For the subreddit
Shadows withered as the sun showed its head over the frosty mountain tops. Wisps of morning fog rose all over Ponyville as heat met snow. Pegasus ponies would be on alert making sure there was enough cloud cover. A little warmth was fine, but too much and there would be flooding. And no pony wanted a key part of winter wrap up to be completed this early.
It was only a month into the winter season in Equestria, and as the sun rose it became even more apparent. The pegasus ponies had gotten a little overzealous overnight and deposited a bit too much snow all over the town. Waking ponies found snow almost as high as their noses when they opened their doors. A day of tiring shoveling made most ponies grumble in anticipation.
Far off, on the edge of Ponyville, a little pony staring out her bedroom window had a different outlook on the situation. Moving faster than she normally did in the mornings, Apple Bloom hurried downstairs to the living room. Her older sister, Applejack, was slipping on her snow shoes when the filly rushed in.
“What in tarnation?” she said, “What are you doing up so early, Apple Bloom?”
The yellow pony ignored her sister’s question, too excited. A large radio on a side table was her destination. She used her mouth to turn the dial and was met with a short burst of static, followed by:
“Good morning, ponies and gentle colts! I’m Pinkie Pie, your pinkie eye in the pinkie sky!”
Applejack walked over and stood beside Apple Bloom, suddenly understanding. She smiled knowingly, “Hoping to hear what I think you are?”
“What a sight! Snow as far as the eye can see, and even more where the eye can’t!”
“Oh, I can’t remember the last time it snowed this much! I think it was back in 73, right after the hailstorm of ’72, and then the-“
Spike, bundled up against the cold with a mug of hot chocolate in his hands, coughed loudly. Pinkie Pie took the hint with a smile and blush. Ever since the baby dragon had started coming along with her on her morning weather reports they had begun staying more focused. Even so, she still managed to break off into tangents at times.
Leaning over the side of the hot air balloon where the two of them sat, Pinkie Pie spoke into the microphone again, “After a night of snow like this, there’s only one place we can go!”
On that cue, Spike maneuvered the hot air balloon lower towards one of the houses below. He stopped them a few yards over a balcony on the second floor.
“Here we are, right above-…oh! Here she comes now!”
The glass double doors opened as a purple earth pony pushed on them from the inside. Hair a mess, eyes half closed, Cheerilee walked slowly out onto the balcony. Reaching the edge, she took a look around at the snow covered landscape.
Leaning so far over the side of the balloon that Spike had to hold onto her tail, Pinkie Pie reported quietly, “This is it, fillies. The moment of truth!”
After a few moments staring out at her surroundings, the school teacher shook her head slowly at no pony in particular, then turned back around. She shut the double doors behind her and closed the curtains tight against the morning light
Jumping back into the basket of the air balloon, and nearly sending Spike’s hot chocolate overboard, the pink party pony exclaimed into the microphone…
“IT’S A SNOW DAY, EVERYPONY!”
“YAHOO!” Sweetie Belle jumped into the air in excitement and slammed into the table on the way down. It wobbled, the expensive radio on top tipping. With an “Uh oh!”, she put her hooves down on the table to stop its wobbling. It slammed back down to a rest.
“What was that?” her older sister called from the other room.
“Nothing!” the filly called back. Wiping her forehead with a hoof, Sweetie started getting dressed for the cold. Her friends would definitely want to play today!
After clearing a path a few yards with some warming magic, Rarity stepped out of her house into the trench she had created and yelled out, “Sweetie Belle? Where have you run off to?” She couldn’t see over the walls of snow that rose up to either side of her.
“Right here, sis!”
The unicorn jumped and looked all around her. The voice had come from right next to her but she could only see white snow. The sound of giggling had her turning around but still she saw nothing. “Come out here right now!” Rarity said, annoyed.
“I’m right here!” said Sweetie Belle as she walked out of the snow right beside her sister. Rarity nearly jumped out of her skin. The little filly had been practically invisible in her white beanie and matching white scarf.
Catching her breath, the elder sister pony said, “You know better than to sneak up on me like that, Sweetie!”
But the filly was barely listening. Her face had been hidden by a snow covered object she was wiping off. When the snow was clear of it, Rarity saw it was a horseshoe shaped piece of cardboard with a crudely drawn face on it. The face looked somewhat like Twilight Sparkle’s.
“I’m a…um…a ninja!” Sweetie Belle cried out and put the flimsy mask over her face. She tried to walk towards her sister but bumped into the snow wall across from her. She had, apparently, forgotten to make eye holes.
Rarity couldn’t help but let out a short laugh at her sister’s expense. The filly could be a pain in the flank sometimes, but she never stopped being adorable. “I think you would be a better spy than a ninja,” she said jokingly.
Getting up from her fall, mask lopsided, the filly’s eyes widened, “That’s it! I’m a spy!” The mask fell from her face and landed beside Rarity’s hoof. On the back side were sewing lines in a zig zap pattern.
The two ponies stared at it a moment before Rarity said, slowly, “Sweetie Belle…is that from the cardboard I use to make patterns..?” She lifted it up to her face with magic as the filly squirmed.
