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Fanfic / The Moonstone Cup

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The Moonstone Cup is a My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic fanfic by Cyanide.

Twilight is invited to Canterlot to compete with some of the greatest magicians in the world for the Moonstone Cup, a prestigious award for the most powerful and skillful magicians, unicorn and otherwise. Can she win? What sort of competition will she face?

As this fic centres on a tournament, many of the tropes will inherently spoil, regardless of Spoiler tags. Be careful in there. It also takes place prior to any events from Season 3.


The Moonstone Cup contains Examples of:

  • Awesome Moment of Crowning: The awards banquet and the build-up to it.
  • Baleful Polymorph: A few times, although not into anything as simple as a newt.
    • Semifinals. Twilight turns her opponent Zlatan into a Body Horror who is unable to continue.
    • Finals. Amarok turns Twilight's wings into slabs of iron. She forces them back into normal enchanted wings.
  • Body Horror:
    • Najstariot is NOT a happy dragon, after what happened long in the past.
    • Twilight uses one of Zlatan's spells against him. Fortunately, Zlatan is honourable, and accepts that he is unable to continue the duel ... instead of accepting Hadalsnan al-Dhib's offer of a win via disqualification because "That looks horrible. I could see clear to claim that as injury fault."
  • Breather Level: invoked Twilight thinks that the dispelling part of the preliminary competition is this, something that scares the crap out of Najstariot.
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  • Canis Major: Amarok led a clan of giant wolves of the north when earth ponies tried to colonise.
  • Colony Drop: This is one of the possible futures Twilight saw after Draining the huge mass of clouds she was standing on. The colony in this case is Najstariot's corpse. A dragon the size of a small mountain falling on Canterlot is BAD.
  • Culture Clash: One of Twilight's earlier opponents is a griffin who turns out to specialize in necromancy. Said griffin raises several pony skeletons and uses them to fight, infuriating Twilight who beats her soundly. After the match, the griffin expresses puzzlement that Twilight was so upset and explains, to Twilight's shock, that using the pony skeletons was a compliment since necromancers only use the deceased they feel are strong as warriors.
  • Don't Think, Feel: In the finals this is how Twilight has to deal with the Phlebotinum Overload. This is how she's always used telekinesis. 'Forget the spells, Twilight! We never needed them!'
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  • Down to the Last Play: In the finals, the last spell.
  • Energy Absorption: Twilight is introduced to it during her first one-on-one duel, and uses it a few times thereafter.
    • She bases her strategy against Zlatan on this to overcome and use herself his dimension-manipulating magic.
    • Later, she has to use this to stand a chance against her final opponent, Amarok, though this leads to...problems at first. In the later parts of the story she starts applying the concept to non-living energy sources.
  • Flatline: Twilight in the hospital; the monitor went straight from healthy to flatline. Twilight had unintentionally Drained it. The flatline was for the machine, not her.
  • In Medias Res: The Action Prologue starts with a huge dragon facing down a unicorn who bursts into flame with no help from the dragon. Cut to a few days earlier ...
  • Journey to the Center of the Mind: Twilight experiences something like this when the energy she got from the other Elements threatens to kill her. Meeting and talking it out with mental manifestations of her friends helps her figure out how to use the energy and beat Amarok.
  • Little Miss Badass: Twilight is the first junior participant to win the main Moonstone Cup in centuries.
  • Loophole Abuse: Used to justify Twilight's preparations for the fight against Amarok. The justifier? Twilight's wing spell, which was never dispelled after the qualifying round. It lasts until the Man on Fire moment after the entire tournament is over.
  • Necromancer: Griffins will, if they feel you're a great opponent, call upon YOUR dead ancestors to help defeat you. It's a sign of great respect among griffins.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • Najstariot has this reaction when Twilight simply breezes through the dispelling portion of the preliminaries.
    • Twilight herself has a small one when she first attempts to drain Zlatan and underestimates the effect of his magic on her.
  • Once Done, Never Forgotten: The last time Luna favoured a pony, Najstariot was horribly mutilated during the Nightmare Moon incident. She hasn't forgotten, and she sure as hell hasn't forgiven.
  • Phlebotinum Overload: Twilight nearly experiences this against Amarok when the energy she took from the other Elements of Harmony threaten to destabilize and kill her. She's able to talk it out within herself and figure out how to use it properly.
  • Precursors: The ghuls, canines with an affinity for gem-based magics.
  • Reality Warper: Zlatan's specialty of magic as Twilight finds out in research. She then uses it right back and does it again later.
  • The Rival: Trixie is this to Twilight during the junior's portion of the tournament. Naturally, Trixie doesn't consider Twilight in her league.
  • Shock and Awe: Twilight taps into this when attacked by Najstariot. It's ... effective. Once Twilight is talked down, her foe is more than happy to return the favour.
  • Superpower Meltdown: Twilight faces off against Najstariot and remembers the Drain spell mentioned under Energy Absorption. She doesn't turn it on her foe but on the HUGE pile of energy nearby. When she focuses back on things, Celestia is begging for Twilight to relent.
  • Tournament Arc: The story serves as one for mages.
  • Voluntary Transformation: Najstariot does this for most of the fic until the end to maneuver around Canterlot as well as to hide the mass of wounds on her normal, gargantuan form.
  • Winged Unicorn: One of the MANY rumours about Twilight spread amongst the competitors. Twilight then fulfills it, although not as an alicorn.
  • Wreathed in Flames: Twilight Sparkle when facing off against Najstariot. The flames intense enough to finally dispel/destroy the wings she'd been using since the qualifying rounds and she was still airborne anyway.