The Price of Harmony

by Priceless911

Ch9 Judges, Jury, Executioners

Star Bolt found himself wandering through a vast battlefield shortly after the battle had ended. As he stood there amongst the dead, he looked at a nearby corpse and examined the body, “This armor… it’s much older than anything I’ve ever seen before… it even predates my old armor.”
Star Bolt then took a look around and counted the different colors surrounding him, “Four… this was a battle against four different armies… but with the way they are standing… it’s as if they fought beside each other… not against each other. But there is no fifth… who… or what were they fighting?”
Star Bolt had seen battles like this before in his heyday, but none that ended with complete inhalation of all four armies. He decided to continue trotting though the area looking for survivors, but no matter how many corpse he crossed, each and every one were dead. As he trotted on, he accidently tripped over the horn of a larger soldier and fell to the ground. As he picked himself back up, he looked at the obstacle that tripped him but was immediately shocked at what he saw, “It’s… it’s an alicorn. But… I thought they were all extinct.”

Star Bolt then looked around and saw more alicorns amongst the dead. While continuing to scan the battlefield, he noticed a large area ahead where the land seemed to drop off. So Star Bolt decided to investigate this area too. When he finally arrived, he saw a massive crater with nothing inside but empty armor from all four armies. To most, this was an unusual phenomenon, but to him, the answer was simple. Star Bolt held his hoof over the crater and saw an arc of electricity jump from inside to his hoof, “The Lightning orb… this crater and all who died inside was caused by the lighting orb. But who?...”

Star Bolt looked in the direction that the call came from to see a small caravan of surviving soldiers and banners. As Star Bolt looked at the group, he noticed that they had with them two young fillies wearing cloaks. The leaders of two of the armies, an earth pony and a unicorn. But absolutely none of the alicorn soldiers. Thinking that the group was talking to him Star Bolt waved, “HEY!!! OVER HERE!!!”
The group didn’t reply, instead they turned another direction as the leader of the earth ponies called a second time, “Commander!!! Commander Hurricane!!! Is thou alright!?!”
Star Bolt looked at the group in confusion, “Commander… Hurricane?”
Feeling nervous Star Bolt flew towards the group as fast as he could until he caught up with them then he asked, “Um… excuse me? Can I talk to you for a second?”
All of the travelers didn’t respond except for one of the cloaked fillies who turned around and spoke, “You?... you don’t belong here…”
The rest of the group continued trotting as the little filly stood there looking at Star Bolt with her cloak covering her face.

Star Bolt was confused even more now, “What?... What do you mean by that little one?”
The little filly continued, “You shouldn’t be here… it isn’t safe for you…”
All of a sudden, one of the banner carrying guards looked back and spoke, “Chancellor Puddinghead! The princess!”
The leading earth pony turned around and spoke to the young filly who was looking at Star Bolt, “Princess Luna! thou mustn’t stop now, please step lightly young princess.”
Star Bolt stood in shock as the young filly turned around and replied, “Apologies chancellor… thou was worried about mommy…”
Star Bolt couldn’t believe his eyes when the other filly trotted to her and spoke, “Sister… Tis ok. I hope thy mother is safe too… but thou needs to continue. Thou will be safe from the dark alicorn in Equestria.”

The young filly replied, “But… what about Commander Hurricane?... shouldn’t we go back for him?”
The chancellor sighed, “Tis a shame to lose the great commander and thy gift… but thou mustn’t let his loss be in vain. Thy queen is counting on us to get thee to safety. And that is what thou must do.”
The other filly then looked at the unicorn leader and asked, “Princess Platinum? What will become of thy home, Eden?”
The unicorn sighed, “Thou don’t know your majesty… But, thou will do everything within thy power ensure thy princesses safety. Now let us continue… thou haven’t the time to waste.”
The filly turned back to Star Bolt one last time and spoke, “You don’t belong here… Please leave before he gets you too.”
Star Bolt had to ask, “Who?”
Before the filly could answer the Unicorn guard carrying another banner called out, “You’re Majesty! Thy enemy approaches!!!”

