At Canterlot Castle...the whole castle itself was completely covered in icicles. All around the castle's courtyard, the Royal Guards were all frozen in blocks of ice, set up like decorative statues. Even the garden was covered in nothing but snow and frost, wilting the once beautiful flowers and completely burying the grass while forcing the animals that dwelled to hide from the cold.
Inside the throne room, Queen Tundra chuckled to herself as she used her magic to create a chandelier made of icicles. Nearby, Celestia grunted as she remained inside her icy prison, struggling to break free.
"Oh, give it up, Celestia," said Queen Tundra as she cupped the Sun Princess's chin in her hoof. "You've lost."
"Maybe I have," Celestia started, "but Twilight and her friends will definitely stop you."
"Bah!" Queen Tundra scoffed. "You really believe that? Frostbite and his troop are already tracking them down as we speak. I'm sure he's captured them by now."
"I wouldn't count them out, just yet," said Celestia.
"Keep talking, Celestia," said Queen Tundra as she kept encasing the walls with ice. "It won't get you anywhere...but it will at least keep me from getting bored while I redecorate my castle."
Celestia sneered at the ice alicorn before she glanced out the stained glass window with worry.
'...Where are you, Twilight?' she thought.
Back down in the underground shelters, Luna stared up at the ceiling, worried about the fate of her sister. She could only sigh as she turned to check back on her subjects, who all looked quite cold and miserable. Some of them had even begun to cough a bit as the air grew a little colder. Spike tried to make a fire for everypony, but being such a little dragon, there was only so much fire he could produce at one time, and right now, he was running a bit low. Grubber was doing his best to keep the ponies fed and warm with bowls of hot soup, but the rations were starting to run out, as well.
Just when it seemed that hope was starting to dwindle, Starlight looked up and gasped upon seeing Twilight and the others return.
"Twilight!" exclaimed Starlight.
"Guys! You're back!" Spike said, joyfully.
"Twilight! Everypony!" Moonlight cheered as she ran up and nuzzled Twilight, who nuzzled her back in return...but almost instantly, Moonlight noticed that the affectionate touch wasn't really as enthusiastic as it normally was, causing her to back away from her adoptive sister and see the dismal look in her eyes. Not just hers, but the rest of the Mane 6, as well. Even Tempest had a distant look on her face.
That's when Luna immediately recognized the problem.
"Where are the Elements of Harmony?" asked Luna.
"We...we couldn't get them," said Rarity. "We tried, but-"
"The Element of Magic rejected me as a vessel," said Twilight, causing Luna, Spike, Starlight, and Moonlight to gasp.
"So...so what does that mean?!" asked Starlight.
"It means that for the time being," Twilight began, "we can't use them...any of them!"
"...This can't be...!" Luna whispered in disbelief.
"So...what do we now, then?" asked Moonlight.
"Now hold on," Tempest said. "We already have a plan in mind." She then turned around. "Right, Frostbite?"
Soon, Frostbite and his troop appeared, much to everypony's shock.
"What are they doing here?!" asked Holly Daze.
"Yeah, they're the reason we're in this mess!!" exclaimed Berry Punch.
"Wait!" Frostbite called. "I'm...very sorry. We all are. We never wanted to do this, believe me...but we had no choice."
"Queen Tundra is actually a Pegasus named Velvet Snowfall, who is Frostbite's sister," said Twilight. "She's under a curse by the spirit of the real Queen Tundra, and that's why Frostbite has been following her orders."
"I thought that maybe I could get through to my sister, somehow," said Frostbite, "but nothing I do is working." He then looked up at Princess Luna. "My sister really doesn't mean any harm...Princess Luna, surely you can understand, can't you?"
A pause...but then Luna sighed.
"I suppose your sister is not too different from me," she said. "Still...it does not change the fact that she has frozen my sister in ice, and if we don't stop her soon, she could put all of Equestria into an eternal winter."
"That's why we need to stop her," said Frostbite.
