• 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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Ch19 The Ruins of Gryphus

As Star Bolt and the team of ponies made their way across the countryside, Rainbow Dash was finding ways to amuse herself, “Are we there yet?”
“Are we there yet?”
“Are we there yet?”
“Dang it Rainbow Dash! If you don’t shut up I swear I'll strike you down… and don’t think for a second you can dodge a bolt of lightning!”
Before Rainbow Dash could say anything, Rarity used her magic to pull out a map from her saddlebag as she opened it and spoke, “Um, commander? Do you happen to know where we are? I'd like to think we crossed the Equestrian border a few days ago, but since we have yet to find a habited city it’s hard to tell.”

Star Bolt sight, “I know… Trottingham, Stalliongrad, even the griffin city Kestrel was wiped completely out. The dark alicorn is traveling much faster than we expected. At this rate, we will be the last on the planet by the time we reach Eden.”
As the traveling group of ponies made their way into a vast grassland, Princess Twilight replied to Star Bolt’s remark, “well… I guess the best thing to do is keep our spirits up… you think it was a good idea to make Roseluck and Niether stay behind?”
Applejack replied, “We had no choice. With a busted up hoof, Roseluck would have just slowed us down, and we couldn’t leave her behind alone.”
Spitfire replied, “She’s right, besides, Niether is a standup guy. Knowing him he probably took her to another town to find more survivors.”
As the group continued into the silent meadow, Star Bolt felt something so he stopped. After stopping in his tracks, everypony else stopped behind him as Zecora asked, “What is wrong commander is the time to rest near? I'd think we would find a better place than here.”

Ignoring Zecora’s comment, Star Bolt started to look around as he mumbled to himself, “Who are you… and why are you watching us?”
Princess Twilight trotted close to Star Bolt as she asked, “Star Bolt? Is something wrong?”
Star Bolt continued looking around as he asked, “do you hear that?”
Everything went quiet as the group listened to their surroundings, but after a few seconds of silence Rainbow Dash replied, “I don’t hear anything?”
Applejack knew what it meant, “You’re right… it’s as silent as a sleepin’ jack rabbit out here… no birds… no critters… nothin’.”
Star Bolt griped his sword as he replied, “it’s far too quiet…”
as the group looked around in all angles, as Star Bolt slowly drew his sword. Just then, a small patch of grass was tossed into the air as a griffin jumped out of a covered hole and tried to attack the group. As the griffin got close, Zecora pulled a vile from her saddlebag and smashed it against the ground sending a blue cloud of fumes into the griffins face causing him to back up as he broke out into an uncontrollable sneezing tantrum.

With the griffin immobilized by his own sneezes, a large number of griffin jumped out of more grass covered holes as they lunged at the group of ponies. When one got close enough to Star Bolt, he raised his morning star up to strike him, but just as he did, Twilight used her magic to stop the weapon in midair causing the griffin to look up as Star Bolt turned around and kicked him in the face. Another griffin tried to grab Rainbow Dash but she was too fast for the large creature as she crisscrossed through the group of griffin, distracting them completely as Rarity picked up a number of rocks and tossed them at the griffin with her magic. While Rarity was distracted with her own actions, she didn’t notice as another griffin snuck up behind her and readied his sword to strike. Luckily, as he raised his sword up, Applejack roped his arms and pulled him backwards as the unbalanced griffin fell onto his back. Before he had a chance to do anything else, Rarity used her magic on the rope and tied him up quickly while adding her own signature bow on the same rope, “There… remember even the most simplest addition to something vulgar can make it stylish.”

As Rainbow Dash was continuing her distraction as she crisscrossed through the griffin, she didn’t notice when one of the griffin pulled out a set of bolas and tossed them through the air. As the bolas hit her, they tangled her wings up causing her to lose control as she crashed to the ground. Before she could react a griffin pinned her to the ground as he spoke, “Surrender now pony!”
Before Rainbow Dash could reply with what would obviously be a no, Spitfire dove in from nowhere and kicked the griffin at top speed causing him to fall to the ground unconscious. As Rainbow Dash tried to untangle the bolas, Spitfire asked, “You ok Dash?”
Rainbow Dash smiled as she replied, “Are you kidding? I was just saved by the captain of the Wonderbolts. This is totally awesome!”
Elsewhere Star Bolt was dodging sword strikes from another griffin as he started mocking him, “Slow, slow, sloppy, slow, even Prince Armor fought better then you… and that’s saying something. Something sad.”

