• Member Since 26th Jun, 2018
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Lets Do This

We're going to build an exact copy of Ponyville... right over there! We've got less than a minute!



This story is a sequel to Ring Around The Moon -- Part II

Returning from hiding after Nightmare Moon's defeat, Cadance and Shining Armor have some wonderful news for Twilight. Then they encounter Tempest Shadow. And suddenly a simple question isn't quite so simple anymore...

Twilight, Tempest, and the rest of the Advanced Projects gang are back, trying to figure out their place in an Equestria which suddenly no longer needs saving... but which has no shortage of new challenges to throw at them, including some for which they may not be prepared...

For more of this AU, see: The Restless Princess

If you're new to the Advanced Projects timeline, this story begins Series 2, so you can start here if you'd like. All you need to know is, Nightmare Moon has been defeated, but has altered the timeline in such a way that Twilight never went to Ponyville, and has also wound up with a totally different group of ponies as close friends...

For a list of stories in the entire series, see Not Exactly Friends.

Read the review by Hopeling here.

Chapters (1)
Comments ( 53 )

I'm somewhat confused. I was under the impression that the ending of the previous story meant Twilight would have to find all her friends again, but now they're all still around?

Edit: I just saw we're in the alternate timeline. It makes sense now.

That was both enthralling and hilarious. It's amazing watching this group going through so much insanity and somehow out-insaning the events into submission. And as for Cadence's conclusion about Shining/Tempest/Twilight, she might not be far off...just focused on the wrong sibling. :P

Heh, called it.

Ah, Tempest is a good pony, though if things were different I would totally ship that. We definitely need to find her somepony.

Thanks! The ending of "Ring Around the Moon" does show our Twilight restored to her original timeline -- though I deliberately left it ambiguous as to whether there was only one Twilight. This story assumes the "multiverse interpretation" Starlight mentioned, so the original Twilight is back where she belongs, and the "Not Exactly Friends" Twilight and her friends can continue on with their own adventures.

"Trust me, Tempest. I know my brother. And I think it's you he's got his eye on!"


Stupid purple.

"Good," Tempest replied. "He's all yours. Enjoy your life together."

Best purple!

Really glad to see this series continue! Can't wait for more!

Excellent job on the exchanges, characterizations, general wrap-up and possible future story set-up in all the right places. I am DEFINITELY glad you're going with the "multiverse" deal. I especially loved the chat between the gang as they realized they were still basically making up their own rules and getting used to things after they were done with Nightmare Moon as well as the gang dealing with something A LOT more light-hearted than what they just got done with, but, at the same time, something they WEREN'T equipped to handle. And, yeah, I enjoyed Trixie, Starlight and Moondancer checking up on Luna, the street-style spar between Shining and Tempest, the misunderstanding that got cleared up and Shining and Cadance BOTH reflecting on the families they're going to be marrying into.

So, all in all, a great continuation of the "Advanced Projects Gang" universe.

I rather enjoy this alternate universe.

"Oh! I know!" Moondancer said. "Is it the panic-buying of tulip futures, leading to an inevitable market crash and flatlining of the economy?"

Ah, I see the dutch stock market exists in Equestria as well!

Least, I think it was the dutch...

Yes! Somebody got that reference -- you just made Moondancer's day.

Not sure what else to say but: AMAZING

Not a bad chapter. Only gripe I have is how you applied "Asymmetric Warfare." That doesn't apply to a one on one bout between a street brawler and a trained soldier. Asymmetric warfare is all about disproportionate forces squaring off against each other. The Insurgent Cell versus a trained military force is the perfect example of asymmetric warfare. The Cell is self contained, no outside influence or interference. Freedom to choose what and who to attack at will. The Military has a hierarchy it must answer to, rules of engagement it must follow, and response delays due to the nature of its enemy and the environment it is deployed to. As well as that hierarchy that's in play. In the end the larger military force will most likely win, but it'll be a Pyrrhic victory with many of its objectives in tatters and most of the local population either fearful of supporting them or openly protesting their presence.

Tempest's point was that in a contest of a by-the-book military force against a disruptive insurgence that knows the territory much better, and can attack one-on-one and then disappear into the shadows, the military force will be at a distinct disadvantage until it gets out of its comfort zone and starts thinking like the enemy. Think of their fight as a microcosm, a battle of champions: the Captain vs. the Commander... order vs. anarchy... two ponies enter, one pony leaves... it's why Shining Armor was laughing at the end, seeing the funny side of it, even as he appreciated the lesson Tempest was trying to get across.

