• Member Since 28th Jan, 2014
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Tangent


I became an enthusiastic Brony when I discovered MLP:FiM between seasons 3 & 4 via the review/analysis community. I hope you like my contributions.

E

Years before a certain prophesy would come to fruition, a young pegasus filly fell from the sky near Las Pegasus, only to be rescued and taken in by Burning Sky and Dragonfly, a newlywed pegasi couple on leave from the Equestrian Air Guard for their honeymoon. Adopted and named Firefly by the very ponies who caught her out of the sky, the young filly is secretly a being from another reality, a former human who had been a fan of a popular show that had portrayed this very world (or one very similar to it), with no idea what had brought her here, why she was now a pony, or even when in the timeline she happens to be.

Once she figures out that she's in the past, with years before Princess Luna returned as Nightmare Moon, young Firefly resolves to simply stay out of the way and let events happen as they should. However, once she sees Princess Twilight Sparkle and Spike the Brave and Glorious appear out of a bubble of complex looking magic, Firefly feels an incredible sense of liberation, believing that it no longer matters what she does or doesn't do as everything would correct itself once Twilight dealt with Starlight Glimmer and returned to the future.

So Firefly decides to buck Starlight Glimmer on the way down to save Fluttershy.

After all, if nothing she did right now mattered anyway, why not be the hero? What harm could it possibly do? :twilightsheepish:

And thus my SI takes a sledgehammer to causality, breaking Starlight Glimmer's spell in the worst way possible for two mares and a dragon from the future and changing the course of history forever. :facehoof:

But hey, at least Fluttershy is okay, right? :twilightsheepish:

What do you mean Fluttershy's Cutie Mark is different now!? :twilightoops:

Cover rendition of Firefly by Equestria Prevails.

This pic of Firefly is pretty much what inspired me to write this story... :twilightsmile:

Chapters (2)
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Comments ( 130 )

How is this a self-insert story? You aren't Firefly.

8647670
Burning Sky and Dragonfly named the falling filly they found (my self insert) Firefly.

Typical. Another Starlight hater that doesn't understand the character. You clearly don't understand how time travel works or about the MLP universe in general.

Like the fact that time travel and changing history are not actually crimes, which means Celestia would be in the wrong here, thereby being the real villian.

Plus the fact that the alternate timelines existed before Starlight traveled through time. If Twilight had stayed in her own time nothing would have happened except for Starlight going to an alternate reality.

And if that's not enough, it is obvious the map let this play out because it knew there was no danger. It already showed it could have taken the scroll at anytime and gotten rid of it. This whole sceneries was cooked up by it to help Starlight Glimmer.

The multi-verse is confirmed to exist in MLP.

Really well done. but be careful with temporal stories what you might want to do is tell every one the rules before going on because all time travel fans will be on your case if you break them. but I enjoyed this and I am waiting for the next chapter.

