It was a dark, cold night. In fact, it was one of the last couple nights of winter. Somewhere in the snowy mountains near the Crystal Empire, the winds blew harsh and wild, bringing with it the cold of the season, and through an open window of a dark, icy castle with cracked walls and towers and covered with spiky icicles. In fact, the castle itself almost looked like a giant monster's mouth, gaping wide open with huge, sharp fangs, ready to bite down on unsuspecting travelers.
At that moment, several shadowy figures appeared in the sky, flying towards the castle, and as they approached it, a drawbridge of ice opened, allowing them to fly inside, where they entered a grand hall, filled with ice statues of ponies, dragons, and other creatures. It was soon revealed that the figures were a small herd of Pegasi, mostly stallions, and at the head of them was a white stallion with platinum blonde mane and tail with a white streak and his cutie mark consisted of a dark cloud with a gust of wind beneath it. For some reason, he also had a scar on his muzzle and two on his left shoulder. His dark red eyes had this bitter look to them, like if the next pony or creature that something wrong to him, it would earn them a hoofprint to their face.
Soon, he and the other Pegasi bowed before another shadowy figure, who gazed upon him with red eyes that had slitted pupils.
"Your Majesty," said the lead stallion. "We have returned from our scouting mission."
"And?" the figure asked in a feminine voice.
"The ponies of Canterlot are preparing for the Springtime Celebration," said the stallion. "They won't see us coming."
"Excellent," the figure said with a wicked grin. "Well done, Frostbite."
"Of course, Your Majesty," said the stallion, known as Frostbite. "We live to serve you and only you."
"Princess Celestia may control the sun," said the figure as she stepped down from her icy throne, "but the sun cannot shine forever."
The figure was soon revealed to be an alicorn with a viridian coat, a light blue tiara on her head with a red jewel on the front, a diamond-shaped cutie mark on her flanks...and a mane and tail that seemed to be made an entirely out of a snowy wind. Her red eyes glared down at her Pegasi minions, who all bowed their heads before her.
"The time is nigh," said the alicorn. "The ponies of Equestria expect winter to end by the next day...unfortunately for them, they're going to be so wrong. For too long, the glorious season of ice and snow has been overshadowed by those ungrateful heathens. Soon...they will all feel the wrath of Queen Tundra!"
On that, she began to laugh, maniacally while her Pegasi minions all glanced each other, some of them looking concerned, while Frostbite remained completely stoic.
"Rest now, my friends," said Queen Tundra. "Come morning...we will ride the North Winds to Canterlot."
"Yes, Your Majesty," said Frostbite as he and his scouts turned and walked away.
It seemed that a dark cloud was about to fall on Equestria, once again.
A beautiful morning in Ponyville...in fact, make that a beautiful spring morning. That's right: it was officially the first day of spring, and everypony in Ponyville had just finished up cleaning up the season of winter, thanks to a certain Princess of Friendship's skills in organization. The snow and ice has melted, the animals had been woken, and the birds were just returning from their long trip south. It was certainly another job well done, and who else was to thank for all of it then Twilight Sparkle and all her friends.
Speaking of Twilight, she was just stepping out of the Castle of Friendship with Spike, Starlight Glimmer, and her younger adopted sister, Moonlight Essence, following after her. As they did, they stopped to look at all the beautiful scenery: the flowers blooming, the green grass, the sunshine...it was just so much to take in. No matter how many times had passed, spring would always be such a beautiful season.
"Wow," Starlight whispered in awe. "If I didn't know better, I'd say this is the most beautiful First Day of Spring I've ever seen."
"It really does look amazing, doesn't it?" asked Twilight.
"My first springtime in Ponyville," said Moonlight. "I love it so much, I wish this day lasts a long time so it doesn't end so quickly."
"Well, it's not over yet," Spike spoke. "We're actually headed to Canterlot today to celebrate the Springtime Celebration!"
"What's the Springtime Celebration?" asked Moonlight.
"It's a bit like the Summer Sun Celebration," Twilight answered, "only in Canterlot, we celebrate the first day of spring in style!"