“Um…uh…oh!” soaring overhead, cutting Sweetie Belle’s excuse off, Scootaloo turned on her snowboard and came to a stop a few yards away
“Hey, Sweetie Belle, come on!” the orange filly yelled, “Let’s see if building a snowpony gets us our cutie marks!”
“Okay!” the little unicorn said and rushed past her sister.
Rarity turned to catch the filly with her magic before she got away but was too slow. The white pony had already blended back into her surroundings. Scootaloo used her wings to propel her forward on her snowboard and in seconds she was out of sight as well. “Sweetie Belle!” Rarity yelled in frustration.
She didn’t notice Twilight Sparkle walk up next to her or the questioning look she gave the mask of her face. When she did, the unicorn blushed and tossed the mask away with a big smile.
“It’s not what…er…would you like some hot chocolate, Twilight?”
Scootaloo and Sweetie Belle raced to the snow fields just outside Ponyville. A few other fillies from their class were also heading that way. The fresh snow was perfect for all sorts of things, but there was only so much to go around.
As the two friends crested a hill, they saw Apple Bloom already working with some snow. They slowed down as they neared her and saw what she was making.
“An…apple?” Scootaloo asked. The earth pony was putting the finishing touches on the stem of the big snow apple she had created.
“It’s part of my snowpony!” said Apple Bloom excitedly, patting the snow down.
“Um…aren’t you supposed to start with the body, not the head?” Sweetie Belle said as she walked around the snow apple. A strange looking face had been drawn on one side.
“Oh…I guess you’re right…” the earth pony rubbed the back of her head and smiled, “guess we’ll just have to make another one…”
The girls laughed together and started rolling up snow for a new snowpony.
“Aaaaand…done!” the filly said as she shoved an apple onto the snout of the snowpony.
“Isn’t it supposed to be a carrot?” the unicorn asked in a squeaky voice.
“What are you, the snowpony master or something?” the earth pony asked back.
“Am I?” the unicorn started checking her flank for a cutie mark. The other two fillies started checking their flanks as well.
Shaking her head, Scootaloo just sighed, “No cutie mark here. Looks like we need to try something else.”
Agitated, Sweetie Belle kicked the snowpony. It shook for a moment before crumbling down in a poorly constructed heap. “Oops…”
Laughing, Apple Bloom patted her friend’s shoulder, “Let’s go see what everypony else is up to!”
“Okay!” her two friends said together. The three of them rushed off towards the hill on which a few trees separated them from the rest of the class. They liked to play alone most of the time.
Cresting the snowy hill, the fillies stopped and stared. “Wooooooow…” they said in unison.
Down the hill, in the center of the plain, stood a gigantic snow fort. The walls stood higher than a grown pony and stretched at least twenty-five yards across. Packed snow made it look impenetrable. From their vantage point, the three ponies could see that the inside housed a single snow structure. They could only imagine how many hallways and tunnels filled it. The whole of the fortress nearly took up the entire plain from the edge of the river to the tree line.
Their class was all there as well. They stood outside the walls looking up at two ponies standing on the battlements. The Cutie Mark Crusaders rushed down the hill just in time to hear the end of the speech.
Diamond Tiara, in expensive looking furs, spoke to the crowd, “…and we thank you all for all your hard work on our snow fort. And, as the first order of business as queen of Fort Cutie, I hereby decree that no pony is allowed inside without a cutie mark!”
Most everypony cheered and rushed inside. A few, however, cried out in dismay. Cyan Skies, a filly pegasus, spoke the loudest, “We helped build this fort too! Why can’t we play with it?”
“Becaaaaaause!” Silver Spoon said, leaning over the wall, “Maybe if your super special talent was playing in snow forts, we’d let you in!” She and Diamond Tiara shared a laugh as they walked away.
Scoffing, Apple Bloom shook her head, “Well, that wasn’t surprising. Those ponies are always picking on anypony without a cutie mark.” Scootaloo and Sweetie Belle kept pace with her as she walked to the other cutie mark-less fillies.
The only remaining ponies outside the fort were Berry Pinch, Apple Core, Bonnie, Dinky Hooves, Rose Petal, and of course Cyan Skies. They all looked down about being left out in the cold, literally.
Scootaloo threw up her front legs and stepped forward, “We don’t need them! We can go make our own snow fort! Who’s with me?” The gathered fillies cheered with renewed life.
Together, the slightly larger Cutie Mark Crusader group rushed towards Ponyville to find fresh snow.
Pickings were slim in town. Most of the snow along the roads had been cleared and melted safely. The fillies walked through town trying to scoop up as much as they could into Scootaloo’s wagon.
As the group moved along, forcing ponies off the road in their wake, Cheerilee sat on a plush chair on her balcony with a steaming cup of hot chocolate. The table in front of her had a few papers on it with pencils holding them down. She had just finished making the next exam for the class and had decided to take a short break.
When she set the hot chocolate down and snuggled up in her blankets, sleep quickly took her. The school teacher didn’t notice the wind roll the pencil off the finished exam. Only a small sound was made as the paper lifted off with the breeze.