8647713
Points of order:

  1. I don't hate Starlight Glimmer as either a pony or a character. Yes, she is redeemable, but you'd have to break through her self delusion first, and that hadn't happened yet at this point in her battle against Princess Twilight. That makes it a valid divergent point for an Alternate Universe story such as this one.
  2. I'm going by what was shown in the show (which I have seen every episode of), not the comics (of which I have read very few). Yes, I'm aware that the comics had Starswirl traveling back and forth through time. I'm also aware that the show itself contradicts several "facts" put forth by the comics. In either event, it doesn't matter as this story is tagged as an Alternate Universe and follows the rules I set for it.
  3. Princess Celestia is, at this time, a Monarch. She has the authority to make or repeal laws as she deems fit. The book with Starswirl's time travel spell was in the Forbidden section of the Royal Library, even though the spell itself is arguably 'safe' since all it does is create a stable loop in time. It's probably kept there to prevent overly clever unicorns from getting ahold of it and doing exactly what Starlight Glimmer had done: which was to modify it into an 'unsafe' time travel spell in order to manipulate causality.
  4. Regardless of whatever Starswirl knew or didn't know about time travel magic, all Princess Celestia knows is that it is risky and there are 'safe' and 'unsafe' versions. 'Safe' versions either cause stable causality loops or create bridges to alternate timelines or realities that can be safely revisited again and again. 'Unsafe' versions disconnect the travelers from their native causality, and it is currently unknown if their former reality even still exists. So, for all Princess Celestia knows, Starlight Glimmer may have just destroyed the reality that she, Princess Twilight, and Spike had just come from. Thus the harsh initial sentence. However, she doesn't actually know whether or not their home causality still exists, so Starlight's fate is essentially being kept 'on hold' until she actually finds out. As it happens, the best way to find out is simply to wait until time catches up to the date that Starlight had cast the initial spell and then depetrify her and take a reading. Princess Twilight and Spike have a bit of a wait coming. And Celestia is being Celestia and not saying anything lest they get their hopes up.
  5. The Map of Harmony is not perfect. That said, Starlight Glimmer, Princess Twilight, and Spike the Brave and Glorious did return to their future (or rather, Twilight and Spike looped a few more times and then all three returned to their native causality). The problem is, they also stayed behind. The split occurred with Firefly's Rainboom, not Dash's, which is why Starlight misidentifies what had actually happened. The three are on the other side of a Schrödinger's Paradox - they are the other event that happened.

If it helps, think of this version of Starlight Glimmer, Princess Twilight, and Spike as being temporal clones or echoes. If and when they ever do manage to return home, they will find that they are already there.

8647810
Done.

I posted an author's note at the bottom of the chapter.

Fantastic chapter! Hope to see the next chapter soon.

I quite enjoyed this, and wonder what the story will actually focus on. Firefly, or the alternates that didn't return to their time. It seems to me that if these are copies left behind, it is irrelevant if their original timeline survives, because they are already there. I mean, the logic of her punishment would qualify even in canon, because of all the alternate timelines created and rewritten.

I like to see Celestia portrayed as hard ass enforcer of justice. The mailed fist within the velvet glove as it were.

GIVE ME MORE TO READ!!!!!! I NEED MORE OF THIS FIC TO READ!!!:raritycry:!

I don't know why I enjoy self insert wankery, but I do. I will be keeping an eye on this one.

Sweet new story, you got three different self-insert stories now, one as a Unicorn, another as a Thestral/Bat-Pony and now this one as a Pegasus, all you need is an Earth pony self-insert story and you will have the four main ponies done, I can't wait to see what you got planned for Firefly next and what will happen to Alicorn Twilight and older Spike now that they can't get back to their time.

8648388
You. Calm down.
8648582
You. Why the duck? snrk Of all the My Little Pony characters that could have been in that GIF, you choose, gah a DUCK! HAHAHAHA!! You know what never mind, It's too funny.
Tangent, You have made something very intriguing. However I am scared of how advanced your knowledge of Temporal Mechanics is.

Dont usually read SI types of stories....but damn if that isn't a good start....Definitely going on my fav's list

Holy crap this is a fantastic start! Like! Fave! Tracking! Follow! :pinkiehappy:

8648690

You. Why the duck?

I believe the phrase you're actually looking for is...

What the duck?

*ba-dum chsh*

raw.githubusercontent.com/secretshipfic/Core-Deck/master/cropped-images/Pony_Freedom%20Fighter%20Pinkie%20Pie.png
never thought i'd actually get to use that image. does this mean she's been written out of the story?

8648655
i hope they don't go back. i for one welcome an alicorn that could just be a deus ex machina for the author to just throw at problems / plot holes. plus spike could could be hilarious as a Rosencrantz and Guildenstern type character.

soooooooooooooo, i also see that sunset shimmer tag you got there...