Star Bolt quickly turned around as he saw a Pillar of black sand come shooting out of the ground in the distance, the very same ground that the Lightning Orb crater was sitting. As the pillar came up and flew through the air, Princess Platinum used a spell to surround the caravan in a protective barrier of magic. However, the spell only surrounded the group leaving Star Bolt just outside of it. The cloaked filly put down her hood and yelled to Star Bolt, “RUN!!!”
When Star Bolt saw her face, he realized that he really was looking at a much younger Princess Luna. However, this Luna was still just a filly. Star Bolt quickly turned back towards the pillar of sand as it started raining down in massive clumps that quickly surround the ponies. Feeling worried, Star Bolt picked up a sword from the battlefield and held it at the ready as he braced himself for a fight. As he stood at the ready, one of the black sand clumps came flying straight at him so he swung the sword hitting it away from him. However, the little bit of sand that remained on the blade started to spread, slowly devouring the blade as Star Bolt dropped it and took a few steps back in shock, “What… what is this?”

After taking a few steps back, Star Bolt’s back hoof tapped one of the piles of the black sand that was almost all over the ground beneath him. Before he could react, the sand started spreading across his body until his back half was covered in the sand. Star Bolt tried all he could to sift the sand off with his front hooves, but it was no use, the spreading sand quickly started to cover his front half like a shadow across his entire body. Before he know it, from the very tip of his wings to the end of his tail was entirely covered in the sand as his body became heavy and he fell to the ground. Star Bolt struggled as much as he could, but the weight of the sand made it impossible for him to move. Then… something even worse started to happen. All over his body, Star Bolt could feel the sand starting to eat away at his flesh as if it were eating him alive. Star Bolt began screaming in agony as the sand continued to devour him, before covering his face, and making everything go black.

Star Bolt quickly opened his eyes and sat up to find himself laying in a bed drenched in a cold sweat. As he continued to breathe heavily in fear, he spoke, “It… was just a dream?”
Star Bolt began rubbing his eyes as he sighed in relief, “Well that figures… two years since my last dream, and now that Luna knows I’m back, she sends me a Nightmare… I guess it’s her way of reminding me that I’m no longer welcome in Canterlot. And that she is still mad about everything. I guess I deserve it. I would have done far worse… but… it seemed so… specific not like a dream at all… but something else. Never mind, fact of the matter is that it has already ended and I’m out of it, thank Luna… I guess.”
Star Bolt proceeded to climb out of the bed and look around the room until he saw Zecora meditating upside-down on a staff in the middle of the room. Then he realized what happened, “I must have dozed off at the Thunder Grounds last night… leave it to Zecora to pull me out of harm’s way yet again. Timberwolves would have made a meal out of me if I had slept in the forest without my sword.”
Trying not to disturb Zecora’s meditation, Star Bolt went back to the bed and began planning over his next move, “Hmm… Ponyville is a fifty, fifty on whether or not they will accept me, I’m banned from Canterlot, and as far as I know; there isn’t a single place in this kingdom that won’t know my face now that it has been revealed to everypony at the g...”

All of a sudden, the front door flew open and slammed against the wall breaking both Zecora and Star Bolt’s thoughts. As Zecora fell to the ground, Roseluck charged into the room, “Star Bolt! Are you here!?!”
Star Bolt helped Zecora off the ground as he replied, “Rose? What are you do…”
“STAR! It’s Ponyville… you can’t go back! Right now it’s too dangerous for you there!”
“Dangerous?... let me guess… the city has been overrun by royal guards, right?”
Roseluck shook her head, “No… that’s not it at all. This morning I was woken up by an angry mob that was outside my front door. When I opened it to see what was going on, they started attacking me with questions of where you were and what you were planning to do to Ponyville. I was able to calm them down enough to sneak out the back door… but my home is still surrounded by them and I don’t think they will leave until they have you, dead or alive.”
Zecora and Star Bolt looked at each other as Zecora spoke, “The situation seems dire, I’m worried for you, you must go into hiding and stay out of their view.”

