• Published 15th Oct 2013
  • 3,268 Views, 198 Comments

The Price of Harmony - Priceless911

While Star Bolt tries to forget his life of sin. An ancient evil sits and waits for the day that its prison will weaken so it can break free and finish its goal that was started 2000 years ago. The extinction of the alicorn race.

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Ch14 Reconciliation

Star Bolt stood watching the pegasi soldiers fly the obstacle course while he started calling each one out, “Slow… slow… sloppy… slow… not great… can’t bank… What the?”
As Star Bolt watched, he noticed both Spitfire and Rainbow Dash crisscrossing through the soldiers as they quickly made their way to the front of the group. As soon as they finished the course, they both landed next to Star Bolt as Rainbow Dash asked, “Well commander… what did you think of that? Amazingly awesome if I say so myself.”
Star Bolt approached them as he sighed, “Your speed is adequate… but your precision lacks subtlety, you’re sloppy on your banking, and you waste too much energy when you raise and lower your altitude. Remember speed does help, but it isn’t everything.”
Spitfire asked next, “ok… so what did I do wrong?”
Star Bolt replied, “Actually… all you need to work on is flying alone.”

Star Bolt nodded his head as he looked back at the course and replied, “You use the tail wind of those around you to increase your speed and performance. But you need to start relying on your own speed. Otherwise your speed is good, your precision is flawless, your banking needs slight altering, but you have no problems with raising or lowering your attitude.”
Rainbow Dash couldn’t help but think she was being treated unfairly, “Why are you nicer to her then me commander? You don’t like me or something?”
Star Bolt sighed as he looked at her, “The reason I treat her better is because she is doing it better… I don’t choose favorites when it comes to training. Because it doesn’t matter how much more I like you on the battlefield… they will kill you all the same. Now stop your whining and try agai…”
Star Bolt stopped talking as he saw Roseluck approaching him as she continued, “Can I speak with you for a second… Privately.”
Star Bolt nodded his head as he looked at Spitfire and spoke, “Can you take over here for a second, I'll be right back.”

As spitfire turned to continue where Star Bolt left off, he and Roseluck started trotting alongside each other as Roseluck hesitated trying to choose her words carefully, “so… um… h-how is the training going.”
Star Bolt sighed, “Slow and miserable…”
Roseluck smiled, “Don’t worry Star, I’m sure they can handle it. They are royal guards after all”
Star Bolt shook his head, “I meant me… these soldiers are so bad, I don’t think any of them would be of any help at all… but since they are all we have, I'll do what I can with them.”
Roseluck laughed in a troubled way as she looked down and continued trying to find the right words to say, “So… um…”
Knowing that she was stalling Star Bolt spoke up, “What’s on your mind Rose? Something is telling me that you didn’t come out here just to see how the soldiers were doing.”
Roseluck nodded and asked, “Um… Star… What… what do you think of me?”
Star Bolt thought that was a funny question so he answered, “What do I think? Well you’re a good friend and trying to help in this crisis really shows that you’re a kind pony with a big heart… why? Are you having second thought? If so, I can show you some self-defense techniques if you want. They won’t fend off an army… but they could help if you were in a pinch.”

Roseluck shook her head, “No that’s fine… what I meant was. Am… am I just a friend to you?”
Hearing this question immediately sparked something in his mind as Star Bolt looked at Roseluck and replied, “You… you have feelings for me… don’t you?”
Roseluck’s face turned red as she tried to think to herself, “I do… or… at least I think I do… I um… I don’t know anymore… I… I just don’t know.”
Star Bolt realized what she was saying as he nodded his head, “So… you think you love me… but now you’re wondering if it was really love, or something else… right?”
With her face still red, Roseluck turned around and tried to flee the conversation, “I’m sorry… it was a stupid question… forget I said anything.”
Before Roseluck could get away from him Star Bolt put his hoof on her shoulder, “Rose… please… stay… what was said was said and if this isn’t dealt with now… then it will only continue to hurt until something is done about it.”
Roseluck tried to avert her eyes as she turned back towards him as Star Bolt continued, “I know this is hard to hear… because it’s actually hard to say… but you and me… we are friends… and that’s all we can be. Just friends.”

