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Fanfic / The Alarmaverse

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"It’s just an average daaaaaay..."
A series of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic fanfics by Meta Four, mostly centering on Ditzy Doo (aka "Derpy Hooves") — a pegasus from Ponyville's weather patrol who sees the world a bit differently than everyone around her.

Where others see an eccentric rural town, Ditzy sees spatial anomalies, Fae creatures, and Eldritch Abominations. And she's committed to protecting her friends and neighbors—and their sanity—from all of the aforementioned. Ditzy eventually finds out that she isn't the only pony protecting Equestria from the shadows, and that the world is stranger than even she thinks.

The stories are, in publication order:

  • Alarm Clock. The main story in the series, and longest. Ditzy uncovers the signs of an invasion which just might be too big for her to handle by herself. And it doesn't help that both Twilight Sparkle and Time Turner are getting suspicious of Ditzy.

  • Black Magic Mare, Roaming Queen. A prequel, and companion piece to "Split Eyes". Before Ditzy settled in Ponyville, she traveled the backroads of Equestria. On one trip, she had a chance run-in with the Great and Powerful Trixie, and the two of them struck up a brief, odd friendship.

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  • Split Eyes. A prequel, and companion piece to Black Magic Mare. This is the story of how Ditzy traveled Equestria and eventually settled in Ponyville, as told through letters to her parents.

  • Beauty Will Tear Us Apart. Sequel to Alarm Clock. Ditzy investigates a rash of vandalism at a Canterlot art museum, suspecting that the perpetrator is something otherworldly and inequine.

  • Twilight Sparkle and the Strange Case of Old Res.note  Side story to Beauty. Twilight researches a forgotten spell, and discovers how its inventor came to an unfortunate end.

  • Den Fjerde Væg. Sequel to Beauty. Ditzy finds herself on the outside of The Masquerade. Twilight and Pinkie Pie are the ones who must learn the unsettling truth (or reveal that they've known all along) and puzzle through its implications.

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  • The Princess and Her Hunger. A side story—an old tale from the land of Faerie, about a cursed princess and the changeling queen.

  • The Hesperus Gate. Sequel to Den Fjerde Væg. Something goes very, very wrong. Pinkie Pie must take desperate measures to set everything right.

Also see this blog post for a listing of the stories in chronological order. And this post for a filk theme song.

Compare and contrast with Elementals of Harmony.

Provides examples of:

    open/close all folders 
  • Mystical City Planning: Discovered twice.
    • In Alarm Clock, Ditzy discovers that Ponyville's Town Hall has the same floor plan as the ancient temple of an Eldritch Abomination. And that other ponies have accidentally completed the ritual to summon that monster.
    • In the sequel Beauty Will Tear Us Apart, Ditzy researches other buildings by the same architect, and finds that the Goggle Heights Art Museum has the same layout as a Hyperborean Echo Labyrinth, and is capable of creating monsters out of sound waves.