As much as the idea seemed good, Star Bolt shook his head, “No… if they want me… they can have me. Besides… my sword and cloak are still in that town. If they want me to leave then I'll gladly do it, but I won’t leave that sword behind… it’s all I have left of my family. You two stay here and don’t go into Ponyville for at least an hour.”
Both Zecora and Roseluck looked at Star Bolt as Rose asked, “but, why?”
Star Bolt replied as he started trotting towards the door, “I’m going back for my sword. And if anything is going to happen, I want you two to be as far from it as possible. You already have a bad reputation for taking me in… I won’t ruin your life too. And if anything is going to happen, it will be settled in one hour’s time.”
Roseluck tried to talk some sense into Star Bolt, “But Star I…”
Zecora interrupted “I promise my friend, we will not interrupt, the decision you made or the conflict you erupt. We shall stay here, full knowing your trust, for you are our friend, and your cause is just.”

Star Bolt smiled as he turned towards the door, “Thanks. Well, here goes nothing.”
Star Bolt exited out the front door as Roseluck looked at Zecora, “Why are you agreeing with this? You know as well as I do that they will rip him apart about th…”
“You shouldn’t be so quick to judge our dear friend, this unfortunate past, he alone must mend. I worry for him, as much if not more, but I know in my heart, that he can settle this score. So I must stand aside, in hope he will show, just how far he’s willing to go. But will he succeed, I surely hope so.”
Roseluck looked at Zecora and asked, “Zecora, why do you trust him so much? I try all I can, but sometimes I think that he is wrong and that he is toying with us… but then he does something completely crazy that changes my mind. I just don’t get it. Why do you support him as much as you do?”
Zecora looked Roseluck in the eye as she smiled.

At the edge of Ponyville Star Bolt braced himself as he started getting closer and closer to the angry mob that was still surrounding Roseluck’s home. As he approached, a pony in the very back spotted him, “HEY THERE HE IS! THERE IS COMMANDER BOLT!!!”
As everypony in the large group went silent and turned to look at Star Bolt, he continued to approach the herd as they slowly opened a path for him to get to the door of the home. With each passing step the mob glared at the ancient soldier as he continued with little to no expression of concern or worry for the tension in the herd. As he continued, a random pony in the herd yelled, “GET OUT OF OUR TOWN!!!”
Star Bolt paid no mind to the citizen since after he yelled that, there was a continuation of silence from the herd. Star Bolt continued on his path and stopped only when Big Mackintosh stepped between him and the door of the cottage.

Star Bolt looked Big Mac in the eye as he spoke with no concern in his expression, “…I’m fired… aren’t I?”
Big Mac replied with little expression, “Eeyup.”
Star Bolt nodded his head, “I should have known… then please step aside.”
Big Mac replied, “Nope.”
Star Bolt replied, “Mac… I don’t want to fight you… so I won’t. But I will ask you again… Step… Aside…”
Big Macintosh didn’t reply, he only stood in front of Star Bolt as another pony in the herd yelled, “RUN HIM OUT OF TOWN!!! HE SHOULDN’T BE HERE!!!”
The surrounding herd immediately erupted into a wave of insults and comments that all said the same thing. That Star Bolt was no longer welcome in Ponyville, “He has some nerve coming here!”
“Why did he come back anyway?”
“And to think he saved our town!”
“He probably caused that tornado to begin with, that’s how he stopped it so easily!”

Though each insult hurt Star Bolt in some way, he continued to hold his expression and temper back as they continued. Then all of a sudden an unusual yell came from the herd that not only surprised him, it surprised the whole town as it echoed into sky “LEAVE HIM ALONE!!!”
Star Bolt quickly turned around to see Fluttershy standing behind him with her wings open as if it made an invisible wall to protect him, “Star Bolt isn’t a bad pony! Sure, he was a big meanie at one point… but… he is nice now! And… I for one have never seen him do anything that would make him deserve to be treated like this!”
Star Bolt looked in shock as Fluttershy looked at him and smiled, “F-Fluttershy?...”
Rainbow Dash flew above the herd and yelled back, “Oh yea! What about the fact that he clearly lied to us! He didn’t tell us he was a member of the Nightmare Legion! Now did he?”
Fluttershy tried to reply to the comment, “Um… yea… but… uh…”
Another yell came from the herd as the Cutiemark Crusaders trotted out and stood beside Fluttershy, “That’s not fair! He did tell us he was part of the royal guard didn’t he?”
“Yea! And he also said that he had reason to travel… maybe he was trying to find a place to call home?”
“Yea and even if he didn’t tell us that specifically, it’s not like we asked him that specific question!”