Pinkie Pie couldn’t stop giggling at the hopping dragon next to her, “That’s why you go BEFORE you get on!”
They were still aboard the slowly descending air balloon. Spikes dancing around didn’t make it go down any faster. “I told you, I did! It was all that hot chocolate I drank!”
“Well next time you- PAPER!” the pink pony yelled out as the exam whisked by. She made to grab it but missed, instead taking hold of the burner’s pull cord with her hooves.
As the balloon started to rise, ponies miles away could hear Spike’s cry of dismay, “NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!”
Continuing its adventure, the exam made it all the way to the edge of Sweet Apple Acres. There, it drifted on the ground next to a large, red colt.
Big Mac stopped eating his apple mid bite as the paper came to a stop beside him. It was clear it was some sort of exam. He quickly took a look around to make sure he was alone before leaning down for a closer look.
“…23…42…75…” the colt said softly as he answered every question swiftly and correctly.
“Big Mac! You out there?” Applejack called from the house.
“ER, UH,” Big Mac kicked at the paper with his front hooves until it took off with the wind again. He breathed a sigh of relief before turning towards the house and calling back, “Eeeyup!”
Making it all the way back to Ponyville took no time at all for the airborne exam. It was quickly catching up to the group of cutie mark-less ponies as they stopped their trek through town.
Their good mood had run its course and the A.D.D. of youth had started to kick back in. The wagon they pulled in turns had a pitiful amount of usable snow inside and their collective mood had turned sour.
Seeing this, Apple Bloom prepared to make a speech to rally the troops. She stood up on her back legs, raised her arms and said, “Attent-”
And that is how far she got before the exam slammed into her face, knocking her on her filly rump. After the initial shock, the gathered fillies burst out in laughter.
Blushing, Apple Bloom pulled the paper off her face as she sat up, “What in tarnation…” Her body froze when she started reading what she held.
“What is it?” said Sweetie Belle, walking behind her friend to peek over her shoulder.
“It’s…” but the earth pony couldn’t believe her eyes.
Scootaloo, tired of waiting, said, “Let me see!” and took the paper. Apple Bloom let her, a smile growing on her face. The pegasus pony scanned the paper in her hooves a moment before her jaw dropped. “It’s…it’s the next exam and all the answers!”
Every filly gasped and piled closer for a chance to see. Scootaloo, realizing this wasn’t the best place to look it over, said, “Let’s go back to the field before we give this a look!”
Though they groaned at having to wait, everypony followed Scootaloo as she raced off.
“Let me see, let me see!”
“Don’t push! You’ll get your turn!”
“Ugh! I hate math questions!”
The paper went from hoof to hoof as each filly got a chance to look at their treasure. Everypony took special care to not crumple it, per Apple Bloom’s instructions.
After they all had a chance to look, Apple Bloom took it back and held it up high, “With this, we’ll pass the next exam easy!” A cheer went up among the gathered fillies.
And the wind took the paper right out of Apple Bloom’s hands.
They stood there a moment in silence.
“GET IT!” yelled Scootaloo. Everypony rushed after the floating paper as it flew away. Scootaloo, the fastest, followed inches behind it up the hill and through the trees. Even so, it kept just out of reach. As they burst from the trees at the top of the hill, the pegasus leaped in one final attempt.
The rest of the group caught up in time to see her land face first in the snow. Paying little heed to their cries, the exam kept on flying towards the gigantic snow fortress below.
Sipping her hot chocolate through a straw, seated on a throne of packed snow, Diamond Tiara listened to Silver Spoon talk on and on and on about her new toy.
“And!” said the excited gray filly, “my daddy said it can shoot a snowball thirty hooves!”
“That’s…great…” said the spoiled earth pony, clearly bored. A commotion outside pricked her ears up, “What was that?” The two fillies sat in silence as they listened to the cries of dismay coming from the hill. “Come on! And bring that thing too!”
That “thing” was the toy Silver Spoon had been going on about: a snowball shooter the size of a filly. The only reason Diamond Tiara had told her to bring the heavy thing was to punish her for talking so much about it. However, right before her eyes, the gray earth pony folded up the shooter into a pack and put it on her back with a smile.
The commotion was getting louder so the pink pony decided to punish her friend later. They hurried out of the throne room, through halls of snow and ice, and out onto the ramparts. Other ponies playing inside the fort were already there.
“Out of the way! Queen of the fortress coming through!” Diamond Tiara forced her way through the press for a better look over the side.
Scootaloo, covered in snow, chased after a piece of paper steadily flying its way towards the fort. The scene made most of the ponies on the wall laugh. Diamond Tiara, however, knew that if Scootaloo wanted that paper, then so did she. “Catch that paper!” she shouted to those around her.
The order was slow to set in but when it did no pony dawdled. Snips and Snails even jumped over the side of the wall, landing so deep in the snow they were out of the game instantly. Tiny Ice flapped her wings as she leapt off the wall. She managed to catch the wind coming at her and glided the distance to the paper, catching it in her teeth. The pegasus turned midair and flew through the open ice gate, which promptly slammed down behind her.
Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon were waiting on the other side for her return. The pink earth filly grabbed the paper from Tiny Ice and opened it up, reading the first line she saw out loud, “Exam 4…” It took her just a moment to realize what she had. When it clicked, she burst out in laughter. Silver Spoon, not catching on yet, laughed along with her anyways.
Scootaloo ran into the ice gate and bounced back just as the others caught up. Everypony was out of breath but Sweetie Belle still stepped forward and yelled, “That’s ours! Give it back!”
Still laughing, Diamond Tiara walked up to the gate and said, “It’s in MY fort, so it’s mine!” With that, she turned and walked away, “Come on, let’s go take a closer look at this.”
But the ponies outside did not go away. They crowded upon the ice gate, yelling and hollering. Before the pink filly got inside the solitary snow building, she had had enough. She turned to Silver Spoon, “Make yourself useful and use that new toy of yours on them!”
Nodding eagerly, Silver Spoon took her back up to the wall. It took her only seconds to set it up and pour some snow into it. Leaning over the edge, she whistled to the fillies below. They stopped their fuss long enough to look up and to the side at her as she flipped the turret’s switch. It made a high pitched beeping sound before zeroing in on the nearest filly outside the wall and letting fly snowball after snowball.
The screams of rage turned to ones of terror as the cutie mark-less ponies ran away from the hail of snow. Only when they were out of the turrets range did they stop, and they were at the top of the hill again. Flipping the turret off, Silver Spoon bent to start packing it up.
Snip and Snails freed themselves from the snow and shook the remainder off themselves. Snips turned to the gate, “Hey! Let us in!”
Silver Spoon looked over to Diamond Tiara. The pink filly shook her head slowly. Smiling, the gray filly adjusted her glasses and said, “Let me think about that a moment…” With a hoof, she flipped the turret on again. It beeped, targeted, and let fly at the two colts below.
They ran screaming from the snowballs, the sound of laughter chasing them.
“It’s not fair!” Apple Bloom said, kicking snow with her back legs. She and the other fillies had walked over the hill back to their small snow field, defeated. “That exam is ours! We found it first!”
“But what can we do?” Dinky Hooves asked. Everypony looked to the Cutie Mark Crusaders. No pony wanted to give up, even if that looked like the only option.
Suddenly, Snips and Snails came barreling down the hill to rest in a heap beside the ponies. The gathered stared as the two fillies got up and stumbled, dizzy from their tumbling.
Light bulbs appeared over the top of the CMC’s heads. Scootaloo rushed Snips and shook him, “You’ve been inside the snow fort, right?”
Berry Pinch squeaked, “We’ve been inside too, we built it…”
“Yes, but,” Scootaloo smiled, “Snips and Snails have been inside recently! They might know if one of the walls is getting weaker! If one is…”
Doing a karate chop, Apple Bloom said, “We could break in! Then they wouldn’t have any time to stop us! I like it!”
“Uh…what?” Snails asked as the ponies surrounded him and Snips.
After convincing Snips and Snails that they would share the exam answers with them, the ponies got them to reveal where the fortress was steadily weakening. Amazingly, it was the front gate itself. Snips explained to the others inside the CMC’s tree house, “Because that ice gate is so heavy, it puts a lot of strain on the rest of the structure. A few good whacks should loosen it up enough to knock the whole thing down.”
The ponies stared at him, jaws to the ground.
“What..? I like to build stuff…”
Shaking her head, Apple Bloom started, “Alright, we know where we are going to attack. Now we just need some…what are they called…roles!”
“Roles are for dramas, dummy,” said Scootaloo.
“No they’re for plays, not dramas!” corrected Sweetie Belle.
“Whatever!” shouted Apple Bloom, “We need to know what we all are going to do!” She looked at everypony. They looked back at her. “Um…what’s everypony good at?”
Apple Core, the pale pink earth filly, stepped forward first, “Well, my aunty Heartstrings taught me how to do this.” With a little push from her front legs, she got up on her two back legs and stood. She wobbled but held her balance. “I can throw snowballs really well like this, I’ve practiced!”
Everypony in the room said, “Woooaaah, cool!”
Eager to show off now, Dinky Hooves the gray unicorn said, “My mommy lets me light the stove sometimes!” She closed her eyes and concentrated. After a second, a few sparks of flame shot off her horn.
Scootaloo said, “Uh, maybe you should show us that one outside? After everypony else…” Dinky blushed and nodded.
Next up was Berry Pinch, another unicorn, “Well, my mommy lets me heat our cookies up!” The filly closed her eyes and gritted her teeth as her horn lit up. Instantly, everypony around her felt warmer.
“This feels great!” said Apple Bloom, standing closer to the unicorn, “I bet snowballs will melt right off with you around!”
The pegasus filly, Rose Petal, said, “I can fly really well already, so I can toss snowballs at anyone I see. But it takes me some time to go down and get another one…”
“That’s alright, we could use a pony in the sky,” Sweetie Belle squeaked.