And you have to admit, Tempest can be a pretty good disruptive force all by herself!

So glad to see this series continue! Tempest continues to be best of the research 6 plus one.

Man really happy to see a continuation of this series

"Why..." she whispered uneasily, "do I suddenly feel like there's a big target painted on our backs?"

There's a statue in the garden, girls, that's more than it appears.

"Oh, nothing..." Twilight said innocently. Then she grinned. "I think somepony has a colt-friennnd..."

Houston we have a complication.:facehoof:


omg they're back... and this whole thing was so sweet! I was worried it was gonna turn into some ridiculous love triangle plot- and then Tempest, as she does, neatly subverted that line of thought by basically going "mmkay this is bullshit time to actually Communicate in this situation before it gets out of hand", which, honestly, I love her for. I mean I love her in general; she's a great character that sadly went somewhat underutilized. But also she swiftly derailed one of the worst narrative tropes known to man (and apparently, to pony), and saved me much internal groaning and figurative hair-pulling.

I'm honestly so glad that we get to see these guys again; hopefully this paves the way for more adventures! I honestly would like to see the gang take Ponyville. Make that extended friend group even bigger! Hijinks! Shenanigans! Friendship! A much bigger ready squad with which to defend Equestria! Plus I'd like to see Sunburst and the rest of Starlight's old friends again. And Sunset already paved the way for otherworldly goings on; I never really followed EQG after the first one, but I feel like I'll be just fine going in mostly blind. It's not like most of that affected main series canon, anyways, beyond a passing mention of the Dazzlings sirens, which was really more like an easter egg- and wow did the later seasons go off the rails in terms of direction and quality decline. I mean it was already a fairly mundane experience to begin with, at least for me, but it had so much potential to be better than what we ended up getting. Come to think on, that's a bit of a tall order, isn't it? But I'm sure you'll be fine; you're doing great so far, and we've got your back!

(Legit you made my night fam :pinkiehappy: )

Can I just say that I love that you gave Moondancer characterization in this? That and the fact that you have her, Luna, and Trixie, showing up and being relevant right off the bat, And that by itself is easily worth the price of admission.

Thanks! Moondancer is a bit of an opportunity/challenge, since there's so little canon backstory for her, so I've had to create her pretty much whole-cloth. If you haven't done so already, check out By The Light of the Moon in this series, which is all about Moondancer, and is the source of references here such as Moondancer's journal.


If you haven't done so already, check out By The Light of the Moon in this series, which is all about Moondancer, and is the source of references here such as Moondancer's journal.

I actually did read and thoroughly enjoy that story.

The thing is what I've observed (more often then not) is that once certain characters lose their motivation or role relative to the plot, they tend to disappear from the story's perspective (which makes them seem like mere stage actors as opposed to people). But you don't fall into that trap here, keeping Moondancer, Trixie, and Luna involved in the story and still present as people (even though the story doesn't really focus on them). Which I love because (quite frankly) that is the mark of great writing, because it keeps us involved in the characters, and not just the main plot.

Question: Why was the alternate Nightmare Moon erased but not the other Twilight?

Thanks for asking! I thought this out carefully, even before writing the two-parter finale. Let me respond to this in the comments for Ring Around the Moon -- Part II, so that readers can refer to it there.

Edit: for convenience, here's a link to the response.

Chrysalis is gonna have a tough time trying to pull off her plot for the wedding with Cadence having so many other ponies around her who actually know her. Looking forward to seeing how that goes. :twilightsmile:

Tempest Defused everything real quick and I'm glad for that.

I didn't get it, at first, but then your note explained it: This is a multiverse. There's a universe where, after saving the whole world, Future Twilight goes back in time and successfully frees herself from Nightmare Moon, and the story we were reading stopped.

And another where she fails, and the story we were reading continued.

There's another one where she doesn't go back in time at all and forges a new destiny, and another one still where Nightmare Moon was successful in cementing her own destiny. That's what the possibility of a multiverse means, you see: Either every decision we've made and will ever make impacts the course of history, or they simply split off into two separate timelines.

That's the Time Traveler's Trap: Either everything matters, or nothing matters.

