Over the course of the day, the ponies of Canterlot emerged from the underground shelters. Celestia and Luna both stood before their subjects as the crowd gathered around, along with Twilight, who explained to everyone what had happened to Queen Tundra. Velvet Snowfall stood back with her brother, nervously as she watched Twilight speak. She feared that despite everything, she would be punished for her actions.
"I know it will take time for you all to forgive her," Twilight replied, "but please know that what Velvet Snowfall was not of her own free will. As the Princess of Friendship...I ask that you all give her another chance."
The crowd murmured amongst themselves while Velvet stepped forward.
"I really am sorry for all the trouble I caused, everypony," she said. "I was convinced that everypony hated winter...but now I realize that like all seasons, winter has its time and place. It's not meant to last forever. I can't force it to stay...and I can't force others to enjoy it, either." She then heaved a sigh. "I wish I realized that a long time ago."
"...You're not entirely to blame."
Velvet looked up to see three familiar earth ponies; two stallions, one bigger than the other, and a mare.
"It's you three," said Velvet. "The ponies that bullied me."
"Yeah, it's us," answered the smaller stallion, the ringleader. "Listen...we never should've picked on you."
"Yeah, we went too far," the mare said, "and...we're really, really sorry for all the trouble we caused you...beating you up and calling you names."
"You didn't deserve that," said the second, bigger stallion. "We should have tried to understand you, instead."
"...So...do you forgive us?" asked the ringleader.
"...What do you think, Velvet?" asked Frostbite as he looked to his sister, who blinked at her former bullies...before she smiled at them.
"Of course, I do," she said, causing the trio to smile back at her, and everypony else to smile as well.
"Friendship wins, again!!" Moonlight called from the crowd, causing everypony to cheer.
"Now that that's settled," Luna began, "let the Springtime Celebration...continue!"
With that said, everypony headed off to celebrate the arrival of spring. Rainbow Dash played a bean bag tossing game with Scootaloo, Applejack was selling her baked apple goods along with the help of her siblings, as well as Grubber, who was eating one of Applejack's delicious apple pies, Rarity showed off her springtime fashions, Fluttershy was playing with the animals in the Canterlot Castle garden, Pinkie Pie was doing party tricks to entertain everypony attending, and Spike, Starlight, and Moonlight were getting their faces painted. Even Velvet Snowfall, Frostbites, and their news friends were off chatting together and laughing. Twilight smiled proudly as she watched while Tempest stood beside her, watching everypony celebrating.
"I don't know how you do it," Tempest began, "but you still manage to surprise me, Twilight."
"Well...you know," Twilight replied, "just doing my job."
"Well done, Twilight," said Celestia. "Another friendship made and another crisis averted."
"Thank you, Princess Celestia," Twilight replied...although, her smile soon fell, something that her former teacher noticed.
"Twilight?" she asked as she gently cupped the purple alicorn's face with her wing. "Something troubles you?"
"...Princess Celestia?" Twilight asked. "I need to talk to you...urgently."
Celestia blinked at Twilight in surprise before she turned to look at Luna, who looked just as concerned.
Sometime later, while the Springtime Celebration was still ongoing, Twilight stood before her fellow princesses in the throne room.
"The Element of Magic rejected you?!" Luna asked.
"Yes," Twilight replied. "That's why we weren't able to use the Elements of Harmony, this time." She looked up at Celestia and Luna. "What could have happened?"
Celestia and Luna both glanced at each other, the former knitting her brow with seriousness and worry.
"...Twilight," Celestia replied, "I think I know why the Element of Magic rejected you."
"You do?" asked Twilight.
"Yes," Celestia answered. "Twilight...do you remember the last time you used the Element of Magic?"
"Yes, I do," Twilight replied. "It was when Warfang..." She trailed off as she recalled her battle with the former Wolf King. "...It was when Warfang invaded Canterlot with his wolves...and Moonlight was...killed...and I transformed and..."
"Exactly," Celestia replied. "Not just that, Twilight, but you also made a very unscrupulous decision back when we were being invaded by the Storm King's forces. You attempted to steal Queen Novo's pearl...and not just that, but you renounced your friends."
"But...I was desperate!" Twilight cried. "And my friends weren't taking everything seriously until...well, we did make up after that, but-"
"Twilight," Luna interjected. "It seems that the reason why the Element of Magic rejected you is because you gave in to the darkness inside your heart."
"...I can't believe it..." Twilight whispered in disbelief. "But...it was just for a few moments."
"Regardless," Celestia continued, "the last time you used the Element of Magic, you used it out of hatred. That's why it rejected you."
"...What are you trying to say?" Twilight asked.
"Twilight Sparkle," Celestia said, "until you learn to tame the darkness within you...you can never use the Elements of Harmony, again."
"...No...!" Twilight whispered in shock.
"I'm sorry, Twilight," Celestia said, sadly. "I'm just as upset about this as you are."
"But...what if something happens again?" Twilight asked. "What if I don't learn to control the darkness within me?!"
"You have to figure out something," Luna said, causing Twilight to sigh before she stood up and walked out with her head hanging.
"...Will she be all right, sister?" asked Luna.
"...I hope so," Celestia replied. "This could possibly be Twilight's greatest challenge, yet."
"...Are you afraid that she might fail?" asked Luna.
"No, Luna," Celestial answered. "My greatest fear...is that I might lose her."
As Twilight headed outside to the entrance hall of the castle, she looked up to see her friends waiting for her.
"So?" Spike asked. "What did Princess Celestia say?"
"It's...not good news, is it?" asked Fluttershy.
"...No," Twilight replied. "The reason why the Element of Magic rejected me is because I let the darkness inside me take over...not to mention what happened in Seaquestria." She looked down at the floor in shame. "And what happened after that when I..."
"Oh..." the others muttered as they cast their eyes downward, especially Pinkie Pie, remembering the argument that happened after the incident in Seaquestria.
"So, you made some bad choices," Rainbow Dash replied. "Everypony does!"
"That's right, darling," Rarity added. "It's not something to beat yourself up over."
"But that's just it," Twilight replied. "What if something like this happens, again? What if I end up getting so angry, I end up transforming again? And even worse...what if I can't go back to the pony I used to be?"
The rest of the Mane 6, plus Spike and Starlight, glanced at each other, worriedly, but then Applejack went up and put her hoof on Twilight's shoulder.
"Now, don't get your tail in a twist, Twi," she said. "I'm sure we'll figure out somethin'...and I say 'we' because we'll figure it out, together."
"Just like we always have," Rarity replied.
"Absolutely!" Starlight added as she walked up to Twilight, as well. "That's what friends do, right, Twilight?"
"We'll find a way to help you, Twilight!" Spike added. "No matter what comes!"
"You don't even have to ask!" Pinkie Pie exclaimed. "We'll always help you, just like you've done for us!"
"We got your back," Rainbow Dash grinned.
"Yay," Fluttershy cheered, softly.
Twilight's eyes softened and a smile appeared on her face. She often forgot just how amazing her friends were, always willing to stand by her side, come what may.
"I love you guys," she said as she approached her friends, who all pulled her in a group hug.
"We love you, too, Twilight," her friends replied.