Your case will be reviewed again at some point in the future when the full extent of the actual damages you have caused and how they might be corrected or compensated for has been determined, but for now: To Stone With You!

Tangent, I love you. Soooo much. Right now. :rainbowlaugh::rainbowlaugh::rainbowlaugh:

Consider me intrigued. Liked and tracking.

Side note, that Firefly vector reminds me of Firesight's story, The Rise of Firefly. Ever read it?

Huh. I like it! Hope you'll continue it to see if it can become a full story. I like it more than your other fics I've read (not that they are bad - this just feels more cohesive). Nice that you didn't beat around the bush with the whole 'used to be human' backstory. If it's not relevant to the plot outside of some quirks in her personality/knowledge, no need to waste time on details.

Ignoring any justifications or whatever for Starlight's actions, I have to say, I understand interrupting her. Not at the least because I at least, in that situation, would have no idea whether or not the timeline would collapse should the fight continue and I would effectively die/Cease to exist.

This is at least an interesting method of creating an alternate timeline. There have been quite a few, but I haven't actually SEEN one where someone else interrupts the time-fight (Mainly because its kinda a fight in a temporal loop and the combatants are the only ones with ripple-effect proof memory)

Following

Awesome to see another story from you. :pinkiehappy: This we see Tangent or Firefly in this universe become a pegasus. We also see her pretty much throw all the events of canon away with a kick to Starlights head.

So yeah things are most certainly off to a very interesting start.

I have to admit I've really become a big fan of all your SI stories. But i'm curious about something, one thing in common in all your stories is Tangent either replacing one of the Elements like the apparent plan for Batty, or is at least a close of theirs like her Crystal Synergy counterpart.

But i'm just wondering if there's any chance of seeing a future SI where Tangent somehow ends up becoming a enemy of the Mane 6? I mean she would make a pretty awesome recurring antagonist don't you think.

Cue scene of Tangent sitting on a dark throne being fanned by Grubber, while General Tempest and spy mistress Trixie give reports.

8649178
Some may say that it is a mercy. She was petrified while in her prime, before they turned her from one of the most dangerous villains of the show to one of the most behated heroes.
(I personally have nothing against Starlight, but I'm never one to pass up the opportunity to make fun of a character's vices).

Oh wow... I actually just found this story on Spacebattles... Glad I came back here today seeing as this site is much more reader friendly.

Now then... Thoughts on the chapter:

...

*Rereads the chapter*

Hmmm... I'm not entirely sure how I feel about this, on one hand you have the premise of an interesting story, how your self insert would interact with the world and change what we know about canon and see the world you create... On the other hand, this reads more like an interlude than a prologue. With how many focuses there are it is difficult to see just what this story is going to be about.

The story has my curiosity, but how will you grab my attention?

8649033
Well, Pinkie's not completely out of the story as such, as I expect to include brief snippets about what the Pink Fizz team are up to from time to time. :pinkiehappy:

And, oddly enough, Sunset Shimmer will be having a key role in the actual Chapter One. One of my Beta Readers refers to her and two of the other cast members as "The Unicorn Three." :twilightsmile:

8649265
No, but now that I have a title to search for, I probably will fairly soon... :twilightsmile:

8649278
Well, Fireflight is my first story to have a team of Beta Readers from the word go. :twilightsheepish:

And yeah, I don't see the point in retreading the 'discovering how to pony' plot arc covered by so many other self inserts that transform the author's avatar into a pony. At least not when the adaptation arc itself isn't going to be one of the main plot elements.

8649281
In the case of the Twilight/Starlight Time Battle, they also appear to be the only adult ponies in the immediate area.

Hmmm... I wonder if I should include a note sometime about what happened to the camp councilors who had left the campers alone for so long and had not even made any noticeable attempt to get their young charges away from the area of the duel.

Not to mention that nopony noticed that two of the pegasi fillies were actually missing for a while.

