The Price of Harmony

by Priceless911

Ch8 Closure

“May I present! Prince Blueblood of Equestria!”
The carriage driver stepped aside as Prince Blueblood trotted through the ballroom doors and smiled at the guests. Then with a look of no concern, he spoke to the carriage driver as he started into the crowd, “That is all Higgins… you may go now.”
The carriage driver nodded his head as he turned back towards the door and left the ballroom. After entering the crowd, Prince Blueblood trotted through to Princess Celestia and Princess Twilight as they were greeting guests, “Auntie Tia, it’s good to see you again. And the newly crowned Princess Twilight. Looking ravishing as ever my dear.”
Princess Celestia looked at Twilight to see her reaction as Twilight nodded her head, “Thank you Prince Blueblood. And may I say you look handsome this evening.”
Blueblood nodded his head, “Yes I know, well I should be off to greet my fans. I’m certain there are plenty attending, seeing that it is me after all.”

As Prince Blueblood trotted back into the crowd, Twilight sighed, “I can see why Rarity hates him so much.”
Princess Celestia smiled, “yes, he is a bit spoiled, isn’t he?”
“Please, he’s so spoiled; you couldn’t even use him as fertilizer.”
Princes Celestia nodded her head, “Well, it’s a good thing you weren’t brought up as a princess, otherwise you probably would have been the same way.”
Princess Twilight looked through the crowd as she replied, “hmm… it looks like this evening will be a little dull.”
Princess Celestia replied, “It usually starts out like this, not many guests have arrived yet…”
At that moment, another carriage driver stepped into the ballroom door way and announced, “May I Present! Lord Fancy Pants and His fiancé Fleur Dis Lee!”
The two princesses watched the two ponies enter the ballroom as Princess Celestia spoke, “You see, the guests are still arriving, so it may pick up soon.”

As the princesses greeted arriving guests, Rarity felt nervous as she stood quietly with Applejack and Rainbow Dash listening to Pinkie Pie complain, “It’s a travesty I tell you. I mean, why can’t the Pony Pokey be on the playlist for tonight’s music? It’s not like Ms. Octavia has to play every second of tonight. She can always take a break or two and let everypony cut loose for one verse.”
Completely ignoring Pinkie Pies complaint, Rarity looked at the ballroom doors in worry as she replied, “Yes… travesty…”
Applejack replied to the complaint, “Pinkie Pie, this is supposed to be some kind of proper shindig. Playin’ somethin’ like the Pony Pokey would be… what’s the word you would use Rarity? Uncouth?”
Rarity continued ignoring her fiends as she schemed over the crowd again, “Uh huh…”
the three friends looked at each other then back at Rarity as Rainbow Dash asked, “Um… Rarity? Are you ok? You seem… distracted.”
Rarity snapped out of it as she nervously replied, “What? Distracted? Me? I’m not distracted because there is nothing here or going to be here that would make me seem distracted. So there’s nothing to worry about…”

Rainbow Dash, Applejack, and Pinkie Pie looked at each other in confusion as Pinkie Pie replied, “well you’re not acting distracted anymore… now you’re acting a little kooky.”
Applejack added, “And if Pinkie Pie says that… then it has to be true. You ok Rarity. Need to get some air or somethin’?”
Rarity replied, “No… I’m fine… It noting… really… maybe I was just working too hard this past few days.”
Rainbow Dash nodded her head, “well if you need to rest, just let us know. I wouldn’t want you to fall out here?”
“Thank you Rainbow Dash but I'll be fine… It wouldn’t be ladylike to allow myself to succumb to fatigue here of all places.”
Just then, Fluttershy trotted up with an unhappy look on her faced as Rarity asked, “Why Fluttershy? What’s with the long face?”
Fluttershy replied, “oh… well… Princess Luna is in the Canterlot garden right now… and Princess Celestia told me that I should wait till she gets back before I can go out there.”