It is also possible that she does go back and is successful, but the alternate timeline that Nightmare Moon created nevertheless persists, each of them having its own separate destiny -- and in each of them, the heroes win. That's the assumption here. As I noted in my reply-to-the-reply:

I am presuming a multiverse "lite" here, where not every possible timeline comes into existence as a result of every possible choice, but only important ones, determined by certain "fixed point" events. So while it is possible for multiple timelines to co-exist, it's also possible for meddling with a given timeline to create Niven-style self-destructive paradoxes.

It's the same standpoint that allows "Doctor Who" to work as a narrative, even though the protagonist has a device that would in principle allow him/her to go back in time and "undo" any change. You assume that even given time-travel, alternate dimensions, etc. there's still a reason that individual choice matters, there's still a reason for the time-traveller to be judicious about when to meddle and, more importantly, when to abstain from meddling. And there's still a way for the heroes in each timeline/dimension, etc. to win in the end in a way that matters.

It's a narrative multiverse, not a full-blown philosophical "everything happens, nothing matters" multiverse. But then again, this is a fantasy world, where nice endings happen simply because they ought to. It's one reason we're all here, enjoying this show and all the fun stories it's inspired: because given all that happens in RL, that's just so dang pleasant...


Hey you know what would be awesome and in theme of “what if we did this instead?”

What if chrysalis didn’t invade and instead just sent a letter to Celestia about the changeling existence and the food problem and our little group goes out to try and resolve the situation?

Or at the very least the wedding goes down in
A much different way that’s still interesting.

"Shiny! I'm sure Auntie knew exactly what she was doing, sending us off together. She is still the Sun Princess, after all. She's not above making use of a crisis to put ponies together, if she knows it'll help them find what they want most. She's kind and loving and caring... and she can be as devious and under-hoofed as sin whenever it suits her!"

"She's a pony, Shiny," Cadance said firmly. "Just like any other."

True, and true.

Her expression turning sadly resigned, Cadance swung round and trotted away quickly, before any of them could see her.

...Uh-oh. Cadance is starting to act... Un-Cadance-ly…

"Oh, hello, Grubber!" Tempest said languidly. "We were just talking about you."

Saw it coming.

Cadance couldn't face him, couldn't bear to look at him as she went on speaking. "I'm saying maybe we should... well, keep our distance for a bit. Keep things on a professional level between us for a while. Be certain about how we really feel." Cadance gritted her teeth. The words burned in her mouth. She forced herself to remain calm and collected, not show how she felt. It has to be done, she thought. It's what a Princess would do, for the good of her subjects.

...Not good. Not good, not good, not good...

Twilight shook her head. "Not Shining Armor. He's a dedicated professional. He'd rather be caught dead than be accused of impropriety. And what's more, I was talking to Cadance earlier, right after she got back? And she didn't even mention Shiny, not once! It's like she was going out of her way to pretend he didn't even exist! You'd think if it was her, she'd have had something to say about him."

...Not good, not good at all...

...Oh, thank Luna for Tempest Shadow. Thank. Luna.

I actually think Tempest/Shining Armor would be an interesting ship to explore.

The comedy is still good though.

Very nice review! Thanks so much!

I love this collection of AU stories. Great work!

Great start in how you will continue this series. It was a delight to read.

I love how Moondancer and Trixie's meeting with Princess Luna, since her release, went. The former gushing over finally showing Luna her journel as a "follower of the night" and the latter wanting to see how her mentor is doing.

The mainbulk of the story which as the title imply; "The engagement of Shining and Cadance was interesting.

The Tempest-Shining-Cadance love triangle was unexpected but nonetheless hilarious situation of circumstances. Especially when Twilight and Cadance both misunderstood the whole situation. Shows how they are alike hilariously. And Tempest being the only sane pony in this situation was fitting and enjoyable with the best part being her conversation to Cadance later.

Overall, I love how you went with the Canterlot Wedding straight away instead of having the AP Group prepare for the release of Discord like most other AUs.

And also, with how you are continuing this series, I do have some suggestions/ideas besides what you have planned so far.

You seem to imply that the Changeling Invasion may happen before the release of Discord. But perhaps it would be interesting if it was Changelings vs Discord as all hell breaks loose during the wedding. Or perhaps have the AP group aim to stop and reform Discord all at once upon his release from his stoney prison. It would be interesting to see how you would spin either of these suggestion as an overarching story.

