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Prithee and well met, thou tempestuous witch of storms, to alight so delicately upon the jet streams of the cerulean sky. Welcome to Spirit Airlines.


Princess Celestia has been planning for this day for years: the return of Nightmare Moon, the restoration of the Elements of Harmony, and the ushering of Equestria into a new age of friendship and love. Now that it's finally arrived, all she has to do is wait for Twilight to get to Ponyville, make some friends, hunt down the Elements, and save the...

Wait, what'd that letter say?

She didn't get on the chariot?

She went to whose party instead?

Oh. Oh, this could be bad. And more importantly, it's gonna need some hooves-on interference from Celestia to get her master plan back on track. But it'll probably all work out in the end. After all, how big a deal could one party be?

Third-place finalist in Aragon's "Comedy (Is Serious Business)" contest

Chapters (2)
Comments ( 117 )

The best-made plans of mice and mares. This was outstanding and quite humorous. this really needs to be expanded into its own AU. Good luck in the contest Darling :raritywink:

A very good written deconstruction/satire of Manipulative Celestia. Because the very concept of a mastermind engineering overcomplicated plans and manipulating people over decades or even centuries without a hitch is, of course, quite silly in the first place.

I love this on so many levels.

Dear Celestia, you better prepare yourself for appearence of many unicorn-supremacists movements, as greatest and most good artifacts known to Ponydom just showed, that only horned ones are worthy wearing them. And Moondancer will be good second princess, she will gladly do your, Luna's, Cadance's and some more paperwork, leaving you time for more useful things. Imagine possibilities, not despair.

“All right, fine. Last question, for all three of you this time,” Celestia intoned. “In fifty words or less, present strong, conclusive evidence to me that you possess, somewhere buried deep within your psyche, a personality. Literally anything. Strong, demure, chaotic neutral, whatever you got. Hit me. I very literally do not have all day.”

Oh, a pop quiz! We've got this, girls! We just need some paper, a few pencils. Um.. can we use the characters we play during Ogres and Oblates, Princess Celestia?

...instead ceding that authority to a crippling introvert with the intestinal fortitude of a fainting goat...

Hey, that's... accurate, I suppose.

Blue One is my favorite member of the mane six.

Congratulations on winning the contest!

(Don't question it, I'm from the future.)


And that is the point I knew this was getting favourited.

i can see this happen to the princess lots of times.....

*Blinks* Twilight the Element of Loyalty?


You know, did not expect that ending. This whole mess occured because she almost blew off Moondancer's party for Celestia, and THEN blew off Celestia for Moondancer.

Of of the 6 elements, if I have to give her one that wasn't Magic it has to be Honesty. At least in this story, anyway.

Apart from that, this is an amazing story, which had me grinning for most of the story. The charactizations were lovely, and it was a great deconstruction of both the "Manipulative Celestia" trope and the "Different Elements of Harmony" stories that occationally appear.

Celestia's moment with Minuette was a little hard to read, feeling like it was a giant wall of text, but I am not sure what you could have done to change that.

Finally Celestia, its not all bad news. Loyalty isn't Magic, but you never wanted Twilight to rule. That's Cadance's job. You wanted Twilight to replace Luna, be the Mare behind the scenes, the planner, the thinker, the schemer. And since she was Loyalty, and she is closely tied to Cadance, that means this whole "Nightmare Moon" situation is so, SO less likely to reoccur.

I kinda want a sequel, where Luna and Celestia talk about Celestia's plans, or rather her failures. Its unlikely to be as funny, BUT it would probably be cathartic for Celestia to find out that Luna actually felt like she was drowning half the time as well. Maybe trading stories about how things go wrong.

Nah, ignore me....it probably won't be half as good as the original.

Like the Orange One, only with less Apple references.


Could be worse. Imagine having to write all that Twilight shipping with Moondancer instead.

... they'll never notice unless you tell them, you say?

Awesome. I'd love to see this universe expanded :)

Very nice; just what I needed this morning.

This was really funny. Only thing I think could have improved it was making it more clear that Twilight's extreme reaction to Celestia telling her off the first time was due to loyalty to Celestia: otherwise it makes her Element of Loyalty at the end look unearned, and it took me a bit to figure out. But Had me in stitches this morning, which I really needed. Thanks!

Haha, that was a fun read to go through. Seeing nervous-twitch Celestia is always a little bit cathartic since it goes against the whole idea of her as a pony with the plan all the time, and watching her slowly lose her composure came out well.