    Alarm Clock 
  • Alien Geometries:
    • As Ponyville Town Hall transforms into a portal to the void, it becomes spatially inverted.
    The edge which should have been closest to Ditzy was now farthest away—the pillar now appeared concave rather than convex—without a single atom of the pillar being disturbed from its place.
    • When traveling through a Krasnicker tube, one can see shapes outside the tube. Those shapes aren't constrained by Euclidean geometry, or logic for that matter.
  • Anachronic Order: The penultimate chapter copies the structure from Memento: scenes in chronological order alternate with scenes in reverse-chronological order. The chapter ends in the chronological middle.
  • Another Dimension: There are many, many other universes that one can step into quite easily, if you just know how to move in the right direction. Ditzy is one of the few who know.
  • Anxiety Dreams: Twice.
    • First, Ditzy dreams about the destruction the Eyeless King could wreak. She sees a vision of Equestria reduced to a lifeless wasteland while Carrot Top offers vaguely-Biblical sounding narration.
    • Second, Ditzy dreams that she's in a ska band, about to play a career-making live show, but she missed all the band's practice sessions and doesn't remember how to play the songs. And she's forgot to bring her suit, too.
  • Awesome Mc Coolname: Ditzy Doo is actually short for Detsella Renombrada Morningdew. And her dad's full name is LaMontagne Burningspear Morningdew, but he normally goes by LaMonte Doo.
  • Berserk Button: Fluttershy gets angry when she thinks somepony is hurting her chickens—angry enough to terrify Ditzy.
  • Bookends: The story opens with Ditzy waking up, noticing a dimensional rift in the sky above, and wishing that she could share the sight with somepony else. The story ends with another dimensional rift, and Ditzy waking Dr. Hooves up so he can see it.
  • Bothering by the Book: When Ditzy gets arrested and R.S.S. agent Dr. Hooves tries to take custody of her, Constable Peeler emphatically states that Hooves needs to fill out the proper paperwork first. This is almost as good as outright refusal, because Hooves apparently doesn't know anything about this paperwork.
  • Chew-Out Fake-Out: Spike replaces Twilight Sparkle's coffee with decaf, prompting an indignant "What?!" from Twilight when she finds out. But Twilight's just shocked at herself for not tasting the difference—she's actually happy that Spike made sure she got the rest she needed.
  • Covert Group: Dr. Hooves is an agent of the mysterious R.S.S., or the Royal Secret Service. This agency is headed by Princess Luna, and they exist to protect Equestria from threats that the general public is better off not knowing about.
  • Crashing Dreams: A loud song intrudes into one of Ditzy's dreams—turns out it's her radio alarm clock playing.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Xanthorgh the Flayer is a multi-dimensional horror with multiple jointed limbs and six mouths. He also lives symbiotically with ponies by eating parasitic creatures that infest their brains and cause them stress. The name comes from flaying demons and other horrors.
  • Death Glare: Angel bunny doesn't like Ditzy for some reason, and he gives her "a look which could be classified a war crime in twelve different nations."
  • Delivery Stork: Ponies have their own equivalent of that myth. Ditzy plays along with it, because she doesn't feel like giving The Talk to somepony else's daughter.
    Dinky poked her head out the bathroom door. “Mom says magic mirrors are where foals come from.”
    [Ditzy said,] “What? No. I—I—I mean ... yes! Your mom is very smart and exactly right and you should definitely listen to her.”
    • (This was true in Gen 1, where they had a mirror that created a Baby version of the mare who stood in front of it.)
  • Did I Just Say That Out Loud?: Inverted. Ditzy tries to answer one of Carrot Top's questions, but forgets to say most of it out loud.
    Ditzy answered, “Niches, Carrot Top, niches.” The bakers at Sugarcube Corner are the undisputed masters of sweet baked goods, Ditzy thought, and I respect them for that. But for the muffin connoisseurs seeking subtler flavors, Drury Lane at the Emporium is simply the best there is.
    Uh oh, Carrot Top is looking at me funny—how much of that did I remember to say out loud? Oh well, too late to elaborate.
  • Discontinuity Nod: Dinky Doo is Carrot Top's daughter, but Dr. Hooves mistakes her for Ditzy's daughter at one point, and Ditzy wonders how he could have possibly come to that conclusion—a nod to the ubiquitous fanon about Derpy being Dinky's mom.
  • Divided We Fall: Twilight Sparkle, Dr. Hooves, and Constable Peeler are all well-intentioned, but all of them hinder Ditzy's quest to save Ponyville, because Ditzy can't say what she's doing, and they conclude she's up to something sinister.
  • Easy Amnesia: When she gets hit by lightning, Ditzy forgets everything from the few minutes before and after the zap.
  • Either/Or Title:
    • One chapter is named "Dr. Hooves, or, How I Learned to Start Worrying and Fear the Green" (doubles as a Shout-Out to Dr. Strangelove.)
    • The penultimate chapter takes it to absurdity: "The Filly with the Moon in Her Head, or, The Bubblemaker's Dream, or, A Message from Another Time, or, Eternal Snarkness, or, Back in the Saddlebag, or, Muffindependence Day, or, Fridge Benefits, or, I Hope You Liked Memento".
  • Eldritch Abomination:
    • The Eyeless King. An entity banished beyond the ninth darkness—if it re-entered Equestria, it would reduce Ponyville to a radioactive crater in the process. When it's on the threshold, Ditzy notes a smell as if the air itself was dying in the monster's vicinity.
    • Tyndalocurrs, monsters attracted to lattices and right angles, and which effortlessly sever organic molecular bonds.
    • Xanthorgh the Flayer is a higher-dimensional being with an arthropod appearance—but he has a symbiotic relationship with ponykind.
    • Chromastaceans: they're like giant hermit crabs, but they wear colors instead of sea shells.
  • Evil Twin: Parodied. When past Dr. Hooves, still convinced that Ditzy is a spy, sees his future self taking Ditzy's side, he concludes his future self must be an "Evil mirror universe clone!" His future self points out how absurd that is—he doesn't even have the necessary goatee!
  • Failed a Spot Check: The clock shop Time Turner's Time Pieces is right next to The Muffin Emporium and Xanthorgh the Flayer's designated spot in Ponyville—both locations that Ditzy frequents. Somehow, she never noticed the proprietor of the clock shop, until he started stalking her.
  • The Fair Folk: The fia sídhe. They live and travel in a realm inaccessible to most ponies, and they operate by a very different sort of morality. One of them, Abhean, thinks he would be doing Ditzy a great favor if he beheaded Bon Bon.
  • Fantasy Keepsake: Ditzy has a dream conversation with Princess Luna. But she's unaware that Luna's a Dream Walker, so she dismisses the whole thing as a figment of her subconscious—until she sees the same scroll that Luna gave her, resting on her nightstand.
  • The Gadfly: At the restaurant, Carrot Top screws with the waiter by asking if she can order something from the carnivore menu. Ditzy joins in by telling the waiter, "I'll have what you're having!"
    “Aw yeah,” Ditzy said between gigglesnorts, “we’re making him work for that tip.”
    “The look on his face!” Carrot Top exclaimed. “I think he was this close to kicking us out!”
  • Hero Insurance: The Royal Treasury has funds set aside specifically for rebuilding after world-threatening disasters, and destroying Town Hall to keep the Eyeless King from entering Equestria certainly qualifies. So Ditzy doesn't have to pay directly for the biggest chunk of property damage she causes. She still gives a donation anyway, and buys Carrot Top a replacement fridge.
  • How We Got Here: The story opens with a brief bit of chatter from the Featureless Plane of Disembodied Dialogue. The dialogue finally happens, in its proper context, in the final chapter.
  • Human Aliens: Or Equine Aliens, in this case. Upon arriving on another planet via a Krasnicker tube, Ditzy meets two extraterrestrial horses—indistinguishable from Saddle Arabians, as far as Ditzy can tell. Although from their perspective, Ditzy is a Rubber-Forehead Alien, because this alien world apparently doesn't have pegasus ponies.
  • Hyperspace Is a Scary Place: Traveling through a Krasnicker tube is very dangerous, because normal matter reacts explosively if it touches the inside of the tube.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: With the exception of the epilogue, all the chapter titles are puns on common phrases (like "Note Early, Note Often") or punny references to other works (like "Fridge Over Troubled Waters").
  • Ignoring by Singing:
    [Ditzy said,] “Yeah, can’t you use [your telekinesis]?”
    [Dinky said,] “No. Don’t wanna talk about it.”
    “Magic lessons not going well?”
    “La la la la not talking about it!” Dinky clamped her forehooves over her ears. “La la la la laaaaaaaaaaa!”
  • I Have Many Names: The big bad. Ditzy mainly calls it the Eyeless King, but other tribes and species know it as Czernobaa, Xollotll, the Morrígan, Angra Maneyu, the Void Treader, Th'cl'br'gh, or Ystravilim.
  • In-Series Nickname: The story reconciles the multiple names for some of the characters by making some of them nicknames. Ditzy Doo is (a shortening of) the real name; "Derpy Hooves" is a nickname. Carrot Top's legal name is Golden Harvest, and Bon Bon's legal name is Sweetie Drops—and both of them prefer their nicknames over their real names. And Dinky Doo's legal name is Golden Ink. This becomes a plot point when Dr. Hooves misses the point and thinks that those ponies are all spies, and their nicknames are their alternate identities.
  • Insistent Terminology: Ditzy always uses the term "Krasnicker tube" (a pun on the theoretical Krasnikov tube) instead of "wormhole". But the tubes in question pretty much are just wormholes—a fact that gets lampshaded later.
  • Inverted Trope: "Derpy stealing food from Carrot Top's fridge" is a running gag with roots in the earliest days of the fandom. In this story, Ditzy takes the fridge itself and leaves Carrot Top's food behind.
  • Ironic Name: Ditzy's middle name, Renombrada, is Spanish for "renowned". Yet she goes out of her way to avoid the spotlight for all the "problems" she's solved in Ponyville.
  • Is That What They're Calling It Now?:
    “And why else would [Pinkie] and Dash spend so much time alone?”
    “Because they’re prank buddies?”
    “Ooooooohhh,” the Mayor said, winking at Ditzy, “is that what the kids are calling it these days? Say no more, Ditzy, say no more.”
  • Jurisdiction Friction: Police Constable Peeler arrests Ditzy Doo, then R.S.S. agent Dr. Hooves swoops in and insists on taking custody of her. Peeler sides with Ditzy against Dr. Hooves, insisting that she's outside Hooves' jurisdiction and throwing the book at the agent.
  • Land of Faerie: The sídhe, current home of the fia. It's fundamentally different from the other other dimensions, and as a result Ditzy can only enter or exit it at certain points. And Ditzy loses a few hours whenever she returns to Equestria from the sídhe.
  • Lovecraft Lite: There are forces beyond mortal comprehension lurking in the dark shadows around Equestria. It's possible to summon them completely by accident. But there's no need to despair: some of these forces are on the ponies' side. And for those that are hostile, a smart, level-headed pony can thwart them without dying or going insane.
    Meta Four: We've seen that the ponies carved their own home out of a dangerous, hostile world, and that they frequently defend Equestria from creatures straight out of the D&D Monster Manual. From there, it's just a hop and a skip to say that there must also be ponies defending Equestria from creatures straight out of the Necronomicon.
  • Lower-Deck Episode: The story focuses on background characters and offers explanations for Derpy's bizarre cameos in "May the Best Pet Win", "The Last Roundup", and "A Friend in Deed".
  • Magic Mirror: A mirror in Carrot Top's house turns out to be a portal to a deserted pocket dimension.
  • The Marvelous Deer: The fia sídhe, who are the Equestrian equivalent of The Fair Folk.
  • Meddlesome Patrolman: Constable Peeler interferes with Ditzy's world-saving, because he finds it awfully suspicious that she's out so late, and she can't explain what she's up to.
  • Mistaken for Profound: The fia sídhe believe Ditzy's eyes mark her as a prophet, so they visit her to ask for information about the future. Ditzy doesn't agree, but she's too scared to tell the fia that they're wrong. So she "prophesies" by clearing her head and just saying the first thing that comes to mind. The fia eat it up every time.
  • Mistaken for Romance:
    • There's a running gag of different characters assuming that Rainbow Dash is in a relationship, because they saw and misinterpreted scenes from canon. Ditzy thinks Dash and Fluttershy are a couple, Cloudchaser is certain that Dash is dating Applejack, Mayor Mare argues that Dash and Pinkie Pie are more than just "prank buddies". And, although we don't get to hear his reasoning for it, Dr. Hooves is convinced that Dash is with Ditzy.
    • Twilight notices Dr. Hooves spying on Ditzy, and she assumes he must be romantically interested.
  • Mistaken for Spies: Both Dr. Hooves and Twilight Sparkle know just enough about what's going on to draw a wildly wrong conclusion about Ditzy.
    • Dr. Hooves knows that Ditzy deliberately wrecked Town Hall—and decides Ditzy intended to drive Applejack out of Ponyville, to undermine the Elements of Harmony. And he mistakes Ditzy for a time traveler.
    • Twilight discovers that Ditzy knows Equestrian state secrets—and, since Ditzy doesn't explain how she knows, concludes Ditzy must have broken into secret Canterlot archives and therefore must be Up To No Good.
  • Must Have Caffeine: In Twilight Sparkle's first scene, she's just pulled an all-nighter, and she's hopped herself up on coffee to stay awake.
    “Technically I’m up much later than usual, haha! Got a new textbook on magilectronics, couldn’t stop at just one chapter, one thing led to another, and suddenly the sun was rising and I need more coffee! You know how it goes!”
  • Mythology Gag: Golden Harvest told Dinky that foals come from magic mirrors.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: Xanthorgh the Flayer combines "X" Makes Anything Cool, A Villain Named "Z__rg", and Spell My Name with a "The"... but he's on the ponies' side. He earned his title by flaying creatures that would parasitize ponies otherwise.
  • The Nondescript: Dr. Hooves is first described as "aggressively drab".
    His face was one that [Ditzy] could have walked past every week without remembering. Even his hourglass cutie mark looked vaguely familiar.
  • Not Using the "Z" Word: The fia sídhe are deer fairies, but the words "deer" and "fairy" don't come up at all.
  • Other Me Annoys Me: Dr. Hooves has some serious self-esteem problems and can't stand his own past or future selves—even when they're only separated by a few minutes.
    “Oh for the love of Celestia!” the third doctor interjected. “Do you blockheads even listen to the words coming out of your mouths?” He pointed at the first doctor. “You sound like an ungrateful simpleton!” He pointed at the second doctor. “And you sound like an egotistical imbecile! And now I sound stupid for yelling at you!”
  • Our Wormholes Are Different: They're naturally occurring, and seem to spring up spontaneously for reasons not fully understood. They can be used for FTL travel. Breaking one of them can cause a violent explosion. And Carrot Top has one of them in her fridge, somehow.
  • Pillar of Light: In Ditzy's dream about the possible end of the world, she sees a beam of light that shoots straight into the sky—then widens and destroys everything it touches.
  • Power Glows: All pony magic is visible to Ditzy as a glowing aura, with brightness corresponding to power. Twilight Sparkle is so powerful that it hurts to look straight at her.
  • Public Domain Character: Constable Peeler is an OC who predates this fic. He was created by a few different tropers in collaboration, for anyone to use in their own stories.
  • Punctuation Shaker: Lampshaded:
    [Twilight said,] “So then. Ditzy, how do you know about Th’cl’br’gh the Overpunctuated? The one you called the Eyeless King?”
    [Ditzy said,] “Wait, wait, ‘the Overpunctuated’? Unicorn scholars actually called him that?”
    “In that particular field, a sense of humor goes a long way towards fighting off the creeping madness.”
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Ditzy tells the fia sídhe hooligans in no uncertain terms that they are befouling the legacies of their once-proud people. The fia aren't very impressed, until Ditzy kicks their leader in the face.
  • Reports of My Death Were Greatly Exaggerated: After Ditzy blows up Town Hall, the newspaper erroneously reports that she died in the explosion. A crowd of ponies gathers to gawk at her, and she plays with them by claiming to be "the Ghost of Muffins Past!"
  • Rules Lawyer: Constable Peeler obsesses over enforcing minor rules because he worries about the potential slippery slope if they aren't enforced.
    [Constable Peeler said,] “It always starts with the little rules. Littering. Leash regulations. Curfews. But it never ends there, Ditzy. If we let those hooligans get away with this, what will we ultimately get?”
    “Anarchy,” Ditzy answered, her voice flat.
    “Anar— Yes, precisely!” Peeler beamed with satisfaction.
  • Sapient Eat Sapient: The fia hooligans threaten to cook Ditzy into a stew.
  • Schedule Fanatic: Ditzy is a downplayed example. She doesn't schedule very much in her day, but she's very concerned about being punctual to those few events she does schedule.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: The main plot concerns the Eyeless King’s impending escape from the particular can it’s sealed in. Unusually for this trope, Ditzy successfully reseals the can before the Eyeless King can escape.
  • Shock and Awe: Ditzy attempts to raze Town Hall by blasting it with lightning from a storm cloud. She causes some damage, but not enough—and then she winds up electrocuting herself.
  • Shout-Out: The tyndalocurrs, interdimensional monsters from the “corners between universes” attracted by angles and lattices and that can be summoned by spilled salt (it’s the sound of crystals on a flat surface that calls them) are a pretty clear shout-out to The Hounds of Tindalos.
  • Small, Secluded World: Carrot Top's magic mirror leads to another world consisting of an apartment building and its immediate environs, under a glass dome. Ditzy doesn't realize it, but this is the interior of Cranky's snowglobe.
  • Squick: invoked Ditzy deliberately grosses Constable Peeler out by telling him about pony brain parasites and how Xanthorgh the Flayer picks them off and eats them.
  • Starts Stealthily, Ends Loudly: Ditzy sneaks into Fluttershy's henhouse in the dead of the night to steal an egg. She gets the egg without alerting anyone—then trips and makes enough noise to send the chickens into a frenzy, which wakes Fluttershy.
  • Stating the Simple Solution: Ditzy takes the fia-trail to sneak into Fluttershy's backyard and steal an egg from the henhouse. Fluttershy catches her, and wonders why Ditzy didn't just knock on her door and ask for an egg. Ditzy doesn't know, either.
  • Storyboarding the Apocalypse: Ditzy dreams about the possible results if the Eyeless King returns. She sees a jagged wasteland under a yellow sky—a sky with cracks in it.
  • Strange-Syntax Speaker: The three fia sídhe hooligans speak in an improbable mix of Shakespearean English, Yoda-talk, SBaHJ-isms, and Irish Gaelic Poirot Speak. They swap subjects and prepositions willy-nilly, and they'll turn any word into an adjective by slapping "-wise" on the end.
  • Strongly Worded Letter: Twilight is convinced that Ditzy is some kind of spy, up to no good. She takes matters into her own hooves ... by explaining everything in a letter to Celestia.
  • Suggestive Collision: Rainbow Dash and Ditzy fall down a hole together and land on top of each other, with their faces just inches apart. Without missing a beat, Dash asks "Are you trying to seduce me?"
  • Suspiciously Apropos Music: The song that keeps mysteriously repeating on Ditzy's radio is a surprising match for Ditzy's life. Most of the verses describe outlandish events (saving ponies from drowning, winning the lottery, etc.) while going on and on about how average the day is. Then, the night before Ditzy saves Equestria, she notices the song's final verse: "After all, tomorrow / is a big day, / and not an average day!"
  • Theme Naming: Ponies have names thematically related to their parents' names, but their parents' names aren't always related to each other's. So, Golden Harvest and Written Script have a daughter named Golden Ink. And Ditzy Doo's parents are LaMonte Doo and Loop-de-Loop (aka Loopy).
  • Time Travel: Dr. Time Turner Hooves can do this. It's an inborn ability of his—there's no Dr. Whooves or TARDIS in this series.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Ditzy loves muffins, of course.
  • True Sight: Ditzy can see magic, other dimensions, and the creatures that live in them.
  • Trust Password: Dr. Hooves has one to prove to his own time-displaced selves that he actually is himself. It's a verse from the classic bossa nova song "Who Needs Forever".
  • Unbelievable Source Plot: Ditzy must save Ponyville from the Eyeless King—and help her friends with other higher-dimensional weirdness along the way—without revealing her True Sight to ponies who will think she's crazy.
  • Unusual Euphemism: In addition to the show's usual practice of using pony terms in place of actual profanities, some pegasi also use weather terms as cusses.
  • Virgin Power: The blood of a virgin is one of the requirements for the Scarlet Ceremony to summon the Eyeless King. Turns out a single drop of blood is enough, which is both good (no need for a Virgin Sacrifice) and very bad (one can fulfill the ceremony completely by accident).
  • "Will Return" Caption: The author's note on the final chapter ends with "Ditzy Doo and Doctor Hooves will return..."
  • With Great Power Comes Great Insanity: Referenced. When Ditzy hears her radio playing exactly the same broadcast as yesterday, she quickly concludes that she's stuck in a "Groundhog Day" Loop, and fears that "I’ll go mad with power just before I go mad with insanity!"
  • Won't Take "Yes" for an Answer: After Ditzy had brushed off Twilight multiple times:
    [Ditzy said,] “How about we step into my place and talk it over?” [...]
    [Twilight said,] “Yes, of course, Ditzy. But before you close that door, let me warn you that Princess Celestia answered my letter and authorized me to … Wait, did you say ‘talk it over’? Yes!”
  • Wrong Restaurant: Carrot Top messes with her waiter at the local diner by asking if she can order something from the "carnivore menu".
  • Ye Olde Butchered English: Ditzy and the fia sídhe speak to each other in Early Modern Equine. Ditzy is a little rusty and trips herself up a few times.
    [Ditzy said,] “Uh, thankest thou?” This prompted another kick from Ditzy’s mental linguist.
  • You Already Changed the Past: Dr. Hooves' time travel works this way. From Ditzy's point of view, we see effects that precede their causes, like things from the future appearing in the past. On morning two, the Dr. Hooves that Ditzy meets outside Town Hall was actually a time-traveller from a few days later.
  • You Called Me "X"; It Must Be Serious: Characters who normally call another pony by some nickname signal just how serious they are by using their real name:
    • Ditzy towards Dinky:
    Golden Ink! Be quiet and listen to me this instant, or I will tell your parents about this when they get home!”
    Ditzy wasn’t sure whether the ultimatum itself or the use of Dinky’s real name had the greater effect on the filly.
    • Rainbow Dash does it to Ditzy.
    What? Ditzy thought. Has she ever called me by my real name before?
  • You Can Not Grasp The True Form: Owing to her True Sight, Ditzy can't look directly at Princess Luna or Twilight Sparkle. Twilight's raw magical power is so strong that Ditzy sees her shine like a miniature purple sun. And Ditzy sees Luna as an alicorn-shaped hole in reality, with an endless plane of clockwork and stars visible through the hole. Looking at it for more than a few seconds puts Ditzy into a trance-like state.
  • You Were Trying Too Hard: Some foals get their internal flow of magic messed up. The way to fix it? Relax, and let the magic take care of itself.