Princess Celestia was not impressed. :twilightangry2:

8649329
Well, there is a sort of running joke among the readers in the story thread for Distorted Resonance back in SpaceBattles that some of my apparently many pony SI fragments scattered up and down the general window of time I seem to be using probably went insane and took up villain roles. :pinkiecrazy:

One such actually ended up being named Crystal Synistar by the readers... :twilightoops:

8647939
Going to point out that your #3 is wrong, the time travel spell wasnt kept in any forbidden section of the archives. It were kept in the "Starswirled the Bearded" section of the archives which was behind an unlocked door....so...yeah the show makes it clear its not seen as a big deal and anyone can access the spell at any time. rest of the point is more or less spot on just that detail sort of unravels it.

8649423
The Starswirl the Bearded section is, in fact, in a room with a barred door in the most secure building of the Canterlot Archives.

One of the guards even unlocked the door for Twilight. :facehoof:

While I'm not too impressed with the security, given that it was bypassed twice, it is in fact there. :ajbemused:

Point number three stands.
Its About Time - Infiltrating the Secure Archives

I have watched every episode. :derpytongue2:

Which, arguably, should be less important in a story where the stations of cannon have been shattered, but given that it is a key plot point...

8649463
yes i have watched them as well, and at no point is it refered to as forbidden. libraries keep rare or old books that are old and delicate in the same sort of set up as that shelf. behind a bared locked door. i admit i did forget the door was locked but the security is the same as would be found for a rare books or delicate books archive.

as for why there were guards....it was the middle of the night....the place was probabaly closed.

still there is no evidence that it was a forbidden section, sepcilly since they just allow Twilight to bring other in. Forbidden section only allow those who are authorized. Pinkie as a random civilian most likely wouldnt have such authoraization.

this is what one has to do to be given accese to the NYC public Libraries Rare Books Division.
https://www.nypl.org/about/divisions/rare-books-division/access

8649526
Okay, it may not specifically say that the Starswirl Room in the secure section of the Canterlot Archives is forbidden within the episode, but Twilight's behavior during the infiltration is a pretty clear indicator that she believes that this is in fact the case. Even if the guard's response to her presence... after hours... with Spike and another pony... and all three of them wearing black bodysuits... seems to indicate that Twilight's security clearance for the archives was still pretty damn high... :facehoof:

If Twilight thought that she could simply trot right in at any time, even if the archives she wanted were in the secure section, she would have. Ergo, since she behaved as if the section was Forbidden, and she had obviously been a frequent enough visitor in the past that the guards were still granting her free access, it most likely actually is a 'forbidden' archive that she only had access to because of her station and status as an agent of Celestia.

Seriously. Starswirl the Bearded created a lot of spells and experimented with dangerous magic. Even if his room in the archives isn't directly labelled as being forbidden, it should be taken as such.

The point stands.

It's just that the security for the section sucks. :twilightangry2:

:facehoof:

Oh my... That pun in the cover photo.

That is the Fyre Flyte armor from Legends of Equestria.


Seriously, talk about obscure references. :rainbowlaugh:


Now that I think about it, that reference may not have been made by you, but instead by Equestria Prevails, but it's still golden.

That's a rather lengthy author's notes. A little word of advice: The author's notes are not where I want to hear the opinions of characters, motives, etc. Show, don't tell.

8649719
Fair enough.

I trimmed the author's note back down to the time travel notes that Tarot Duelwield2 requested be placed there, and moved the pic of Firefly's reaction to the end of the actual prologue.