With Star Bolt’s attention on his front, another griffin snuck up behind him, grabbed him my his wings, and raised him in the air so that his hooves were off the ground. For a split second Star Bolt cringed in pain over his wounded wing, but with the griffin in his front attacking and the griffin behind him preventing him from moving, he had to ignore it. Reacting from the front griffin’s attack, Star Bolt drew his sword and blocked the griffins attack. As the two swords were pressed against each other, the griffin saw the cutiemark on the blade and spoke in shock, “it… it’s you…”
Before the griffin could finish his sentence, Star Bolt swung his hind hooves forward, kicking the griffin in front of him before swinging back and kicking the griffin holding him in the air. As Star Bolt landed on the ground, he ignored his pain as he opened his wing and swung around hitting their legs and tripping them both as they fell to the ground. Before they could pick themselves up, Star Bolt jumped on top of the front griffin as he held his blade to his throat and called to the surrounding attackers, “LAY DOWN YOUR WEAPONS OR HE DIES!!!”

The surrounding griffin stopped what they were doing as the pinned griffin yelled to them, “Do what he says! Its him! The pony that the commander told us about! It’s Commander Bolt!”
The surrounding griffin laid down their weapons as Star Bolt asked, “Commander? Is this his doing? Did he order you to attack us?”
the griffins looked at each other as one replied, “I think the bigger question is, why are you trespassing here!?!”
“Trespassing? This is a meadow in the land between Kestrel and Gryphus. This land is free to roam as we please… that is, unless your king passed some new law that we don’t know about.”
Another griffin replied, “The king is dead! We take our orders from our commander now!”
Star Bolt replied, “Then have your commander talk with us! If he has a problem then he should tell us himself!”
“Don’t mind if I do… oh, and by the way, it’s herself.”

After hearing the familiar voice call from the back of the crowd, the group of griffin stepped aside as they stood at attention in respect to the approaching commander. The griffin commander made her way to the front as she smiled, “Long time see Commander Bolt… or should I still call you Star Bolt?”
Star Bolt smiled as he replied, “I’m a commander again, although I didn’t expect you to be one too.”
as the commander smiled at the group of ponies Rainbow Dash made her way to the front and spoke in shock, “G-Gilda?”
Gilda smiled at her surprised friend as she replied, “Dash, what’s up? How have you been?”
Rainbow Dash replied, “Well… I’ve been better…”
Gilda nodded her head, “Haven’t we all? Sorry about the mistake… things have been a little crazy these past few days.”
Rainbow Dash nodded her head, “You don’t know the half of it.”
As Gilda looked at her surrounding griffin, she called out, “there is nothing to worry about! These ponies are friends. They have nothing to do with the attack on the city.”
Star Bolt stepped off the pinned griffin as he sheathed his sword, “Attack on the city? Care to explain Gilda?”
Gilda nodded her head as she replied, “It might be better to talk about this back at camp, that is… unless you have anything better to do.”
Though Rainbow Dash looked uneasy with the question, Star Bolt replied, “That sounds fine, a break from our travels will help us anyway.”

Gilda nodded her way as she turned around and began leading the way, “Sounds like a plan. Let’s get moving, then shall we?”
The griffin attackers stayed behind as Gilda began leading the caravan of ponies out of the meadow and onto a steep hill. While they continued, Star Bolt noticed that Rainbow Dash wasn’t flying like usual; instead she was trotting with a troubled expression on her face. Star Bolt slowed his trot until he was beside her as he whispered, “You ok Dash? I take it you know her.”
Rainbow Dash whispered back, “Yea… she used to be a good friend of mine… but, the last time we saw each other, it didn’t end well.”
Star Bolt sighed, “Look I don’t know what happened between you two, but now is the time to get over it. Whether you like it or not, we need to rest and resupply if we hope to get to Eden in one peace.”
Rainbow Dash tried to argue, “I know… but that doesn’t change what I said to her…”
Star Bolt nodded his head, “Well whatever it was, apparently she is over it, otherwise she would have turned us away by now. Just give her a chance, regardless of which, we are all in the same boat so we need to trust each other.”