"We just need to destroy the tiara that Velvet is wearing," said Tempest. "Once it's gone, she'll go back to normal."
"Are you sure that will work?" asked Luna.
"It's our best bet," Tempest answered.
"...Very well," said Luna. "I trust you, Fizzlepop."
"Thank you, Your Majesty," Tempest bowed her head. "I promise you, Princess Celestia will be freed." She then looked back at Twilight and the others. "So...are you ready?"
"Yes," answered Twilight.
"Let's do this thing!" Rainbow Dash exclaimed.
"Be careful," Luna said. "We're all counting on you."
"...We know," Tempest nodded.
KNOCK-KNOCK-KNOCK!! Queen Tundra looked up upon hearing that noise before she smirked at Celestia.
"Well," the ice alicorn said, "I wonder who that might be." She then went to open the doors to the throne room...and there, standing before her, was Frostbite and his small troop...along with Twilight, Tempest, and the others, all of them locked up in chains with dismal, defeated looks on their faces.
"We brought you the fugitives, Your Radiance," said Frostbite.
"Excellent," Queen Tundra said as she looked to Celestia, who gaped in disbelief. "See, Celestia? Your little champions have failed you."
Celestia looked to Twilight, who looked up at her in seeming shame...but what Queen Tundra didn't realize was that the young alicorn grinned before she winked at her former mentor, who blinked in surprise, but then put on a serious expression.
"Now then," Queen Tundra said as she approached the heroes, "let's get down to business..." Her eyes then fell upon Tempest, who glared up at her in defiance. "Ah...Tempest Shadow...I've heard a great deal about you."
"...You have...?" Tempest asked in confusion and slight surprise.
"Take those chains off of her," said Queen Tundra. "I wish to have a little chat with our friend here."
Frostbite nodded his head before he unlocked the chains that held Tempest, who looked up at Queen Tundra, suspiciously.
"You want to talk to me?" she asked. "Why?"
"It's quite simple, really," said Queen Tundra. "You and I both have something in common, you see. We have both been scorned by our fellow ponies...ponies whom we were expected to trust and fall back on when we need them most, and yet they turn our backs on us."
"...I know what you're trying to do," Tempest sneered. "I'm not buying it for one second!"
"Oh, really?" asked Queen Tundra. "I could make you great, Tempest...I could even give you something that the Storm King could never promise you."
Tempest, as well as Twilight and friends, all stared in suspicion...but then, Queen Tundra's horn began to glow before she lightly tapped it against the stub of Tempest's horn...and soon after, a spike of ice began to emerge from it, causing Tempest to gasp.
"She...she made a new horn for her!!" Twilight exclaimed.
"That's right," Queen Tundra said. "It's a prosthetic, at best, but with my powers, it won't so easily shatter. Think of it, Tempest...you could finally have what you lost, all that time ago. I can make you whole...and all you have to do...is join me."
"Tempest, no!!" cried Twilight. "Don't do this!! Don't ruin everything you've worked so hard for!!!"
"Silence!" Queen Tundra shouted before she looked down at Tempest. "Well, Tempest Shadow? What do you say?"
Tempest stared at her ice horn as tears stung at the corners of her eyes, her breath caught in her chest. In just the span of a mere 3 seconds, the ice alicorn had given her what she had been missing since her foalhood. She could actually see it now: her magic, now easier to control and able to lift objects. She could perform even the most basic unicorn spells. She might even be able to enroll in that magic school she always wanted to go to! Everything she could ever want and more...except...
What of her friends? It was true that they were reason she lost her horn to begin with...but they apologized for their folly and they forgave each other. She even found new friends in Twilight and the rest of the Mane 6. If she couldn't have that...then...
"Well?" Queen Tundra asked, the tone in her voice sounding impatient. "I'm waiting."
A pause...but then Tempest glared at the ice queen and said "You can take your offer...and blow it your rear end!!"
"What?!" Queen Tundra questioned in anger.
"Ooh~!" Pinkie exclaimed. "She said a swear~!"