As the three fillies stood around Star Bolt, he stood in concern for their boldness as Rainbow Dash tried to counter, “Well what about his past hugh! He fought against Princess Celestia!”
Another pony in the herd replied, “Yea, but if he wanted to hurt her, he would have done so last night! I saw it with my own two eyes, he did nothin’ that caused any harm to Princess Celestia, and he didn’t even bring his sword with him.”
Applejack stepped out of the herd as she approached Star Bolt, “I may just be an apple farmer… but I know a good pony when I see one.”
Star Bolt was still surprised, “Applejack… girls…”
Rainbow Dash tried to continue her argument, “but did you see how disrespectful he was to her! He’s got some wingspan to talk to her like that!”
Without Star Bolt noticing Pinkie Pie jumped out from behind him and spoke, “That’s right! It’s not like he was asserting himself by showing the princess that he had no fear and that any threat she could be to him didn’t concern him, making it known that he was ready to face any punishment that he could be facing for returning to the one city that he was entirely unwelcomed in. And it would also be weird if he approached the one pony in Equestria that thought he was dead that he secretly had a crush on an who in turn was in love with him so approaching her for the first time after she thought he was dead was a completely awkward situation… or… was that your plan after all?”

The entire herd to include Star Bolt and the few who stood up for him gave her a funny look as Star Bolt replied, “Um… actually… that’s right.”
Pinkie Pie smiled, “Oh. Then I’m with him too!”
Rainbow Dash tried to continue, “Yea! But what about that outfit! Wearing something like that is nothing but disrespect to Princess Celestia and the rest of Equestria! What bonehead would have provided him with something so…”
“I beg your pardon!”
Rainbow Dash looked below her as Rarity was now making her way out of the herd towards Star Bolt, “Mr. Star has been nothing if not a gentle-colt towards me and my little sister! When he approached me and asked to make such a thing, he agreed to pay three times the price and promised to keep it a secret so my reputation would go untarnished. I can’t say that right now it’s getting any better, but still. Star Bolt is a good pony who is kind and generous and I won’t stand aside while you ponies continue to falsely accuse him of doing wrong when clearly he hasn’t done anything wrong since he arrived.”

Rainbow Dash was shocked that most of her friends were now on his side as a few of the ponies in the herd were starting to reconsider their decision, “What! You mean that you’re still defending him! After all he d…”
“That’s enough!”
Rainbow Dash and the rest of the herd quickly went silent as Princess Twilight and Spike came trotting through the cleared path towards Star Bolt. As Twilight approached Star Bolt and turned to address the herd, Spike spoke to Star Bolt, “wow… you really have one heck of a wingspan to dis Princess Celestia and still be on Twilight’s good side.”
Star Bolt replied, “… Yea… Not helping.”
Princess Twilight announced to the herd, “By order of Princess Celestia! I’m here to remind you all that the crimes that Princess Luna was charged for when she was nightmare moon were dropped after her return. And those same crimes for Commander Star Bolt have also been pardoned. So whether you like it or not! Star Bolt isn’t guilty of anything and will not be treated as such. It will be Star Bolt decision of where he goes and what he does. So long as it doesn’t break any laws today, he will be doing nothing wrong by trotting in and out of town freely.”