As the group reached the top of the hill Rainbow Dash started to reply, “Maybe you’re right comma… whoa…”
as the ponies looked into the distance they saw the ruins of a once massive city as Twilight spoke, “wow, look at the size of that city. Where are we Gilda?”
Star Bolt sighed as he answered for her, “… Gryphus… those are the ruins, of the capital city, Gryphus.”
Twilight was surprised, “Gryphus? That’s Gryphus?”
Gilda turned to the group, “it was… now… it just what’s left of a once great kingdom.”
Gilda turned back to the city and continued with a depressed expression as the group followed her. Not long after they entered the city, Star Bolt saw a large number of griffin survivors scrounging through the ruins for valuables as he mumbled to himself, “Déjà vu…”
Not hearing his comment, Rarity asked, “Gil… I mean, commander? Was this the work of the dark alicorn?”
Gilda continued walking as she replied, “Dark alicorn?... was that who he was?”
Surprised by Gilda’s answer, Spitfire spoke, “Wait a sec… You mean you don’t know?”

Gilda shook her head, as she replied, “No… a few days ago, a stranger wearing a black cloak had entered the city and claimed that he had troubling news for the king. So with the city worried about news that the kingdom was in danger, my father decided to bring the stranger before the king so he can give him the news himself. I wasn’t there so I don’t know exactly what happened, but before I knew it, black sand came shooting from every window in the castle. Seconds later the sand started flying through the streets like a sand storm. Everygriffin out on the streets that day was covered in the sand… and then… they were gone. Most of us thought we’d be safe indoors, but then the sand started destroying the building and killing those inside. Luckily, me and a few others hid in the tunnels below the city, but when we got back out, this is what we found. Everything was destroyed… everygriffin was nowhere to be seen… including my dad. The only one who was found was the king, but he was found dead in his throne with what looked like a glass sword in his chest. Being the daughter of the commander of the griffin king’s armies, pretty much volunteered me for the position to lead the survivors.”
Star Bolt asked, “So that’s why your soldiers attacked me. Stranger wearing a black cloak, I fit his description to a tee don’t I?”
Gilda sighed, “Ain’t that the truth. Luckily, I told them that Commander Bolt was a friend so he could help us if we found him. And you even proved it to them by beating them in a fair fight.”
Star Bolt nodded his head, “If my wing had taken any more abuse then would have lost. So exactly how many survived?”

Gilda sighed as she replied with a heavy heart, “About a two hundred.”
Rarity smiled, “That sound pretty good for a disaster such as this, you were lucky.”
Gilda shook her head, “Two hundred, out of one hundred million? That doesn’t seem very lucky to me.”
Twilight was shocked at the difference in numbers, “One hundred mill…”
Star Bolt interrupted her, “Gryphus is… or was, the largest city in the world. To be honest, more survived then I would expect. At least you have enough to slowly rebuild your kingdom.”
Gilda nodded her head as she replied, “Yea… but I don’t know a thing about ruling a kingdom… and with what’s left… I don’t even know where to start.”
Zecora smiled, “the key isn’t to where or how to lead… but to know your subjects, and what they need.”
“But what do they need?”
Star Bolt sighed, “right now… Food, Water, and a leader. Just remember to put their needs before your own and you should be fine”
Gilda sighed, “Yea… but with that dark alicorn still out there… none of us can rest easy.”

As the group arrived at one of the ruins Gilda and her visitors sat down net to a fire pit that was made in the center of the ruins. After sitting down Gilda asked, “So commander, what brings you to the Griffin Kingdoms? I figured you’d be too busy worrying about your own kingdom to come to mine.”
Star bolt lowered his head as he replied, “We don’t have one anymore… Canterlot is in ruins, and it seems like every town we passed on the way here was devoid of life.”
Gilda looked at the depressed look on everypony’s faces as she continued, “Wait a second… where are Pinkie Pie and what was her name? Flutterfly or something like that.”
The group went silent as Rainbow Dash replied with a heavy heart, “They… they’re… not here.”
Gilda hesitated for a second before realizing what she meant, then she hung her head and replied, “oh… dang… I’m… I’m sorry to hear that.”

