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Novel-Idea


"Do it right and do it with style." - Author, Designer & Project Lead of the story-driven DLC Gardens of Equestria: This Coming Storm - (Patreon)


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  Stuck as an aide to a bunch of second-year students at Gifted Unicorns, Sunset Shimmer thought picking one to tutor might be entertaining… and maybe advance her plans for the mirror and her eventual ascension.
  This 'Moon Dancer' filly is just a means to an end, after all.
  So why can’t Sunset sleep after Moon Dancer storms out on her? Why are Princess Celestia and Professor Polish so concerned about her?
  But most importantly, why is Sunset starting to doubt herself?
  This was all part of the plan. Right?


Featured on FimFiction multiple times in November of 2016! :twilightsheepish:
Featured on Equestria Daily!

Historian’s Note:
Set in the Wavelengths timeline where the Sonic Rainboom didn’t happen, the events of The Alchemy of Chemistry occur at the end of Sunset’s first term as the aide for Professor Apple Polish at Celestia’s School for Gifted Unicorns.

Cast: Sunset Shimmer, Moon Dancer & Princess Celestia with a cameo by Twilight Sparkle
Co-Starring: Professor Apple Polish, Cinnamon Tart & Dean Silver Slate with Professor Crystal Clear


Stories set in the Wavelengths Timeline in chronological order:

Origins Arc
The Alchemy of Chemistry
Bards of the Badlands
Grading on a Bell Curve
Habits of the Equestrian Phoenix
How Not To Use Your Royal Prerogative

Applications Arc
The Application of Unified Harmony Magics
Princess Celestia: A Brief History
The Cloudsdale Report

Infatuations and Other Lies Arc
Tactics of Snowbound Unicorns
A Study in Chaos Theory (Coming Soon!)


Cover Design by Novel Idea
Potion Bottles by DervonneBenaan
Sunset Shimmer Cutie Mark By Millennial Dan
Moon Dancer Cutie Mark by Allycatblu
Classroom Background By Roxy-Cream

Editor/Cohort in Scheming
Ebon Quill - Quest Designer on The Manehattan Project

Special Guest Beta Reader
Tchernobog - Rabid AppleDash Fanatic. His price was shipping AJ and Dash together in one of my stories. Steep price, but worth it. He was also instrumental in creating that awesome elevator pitch!

Beta Reader Credits
Little Tinker - Master of Systems at Poniverse & Scripting Engineer on The Manehattan Project
Beltorn - Commenter-at-Large on FimFiction
Painted Heart - Wife of the Author :twilightsmile:

Word Count: 33,000 words
Version: 3.7

Chapters (8)
Comments ( 175 )

He who fights monsters, professor Silver Slate...

7703904
I see that only a bit in Papa Wolf, here. Even if she clads she is trying to be better, we all saw what happened here, so Sunset is definitely still a legitimate threat to the students.

7704000
Sadly, it doesn't matter, the whole phrase is "He who fights monsters should see to it that he himself does not become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you."
Dean Silver Slate is in no less pit of rage and hate and pride as Sunset is at this moment of her life, she is just more used to her own. It is for a good reason and he has a point and so on, but that doesn't change the fact that if he crosses the line in his quest to get rid of Sunset, he will become a worse pony and it is no guarantee that he will be able to return to his senses. He will himself become a monster that he hates (the last part of the quote is a reflection of this)

One thing, i'm curious about - Lower teacher’s lounge - i was under impression that it didn't exist then. Hard to imagine Sunset almost begging or consolidating with others at this time of her life.

I always find it interesting when ponies have chats with others in their heads.

I kinda wish I had one myself. God knows I could use someone to talk to.

Ouch, the anger is strong with this one. Its sure a big change going from post-character development Sunset to... this. And supposedly this isn't even Sunset at quite her worst (directly after the mirror was probably the worst). And now instead of a devil whispering in her ear, she's got an angel nagging her about how mean she is.

Happy to see another story in this 'verse, earliest one yet I think. Looks like Sunset might have pushed too far, but then she is particularly grumpy at the moment. Sunset has gotten away with a lot through her personality and talent, but going up against another particularly stubborn and mean pony... uh-oh. Can't wait to see how bad things get here for Sunset to changed, considering in canon it took a friendship rainbow laser cannon shot to the face to make her change.

I clicked the follow and thumbs up buttons before i even began to read this new story. Thats how good i know it will be. And it didnt disappoint.

Not much I can say other than - wow. Excellent job on this story's start as usual. The exchanges, emotional content and future chapter set-up are all well-done in all the right places. Yeah, as the other reviewers said, Dean Slate has some good points, but should be careful that he doesn't end up becoming as bad as (if not worse than) his quarry. And, again, I'm definitely going to be curious as to how Sunset is going to recover from this and truly change for the better (we know she DOES; but not HOW). At any rate, I'll definitely be looking forward to more of this as soon as time and inspiration will allow.