    Black Magic Mare, Roaming Queen 
  • Brick Joke: The setup is a scene where Trixie steals Ditzy's letter and writes her own note to Ditzy's parents, narrating aloud as she writes. When Ditzy grabs the letter back, she has an odd reaction to Trixie's additions. The punchline comes in Split Eyes.
  • Cassandra Truth: Trixie sees Ditzy stick her hoof into a hole that shouldn't exist, but she concludes that Ditzy is a fellow stage magician, and that all the talk of higher dimensions is just part of Ditzy's act.
  • Compound Title: The two chapter titles form a stanza from the Allen Toussaint song "Fortune Teller".
    I left there in a hurry,
    looking forward to my big surprise.
    The next morning I discovered
    that the fortune teller told me lies.
  • Did Not Get the Girl: Trixie falls hard for Ditzy. Ditzy doesn't reciprocate, but she shows signs that she might, if given more time. They go their separate ways before the relationship can go any further.
  • It Was a Dark and Stormy Night: Both of Trixie’s stories open with some variation on this line.
  • Just Testing You:
    • Trixie forgets where she left off in her story, so she deliberately starts at the wrong point. When Ditzy corrects her, she claims she was testing to see if Ditzy was paying attention, then restarts at the point Ditzy mentioned.
    • Another scene is ambiguous. When Ditzy calls Trixie out for constantly mispronouncing her name as “Dizzy”, Trixie claims she was just trying to get a reaction out of Ditzy. It’s equally possible that Trixie makes up this explanation to save face, or that she actually was trying to annoy Ditzy.
  • Orphaned Punchline: Every time Trixie or Ditzy tell each other a story, we see the very beginning and very end, with little indication of how they got from one point to the other. But one instance is a subversion:
    “... And that’s why amending laws in the Equestrian government is so darn complicated.”
    “What?” Ditzy said. “That has nothing to do with the story you were telling!”
    “Yes. Trixie was testing to see if you were paying attention.”
  • Really Gets Around: Trixie.
    “Well, Trixie’s rather more familiar than she’d prefer with getting chased out of towns by angry mobs. And angry wives. And angry husbands. Word of advice, Dizzy: don’t mess around with married ponies. It’s just not worth the extra headache.”
  • Saving Christmas: Trixie tells the story of the time she saved Hearth's Warming Eve.
  • That Came Out Wrong: Ditzy, trying to fly Trixie down from a tree, asks Trix to climb onto her. When Trixie finally stops laughing, she explains:
    “Dizzy, Dizzy, stop and think about what you’re saying to Trixie. You’re waving your butt at her and asking her to climb on … Is that the signal you want to send?”
  • Tsundere: Trixie warms up to Ditzy, but anytime she does something nice, she disguises it as criticism or oneupmanship.