Star Bolt nodded his head, “We’ve all lost somepony… or griffin we care about to that monster. The best thing we can do for them now is remember them and move on.”
Gilda sighed, “Well yea… but… I wanted to get the chance to apologize to them. The last time I saw them… I acted like a real jerk, and I wanted to get the chance to make up for it. I know I can’t change the way I treated them… but considering the lesson you taught me… it would be the cool thing to do.”
Twilight was confused, “lesson?”
Gilda nodded her head, “yea… not that long ago, Commander bolt saved me when I was stuck in a snowstorm. It showed me that, not all bad actions set us for life. And that even if we did something’s that were wrong, you could always find ways to make up for it. Like… trying to bring eternal night, or being a jerk to a good friend and her other friends…”

Rainbow Dash nodded her head as she added, “Or… shunning a friend for life, without giving her a second chance… Gilda, I’m sorry.”
“No Dash… I’m the one who was mean to your friends, and if they are cool enough to earn your friendship… then they are far cooler then I could hope to be.”
Star Bolt smiled at what he could only assume was a compliment as he started to trot away, “alright, while you two get caught up… would you mind if the rest of us split up and look for supplies? We’ve got a ways to go and we are low on food.”
Gilda smiled as she replied, “for you commander? Anything. I still owe you my life remember. Feel free to take whatever you need, in fact you can stay here for the night if you want… it isn’t much but it’s better than nothing right?”
Star Bolt smiled and nodded his head as everypony in the group except Rainbow Dash followed him out the door of the damaged ruins.

Hours later as Star Bolt was returning to the campsite, he saw Gilda and Rainbow Dash as they were passing the time by telling each other stories, “Whoa! Seriously? That’s pretty hard core.”
Rainbow Dash smiled, “Yea… one second Star was flying towards the storm dodging lighting as if he was able to predict it. Then he hits the cyclone dead center and vanishes completely. It was awesome! Not long after that, we saw a bright flash come from the top of the tornado. After that, nothing. The storm stopped, the clouds cleared up and everything was back to normal.”
Gilda smiled as she spoke, “That must have been the Lightning Orb. I knew Star Bolt was awesome, but I didn’t think he would do something like that! That’s just too cool!”
Star Bolt smiled as he replied, “Well what was I supposed to do? I thought up a strategy and I attempted it. Although to be honest, I didn’t think it would work.”

Both Rainbow Dash and Gilda didn’t know he was there as Gilda replied, “now that I understand. According to commander Orem’s journal, you often acted before thinking things through.”
“Orem’s journal? So you really are a descendant of his?”
Gilda smiled, “Well yea, you didn’t know?”
Star Bolt smiled, “I had my suspicions. The pride you carry is similar to his.”
Rainbow Dash spoke next as she looked at Star Bolt, “Oh, commander? I told Gilda about what we are doing and guess what?”
Gilda replied, “I want in! I even managed to gather a small force of griffin who want to go with us. If it’s all right with you, then we will march under your command. It would be so cool to fight beside you… just like Commander Orem did in the final battle of the Nightmare Crusade.”

Twilight and the rest of their party entered the ruins as Star Bolt motioned towards her and replied, “Thanks… but last time I checked, she wears the crown. So if you want to come with us… then you will have to ask the princess.”
Twilight only heard the last part of the conversation as she asked, “what? Star Bolt? What are you telling her?”
Star Bolt smiled, “Well princess… it would seem that the remaining griffin forces want to march under your command. So, what will it be? Will you allow them to fight with you? Or will they have to stay here?”
Feeling like she was being overwhelmed, Princess Twilight whispered to Star Bolt, “Can I talk to you alone for a sec?”
Star Bolt and Princess Twilight stepped outside the destroyed building as she asked, “Why are you telling her that? You know that I can control an army of…”
“Listen Twilight, you’re the last of the alicorns. With or without your wings, we will look to you for guidance. Now I’m not saying you will control her army… that’s her job. All I’m saying is that you will give her guidance. Gilda is from a strong family, she has what it takes to lead her army alone. But you still have the decision to allow her to go or stay.”

