traitor: Blake gets called this a few times after becoming an Atlas penal soldier.
    • Rainbow Dash also reflects on being insulted because she's a faunus working for the Atlesian military.
  • Cold Sniper: Ciel is just as calculating and efficient as she is in canon RWBY, but here she's also totting a seven foot long anti-materiel rifle.
  • Cool Bike: Sunset uses a motorcycle that she built from spare parts, though it's described as being less cool and more of a horrific abomination of random parts.
  • Damaged Soul: After being attacked by Cinder, Amber's soul was left in tatters, and she starts acting unhinged.
  • Defeat Means Friendship: Inverted. Sunset finally becomes friends with Pyrrha after challenging her to a fight and getting beat into the ground for her trouble.
  • Death by Irony: Amber is killed by a disintegration caress by Cinder in exactly the same manner in which she herself murdered Ozpin just a few minutes earlier.
  • Death Seeker: Cinder becomes one after the failure of her plans, seeking to bring about a reenactment of The Mistralliad that will see her killed and remembered as one of history's greatest villains.
  • Defector from Decadence: Blake, as per RWBY canon, left the White Fang when she thought it was becoming too violent.
  • The Dog Bites Back: Cinder's Start of Darkness involved her killing her stepmother and stepsister after years of abuse.
  • Doorstopper: The fic has passed a million words and is continuing to update.
  • Dramatic Irony
    • During the Battle of Vale, Shining Armor and the rest of the Atlesians try to protect his wife, Councilor Cadenza, assuming that the White Fang and any other attackers are after her. In actuality the White Fang is targeting Kali Belladonna and her daughter Blake, who have managed to seat themselves next to the councilor.
    • During the same battle as the above, Ironwood makes a speech that cites Rainbow Dash as an inspiration and quotes her speech on guts and loyalty too. His feelings end up being very different when he finds Rainbow stood by and let Sunset enable The Breach months later.
  • Dreaming of Things to Come: Both Amber and Pyrrha have prophetic dreams.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: The author hadn't watched a single episode of RWBY before beginning work on the project, and as such some odd things exist in earlier chapters that do not in later chapters.
    • Perhaps one of the biggest examples of this is how the author originally subscribed to the "Evil Ozpin" theory, and so many of his interactions with members of Team SAPR are written so that if the author had decided to commit to that idea they could be taken in that light. That purposeful ambiguity would turn out to serve the author well when he decided to not only keep Ozpin as the Big Good he is in canon, but also to go a step further by having a landmark in Sunset's redemption being her realizing just how good he is.
  • Expy: Due to the author's love of fairy tales and their tropes many characters from canon RWBY who are based off a fairy tale counterpart and don't have much canon information about them will find much of their backstory and characterization filled in with characteristics from the character they were initially based off. The most prominent example of this is Cinder, who has an abusive stepmother and stepsisters as part of her Freudian Excuse. and In addition, any time the author needs an OC for an arc they'll often take fairy tale characters that haven't been used in canon and put them through the same process.
  • Face–Heel Turn: Amber decides to join Salem's faction because she's afraid to be hurt in any way, and so figures it's best to just give the Relic of Choice to Salem so that she can just wonder off into the sunset with her enthralled 'friends.'
  • Fantastic Ghetto: Atlas is divided into two cities. In the sky there is an upper city which is situated on a giant floating rock, which is mostly inhabited by humans and is extremely advanced and affluent. On the ground there is a lower city (also called Low Town) that is inhabited mostly by poor faunus and is constructed a ramshackle and thrown together manner with little in the way of the technology the kingdom is famous for.
  • Fantastic Racism: Against faunus, as per RWBY canon, but more pronounced in this story.
  • A Father to His Men: General Ironwood isn't just the leader of his nation, he's also seen as a bit of a father figure by some of those under him, and he in turn treats all those under him as if they were his children. Perhaps nowhere is this more evident than with Rainbow Dash, who has known Ironwood since she was a kid and is extremely loyal to him for giving her a shot when almost no-one else would. He's extremely disappointed when she confesses to choosing to not stop Sunset during the Breach, which is even more crushing than her guilt.