    Split Eyes 
  • all lowercase letters: Ditzy writes in all-lowercase, except where she uses all-caps for emphasis. This becomes a plot point when she switches to (sort of) normal capitalization, because she's using the capital letters to hide a secret message.
  • All of the Other Reindeer: Downplayed. When Ditzy tries to explain her true sight, Roka overreacts and commits Ditzy to an insane asylum. Ditzy escapes, and the experience leaves her paranoid enough that she reacts to anypony else's curiosity by preemptively fleeing.
  • Brick Joke: The setup from Black Magic Mare gets its punchline here: we see what Trixie actually writes to Ditzy's parents, and it's much nicer than what Trixie says she's writing.
  • Childhood Friend: Ditzy and Carrot Top were best friends while growing up. So it's fitting that Carrot Top is the one who convinces Ditzy to settle down in Ponyville.
  • Hostile Show Takeover: The Great and Powerful Trixie briefly takes over as narrator, when she decides to add something to one of Trixie's letters.
  • Scrapbook Story: The whole story is told through letters. Mainly they're Ditzy writing to her parents, while the Framing Device has Ditzy's grandchildren writing to each other about their grandmother.
  • Stating the Simple Solution: Ditzy phases into another dimension just to cross a river, which winds up backfiring badly. She points out after the fact that she should have just flown or swam across.
  • Stern Chase: In the first half of Ditzy's journey, she's barely one step ahead of police and hospital orderlies who are trying to drag her off to an insane asylum. Eventually, she hides in another dimension and waits for the heat to die down. Apparently it works, because she doesn't see any signs of the pursuit afterwards.
  • Theme Naming: All of the OC pony names are references to Calexico songs.
  • Walking the Earth: Ditzy tries to settle down several times, but her pursuers—or problems with the town itself—keep forcing her to move on.

