• 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 A Canterlot Engagement

Princess Cadance has been sleepwalking, and has no idea why. Twilight's Advanced Projects group has the perfect way to find out -- assuming Tempest can talk Cadance into going along with it...

In the process, Twilight and her friends learn a few things they didn't know about Cadance's past -- and find some unexpected mysteries as well...

For more of this series, see: Where Trouble Goes.

And also check out the entire series, beginning with Not Exactly Friends.

Chapters (1)
Comments ( 38 )

Yay! AP returns.

I wonder how the Crystal Empire fell in this timeline.

Jinkies! How will the gang solve this mystery?

Always happy to see another installment in your series! Thanks!

... all the way up the long staircase, leading to the exit.

Sombra (and Silverstream) approves.

Ehyyyy It's back!

As always, love the installation in the series and I hope to see many more like it.

Ooh, intriguing! And a lovely birthday present, I must say. Cheers, mate!

Cadence being an Alicorn pissed of a lot of ppl. Because what she did to earn her horn pales in comparison to what Twilight has to go through which cheapened the whole ascension thing.
So some fan works like the Pony POV series have her be born an alicorn, but a far cry from the might that the royal sisters wield.

Very nice! Good way of delving into Cadence's origins...and now I'm thinking the spell that cast the Crystal Empire away wasn't Sombra's work, but that of Princess Amore...the one Cadence can't quite remember as being "Auntie". And Sombra misused it, which is what Cadence was babbling about.

However, since none of the six unicorns was of a particularly dressy turn of mind

A bookworm, a super nerd, an ex-bully, an ex-criminal, a wandering mare and the scruffy mare next door
Yeah they're not the fashion type... yet they're still likely to be among the top 20 prettiest in equestria AT LEAST

"Not like a certain magician/showpony?" Tempest asked quietly. "Who spent most of her fillyhood learning to be the earthly agent of Nightmare Moon?"

YOU don't have the right to criticize COMMANDER Tempest

Absolute power can corrupt absolutely, unless the caster is very clear on their intentions, and their own personal limitations. Given too much power too fast, and lacking experience in controlling it, you start believing you can do anything. And if anything contradictory comes along, you just explain it away as a projection of your will, or else try to blame it on somepony you imagine is working against you.

A certain amulet flashed into my head

I was hoping someone would spot that reference!
Sombra casts a long shadow...

"Ah, it's my old nemesis... stairs..." -- Po

Happy birthday! And many happy returns!

Woohoo, a new installment, adding a little joy in my life.

As a card-carrying bookworm/nerd myself, a big appeal of FIM has been seeing those qualities in Twilight rewarded -- with friends, with responsibility, and ultimately with ascension, so I was okay with Twilight being made a Princess and having to figure out her role as one.

But bear in mind that innate, instinctive kindness and caring, as demonstrated by Cadance, is itself a rare and precious gift -- and hence well worth rewarding and protecting (or, through ascension/Princesshood, giving it the power to defend itself).


A bookworm, a super nerd, an ex-bully, an ex-criminal, a wandering mare and the scruffy mare next door...

Starlight: "Who's scruffy-looking? And I don't get any points for inventing spells on the fly? Sigh..."

YOU don't have the right to criticize COMMANDER Tempest

Tempest likes yanking Trixie's chain a bit, because they're both flawed, and hence have a lot in common.

A certain amulet flashed into my head

Or in Sunset's case, a certain crown -- though in this AU, Sunset wasn't driven to the extreme of vengeance that made her forget that all-important lesson about magic power.

How so? Cadance actually made people's lives better. Twilight just fixed her own screwup.

Yeah but that was just one instance while Twilight cleaning up her own mess which led to her own ascension as it was the culmination of all her previous hard work/cleaning up coming together.

Cadence would probably earn less ire if either she 1) continued doing what she was doing ONSCREEN before earning her horn like Twilight or 2) have to deal with something that requires alicorn level of magic, to prove that she is worthy of her granted power.

Well, let's see:
1) suddenly taking charge of an entire dominion, which depends on her to serve as the focus for the love and respect that powers its shield?
2) serving as a replacement for that shield before it was up and running, against King Sombra?
3) raising a baby alicorn (maybe that should just be #1, actually)
4) foal-sitting Twilight Sparkle, who could probably provide on demand a sixteen-page paper setting out in iron-clad detail exactly why she should be allowed to stay up an extra two minutes?
5) somehow managing to remain a caring, optimistic pony throughout it all?

Always remember, it's the unsung heroes (and heroines) like parents and teachers and mentors, doing the boring-but-important stuff, that makes possible the stories that we actually remember and retell.

"That," she said, "is why you call in the professionals..."

And that is using underhoofed tactics for good, Commander.

Next they tried gossiping, but given how few other ponies they actually knew, this almost immediately drifted into a technical discussion of spell efficiency. Which, in turn, devolved into the inevitable religious debate over magic allocation and reclamation, and iterative versus tail-recursive spell construction.

Buncha nerds! Shoulda turned this into a session of O&O!


Buncha nerds! Shoulda turned this into a session of O&O!

That was the other party, you see. But that is an issue with this team: no Rarity-equivalent.
(In fact, Moondancer in full topknot-and-sweater mode is kind of the anti-Rarity.)

Well, well, quite the fascinating story being hinted at in the background here. I love some of the implications this brings up, never having read the source material you're tweaking. This ought to be very interesting to see where you go with it.