It would love to see a story where one of the members of the group came across Thorax while he is trying/failing to infiltrate Canterlot pre-wedding. Maybe both Spike & Grubber so they get more scenetime together?

Another suggestion I have involves how you introduce these new members of the element bearers. If I recall in the previous story, each pony that talk the cannon Mane Six implied what element they bear. Let me see if I recall it correctly.

Cheese - Laughter
Tempest - Loyalty
Moondancer - Generosity
Sunset/Starlight? - Kindness
Trixie - Honesty

Mind clarifying if the above is correct?

Anyways, one sentence in this story mentions that they may want to visit the far reaches of Equestria. Kind of like the Table Map in Cannon. It would be interesting if these new bearers pair up with the cannon bearers to travel together and makes new friends. Forming new groups.

Tempest and Rainbow could meet Spitfire. With Spitfire and Tempest and also Rainbow and Lightning meeting and butting heads respectively. And maybe even a cameo of Vapor and Sky

Or maybe Tempest along with Rainbow meets with Princess Skystar, Capper and Captain Celeano.

Moondancer and Rarity could go to Manehatten and meet Coco and Suri. Or Moondancer introduces Rarity to Lyra, Lemon, Minuette, Twinkleshine and maybe even Special Agent Sweetie Drops.

Or maybe even Trixie and AJ meeting the Flim Flam Bros. With Trixie worsening the situation or brining in an Ursa Minor into town.

I hope you like these suggestions


Hi, MMB -- thanks much for the detailed feedback and suggestions! There's a lot to consider here, and it's appreciated!

Overall, I love how you went with the Canterlot Wedding straight away instead of having the AP Group prepare for the release of Discord like most other AUs.

There's actually a reason for that -- I needed to do this story first, to set up an important justification in the next one.

But perhaps it would be interesting if it was Changelings vs Discord as all hell breaks loose during the wedding. Or perhaps have the AP group aim to stop and reform Discord all at once upon his release from his stoney prison. It would be interesting to see how you would spin either of these suggestion as an overarching story.

I do actually have a Discord story written, and I think you'll be interested in how it plays out. It is a bit on the long side, though, so I've been putting up some shorter one-shots to help attract readership before putting up another long story.

Your suggestion about having the old/new Element bearers team up is cool, and might serve as a fruitful source of shorter "webisode"-length adventures. Though I'd be a little concerned about the overall "arc" appearing a little distant and disjointed. After a while, readers do want (and deserve) some closure on the big picture.

Mind clarifying if the above is correct?

That's actually an important question for the next story, so I won't spoil it right now. :twilightblush:

BTW, It's wonderful that there are "regulars" like you, coming back to this series as I put out new "episodes". Hopefully I can provide some engaging twists and turns to help folks like you want to keep tuning in!


Its always nice to read! I'm a bookworm at heart and I know how hard it is to write. Being a co author to Letters From A Disgruntled Friendship Student, I know how hard it is to write a story. So I know that a comment always helps to brighten a writers day especially feedback on their work.:twilightsmile:

"Wow... she sounds like somepony really special," Cadance said.

*Shipping intensifies!*

"I think... that will be all for now, Captain," Cadance said firmly,

Nonono, Cadence. You're shipping Tempest with the wrong sibling! :pinkiegasp:

"As usual," Tempest muttered, "we seem to be the designated grownups in this little group. We're going to put a stop to this, before it gets any weirder."

Yes, do that thing. :rainbowdetermined2:


Wooo i've been waiting for this

I don't get it!!! They were "undone" in the last story! Tempest went to be commander of Storm King. Starlight went on resent qutie marks. Why are they together here?!?! I remember making on commenting on how that AU was retconned to fit CANON. Twilight wasn't an alicorn around the time her brother became married. What am I missing?!?!

Read the authors comments in the last fic. The comments in the comments section, bot the authors notes.