Not much I can say other than thanks greatly for getting the next chapter up. I really appreciate you going to the effort. The exchanges, emotional content and future chapter set-up were all well-done in all the right places I particularly liked Sunset's inner self-arguments and observations of the other students and Sunset's temporary transformation into a griffon . I'll definitely be looking forward to more of this as soon as time and inspiration will allow.

I'm sure Sunset would make a beautiful griffon. I'm mostly sure Sunset would make a beautiful anything. Odd, in Harmony I thought Sunset had been more distant from Twilight, but then that story is set years later so memories change (and Twilight is still a relative footnote compared to Moon Dancer in Sunset's mind). And from references in the other stories, sure seems like Tart is playing up her supposed fear of Sunset. Not that Sunset is helping, but that's probably the point, given Sunset's reputation. Having the dean as her grandfather just makes things even worse.

I'm curious whether Sunset's temper will snap first or her exhaustion will cause her to mess up somehow. Or both.

Seems, i was more correct than i suspected with Sunset's mental state - anger for her is a coping mechanism, but now she is growing around it. Pride is her fallback, but its limits are sorely tested by Moon Dancer.
Old and Wise Celestia is old and wise - seems the deal's purpose first and foremost was to force Sunset to interact more with other ponies and especially make attachments - to chain with responsibility, so to say

7706727
Exhaustion is my bet.

7706727
7706809

I'll take that bet. Fifty bits on exhaustion.

Whelp this won't end well I'm sure.

Still it's very interesting to see this glimpse into Past Sunset, and her relationship with Moon Dancer. I am very curious to see where this goes next!

I hope Sunset falls asleep eventually or else the next day is going to be even worse than I expect. Looks like Sunset is better at reading Princess Celestia than she thinks. Then again, when the emotion she reads is shame, Sunset probably wishes she couldn't detect that.

I know this is different from canon, but its always interesting to see Sunset and Celestia like this, Sunset pushing at her boundaries, and Celestia hesitant about telling Sunset anything. She's right not to, Sunset still lacks too much... understanding and empathy to move forward, but Sunset is getting closer. Too bad for these kinds of lessons, just telling somepony the answer rarely works. So not only will Sunset have to deal with students, but the staff too. She better load up on coffee and tea.

You know, I keep expecting Sunset to suddenly blurt out "Who are you?" when that one gets talking.

And if she does, I expect them to be very good friends come Wavelengths Theorems.

Because god dammit if I can't have someone like that to talk to then the least I can do is hope someone I read about does.

Come to think of it, this is a very sad chapter.
Exhaustion, emotional pressure from failing both Moon Dancer and Celestia, constant voice of ego, no less constant voice of consciousness, it's a wonder that Sunset is capable of functioning at all in this state, And the darkest moment for her is yet to happen.

So at least 3 self-personifications (ponyfications?:applejackconfused:).
"Reflections upon reflections. It’s all about reflections."

However there is at least one more mystery present:
The significance of the Alchemy of Chemistry and Moondancer's potion. Professor Apple Polish gave at least one hint about the book, while potion seems to be the linking element of story. What happens to the potion is very important to Sunset's future.

P.S. Little Tinker knows well what he (or she?) was talking about. My first thought was "Only 2,7k words? More, please!"

Can't wait for 28th to be honest. This story is great!

Its pitchfork time! Next chapter now! :flutterrage: Just kidding. :twilightsmile:

Nothing like a nice dream conversation with she, herself and Sunset to clear things up. Well, Sunset's had an inkling of how things were going, but while awake she's just refused to acknowledge it. I hope this dream lasts long enough for her to get some rest, or else she'll fall asleep during that important moment. Though I'm reminded of Albinocorn's split Sunset fic too, though that one is more humor-oriented.

I'm curious to see what Sunset decides on when she wakes up (and hopefully she remembers this dream). The fact that Sunset was even hesitating at that crazy plan to go break into the Restricted Section shows she's changed a lot.

Ooooooohhhhh! So I guess when she finally decides that friends should be more important, the voice switches to evil?

Okay, I couldn't take it anymore. I had to write something! So yes, these are going to be extremely vague. But I love these back-and-forths, so let's dance!

7703904, 7704000, 7704027 You are both right. Remember, everypony is the hero in their own story. Everypony has a reason for what they do. Now the question is... will it even matter?

7704084 :trixieshiftright: :trixieshiftleft: /retcon

7704217 In many of my stories, characters have various facets of themselves and I think it's true for most people. We all have different aspects of ourselves that come to the forefront at different times. When there's an emergency and someone's safety is on the line, I react very differently than when I'm playing WoW. I just tend to personify these facets a bit more. (And maybe the voices in my head are a bit louder than they are for other folks...)

