The Meaning of Harmony is a My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic fan fiction story by KatonRyu.
After the events of My Little Pony: Equestria Girls – Rainbow Rocks, Sunset Shimmer begins to suffer from nightmares, in which she sees Twilight and the pony versions of the friends she knows at CHS turned into crystal, before losing control of her own magic and sharing the same fate. After revealing this to her friends, she decides to go back to Equestria and tell Twilight about her dreams. There, she discovers that not just Twilight, but the other princesses as well have been suffering the same kinds of dreams. Princess Celestia, fearing a mysterious 'dark force' to be at work in Equestria, sends Sunset and the Mane Six on a quest to find and reactivate the very Forges in which the Elements of Harmony had been made, in order to defeat the mysterious dark force and bring true Harmony to Equestria once and for all.
The fanfic can be found here, and contains Shipping between Sunset Shimmer and Twilight Sparkle.
The Meaning of Harmony contains examples of the following tropes:
- Anthropomorphic Personification: Played With. Sunset and Twilight meet Destiny/Entropy/the "dark force" after activating the Forge of Magic, but Sunset thinks they might not truly be sapient, only able communicate on a conceptual level due to the enormous concentration of magic.
- Big Damn Heroes: Celestia rescues the Mane Six and Sunset when they're about succumb to the blizzard of the Windigos.
- Broken Pedestal: Celestia for Sunset, when she reveals that she's been using Destiny magic to influence Twilight's choices in life.
- Chronoscope: The temporally locked equilibrium in the Forge of Kindness allows the ponies to see the events that led to the Forge getting damaged.
- Crystal Landscape: The area around the Forges is usually lined with crystals. In Sunset's nightmares, this happens to the entire world at the end.
- Curb-Stomp Battle: Princess Celestia dealing with the Windigos in the frozen wastes.
- Dream Sequence: The story opens with one, which quickly turns into a Nightmare Sequence.
- Endearingly Dorky: Sunset considers Twilight to be this several times, usually when she's geeking out over the Forges.
- Lampshade Hanging: Pinkie Pie lampshades the convenient timing of Princess Celestia's letters when they're in the desert.
- Magi Babble: Twilight, mostly when she's trying to explain how the Forges work. Sunset invokes Twilight's tendency to do this in the Forge of Kindness, when she doesn't feel like explaining what a temporally locked equilibrium is, and knows that simply name-dropping the term would prompt Twilight to explain it instead.
- Mind-Control Device: A light variation of this protects the Forge of Laughter, causing the ponies to think the Forge lacks focusing crystals, and not caring one bit about it. Sunset theorizes that activating the Forge while under the spell would have set off some kind of defense mechanism.
- Multiple-Choice Future: When Sunset is shown all futures and pasts by Destiny/Entropy/the "dark force" after the events in the Forge of Magic, she sees that everyone can choose their own path in life.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Princess Celestia's desire to bring complete Harmony to Equestria nearly destroys the whole world.
- Nightmare Sequence: The story opens with one, and they happen again several times throughout the story, getting worse whenever a Forge is activated. They all end with Sunset's magic going out of control and the world turning to crystal.
- Noodle Incident: What exactly Rainbow Dash did at the barn party is never explained.
- Power Incontinence: The nightmares Sunset and Twilight have cause them to destroy an inn on the first night of their journey. To prevent it from happening again, they sleep inside a shield spell after that.
- Precision F-Strike: The pony equivalent of one, done by Sunset in her argument with Twilight.Sunset: During this trip, you've become more to me than just my best friend. But to you, I'm apparently nothing but a bucking dreamcatcher.
- Psychic Dreams for Everyone: All the princesses and Sunset (who was destined to have become one until Celestia showed her the mirror) get nightmares, kicking off the plot.
- Recurring Dreams: The nightmares Sunset, Twilight, and the other princesses keep having.
- Running Gag: Mentioning the barn party to Rainbow Dash to shut her up or get her to help out.
- Shipper on Deck: Literally, as the Mane Five reveal that they know about the attraction between Twilight and Sunset while on the boat to the next Forge in the Hippocampus Bay.
- Sliding Scale of Free Will vs. Fate: Sunset fears that the 'Because Destiny Says So' version is true, but it's eventually shown that the truth is a mix of 'Prophecies Are Predictions' and 'Prophecies Are Optional'.
- Theme Naming: Much like the show, the names of locations in the story are all horse*related.
- What the Hell, Hero?: Sunset's reaction when Princess Celestia reveals her use of Destiny magic to influence Twilight's choices in life, to make sure she wouldn't lose her like she did with Sunset.Sunset: Twilight idolizes you. There’s nopony she respects and loves more than you, and this is what you’ve done to repay her?! Or did your machinations cause her to idolize you? Did you decide that I’d been too rebellious, so you would just make sure your next student was a bit more devoted to you?! I can’t believe this. The benign, just ruler of Equestria using Destiny magic to make sure her student remains loyal. And you think I would have been a tyrant?
- Will-o'-the-Wisp: The group meets several in the Hayseed Swamp, the first of which nearly ends up killing them until a ray of sunlight jolts Sunset from its mesmerizing spell.