“You know that toy Silver Spoon used on us?” Cyan Skies asked, “My mom got me one of those, too! It’s just kind of hard to put together, so I didn’t bring it out. I can get it, though!” she quickly added. Everypony nodded that she should.
After Cyan Skies darted out for home, all eyes went to Bonnie, the gold earth pony. She looked around at the ponies and said, quietly, “Um…mine is best seen outside too…” Everypony looked confused but headed outside to the snow. They could see tracks left behind by Cyan Skies.
When they were away from the tree house and onto fresh snow, and making sure Dinky wasn’t burning anything behind their backs, Apple Bloom said, “Alright, show us what you can do.”
“Um…alright…” Bonnie said meekly. In an instant, she dug down into the snow and was gone. Startled, no pony knew what she was doing. The snow just inches in front of the gathered fillies started to quake. Before they could move, the snow exploded up and onto them. It was enough to bury them to their flanks.
Bonnie stood in the middle of them standing on top of the new snow.
After gathering up the toy, some snow goggles, and a wrench, Cyan Skies returned to the others by the tree house. She walked in just as Dinky Hooves shot a stream of fire at a pile of snow she had prepared. The other fillies were a little concerned but Dinky never showed any signs of ill intent.
Fresh snow was going fast, what with Bonnie knocking it everywhere, Dinky melting it, and the others practicing throwing snowballs at one another. Cyan Skies set her pack down and gathered up some of the dwindling resource. The others noticed her and came over as she was using a wrench with her teeth to tighten a screw. The toy looked just like Silver Spoon’s, but it was a different color.
“Hey, Cyan, check this out!” Berry Pinch said, getting the filly’s attention. Everypony knew what she wanted to show already, Apple Bloom and Sweetie Belle getting into place. Sweetie Belle started making a snowball while Berry Pinch stood next to Apple Bloom.
The yellow earth pony asked, “Are you sure about this? You’ve used a lot of magic already…”
“I’m fine! I can do it one more time!” said the unicorn beside her. It was getting late and they all knew they would have to head home soon. The filly wanted one more chance to show off.
Sweetie Belle, not the best at aiming, started to line up her snowball. Berry Pinch closed her eyes and concentrated, her horn starting to glow. The glow streamed out quickly and engulfed Apple Bloom, who smiled at the warmth. As it completely covered her, the white unicorn let fly. The snowball hit the glow around the pony and turned to slush, which quickly evaporated off of her.
Panting, Berry Pinch released the magic and dropped to her knees. The others ran to her, Apple Bloom saying, “I told you, you shouldn’t push yourself!”
“I know, I know,” the unicorn said, standing up but still breathing hard. “I guess I can only do that for a few seconds…but I can still melt snowballs off.”
Sweetie Belle let the other filly lean on her while everypony turned to Cyan Skies. The pony stared back for a moment before remembering her toy. “Oh, right! It’s all set up!” she said, leading them over to it.
Scootaloo was the first to ask what was on everypony’s mind, “Will this thing hit us too?”
“Well, it really just fires at anything that moves, but if we all wear a certain color I can make it ignore that,” Cyan Skies explained, tinkering with a small display on the back of the turret. “Ah! If we all wear bright blue we should be fine now.”
“My sister has some new blue cloth! I can make us matching uniforms!” Sweetie Belle moved forward while she spoke, causing Berry Pinch to fall over. “Oops, sorry…”
Giggling, Apple Bloom said, “Try and make them for ponies this time, ok?”
“We’ll meet back here tomorrow at dawn!” Scootaloo shouted. Everypony mumbled something about waking up too early, so she corrected, “We’ll meet back here tomorrow afternoon!”
They all cheered so loud snow fell from the nearby trees.
Somepony must have missed the memo because Ponyville awoke to another snow covered day. School was canceled again as ponies everywhere dug themselves paths around town.
Snow melted and flowed away as Rarity walked in front of her sister, “Are you sure it isn’t too heavy for you?”
The unicorn filly followed along with a large clothes bin full of blue uniforms they had worked on. She walked slowly, sweating in the chill, “It’s fine, I’ve got it!”
Shaking her head, the older pony just smiled and continued to melt a path towards the snow fields. She remembered when she was that young and headstrong. Sometimes she still felt that way. It was always good to remind herself how a child acts and how she should act.
Sounds of fillies laughing and playing could be heard ahead of her so she stopped her magic and poked her head up over the wall of snow. A rogue snowball hit her square between the eyes. The laughter cut off.
Rarity turned to Sweetie Belle, snow covering her face, and said, “Be home before dinner time…”, and then walked back the way she came, head held high.
For the sake of her sister’s pride, Sweetie Belle waited until she was out of earshot to fall over with laughter. The bin of clothes fell off of her and spilled out. When she collected herself, she realized what she’d done, “Oh no!”
“Need a hand?”
The filly looked up and saw the others smiling down at her. Before she could say anything they pounced the pile of clothes. They kicked up enough snow that a cloud formed around them as they fought over who got what. Sweetie Belle jumped in, having not picked her clothes yet.
However, it was too late. She landed on empty dirt. “Hey! You didn’t leave me anything!”