It would be interesting that FireFly and rainbow dash become rivals, I imagine them competing to see who is faster, that's a good friendship. Another thing that can happen is that rainbow dash try to convince firefly to become a wonderbolt. :twilightsmile:

8649585
Twilight also was having a massive panic attack like 90% of the episode trying to prevent a non-existant threat/disaster. when she gets like that her behavior is wildly irrational and she thinks minor things are a huge issue and will get her in major trouble despite the fact she knows otherwise.

her actions at that point are not the best judge for what is and isnt a major area. Starswirl's spells are irreplacable seeing as he was thought dead at the time. there for his work would be protected like any valubale tomb that cannot be replaced easily.

the fact the guards saw her dressed like that and basicly ignored it opening the door shows her being there after hours is completly authorized.

as for te spells, think about it. if StarSwirl's spells are just in a normal rare manuscript archives.....what sort of spells would be locked up in the real forbidden section? we have seen Dark Magic is indeed protected based on the episode that Introduced Sombra seeing as Twilight wasnt the most famialr with it till it was explained. this leads us to safely assume it is such spell and magic that would be locked up in such a section.

there most likely is a forbidden section but Starswirl's spells have not been judged to be dangerous enough to be in it.

does raise the question of what would indeed be in the section.

also based on the episide it seems Equestian Time is rather easily fixed since all it never created double of Twilight, Spike or Starlight despite how mny ties tey went back to the same point. it suggest the spell basiclly keeps the timeline stable and easily repaired since all it took to fix everything was simply stopping Starlight from stopping the Sonic Rainboom and everything proceeded as normal.

which means its not as dangerous as most time travel snce it cleans itself up as its used and resets each time its used.

Is Celestia going to look up the younger version of Starlight and try to prevent her from going crazy in the first place?

8649950
Starswirl's time travel spell, or at least the version that Twilight could get at in the secure section of the Canterlot Archives, is a 'safe' time travel spell. It is literally designed to be brief, only going back in time for a limited window, and deliberately creates a closed loop scenario.

It was apparently also, according to Pinkie Pie's search of the Starswirl Room, the only time travel spell stored there.

Just because that spell happened to be 'safe' doesn't equate to Starlight Glimmer's modification of it being just as 'safe.' In fact, Starlight's version of the spell is deliberately 'unsafe,' as it is intended to manipulate time and change history. Starlight didn't incorporate the Map of Harmony as an anchor as a safety feature - she did it to force herself to always appear just slightly farther in the past than Princess Twilight did when Twilight inevitably started to try leapfrogging back farther than the base spell in an attempt to counter her. Starlight wanted Twilight to do this, so that her rival would get frustrated and she could gloat over it. The other reason Starlight incorporated the Map was because using it as a focus allowed her to choose her physical destination in the past, with the base default being set as that specific flight camp.

The spell was purposely designed as a way to torment Princess Twilight by spinning off multiple timelines to send her back to different futures over and over again, with Starlight intending to break the spell and trap them both (and Spike) in the past once she herself had had her chance to gloat over her inevitable victory and rub it in Twilight's face.

A 'safe' spell of that nature would default to cancelling itself out if it was broken so that everyone involved got ejected back into their proper future, not strand them in the past.

Sure, the fact that Starlight used the Map of Harmony as the anchor for the spell probably allowed all for the correctional adjustment once the key event that the spell was intended to prevent happened anyway, but that's why the author's note explains that the three did in fact return to their proper future once the Rainbow's Sonic Rainboom happened despite the fact that Firefly performed one first - which hadn't happened in the original timeline.

That pull that Starlight experienced, thinking that she and Twilight were about to head back into the future again? That was them actually going and staying behind simultaneously. A Schrödinger's Echo effect spawning temporal copies in the new timeline, with Starlight Glimmer misinterpreting what the sensation actually meant when the spell finally broke with them remaining in the past.

The three trapped in the past have no idea that they had also travelled forward again, with the new timeline being a sidereal spinoff branch now separated from its parent loop cluster.

Oh, and you can bet that if Starswirl's time travel spell wasn't in the Forbidden Archives before, it certainly is now. Both in the originating causality and the new branch.

8650017
You'll see what happens with the younger Starlight Glimmer in the actual first chapter. This was just the pre-timeskip prologue setting the story up.