Roseluck looked at her hooves and asked, “Is… is there something wrong with me?”
Star Bolt shook his head, “Not at all… if anything, there is something wrong with me. You’re a good pony Rose. You’re one of the ponies I actually trust with my life… and all considering, that’s a hard list to land on which says something.”
Roseluck started to tear up as she continued, “But… you and I… have been through so much… I thought…”
Star Bolt put his hoof under her chin and raised her head up to look her in the eye, “Rose… A pony like you… I can never be with, because… you’re too good for me. somepony like you deserves more than anything I can offer. Your talent allows you to create thing of natural beauty. You’re a beautiful creator of life, but me… I destroy… and that’s all I ever do.”
Roseluck tried to argue, “But you’re here to he…”
“Face it Rose. I’m here to use my power to destroy another pony. A few minutes ago, I was teaching others to destroy and kill. The only reason Princess Celestia asked me to come here is so I can help kill The Dark Alicorn because I am a pony who is known for destroying… not creating.”

Roseluck hung her head low again as she replied, “I know… but, you’re really a good pony… and I know that beca…”
Star Bolt shook his head, “You don’t know me as well as you hope Rose… I know I may sound mean right now… but nopony knows me. You’re better off without me Rose… trust me; just look at everypony who ever loved me. Gem Stone… Luna… and Nightmare Moon. In the end, two are dead and the third… is in deep pain, all because of me. I’m a burden to everypony around me… and I’m an even bigger burden to those who love me.”
Roseluck sighed in disappointment as Star Bolt noticed something strange, “You don’t seem as broken hearted as I would suspect.”
Roseluck replied, “Well… what you said does hurt… but I don’t know… maybe… it’s not that bad.”
Star Bolt smiled, “Or… maybe there is another on your mind. Maybe there is somepony else, you have feelings for that catches your eyes too. And maybe since I’m not for you, you’re telling yourself that this other stallion is.”

Roseluck put her hoof on her face as she replied, “I… I don’t know…”
Star Bolt nodded his head as he put his hoof on her shoulder, “Rose… If there is one thing I know in my thousand years of living, is that everypony seeks love. Everypony wants to find that one pony who will be with them when the going gets tough. I sought it, Luna, Gem, we all wanted to know that special feeling of standing next to the one pony that you would spend the rest of your life with.”
Roseluck understood what Star Bolt was trying to say but then she had to ask, “Then… who is yours?”
Star Bolt didn’t reply, all he did was give her a blank stare as she continued, “Sorry… I went too far that time… maybe I’m just a little tired. I was up early this morning trying to help do research on The Dark Alicorn. So, I think I'll just go. Thanks Star… I know I didn’t want to hear this form you… but in a way, I’m glad I did.”
Star Bolt nodded his head as Roseluck turned to leave. Just before she was out of sight, Star Bolt sighed, “Why am I still trapped?…”
Thinking about how hard it was to answer her question; Star Bolt turned back to the soldiers and continued training them.

Later that evening, just as the sun went down Star Bolt returned to his room to find Princess Celestia waiting for him. As soon as he saw her he sighed, “What is it?”
Celestia replied, “Do you really have to be so disrespectful? I understand your tension towards me but I would like to think that it starting to fade since we are on the same side now.”
Star Bolt replied, “… ok, what is it, your majesty?”
Princess Celestia shook her head, “Anyway, I came here to ask you a favor.”
Star Bolt shook his head, “A favor hmm… what a shock. Whatever it is, I’m not going to do it. I’ve had long and rather awkward day, so I think I'll just get some rest. So if you don’t mind, your majesty could you please leave.”
Princess Celestia sighed as she trotted out of the room, “Well… since you said please. Have a good evening… Commander.”
With that said, Princess Celestia left the room as Star Bolt started to take off the celestial armor he was wearing. When Princess Celestia entered the hall, she saw Princess Luna waiting for her outside the room. Princess Celestia sighed as she trotted by her sister, “As you can see… he won’t listen to me… Good luck.”
Irritated, Princess Celestia trotted by Luna and continued down the hall to her room to rest until morning.