I didn't exactly foresee the ending, but given that I mentioned in the comments of the other Canterlot 6 Elements story that it was disappointing Moondancer didn't become Magic (since she was the one who was actually taking steps to reach out for friendship, as opposed to Twilight who got thrown into the thing), it wasn't a surprise either.

hundred and eighty-six

That is just fourteen year prior... it would make the mane six QUITE young...

little Mi Amore Cadanza


fact, I sent up



moondancer was a whiny bitch who thinks if you read with someone youre suddenly friends

On a scale of one to ten, I give this fic a million.

By turns it is brilliantly funny, profound, tear-jerking, then funny all over again. Celestia's confession to Minuette, and the revelations about her character therein, completely floored me. This could be the premise of a whole AU series, but it stands brilliantly on its own as well. 'A Failure to Plan' has been a delight to read and I will remember it for a long time. Thank you.

I've been saying it for years now: Princess Celestia has absolutely no idea what she's doing, and I am very glad that more people are starting to realize this.

Ironically, I imagine Moon Dancer and co were SUPPOSED to be Twilight's friends to become the Elements of Harmony, but Twilight failed in that department, so try again in Ponyville.


No, that's the point. A regular assignment with no apparent significance < friends. Friends < a critical, world-threatening assignment (especially facing Celestia's overt displeasure). That's very much Twilight's brand of Loyalty in action. Also, with the Mane 6 vs Nightmare Moon the time came when Twilight was alone and had to act alone. It fell to her to pull the gig through, hence the 'catalyst' and element of Magic. In a team of unicorns sharing a long-lasting pre-existing bond? Yeah, things would play very much different.

After all, pretty much all Twilestia shipping is building off even Twilight's blind loyalty to Celestia, more often than not an issue that has to be worked around.


Maybe Twilight was conflicted between two loyalties, like Dash when Discord tempted her with the illusion of Cloudsdale falling down. She earned her Element when she figured out the true meaning of loyalty in the Everfree.


Celestia´s plan: Sending a bookworm recluse to another town so she may become besties with five perfect strangers. And with zero imput from her part, letting them figuring out on their own the location of the Elements of Harmony, crossing the Forest of Doom filled with monsters and dangers, and finally facing an insane demigoddess... hoping that their recently formed bonds will be enough to activate the Element of Friendship and Magic...
Yeah, it´s safe to say Celestia is a poor planner to say at least. That, and possibly a mental nutcase.

This is the best thing I’ve read on this site in three years.


8727313 Yes, oh my gosh, yes! This. Just this! I have been saying for years that Celestia's 'plan' was ridiculous and incredibly risky, with way too many failure points. I always said Celestia shopuld have just sat Twilight down and told her, let her know that she'd worked it out correctly. Celestia could have pitched the trip to Ponyville as an undercover assignment, that Twilight would need to talk to ponies and find allies, as if she went after the elements alone, she would fail.

She could limit information by saying that some things Twilight would have to discover for herself, just like foals and their cutie marks. But letting her know she was on the right track, and what was at stake would hopefully have minimised the risk.

Comment posted by Puckuu deleted Feb 12th, 2018

8728466 That's an oddly specific definition of 'unscripted' that you've got there. :unsuresweetie:

Celestia's plan, or script, was to have Twilight go to Ponyville and make friends. Twilight went to the party instead, which was not part of Celestia's plan, and is therefore unscripted.

Now this...should be a good way of judging what happens when Celestia doesn't have a real plan B

It's a guess, but like what happened with Luna, if she told her to make friends to defeat NMM, Twilight in her antisocial mindset would just go through the motions for the sake of defeating Nightmare Moon and in turn the friendship itself wouldn't be sincere enough as the foundation is just based on this one purpose rather than focusing on making it sincere. It wouldn't trigger the elements at all!!


I've actually had an idea for a while that Twi making friends with the others was just best case scenario. Because as it happens we've seen the Elements welded by two and Twilight did go to Ponyville with a friend


Or maybe she goes through a lesson zero type mental breakdown and drives everyone away

Wow. This was... wow. About midway through, I wasn't sure if this really qualified as a comedy. An incisive, heartbreaking deconstruction of Chessmistress Celestia and the series premiere, yes, but a comedy? It was funny, but laying on the plight of an immortal with a mortal mind and without her lifelong companion a bit too thickly and too well.

Then we got to the end, and the heartwarmth was matched only by the hilarity. I do hope Celestia does still introduce Twilight and company to those young mares from Ponyville. It won't kill her to expand her social circle.

All told, thank you for this.

Admittedly, a not-insignificant part of this story’s genesis was me jumping at an excuse to finally write out all that harrowing Chessmaster Celestia angst that I’ve had bouncing around in my head for years but never felt quite morose enough to write in that form. Making it the gut-punch in an absurd comedy works much better, I think.

After all, how big a deal could one party be?

