• Member Since 15th Jun, 2019
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“There are three things all wise men fear: the sea in storm, a night with no moon, and the anger of a gentle man.” - Patrick Rothfuss


The Element of Magic, Octavia Melody, needs help to defeat a monster that threatens all of Equestria. When only one of her friends can be there, she turns outside to bring others to her aid.

Fate (and the guidance of the Princesses) brings her the assistance of virtuoso cellist Twilight Sparkle and her wubtastic marefriend, DJ Rar-👁-T.

Of course, Princess tasks are rarely without their own unspoken machinations...

An Alt-U of one of the most unlikely Elements with a dash of gratuitous RariTwi.

Brought to you by: Secrets: A Swapped Roles Contest. Where it won!

Also now with a three part Fic Case Study by Casketbase77.

Chapters (3)
Comments ( 30 )
Wanderer D

Okay! I'll be reading this as soon as I have the chance.

"...I meant the stuff about not liking hats," Twilight admitted with some reluctance.


I swear I've seen that picture before. Is this based off of another story?

It is not. It's very possible the cover art's been used elsewhere on the site - there's 3000+ Octavia-tagged stories. I did a quick check and didn't see it used elsewhere, but there's enough that I very easily could have not stumbled across it.

As it stands, the art was too dang pretty. Too tempting to use.

Oh, this is amazing thus far. Looking forward to more, especially how Aria's changed through the intervening centuries.

Yeah, it's so cool how many unique angles people are tackling the role swap prompt with. And this example stands tall with the others.

Ok, loving this story so far, but I noticed the chapter titles and just had to ask.
Are the next couple of chapters going to be "Our Hearts Are Beating" and "Power Roaring Our Claim"?

Next one, but yes.

(Unlike a lot of my chapter titles, this set's less directly meaningful and has only mild allusions but that song's been in my head for a while and I couldn't help myself.)

Yeah, I kinda figured it was something like that, considering the song is about the day and night guard fighting back against Daybreaker and Nightmare Moon, and this fic is...well...not, and the fact that you skipped over most of the song with those themes to near the end where it's not so specific to that. But even so the chapter titles do still line up with what's in the chapters pretty well. Also, that song has been stuck in my head for a while too, and I am not complaining, I love it.

Huh...Really didn't see that coming.

This story is great. Can't wait for the next chapter

Edit: I just saw the complete tag. This feels like it cuts off before an epilogue.

Very fine.

(And Luna is, of course, the queen of the changelings. :pinkiecrazy: )

Okay, gotta say, that bit with the sisters really caught me off guard, and now that it's over I can't help but want more from this world, even if it's just another chaper or two, or even a one-shot sequel.


Octavia's hoof flashed, sketching out three fast runes in a brutal tongue older than Equestria. Xata - Khra - Jahu. The moment it did, Octavia's hoof swiped over her work and wiped out the Xata rune. A heartbeat later, the Fass rune she drew in its place flared up.

First the chapter titles and now Requiem Runes, you are just making all the references after my own heart.

At the risk of being that guy, how exactly can a hoof be webbed? Looking at the sirens, they did have cloven hooves, so I guess that can work, but it doesn't seem that much more hydrodynamic.

Thrilling conflict. And that ending... You sly dog. Excellent work from start to finish. Thank you for it and best of luck in the judging.


At the risk of being that guy, how exactly can a hoof be webbed?

Honestly, it's the best I could figure out to describe it. The sirens have that sort of fin on the rear side of their fetlock, which is what I was trying to indicate. I suppose 'webbed' is a bad descriptor for that, but it's all I could really think of.


First the chapter titles and now Requiem Runes, you are just making all the references after my own heart.

Idle note: that was the Requiem combination for my first Lich. It's the little things, y'know?


This feels like it cuts off before an epilogue.

It sort of does, actually.

Originally there was an additional epilogue chapter with the coronation as the background to Twilight and Rarity discussing moving to Ponyville. It would've also been bringing Gabby in for a bit of screen time to do a little more last-second world building. I opted to cut it because the end here - abrupt as it is - had more punch to it than a slow denouement.

Now that the contest is over, I can post comments about the entries themselves, so here’s some neutral thoughts:

  • The scene where the princesses show up reminded me of Queen Novo showing up at the party at the end of the movie, so I pictured them as hippogriffs instead of alicorns when I first read this.
  • I just realised that the reason why you switched Gabby with Spike is because they both deliver mail.

Right, so I'm in judgey judgmental Judge mode for this comment, not casual reader mode. Which...sounds a lot worse than it is, I'm just letting you know that I was reading this story differently from how I normally read stories.

Actually in fact you have nothing to seriously worry about: this was a very well-put together and complete story, with strong focus on our four mains. Swapping two sets of ponies was fun as a focus, and I love that the changes for this little mini-AU you've put together go still deeper than that, a full swapped universe. At the same time, you also did a good job of making sure to do more than simply make Twilight act like Octavia or Vinyl act like Rarity; the original personalities have definitely influenced the four of them and can be clearly seen.