    Beauty Will Tear Us Apart 
  • The Beard: Ditzy preemptively tries to fend off Trixie's unrequited affection by claiming that Time Turner is her boyfriend.
  • Compound Title: The three chapter titles, read back-to-back, are a quotation from Prince Myshkin, from The Idiot:
    “Beauty is difficult to judge; I'm not prepared yet. Beauty is a mystery.”
  • Dramatic Irony: Time Turner insists that Trixie couldn't possibly pose a threat to Twilight Sparkle.
  • Friend or Foe: Trixie leaps into action, swinging her billy club at a supposed art vandal—who turns out to be another security guard.
  • Girlfriend in Canada: After Ditzy claims to be dating Time Turner, Trixie immediately insists that she, too, has a girlfriend. “But you can’t meet her now, because she’s getting a degree in Vanhoofer.”
  • How We Got Here: Much like Alarm Clock, this story opens with a bit of unattributed dialogue. The context for this dialogue pops up in the final chapter.
  • Make Me Wanna Shout: The chladni, a monster literally made of echoing sound waves.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Trixie sets up an extremely loud alarm system (her own magic spell), then Ditzy and Time Turner accidentally trigger it with some ill-timed clumsiness. The alarm summons a dangerous monster. Then Trixie picks a bad time to yell at Ditzy, prompting the monster to attack them.
  • Noiseless Walker: Ditzy Doo can walk silently, by employing magic and paper bags to channel the sounds of her hooves into another dimension.
  • Paperworkaholic: Twilight is jealous of the top-secret classes that Ditzy Doo gets to attend. Ditzy tries to console her by mentioning how many of the courses involves boring paperwork, but that just makes Twilight even more jealous.
  • Revenge Before Reason: Trixie is so obsessed that she hurts herself just to spite Twilight. Specifically, the story ends with Trixie throwing away her job at the art museum, just because she learned it was Twilight's favorite.
  • Strange Minds Think Alike: In the first chapter, Trixie describes Ponyville as a backwater town, adding "You've probably never heard of it." In the final chapter, Ditzy and Time Turner mention to an artist that they're from Ponyville, and his response is, "Never heard of it."
  • Tricked Out Time: Many priceless works of art are damaged beyond repair. Ditzy wonders if they can use time travel to save them, but Time Turner points out that he can only create Stable Time Loops, not change the past. Ditzy figures out how to save them anyway: travel back and steal the original artworks, leave forgeries to get destroyed in their places, and return the originals immediately afterwards.
  • Unknown Rival: After the events of "Boast Busters", Trixie is obsessed with showing up Twilight Sparkle. But according to Ditzy, Twilight doesn't even remember Trixie at all.
    [Trixie asked,] “How much does she know about Trixie? What does she say about Trixie?”
    [Ditzy said,] “She doesn’t talk about you. As far I can tell, all of Ponyville just collectively forgot about you as soon as they fixed the bear damage.”