7704237 You haven't seen Sunset at her worst. Now, the way you define 'worst' is going to matter a lot. :raritywink: As for changes... you'll see.

7704626 Now THAT is an encouraging comment! :twilightsmile:

7705147 Thank you! Emotional resonance is huge for me, as everypony knows by now. As for Inspiration/obsession... for me, it's kinda the same thing.

“You can't wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.”
― Jack London

7739591
But no, seriously, I'm expecting Sunset and Yellow to be very good friends when Wavelengths Theorems rolls around.

:twilightsmile:7706672 Sunset has always struck me as the kind of pony who had a lot of doubts when she was younger... and maybe overcompensated for them (Bell Curve talks about this a bit).

7706727 Sunset's always gorgeous. Don't ever forget that. :pinkiehappy: As for Twilight, you'll have to wait and see.

7706809; 7706727; 7708706: Exhaustion has been proven to be nearly as bad (or worse, I can't remember which) as drunk driving, you know. And yeah. Celestia's been here before. The question is... will she be here again?

And no bet. :scootangel:

7714387 I do hope you enjoy the ride! :twilightsmile:

Not much I can say other than great job on continuing the story. Yeah, the exchanges, emotional content (particularly Sunset's inner arguments) and future chapter set-up are all well done in all the right places. And, yeah, the imagine spot with the outer manifestations of Sunset's bad self and her better self was certainly VERY entertaining. I'll definitely be looking forward to more of this as soon as time and inspiration will allow.

7721791 I've always imagined that Sunset and Celestia were much closer than Twilight and Sunset. Partially because Twilight practically worships Celestia. And maybe also because of the recent bad experience with Celestia had with Sunset. And at this point... I don't think tea is going to cut it.

7722443 :twilightsmile:

7722617 I promise many voices await!

7729534

No one knows the shape of that future, or where it will take us. We know only that it is always born in pain.

- G'Kar, Babylon 5

7738853 Don't worry, this is the shortest chapter in the book. As for the pieces, you'll have to wait and see. (I say that a lot :derpytongue2:)

7738902 I haven't read that one yet. I tend to only read stories that are complete, unless there are special circumstances. As for Sunset's hesitation, she actually came up with that plan before Celestia even made her an aide to Professor Polish, all the way back in the months after the First Mirror Experience. But she judged it too risky. (Though why she went and did it anyway in canon is anypony guess (okay, that's a lie. I know exactly why :scootangel:)).

7739367 We shall see... what we shall see. :moustache:

7739649 Thank you! :pinkiesmile:

7743831
... You are very clearly not reading our comments in order... :ajbemused:

7739602

“I just want to be like Princess Celestia,” Sunset whispered. “I just want to be like her. That’s all I ever wanted.”

No. No, you do not. Because Celestia has a horrible track record when dealing with ponies close to her.

It's true that you've been failing her, but she's also failed you. As a teacher and a friend. She put you in this situation hoping it would lead you towards listening to your conscience more, but now that it's happening and you're utterly miserable, her own cryptic princess-leader behaviour put a divide between the two of you that she only now realises she can't bridge. She threw you in the water but didn't think of keeping a lifeline ready.

And that's why she's ashamed now, because by making everything a test, by using everything to judge you, even things you didn't know were a test, she's undermined your trust in her.

7746418
You do realize, that Celestia is the lifeline you are thinking about? The problem is that Sunset doesn't want to use it, cause relying on or asking for help from other ponies is taboo for her at the moment.

I don't think Celestia is ashamed of Sunset, but of herself. After all, she has shown that mirror to Sunset, expecting her to pass the "test". Instead now it is only causing Sunset pain. So Celestia is ashamed. For failing to teach Sunset the required social skills and attitude, for the pain that Sunset goes through, for how much on the outside she is like a mother to Sunset and how much Sunset doesn't actually have a childhood.

Also this Celestia is different from the one in series.

Take heart, Sunset, while you think that your friendship with Moon Dancer has ended in ashes, it just might turn out to be a phoenix's rebirth. And a good friend is what you need right now. Especially now, considering that at least 1 teacher and 1 student are conspiring against you.
Minor Notes:
"The things we do for success, she thought as she tossed six sugar cubes into the massive mug." :pinkiegasp: Now it all makes sense!
Sunset fainted at the end not from emotional overload, but from a combination of exhaustion, super strong coffee and titanic sugar crash. That's my girl! :pinkiehappy:
"powdered nirnroot and sliced dreamfoil" - Oblivion and WoW references? Nice!
"I had value. That I mattered. That somepony thought I might be special!" i know what you did here:trixieshiftleft: And I applaud you for it!:trixieshiftright:
Story wondering:
Professor Polish is being oddly specific about those memory cores, and her behavior during their talk points to her being in the know. Still, I wonder if she was manipulated or acts willingly against Sunset:duck:
Also, it seems Cinnamon Tart was heightening tensions against Sunset, especially in Moon Dancer.