The surrounding herd started looking at each other as they started to disperse after hearing Princess Twilight’s speech, even Big Mackintosh decided to leave after the matter was settled. When the herd was gone, Star Bolt smiled in relief, “Thanks Twilight… I’m glad I still have your trust.”
Princess Twilight shook her head, “No… you don’t. Even if you didn’t lie, you still wasn’t honest with us about your past or your intentions. So I’m afraid I still don’t trust you Star Bolt. I’m sorry, but after all this mess, I cant.”
Star Bolt sighed, “Well, I guess that’s fair. I know I wasn’t honest with you all but it’s not like that easy for somepony in my situation to do… I mean, what would you say, if I came up to you and said; hello my name is Star Bolt, don’t tell anypony but I used to rule over Nightmare Moon’s armies and I even commanded an attack on Canterlot that nearly destroyed the entire city while my main goal was to kill Princess Celestia. Oh and I’m one thousand and twenty five years old… just so ya know.”
All of a sudden, Pinkie Pie started laughing as hard as she could while applejack nudged her, “Uh Pinkie Pie? That wasn’t supposed to be a joke.”
“But it’s so funny!”

Star Bolt smiled at the group as he continued, “Well… either way. All I can do is thank you all. It’s been a long time since I had this many friends that I could actually trust. And I'll do all I can to make this right.”
Twilight nodded her head as she replied, “Well, actually there is something. You see Princess Celestia and pr…”
Princess Twilight was confused as to why he didn’t let her finish, “What?”
Star Bolt replied with an uninterested expression, “I said… no.”
Princess Twilight looked at her friends as Applejack spoke, “But… why?”
Star Bolt replied, “I don’t know if you know this… but I’m banished from Canterlot. Princess Luna did so last night. Furthermore, I don’t much care for Princess Celestia so there is a good chance, even if I wasn’t… I wouldn’t help. If you need a pegasus’ help, then I'll gladly give you a few names. I have connections in the Wonderbolts that can help, but as for me… I would have to be dying before I would set hoof back in Canterlot.”

Rainbow Dash spoke up as she landed next to them, “Yea right! Like you know any of the Wonderbolts!”
Star Bolt smiled confidently as he looked her in the eye, “Feel free to ask Spitfire about me… Then see how she reacts.”
Rarity tried her luck at convincing him, “Are you sure Mr. Star? We could really use your expertise to help with this prob…”
“I don’t want to be rude… especially to the few who actually stood up for me… but my answer remains the same. There is nothing that can be said that will ever get me back into that city.”
Twilight sighed as she replied, “Well… I guess I should have expected that since even Princess Celestia said it herself.”
Star Bolt continued, “Don’t get me wrong, I’m grateful that you all still support me after everything that’s happened, and if there is anything you need just ask and I'll help. I mean, I don’t have a job anymore so I have the time. However, I'll only help if it involves this town and has nothing to do with Canterlot or the two princesses there.”
Rainbow Dash sighed, “I told you guys that he wouldn’t change. Despite what you all say… I still don’t trust him.”
Star Bolt nodded his head as he turned back to the road, “Well Dash, that’s your choice, not mine. Now if you will excuse me I have to go get somepony.”

The group looked at him funny as Pinkie asked, “Get somepony? Who ya gonna get?”
Star Bolt replied, “Well I told a few friends to wait outside of town so they wouldn’t be attacked by the mob for supporting me.”
Rainbow Dash thought she finally had him, “Oh yea? Who? Some of your spies? Members of your private army?”
Star Bolt shook his head, “No… Roseluck and Zecora. I wanted them to stay safe so I told them to stay out of this. I wouldn’t let my friends get hurt… not for somepony like me. Well I'll be back later.”
As Star Bolt started trotting down the road, Fluttershy spoke, “You see… he is a nice pony. He wanted to protect his friend because he thought they would get hurt. Now would a meanie do something like that?”
Sweetie Belle added, “I’ve been saying it the whole time. Mr. Star is good, I just know it.”
Rainbow Dash shook her head in hopelessness, “Whatever, I’ve got better things to do than to support him.”
Pinkie Pie jumped up, “Oh like rush over to the Wonderbolts academy and ask captain spitfire if she knows Star Bolt so you can see her reaction to find out if he really did know her so you can settle the curiosity once and for all?”
Everypony gave Pinkie Pie a confused look as Applejack replied, “Let me guess… a hunch?”
Pinkie Pie smiled “Yep”