    Twilight Sparkle and the Strange Case of Old Res 
  • Alien Geometries: The interior of Les Livres Perdus. The aisles between the bookshelves appear to curve, even though Twilight walked in a straight line the whole time. And somehow, walking into the store takes longer than walking back out.
  • Apocalyptic Log: Twilight reads Resonius's journal, in which he details how his life became a living nightmare, up until the day before his death.
    To whoever is reading this after I’m gone: hello. I’m Resonius IV. I hope you don’t do what I did.
  • Bizarre Baby Boom: An aftereffect of the Great Bloop:
    And, during the following June, July, and August, every foal born to Pasture citizens had red eyes and a silver mane. These “Bloop babies” were unusually long-lived, but otherwise normal ponies.
  • Conveniently Interrupted Document: A page is missing from the middle of Resonius' journal, just at the point where explains everything. Amusingly, Twilight's the one who misplaced that page. She finds it at the very end.
  • Fantasy Keepsake: Resonius has vaguely disturbing dreams about another realm, with creatures resembling frogs and giant crabs. He gets even more disturbed when he wakes up one morning with a crab-creature's leg sticking out of his mouth. Still alive.
  • Gone Horribly Right: Resonius experiments on his magic in hope of boosting his raw spellcasting power. It works... but it gives him power that nopony should have.
  • Head Desk: When the shop owner realizes that his plan to corrupt Twilight Sparkle has failed, because he misunderstood her, he starts his Villainous Breakdown with some:
    He dropped his face onto the counter with a loud thud, kicking up another dust cloud.
    “Oh!” Twilight said. “Are you—”
    “Get out,” the stallion hissed. He slammed his face several more times, until dust clouds completely obscured the room, until the wood cracked beneath him.
  • Heroic RRoD: Resonius's experiment involves channelling higher-than-normal volumes of magic through his horn. When he pushes too much magic, his horn breaks, and he goes unconscious for three days.
  • Incompatible Orientation: Resonius IV and Pitch Drop. One's hetrosexual and in love with the other one, but the other one is gay.
  • The Little Shop That Wasn't There Yesterday: Les Livres Perdus, a Canterlot bookstore in a secluded back alley where Twilight acquires the journal. It's got Alien Geometries; the owner is something else masquerading as a pony; and when Twi tries to return to the store at the very end, the entire alley is gone.
  • Mind Rape: Upon understanding his Reality Warper powers, Resonius uses it to change Pitch Drop's sexual orientation. When he realizes what he's done, he's appropriately horrified and changes her mind back immediately.
  • No Man Should Have This Power: As Resonius gains Reality Warper powers, he sees all the myriad ways that he could cause death and destruction—and he knows from prior experience that he's too impulsive to trust with this power. Unfortunately, the power is harder to renounce than he thinks.
  • Once More, with Clarity!: Twilight gets to a key passage in Resonius's journal, and a page is missing. From what she can read, she thinks Resonius cut off other unicorns' horns to use in an arcane ritual. At the end, she finds the missing page, rereads the whole passage, and realizes the truth: Resonius was cutting off his own horn, but it kept growing back.
  • Peaceful in Death: From the expression on Resonius's petrified body, Twilight thinks he was at peace when he died.
  • Professor Guinea Pig: Resonius devises a way to increase a unicorn's spellcasting power. So of course he tests it on himself.
  • Reality Warper: As a result of his experiments, Resonius sees strange patterns floating in the air, surrounding everything. And by altering those patterns, he can alter reality on a fundamental level.
  • Taken for Granite: Resonius finally escapes by finding a cockatrice to petrify him.
  • Touched by Vorlons: After his horn breaks, Resonius has a vision(?) of traveling to another world, where something with "a fierce intelligence behind her five eyes" bites his horn. Then he wakes up, and finds that his magic is stronger than it was before.
  • Villainous Breakdown: When the villainous shop owner realizes that his plan to corrupt Twilight Sparkle has failed, he throws her out of the shop and trashes the whole place in a rage.