Scootaloo adjusted a blue hat with ear muffs and said, “With your white beanie covering your hair you’re invisible anyways, Sweetie!”
“Yeah, I’m sure you’ll be fine!” Apple Bloom chimed in, slipping on a blue vest.
The others were too busy fitting into the mismatched clothes to add their own views. Dinky Hooves put on a blue ski mask with snow goggles sewn on and a hole for her horn. Bonnie had a blue beanie and sash. Cyan Skies got her hands on one blue glove and a beanie too big for her. Berry Pinch, on the other hoof, had gotten hold of two blue gloves and a pair of snow goggles. Apple Core had a beanie and sash with wide pockets to carry snow in.
Rose Petal was wearing a blue australian hat she had brought from home. Everypony gave her a look. “What?” she asked.
Apple Core said, “Don’t you think that is a little…”
“Ugly,” said Sweetie Belle.
“My daddy wore this hat when he was in the royal guards!” the pegasus said hotly.
Apple Bloom was quick to cut in, “It’s fine! It looks good on you, right, Scootaloo?”
“Uh…yeah, sure,” the orange pegasus was too busy playing with her hat to properly respond. It was enough for Rose Petal, though, and she smiled and went back to practicing her flying.
Pouting but realizing they were right about her, Sweetie Belle practiced blending in with the snow. There was no set time for them to assault the fort. A general consensus of “when we are ready” seemed to be held by all. They were, however, just fillies, and their patience ran out quickly.
Apple Bloom made them all go through the plan one more time before they set off up the hill separating their field and the fort. They belly crawled until they were in between the trees, hidden by the snow from the fortress’s eyes. Apparently some advance feeling of unease had preceded them: Silver Spoon had her turret set up on the wall dead center over the gate.
A squabble broke out among the CMC over the new developments. No pony could figure out why the toy was set up there and not inside somewhere where the ponies inside could play with it.
The answer was made clear as Pinke Pie in her hot air balloon swooped by. Sensing her, the turret turned skyward and let fly snowball after snowball. Pinkie, giggling, flew away, avoiding every one. She must have been having the time of her life while Silver Spoon had to continuously refill the turret with snow.
Quickly tiring of the inaction, Apple Bloom said, “Sweetie, can you get close to that thing and turn it off?” It wasn’t more than twenty yards to the fortress wall. Once against it, it would be easy for the nearly invisible pony to climb it undetected. The plan had come up before and only knocked down because Sweetie Belle hadn’t wanted to climb the wall in a bright blue uniform.
As that wasn’t an issue anymore, the white unicorn nodded and vanished. She was good at what she did now. Everypony had trouble pointing her out until she made it to the wall.
Other than Silver Spoon occasionally returning to refill the turret, no pony was up on the wall. Sweetie Belle hurried up and onto it, leaving hoof sized holes in the packed snow she climbed. The turret, pointing sky high still, did not notice her. She flipped it off and waved to the others.
A shout from inside turned the pony’s head. Silver Spoon was standing outside the main building, snowballs in hand. “Pony messing with my turret!” the gray filly yelled and threw.
The approaching fillies saw Sweetie Belle duck down and vanish again. Apple Bloom and Scootaloo lead the charge to the ice gate. Their friend was in trouble and nothing would stop them now. Sounds of shouting came from within the fortress but so far no pony noticed their rush.
Stepping to the sides of the gate the two leading ponies made room for Bonnie. Once they were out of the way, the earth pony dived into the snow yards before the gate. Covering their faces, and unconscious smiles, they watched as Bonnie exploded from the snow, bucking the gate with frost and hoof. It didn’t last long enough for a second attempt. True to their word, the gate crashed inward just as Snips and Snails said it would.
Overhead, Pinkie Pie cried through her microphone, “The blue team has taken control of the gate!”
Diamond Tiara was showing off her new fur coat to the other ponies inside her fort for the hundredth time when they heard Pinkie Pie yelling overhead. It didn’t make sense to them, but as they were all in there and not at the gate, they could put two and two together and realize something was going on outside.
They rushed out the exits, leaving Diamond Tiara alone on her throne. She pouted but let them go. Resting one hand on the exam, which she put inside a suitcase her father had given her to keep it dry, she knew life was good.
The fortress walls of snow made perfect ammunition on the run as Silver Spoon chased Sweetie Belle down the halls. “No one touches my toy and gets away with it!” said the haughty filly.
Wanting nothing more than to go invisible but not having time to with the snowballs flying, Sweetie Belle ran as fast as she could. Already she was hit in the leg and the frost was slowing her down. All she needed was some time alone where she could rest and blend in again, but that didn’t seem to be a possibility.
To make matters worse, a filly started rushing down the hallway from the other direction. The unicorn stopped, panting. The approaching pony was Sun Glimmer, a pony who looked strangely like herself. Suddenly she had an idea.
Silver Spoon was still running full speed when the pony she was chasing lobbed a snowball right at her. It smacked her snow goggles crooked, smudging them in the process. “Hey!”
“Quick! Hit her!”
The gray earth pony tried to squint through her snow covered goggles. She could make out two tumbling ponies, both white with snow. They came apart and one pointed at the other, “She’s the one! Hit her!”