Rainbow Dash tapped her on the shoulder as she replied, “Well I gotta hand it to you Fluttershy. I respect your never say die enthusiasm when it comes to the critters of Canterlot… but don’t you think it’s time to call it quits?”
Before Fluttershy could reply, Pinkie Pie spoke up, “Oh, popy-corn. I think Fluttershy should try harder, in fact we both will.”
Applejack gave Pinkie Pie a funny look, “both?”
Pinkie Pie replied, “Well yea… I’m going to try too. If I stay really, quiet… I bet I could sneak a Pony Pokey song in.”
Pinkie Pie started casually trotting behind Applejack as she started to reply, “And how do ya expect to do…”
After Applejack turned around to look at Pinkie Pie, she realized that Pinkie had vanished as if into thin air, “Uh… Pinkie?... well… I guess that answers my question.”
Fluttershy sighed, “Well… I… I could try to wait until Princess Luna is finished… I mean… I'll still be patient and all… um… I guess I'll just wait next to the door for her…”

Meanwhile on the road just outside the castle, a carriage pulled up as the driver nervously approached the carriage door and tapped on the window, “Um… Mr. um… s-sir? I… I was w-wonde…”
“Yes… what is it?”
After hearing the lone passenger’s question, he replied, “W-well, I was wondering… if… well… you wanted to be addressed?”
“Y-yes sir… what I mean is… w-would you like to be announced… upon entering the ballroom I mean?”
The passenger smiled as he replied, “you know what? I would prefer that, thank you.”
The driver nodded his head as he nervously replied, “v-very good sir… um… m-may I ask what tittle you want to be addressed with?”

Inside the palace, Princess Twilight was standing next to Princess Celestia as they watched more guests arrive, then Princess Cadence approached her, “How is the gala so far Twilight?”
Twilight replied, “Well it isn’t bad… but it’s still a little quiet.”
Cadence then looked around, “well the night is still young… the Wonderbolts haven’t even arrived yet.”
Twilight replied, “Yea… so far it is a little dull. I wonder if Princess Luna will be finished in the garden soon. Maybe things will be a little livelier with all us princesses here.”
Princess Cadence sighed as she looked at Princess Celestia, “So Princess Luna still goes through the garden every night?”
Princess Celestia nodded her head, “yes, but I hope is just part of a routine and not because of him.”
Twilight asked, “Him? Him who?”
Princess Celestia tried to speak, “Well long ago, Princess Luna used to trot through the garden wi…”

Before Princess Celestia could finish her explanation, the carriage driver nervously entered the ballroom, “M-may I have your attention Please!... My I p-present, the soldier of soldiers!... The Great Commander Star Bolt!... Of the Nightmare Legion!...”
The ballroom went deafly silent, the band stopped playing, the ponies stopped talking, and everypony in the room stared shockingly at the nervous carriage driver as he stepped aside and allowed Star Bolt to enter the ballroom wearing a navy blue dress uniform with a black beret; the same uniform worn by the commander of the Nightmare Legion more than a thousand years ago. Star Bolt stood there overlooking the crowd win no expression on his face. While at the back of the ballroom the three princesses were stunned with shock as Princess Twilight spoke, “C-commander?... you mean… the Commander Star Bolt, of the Nightmare Legion?... the commander of commanders?... Nightmare Moon’s right hoof?...”
Princess Cadence spoke next, “But… why would he come here?... Tonight of all nights?...”
Princess Celestia was still too shocked to say anything herself, so she didn’t reply to the question. She only stood there as she watched Star Bolt trot towards them with no worries in his expression.