I don't really like raining on your parade, the idea is nice and it look like it could be fun, but this probably should have gone through one last editing phase at least.

-The introduction is just a bit too fast. I understand you did not want to focus too much on the boring part of the story, when your charater yet have to do important thing, but you still should've given her some room to breathe and introduce herself to us properly.
-What is it with that pinkie pie non-sequitur? Or that last part with Firefly and Fluttershy being found? Were those "part" really a necessity?
-The scene with Celestia was oddly paced and Celestia herself was kinda bland at best, kinda ooc at worst.
-The summary should be improved. Right now it tell us what the story is rather then showing it, if you follow my drift.

So yes, I like the idea, you do have a lot of imagination so it can be a good story, but I really think that this was rushed. It is not all bad, but it could certainly stand some improvement to make it something really worth reading.

So, a few questions:

Firstly, why did Pinkie and Tempest's (Fizzlepop's) events diverge already? From the looks of it, Pinkie had her mark already(?), found Tempest, and cheered her up regardless of the double Rainbooms. Then they went to the hippogriffs for some reason I guess?

Secondly, by the Author's note, every time they repeated the loop, Twilight and Spike would have been duplicated?

It's because Princess Twilight and Spike got sent forward when a divergent event happened before the key event took place. Which is to sayFirefly'sSonic Rainboom. However, the threealsostayed behind in the 'past' as a sort of Schrödinger's Echo, not that any of them realize this. When the 'key' event that Starlight's causality loop was focused on happened anyway, the last vestiges of the spell shattered, stranding them in the past because they werealreadyin their proper future.

As Twilight and Spike got sent to the versions future whenever the divergence occurred, but they also remained behind as echos, who would then be pulled along after Starlight when she time-traveled again. What happened this time is Starlight's spell broke, stranding them, but the rest prior to that still happened.
So there's a Twilight and Spike in 6-ish years post-NMM's return, plus the ones here in the present (past), plus a spare pair stuck in a ruined future for each time they all did it prior either from the ones following Starlight (the 'echoes') or the ones displaced to the altered timelines future (canon Twilight and Spike?)

God. I hate time-travel shenanigans...
It throws causality completely out the window, which is kinda key to a coherent plot.

Still, I am liking this, faved.
(Also, good to see Celestia actually doing something and being decisive for once.)

This is gonna be one hell of a trip.

8650259
To answer the first question, the early first Rainboom caused by Firely didn't actually change all that much for Pinkie, but seeing two of them so closely together gave her even more inspiration, which butterflied into her randomly choosing a different path to follow once she left the rock farm.

Her encountering Fizzlepop Berrytwist and them teaming up as a result is just my way of showing that Pinkie's butterflies are going to have a huge impact on the world even when she's no longer part of the actual story.

As to the reason for the Schrödinger's Echo effect happening in this particular causality when we see little to no evidence that it happened this way in the episode? Here's a big clue: Firefly isn't supposed to be there. At all. A glitch occurred when Starlight Glimmer, under the effects of her own spell, came into physical contact with someone else originally from a different region of the Neverwhen than she, Twilight, and Spike are from.

Not that anypony knows this, as certain facts about Firefly's origins and how she came to be adopted by her current family aren't public knowledge. Even Burning Sky and Dragonfly, the pegasi couple that adopted her, don't know where she fell from when they caught her. They just assume that she had been struck by lightning after flying away from whoever her original guardians were. They ended up adopting (and subsequently naming) Firefly because literally nopony else stepped forward to say that they were the little filly's family.

8647713

Typical. Another Starlight hater that doesn't understand the character. You clearly don't understand how time travel works or about the MLP universe in general

Fact is that IRL nobody knows how time travel works. Starlight's spell is clearly VERY different from the one that Twilight used in Lesson Zero. As far as I can see, the author can decide for himself . As for hating SG, there isn't enough shown to decide that.