When Princess Luna lost sight of her sister, she turned back to Star Bolt’s room and sighed, “Ok… you can do this…”
Slowly, Princess Luna entered the room to find Star Bolt standing on the balcony looking into the city in deep thought. Princess Luna entered the room completely then started to think of what to say to him. After deciding her words, she stepped forward and opened her mouth to talk, but all that came out was silence. Continuing her hesitation, Princess Luna started to think about changing what she was going to say, to something else. However, just like before, when she stepped forward again and opened her mouth to speak, she said nothing. Luna now felt awkward because, she entered the room in hopes of talking to him, but so far has yet to say a single word. While at the same time, she assumed that he knew she was there, however she couldn’t be more wrong. Star Bolt stood on the balcony looking into Canterlot as a series of thoughts crossed his mine. His dreams, their threat, and everything that he knew he would eventually face was embedding deep into his mind as he continued standing there with no knowledge of Luna’s presence.

After a few more seconds, which felt like hours for Luna, she sighed then finally said something, “It’s… beautiful… isn’t it?”
Star Bolt slowly turned and looked at Luna as he replied, “B-beautiful?”
Princess Luna blushed she replied, “The city… I mean.”
Star Bolt looked back into the lit Canterlot as he replied, “Oh… yea… beautiful. But… it’s hard to look at it… and not see the burning remains that I left it in all those years ago.”
Princess Luna trotted to him and stood beside him on the balcony as she looked down in shame, “oh… um… well. At least they rebuilt it. I think it looks even better now. The city is almost twice the size as it was back then.”
Star Bolt continued looking at Canterlot as he sighed, “Yea… I guess so.”
A few more seconds of awkward silence passed then Princess Luna spoke, “Um… Star? I was wondering… Well, could you stand in for my commander? You see, he left to see how Eden was doing a few days ago, and I wanted to know if you could fill in for him.”
Star Bolt wanted to say no right off the bat, but when he looked at the look of hope that was written all over her face, he could only sigh as he looked back into the city and reply, “Sure…”

Though Luna felt a little better about his answer, she was still disappointed because she had expected more than just a single word for an answer. As she started thinking to herself, she giggled at her thoughts as Star Bolt looked at her and asked, “What’s so funny?”
Luna smiled as she spoke, “I was just thinking about this balcony… remember this was the balcony you learned to fly from.”
Star Bolt looked around the smiled, “You’re right… in fact, this was the balcony that Commander Mist tossed me from. It was a good thing he used magic to catch me the first few times. If he was an earth pony, the fall would have killed me.”
The two laughed a little bit as Luna replied, “Yea… I remember that when you finally glided for the first time, you were so excited, you galloped all the way through the castle and woke me up in the middle of the day just to tell me.”
Star Bolt smiled, “Well it was the first time I wasn’t falling straight down. Remember, I had no memories of flying before that and as far as I knew I fell from Cloudsdale before that so I was excited.”
Luna smiled softly as she spoke, “Things were so much simpler back then, weren’t they?”
Star Bolt nodded his head, “Yea… back when there was nothing big to worry about.”

Princess Luna blushed a little as she asked, “Star… If, things were different back then… what do you think would have happened… to us?”
Star Bolt didn’t expect a question like this; he couldn’t help but blush as he replied, “Well… I suppose… um… uh… well… we probably would have… um… been… uh…”
Luna smiled as she continued blushing, “Together?...”
Star Bolt looked away trying to hide his face, “Um… yea… together…”
Luna smiled peacefully as she looked back into the city, “I would have liked that… very much.”
Star Bolt cleared his throat as a diversion to hide his hesitation, then he sighed as he looked at Luna and tried to speak, “Luna, i…”
Before he could continue, he paused for a brief moment as he saw her looking into the lit city below with a peaceful carefree smile. Looking at the peaceful smile that was only visible because of the soft shading from both the moonlight and the city lights, captivated him to a point of speechlessness. He could only stand there in awe as she turned to him, then their eyes met. Looking into her blue eyes only brought back all those memories that he loved about her. And in his captivity of her beauty, something seemed to take hold, not just of him… but in her as well.