  • The Fettered: Ruby Rose is bound by her ideals and duties as a Huntress, and in those binds she draws the strength to inspire armies and face down challenges that every other person flees from without flinching.
  • Friendly Enemy: After she is revealed and before she turns good Cinder Fall fills this roll for Sunset, with the two genuinely considering the other their friend with the only hiccup being that they have to fight each other because of their jobs.
  • Glory Seeker: Penny of all people falls into this trope, with a consistent wish of hers being to be loved and adored by a cheering crowd in everything from music to combat.
  • Godzilla Threshold: With no time or possibility of reinforcements, Pyrrha and Jaune release the supposedly-repentant Cinder from stasis to help them stop the corrupted Amber from taking the Relic of Choice.
  • Heel–Face Turn:
    • Sunset Shimmer and her path from selfishness and wickedness to The Fettered which takes up much of the first half of the fic.
    • Cinder, following Salem's acceptance of Amber's defection. She wanted to kill Amber and take her power, and when this was denied to her she decided that it was better to run than continue serving a woman who would only use her and throw her away.
    • Gilda grapples with the morality of her position as part of the White Fang terrorist for a long time before deciding to defect rather than hurt children.
    • Cardin Winchester, true to his appearance in canon, starts off as as one of the biggest jerks around and minor foe that inadvertently helps Sunset with her gradual alignment shift just because it's like looking into a mirror for her. After the Battle of Vale he ends up one of her best friends and one of the heroes after having responsibility thrust upon him.
  • Heroic Lineage: Both Pyrrha and Jaune are descended from heroes, and try their best to live up to the example of their ancestors. Though Pyrrha's are quite a bit more famous than Jaune's.
  • Heroic Self-Deprecation: Pyrrha develops an inferiority complex after seeing what Cinder can really do.
    • She also repeatedly says that she's not a leader, even though she's of royal blood and people constantly look up to her. This turns out to be accurate when she's given the leadership of Team SAPR and then later that same day given command of Mistral's army during the Battle of Vale, and both times she turns out to be just as terrible a leader as she said she would be even when trying her hardest to live up to the burden she was given.
  • Homage: Chapter 180, "It's Always Darkest Right Before a Hero Enters," has two notable ones.
    • The first is to monster movies like Kong: Skull Island when when the Atlesian military throws everything they have against the Wyvern and they fail to so much as scratch it.
    • The second is to Battle of the Pelennor Fields in The Return of the King when the Wyvern turns its attention the battle line of Mistral. The homage is so deliberate and overt that not only are the characters going through similar trials, but the book is actually quoted directly when Pyrrha is given courage by Ruby's example to stand with her against the dragon.
      Like a spark that catches to become a flame Pyrrha felt her courage stir once more within her; she should not die, so young, so brave, so desperate; at the least she should not die alone, unaided.
  • Incorruptible Pure Pureness: Literal the case of Ruby Rose. She is explicitly described as being so pure of heart that telepathic communication with her wipes away negative feelings in people. Sunset herself describes the inside of Ruby's soul like a vast warm white light.
  • It's All About Me: Sunset Shimmer, at least at first. She goes to Beacon explicitly to become famous, and has a distinctly selfish stance on how she interacts with the world. However, she does eventually grow to become an unselfish and self-sacrificing individual.
    • Amber turns out to be this after Sunset revives her, to the point where she doesn't feel comfortable unless everyone around her is willing to throw down their lives to protect her at the slightest provocation and holds her above every other person and thing in the world. Though in this case it's a direct result of her soul being torn apart when Cinder stole half of the Maiden power, and a memory of the uncorrupted Amber is nothing like that.
  • Lampshade Hanging: In "Chapter 195: The Father of Monsters" Sunset angrily points out how she's constantly faced with the the Trolley Dilemma over and over again.
  • Like a Son to Me: Sienna Khan thinks this of Blake, and is reluctant to kill her as a result.
  • The Maiden Name Debate: In chapter 124, "Re-Forged," Pyrrha reflects that when her and Jaune get married he's going to have to take her name because she's from an ancient royal house and he... isn't.