"Yeah! There's a big party with lots of fun and games!" Spike added.
"Not to mention good food," Starlight added.
"Also, Rarity's selling her spring fashions in Canterlot," said Twilight. "Not to mention Fluttershy's excited to go, too. She's hoping to see the animals, again. They've really taken a shine to her and she just wants to make sure they're doing okay."
"Wow," Moonlight said. "The Springtime Celebration sounds so much fun!"
"That's not the only reason why we're going to Canterlot, though," said Starlight. "We're also going to visit Tempest and Grubber."
"Oh!" exclaimed Moonlight. "I've been wondering about her! I haven't seen her since Hearth's Warming, when baby Miracle Star was born!"
"I've been wondering about her, too," said Twilight. "I hope she's doing okay."
"Tempest is pretty tough, Twilight," Spike pointed out. "I'm sure she's just fine!"
"I know she's tough, Spike," Twilight replied, "but that's not what I'm really worried about."
"What do you mean?" asked Moonlight.
"I noticed that she still acts a little distant," Twilight said. "I mean, yeah, she reconciled with her childhood friends and almost everypony in Equestria has forgiven her for what happened when she was with the Storm King, but...I can't help thinking that something else might be wrong. Sometimes she'll act like she's in a whole different world and it's hard to get her attention until the last second."
"Well, have you asked her anything about this?" Starlight asked.
"Not really, no," Twilight answered. "I'm actually going to talk to her when I get to Canterlot."
"Good luck getting anything outta her," Spike muttered as he walked.
"What was that?" Twilight asked.
"Nothing!" Spike replied.
"Hmm..." Twilight hummed, bemused.
Not too far away, Applejack, Rainbow Dash, Pinkie Pie, Fluttershy, and Rarity were also on their way to the train station, headed for Canterlot. Applejack was packing some baked goods to sell at the Springtime Celebration, such as apple pies, apple tarts, apple turnovers, etc., and Rarity was putting on her spring fashions, like a beautiful new teal sunhat that glittered a bit in the sunlight, as well as a pair of dark blue shades.
"I'm so excited to go the celebration, today," said Fluttershy. "I can't wait to go see my animal friends in Canterlot."
"And I can't wait to show off my new spring fashions!" Rarity added.
"And I just know a bunch of hungry ponies are gonna be hankerin' for some good eatin'," said Applejack. "Luckily, I'm just the pony to provide." She then grunted as she tried to put a box of apple pies in the wagon that Big McIntosh was hitched to. "As soon as I get this box up here."
"I got it!" Apple Bloom exclaimed as she took the box into her hooves and stacked it amongst some others.
"Thanks, Apple Bloom," said Applejack.
"This is gonna be so much fun!" Pinkie exclaimed. "The last Springtime Celebration was so boring...probably because I wasn't there."
"I think you're thinking about last year's Grand Gallopin' Gala," said Applejack.
"Oh, yeah!" Pinkie realized.
"Rainbow Dash, are you ready to go?" asked Fluttershy, but for some reason, Rainbow Dash didn't answer. "Rainbow Dash?"
The four ponies turned to see Rainbow Dash, looking off towards the distance.
"Hmm..." she hummed, thoughtfully.
"Rainbow Dash?" Applejack asked.
"Huh?" Rainbow Dash muttered before he looked back. "What's up?"
"What are you looking at, dear?" Rarity asked.
"Uhh...nothing," Rainbow Dash answered as she looked up at the sky, again. "Just...thinking, I guess."
"Well, put some giddy in your giddyup," said Applejack. "We gotta get to the train station in 20 minutes. Twilight, Spike, Starlight, and Moonlight are probably already there."
"Uh...yeah, I'll be there in a second," said Rainbow Dash, and soon, her friends turned and walked away, heading to the station. As they did, Rainbow Dash continued to watch the sky with curiousness, but soon decided that maybe she was just seeing things before she turned and trotted after the others. However, if she had just looked a bit longer...she would've seen some dark clouds beginning to form in the distance...followed by a cold wind. What's worse...it seemed to be following them straight to Canterlot.