The two ponies stared into each other’s eyes as they began slowly acting on impulse of their feeling for one another. The beauty of the moment and the affections they felt for each other completely overwhelmed them both as they leaned in towards each other, tilted their heads slightly, and closed their eyes to kiss. However, the moment was soon broken, when Star Bolt paused just before their lips met. With dark memories and dark thoughts starting to fill his mind and overwhelm his actions, Star Bolt opened his eyes and turned away without a single word for explanation. When Luna realized his actions, she opened her eyes and looked at him as she started to tear up, “S-Star?”
Without looking back at her, Star Bolt sighed, “Luna… I can’t.”
Luna backed up as the tears started to roll down her face, “I… I… I underst…”
Before she could finish, her emotions took hold of her heart as she turned and ran from the balcony, through the room, and into the hallway leaving nothing behind but the echo of the slamming door and her tears as they fell from her face. Hearing her hooves echo through the hall as Luna ran away from his room only saddened him more as he looked into the city again, “She… deserves better. I can’t…”

Trying to convince himself that his actions were the right ones, Star Bolt went back into the room and began pacing back and forth, as he talked to himself, “This isn’t the life I should live. I’m a fugitive…. A rouge soldier who abandoned his post to live the way he… I mean I wasn’t... I’m no lap dog. I don’t belong here… I’m only here to help Equestria… nothing more. I’m not here to be a hero. I’m not here to win over the princess’s heart. I’m here because I’m still trapped. I’m here to finally free my conscience… but will this do it?”
Star Bolt stopped pacing as he looked up to see his sword and cloak sitting in a chair next to the armor he removed earlier. Then Star Bolt sighed, “I just need to clear my head for a few minutes… a trot around Canterlot should do it. This spare time is all I should need to clear my mind.”
Star Bolt put on his cloak and sword as he trotted back onto the balcony. Normally he would choose to go out the door, but since he didn’t want to risk bumping into Princess Luna after what they just went through, he felt it was better to give her time before even showing his face to her for the rest of the night.

Star Bolt trotted back out onto the balcony as he closed the doors behind him and put the hood of the cloak over his head. Then he jumped from the balcony and glided outside the castle walls as he landed on the street and began trotting trough Canterlot. First, Star Bolt wanted to see how the noble district was doing, so he made his way there, however, when he arrived, he found out that the district had been moved and all the mansions, to include, the Mist manor and the Snow family manor, had been torn down and replaced by a second market street. Disappointed that his foalhood home had been torn down, Star Bolt decided to trot to where the old walls used to run, however, they two had been relocated to make way for new changes in the city’s size. Star Bolt started to get disappointed, everything other than the Canterlot Castle, the Canterlot Garden, and the plaza that Gem died in had been completely changed. It was as if this city wasn’t Canterlot at all, or at least, it wasn’t the Canterlot he grew up in.

As Star Bolt continued through the city, he happen to stumble on one place that was still in business from when he was commander of the Nightmare Legion. It was an old Royal Guard tavern where many Royal Guards would relax and gather after a long day’s work. It wasn’t much to look at, but considering that this old hole in the wall had been in business for over a millennium, he thought it was a perfect place to clear his mind. So Star Bolt trotted towards the door to go inside, but just befor he could reach for the door handle, the door flew open as two larger guards tossed an inebriated soldier out and spoke, “We don’t accept handouts! Beat it, and don’t come back till you have money to pay for your drinks.”
Completely ignoring Star Bolt all together, the larger stallions went back inside, as Star Bolt smiled, “ah… hasn’t changed a bit.”
Star Bolt then trotted inside the tavern to see a large number of ponies all gathered inside as they drank the night away. Star Bolt looked around the room as he made his way to the bar, as expected; everypony in the room was, is, or will be royal guards of Equestria. The day shift was having a spirited time on one side of the room while the night, AKA the bat ponies where having their fun on the other side. On a small stage sat a cello playing mare who was playing a melancholy song that seemed to fit a better mood for a stallion who was down on his luck, but despite the beauty of this tune or the mare herself, the guards were paying more attention to each other than to her.