As he approached the crowd, all the guests of the gala stepped completely to the side, opening a clear path to the shocked princesses. And as the casual stallion continued towards the princesses with absolutely no expression of concern for his situation, the ponies he started trotting by took an extra step back in worry as he continued. In the crowd, Rarity lowered her head in worry as Applejack whispered through her shock, “You mean to tell me that the Commander Bolt was working on my farm all this time… and I didn’t even know it?”
Rainbow Dash sneered at him as she replied, “I knew there was something fishy about him… I just knew it.”
Pinkie Pie popped up beside them and whispered, “Well… mission accomplished… hey? Why is everypony so quiet all of a sudden?”
The three mares could only give their clueless friend a confused look as Star Bolt trotted past them without even noticing them. Finally, Star Bolt reached a part of the crowd that seemed to be a suitable distance from the princesses as he spoke, “Princess Celestia! I…”
Before he could continue, the top of the ballroom was all of a sudden filled with a swarm of royal pegasi guards, as they landed around him and point their spears.

Expecting something like this to happen, Star Bolt continued holding his ground with no expression of worry as Princess Celestia called out, “Stand Down!”
The guards looked at their princess, then at each other as they slowly lowered their spears and stepped back from their target. Then Princess Celestia spoke, “Star Bolt?... Why are you here?”
Star Bolt replied without any expression, “… Closure, I only want you to stop. For two years now, you’ve done nothing but hunt me, and chase me all over Equestria like some mangy mutt. And I want to put a stop to it.”
Knowing her husband’s goal, Princess Cadence called out, “You’re a criminal of Eques…”
“I SERVED MY TIME!!! I spent one thousand years watching over this world with no interaction with its residence. One thousand years, of watching the ponies I knew, age and die with no way of consoling them. Do you know what it like, to watch as you friend, your family, slowly die thinking they are alone. Wishing that for one minute, you could talk to them to let them know that somepony who loves them in nearby and that they aren’t truly alone! Wishing that they could go in peace, knowing that you’re by their side! Can you even fathom! The pain felt when they pass away with pity from others because of something they did in their past just because they were ordered to!”
Princess Twilight started to talk, “But wh…”
“I’M STILL TALKING SO SHUT UP!!! I spent lifetimes watching them all die… one by one… do you know how that feels?...”

Princess Celestia lowered her head in shame, “Actually… I do…”
Star Bolt continued with a serious expression, “Then… tell me… Where is Luna?”
Princess Cadence and Princess Twilight looked at Princess Celestia as she continued hanging her head in shame, “She’s… in the garden. The same as every night at this time.”
Star Bolt paid no mind to the shame filled expression on Celestia’s face as he replied, “I should have guessed… I know the way from here.”
As Star Bolt turned towards the side entrance to the ballroom, the crowd cleared a path just like before, as he continued with a serious expression on his face. Princess Twilight looked at Princess Celestia and spoke, “Princess? Shouldn’t we stop him?”
Cadence added, “Yea… he might hurt Lun…”
“It’s ok… of all the ponies in this world who are threatened by his anger… Luna is the safest.”
Twilight added, “Yea… bu…”
Princess Celestia interrupted again, “Don’t worry… the reason he showed up here tonight, is because he knows I won’t make a scene in front of my subjects, and so he won’t have to fight. I have to give him credit for his boldness… but this was the easy part of his night”

As Star Bolt started to approach the door leading to the Canterlot garden, he stopped as he took a deep breath to ready himself for his upcoming conversation. As he stood there, he heard a sound off to his side so he looked to see Fluttershy cowering behind a nearby pillar. With the expression on her terrified face, he could only guess that she heard the whole thing from here. Seeing the timid pony hiding from him only made him feel worse as he sighed a second time the opened the door and went into the garden. As he started trotting through the vast garden, he could only think about how much it’s changed since the last time he was here. With each passing step, he slowly remembered every conversation that went on between him and Luna in this vast collection of hedges, flowers, and sculptures. On most occasions this memories would make Star Bolt feel better about himself… however, on this particular night, in this particular situation… it only made his worries rise, and his guilt dig deeper into his conscience.