All I saw is that it was "reader-powered". But that is "writer's decision", meta reason. I want to know IN-WORLD explanation. Reread the last story yourself, and don't read author's notes. And then try to understand, how they went from "placed in proper place", where Tempest comes after Twilight ascending to alicorn, and that being after

Proper timeline. Belive me, I checked the episodes, movies and their dates.
Nightmare Moon (Oct 10, 2010)
Trixie (Nov 19, 2010)
Shining and Cadance wedding (Apr 21, 2012)
Twilight becomes alicorn (Feb 9, 2013)
Sunset (Jun 15, 2013)
Cheese (Feb 1, 2014)
Starlight (Apr 4, 2015)
Moondancer (Jul 4, 2015)
Tempest (Sept 24, 2017)

Now, remember, we see how they all fall into their "proper roles". Tempest goes away from a willage, bitter and shunned. On the road to being commander Tempest. Starlight loses her friend to a quitie mark,

What instead happens? We see wingless Twi-twi

The lavender unicorn yawned and stretched, then stared happily up at the sun-filled sky, visible through the room's small window.

get up and find all her "wrong friends". She didn't even become princess yet, and it doesn't matter that there was timeline mess. It was supposedly restored. Here is what we HAVE in this story.

Nightmare Moon + temporal mess

On a hillside road, a maroon filly with a broken horn paused to look back at the village she was leaving forever. And then turned forward, her face set in a grim scowl.

If you depend on others... you'll never find your place...

In the Canterlot High video studio, Rarity got up from the interview table, and leaned across to shake hands.

"Thanks again for the invite, darling!" she said. "And I hope we were able to give you what you needed for that school paper article on friendship!"

"Oh, believe me!" Sunset replied, with a smug grin. "I've got everything I need to know about all of you..."

Resolution to normal timeline, only ?!?!?!, error, #$%@%$@%
Shining and cadance wedding
Twilight becomes alicorn.

TL: DR, I followed the damn story, and it makes no sense.

Again, you need to read the authors notes. Just ignore everything that happened after Starlight was listing her theories.

Instead of everything being reset, it was instead the split timeline.

Oh, my god. Are you telling me to ignore the STORY, and go for META reasons? You must be daft. I'm not here for author notes, I'm here for the STORY, and if story breaks it's own rules and continuity? WOW, I cannot believe you are going there. Literally, read this story, and forget cause and effect, and ANY sort of logic and continuity, that is your argument?


Uh...Cry moar, I guess?

And you missed the whole point of this conversation. I guess I'll be waiting for Let's to explain it to me, if he even can. So far, I don't see how stories connect, IN the world, not on "word of god", not on meat reason, not "because author/readers said so". I want coherent timeline. I want stories to CONNECT. when they are SUPPOSED to. This is supposed to be a follow up to the last, yet, they break the timeline.

"Oh! I know!" Moondancer said. "Is it the panic-buying of tulip futures, leading to an inevitable market crash and flatlining of the economy?"

I'm surprised how many writers on Fim know about "The Dutch Tulip Mania." Is this Topic taught in USA by any chance? Because here in the Netherlands that subject will only come in highest rank of our class system when you have History lesson in your education program. So the average Dutch person doesn't even know about this moment in our history.

We Americans in particular are an eclectic culture, educated more by anecdote (in other words, whatever's interesting and sticks well) than by strict and thorough presentation. Many of us, in fact, may not recall much beyond maybe the Civil War or the Great Depression, not from lack of attentiveness in class, but simply because our history classes tend to run out before managing to get all the way to the back of the book.

But the Tulip Panic is so wonderfully, archetypically Aesopian, it's exactly the kind of trivia we like to remember and tell each other in amused, lordly tones, as if _we_ would never be so trend-crazed. (I'm looking at you, Tamigotchi owners and GameStop share-buyers...)


Hmmm.... I wonder then if you also have been taught what the Dutch did with their prime minister Johan De Witt during in the disaster year of 1672.

Or what we did to the assassin of Willem of Orange (A.K.A Willem the Silent) named Balthasar Gerards.

Although a bit more gruesome moments in our History it's none the less again putting things to point of Craziness. Actually funny when you think about it. Most consider the Dutch to very grounded and very direct. But we have some very crazy moments in History.

I guess that is why have this Dutch saying. "Act normal, you are all ready crazy enough."

"Her Royal Highness, Luna, Princess of the Moon and the Stars!"

moon only. again, celestia controls the stars.

she has a frick ton of titles, why go with that one thats most obviously incorrect?

Fanfiction. AU. both of these phrases explain why the WRITER is correct and you are not. Whatever they wish to put into their own story is the correct information.

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