Star Bolt made his way to the bar as he pulled up a stool and took a seat. The bartender was wiping a glass as he looked at Star Bolt and spoke, “Didn’t expect somepony like you to show up here… what will it be commander?”
Star Bolt wasn’t surprised that the bartender new him since a place like this is always full of news and gossip spread by the personal guards of the princesses of Equestria. Therefore, he just smiled as he put his hood down and replied, “Can you get me a zap apple cider?”
the bartender nodded his head as he replied, “O k… that will be three bits… and your sword.”
“My sword?”
The bartender replied as he pulled out a mug and started making the drink, “I don’t want any trouble in here, so if you want that drink… then first you have to pony up your weapon. That’s the rules round here. If ya don’t like it, then you can go elsewhere.”
Star Bolt nodded his head as he drew his sword and laid it on the counter, “Seems fair enough.”
But just before her could place the bits next to it, another voice spoke up, “Put it on my tab, I owe him a drink anyway. And also, get me a basic cider while you’re at it.”
Both Star Bolt and the bartender looked where the voice came from as they saw Shining Armor trot up to the bar and sit down next to Star Bolt. The bartender nodded his head, “Can do your majesty… however I’m going to have to ask for your sword as well.”

As Shining Armor drew his sword and gave it to the bartender, Star Bolt looked at him and spoke, “So what is the glorious prince of the Crystal Empire doing in a shabby, hole in the wall like this?”
The bartender turned and gave him a dirty look as Star Bolt shrugged his shoulders, “No offence.”
As the bartender went back to his work, Shining Armor replied, “I was once a royal guard too. This is where I always went to get my mind off troubles. But then again I could be asking you the same thing. Why would the great soldier of soldiers be in this shabby place when his tittle could allow him to relax with the noblest of the nobles?”
Star Bolt smiled in a joking manner as he replied, “I couldn’t find the nobles… Canterlot has changed in the past thousand years so I decided to go somewhere that I recognize. Besides, I’m not the kind of pony to look down on anypony else, especially since I am the lowest of the low right?”
Shining armor replied sarcastically, “Couldn’t have said it better myself.”

As the two sat at the bar, the bartender trotted up and sat the drinks down on the table as Star Bolt smiled, “So why are you here? Trying to avoid the wife?”
Shining Armor nodded his head, “If she asks… I’m training my soldiers.”
Star Bolt smiled, “lying to the wife… very unbecoming of the noble prince.”
Shining Armor replied as he pointed to the corner of the room, “I’m only partially lying, my soldiers are over there. Nevertheless, you have yet to tell me why you’re here… this is a place where ponies go to either clear their minds of daily troubles, or… to have a good time. And don’t get me wrong… but you don’t look like you’re having a good time if you ask me.”
Star Bolt sighed as he took a drink of his drink and asked, “How did you do it Armor?”
“… What?”

Star Bolt continued, “I’ve faced entire armies, deadly mercenaries, heck I’ve practically spit in the griffin king’s face. But no matter what, I just couldn’t muster the courage to tell Luna how I feel. Then when she makes it apparent that she feels the same way, I can’t even go with it. I’ve killed more than anypony in this day and age could ever face in battle. But I can’t even say three simple words to the pony I care about.”
Shining Armor nodded his head in agreement, “I see where you’re going with this. To be honest, I felt the same way. When I proposed to Cadence, I rehearsed in a mirror for three hours on what to say, and in the end… I still screwed it up. But you know what, I think that the reason I love her so much, is because she knows me enough to overlook my screw-ups. She cares about me enough that all my faults, all my mistakes and all of the things that make me imperfect, are completely ignored. She loves me for me. and she doesn’t want it any other way.”