Not long after traveling down the path, Star Bolt saw Princess Luna ahead as she so gracefully trotted through the garden with an expression that showed she was in deep thought. Star Bolt continued watching her as she started to mumble to herself, “there is a crowd in the palace tonight… probably just for the gala. Other then you, nopony had ever cared about my nights… but I’m okay with that now. Ever since Nightmare Moon was casted from me… I know that it doesn’t matter who treasures my nights… as long as I was with you… it didn’t matter.”
Hearing her talk to herself and knowing that she had no idea he was behind her, made him feel terrible about what he had to do next. Star Bolt took a deep breath and replied to her comment, “Luna… Your nights will always be beautiful. Never let anypony tell you otherwise.”
Not realizing who was talking to her made her smile as she started to turn around, “Thank you… but you don’t have t…”

When Luna realized whom she was talking to, she froze in shock. Luna stood there staring at the very stallion she was talking about as he returned her shocked stare with a gentle smile. Princess Luna started taking steps back as she tried to understand what was happening, “S-Star?... b-but… it can’t be… you’re… you’re…”
Luna’s eyes started to tear up as she continued, “You… you’re dead… I… I killed you…”
Star Bolt sighed as he started to speak, “Luna… I…”
Luna sat down and put her hooves over her ears, “NO!... no!... you can’t be here!... You can’t!... I… you’re not here!... I know you’re not here!... S-Stop!... Stop tormenting me! STOP!!!...”
Star Bolt took a step forward, “Calm down Luna! It’s me, Sta…”
Luna closed her eyes and griped her head in an effort to remove what she thought were hallucinations, “No, no, no, no, no, no! No! No! NO! NO! NO! NO!!!”
Trying to prevent her from having a heart attack, Star Bolt rushed to her and grabber her shoulders, “Luna! Calm do…”

In a hysteric fear, Princess Luna used her magic to push Star Bolt away tossing him through the air and causing him to crash into a statue and fall to the ground. When Luna realized that her magic affected him, she stood there even more shocked then before… “S… Star Bolt?... it… it really is you…”
Star Bolt grunted as he picked himself from the ground and looked at her, “I… I guess I deserve that…”
with tears rolling down her face, Princess Luna spoke, “Star… but… how… I… I thought you were dead…”
Star Bolt brushed himself off as he picked up his beret and put it back on his head, “I know…”
Luna looked down at the ground as she tried to think, “But… but…”
“Luna… what matters, is that I’m here. And I…”
“… How long?...”
Star Bolt started trotting closer to Luna as he asked, “What?”
Luna looked up at Star Bolt with an angry tear fill stare, “How long have you been able to come back? How long have you hidden yourself away after recovering from your injuries?... How long… have you been lying to me?”

Knowing that his answer would lead to something bad, Star Bolt replied, “The whole time.”
With tears continuing to roll down her face, Luna angrily replied, “and… why?”
Star Bolt replied, “Luna… I cou…”
Princess Luna hid her face as she interrupted him, “I… I mourned you… I blamed myself for everything that caused you pain before your death… And all you did… was leave?... You abandoned me, when I needed you the most… you weren’t there“
Star Bolt tried to explain, “Luna… I can’t be…
“If… if I disgust you so much… then… then maybe you should have stayed dead…”
Star Bolt continued, “Luna… the reason I stayed away is be…”
Luna looked at the ground in anger as the tears still dropped from her face, “You… you… Leave…”
Star Bolt thought he heard her wrong as he got closer, “W-what?”
Luna glared at him as the tears continued, “I… I said leave… Now!...”
Star Bolt tried to understand, “Luna… I…”
“As princess of Equestria… I hereby banish you form this city… You will leave Canterlot Star… and this time… Don’t come back!...”

