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Episode 53 The Crystal Empire (Part 1) Aired:
November 10 2012
At Canterlot Castle, Celestia is looking through papers when one of her Royal Guards enters to tell her that "it" has returned. Celestia orders another of her guards to find Shining Armor and Princess Cadence before writing a letter to Twilight Sparkle instructing to come to Canterlot right away. At her house, Twilight is struggling to get everything needed for her trip to Canterlot. Spike tries to calm her but it's no use.
 Twilight is convinced that it's far more than just a test and her anger launches her entire house several feet into the air before it returns to Earth. In Canterlot Castle, Luna is discussing with Celestia about going herself but is told she isn't needed with both PC and SA already there and to be accompanied by the Mane 6, whom have just entered the castle. Twilight gets out her materials for the test she thinks is coming but is told that it's a different kind of test.
Celestia gets out little more than the fact that a place called The Crystal Empire has returned but Twilight still doesn't realize the test she's in for and learns about King Sombre (whom seems like a pretty awesome villain) and the curse he put upon the town, causing the town to vanish. Celestia wants Twilight to help protect the town. Twilight has doubts but is assured she'll pass and heads out. Spike wants to know the results and learns her situation in song, which he joins partway through.

When it ends, Spike still doesn't understand and neither do her friends, which she encounters and Twilight explains that they're going to The Crystal Empire. They board the Ponyville Express and upon arrival, only Rarity is somewhat prepared for the harsh winter conditions with her abundance of scarves (that you could've shared, Ms. Element of Generosity).Twilight sees Shining Armor, whom insists they get moving as there are things none should see after dark as The Crystal Empire isn't all that's returned.
An ominous noise sounds the arrival of King Sombre and the group bolt for safety. While the rest of the group continues racing ahead, Shining Armor foolishly fights KS and when everyone arrives, he's now has bits of dark crystal on his horn that cut off his magic. Once inside the area, Rarity is having an overdose of glee so Rainbow Dash tricks her by thinking the castle isn't gorgeous and she calms down once she realizes she got tricked.

Inside the castle, Cadence is waiting, looking depressed but cheers up when Twilight calls her out and the duo do their little prance from their childhood. Shining Armor comes to explain Cadence's health status and upon mentioning Crystal Ponies, Rarity's excitement from before returns but quickly drops back down when she gets funny looks. Twilight thinks that a research paper must be part of her test but every Crystal Pony the group talks to has no information except Applejack who is told about a library, giving Twilight a joyful look on her face.
They enter but are disappointed when the librarian can't tell them anything either so they search by themselves and eventually Twilight comes across the book they need (with an illegible title I might add).Back at the castle, they explain this to Shining Armor but Cadence remains her weary self so the group head off to put together the Crystal Fair, which they do in song (the better one of the episode IMO). When the song finishes, the Crystal Fair is ready but Applejack comes across what she learns is the Crystal Heart, which Twilight made herself.
Twilight makes the announcement marking the Crystal Fair's opening to all Crystal Ponies and with that, the Crystal Ponies are regaining their luster.They run into a problem as the librarian remembers how everything in The Crystal Empire ties together and Rainbow Dash and Applejack race to cover the hoofmade Crystal Heart because the real one is still hidden away. Twilight heads back to the balcony where she announced the start of the Crystal Fair and discovers a page missing at the end, explaining why the Crystal Heart wasn't mentioned. Making matters worse, Cadence is fainting and King Sombre is coming. What will they do now?