Star Bolt shook his head, “yea… but that doesn’t help me much. Luna did overlook what I did, but I still can’t overlook what I was. Nor could I accept somepony like her, being with somepony like me… she deserves better.”
Shining Armor nodded her head, “I thought the same about Cadence, but when somepony better came along, she overlooked them. Not because he wasn’t good enough, but because she wanted me instead. So I thought about what was more important. What she deserved, or what she wanted. The pony that would make her life perfect, or the pony who would make her life happy.”
Star Bolt looked at Shining Armor, “And?...”
Shining Armor smiled, “I’m still here aren’t I? And unless she wants it any other way, I plan to stay with her till death do we part.”
Star Bolt smiled, “Hmm… I guess I should just take a shot then shouldn’t i?”
As Shining Armor raised his mug in a gesture that said go for it, Star Bolt smiled, “this only proves that immortals are hard to please.”
Shining Armor smiled, “Oh, I wouldn’t know. Cadence and Twilight aren’t immortal. Only alicorn of the original royal family are immortal, and even then their immortality is flawed.”

Star Bolt nodded his head as he took a drink “Yea… they have eternal youth and beauty, but their physical being is just as frail as yours and mine. But I have to ask, how is it that two alicorn outside the royal family exist anyway?”
Shining Armor replied, “Twilight apparently was destined to become an alicorn, while Cadence was a natural born alicorn. Something about an ancient ancestor was an alicorn or something like that. I hear it happens every century or so.”
Star Bolt nodded his head, “I’m surprised, out of all that time in my prison, I never saw a single alicorn… but then again I never saw a pony who could also use the lightning orb too so I guess it makes since.”
Shining Armor smiled as he added, “You know what doesn’t make sense? What’s happening right now… if you came to me a month ago and told me that Commander Bolt and I would be sharing a drink right here in Canterlot today? Well I'd imprison you for insanity.”
Star Bolt nodded his head as he added, “If I came to you and told you that a month ago? I'd be in prison since you were still hunting me back then.”

The two stallions laughed as Star Bolt looked at his drink and spoke a little more seriously, “You know… in spite of all the bitter comments and uncomfortable tension… I’ve always kinda envied you.”
Shining Armor was surprised, “Really? Why?”
Star Bolt replied, “You have everything… and I’m not just saying that because you’re a prince. What I mean is, you have a beautiful wife, a loving sibling who will always help, and you have never had to see the horrors of war. And not to mention, you married a princess. Who wouldn’t want to be you?”
Shining Armor sighed, “You’re one to talk. You never married your princess, but you captured her heart and that only makes her want you more. You’ve lived a life of excitement and danger the like of which most royal guards have only dreamed of. And when I trained my soldiers, not once have I ever heard the term, what would Captain Armor do? It’s always, what would Commander Bolt do, or who do you think you are Commander Bolt, or something like that. There isn’t a guard in this city who doesn’t know your legacy, and I highly doubt that anypony would ever pass up the chance to live just one day in your horse shoes.”

Star Bolt could only smile as he continued, “Wow, we are definitely two of a kind aren’t we?”
Shining Armor replied, “yea… just the kind of fools that only a princess could love… speaking of which, I should probably get back to mine. Late night training is common, but not when it drags past nine o’clock.”
Star Bolt nodded his head as he finished his drink, “Yea… I should probably head back too. There’s something I said I'd do, and even though I’m late, I’m a stallion of my word.”
Shining Armor stood up and signaled the bartender to give him his sword as he replied, “You know Bolt… despite all we’ve been through. We should do this again sometime.”
Star Bolt stood up as the bartender gave him his sword too, “Sure, and next time I'll be here to relax and have a good time.”

Shining Armor smiled as he trotted out the door, “Well you take it easy commander. Good luck with you know who.”
As Shining Armor trotted out of sight, Star Bolt sheathed his sword as he sighed, “Yea… Celestia knows I need it.”
Before he left the bar, the bartender asked, “That’s not the only thing on your mind… is it sir?”
Star Bolt placed a bit on the table as he replied, “And what makes you say that?”
The bartender replied, “I’ve seen the look of heart break, and the look of troubles all the time… but your look is one of a deep worry…”
Star Bolt put the hood over his head as he turned to the door, “Worry, trouble, and love seem to be all in the same category. So I think once I fix this, I won’t be worried anymore. Thanks and take it easy.”
With that said Star Bolt left the tavern and took to the sky with a small amount of confidence in his next actions.

