Jan. 25th, 2017

twilightpony: Big tree with windows and door, fall foliage (Default)
The early train to the Crystal Empire had extra cars and it was full but we all found somewhere to rest our hooves. We didn't have to stand the whole way there like we did last year. Rarity and Fluttershy stayed behind, but Spike was with us, in disguise. It's still hard to believe that a hat, coat and sunglasses are enough to fool the crystal ponies. He was walking on two legs and his dragon tail was sticking out from under his coat! It still worked and Spike didn't get hauled off to light any fireworks or sign autographs.

We headed straight for the fairgrounds on arrival. We had an early lunch in the market area where we wandered from stand to stand picking out tasty treats. Of course we all ate big sticky gobs of ice flower nectar on the snow. Then Rainbow Dash and Pinkie practically dragged us to the giant ice slide and I screamed most of the way down. On the bigger jump my wings opened by reflex and nearly sent me sailing off my toboggan and out of my groove. I closed them and belly flopped back on my toboggan with a bump. Ouch.

There were some really impressive ice sculptures, more of them than last year and still more getting carved. There was an Ursa major (not life sized), a giant bust of singer Sapphire Shores in a feather headdress, a timber wolf, a dragon, a miniature replica of Canterlot Castle, a caribou explorer (looked somewhat like Leaf Hairrakesson), lots of ponies, a manticore, fish... Most were in an ice sculpture section of the fairgrounds, next to the Festival Ice Castle, but there were many others scattered here and there, like treasures to be discovered. The Masquerade is to be held in the Ice Castle, which is also used for the Festival dinners. While we were there I bought two tickets to the Masquerade for Rarity.

We grabbed some more treats and followed the crowds to the ice archery semi finals and the speed skating competition in the Crystal Empire stadium. It was like Equestria Games all over again. Dash was impressed with how fast the skaters were going and Pinkie wants a set of those special speed skates. I was a bit alarmed at how long it took the skater who fell down to stop sliding on her side. She hit a rail pretty hard and it looks like she gave herself quite the gash with one of her skates.

After the winning speed skaters had climbed onto the podium to receive their medallions we headed back to the fairgrounds to go to the open air concert. On our way we passed through the market section of the fairgrounds. It was late afternoon and the food and souvenir stands were closing. Pinkie still managed to score a big bag of crystal popcorn and Spike bought a snow globe, with his statue inside it. The vendor didn't even bat an eye. The crystal popcorn was strangely sparkly and faceted but it still tasted like popcorn.

We found the open air bandstand and a spot where all five of us could stand together with a good view of the stage. The sun set, fugelhorns sounded, a master of ceremonies trotted out on stage. He was proud to announce, he turned while a curtain parted, The Beach Bays! The entire audience squealed and whinnied, except maybe Spike. Rainbow Dash was grinning ear to ear and nudging Applejack. The Beach Bays is one of her favorite harmony groups. They played a forty minute set. Behind us, the spinning crystal heart sent streaks of colored joy up through the clouds.

After the concert had ended we crossed through the darkened fairgrounds, our way illuminated by ice sculptures. As we reached the street leading to the train station, it started to snow. This time we knew what to expect and we stopped and looked up. A wave of crystal pony happiness hit the Crystal Heart many streets away and rebounded tenfold through the falling snow. As we turned crystal, the falling snowflakes began to spin, sparkling like tiny diamonds, whirling in time with the crystal heart and drifting slowly to the ground. The air was full of rainbows.

I was a little apprehensive when we turned crystal and I stole a few glances at my friends, but unlike last time, we didn't cause a flash. I think it's because Rarity and Fluttershy weren't there with us.

We had a train to catch, so I nudged my friends along. We walked in awed silence through the sparkling snow to take our seats in the Friendship Express, Ponyville bound.


twilightpony: Big tree with windows and door, fall foliage (Default)
Twilight Sparkle

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