    Den Fjerde Væg (spoilers are unmarked.) 
  • Backstory Invader: Some force from another universe is altering the past to insert new characters, and altering everypony's memories to match. Only the ponies with fourth wall awareness retain Ripple Effect-Proof Memory. When Maud Pie pops into existence, Pinkie is a bit disturbed at suddenly gaining an older sister. When Twilight Sparkle learns of the fourth wall, she abruptly regains memories of being an only child, from before her older brother Shining Armor was retconned in.
  • Broken Masquerade: Pinkie Pie and the Princesses have been hiding the truth of the Fourth Wall and Cosmic Retcons from the rest of ponykind. Twilight Sparkle stumbles upon it, sees too much to ever go back, then gets the full story from Pinkie.
  • Companion Cube: Maud's pet rock, Boulder.
  • Cosmic Retcon: Something from beyond the Fourth Wall has the power to retroactively alter Equestria's history. Though Princess Luna explains there are limitations on what it can do—essentially, that it can't outright contradict something that's shown "on screen".
    “Retroactive magic doesn’t work quite like you fear. It can conjure, but it cannot unmake.”
  • Eldritch Abomination: The rubber chicken "Boneless" is actually an avatar of the higher-dimensional being Gah Lus the Boneless.
  • Foreign Language Title: Den Fjerde Væg is Danish for The Fourth Wall.
  • Fourth-Wall Observer: Pinkie has been keeping an eye on the Fourth Wall all her life. Twilight learns about it in chapter 2.
  • Heroic BSoD: When Pinkie thinks she broke a Pinkie Promise, first she collapses and goes nearly catatonic, then she goes manic as she schemes to avoid the pony she originally made the promise to. She snaps out of it when Twilight proves that breaking the promise wasn't really Pinkie's fault.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: All of the chapter titles are references to specific songs.
  • Iris Out: The ending gag from "Magic Duel" becomes a major plot point. Twilight follows Pinkie beyond The Iris in order to restore Pinkie's deleted mouth, which leads directly to Twilight smashing through the masquerade.
  • Must Have Caffeine: Pinkie, desperate to avoid Princess Luna (who can visit her dreams), asks Twilight for huge quantities of coffee, so she can stay awake forever.
  • Ripple Effect-Proof Memory: Done half-way: characters with full fourth wall awareness retain memories from before various retcons, but they also "remember" the current version of their backstory as well. And in Twilight's case, discovering the fourth wall causes her to suddenly regain her memories of events that had been overwritten.
  • Spy Speak: RSS agents use the sign/countersign method to identify each other, or to signal that it's time to talk RSS business.
  • Time Skip: This is basically a series of vignettes, with each chapter set weeks or months apart. Chapter 1 happens in season 2 of the original show, chapter 2 happens in season 3, and the final chapter falls in season 4.
  • The World Is Not Ready: The reason why Pinkie and Twilight are sworn to preserve the secret of the fourth wall. If the truth got out, it could cause huge numbers of ponies to suffer existential crises.
  • Wrong Context Magic: As Pinkie notes, the retroactive conjuration magic from the fourth wall doesn't fit into any known magic from Equestria.