Far off in the Crystal Empire Flash Sentry and Derpy trotted up to Prince Shining Armor as he was overlooking his soldiers training, “Um… Prince Armor?”
Shining Armor turned around and asked, “Yes, what is it Flash?”
Flash Sentry held up a scroll and spoke, “We just received a letter from…”
All of a sudden the scroll that was in his hoof vanished as Discord appeared over the ponies heads and looked over the scroll, “Ohoo what’s this? Hmm, just a mushy letter from your wife… how dull… wait a second. Hmm… interesting.”
Discord started reading the letter silently to himself as Shining Armor looked back at Flash and asked, “Why would Cadence send me a letter? Doesn’t she know I'll be on the train to Equestria tomorrow? What’s so important that can’t wait till then?”
Discord finished the letter And smiled in an extremely devious way, “Maybe you should see for yourself… it’s quite inspirational… I’m actually disappointed I didn’t go to the gala now.”

Shining Armor used his magic to grab the letter and pull it from Discord hands and he opened it up and began reading. As Shining Armor read the letter, Discord watched in amusement as Shining Armor’s expression went from normal, to confused, then to an increased anger. While this went on, Derpy tapped Flash Sentry on his shoulder as she asked, “Um… how long will this take? I gotta get back to Canterlot soon. Got some kinda record for a Vandal Scratch?”
Flash looked at the record and corrected her, “That says Vinyl Scratch.”
Derpy took a second look at the letter and blushed, “Oh… so that’s what is says… thanks handsome.”
Flash looked at Derpy in confusion as he asked, “Um… did you just call me…”
Before Flash could finish his sentence, Shining Armor wadded up the letter, threw it down on the ground and stomped on it, “HIM! Why did he of all ponies have to show up there! I’m gonna kill him myself!”
Derpy gave Shining Armor a curious look, “What was it? Good news?”
Shining Armor ignored the question as he looked at Flash Sentry, “Have the main force on the train and ready to leave by tomorrow morning. As for me. I’m leaving today!”

Flash looked at Shining Armor in confusion as he asked, “What’s wrong your majesty? Is Canterlot in trouble?”
Shinning armor replied as he started trotting towards the train station, “No… but I know somepony who will be. Take care of the kingdom till I return.”
Flash stood in confusion as Shining Armor left him with the soldiers who were still training. As Shining Armor continued, Discord used his magic to make a small car appear and drove alongside Shining Armor as he spoke, “Road Trip!... sorry I thought this would be a good guy thing for us to do. I mean we are going to meet one of my heroes aren’t we? Well… I’m going to meet him. You’re going to try to beat him up. But don’t worry. I'll be there to take you to the hospital afterwards.”
Shining Armor looked at Discord and spoke in irritation, “And what makes you think I can’t beat Commander Bolt in a fight?”

Discord made his car disappear as he started flying next to Shining Armor, “Hmm let me think…”
As he hovered in the air, a long checklist appeared in Discords hands as he put on reading glasses and continued, “One; he fought in numerous battles while you only managed to fend off changelings… and toss your wife from a balcony. Two; he was trained a long time ago so he is a lot better trained than you are. Three; he has that little trick he does with lighting. Four; he did manage to become commander of Equestria while you only became Captain before becoming a prince. Five; he still has a princess to impress while you already have your ball and chain. Six; he has eluded you for years so there has to be some skill behind that. And seven; simply because he is Commander Bolt nuff said.”
Shining Armor looked at Discord and spoke, “Look I don’t care how experienced he is. I’m still going to take him down.”

Discord shrugged his shoulders, “Oh well, I can’t say I tried. But don’t worry I have your back I'll just watch patiently from the sidelines.”
Using magic, Discord made a ball cap appear on his head and a small flag appear in his hand that both had Star Bolts face on them, and then he waved the flag around as he spoke “Hmm… I wonder if there will be any snack at the concession stands… oh who am I kidding, Pinkie Pie will be there. There are bound to be snack.”
Shining Armor ignored Discords actions as he thought to himself, “I got you now Commander Bolt. You’re not getting away this time.”