You are mean to me. You insult me. You barely appreciate anything I do. You push me around and push me away.

Did anyone else hear Moon Dancer suddenly channeling Eddie Murphy right there?

What on earth is going on in Potions room B!?

Stories about what you’ve been planning and the little thing you’re intending to do today!

That is an oddly specific rumor. She isn't being lured into storage C B just so someone can sabotage her potion exam, is she?

Comment posted by FZ6pilot deleted Nov 28th, 2016

Ozymanedias! You are now my hero!

7755282 You DO realize Oz was the main villain of Watchmen, don't you? :-D Sorry. Couldn't resist an admittedly extremely lame joke.

Hey there. Once again, excellent job on the exchanges, emotional content and future chapter set-up in all the right places. I particularly liked Sunset's self-arguments and the scenes with both the Professor AND Moon Dancer. I'll definitely be looking forward to more of this as soon as time and inspiration will allow.

I've been spoiled by reading the other stories, so I'm not sure how much I would have caught on my own, but looks like Sunset won't have to worry about slipping up and making a mistake, things are about to come crashing down on her anyway. Not to mention finding out firsthand just how cruel kids can be. Sunset was proud, arrogant and ambitious, but don't think she was quite this bad, not until around EQ1 at least. Tart on the other hand...

Speculation/prediction time-
And its not just Sunset's reputation working against her, its also her isolation. Professor Polish is ready to believe the worst, and the only other pony sort of close to her also happens to be related to Tart and the dean too. Between that open window, the probably sabotaged potion stock (or soon to be, with Sunset out of the room now) whatever is in the storage room (hm, valuable relics and probably some incriminating evidence from when Sunset "accidentally" ran into Tart the other day....) Celestia is probably still doubting Sunset too, but even if she's present, she might let things play out. I wonder if Sunset will just withdraw into herself, or be tempted to start fighting fire with fire, as it were.

“Change can’t be forced, Professor. Falling Apple’s First Law.”

Well played good sir.

Well played.

Man, its interesting how something as simple as perspective can change your point of view. Say this story was told from the point of view of the little filly who was driven out or cinnamon tart, people would be calling for sunsets head, anything would be justified to destroy that monster.

7755029 I like phoenixes. For reasons. :rainbowkiss: As for reagents, every time I thought about alchemical reagents, my mind immediately went to nirnroot. I don't even know why! And come on, of course I had to channel Amending Fences a bit here. :twilightblush:
7755131 Got it in one. :twilightsheepish:
7755176, 7755147: You'll just have tooooo seeeeeeeee!!!!!!
i.imgbox.com/ES96tuZ1.gif
7755282
vignette1.wikia.nocookie.net/mlp/images/7/76/Main_6_and_Spike_take_a_bow_S2E11.png/revision/latest?cb=20121017104211
7755471 Thank you kindly!
7755675 This comment makes me squee. More because I look forward to your reaction in the final chapters! :pinkiehappy: (And I can't address any theories directly, obviously!)
7761736 "Everypony's a hero in their own story." One of the keystones of storytelling. Another one that I learned the hard way... "Perception is reality, even when it's not true. Especially when it's not true." :derpyderp1:

Oh god I should've just had the self control to not start reading until every chapter was published god damn am I confused and scared and this was so good and Moon Dancer shredded SS holy shit and just ugh MORE

Comment posted by Beltorn deleted Dec 5th, 2016

False accusations fly at her, a set up for a crime she didn't do, even the test Sunset created as a testament to her newfound integrity is used against her. The event is so overwhelming that even her internal voices have retreated, while Sunset herself is left doubting her sanity, Rather far away from a mare who claims to be able to handle anything.

Note Bene:
Dear Sunset, coffee doesn't help with sleep deprivation.
Dear Sunser, sleeping during exams doesn't protect against vengeful deans and students

I've been where Sunset is.

Awake for close to fifty hours. The first third, you're tired. Then that stops, but you start to loose focus on the things around you. Then you get tired again, a new kind of tired, one that feels like it's seeping from your bones into your bloodstream and weighs on you like bricks. And you start losing moments. Fractions of time where your brains just shuts off.

It's not a pleasant state to be in.

7772560
It's rather telling that Slate insisted on doing the measurements for his granddaughter, isn't it?

So, they verified everything was legit, watched Sunset measure everything out, and basically left nothing to chance, and ostensibly, something still went wrong (although we can't know yet, since we don't know exactly who is screaming).



Eventually, you reach a point where you must conclude that whatever is happening is not because of someone's maliciousness, but because of someone else's incompetence.

God damn it, Little Tinker!:fluttershbad:
I hope you're enjoying that popcorn! :trixieshiftleft:

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