Princess Luna turned around and looked at the ground trying to hide her face as Star Bolt put his hoof on her shoulder, “Luna…”
“I SAID GO!!!...”
Feeling her tremble with rage, Star Bolt took his hoof off her shoulder as he began to turn away and replied, “As you wish… your majesty.”
Star Bolt then turned around and started trotting away. Hearing the sound of his hoof steps, as they grew fainter caused Princess Luna to break out from her tearing to full-fledged crying. As Star Bolt continued, he paused when he heard Luna crying for him, but he didn’t bother turning to look at her. He could only sigh as he continued back towards the entrance to the Canterlot garden.

As he reached the entrance, he could see Princess Celestia standing there with an expression that showed that she had heard the entire conversation. With no concern in what’s happened, Star Bolt approached her and started to trot pass her without even acknowledging her. However, as he trotted by, he stopped right beside her as she tried to speak, “Star Bolt… I…”
Star Bolt raised his wing to silence her as he spoke without even looking at her, “If you send any more soldiers after me… I'll kill them. I’m done showing mercy, and I’m done dealing with the likes of you and your pathetic excuse for royal guards. This is your only warning; if you continue to search for Commander Bolt… then you just might find him. Good-bye… Princess.”

Princess Celestia looked at Star Bolt in shock as he continued trotting by her with no expression, showing fully that he was serious, and that he would carry out what he said without hesitation. After Star Bolt trotted completely passed her, Princess Celestia trotted towards Princess Luna who was laying on the ground crying her eyes out. Feeling terrible about what just happened, Princess Celestia spoke, “Sister… are you ok?”
Princess Luna didn’t reply, she only stood up with her back turned to her sister and wiped her eyes. Princess Celestia got closer to Princess Luna and asked, “Sister… I know it hurts… bu…”
Princess Luna mumbled to herself too quietly for Princess Celestia to hear, “Yo… li… t... e…”
Princess Celestia asked, “What?...”
Princess Luna turned around and glared into her sister’s eyes as she yelled at the top of her lungs, “YOU LIED TO ME!!!”
With one rage filled thrust of her hooves and wings, Princess Luna jolted into the sky and vanished into the night leaving behind a bluish trail that quickly vanished without a trace. Seeing that her sister was hurt far greater then she expected, Princess Celestia looked into the night and sighed, “… Sister…”

Back at the entrance to the ballroom, Star Bolt entered alone as the gala was still at a standstill for his entrance earlier. Star Bolt began trotting further into the ballroom with a troubled look on his face as Rainbow Dash approached him, “Hey Commander! I have a bone to pick with yo…”
Before Rainbow Dash could finish her sentence, Star Bolt shifted his eye to look at her, giving her a stare that seemed emotionless, however the deepness of his expression sent a chill up her spine that immediately caused her to back down. With each and everypony in the room stepping out of the way giving him a clear path, Princess Twilight galloped to the side of the path and tried to get his attention as he continued through the crowd, “Star?”
Star Bolt didn’t respond, instead he trotted by her as if she wasn’t even there. Almost immediately after, the rest of the ponies he knew made their way to the side and watched with anticipation hoping he would say something, or at least look at them… but he didn’t. With a depressed and emotionless look of defeat, Star Bolt trotted past them all as if he were trotting through an empty ballroom.

As he approached the ballroom doors and started to leave, the guards standing on each side lowered their spears in his path as one spoke, “Not so fast comm…”
“If you have any concern for your safety and the ones you love… you will step aside now before I reduce you both to ash… How clear am I?”
The two guards looked at each other in worry as they took his advice and raised their spears allowing him to pass. Then as Star Bolt left through the ballroom doors, he replied to their actions, “… Thought so…”
With those being his last words, and with absolutely no pony trying to stop him, Star Bolt left the castle, and exited the city on hoof. Not far outside the city, Star Bolt made it to the top of a hill, and looked back at the crown jewel of Equestria as the lights from the city made it glow in the darkness of the night. As he looked back at the city, he removed his beret and looked at the commander’s insignia on the crest.