  • Military Brat: Ciel comes from a long line of people who have served in the Atlesian military and the Mantelian military before that, and she expects that when she has her own children they will follow the exact same career track.
  • Moral Myopia: Sunset Shimmer decides to enable the Breach to happen by destroying the controls of the train explicitly because she values the lives of her team, but she doesn’t value the lives of the people of Vale.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: After spending some time in prison, Sunset comes to the realization that the people of Vale are, well, people, and has this reaction to her actions during the Breach.
  • Named Weapons: In addition to the weapons from canon RWBY there are several unique weapons introduced in the story.
    • Sol Invictus, Sunset's revolver rifle with attached gas-powered extending bayonet.
    • Distant Thunder, Ciel's collapsible anti-materiel sniper rifle.
  • Not Hyperbole: Nora frequently tells wild stories about her and Ren’s misadventures pre-Beacon, with the latter often interrupting to correct her exaggerations. After one particularly outlandish story involving working for a broke circus and being compensated with exhibit animals, Ren admits that one was completely accurate.
  • No-Sell: Salem is able to completely tank any attack. Any attack. Her reaction when struck by the most powerful blast of that the Silver Eyes of Summer Rose had ever produced was merely to raise an eyebrow and ask, "Is that all?"
  • Not Quite Dead: Yang is assumed dead after going missing during the Battle of Vale, but in reality was kidnapped by Raven.
  • Not So Different: Sunset Shimmer has this line dropped on her multiple times over the course of the story with many people she ends up confronting. From bullies like Cardin to terrorists like Adam to reflections like Cinder they all carry a piece of Sunset in them. This, of course, feeds back into Sunset's own character development as she slowly starts to realize that she's been a villain this whole time and didn't even notice it.
  • Not-So-Omniscient Council of Bickering: The councils of both Vale and Atlas qualify, but the dysfunction of the Vale council gets especially highlighted.
  • The One That Got Away: Sunset and Flash for each other, even though they both agree that they’re better off apart.
  • Orwellian Retcon:
    • Originally during the lead up to the Breach Applejack and Fluttershy were infected with a Grimm parasite that would have turned them into sleeper agents. Due to negative viewer feedback, however, this was removed entirely from the story.
    • An entire chapter involving a trial and one of Jaune's sisters being a member of the White Fang was removed.
  • Our Dragons Are Different: Just like in canon RWBY the Wyvern makes an appearance during the Vytal Festival. Unlike in canon this gigantic Grimm is never called by its name and is just called a dragon, and is able to shoot a powerful energy beam from its mouth along with producing a fear response whenever it roars.
  • Parental Substitute: In addition to Klein Sieben from canon RWBY, Weiss also was raised by her maid Laberna Seacole. Mrs. Seacole, as it turns out, is a raccoon faunus, and when the White Fang became exceedingly violent Jacques fired her. She and her family were forced into poverty after that, and the stress and poor living conditions aged her by decades and gave her numerous health problems.
  • Pimped-Out Dress: Ciel of all people has a fondness for these and enjoys indulging herself at any formal event she attends.
  • Powered Armor: After deciding to stay on Team RSPT full time Twilight creates a set of powered armor to make up for the fact that she isn't otherwise very physically strong or capable.
  • Pregnant Badass: Raven was part of the assassination team sent to kill Salem years ago while pregnant with Yang.
  • Really Royalty Reveal: Pyrrha Nikos is revealed to have come from a long line of emperors of Mistral, and one of the epithets used for her is The Uncrowned Princess.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Ironwood qualifies as this for the Atlesians, giving them leeway to do what needs to be done and when dolling out punishments for wrongdoing always does so in a way that will be a learning experience for his students, as befitting his position as not only the supreme commander of Atlas's military but also the headmaster of its academy. In a break with canon he also orders rigorous cyber-security checks after Cinder infiltrates the CCT, completely circumventing the virus subplot of the original show.
    • Though this is initially in doubt, Sunset eventually comes to realize that Ozpin is this as well.
  • Red Baron: Several examples are found, possibly due to the author's admitted love of epic fantasy.
    • Pyrrha is called both "The Invincible Girl" and "The Uncrowned Princess."