I'll admit to always being personally impressed when a writer can do a good job of getting music across in their text. Sound generally is hard to translate across into the written form; music, even more so. Although of course providing a link helped out as well - good choice, by the way.

I think what most impressed me about this story was the fact that the "swapped roles" kept coming. Rather than settling on telling a story about merely swapping Octavia and Twilight and Vinyl and Rarity, you kept switching around roles in ways that thematically made sense with your initial switch - music - until you'd made an entire alternate universe out of the swapped roles that's beckoning for the reader to investigate it more.

Fantastic job, basically. That's my judgey judgmental Judgement of this. Congrats on winning the contest!


I think what most impressed me about this story was the fact that the "swapped roles" kept coming.

I'll be honest? I was just as surprised as everyone else.

The initial seed was because I had another Octavia story that got trashed/deep backburnered. Since she was already on my mind I decided to give it a try and asked "What's the most unlikely role she could be in?" and turning her into Magic lept out as the most off-the-wall, illogical choice I could think of.

Then I went "Well crap, Octavia without Vinyl just seems wrong. I know, I'll insert some RariTwi and double-swap!"

Then it was "Well, why would they interact though?" And so monster hunting.

"But why them?" And needing musicians to fight a Siren made sense - music against music.

And then it just started rolling faster and faster and around the point I went "Well, Spike's origin doesn't make any sense at all with Octavia so... Gabby! Yeah!" and then I realized that maybe I'd gone a little far but if you're gonna do something you might as well go all in.

Still, I'm flattered that it's been well received! It's always great to know that a story's hit the mark.

10344974 Maybe you could publish the epilogue as a sequel? Just a suggestion; I don’t want to come across as demanding.

This is my second read-through, and I still think the twist is great. Throughout the fanfic, characters have talked about “the princesses”. Since their names weren’t mentioned, I assumed they were Celestia and Luna. When it turned out that they were Adagio and Sonata, everything came together. If saving the Pillars was these Elements’ first adventure, then not only does that make the AU more cohesive, but it’s also more original than a 1:1 parallel to Nightmare Moon; in fact, I like how Aria is similar to Luna here.

Also, it’s a nice touch that you mentioned griffon runes, because it opens up possibilities for Gabby. Also also, are the four protagonists’ cutie marks different in this universe?


Throughout the fanfic, characters have talked about “the princesses”.

Yup! I was actually rather careful about that. It's actually a slight clue early on that something's askew: Octavia is referred to as "the Princesses' personal student." I specifically used the plural possessive, as opposed to Twilight being the Princess's. The Pillars bit is similar, as it raises the question that if they were the initial meeting catalyst, what happened to Luna/why are there multiple Princesses? There's foreshadowing there, but I'm always gunshy about making it anything more than maximum subtle because I don't want to give the end away and readers are clever at the damnably worst times.

Also also, are the four protagonists’ cutie marks different in this universe?

Rarity's specifically remains the same, I called that out. (Authorial side note: part of why Rarity swapped with Vinyl was the super brief nod in EQG where Rarity has a Daft Punk outfit on during Rainbow Rocks.) The others, I didn't touch on but I'd mentally reworked Twilight's as being her six-pointed star surrounded by quarter-notes. After that I sort of stumbled and couldn't get a sensible thought process together for Octavia/Vinyl on any differences, so I just didn't mention them.


Does this mean that Luna and Celestia are lurking somewhere in Dougworld in human form causing trouble?

Hmmmm...the Element of Laughter is a unicorn, and prefers to entertain. My bet is on Trixie. :trixieshiftleft:

It is absolutely Trixie.

Ah, it's good to be proven correct...and it should have been telling when the Princesses weren't named. A good tale all around! :rainbowdetermined2:

This is a very interesting alternate timeline take on and Octavia the element of magic but then again I saw Applebloom and Mage Meadowbrook try to do magic without any unicorn magic so anything's possible so apparently Octavia and vinyl are asking Twilight and Rarity to help with the mission to stop a monster or something so I guess they agreed to help them I wonder how this will work out for them


Ooh, I finally recognize some of the songs! Didn't know you were a Jyc Row fan.

As I'm sure you know (and for anyone else reading the comments), parts of Diva Dance were intentionally written to be effectively impossible to sing for a human (thus fitting for an alien singer). Human singers either use autotune/other computer stuff to help with their voice (like they did in the original), change it to be easier, or you can audibly hear them struggle a little.

On the story, liked it. Musician Twi was cool. Vinyl kind of took a backburner to the other three, must be hard to write a mute character in the presence of three chatterboxes. (Actually, how are you supposed to do it anyways? Hmm. I should try it. Next BWG prompt, perhaps.)

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