I shudder at the thought of Trixie as DM, she'd be both amazing and horrible at it at the same time. And given Twilight and Moondancer, and to a lesser extent, Sunset, that group is FAR too full of potential rules lawyers for my liking. :rainbowlaugh:

Yeah, all these happened AFTER she got her horn. So was her workload increasing to reflect her power? Still the big problem is that most of these stuff happened offscreen and had to be told about because she had the sin of being a side character. Can't have her steal the main character's thunder. A smaller example applies to Shining Armor and all the other setting-important characters.

Well, that's what fanfics are for.

Great job on this latest installment of your "Advanced Projects Gang" series. Absolutely loved the work that went into the exchanges, characterizations, general wrap-up and future story set-up in all the right places. I especially liked the bits of banter between the girls (the "Prude/traditionalist" bit being just one of many good examples), as well as the Mythology Gag to "Look Before You Sleep", the bits of Cadance's backstory and the foreshadowing for the return of the Crystal Empire.

REALLY looking forward to more of this.

Nothing wrong with two parties having the same game. There's only so many games to go around, you see. And anyone who says that mares can't play O&O hasn't read the Wavelengths timeline. Or any of several other fics depicting mares playing O&O. I'd play O&O with mares, and probably get my flanks kicked!

There, all caught up. This has been a very fun read so far. This group works very well together. Looking forward to future installments :)

...But what did you do, Sombra? What did you do? And why have I never been able to figure this out, not in a thousand years?"

What Sombra did(or at least my best guess of it) :

He caused his own banishment to include the Crystal Empire, by making his shadowy self permeate throughout(or fuse with) the Crystal Empire. So when he was banished, the target of his banishment included the Empire as well, thus making the largest hostage scenario in the history of Equstria. As the banishment performed by the Elements had to increase its radius of effect to include all of Sombra's shadowy self, thus unknowingly scooping up the rest of the Empire along with Sombra in his banishment, a not-so-classic case of 'be careful what you wish for' & 'nuking cockroaches'.

Like if you were trying to save a city from a plague of fleas & locusts that are infesting it, and to do so, you wish for an explosion to occur at the location of every locust & every flea, all of the pests would die, but you destroy the city by blowing it all up through collateral damage, despite making the wish to try & save the city in the first place.


The stage is set for the next evolution of the AP Fillies!

Yet another interesting tale. A sleepover episode along which Cadance giving her backstory to the AP group (also nice nod to the source material) as well as subtle hints of the Crystal Empire and perhaps another project for the AP crew to do. Perhaps returning the Crystal Empire or preparing for Sombra.

Maybe a cameo from Hope when that arc finally comes around as well as possibly the AP gathering of the broken shards of Princess Amore as well?

Overall, yet another nice addition to this series of stories. Both a breather as well as hints of what's to come like the last story.

What did you do? And why have I never been able to figure this out, not in a thousand years?

Advanced Projects Group: New project detected! :yay:


And what's this?!

I seem to have run out of sequels!! :pinkiegasp:

Finally got around to reading the last story.

This is a great series. My only criticism is it seems that more effort is put in to make the Mane 6 appear more equal.
So it was really jarring a few stories back when Twilight was explicitly mentioned to be sitting in front of all the others before Celestia.

Thanks much for reading, and for sharing your thoughts!

Twilight isn't necessarily "more equal" than the others, apart from being Celestia's original personal student (technically she's one of six now, or seven if you count Cheese Sandwich). She's simply the pony that Celestia has tapped as nominal leader for the AP group, given her natural capacity for bringing and holding her friends together:

(From By The Light of the Moon)

"Twilight," Celestia said, smiling down at her. "Every group needs a leader. In addition to your skills with magic, you have a knack for guiding and encouraging your friends. So I would like you to continue doing so, continue doing the excellent job you've been doing so far."

As the saying goes, blessed are the peacemakers. Or to put it another way, if you're halfway competent and don't get out of the way quickly enough, they'll put you in charge...

i thought for sure the second series would center around Queen Chrysalis, not Sombra. one more part to read tho


disreputable folksong about a distracted Star Swirl teaching the twelve basic forms of structured magic to his assistant Clover the Clever.

Is Tom Neihrer in this universe?

Glad I finally found this story. Somehow it completely passed me by when it was first published. Oh well, such is life.

First off the jokes at the beginning were top notch even if they were made at a certain guard pony's expense. I also loved the characterization of Shinning Cadence and the girls and the lore building from the O & O session to the nuances of various arguments to Cadence's background was expertly done.

I love the hints to what the future holds for the series. The phenomenal premise of a fresh new take on the series, the fresh and consistent writing and world building and wonderful characterizations, is what keeps me coming back to this series. Looking forward to future instalments.

Many thanks! This is a "quieter", more for-fun episode in the series. And I'm hoping that readers enjoy them as much as the big set-piece, rainbow-lasers/explosions/blue-meanies(*) action stories, because they're a useful vehicle for telling important bits of lore and/or backstory in depth, as with Cadance's history in this one.

By the way, I update both the list on Not Exactly Friends, as well as the box on my profile page whenever there's a new story in the series, so you can always check either place to see if there's something new up.

(* Yellow Submarine reference -- yeah, I'm dating myself with that, but what do I care? :-)

" Lieutenant, " she snarled, "how would you like being hung by your hind-hooves over the main drawbridge of the Palace, as a warning to the next six generations of Guard officers not to barge in unexpectedly when you're not wanted?"

wtf? she was literally doing her job?

This is an interesting plothook.

A nice little backstory for Cadance and a great slumber party, stories and backstory included!

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