“Nah uh!” claimed the other one, “She’s the one! Hit her!”
“Uh….” Silver Spoon was slightly dazed and confused at the two lookalike ponies.
One stepped forward, “I really love your goggles, Silver Spoon. I so want to hear all about them and all your toys!”
“What?!” said the other, “Oh, come on, like she is going to-” she was cut off as Silver Spoon got her right between the eyes, knocking her down into the snow.
Walking up to her friend, the gray pony said, “Well, that was an obvious choice, friend!”
“You said it, friend!” said the unicorn, moving behind the other filly, hoof raised up high with a snowball aimed at her neck.
A high pitched scream sounding something like “COOOOOOOLD!” shook the fortress for a moment no pony paid it any attention. The “blue team” as Pinkie had called them were scattered all over the fortress now. Their goal was confusion and misdirection, but their primary goal was to find the exam. Once found, the pony with it would escape from the fort and meet up with the others at the tree house.
That plan had seemed amazingly perfect when it was conceived. In action, the ponies found it harder to remember their mission as they exchanged snowballs with the fort inhabitants.
Dinky Hooves, in particular, was having trouble bringing her unique magic to bear. It was not in her to cause physical harm to anypony. She had, however, though up several ideas for safe use of her “firepower”.
Sunny Daze, a yellow earth filly, was keeping them hunkered down outside an entrance down into the tunnels. Anytime anypony tried to enter they got a huge snowball to the face. Apple Core tried to retaliate but she didn’t have the reach the other pony had.
Smiling, Dinky Hooves lowered her head and had Apple Core count down. At zero, she shot a line of fire from her horn at the snow at the entrance to the tunnel. A steam cloud instantly formed. Wasting no time, Apple Core rushed through the smoke screen, launching snowballs all the way.
The Dinky was right behind her.
Running at the main entrance to the fortress, of course, Berry Pinch followed Apple Bloom. She kept her magic ready to melt off any snowballs that came in.
It was lucky the pair had chosen that means of entry. Fickle in their alliances, Snips and Snails stopped them just inside the fort’s antechamber. Their barricades and supply of snowballs suggested they had taken their information of the invasion to heart.
Unfortunately for them, what Apple Bloom lacked in accuracy she made up for with numbers. Her front legs were windmills as she buried both fillies in frost. Smiling, she was about to turn to give Berry Pinch a high five when two fillies came into the room.
Much like the pair that had just arrived, Tootsie Flute the unicorn followed Peachy Pie the earth pony. The two pairs of ponies stared down each other a moment. The snowballs started flying seconds later.
Both Apple Bloom and Peachy Pie had poor aim but the amazing ability to throw a lot of snowballs in a minute. Berry Pinch knew her friend would need her power and sent it out to surround the earth pony. Tootsie Flute used a similar power to surround Peach Pie.
As the snow flew, the earth ponies got closer and closer. They hit each other but the magic around them melted the damage away. Soon they were only a few yards away, pelting each other with all they had. The snow was never in danger of ending as any they needed the other provided. It would be a battle of magic.
And Tootsie Flute, not knowing such a battle was approaching and therefore having no time to practice, had to release hers first. Poor Peachy Pie didn’t know what hit her as snowball after snowball sent her reeling back into her friend. The two fell together in a hail of snowballs.
Berry Pinch released her magic when she realized they had won. Knees weak, she dropped and panted. Apple Bloom started to fuss over her but the pony waved her away, “I’ll meet you back at the tree house…go get that exam!”
Rose Petal was the only filly of the blue team not to go any deeper into the fortress right away. She climbed the wall in search of a better view of the courtyard before the main building. Perhaps some pony would come out in search of a snowball from on high?
Though no ponies exited the building, across the way a blue filly nearly got her in the side with a snowball she had only seen coming by pure luck. It was fast, like something she would throw. The filly, who she recognized as Archer Bodkin, was already preparing another for her.
“Oh, no you don’t!” Rose Petal said, adjusting her oversized hat. She grabbed a hoofful of snow and dodged the snowball she felt more then saw coming. It slammed into the snow along the top of the wall behind her. In the seconds the other filly needed to create her next snowball the pegasus lined up her shot.
As Archer Bodkin rose, a snowball hit her right in the chest. The range stole a lot of the power from it but it was enough to surprise her into dropping her packed snow.
The next one was a headshot, taking all of her resolve for the battle away.
Managing to avoid any real conflict, or outpacing any she did find, Scootaloo made it into the throne room without a speck of snow on her. It was empty of everypony. There was, however, a red suitcase next to a throne with some paper sticking out of it. Shrugging, the filly ran up and grabbed it.
“The blue team has taken the intelligence!” Pinkie Pie yelled through her microphone, startling everypony within a mile radius. She was looking in through hole in the side of the fort that was being called a window.
“Pinkie Pie!” screamed Scootaloo, but the random pink pony’s damage was done. Diamond Tiara rushed into the room through a side entrance and saw her instantly.
“You!” she yelled at the pegasus, “You’re not allowed in here! Put that down!”