Back at the Castle, Princess Luna sat on her throne with a depressed look on her face as she tried to forget what had happened earlier in the night. However, her mood couldn’t be hidden from her guards, as one couldn’t stop himself from asking, “Your majesty? Are you feeling alright?”
Princess Luna didn’t reply, however, before enough time had passed to show her hesitation, the doors to the throne room opened as Star Bolt stood at the doorway with a serious look on his face. A part of her felt curious as to why Star Bolt was there, however, her embarrassment overclouded her curiosity as she looked away and hid her face, hoping that he would just leave. Star Bolt took a deep breath then confidently began trotting into the throne room towards the disheartened princess. As he continued towards the throne, the surrounding guards could see that Princess Luna was uncomfortable but since they knew Star Bolt to be an ally, they didn’t act, although they readied themselves for an order just in case. However, none was given, as Star Bolt approached Princess Luna and stood directly in front of her for a few seconds. Then when nothing was said, Star Bolt stepped to the side and sat next to the throne as he did back when he was her commander.

Seeing this greatly confused Princess Luna, however just as she was about to ask a question, he spoke first, “Luna… I can never forgive myself for what I did… nor can I ever forgive Nightmare Moon for what she made me do.”
Luna looked at the floor in disappointment as he took a deep breath and continued, “However… you’re not nightmare moon… and I told you myself that I would fill in for your commander till he returned. So I'll do as I said I would and fill in for him. I may never forget my past or the reason I hate this life of mine… but… I’m willing to try.”
Princess Luna smiled with joy as she replied while holding back her tears, “Then… I’m glad to have you back… commander. And I can only be honored to have you back by my side.”
Star Bolt smiled, “I’m honored that you would have me here your majesty, and may I ask, how long will it be before your commander returns?”
Princess Luna replied, “About three days. Eden is almost five days travel from here so the commander should be a little more then halfway there by now. Oh, and by the way… call me Luna.”
Star Bolt nodded his head, “Alright then, for the next week, I'll do everything I can to keep you safe… Luna.”
Luna smiled, “I thought you wouldn’t consider yourself a soldier of Equestria anymore?”
Star Bolt replied with a smile, “Who said I was doing this because I was a soldier… this is something I would do, with or without an order. Because no matter what… I want to see you happy.”

Somewhere in the desolate area of a faraway forest, a commander and a hoof full of soldiers were sitting around a campfire as one soldier asked, “Commander? How many days till we get to Eden?”
The commander replied, “It’s only about one more. We should arrive by tomorrow evening.”
The same soldier asked, “Are you nervous? You know, about going to where the dark alicorn is kept?”
The commander shook his head, “No… I’ve been there before. As long as you stay out of the tomb, then you should be safe. The elements there are meant to keep him sealed away, so it should be a…”
Before the commander could finish, a dark cloud had quickly moved in and blotted out the moonlight above. The commander and his soldiers stood up and looked at the cloud as one of the soldiers spoke, “That’s strange… we were supposed to have clear skies all the way to Eden. Cloudsdale said nothing about any cloud cover.”
the commander replied as he slowly reached for his sword, “… that’s not a cloud...”
While the group of soldier looked into the sky at whatever it was that blocked the light from the moon, none of them saw the small snakelike stream of sand as it slinked under their hooves and circled their campfire, hiding in the shadow of the stones that lined it. Then as the unsuspecting ponies watched the cloud above, a second snake lick stream of sand slinked behind the Equestrian commander and accumulated into the dark alicorn right behind him. But before they realized his presence, the dark alicorn smiled wickedly and spoke, “Good evening… commander.”
Just as the group of soldiers quickly turned to the dark alicorn, the sand circling the fire covered the flames, snuffing out the only source of light, and causing area to go dark.