    The Princess and Her Hunger 
  • Blue-and-Orange Morality: The goddess intends for the Princess to learn "Don't be a jerk to those of lower social status." The deer narrator doesn't think the Princess did anything wrong, so he comes away thinking instead that the goddess is completely inscrutable.
  • Call-Forward: The condition for ending the curse specifies: "And that shall remain your fate, until such time as you learn to love someone besides yourself." Thorax and the other changelings fulfill that condition in "To Where and Back Again, Part 2". So their sudden transformation is the result of the curse lifting.
  • Complete Immortality: The curse won't permit the Princess to die. When she gets shot with arrows and stabbed in the head, a Healing Factor kicks in and brings her back to life.
  • Curse: The goddess places an ironic curse on the Princess, formulated specifically to match the Princess's wrongdoings.
    “Your own actions have paved the dolorous road which you must now trod. You, who would let others go hungry, shall know a hunger that can never be sated! You, who have hidden cruelty and selfishness beneath a beautiful face, shall henceforth wear a face as that matches your hideous heart! [...] Those who give no mercy shall receive none. And that shall remain your fate, until such time as you learn to love someone besides yourself.”
  • Cursed with Awesome: The curse on the Princess is rather horrifying, but it has the side effect of making her immortal and giving her wings and unicorn magic—allowing her to go From Nobody to Nightmare.
  • Dramatic Irony: At the end, the narrator speculates about the Princess's ultimate fate. He mentions a few different possibilities, including the one that readers would recognize as the truth (she became the changeling Queen, moved to the pony lands, and fought Princess Celestia), but immediately dismisses that.
  • Et Tu, Brute?: After being cursed, transformed, and mistaken for a monster by guards, the insult that pushes the Princess completely over the edge is when her sister tries to Un-person her.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: The Princess would have been minor deer nobility—but the goddess's curse sets her on the path to become an evil queen who nearly conquers Equestria instead.
  • Horror Hunger: The Princess is cursed with a hunger that no food can possibly satisfy. It's implied that she became an Emotion Eater in a vain attempt to satiate it.
  • Land of Faerie: This story is set entirely in Faerie.
  • Nameless Narrative: The goddess Macha Fionnadh Ruad is the only named character. Everyone else is just referred to by title.
  • Old Beggar Test: The old crone who begs for food from the Princess reveals at the end that she's actually the goddess Macha Fionnadh Ruad.
  • Origins Episode: The story is an overview of how a minor princess of the deer fairies became the first changeling, Queen Chrysalis.
  • Self-Made Orphan: In her rage over her sister's betrayal, the Princess uses her new telekinesis to pull the cornerstone out of her family's castle. It collapses, killing her entire family.
  • Spoof Aesop: Thanks to Blue-and-Orange Morality, the only lesson the narrator learns is almost a complete non-sequitur:
    And the moral of the tale is: Have no dealings with Goddesses, for they are cruel and their ways inscrutable.
  • Tranquil Fury:
    She was silent, but it was not the silence of resignation. As one cannot contain the ocean in a goblet, so was her rage too vast and deep for words.
  • Transformation Horror: The curse subjects the Princess to a slow-acting transformation, where injuries she receives over the course of a day cause her body to supernaturally change. Sharp rocks cut her hooves, leaving her with permanent holes through her legs. Sharp tree branches tear her fur off, leaving her with black, chitinous skin. And so on.
  • Un-person: The Princess's older sister sees the curse as an opportunity to usurp the Princess's place. So she insists she never had a younger sister—and if she hypothetically did have a younger sister, she had been killed by the Goddess, not transformed into a monster.
  • Voluntary Shapeshifting: Several books of shapeshifting magic went missing from her castle's library. This led to the rumor that the former Princess could take on the form of any deer.

    The Hesperus Gate (spoilers are unmarked.) 
  • Darker and Edgier: The author decides to take this series in a "new direction". So the prologue involves Twilight Sparkle transforming into a monster, then killing Ditzy Doo and Nurse Redheart. Fortunately, the author gets talked out of continuing in this direction.
  • Dead Fic: Played with. The surface-level story is abandoned, with only a prologue and a partial draft of chapter 2 written. The meta story concerns why the author abandoned this fic, and it does get something of a conclusion.
  • The Fourth Wall Will Not Protect You: This fic was written to look as though Pinkie actually broke into our reality and convinced the Real Life Meta Four to cancel the story.
  • The Glomp: Upon confirming that Ditzy isn't actually dead, Twilight celebrates by tackle-hugging her.
  • Hostile Show Takeover: One "chapter" is just a string of gibberish, with an author's note that "I didn’t write any of that." That's because Pinkie broke through the Fourth Wall and tried to rewrite the story, but couldn't work the keyboard with her hooves.
  • I Just Write the Thing: In his first note, the author says Pinkie wouldn't follow his original outline for the chapter, and almost seemed to have a mind of her own. That second point is much more literally true than he suspects.
  • Immediate Self-Contradiction: When asked how she's feeling, Nurse Redheart answers "Can't complain," then begins complaining.
  • I Never Said It Was Poison: What tips Twilight off that her "bad dream" was not actually a dream.
    “Only the best for my friends! All the better for chasing away bad dreams about icky monsters, right?”
    Twilight gulped her mouthful down. “Pinkie,” she said, setting her plate back on the mini-table. “I didn’t say anything about monsters. How did you know there was a monster in my dream?”
    “Oh.” Pinkie’s eyes widened, and then her grin stretched so far, it seemed to extend beyond the sides of her face. “Lucky guess?”
  • Nested Story Reveal: One draft for chapter 2 reveals that the prior chapter was actually a vision of what could happen, which Celestia is showing to Twilight.
  • Noodle Incident:
    ... ever since the Pudding Incident, [Pinkie] was no longer allowed to bring her official Welcome Wagon inside Ponyville Hospital.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome: Pinkie Pie breaks through the fourth wall, befriends her own author, and convinces him to completely change the story. But since Pinkie left the narrative to do all of that, the readers can't see any of it. All they can see is Pinkie's effect on the published story.
  • Painting the Medium: The "Author's Notes" are actually part of the narrative. For a brief while, the story was officially marked as "Cancelled" on Fimfic, but that scared away potential readers, so it was changed to "Complete".
  • Planimal: Twilight gets transformed into a monstrous pony-plant hybrid, with sharp fangs and tentacle-like branches.
  • Rage Against the Author: Downplayed. Pinkie has strenuous objections to the direction the story takes. But she convinces the author to write something different by befriending him, not by attacking.
  • Set Right What Once Went Wrong: One draft of chapter 2 introduces Time Turner, who offers to take Pinkie back to the past so they can stop the events of the first chapter. The author drops this idea when he remembers time travel couldn't do that in previous stories.
  • Smoke Out: Pinkie throws a cake on the floor, then disappears in the resulting explosion.
  • That Was Not a Dream: When the events of the prologue get Cosmic Retconned out of existence, Twilight initially thinks her memories were just a particularly vivid nightmare. Pinkie encourages that interpretation, but accidentally tips Twilight off that it wasn't a dream after all.
  • Trivial Title: Celestia mentions the Hesperus Gate in the prologue, implying that it's some kind of crucial MacGuffin for the author's original story outline. But the story goes completely off the rails immediately afterwards, so the Hesperus Gate never shows up or gets a proper explanation.
  • Vagueness Is Coming: Celestia and Luna's conversation at the end of the prologue.
    Seated on her throne, Celestia closed her eyes and slowly nodded. “Indeed. I believe the situation is even more dire than you think.”
    “Are you implying …”
    “Yes, precisely that. It has returned.”
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: All of the plot points introduced in the first chapter are complete Red Herrings, and none of them get explained or resolved.