Princess Twilight looked at the ground as she sighed, “I… I still don’t know…”
Star Bolt spoke seriously, “Twilight… when it’s all said and done, what do you intend to do? These ponies and griffin will still need a ruler once this is all over. They need a princess, they will need you.”
“What about you?”
Star Bolt shook his head, “Princess Celestia made you a princess for a reason. Eventually you would lead either a kingdom or at least a city. You need to understand that even if that crown is one of the Elements of Harmony, it’s still a crown. Now if you want some advice on leading a commander and her soldiers then I’ll take care of it. However to claim your dominance you still have to say it yourself. Do you want me to do that?”
Princess Twilight nodded her head as she replied, “If it isn’t too much trouble. But do you really think I have what it takes to lead?”
Star Bolt smiled, “of course you do. You lead your friends to defeat so many threats to begin with. Discord, Nightmare Moon, even that changeling queen. You’re a born leader. All you lack is confidence. So let’s go inside and tell Gilda this. You can fight with us, but you will be placed under Commander Bolt. That way you show that you’re the authority, but at the same time, I will be doing all the work. It’s a little trick that the princess has been playing for thousands of years. Pretty smart huh?”

Feeling a little inadequate in what she was doing, Twilight nodded her head, “alright… I guess I can do that much. Thanks Star.”
Star Bolt smiled, “Don’t thank me. Just wait till you see how I handle it.”
Feeling a little concerned with the devious smile that Star Bolt gave as he turned and went back inside, Princess Twilight followed him back in as they both sat next to the camp fire. Gilda gave them an anxious look as she asked, “Well?”
Princess Twilight replied, “Well… I talked it over and decided that if you want to fight under me… then you’re more than welcome. However, I will put you under Commander Bolt’s authority. Is that alright?”
Gilda smiled, “that’s exactly what I wanted to hear. So how will we do this Commander?”
Star Bolt smiled, “well since you are a griffin, and I don’t know much about how griffin fight, I want you to command your soldiers. However, their action will be your responsibility, so can you keep them under control? If you know the story, this is the same thing I told Commander Orem when he lost the duel against me. But remember, my orders, overrule your own, clear?”
Gilda stood at attention as she replied, “Yes commander! I understand!”
Star Bolt smiled as he looked at Twilight with a clever smirk, as she shook her head and mumbled to herself, “A pretty smart trick… well played Star.”

Rainbow Dash cheered, “Right on! What could be cooler then fighting with all my best friends?”
Applejack smiled, “How about winnin that fight. And with a small army on our side things are definitely lookin up for us.”
Zecora added, “Now don’t get too hopeful, though we have numbers to spare, those soldiers won’t decide how well we fair.”
Rarity nodded her head, “that is true… we did have an army in Canterlot. But I’m afraid they didn’t fair too well.”
Spitfire sat back as she sighed in depression, “yea… my Wonderbolts didn’t do so good either.”
Star Bolt replied, “That doesn’t matter we are here and we all survived. We know what we are facing and we have already decided that we want to continue with this task. So I say, we get some rest and get ready. If Niether’s directions are right, then we should arrive in Eden within the next few days, so let’s stop looking at the downside and get ready. Soon, we will face him, and I don’t know about you… but I will die before I let that monster get away with what he did to us.”

Far away in the ruins of an ancient city, the sound of trickling sand could be heard in an abandoned tomb as sand began seeping in through the cracks in the ceiling. As the sand bundled up on the floor, it took the shape of Osiris as he solidified and began trotting through the tomb with no expression on his face. As the lone alicorn continued through the empty tomb, one of the remaining pillars containing the elements that trapped him began glowing as Osiris looked at it and mumbled, “well my queen… what’s done is done. Your daughters are dead and I remain the last alicorn in existence. However… my elements draw near. I can feel that false alicorn approach as she continues to wield magic. Nevertheless, I don’t sense laughter or kindness amongst them. And even with all six, they were no match for me, so they are only seeking out their own doom. However, if they impress me… then, perhaps I shall reward them. Nevertheless, this will prove interesting.”