Considering that had Twilight gone to Ponyville as planned, Moondancer would've become a social recluse with even fewer social skills than your student, Celestia, and absolutely nopony to look after her...quite a big deal.

Either go to Ponyville, make new friends, awaken the Elements of Harmony and save Luna, or go to the party and prevent one filly from becoming a shut-in...quite the quandary...

Few plans survive first contact with the enemy, even fewer survive first contact with your allies.

Nightmare Moon's about to return and Equestria needs a savior, but don't worry: Celestia's got everything under control. Just as long as Twilight goes to Ponyville on time, and not to Moondancer's party instead--but why would she ever do that?

The description made me imagine something not-comedy instead.

Other than Moondancer, everyone was going to Ponyville for the Summer Sun Celebration anyway. In fact every unicorn that Twilight directly snubs (Moondancer was indirect) in the beginning of the episode shows up for Twilight's "Welcome to Ponyville" party. (Where Twilight steadfastly ignores them all.) It would be a simple enough matter for Celestia to politely request that the party be moved to Ponyville and postponed until after Twilight fulfilled her duties.

Then again, I have a Starlight Glimmer induced timeline plotted out where the bearers of the Elements of Harmony are the five ponies Twilight snubbed to their faces (Lemon Hearts, Twinkleshine, Minuette, Lyra Heartstrings, and Amethyst Star) plus Moondancer. So "Send Moondancer and co. to Ponyville" is an option that comes to my mind very fast.


Actually, here’s a fun fact: Closer investigation of the first episode reveals, that Moondancer’s party has to be “today” – there is no reason whatsoever for Spike to be leaving Twilight’s apartment with the gift for Moondancer otherwise – but the Summer Sun Celebration is referred to as happening “the day after tomorrow,” and Twilight only arrives to Ponyville “tomorrow.” Twilight could readily attend the party and still make it to Ponyville on time.

You would have to know too much. I mean, you should have perfect information of every piece of the entire world. Know if, when, why and how complications are going to happen, and know exactly what is going to happen. If you already know that, I don't know why are you even planning something.

EDIT: Loved the story

I typically divide really good stories into comedies and non-comedies in my bookshelves, but this is the first story I've read that really works well in both categories.

This is great :rainbowlaugh: Have likes!

“I guess it was a good idea to go to that party instead of the landing strip yesterday,” Twilight said, puffing out her chest to show off the shiny, gemstone-studded necklace hanging around her neck. “Seeing as I am the Element of Loyalty now and all.”

Called it from the start :pinkiehappy:

This fic was so unbelievably perfect. I thought it would just be a crackfic, but it was surprisingly wholesome. Nice work!

8732640 Pfft, like Moondancer was worth it! Kissing up to the Leader ALWAYS takes precedence! Gotta brown-nose non-stop so YOU can get more wealth and status! :raritywink:

Also, Celestia had a plan B: Call Saitama. Offer him grocery coupons with no expiration date if he punches Loony back to the Moon.



And, to be perfectly honest, probably a therapist.

Hah! Like a mortal therapist could even BEGIN to comprehend immortality!

They'd be the ones driven insane! Which I think would be so much fun to watch... *transforms into fly on wall* Bzzzzzzzz... eh.. how'd I... I WAS A CHERNGLERNG ALL ALONG?! :pinkiegasp:

And so, yet ANOTHER 'X-pony was actually a changeling and somehow never knew it' fic begins... :rainbowlaugh:

Whew, I thought this was going to be another run of the mill 'what if', but it was an impressively well laid out story with well placed character development :moustache:

hekking -- the ending, it's just so perfect :rainbowlaugh:

Moondancer is Best Pony. At least in this fiction. Even introverts can kick ass if they need to. This is upvoted.

Ah, but there is no need to punch Loony all the way to the Moon. That would be too much punch even when there is no such a thing as “too much punch”, but that is not the point. One sweet punch all the way back to her senses would be just enough, honestly. I'd recommend to hire some master chef to make one, though. Or πe.

8745250 It's rather easier to punch the senses OUT of someone, than punch sense INTO someone... I think it has to do with brain damage... :twilightoops:

That totally depends on the kind of punch applied and hardness of it. Rock hard to the muzzle most likely will punch senses out, but hard one on the rocks may punch them in as well. That's why I recommend hiring a master chef for that or rather an amazing barista instead of Saitama. :raritywink: Apparently, he mastered wrong kind... unless he mastered 'em both.


Hmm, this was very well done but... that Celestia’s... confession (?) was a bizarre mood switch – suddenly the story jumped from hilarious to a very serious one.

All in all, very nice story – but I’m not sure about that mood switching part…

Still - it deserves a like and to be put on some good shelves :twilightsmile:

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