Grinning, Scootaloo grabbed snow in one hoof and said, “I’d like to see you make me!” She hurled the snowball at the pink earth filly.
Before it reached its target, however, a large brown filly knocked it out of the air with one hoof. Stealing Scootaloo’s smile, Diamond Tiara said, “Scootaloo, I think you remember Hot Rod, don’t you?”
Frown becoming a grown, “The only one to ever beat me in a race, how could I forget…” The orange pegasus dropped the suitcase off her back so it wouldn’t slow her down. She didn’t try and toss any snowballs, yet. At that range, neither filly would hit the other.
The stare down lasted seconds. Diamond Tiara could have sworn both ponies turned to smoke for a moment as they both moved so quickly that snow kicked up behind them. The filly backed up out of the room so that she wouldn’t get sprayed by the frost.
Running as fast as she could, Scootaloo got within feet of Hot Rod and threw a snowball. It missed by inches, but she didn’t see as she had to dodge her own incoming snow.
They disengaged and came back together, snowballs flying the instant they got close enough to lower the chance of missing to near zero. But every snowball missed its mark.
Hot Rod came to a panting stop across the room from where she entered. Scootaloo stopped by the throne, feet from the suitcase. They were both exhausted. The next rush would be the final one. The pegasus dug in her hooves and prepared herself for the final confrontation.
From behind Hot Rod appeared Sweetie Belle, as if from nothing at all. The snowball in her hand came down on the back of the other pony’s neck. Squeaking and crying out, Hot Rod ran blindly forward into the wall of snow on the other side of the room. She ended up buried halfway inside the frost wall.
Mouth agape, Scootaloo shook her head and said, “Sweetie Belle! She was mine!”
The white pony shrugged at her friend as Apple Bloom entered the room behind her and said, “Girls, I think it’s time we got out of here! Dinky got a little carried away and-”
She was cut off by the beginnings of quake. Snow started to drift down from the ceiling.
“RUN!” the three ponies yelled, Scootaloo stopping only to grab the suitcase handle in her teeth. They ran out of the throne room into the hallway, other fillies joining their mad dash. Snow fell all around them now as the fortress began to collapse.
“What the hay did Dinky do?!” Sweetie Belle cried as they ran. No pony wasted breath on answering her. All they knew is they needed to run faster.
The CMC and a few of the previous occupants of the fortress ran out of the broken down gate as a white cloud of snow overtook them. The fort had returned to its natural form: a mound of shapeless snow.
Even though they were out of the danger zone the cutie mark-less fillies didn’t stop running until they were to the tree house. Everypony else was already there and approached them as they collapsed. Scootaloo released the suitcase but didn’t have the energy to open it.
Dinky Hooves, hair a little charred around her horn, took the liberty of seeing what was inside. It was only one piece of paper with the corner crumpled where it was sticking out: the exam. The fillies cheered.
Gaining strength from their excitement, Apple Bloom stood up and said, “We did it! We got the exam!”
“What exam would that be?”
The silence that came over the fillies was nearly visible. Cheerilee, in Pinkie Pie’s air balloon with the pink pony, leaned over the side of the basket and smiled a knowing smile.
Before anypony could say anything, Apple Bloom grabbed the exam and lifted it up, “Um, uh, we found it for you!”
“Yeah!” chimed in Scootaloo, “We were just on our way to bring it to you!”
The basket touched down and the teacher hopped out, “Oh really?”
Sweetie Belle, not able to come up with anything, just nodded and smiled as big as she could. Apple Core shook her head at her.
“Well, as long as you didn’t look at it, then I suppose there’s no need to punish any of you,” said Cheerilee, picking up the exam in her teeth and walking back to the basket. Every filly on the ground breathed a sigh of relief as the air balloon lifted off again.
Yelling as loud as she could into her microphone before she was out of range, Pinkie Pie yelled, “THE BLUE TEAM WINS!”
Snow fell from the trees over the fillies and they scattered screaming as it fell down all around. Only the cutie mark crusaders remained when the frost settled.
Sighing, Scootaloo said, “What a waste! We had that exam and we had to give it up!”
“Yeah,” said Sweetie Belle, finding her voice, “But we did have fun, at least!”
“And we wrecked those two snooty pony’s fort too!” added Apple Bloom. “I’d say this has been a good day.”
“Sure, but we didn’t get the exam!” lamented Scootaloo, covering her face with her hooves.
Sweetie Belle and Apple Bloom shared a look. The unicorn snuck up behind her pegasus friend and got her right in the neck with a snowball.
“Wasn’t me! It was Apple Bloom!”
They laughed as they chased each other around, tossing snowballs at each other.
Cheerilee smiled down at them as she flew overhead, “I swear, those fillies will never learn…”
“Who wants to learn when you’ve got cake!” said Pinkie Pie, digging in to some more chocolate cake. It had been the fare for the air balloon ride for Cheerilee.
She frowned a moment before realized the crazy pony had not meant it as an insult. Smiling again, the pony decided to get some cake while she could.
Pinkie Pie was notorious for her cake eating skills.
~ The End ~