Like the fact that time travel and changing history are not actually crimes, which means Celestia would be in the wrong here, thereby being the real villian.

You don't know that. The show never addressed that point. IMO that means that the law is what the author says it is

Plus the fact that the alternate timelines existed before Starlight traveled through time. If Twilight had stayed in her own time nothing would have happened except for Starlight going to an alternate reality.

Where episode says that? The show doesn't cover it, so IMO the author can set it how they want.

And if that's not enough, it is obvious the map let this play out because it knew there was no danger. It already showed it could have taken the scroll at anytime and gotten rid of it. This whole sceneries was cooked up by it to help Starlight Glimmer.

You've got a point
$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$
The ONLY point I'd argue about is "How the heck is Firefly able to do a Sonic Rainboom?" Rainbow Dash can't do it for again for about 10-12 years (until S1 E16 Sonic Rainboom). AFAIK, even by S7, the other Wonderbolts can't do one, & they're the best in EQ, it's still unique to Dash

8650424
While their motivations at the time were different, both fillies were highly motivated to push themselves past their previously known limits.

Dash was trying to win a race and enjoying pushing the limits of her speed when she had her epiphany that this was what she wanted to do with her life.

Firefly was trying to intercept Fluttershy before she became dirt pizza.

Yeah, in the show, Fluttershy's fall had been broken by a swarm of inexplicably helpful butterflies, but given the option to freely try to rescue the falling filly once she noticed the three time travelers, Firefly actually had even less reason to expect that Fluttershy wouldn't just hit the ground instead.

So both fillies were highly motivated by circumstances.

Not that I'm saying that it won't also be years before Firefly performs another Sonic Rainboom, And Dash might just be able to pull it off more consistently once she can do it again, but for all practical purposes Firefly is physically an incarnation of Firefly. She looks like she does for a reason.

The big problem for the future is: Timing on the events shown in The Cutie Mark Chronicles. As shown, Rarity will still get her mark. The rock will crack & reveal them a little earlier, she'll just see them when she gets there not afterwards. HOWEVER, Rarity did NOT tell the truth about her Cutie Mark
Unfortunately, I couldn't find a clip. However, by her account, the show was the next day. Yet, her horn dragged her for countless miles of wilderness. Up & down hills, for days on end she travelled to find her rock. Then, she had to
1) Get back to Ponyville
2) Arrange transportation. Presumably, this involved getting adult permission to take a cart & maybe adult help hauling it (Easier if she thought to take some gems back with her to prove her story)
3) At least 1 trip out to the rock & back to haul in the gems
4) Make the costumes
5) It seems likely that her parents wouldn't let her pull an all nighter, so get some sleep.
How was there time for all this? No, clearly the gem rock must have been very close to her house & Rarity greatly exaggerated the difficulty involved. This means that there were other ponies around & it would be pretty tight timing for her to claim the gems before someone else
. This means that if it is too much earlier, Rarity won't get the gems & thus won't get her mark. IMO, Rarity won't stay a designer if she doesn't think that she can excel at it. Maybe she'll go into music (Milli Vanilli Filly) or become an actress?

Twilight clearly spent a fair amount of time trying to hatch the egg, a little earlier shouldn't hurt too much.

Apple Jack is maybe the most time critical. If she isn't looking out the window at the right time, will she still go bck to Ponyville? Or will her stubbornness drive her to stay in Manehatten?

IMO, the events in Return of Harmony show that almost anyone can use the Elements. However, "How strong are they?" depends on
1) How closely does the Bearer match their Element?
2) How close is their friendship?
First time they tried to use the Elements, the answer to both these questions was "Not very much" & so it was too feeble to affect Discord. However, they did activate. This shows that almost anyone can use them, the only question is "Will they be strong enough to affect Nightmare Moon?". If they can't cure her, can they at least send her back? The Crystal Empire War segment implies that the answer is "Yes"

This sounds pretty interesting so far... Story-stalking time!

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