While looking over that insignia, he started to remember all the things he did as commander, and as he remembered them, he started to think that his return to Canterlot was a foolish attempt at regaining what squander of existence he had left in his cursed of a life. Out of anger, Star Bolt threw his beret on the ground, then he started tearing off the rest of the uniform, the medals, the jacket, the tie, all of it, until every part of the outfit that he used to wear with pride was on the ground in the dirt. When he finished, he looked at the uniform in disgust, “Why did this give me pride?… why was I so proud to wear this crap?... What am I still doing here?… why am I still alive? What is my purpose?”
Star Bolt turned around and looked at the moon as it shined above, “WHAT DO YOU WANT FROM ME!?! AM I HERE FOR YOUR AMUSEMENT!?! AM I THE RESULT OF SOME SICK SADISTIC JOKE!?! TELL ME!!!”

Out of a fit of rage, Star Bolt looked back at the ground and stomped his hoof in anger, causing a small jolt of electricity to surge through the ground singing one of the corners of the uniform as it laid on the ground behind him. As tears of anger started to roll down his face, Star Bolt shook his head, “Why… why am I still here?… why am I still alone?… why?… why am I left to suffer for something that happened a thousand years ago?… Why?... Why did I let her suffer too?…”
With anger still in his mind and tears still rolling down his face, Star Bolt continued trudging down the road, as the singed corner of his dirt covered uniform, turned into a flame, and began burning the remains of the Nightmare Legion’s formal attire.

Later that night as the gala came to an end, Princess Celestia stood on the balcony far above Canterlot as she watched the last few guests leave. With her mind on the earlier events of the night, she stared into the city with a depressed look on her face as Princess Twilight and Princess Cadence approached her from behind. Both approaching princesses hesitated before Twilight finally spoke first, “Um… Princess Celestia? My carriage is here… I’m about to go back to Ponyville.”
With the look of sadness still on her face, Princess Celestia nodded her head, “Alright Twilight… in three days, I would like you to come back so we can prepare for the upcoming crisis.”
Twilight started to reply, but as she opened her mouth to talk, she saw a tear roll down Princess Celestia’s face as Princess Cadence spoke instead, “Princess Luna… hasn’t returned yet, has she?”
Princess Celestia wiped the tear from her face as she replied, “No… and I wouldn’t be surprised if she doesn’t return. I feel that I have lost my sister a second time.”
Princess Twilight lowered her head and spoke in irritation, “This is all Star Bolt’s fault… if he hadn’t re…”

Princess Celestia interrupted Twilight, “No… the blame is equally split amongst all three of us. Princess Luna is to blame for becoming Nightmare Moon and making Star Bolt do all he did. Star Bolt is to blame for carrying out her orders and exiling himself after their return. And I am to blame for making him as bitter as he is, and not telling Luna the truth. In the end, this can’t be the fault of just one pony. Yet even with that knowledge, a solution can’t be made to make all three of us content.”
Princess Twilight replied, “so… what should we do?... should I ask Star Bolt to help us in this cri…”
“… No… Star Bolt has made up his mind. Even if I explain the whole thing to him… he will just brush me off and trot away. I can revoke his banishment from Canterlot, at least for the daylight hours… but I don’t think he will return to help us… the only pony who could convince him would be Luna… but she wouldn’t ask him even if her were the last pony on earth.”

Princess Cadence sighed, “Well… maybe the soldiers that Shining Armor is training will be enough.”
Princess Celestia nodded her head, “I pray that you’re right.”
Princess Twilight added, “And we will also have Discord helping us, in fact this would be a perfect excuse fo…”
“Absolutely not!”
Princess Celestia looked Twilight in the eye as she continued, “Discord has to stay as far away from this as possible.”
Princess Cadence asked, “Really? But why?”
Princess Celestia sighed, “It’s something that will be disgusted in three days. When we have all the participants here. The Wonderbolts, the crystal army, and the royal guards. I want to explain it only once so that the risk of others finding out will be greatly decreased…. I only pray Luna will be here too. One can only imagine how much she is hurting right now.”