    • In chapter 182, "Dragonslayer," Penny Polendina is given the titular epithet after dealing the killing blow against the Wyvern that has been reeking havoc for the past four chapters.
  • Reduced to Dust: Ozpin and Amber are both disintegrated in the finale to Part 1.
  • Running Gag: Sunset didn't break out of prison, she has a note!
  • Secret Keeper: Celestia has a conversation with Ozpin using Sunset's magic journal, and she quickly pegs him as an immortal due to him being so Wise Beyond His Years. She promises not to tell Sunset or anyone else.
  • Self-Made Orphan: Cinder burned her home to the ground with her stepmother and one of her stepsisters inside. Then years later during the course of the story she stabs her other stepsister to death in a dark alley.
  • Shout-Out
    • Rainbow Dash uses a wing pack, SMGs, and goggles with an integrated HUD in combat, just like The Falcon.
    • In Chapter 155, "We’re Gonna Take You Down," Team RSPT faces down Team JAMM (Jasmine) in a battle that's a direct reference to Jason and the Argonauts.
    • The Mistralliad is an in-universe story referenced several times throughout the story, and is a pretty blatant shout-out to The Iliad.
    • The Atlesian air cruiser Thunder Child is a reference to The War of the Worlds. It ends up being destroyed by the [Wyvern during the Battle of Vale.
  • Shrouded in Myth: After the Battle of Vale Cardin's exploits get exaggerated to such a degree that he's almost brought to shame.
  • Spared by the Adaptation: Roman and Pyrrha both survive past the Battle of Beacon.
    • Amber used to be an example of this, but she ended up being killed by Cinder in the finale of Part 1.
  • Spoiler Cover: The cover for part two is the new cover for the entire fic, which spoils several developments that come from the ending of part one. Namely Pyrrha becoming the Fall Maiden, and Blake becoming a full member of the Atlesian military.
  • Supernatural Fear Inducer: An additional power of the Wyvern and its roar.
  • Take That!: In "P v P, Part 2" Pyrrha tells Jaune not to cut his hair. This is a direct reference to Jaune's change in hairstyle from Volume 7 of canon RWBY.
  • Time Skip: After the fic's version of the Battle of Beacon the story skips ahead several months in order to mimic the time skip that happened in RWBY canon.
  • Trading Bars for Stripes: After her identity as a former White Fang terrorist is revealed, Blake is arrested. To keep her from going to prison, the Atlesian military offers her the opportunity to join up with them as a penal conscript. She accepts. By the time of the Vytal Tournament she has decided that when the terms of her conscription are up, she’s going to enlist in the Atlesian military for real.
  • Treachery Is a Special Kind of Evil: Sunset is charged with treason when she admits to destroying the controls of the train.
  • Villain Protagonist: When she first arrives at Beacon Sunset is rather explicitly working for her own power and glory, views those around her as pawns whose only purpose is to get her to said power and glory, and is willing to contemplate such wonderful ideas as breaking up Sibling Team Ruby and Yang because she views Yang's team as competition — an idea which Sunset abandoned only because of the possible risks if found out. Though, as explained in other tropes on this page, she eventually develops into an Anti-Hero and then later a full Lawful Good hero.
  • "Well Done, Son!" Guy: It can sometimes feel like Pyrrha's mom thinks of Sunset as the daughter she never had.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Ruby’s reaction to finding out Sunset was willing to doom Vale in order to give their team a slightly better chance at survival.
    • Ironwood's reaction to Rainbow revealing that she not only let Sunset destroy the train controls, but that she also kept it secret for months on end.
  • What You Are in the Dark: The infamous Breach in the chapter "Defined By Choice" has the moment for Sunset. Turns out she wasn't a hero after all.
  • You're Not My Mother: In "Belladonna" Blake is briefly captured by the White Fang, who treat her as a wayward daughter turned to crime. Blake isn't having any of it.
    Sienna: I miss our stimulating conversations. I miss you. We all miss you, Blake. Everyone will be so glad to see you returned to the bosom of your family.
    Blake: You are not my mother and the White Fang isn’t my family.

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